Mary Shelley's Frankenstein & Double Dragon

Obeying the law, obeying the law, obeying the law!


I'm the Arnold Schwarztenegger...of movies!
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Reported on 5th of May, 2017

At the advent of the multiplex, which I was alive to see, there was the obvious in retrospect side-effect: the sneak. Cinemas filled with pre-teen movies tends to fill the cinema with pre-teens who have less compunction about paying than those damned corporate fat-cats would think.

We would gladly walk out of the 11:25 Spies Like Us, past the overwhelmed and constantly in turnover staff, who are the same age and do the same thing, and duck into a 1:15 ending ‘B’ of Clue. This was a world that led inexorably to our current iteration, where stealing movies is not so much wrong as it is you know, okay I guess. It was a world where Spies Like Us existed, so what could you expect? ‘I got it from watching you…r shitty movies!’

The Era of the Sneak


re: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein & Double Dragon
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After the death of my beloved mini-dachshund and movie chooser Emily, I am temporarily able to stay out more than the four hours (until the next mini-dachshund). With my Gaumont Pass Solo, I simply go to the Gaumont machine and punch a button for the next film, getting a legit ticket, a legal sneak. Albeit without the anxiety that we look back on as fun.

With a subscription price of €22 a month, and night-time tickets going for around €11, this feels even better than stealing somehow As if anything could be. How ever many movies I see a month (and it’s more than two), the theater still has to pay the studios for the full price of my ticket. They sold me a gym membership, never knowing I would be going every day.

I’m the Arnold Schwarztenegger…of movies!

But back in the beautiful days, I was a thirty-four old pre-teen, and I had a lot of money. So I had to steal movies. You’d pour over the theater listings of the notoriously inaccurate but free and if you’re not going to pay for movies, you’re certainly not going to pay to get movie times LA Weekly. You’d add a few minutes for trailers, guess the running time by the space in between the showing (it’s hard to imagine a time where we didn’t know everything. Sorry, where knowing everything didn’t solve all our problems) and voilà, a 12:45 Double Dragon and a 2:30 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

I saved $47 over the years.

Now my best sneak – alliterally speaking – was no doubt Clockers and Hackers, but I found these in the scan folder, so here you, I and we are.

Double Dragon

5 November 1994 @ The Hollywood Galaxy 6


$2.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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I don’t remember Double Dragon, other than just by being a video game movie I had to see it. Remembering that the actual video games at the time were, like, well, Double Dragon, just people punching each other. The idea of a story in a video game utterly absurd.

I vowed to see all of them.

The idea of a story in a video game was – unfortunately – not absurd enough to prevent the likes of The Last of Us and the various Walking Dead adaptations, which are the indulgences of wannabe film directors with the inconvenient consumer waiting to do something that isn’t watching a cutscene. If I wanted to watch a movie…oh, I’m doing that right now. Sorry. Carry on.

But back in 1995, there was the only the wonderful swan-song to Sr. Raul Julia Street Fighter and this, and I had made a vow. All video game movies, in the theater. The subsequent Super Mario Bros.? No problem. House of the Dead? Of course! The sequel to Mortal Kombat? Okay, maybe I should take another…Lara Croft 2: The Cradle of Life???? Who could have known there would be so many. It was an impossible task.

So I did it.

That’s right dear reader. The six Resident Evil’s including the last one? In the theater. The Hr. Uwe Boll œuvre? All of them, including an extremely rare ticket to Postal. And when someone makes an ill-advised boardgame or amusement park film, the ill-advisedness will suck me in like so many Dennis Hoppers as devolutionized dinosaurs made of fungi.

Profits!
This is what I remember: they were in a post-apocolyptic Los Angeles. Right, got to give points for that…
$1.00
and boating around on Hollywood an under-water Hollywood boulevard instead of driving.
$1.00
The leads were indistinguishable and had to fight at some point.
$1.00
I have the ticket. I’m awesome.
$4.00
Total Profits
$7.00
Losses!
There’s some nostalgia for these types of films, an era when $100 million was not considered low-budget for an FX picture. But when you’re competing with the utter insanity of something like Super Mario Bros. or anything by Boll, if I don’t remember anything, that’s probably a sign of something
$5.00
Total Losses
$5.00

$2.00

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

5 November 1994 @ The Hollywood Galaxy 6


$5.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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Unlike Double Dragon I have a lasting memory and deep fondness for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Not a very good movie, but it is the film where the normally dough-y Sir Kenneth Branagh would proceed to get muscle-y and run around victorian glass and iron gadgets screaming at the top of his lungs. Ah, muscle-y is a bit much. Slightly less dough-y? Oily and lit from the front?

The rest of the film is unfortunately unmemorable but noble attempt to adapt the actual novel, which is a favorite of mine. Frankenstein is wonderful matryoshka of a book, which the monster’s story nested in the middle of first the diary of the ship captain, then of the doctor and finally the monster himself, who tells us the story of coming into consciousness. As the diaries close one by one, the book ends with the two figures endlessly chasing each other across the arctic ice, an immortal pre-Freudian image of id and ego and male birth.

Wow. She really did invent horror.

Sadly, Mr. Brannagh’s adaption takes the story but not the spirit. It’s a certainly a lesson in reverence, that if capuring the soul means jettisoning the story, the time, the characters, do it. If only they had transplanted it 2023 Los Angeles, for example. They they could have no one notice how great it was but 16-year-old me, have everyone eventually notice and say they knew all along, and then have it turned into a sequel. Which everyone will love.

But me.

Profits!
There is a great deal of camp value in the opening, and really the whole film. It’s not just that Sir Branagh is shirtless, or even proud of his shirtlessness (how is shirtlessness not in spellcheck?). It’s his shameless howling and e-snuff chewing. It was steam-punk. Well, steam-Kajagoogoo anyway.
$6.00
I loved that someone tried…
$1.00
Total Profits
$7.00
Losses!
…so much that it mitigates the failure.
$1.00
Total Losses
$1.00

$5.00

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