Wednesday 28 October 2009

A cheerful song for Halloween

"For life is short but death is long"

It might not be the most famous or the best song, it is from a minor Universal horror movie with its share of plot holes and problems, but I love it nevertheless. Okay, so Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man is a pretty mediocre movie, a shadow of what was The Wolf Man (my favourite Universal horror flicks from that time with the two Frankenstein of James Whale) but it is still enjoyable on an October evening. There are a lot of solid, atmospheric scenes, some genuinely scary ones and Lon Chaney Jr, in spite of the weak material, manages to shine through the movie. I always liked him as an actor, because he always plays convincingly the everyman caught in the supernatural. Anyway, as I said, with all its flaws it is still old back and white horror fun. And it even has a musical number, which I am putting here. You might think of Halloween music as something gloomy and sinister, and it often is, but you could legitimately put this song in your Halloween party. First, because it is in a horror movie (and, in the context of the film, it has tragic if not sinister tones to Chaney's character). Secondly, because Halloween was at its origins and is still a feast. When death is staring at us, ready to strike at every minute, as the holiday reminds us, one's only sensible option is to enjoy life, be gluttonous, drink wine (or, in my case, beer). Memento Mori, and so on. "For life is short but death is long" repeats Adia Kuznetzoff, enough to push Larry Talbot in a fit of rage and despair, as immortality for one who does not enjoy life is the stuff of nightmare. You can read a bit more about this particular theme explored in the movie here. I find it pretty profound, coming from such a minor movie.

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