Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Essays, Horror

Monster in the Box: How a Childhood Love of Frankenstein Turned Me Into a Film Critic

Robert Horton hosts the Cinema Dissection of Bride of Frankenstein, a six-hour interactive tour through the movie, at SIFF Film Center on Saturday, January 24, part of a weekend-long program “It’s Alive: Frankenstein on Film.” Tickets and details here. In anticipation of the event, here is an excerpt from his upcoming book on Frankenstein, to be published next month. © and all rights reserved, 2015, Wallflower/Columbia University Press.

If a cult is anything, it has rituals and ceremonies and a schedule of worship. And here is ours: Friday nights, gathered in somebody’s basement, sleeping bags staked out on the floor. There are chocolate-bar wrappers scattered around and a half-eaten bag of Fritos waiting to be finished off. This is 1970, or possibly 1971 or 1969, and as 12-year-olds our beverage of choice is something innocuous, Kool-Aid or Coke.

It’s almost 11:30, so the parents have already looked down a final time and said their goodnights, and the lights are appropriately low. If anybody managed to smuggle in an issue of Playboy it’s been put away, because we need to concentrate on television now. There’s a plaster Madonna looming in a corner, that home icon of the Catholic family, which is apt because we are gathered here for something like a religious ceremony ourselves.

The local 11 o’clock news program on KIRO-TV, Seattle’s Channel 7, is ending. As always, the broadcast signs off with an editorial comment from station manager Lloyd E. Cooney, a bespectacled square perpetually out of step with the turbulent era (Channel 7, owned by the Mormon Church, is a conservative business). Strange, then, that every Friday night Cooney’s bland homilies are immediately replaced by a dark dungeon, a fiend in a coffin, and three hours of evil.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly