Where Forgotten Films Dwell

Welcome to this site! It exists for one reason: to preserve the memory of films that have been forgotten about or under-appreciated throughout the ages. Take a seat, read an entry, leave a comment. You might discover your new favorite movie!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Blog: Nate's Mini Reviews

Well, gang, I have a new blog!

It's called Nate's Mini Reviews.  I've noticed that many of the blogs that I admire do weekly roundups of all of the films that they watch.  I've wanted to do that for some time, but didn't want to clutter up Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear with my cinematic escapades.   So I started a new blog to contain them.

The reviews are short...only a few sentences long.  They contain what I think about the film and what it means to me.  I also will include a numerical rating for all of the movies on a scale of one-to-ten.

Quite simply, this site is a personal project.  It isn't made for anyone other than myself.  But if you want to drop by, read a review, and leave a comment, feel free! 

Here's the link:

Nathanael Hood

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Iron Horse

Directed by John Ford
The United States of America

Among the multitude of great filmmakers who have graced the world with their work, there are a handful who’s names are spoken not only with respect, but with reverence.  These are the trailblazers, the pioneers, the explorers of cinematic possibility and potential.  Before the independent auteurs, before the big name Hollywood directors, before the French iconoclasts, there were the progenitors: the first group of filmmakers who literally had to invent the rules because there weren’t any.  These include the magical Georges Méliès, the misunderstood D.W. Griffith, the cataclysmic Giovanni Pastrone, the bombastic Cecil B. DeMille, and the pensive Victor Sjöström.  Every innovation, every technique, and every revolution can, in some way, be traced back to their work. 

But there was another progenitor of cinema who is frequently discounted from his esteemed colleagues.  His name and work is legendary, but rarely recognized for the monumental impact he had on cinematic technique and the evolution of cinema as we know it.  His name was John Ford.  Directing over 60 films from 1917-1928 alone, by the time that he died he had made nearly 150 films.  He made films of nearly every conceivable genre: drama, comedy, romance, war.  But of all of his work, his most beloved films were his Westerns.  Before Ford, Westerns were cheap, pulp films that were basically mass produced.  But he changed everything in 1939 with Stagecoach, the film that single-handedly proved that Westerns could be serious films worthy of artistic merit.  He would then go on to direct some of the most critically acclaimed Westerns of all time: My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).  His Westerns were so influential that they defied their genre, being considered not only among the greatest Westerns ever made, but among the greatest films ever made.

But Ford was making Westerns long before he hit the big-time with Stagecoach.  Many of his first silent films were Westerns.  But it wouldn’t be until about seven years after he started that Ford finally got it right.  If Edwin Stanton Porter invented the Western in 1903 with The Great Train Robbery, then Ford perfected it twenty-one years later with The Iron Horse.

The Iron Horse was a monster of a film, clocking in at over two hours.  The plot spans several years, many states, and a massive cast of characters.  The film follows the construction of America’s first transcontinental railroad through the eyes of two different groups of people: the administrators who battle corrupt land-grabbers and Indians all for the sake of progress and the actual workers who battle unspeakable conditions and death all for the sake of a decent day’s wage.

The former group is primarily represented by Davy Brandon, a young man who as a child saw his father murdered by a band of Cheyenne after discovering a shortcut for the railroad.  Now grown up, he is determined to continue his father’s dream and complete the railroad.  The only thing that rivals his determination to build the railroad is his affection for his childhood belle, Miriam.  However, she is engaged to Peter Jesson, the Union Pacific Railroad’s chief engineer.

But Brandon has another problem on his hands: Miriam’s father, one of the chief financial backers of the project, can’t continue to support the railroad if a shorter route through Cheyenne country is found.  Brandon remembers the old shortcut found by his father.  But Bauman, the local landowner who benefits from the railroad going the long route, tries to kill him before he can share his secret.  This is only complicated by the fact that years ago Bauman was a member of the group of Cheyenne who killed Brandon’s father!

That’s all well and good.  But where the film really shines is with the day laborers and lay people who construct the railroad while their administrators hunt for vengeance and love.  Much like in his later films, Ford lovingly lingers on the colorful cast of immigrants who would lay the tracks that would connect the continent.  Ford’s films project a belief that America is only as strong as the immigrants that populate it and work its soil.  So his films are peppered with Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Italian, and Asian characters.  Here in The Iron Horse we are treated to Welsh and Italian track layers who sing bawdy yet sad songs while they work.  A large contingent of Chinese cooks keep the other workers fed (interestingly some of them had worked on the actual transcontinental railroad in 1869).

Ford uses these characters as the basis for several vignettes that break up the film with much needed comedic relief.  In one scene we watch three rough and tough Irishmen turn to babies during a trip to the local barber-dentist.  In another we see an immigrant couple get married at one train stop only to get divorced at the next.  And in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, a prostitute shoots a man in a bar who gets too enthusiastic with unwanted flirting. The local judge, the “honorable” Mr. Haller, sets up an impromptu court right in the barroom and finds her not guilty.  After all, he reasons, it was widely known that she carried a pistol.  By getting too friendly with her, he was willingly committing suicide.

The only thing more entertaining than the film itself is the story of how it was created.  The Iron Horse was a massive and herculean production.  In a fascinating essay by David Kiehn, he recounts horrifying, yet captivating tales of Ford’s behind-the-scenes struggles.  Of principal concern was the unheard of number of production staff.  20 railroad sleeper cars from the Al G. Barnes Circus were rented just to house the cast and crew.  That’s not even counting the extra railcars needed to house the equipment and materials for constructing the film’s sets and props. The crew constructed a life-size town set with practical rooms which additionally served as living quarters, holding areas,  and storage space (the film’s editing lab set up station in the post office set).

The film crew was met with some of the nastiest weather imaginable.  The temperature was consistently freezing and snow frequently covered the sets.  The cast and crew were frequently called upon to clear the set of snow.  Lefty Hough, the property man, recalled one such incident:

“We brought the cattle in, the horses and everything else. We swept the whole town off. It may sound unbelievable, but I don’t suppose we lost more than a couple of hours. Well, now, you take 400 people, horses and cowboys, and Indians and everything else—they can sweep a street in pretty quick time.”

The sleeper cars were miserable in the cold as they had no heat.  Many wore the soldier costumes continuously just to stave off the chill.  Tragically, one of the actors developed pneumonia and died three weeks later.

But for all of their struggles, they were rewarded when the film became a smash hit.  But it was more than just a great success...it was the birth of Ford as a film master.  Many of the tropes and ideas that would permeate his later work and make his such a distinctive filmmaker were on full display in The Iron Horse.  Ford’s love of trains is obviously a central element.  In many of his films, particularly his Westerns, trains represent civilization.  They are the vehicles through which civilized characters are brought face to face with the untamed wilderness.  In a sense, Ford uses trains as a herald for progress: trains are a death warrant for the old Western way of life.  In The Iron Horse, the completion of the railroad represents a nation broken by Civil War being healed.  It signals the end of the Indians who roamed free throughout the land.  It is a triumph of man and industry over nature.

Also prevalent is Ford’s ideas concerning justice and fair play.  Throughout his career, Ford was an obvious supporter of manly brawling and fighting as a way to settle disputes...as long as they were fair.  The scene from The Searchers comes to mind when the Reverend referees over an impromptu fistfight between two young men over a woman.  In What Price Glory? (1952) two old friends slash rivals greet each other with spontaneous boxing matches.  In How Green Was My Valley (1941) young Huw Morgan is not only encouraged to fight back against bullies, but rewarded with money for each injury received.  This is all prophesied in The Iron Horse when Brandon corners Bauman in the film’s climax.  Despite having a clear shot, he throws down his guns and attacks Bauman with his two fists.  To kill him with a gun wouldn’t be enough...Brandon has to defeat him in a fair fight.

The Iron Horse is not without it flaws.  The production went way over schedule and budget.  As a result, parts of the film were obviously rushed during production.  But the film remains as a startling testament to the inherent skills of John Ford.  He would go on to refine the techniques and ideas introduced in this film in his later work.  As such, it remains a crucial entry in Ford’s filmography.  Sadly, few have ever seen it, let alone heard of it.  But to those willing to look, The Iron Horse is an immensely rewarding film.  It shows an artist in transition from being a simple pulp director to becoming one of the most important, influential, and beloved filmmakers of all time.  After The Iron Horse, the rest was history.

Editor's Note: I have uploaded The Iron Horse to this blog's youtube account.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monster Movie Blogathon Update #1

Well...you guys asked for it...so here's the current list of participants:

The Blob - Ivan Lerner (http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/)
Them! - Kevyn Knox (http://themostbeautifulfraudintheworld.blogspot.com/)
Plan 9 From Outer Space - Stacia (http://www.shebloggedbynight.com)
The Day the Earth Stood Still - Rick (http://classic-film-tv.blogspot.com/)
Curse of the Undead - Toby (fiftieswesterns.com)
The Creature From the Black Lagoon  - Becky (http://www.classicbeckybrainfood.blogspot.com)
Gojira - Jaime Grijalba (http://Exodus8-2.blogspot.com)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers - John Greco
Tarantula - Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. (http://thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.com)
Mothra/The Thing from Anther World - Team Bartilucci (http://doriantb.blogspot.com/)
Bride of the Monster - Michaël Parent (http://cinephiliaque.blogspot.com/)
Curse of Frankenstein - Barry P. (Cinematic Catharsis)
Forbidden Planet - Chris Michael (http://recentlyviewedmovies.blogspot.com/)
Night of the Demon - Rachel (http://thegirlwiththewhiteparasol.blogspot.com/)
The Tingler - Paul J. Marasa (http://theconstantviewer.blogspot.com/)
The Black Scorpion - Hal C. F. Astell (http://www.apocalypselaterfilm.com/)
The Giant Behemoth - Lauren
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman - Page (http://myloveofoldhollywood.blogspot.com/)
She Demons - W.B. Kelso (http://microbrewreviews.blogspot.com/)
It Conquered the World - Josh T.
War of the Worlds - The Film Connoisseur (http://filmconnoisseur.blogspot.com/)
Crawling Eye - Hal (http://hornsection.blogspot.com/)
It Came From Outer Space - Vulnavia Morbius (http://krelllabs.blogspot.com/)
The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot - JHeft (http://whatheft.com/)
Wasp Woman - 100 Years of Movies
20 Million Miles to Earth - Caroline (http://garbolaughs.wordpress.com/)
Fiend Without a Face - Erin (http://initforthekills.com/)
Not of This Earth - Doug Bonner (http://www.postmodernjoan.com/wp02/)
It Came From Beneath the Sea - Rich (http://widescreenworld.blogspot.com/)

That's 29 participants!  Remember our goal of 40!

And...hey...you remember that I used to do reviews on this here blog?  Well...they'll continue in a few days.  I hope that you all will read it and like it!

Nathanael Hood

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Final Thoughts

Well gang...

At long last the Roger Corman blogathon has come to an end.  The entries have been written, the comments have been left, the winners have been selected, and the prizes have been given out....

It was quite a ride....

This was my first blogathon and I was really nervous about hosting it.  But I've been blown away by everybody's kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm for the project.  You all have inspired me to do another  blogathon in only five weeks!  I'm telling you...if I could figure out a way to make money off hosting blogathons...I might make it my job.

I kid, course....

Or am I?

No...no, I am.

Anyhow, I am overwhelmed by how successful this blogathon was.  I honestly was expecting maybe five or six entries, but instead 21 people stood up to the plate and played ball.  I can never thank you guys enough for what you've done.  I've met a ton of great bloggers and made a whole batch of new friends.  And I have to say...that's the best part of this blogathon.  It wasn't the articles (although they were glorious), the awards, or even the prizes.  It was the community.

Guys...I have witnessed the birth of a true blogging community.  I have watched you guys discover each other through this blogathon.  I have watched as friendships have been formed through comments sections.  I've noticed that most of your blogs have more followers now than they did when you first signed up.  I've seen links swapped all across the map as enthusiastic writers have discovered people who share their own passions.  And that, folks, is the true reward of holding my blogathon.  The prize banners might get deleted, the prize money spent, the articles banished to Internet Limbo...but the friendships are eternal.

It is my prayer that these friendships will continue and flourish through the course of the next blogathon.  Coincidentally, I will be posting the first list of participants and chosen movies tomorrow.  I am thrilled that so many of you have decided to come back.  If I could have my way...ALL of you would come back.  I WANT you all to come back.

To the readers out there who maybe felt like they want to participate in it, feel free to step forward and sign up.  If you don't have a blog, you can host it on my own.  The best thing that can happen is for our community to grow even more.

On that note...I want to announce that Chris Michael, the chap who posted the entry on Frankenstein Unbound on this site, just started his own blog!  Here's the link:


He's a close friend of mine...so I want to encourage all of you to subscribe to his new blog and leave him lots of comments and encouragement...I'm sure all of you remember what it was like to start your own blog in the wildness of the Internet.

I guess I'm done...I don't really have anything else to say other than thank you.....

Well....maybe one more thing...

I think that this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Nathanael Hood

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Well...it was a difficult choice...but it's time to reveal the Grand Prize Winner of the Roger Corman Blogathon.

The winner is....

What can I possibly say about this incredible post?  Seriously...what can I say?  I'm lost for words!

Ivan's review was absolutely insane.  He was the first blogger to post their article during the blogathon.  Even though his was the very first article that I read...I knew that he was going to be winning something.  His review had everything: insightful analysis of the film, fascinating tales of the film's production, and incredible writing.  This may sound offensive, but I mean it with all of the love and respect in the world: reading his review was like watching a B-movie.  It was loud, brash, funny, in-your-face, exciting, and thought-provoking.  One of the very first things that struck me while I was reading it was the insane attention to detail that he displayed.  There was barely a scene or line that wasn't explored or parsed during his review.  His blog truly went above and beyond the call of duty.

Congratulations, Ivan!  You win the prize, the banner, and $60! 

On a side note...stay tuned tonight for my closing thoughts on the blogathon.

Nathanael Hood


Well...I guess that it's no secret that I'll be posting the rest of the winners today...I just can't wait for Friday!

Alas...this was a difficult job...I didn't enjoy having to pick just three winning entries from so many great ones!  But...decisions had to be made...

So...without further ado...the Second Place Winner of the Roger Corman Blogathon is...

Congratulations, Rachel!  Do a victory lap!

I feel that it is necessary to explain again why I chose the winner that I did.  The simple reason is that her entry on "The Haunted Palace" doesn't really belong in a blogathon...it belongs in a film theory book.  Probably more than any other entry did Rachel examine how the film worked, what made it tick, and, of course...how it was made.  Reading it was like being given a lesson in film criticism...a lesson that was simultaneously captivating and thrilling to read.  Also, she gets major points for not being afraid to point out what she DIDN'T like about the film instead of just focusing on its strengths.  For writing one of the entries that most deserves to be published in film journals, Rachel more than deserves her award, accolades, praise, and, of course...her site banner.

Congratulations again!

Nathanael Hood


Yes, yes...I know that I said that I'd wait until Wednesday to reveal the 3rd Place Winner...but dammit all...I can't wait that long!

Besides...it's my blogathon...I can change the rules whenever I feel like it!

Anyhow...now we get to the Third Place Award chosen by yours truly. And I have to say...I hated doing this. I mean...I thought that I'd enjoy it! But I had to go through so many fantastic reviews by people I've come to know and love! So...I have an announcement...This blogathon will be the last time that I decide the first, second, and third place winners. From now on...all awards will be voted upon by the blogging community at large. But still...we have an award to hand out! So without further ado...the winner of the Third Place Award is:


Congratulations, Ivan!  You get the award and the schnazzy banner for your site!  I feel like some qualification is necessary for why I chose Ivan's sterling review of "A Bucket of Blood."  For starters...your review was hysterical and incredibly informative.  "But wait," you say, "so were many others!"  Yes...many others were as well!  So what made your review stand out in particular?  Well...I think that it was innovative in its use of photographs and dialogue captures from the film.  You integrated them in a way so that they weren't just visual aids...they were literally part of the narrative that you were telling.  You would incorporate them mid-sentence and act as if they were part of its grammar.  In a sense, we were LITERALLY watching the movie as you wrote about it.  This was something that you could only have accomplished with a blog.  So Ivan, for your wit, intelligence, and technical innovation, I award you with the Third Prize!

I think that I speak for all of us when I say that I sincerely hope that you will be a regular participant in our future blogathons!

And, please...SPEECH!  SPEECH!!

Nathanael Hood

Monday, June 20, 2011


'Sup, gang?

Well...the blogathon is over and it was an AMAZING success!  Many thanks to all participants and readers!

And now...awards and prizes!

The first award, the Bloggers' Choice Award, has been decided!  Based upon the votes of the participating bloggers, the winner is...

Congratulations, Page!  Your incredible review of "Little Shop of Horrors" got the most votes!  And anyone who reads your review will easily know why!  It was hands down the funniest review of the blogathon.  It was entertaining and hysterical!  Also, I'm sure that the goodwill that you gained by being one of the most active readers and commentators on other peoples' blogs was definitely a help!

You win the award, the banner, and...of course...$60 worth of Roger Corman movies!

Email me at nch257@nyu.edu so we can discuss which films you would like to receive!

And, of course...I think we can all chorus in with cheers of congratulations and SPEECH!  SPEECH!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the Third Place Winner!

Nathanael Hood


Well folks....I guess that with the sterling and unprecedented success of this blogathon, it's time ot announce the next one.  According to the poll, the winner is MONSTER MOVIES!!!

Coincidentally...I'm amazed that no one chose to blog about this Corman classic.  I mean...it was even on MST3K!!

This time around there are only two rules requirements to this blogathon....

1) The film must be from 1950-1959.
2) The film must be centered around a MONSTER!!

Oh...and did I mention that this time around...the film can be from ANY COUNTRY??


Also, in this blogathon, the definition of "monster" will be relatively liberal.  A monster can be anything from a hideous creature to an alien to a robot.

Awwwwwww yeah.

And, of course, monsters include deformed or mutated humans.

Now...some of you may be thinking that monster movies aren't worth your time...that monster movies were never good.

You'd be WRONG.

Check and mate.

Monster movies in the 50s were some of the most interpretively rich in film history.  Monsters represented everything from fears concerning Communism...

...nuclear radiation....

...to...whatever the hell this is.

If any of you have doubts about the genre, let me know and I will GLADLY give you suggestions of great films that you can watch.

People were curious if it would take place in either July or August.  So...both!  This blogathon will take place from July 27-August 3.  That gives us about 5 weeks to recruit bloggers, watch movies, and write.

I want to personally ask all of you to participate again in this great endeavor.  Also...let's set a new goal for participants.  This past blogathon we got 21 participants...this time...let's aim for 40!

I want all of you to contact your blogger friends or people who you think might be interested and ask them to participate.  Together...we CAN do this!

In the following week, I will post the official blogathon banner that you can all post on your sites.

And to answer your questions...yes...there will be awards...and prizes.

MORE awards.

And of course...MORE prizes!!

Also...because I'll be attending a new school, my email has changed.  If you are interested, or have questions or suggestions, post a comment here or send me an email at nch257@nyu.edu.

Well folks...we have 5 weeks...let's make this the best blogathon YET!!!!

Nathanael Hood

Quick Question: Next Blogathon

Well folks...I've got a question for you all.........

I'm planning the next blogathon as we speak.  I just wanted to ask you....

When would you be willing to participate in another blogathon?

I would love to do the next one in approximately one month, from July 17-19.  But I don't want to do it if it would be too soon.

See...21 people participated in this blogathon.  I want to see if we can get up to 40 for the next one!

That's right...40 participants!!

And yes...there will be awards...

And prizes...MORE prizes...

It is my earnest hope that all of the people who participated will come back for the next one...but if one month is not enough prep time...I can stretch it out until August.   Leave a comment or send me an email to let me know what you all think.

P.S. - Only 12 people have voted for Bloggers' Choice so far.  Get those votes in, folks!  It's close!  VERY close!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Voting for Bloggers' Choice

Well, as the sun goes down on day three, the Roger Corman blogathon must come to a close. I want to thank everyone for their participation, kindness, and enthusiasm during the whole thing!  I'll post a more detailed thank you letter later this week.  But first, we have business to attend to:

The Bloggers' Choice Award!

Here's how it works:

-Every participating blogger gets one vote for the Readers' Choice Award.
-To vote, send an email with your name, blog, and choice to nahood@ursinus.edu.
-In the case of a tie, I will cast the tie-breaking vote.
-The winner will be announced on Tuesday and be awarded with a custom-made commemorative banner that they can display on their site.
-I will contact them via email to discuss which 3 Roger Corman movies they would like for their prize.
-Voting will continue until midnight Monday night.

Well, there are the rules!

I look forward to handing out the very first blogathon award here at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear!

Nathanael Hood

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chris Michael's Review of FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND

The rest of today's entries are listed in the next post.

Although Frankenstein Unbound was the final film directed by Roger Corman, it just so happened to be the first Corman movie I had ever seen. The first time I had seen it was two summers ago and I had no expectations. I saw that a time travel movie involving Frankenstein and starring John Hurt and Raul Julia was coming on cable soon and with that information alone I knew that I had to watch it! I had heard of Roger Corman before, but at the time I did not really know how influential he was to the film industry, just that he made some B-movies. 

Unlike other many other Corman movies, this one did not launch any careers. John Hurt had already been nominated for two Oscars and Raul Julia was known for his performances in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Romero (1989). That said, this is an early film of Bridget Fonda, although she will most likely always be best known not such much for her acting career, but simply for being the daughter of Henry Fonda and niece of Jane Fonda. 

The aforementioned John Hurt plays Dr. Joe Buchanan. Dr. Buchanan is a scientist of the near future whose experiments have pushed past the limits of nature with unintended but dangerous consequences. While performing experiments to create a powerful weapon with the intention to end war while also not harming the environment, Buchanan and his team of researchers discover that the weapon also has the side effect of creating random rifts in the space time continuum. At first Buchanan is confident that he can find a way around this. One day while driving home from work he encounters some children burying a bike that has “died” because its owner has bought a newer more advanced bicycle. As Dr. Buchanan is musing (“Progresss!”) over this bizarre scene, an unusual storm is brewing. Buchanan is able to get the children to safety even though a warrior on a horse emerges from the storm and almost hits him with a spear! Unfortunately, Buchanan is sucked into the storm and sent across time and space. Eventually he figures out that he is in 1816 Switzerland. Buchanan meets up with some historical figures: the poet Percy and his wife, author Mary Shelley (Bridget Fonda) while he tries to find a way to reverse the time slip and return home. However, Buchanan discovers that a certain Victor Frankenstein (Raul Julia) is living in the nearby Swiss village. Like us, Buchanan always thought that Frankenstein was a work of fiction, but it turns out Mary Shelley’s novel was actually based on true events! As a fellow scientist who has had to deal with his own experiments going horribly wrong despite having the best of intentions, Buchanan tries to help Frankenstein. However, he fails to get Frankenstein to admit that his monster (which is legitimately creepy with a good make-up job) killed a child which leads to the nanny being accused of the murder and later being executed. Buchanan tries to stop Frankenstein and his monster from ending up like the novel, while also attempting to get home and stop the time slips. Despite the title Frankenstein Unbound, the story is always about Buchanan and his struggle to deal with his metaphorical monster (the time slips) which make Frankenstein’s monster powerless in comparison, but an intriguing parallel.

Watching Buchanan’s interactions with the Swiss in 1816 as a man from 2031 are not only amusing but also interesting as he can do whatever he wants. Unlike the main characters in most other time travel movies Buchanan, does not really need to worry about keeping the timeline intact since the randomness of the time slips has already done significant damage. Therefore the story can follow the character more freely as he explores 1816 while stranded in the past.

If the time slips depicted in this movie were real perhaps Roger Corman would have cast Vincent Price as Dr. Buchanan since, intentionally or not, Hurt seems to be channeling Price in his role. Hurt hams it up, but the end result is pure fun. The best examples of this are the priceless scenes between Dr. Buchanan and his talking car. The car has a sexy female voice and although there is no human avatar for the car, its personality is fully developed with witty dialogue, showing that technology may one day come back to haunt us with snide remarks! When Buchanan is still trying to figure out where and when the time slip has taken him, he exclaims “Jesus H. Christ, where am I?!” to which the car responds “No record of a middle initial for a Jesus Christ, Dr. Buchanan” which Hurt’s character does not find very amusing. The car’s lines such as “Something tells me we are not in New Los Angeles anymore” and “Scientifically speaking, we are out in the sticks” could have been classic Spock phrases on Star Trek. Buchanan humorously treats the car like a real person. When he must leave it to go back to the Swiss village he has been staying at, Buchanan hides the car and tells her to “be a good girl” to which the car responds, “My options are limited!” While one might simply write off the car as comic relief in the vein of C-3PO and R2-D2, or in this case more appropriately KITT from Knight Rider, I argue that its role is a little deeper. The car itself is like Frankenstein’s monster as it blurs the line between human and inhuman. The car appears to be sentient but is it alive? Likewise, is the monster simply animate or truly alive?

While Roger Corman co-wrote the screenplay for Frankenstein Unbound, it is important to keep in mind that this movie is actually based on a book by British science fiction author Brian Aldiss. Aldiss is a prolific writer, but for better or worse will be best known for writing the short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” which was the basis for the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. A.I. was originally developed by Stanley Kubrick and finally directed after his death by Steven Spielberg. Corman was no stranger to adapting the works of others (most famously Edgar Allan Poe but also others such as H.P. Lovecraft). While I have not actually read Aldiss’ novel, from what I have read about the novel it appears that Corman has stuck to the original story much closer than his previous adaptations of other works.

There are two fun cameos in this movie that you will want to keep an eye out for. The now deceased Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS (“New Sensation,” “What you Need”) puts in a fine cameo as the famous Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley! Also look out for Catherine Corman, Roger Corman’s daughter, who played Justine Moritz, a woman tried and condemned as a witch.

Although Frankenstein Unbound has generally been considered to be mediocre at best, I contend that this is a fine B-movie with better acting and cinematography (filming on location in Italy certainly helped) than most of its ilk. The plot is pretty unique, and the only movie I can think of which comes close is the wonderful Nicolas Meyer directed film Time After Time (1979). In this film, Jack the Ripper (David Warner) uses H.G. Wells’ time machine to escape to the future. H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) must stop him from murdering women in 1979 San Francisco! Time After Time is the better of the two movies, but if you liked one I imagine you would also enjoy the other. 

While I will always have a special place in my heart for Frankenstein Unbound, it is by no means a perfect movie. For example, Buchanan can magically understand everyone in the Swiss village, not just the English-speaking Percy and Mary Shelley. This is not uncommon in science fiction but at least Star Trek mentions the use of universal translators. I feel that some sort of explanation should have been given, or maybe the car could have been somehow used to translate for Buchanan! Perhaps the bigger issue is Buchanan’s persistence in following Dr. Frankenstein. His frequent meetings often feel forced and one wonders why he isn’t spending more time getting it on with the beautiful Mary Shelley instead of getting involved with Victor Frankenstein who he has no real stake in. I know that Buchanan sees some parallels between Frankenstein and himself but I’m not sure if that is enough motivation as to why his character is risking his life to stop Victor. Yes, a few people are being killed by the monster but the damage from the time slip makes these deaths seem miniscule in comparison. Plus since Buchanan discovers that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is actually non-fiction, he knows the murders will end soon with or without his involvement. The movie runs a sleek 82 minutes so perhaps this was answered in the book, an earlier version of the screenplay, or deleted scenes and was cut later. 

Very few, if any, movies are perfect, but it is easy to overlook these flaws since the story is immersive and allows for easy suspension of disbelief. Frankenstein Unbound keeps us entertained as we want to know what Buchanan will do next as well as if Victor Frankenstein and his monster will meet different fates than in the original Frankenstein. It is fitting that Frankenstein Unbound was Corman’s last at the director’s chair. Frankenstein, Buchanan, and Corman all created new things. While Frankenstein’s monster and Buchanan’s time rifts ended poorly, Corman’s monsters continue to entertain and have a lasting positive effect on the film industry.

Frankenstein Unbound is currently on Youtube in six parts.

Part One: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjeKBeCcWzQ


This is it folks!  Day #3 of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear's Roger Corman Blogathon!!

Before we begin...there are three quick points of business to get to...


Not only is it polite, but it helps create an interblog dialogue that will help boost our community!  So show you care!  Leave a comment!

2) Chris' Review of "Frankenstein Unbound" will be posted on this blog later today.

My good friend Chris wanted to participate in this blogathon, but doesn't have a blog.  So I will be posting his review on this site later today.  He's working on his own blog right now and there will be an announcement on this site when it is set up!


I have decided to add one more prize to the list.......

The winner of the Readers' Choice Blogger's Award will also receive three Roger Corman movies of their choice, up to a value of $60!!

That's $120 worth of prizes that we (meaning ME) will be giving away this blogathon!  So be sure to do your best!  Now...let's get on to business!  Today's participants are:

The Intruder
Jack Lunt 

The Masque of the Red Death
S.M. Rana 

 The Raven
Michael Troutman

A Bucket of Blood 
Ivan G Shreve Jr 

X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes
Team Bartilucci 

The House of Usher

  Frankenstein Unbound 
Chris Michael 

There you go folks!  Enjoy the last day of this magnificent blogathon!



Also....one last thing....on Monday I will post instructions for how you all can vote for the Readers' Choice Award.


It's day two of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear's Roger Corman Blogathon!
Many thanks to the people who have already participated!  But now we have eight more terrific entries!

Little Shop of Horrors 

The Haunted Palace

 Tower of London
Kevyn Knox 

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Tomb of Ligeia

Five Guns West 

Creature From the Haunted Sea
W.B. Kelso

Sorority Girl
Thomas Duke 

Remember to be kind and leave lots of comments so people will know that you read their work!

Once again, thank you to all of the participants!  Well...let's get a-bloggin'!

Editor in Chief
Nathanael Hood

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Well....the first day of the blogathon is here!!

We've got seven great entries for you today! Here they are:

Tales of Terror- Jaime Grijalba

The Wild Angels- Ivan Lerner

The Day the World Ended– Stacia

GAS-S-S-S- Gary Cahall

Boxcar Bertha- Michaël Parent

Bloody Mama- John Greco

Sorority Girl- Thomas Duke

Thank you to all the participants!

Well...let's get a-bloggin'!

Nathanael Hood