Recently, I have heard a common comment made about the 1998 film, Godzilla, which boils down to this: “If this movie wasn’t called Godzilla, it would be pretty great!” The opinion is depicted in the below video, in part as a defense of 1998 remake.
Now I have already stated some of my thoughts on this film years ago and I really don’t have too much desire to rehash here. To sum up: I don’t care for it. That’s just my opinion, it is no more valid or objective than anyone else’s. I don’t mean to belittle those who enjoy this film – heck, I’m glad someone does!
So why am I writing this? Well, at one point in the video, the speaker brings up that the sole reason many people dislike this film is because it is called “Godzilla.” For the record, he’s not wrong. I have been to numerous G-Fests and have heard variations of this dialogue a lot. Like a lot a lot. It was even the reason for the older post I linked you to above – I wrote a whole article about how the 1998 film is nothing like the 1954 original and should not be used as an introduction to the Godzilla mythos.
That said, would I like this film if it was called say The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or Reptilicus or Skippy the Super-Sized Iguana? No, I would not. Well…maybe that last one…
Continuing my Universal Classic Monsters marathon and exposing my wife to movies she probably would have been fine never watching, I turned to The original Mummy series, which ran for six films from 1932 to 1955. As I believe I have mentioned previously, I’ve always been a huge fan of Universal Classic Monsters. As a kid, I begged my parents for the DVD set – and before that I was collecting VHS tapes during the 90s (which had amazing box art by the way).
But, with all that said, I was never a fan of The Mummy. Even as a kid, I only watched this film once. I found it dull and disappointing. After all, I pictured a mummy as a monster in bandages, whereas the 1932 film sheds these after a single sequence. I remember referring to it as “watching a guy kill people through a mirror for an hour and a half.”
My interests have of course evolved since then, and I enjoy many movies now that I did not as a child. So I was curious to see how I would react to The Mummy watching it as an adult. To give you the short version: I think my eight-year old self had some good points.
As part of my recent pandemic-inspired monster movie binge, I turned to Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy, released between 1954 and 1956. The three movies, all of which feature the titular creature, vary in quality. To get the review portion out of the way right here, the casual viewer is better off sticking with the first one: A film that is beautifully shot, has a spectacular soundtrack, and boasts underwater effects that are still impressive today.
Watching the movies, however, I was struck by how horrifying they are. No, the creature is not particularly scary – nor are the films suspenseful. The horror is all in the writing, and the world in which such films were created.