While Bloomington residents paraded through the streets in their Halloween costumes and protected themselves from the late-October snow, the IU Cinema was celebrating the holiday with a special double-feature of monster movie classics. Beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, the IU Cinema screened two iconic Universal Pictures films: “The Mummy” and “The Wolf Man.”
“From the 1920s through the 1950s, Universal Pictures carved out its place in film history by bringing to life on screen some of the most enduring and legendary characters,” associate director of the IU Cinema Brittany Friesner said in an email. “From ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ to ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ the monsters Universal brought to the screen made for some of the most indelible horror, fantasy, suspense and science-fiction films made during Hollywood’s first century.”
“The Mummy” stars Boris Karloff in the titular role, reanimated thousands of years after his death, obsessively and fruitlessly searching for the lost love of his life. “The Wolf Man,” starring Lon Chaney Jr., redefined and established the classic Hollywood werewolf narrative that still persists to this day, in addition to featuring groundbreaking makeup effects showcasing the transformation between man and beast.
“It’s been a couple of years since Halloween has fallen on a day of the week we traditionally have programming, and I’ve long been interested in programming the Universal monster films,” Friesner said. “So I decided to program two films instead of one to make up for lost time.”
The Universal Pictures monster movies were a series of more than 30 films, beginning with “Dracula” in 1931 and concluding with “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 1954. These films, in addition to introducing a larger public to classic cinema horrors such as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Invisible Man, are also responsible for launching the careers of acclaimed horror actors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.
“We previously screened a few Universal monster titles, including ‘Frankenstein’ in 2018 for the 200th anniversary of the novel, ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon’ in 3D in 2016 and ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ in 2012,” Friesner said. “I hope to one day get through them all.”