Astonishing, simply astonishing!
Ranger Of Gondor | LA, CA USA | 10/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I thought I had seen enough of horror movie documentaries after watching the cheeseball BOOGEYMEN dvd. What a disappointment.But I decided to take a chance on MONSTER MANIA. I mean come on. The layout for the cover with the gorgeous artwork is unbeatable. This dvd lays real nice next to my Universal Monster box set.But we've all been tricked by fancy packaging right? Not on this super dvd.I loved it. This is hands down a must for anyone who needs or wants serious horror history. The quality of the dvd looks to have been taken great care of like someone's own child. Elvira is hot as ever, and Jack Palance is the narrators of narrators.If you want some good clean monster fun, and a good inside look on future dvd monster movies for your collection, this is the perfect insight for you.Good job Image for switching over to the plastic cases! Now if only Warner would take example."
The evolution of the horror film.
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"People loved to be scared...that's a simple fact of life. The makers of this documentary, Monster Mania, delve into the reasoning behind that, if only a cursory look, as they highlight almost a hundred years of monsters in the cinema, starting with clips from Thomas Edison's ten minute rendition of Frankenstein (1910), all the way into the 90's with Francis Ford Coppola's remake of Bram Stroker's Dracula (1992).The documentary starts off with the early screen scares, horror movies during the silent film era, given a decent amount of time to Lon Chaney, The Man of a Thousand Faces, before focusing on such stars as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff during Universal's reign in the 1930's a king of scary movies with German impressionist influenced releases like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and others. Following this we take a look at some of Universal's competition within the horror movie genre, as it seemed there was enough to go around, given the audience's insatiable appetite.Next, with the world on the brink of WWII, fictitious screen monsters seem to take a back seat to real life monsters, as America is drawn into the conflict. Oh, the monsters are still there, lurking in the background, some even coming forth, as did The Wolfman (1941), but it wasn't until the mid to late 50's that the classic monsters really made a comeback broadcast on an amazing new device that no home could be without called television. This introduced a whole new generation to the creatures that scared their parents some 20 years earlier.Soon, as the Cold War developed, along with the atomic bomb, this brought forth a slew of new monsters of the radioactive and glowing kind, along with those of the interstellar kind, as paranoia within society grew, and our suspicion of outsiders grew. We also get to see a pop art revival of the classic monster characters, a marketing blitz, and prime time appearances of spooks in the likes of The Munsters and The Addams Family. Also presented is the resurgence and popularity brought on by the English Hammer Studios as they remade the classic monster movies in vivid color (it's the blood, baby) and created new legends in the horror genre with names like Cushing and Lee. We then movie into the area of modern day horror, where the monsters, while having a somewhat normal appearance, are no less horrific than the creations brought to life so very long ago. Probably the most recognizable being Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Perkins in their chilling presentation of Norman Bates in the 1960 classic Psycho. Shortly after this the documentary acknowledges the rise of the slasher movie, and highlights the on the use of technology to bring forth realism and visceral effects we enjoy, or sometimes don't, within horror movies today. The documentary winds up looking at the re-emergence of the classic monsters with new versions of the wolf man, Dracula, and Frankenstein being enjoyed by today's audiences. It just seems to show that while tastes do change, the classics don't, and still have the ability to give the audiences what they crave in good, old fashion scares.The documentary is introduced by Elvira, and then hosted by Jack Palance, and really, who better to do so...he is looking all of his age, but his voice exudes a very sinister quality under its' silky tones. I kept waiting for him to say, "Believe it...or not!" This whole thing appears to be something made for presentation on AMC (American Movie Classics) and runs just over an hour. I was impressed in the great amount of movies covered, from the genre's early beginnings all the way to present day, hitting on the crucial periods within the history of the horror movie, choosing appropriate examples to illustrate elements within the genre. But, seeing as the documentary was only an hour, many parts were not as in-depth and detailed as I would have liked, but this is still an excellent introduction to horror in general within the movies. And I do love the artwork on the case, paying homage to Famous Monsters of Filmland, a magazine that was the place to get information about the genre from the 60's and 70's.If you enjoy horror movies in general, and want to familiarize yourself with its' beginnings on the silver screen, then this is a pretty good place to start. From here, one can focus on particular periods, collecting source material in the forms of books and even the films themselves. The documentary does examine what our fascination is with being scared, but given the time restraints, we don't get that deep into it. If you found this enjoyable, there are two follow up releases, Bride of Monster Mania (which focuses on women within horror films), and Attack of the 50ft Monster Mania, which deals with the over-sized element within the horror genre. Cookieman108"