I kind of screwed up on this one. It was all my fault , really, forged foolishness and a touch of hubris. You see I’d had a general theme of horror comedy and I had two perfect films on my list for this week’s double feature, but since I “knew” the second one was on Youtube I didn’t bother getting it and found another film to get a head start on my list for next week.
The thing is that just because I’d seen it on Youtube two years ago wouldn’t mean that it would still be on Youtube when I came back to check on it now. So Here I am left with two films which other than my Halloween theme had absolutely nothing in common… Well that and they both had Werewolves in them.
The first film on my list, Abbbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein, I saw in elementary school and had the vaguest memories of seeing two scenes which turned out to be near the end of the film so I was interested very in seeing Abbot & Costello go up against Universal’s big three again.
In this film Bud and Lou are baggage clerks who find themselves responsible for two crates containing Dracula (in Bela Lugosi’s one Dracula film after Dracula) and Frankenstein’s Monster. (Glenn Strange) On the trail of the crates is Lawrence Talbot the Wolf Man trying to prevent Dracula’s plans. Of course the Dracula and the Monster get out. Dracula’s evil plan involves upgrading the Monster by replacing it’s brain one that’s less devious and cunning in short an idiot and they have the perfect candidate, Lou Costello… Naturally hilarity ensues. It’s funny with a lot of these forties comedies just how much of the humor holds up a lot of the changes in our culture make a lot of the humorous elements like Bud and Lou’s seemingly abusive relationship and the casual sexism are cringeworthy with modern eyes. But most of the physical comedy holds up very well so I can forgive much. The best of the humor humor involves only Lou seeing the monsters and panicking then getting yelled at as the monsters disappear just as Bud comes back.
Personally my favorite bits concerned Lon Channy Jr. trying to warn everybody that he will change into the Wolf Man and everybody thinking he’s crazy… for the most part throughout the Wolf Man is almost comically harmless constantly tripping and having trouble getting around bushes… though at least he manages to wound one man off camera.
The second film on my List, Romasanta the Werewolf Hunt directed by Paco Plaza ,is a dramatization of the story of Manuel Blanco Romasanta a nineteenth century serial killer who claimed to be a werewolf. In this version suggests that that might have been the case.
We are slowly introduced to Romasanta and while he seems likable at first and can see why the female lead is attracted to him and we’re encouraged to be on his side even as the alarm bells ring louder and louder.
The film goes out of it’s way to be vague about whether Romeasanta is exactly what he says he is or just crazy. While there is a fairly well done transformation sequence even that is suspect as it takes place in the narrative of Romosano’s equally crazy accomplice. For the most part while this film was by no means a great master piece I think they did a good job with the budget they had (which I’m pretty sure they spent mostly on the period costumes) but actor Julian Sands has a nice screen quality that fluctuates between seductive, ordinary man in the street to downright creepy.