PENNY DREADFUL

Penny Dreadful, a Showtime horror TV series that is certainly lurid, melodramatic, frightening, and intriguing.

Set in London, 1891 as the world hurtles toward the 20th century; the old meets the new featuring literary horror staples: Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and creations, Mina Harker, etc.

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The cast is repulsively enchanting:

Billie Piper, again as a companion of sorts (come on Doctor Who fans), also more of a Secret Diary of a Consumptive Call Girl.

Reeve Carney as oh my, Dorian Gray, a portrait of a guy who likes to have a good time, no matter what, a sort of rock star version of the endless playboy.

Timothy Dalton glowers and growls his way through, hey, I’m not complaining he does it so well.

Eva Green as the unfathomable and flexible Kill-Jill-of-all-Trades with many secrets.

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Harry Treadaway as Dr. Frankenstein, defies all that is natural by making himself some friends, literally making them.

Josh Hartnett as a handsome cowboy with a past.

Plus Rory Kinnear, Alun Armstrong, Simon Russell Beale, Alex Price, Anna Chancellor, Helen McCrory, Olivia Llewellyn and more.

John Logan (The Aviator, Rango, Skyfall, Sweeney Todd, Any Given Sunday, Star Trek: Nemesis and more) offers up his own monster in this macabre yet novel series. While this has striking similarities to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, it has a more sinister tone and not as cheesy.

I’ve only seen 2 episodes, but so far so spine-chilling.

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Penny Dreadful, also the term for garish and shocking serial stories sold in parts in bookstores during the 19th century. Each part cost a penny. As time went on, the term came to represent all sorts of poor quality, sensational fiction for the working class.

Penny Dreadful, not Penny from The Big Bang Theory or my lovely and hilarious British cousin Penny whom I would instead refer to as Penny Delightful.

“The suspense is terrible…
I hope it will last.”
~Oscar Wilde

Young Frankenstein

franken7I’m a laugh addict. Movies, TV, books, people (not usually at them, more like, if they make me laugh), to be honest, I’m even satisfied with smiling. I have the laugh lines to prove it. Which brings me to Mel Brooks, bad man having contributed to these aforementioned lines.

One of the worst offenders is still Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder (whom I wished to marry when this movie came out, now I’d go for friendship).
You’d think after all these years I’d get tired of it yet I don’t.

It’s impossible to explain how hilarious this doting spoof on Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein is, but I’m chuckling even as I type.

As time marches on, 40 years later, watching this has become bittersweet with the passing of so much of its brilliant cast.

Props created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein were used as most of the lab equipment in this film.

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The ‘Walk This Way’ gag in the movie was the inspiration for Aerosmith’s hit, Walk This Way.

Cloris Leachman improvised a scene in which Frau Blücher (add horse whinnying here) offers “varm milk” and Ovaltine to Dr. Frankenstein/Fronkensteen.franken8

Gene Wilder came up with the idea for YF and pitched it Brooks while filming Blazing Saddles.

Wilder and Brooks agreed the latter couldn’t actually be in the movie because Brooks’ charisma always managed to break the fourth wall whether or not he played himself. But he did provide all the sound effects. It’s good to be the movie King

Wilder fought Brooks to keep the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (written by Irving Berlin, made famous by Fred Astaire) bit in; thank goodness he won.franken2

Young Frankenstein was not only filmed in black and white for effect, Brooks used unusual techniques like iris outs, wipes, fades to black, and old-fashioned opening credits.

As a gag, Marty Feldman furtively moved his character’s hump from shoulder to shoulder to see if anyone would notice so they added it to the film with lines like, “Didn’t you used to have that on the other side?”, and “What hump?”.

Gene Hackman, who played tennis with Wilder asked to be put in the film. So, not just blind luck…franken6

Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle also starred in the mind-numbingly funny Yellowbeard with the astonishing Graham Chapman.franken4

Gene Wilder always had trouble not laughing during scenes. I understand.

Now – Put…the candle…back!