Saturday, September 1, 2012

Did I Seriously Just Watch That? - Dr. Who vs. Frankenstein Edition

So, I just watched Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1973, not '74 like Netflix lists). I was raised on a steady diet of the old Hammer horror films, first on tv in the 80's (the local PBS station used to show a lot of this stuff in the early 80's and then the FOX network joined in every summer in the later part of the decade) and later on VHS. Somehow, I either completely dodged Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell or my mind managed to completely block out one terribly important fact from the film: in 1973, Patrick Troughton, famed British actor who portrayed the second Doctor on Doctor Who from 1965 through 1968 (modern Whovians should know him as "the guy who Matt Smith stole all his schtick from") plays a mere grave robber in this film. This grave robber character doesn't even have a goddamn name. Just "grave robber." That's how it shows up in the credits. Patrick fucking Troughton as "grave robber." Upon discovering this fact, my mind immediately wrote the following imaginary letter to someone who will never read it:

Dear casting agent for the 1973 film Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell

Fuck you. 

No, seriously, fuck you. 

You cast as a nameless part one of the best Doctors ever as a teeny tiny bit part while casting any number of other, vastly inferior actors in named roles that give them far more screen time and opportunity to let their talents shine. And yet Patrick Troughton got "grave robber." 

Again, fuck you.

Sincerely,

Someone who isn't going to get bent out of shape that the other guy who played the Doctor who's in the film, Mr. Peter Cushing, got top billing. Tarkin fucking rules. But seriously, bad form, sir. 

Honestly, I hate to swear so often in one post (particularly when it's really just the same thing over and over) but my outrage here is getting the better of me. While the movie theater Doctor (again, Cushing) appeared in nearly every goddamn Hammer Frankenstein movie (at least every one I can think of), this is the only one (to the best of my knowledge) that features Patrick Troughton.

Having watched and enjoyed this film, however, that's my only real complaint about the film. Good stuff. It's the "Frankenstein takes on an apprentice" plot again (for only the billionth time), but it's handled well. The more I think about the character of Frankenstein, though, the more surprised I am that Paul Ryan isn't an avowed Hammer Frank fan. I mean, this guy practically REEKS of the Nietzschean egoism that Mr. Ryan likes to pretend is simple "Objectivism." Okay, that's it for me on the mixing games and politics front.