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“That Awkward Moment” in Horror: Part 1: Classic Horror, Sexuality and Dating

April 4, 2015

Horror is a genre rich in recycled concepts, cookie-cutter plots and trope-y character archetypes.  But if you wind things back to the classics, there was a time when horror was doing things for the first time.  Well, maybe not the first time…but before it was common on film or in horror.  Here are a few interesting examples of how horror reached out to our romantic lives long before most of us we were even born.  I give you my favorite “awkward moments” of classic horror…

That awkward moment when you realize that…The Mummy (1931) was totally creeping on the wrong chick.

You know the old Cinderella story.  No one would call that slipper-toting Cinderella Prince a stalker for seeking that girl he had met the night of the ball–after all, women tend to leave things behind when they want to see you again.  They leave keys or their phone–anything to get back through the door, right?  But what happens when you think you see your old high school girlfriend or an old flame, you become overtaken with “that old feeling” and stalk her, and it turns out it’s just someone who looks like her…thousands of years later.  Classic mix-up, right?

Well, that’s what happens to the Mummy.  Imhotep spends the movie looking for his lost love, thinks he finds her, then stalks this woman that he believes is his reincarnated love.  I guess it’s not that weird, though.  There are plenty of people in California hoeing their victory gardens and praying to vision boards with power crystals who eat up that “we were lovers in another life” crap.

mummy-1931-mummy

Imhotep pointing at the picture: “See, that’s her.  I know it.”
The other guy: “Ummmm, bro?  I’m pretty sure your girl died in 5000 BC.  We have electricity now, you know?  Did you try calling her?”

This sort of problem could only happen today through Facebook or other social media.  You know, you’ve been flirting for a while and exchanging pictures, but she won’t Skype with you.  Before you know it you’re in the middle of some Catfishing situation.

That awkward moment when you realize that…Dracula (1931) was horror’s first “in the closet” homosexual.

I know what you’re thinking…but hold on and just listen.  I have lots of evidence supporting this notion.

Exhibit A: He has a special bed and a set bedtime every day.  Now, he could just be OCD and not necessarily gay.  But ever notice how he sleeps in the same position every night in a box that keeps him from tossing and turning while he’s fully clothed?  Yup.  He doesn’t want his pale powdery make-up to smudge or his clothes to wrinkle.  That way he can look fabulous first thing, even when Van Helsing unexpectedly wakes him up with a stake and hammer!

dracula-1931-02-g

I guess this will have to do until your pre-ordered Sleep Number Bed arrives.  I hope it offers could lower back support so that you can recover from your Zumba classes.

Exhibit B: He definitely favors soft lighting.  Why?  It’s just more flattering, ya’ big silly.  And besides, getting tan in the sun just leads to wrinkles.

DraculaLugosi

Exhibit C: He wears black.  Why?  It’s so slimming, isn’t it?  He also likes jewelry.  I’m reminded of the adorable Nathan Lane from The Birdcage (1996).  He was just a bottle of joy and sunshine in his rings and his summer hat at the local farmer’s market.

Dracula_2105186i

And, bro?  What’s with the jazz hands?  Again…think Nathan Lane.  Nathan Lane in The Birdcage was the most endearing character I think I’ve ever seen.  Of course, he had a much greater mastery of hand movements than Dracula.  But hey, Dracula pretty much invented the notion of flagrant hand movements while walking.

Exhibit D: He understands that he should never touch a woman’s hair without permission.

dracula-espanol

“It’s…so healthy. What conditioner do you use?”

Exhibit E: He dresses immaculately and lives alone in a castle of antiquity.  It was probably his mom’s house.  Granted he needs to clean, but maybe he was just keeping the house as mother left it.

LUGOSI

That’s a candle, not a “mandle.”  I don’t care if it is scented like mahogany and leatherbound books.  And what’s with the hands this time?  Are those “spirit fingers?”

That awkward moment when you realize that…Bride of Frankenstein (1935) was the first blind date.

Bride-of-Frankenstein-Monster-and-Bride

“Eeeeek.  How old are your EHarmony profile pics, bub?”

Arranged marriages have existed for thousands of years in innumerable cultures.  But these marriages are brokered by land-owning fathers, monarchs, lords, tribal chiefs and the like to create financial and political bonds through merging bloodlines.  None of that seems to be the case here.  So now I must ask you…when Frankenstein’s monster met his freshly re-animated bride, was it the first ever BLIND DATE?  Good question, right?  But, based on his bride’s face I’m guessing it wasn’t love at first sight for her.

If Frankenstein’s monster had a Match.com profile, what would his handle and tagline be?  “Newly re-invented man of few words seeks rigid-limbed bride.  Hobbies include frightening villagers. Pet peeves: fire and pitch forks.”

Frankenstein-Internet-Dating-61614

Anyway, Frankie is really the perfect man for the first blind date since he’s more than he appears to be.  He’s very gentle, despite being so big–and sensitive, too.  I mean, the guy is terrified of fire.  Ladies, listen to me.  He’ll treat you right and make you feel safe.

That awkward moment when you realize that…The Wolf Man (1941) was basically the first guy with a sexually transmitted disease in a movie.

1941_wolfman_img3

Thank God Facebook didn’t exist yet.  Otherwise he’d be using buddy Frankenstein’s account to FB stalk his girl (since, I’m sure, she blocked him).  Instead, this fool is just wandering around the forest.

It was a modern time in 1934 America (the setting of the story).  The first generation of working women to have the right to vote were just reaching the age at which they’d seek a suitor to wed.  But with modern times come modern problems….like The Wolf Man.  He comes back to his hometown, meets a nice girl, gets “infected” by something one evening while he’s in the company of another girl (who hasn’t heard that story before?), then ravenously he stalks his love interest in the middle of the night with his symptoms FLARING!  So, basically The Wolf Man is like the first guy to get an STD.

wolfman1

You know, Lon Chaney (The Wolf Man) went about this all wrong.  Hear me out on this one, okay?  So, he gets infected with Lycanthropy and there are no quick and easy ways to get tested like a Family Planning Clinic or anything.  But a little manscaping could go a long way.  Maybe if he had made that effort, she would have patiently waited for him to seek out the appropriate medical (or magical) treatment.  But no.  I was a typical bro.  He got embarrassed and then got angry and he stalked her.  If you ask me, he got what he had coming.

But, in his defense, manscaping would not have been well-received back then.  The metrosexual male didn’t exist in that generation.  But, seriously, Wolfie…maybe write her a letter or something.

That awkward moment when you realize that…The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) was the first truly campy horror movie.

creature

This movie is the reason “monster rape” became so prevalent in cheap, campy horror.  Okay, let’s just clear the air.  Dracula and the Wolf Man have done their share of stalking.  All classic horror involves some level of “stalking” of some woman by the monster, but in Creature the sole reason behind the plot seems to be carnal.

Creature is the first true stalker.  In the story, some people are on a biological expedition (along with a beautiful lady) and the subject of their trip (the ichthyoid man) catches a glimpse of a fair lady.  Curious, fixated, obsessed, and unable to explain “these strange feelings”; the creature proceeds to follow the expedition down the Amazon, killing the men off one by one, and eventually abducting the woman and taking her to his lair.

Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon-1954-2

I don’t think she’d be thrilled about this, bub.  I also doubt that she “feels the connection between you two.”

creature3Yup.  Just a creeper.  No means no, bro!

So this concludes “that awkward moment” in classic horror.  Stay tuned for future installments…

That Awkward Moment in Horror, Part 2: The Taking of Deborah Logan and the “egg-swallowing snake demon” possession phenomenon

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Victor De Leon permalink
    April 6, 2015 11:11 am

    Haha! Epic post bro. Great read. Never thought of The Gill Man as some horny creature stalker.

    Drac’s Jazz hands! Very funny! This post was solid. I cracked up, man.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 6, 2015 11:14 am

      The Gill Man is the original horny creature stalker. LOL. Sure, some aliens in slightly older campy movies may have come to earth to steal our women, but The Creature from the Black Lagoon was possibly the first one to follow her back to her place.

Trackbacks

  1. That Awkward Moment in Horror, Part 2: The Taking of Deborah Logan and the “egg-swallowing snake demon” possession phenomenon | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. That Awkward Moment in Horror, Part 3: Did Total Recall borrow from Freddy’s Revenge and Child’s Play? | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: The Mummy (2017), Tom Cruise’s first step into the Dark Universe of Hammer monsters. | Movies, Films & Flix

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