I review movies occasionally on this blog, but there’s one type of movie review I’ve been anxious to try: an analysis of a film I haven’t seen.
The impulse comes from the large impact cinema has on American culture. Movies influence the words we use, the conversations we have, the shape and movement of our dreams. They can reach us even when we try to avoid them; I will never, ever watch a particular film from 1986, mostly because I have always wanted to punch the face of the lead actor from the film’s movie poster, but I still know that insufferable punk stops a Chicago parade by singing Danke Schoen.
I embrace the cinema’s influence, which is why I find it unusual to have missed certain films. From professional reviews and anecdotes related by friends, I know their most memorable scenes, and can recite many of their famous quotes. And while I could rent most of these movies from the library or an online rental service, I like being able to convey my appreciation for these films that I’ve never seen.
Some ground rules. First, and most important, these are films that I want to see; disappointing sequels, enigmatic foreign films, renowned movies from a genre I don’t appreciate, and the just plain bad are all exempt. Second, movies that remain on my must-see list, like this one, will be exempt from my irony. The films to be reviewed in these posts are ones that I have no good reason for seeing any more, as they can have no greater influence on me than they already have.
Four films come immediately to mind; I’m certain to think of others. But every series of movie reviews has to have a countdown.
#4: Dracula (1931)
Why I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Seen This Movie: All those weekend evenings watching black and white Creature Double Features on grainy UHF channels, and I somehow never saw this classic. I am completely enthralled by Bram Stoker’s novel, and many critics consider Bela Lugosi’s performance as the Count to be the best.
The One Time I Came Close To Finally Seeing The Movie: About a decade ago, I saw a DVD edition of the film on a shelf, and checked it out. It sat on the entertainment center for months, collecting late fees, until I got annoyed with myself and returned it.
Why I Probably Won’t Ever See It Now: The film’s nearly a century old and apparently wasn’t particularly well-made even by the standards of its time. Forty years ago, the fanboy in me would not have noticed the lack of quality; today, the film would probably inspire me to check my phone for Facebook updates.
The One Image I’ll Never Forget, Even Though I Haven’t Seen It: Bela Lugosi, hands raised to shoulder level, ready to pounce on his victim.
The One Line I’ll Always Remember, Even Though I’ve Never Heard It: “I don’t drink… wine.”
I Haven’t Seen This Film, But I Have Seen: The Lost Boys (1987), a distinctly modern American take on the legend of vampires, and a film that is both scary and genuinely funny. “Attack of Eddie Munster!”