Revisiting Fright Favorites

I’ve been enjoying a refreshing classic horror movie palate cleanser after ingesting a steady supply of ’80s horror flicks for my IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS documentary film series.

Don’t get me wrong — I feel like I have the greatest job in the world, which includes the task of watching countless ’80s horror movies for “homework.” But I enjoy horror from all eras — early 1920s and 1930s up through the latest releases on the big and small screen. And revisiting the classics — Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror — truly make me feel like a kid again, like those days of watching Saturday afternoon matinees on TV in between thumbing through issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

If it’s been a spell, watching ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN always gets me into the right frame of mind for classic black-and-white entertainment, and I’ve been really enjoying the steady supply of free movies available on NBC Universal’s peacock streaming app. I’ve been going in waves thematically, watching BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HOUSE OF DRACULA, BRIDES OF DRACULA, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, THE MUMMY’S TOMB, THE MUMMY’S GHOST, THE MUMMY’S CURSE, and so on. I plan to hit up the INVISIBLE MAN movies next.

As I’ve been revisiting these timeless cinematic gems, I’ve discovered a nice companion book to this classic horror consumption: David J. Skal’s Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond, which spotlights horror films running from 1922’s NOSFERATU all the way up to 2017’s GET OUT, including such nicely curated titles as MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933), CAT PEOPLE (1942), CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), BLACK SUNDAY (1960), THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961) and THE HAUNTING (1963) in between many of the “greatest hits” of horror like DRACULA (1931), CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968), THE EXORCIST (1973) and HALLOWEEN (1978).

Dedicated “To Monster Kids of all ages everywhere (you know who you are)” — Fright Favorites is nicely organized, written in a straightforward manner, and packed with plenty of classic movie posters, stills, and behind-the-scenes photos. It’s a book that I’ve been sharing with my 8-year-old son to help familiarize him with the movies his dad loves so much and constantly references in relation to his own horror documentaries.

Classic film foundations are incredibly important for anyone discovering the treasures of a genre for the first time, and I think the reason why I like this book so much is that it kind of reminds me of the Crestwood monster books I used to devour at the public library when I was my son’s age. Those powerful little tomes provided the perfect insight into all of my favorite monsters and subgenres (with plenty of amazing photos) while I’d patiently wait for the films to lurk about on television in the pre-VCR/cable/streaming/on-demand/hologram days.

What classic horror movies have you revisited lately? Were you a Crestwood books/Famous Monsters magazine devourer? Share your love for the genre on  IT CAME FROM… social media: Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr .


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