Bride of Frankenstein (1935) at the Silver Scream Spook Show

Back in March of last year – remember that far back? – we were all set to go to Atlanta to eat Indonesian food with friends at a no-frills place I know and love, and then go see the classic Bride of Frankenstein at the Plaza Theatre. And the reason I asked whether you remember that far back is that the week was really, really awful and scary and nobody knew how bad COVID-19 was going to be, and most of us – myself included – rolled our eyes, said we wash our hands all the time and keep our distance from people anyway, and wondered what the big deal was, and within about two days all the businesses were closed and everything was cancelled and then things got truly bad and we learned how wrong we were.

I’m saving that Indonesian place for another time, for when those friends feel comfortable eating indoors again, however long that may be. But the Silver Scream Spook Show has finally returned from the grave, a full two years since their last outing. Vaccination cards in hand and masks on, we met up with our good pal Matt, and reentered the Plaza after far too long. Instead of Indonesian food, our Tennessee bellies were full of Rodney Scott’s barbecue, ready for foolishness and shenanigans and a very good movie.

I confess that I was a little leery about showing our son Bride of Frankenstein, because we did watch one other classic Universal effort, Creature From the Black Lagoon, and he wasn’t even remotely impressed by it. Happily, he really enjoyed Bride. It reteamed director James Whale with Boris Karloff and Colin Clive for 90 minutes of violence and sadness and a comedy character who’s so over the top that for a second there, I forgot which movie I was watching and wanted Cloris Leachman to take it down a notch. It’s a very, very fun and intelligent film, and while a part of me kind of wishes that Elsa Lanchester, playing the Bride, had… er, a little more of anything to do, the more sensible part of me agrees that the character’s brief reawakening is just one more layer of tragedy in a film stacked with them.

The best part of the whole thing is that it wasn’t just our son who enjoyed this a lot. The theater had quite a few young kids in the crowd to enjoy this movie, which is amazing because it’s almost ninety years old. They were all incredibly well-behaved, and the noisiest and smallest of them was quickly removed when the movie and the sitting still got too long. I’d love the Spook Show if Professor Morte and his gang were doing it all just for the three of us. To see so many young film fans get to enjoy a really, really old black and white movie on the big screen would make anybody’s heart grow three sizes.

Image credit: Bloody Disgusting

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