Karloff, examining his illustrious 60-year career in the entertainment industry and his enduring legacy as one of the icons of 20th century popular culture.
Starring: Ron Perlman, Guillermo del Toro, and Christopher Plummer
Directed by: Thomas Hamilton
Written by: Thomas Hamiton and Ron MacCloskey
“Boris Karloff The Man Behind the Monster,” that is the man behind Frankenstein. An iconic character played by an iconic actor. This film is a documentary that covers Boris Karloff’s time as Frankenstein, but goes way beyond that. It goes back to his beginnings with a film like “Criminal Code,” other horror movies like “The Mummy,” and of course more Frankenstein titles. Also, it touches on his work outside of films like on stage and television.
To help with this journey through his career, the audience is treated to interviews with the likes of Peter Boddanovich, Guillermo del Torro, Christopher Plummer, John Ladis, Roger Corman, and more. They help provide background on some of his roles, and what was going on in the film industry around that time. And to top off this tribute to him is some commentary from his daughter, Sarah Karloff.
It would have been easy to appease horror fans and give them a documentary on Karloff’s time as Frankenstein. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to know all they could about that experience. However, this was more about honoring his career beyond Frankenstein, and it certainly does that. Admittedly, I’m one that didn’t know much about his career outside of the monster so it was impressive to learn the wide range of work he did. Not only in the roles he took, but also the influence he had on other films.
While there’s plenty of interesting things covered here, two things mentioned by his daughter caught my attention. One was early on when she said he narrated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Some people might have known that, but that was surprising news to me. And then the documentary closed with her talking about his fans, and how nice they’ve been to her. How they’ve shown her how much her father has meant to them, and their fandom. It was heart felt, and definitely the way to end this tribute to his career.
“Boris Karloff The Man Behind the Monster” definitely goes behind the monster. While most horror fans like me know him for Frankenstein, this goes way beyond the monster. Have no worries, there’s still plenty mentioned about Frankenstein, and how playing the monster effected other roles. But it’s learning how much more he contribute to the film industry that’s really special here. Not only in the number of films he did, but his influence on films and then moving to other areas like television. I definitely encourage you to join in on honoring a legend, and watch this documentary. With that, I give it 3 pools of blood.
Abramorama will release the film in theaters on September 17th.