1. Frankenstein (1931)
The definitive Frankenstein monster, the monster all other Frankenstein’s are compared to. Although the some of the opening sequences are a bit awkward, this movie comes alive (pun intended) when the monster does. Karloff is wonderful as the monster and I completely understand why his performance was lauded. With great use of shadows and some creative film moments, this is a classic film worth seeing.
2. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Another great film from director James Whale. The movie is a bit stranger than the first Frankenstein, mixing a set of weird characters with humor and fantastic camera work to bring some interesting contemplative moments to the monster. Although the monster is responsible for a number of deaths, some are understandable after the horrors he’s endured, and the sense of his loneliness and longing for kindness are clear.
My main disappointment is that the Bride of the title gets so little screen time. In the few minutes she’s on screen, she presents a fascinating figure, twitching like a bird with fascination at the world. She’s amazing and I wish she had to be and do more.
3. Darling (2015)
Darling was a strange one, an intense story of a young woman taking on a care taking job and slowly going insane. The reasoning for this transition and whether she had mental health problems to begin with is not clear.
The story is set up in chapters with the start of each one featuring the young woman staring ahead like a portrait. I’m not sure these chapter cards are necessary, as the lend a feeling of unreality to the story.
Shot in black and white, the film mixes long shots of beautiful cinematography with jumps of fragments short frames, jarring the seemingly calm sequences with something hidden behind the scenes. This happens fairly consistently throughout the movie, to the point that it almost becomes numbing and looses the effect it’s going for.
Darling is interesting, bloody, strange, and mostly well done.
4. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Fun and mostly funny mockumentary about four vampires living as flat mates in New Zealand. Each vampire is from a different era and part of the humor is how each of them sees the modern world. They are also all awkward, failing to have that suave beautiful grace presented in most vampire movies. Not all of the jokes were laugh out loud funny, but there were a few golden moments. Plus, the characters were all likeable enough that I was willing to go on this bizarre little journey with them.
5. Purple Rain (1984)
I watched Purple Rain for the first time and I’m wondering how the hell I’ve never seen this before.
Prince on stage represents the golden moments of this movie. He’s a level of fabulous and HOT that cannot be contained.
Sure, the plot is thin as fishnet tights and the acting is sometimes laughable, but it’s also freaking fantastic for being the ’80s rock movie it is.