On Saturday, I had the absolute pleasure of going to a Halloween double feature at The Redford Theater of It Came from Outer Space in 3-D and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I can’t think of a better way to spend a rather dreary Saturday afternoon just before Halloween! The turn-out was excellent, the crowd seemed to be a pretty mixed bag. There were older people, there were little kids, there were teenagers, some people even came in costume. It was such a fun crowd to be a part of. I also hadn’t seen either of the movies, so I was in for two really great treats.
The first movie was It Came from Outer Space in 3-D. Richard Carlson played John Putman, an amateur astronomer who had just moved to Arizona. One night, he and his girlfriend Ellen (Barbara Rush) see a large meteor crash to Earth. When they go to investigate, what John finds sure doesn’t look like a meteor. It appears to be some kind of spacecraft and he gets a glimpse of one of its passengers. Just then, a landslide covers the object before he is able to show anybody else. John tries to convince everybody of what he saw, but nobody takes him seriously. John and Ellen continue to investigate and when they talk to a couple of phone company employees, they report hearing a strange noise over the lines. John and Ellen leave to check something for the phone workers, and when they return, they find the workers’ truck abandoned with blood on the door. Eventually, they’re able to find one of the workers, but he doesn’t seem quite normal. When they see the other worker’s body laying on the ground, John and Ellen automatically fear the worst and go back to town to get help. But after they leave, we find out the workers aren’t really dead. The men are fine, the aliens are only taking over their forms until they can fix their ship and leave Earth. The men will be returned safely as soon as the ship is repaired. When the aliens go into town, John chases them down and the aliens explain that nobody will be hurt as long as they are left to repair their ship in peace. But once more people begin to disappear, including Ellen, the sheriff begins to take John seriously. John and the sheriff visit the mine shaft where the spacecraft is being repaired and John is forced to make peace between the humans and the aliens.
Even though It Came from Outer Space isn’t one of my favorites, I still greatly enjoyed it. First of all, I loved how awesomely retro it felt to be sitting in a theater, watching a 1950s 3-D sci-fi/horror movie and wearing those stylin’ 3-D glasses. Some of the effects were pretty hokey, but it’s an otherwise decent movie. The writing is good, I had no issues with the acting, it had some great genuinely creepy scenes, but my favorite thing was the core story. I like sci-fi movies that deal with making contact with peaceful aliens. I just think it’s so easy to write a movie about aliens being out to destroy the Earth. Stories about the various ways aliens could come to Earth with no ill intent are infinitely more interesting to me.
After a brief intermission came Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Here, Abbott and Costello play Chick and Wilbur (respectively), a couple of baggage clerks who are ordered to deliver a couple of crates to Dr. McDougal’s House of Horrors. The crates are said to contain the remains of Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange). Chick doesn’t buy into the story, but Wilbur is a bit more concerned. When the creatures go missing, Chick and Wilbur are accused of stealing them and are arrested. What they don’t know is that Wilbur’s girlfriend, Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert), is working with Dracula to bring Frankenstein’s monster back to life and they are at her home. Sandra is only hanging out with Wilbur because she wants to use his brain in Frankenstein’s monster. When Chick and Wilbur are bailed out of jail, they go back to their apartment where they find they have a new neighbor, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Larry has come over from London because he knows Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster are still alive and needs Chick and Wilbur to help him destroy the monsters. Larry also has to fight the fact that he is the Wolf Man and keeps turning into a wolf. Things get very interesting the next night when Chick and Wilbur plan to go to a costume party. Chaos and hilarity ensue when they arrive at Sandra’s home to pick her up and they find out Dracula and Frankenstein are there. Things get even crazier when Dracula and the Wolf Man crash the costume party.
I loved Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, it was an absolute riot. There wasn’t a single moment where I found myself even slightly bored. Abbott and Costello are always hilarious and this is definitely one of their best. But it was so much fun to see them together with horror film legends like Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., and Glenn Strange. If you’re looking for a good Halloween movie to watch with young kids, this is a perfect choice because it’s got the classic creatures like Dracula, Wolf Man, and Frankenstein, but it’s much funnier than it is scary. Simply put, this is now one of my favorite Halloween comedies. Every bit as fun and hilarious as Young Frankenstein!
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