When I was in elementary school, though I can’t remember which grade, one of our teachers plopped us in front of one of those big TVs on a cart with a VCR on a shelf and thought we would enjoy a movie called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Not only did I not enjoy the movie, but it gave me nightmares, mainly because of one man and his crazy eyes.
Just watch this scene and tell me he’s not a psychopath.
It took me another 20 years to actually try that movie again and the eyes still haunted me, but I made it. Imagine my discomfort when, as a young, newly married woman, my husband said to me one night early in our marriage, “Will you watch one of my favorite movies ever with me? It’s called Young Frankenstein and it stars Gene Wilder.”
I’m sure I visibly shuddered, drawing images from my childhood of that man’s terrifying eyes, but eventually agreed.
That was many years ago so I didn’t remember much of the movie, which is why watching it last night with him again as part of the Spooky Season Cinema Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, was almost like watching it for the first time.
Wilder’s eyes don’t frighten me as much anymore (total lie) so it was easier to watch it this time around, even with Marty Feldman’s eyes now freaking me out (not a lie at all).
The movie, for those who have never seen it, is a Mel Brooks film and is complete ridiculousness from start to finish. There are numerous classic scenes from the film, or at least they are classic to me because my husband has quoted so many of them over the years.
The film is a parody of all the old black and white horror films of the 30s and 40s and was made in 1974. The story follows Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, of the Mary Shelly book fame. He insists everyone call him Fronkensteen, rejecting his ancestor, who he calls a lunatic during a lecture at the American college he works at. He doesn’t even want to be reminded of what his grandfather did.
When Frederick is given his great-grandfather’s will, he travels to Transylvania, leaving behind his fiancé (Madyln Kahn) and joining Eyegor (not Eegor/Igor), portrayed by Marty Feldman, and his attractive assistant, (Terri Garr), and the housekeeper, Mrs. Blucher played by Cloris Leechman at his great-grandfather’s castle. It’s there he finds his grandfather’s notes about reanimation and decides he’s going to try it again, but this time he’ll do it the right way, by putting a brilliant scientist’s brain in the body of a dead man.
Sadly, Eyegor drops the brain of the brilliant man and picks out one that is abnormal, which is when all the craziness — well, gets crazier and the monster, played by Peter Boyle, is brought to life.
“By the way, that was just one big sex joke,” my husband said during the reanimation scene and, well, he was right.
There are a few innuendos throughout the movie. “They got away with quite a bit for a PG-rated movie,” my husband pointed out.
According to Wikipedia, Young Frankenstein “was No. 28 on Total Film magazine’s readers’ “List of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time”, No. 56 on Bravo’s list of the “100 Funniest Movies”, and No. 13 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 funniest American movies.” ‘
It was more fun than scary, which is why I’d put it up there with one of my favorite “spooky season” movies that we’ve watched so far, other than Clue.
Read Erin’s impression of the movie HERE.
Up next in our series of movies for this feature:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (this is replacing Transylvania 6500, which we decided we just couldn’t watch)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (Classic Creature Feature)
Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Johnny Depp version)
And Halloween from 1979.