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Review: History shares the 'Real' story behind two classic villains

Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 4:43 PM Central

by John Couture

I'm beginning to think that I'm either the best father or the worst. My son has a very eclectic taste in TV watching. He loves The Curse of Oak Island and, like me, he still can't understand why they haven't found Hitler.

He's a chip off the old block.

He's also three years old.

So, imagine my surprise (there really wasn't any) when he was excited to see my review copy of Frankenstein: The Real Story / The Real Wolfman. He has a fascination for the classic monsters that is almost certainly not healthy for a toddler, but what can you do?

Naturally, I encourage it.

Frankenstein: The Real Story is a collection of three documentaries (IN SEARCH OF THE REAL FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN and IT'S ALIVE! THE TRUE STORY OF FRANKENSTEIN) that takes a deep dive into both the origins of the character and the various pop culture incarnations.

Most of the Mary Shelley stuff I learned in school, but it was fascinating to see it presented in a compelling way that even held my son's attention. In particular, IT'S ALIVE! presented the character in its various on-screen iterations side-by-side so you are truly able to see the character develop over time, not to mention our changing societal mores.

That is the true power of this collection. The real reason that these two characters are iconic in horror mythos is that the underlying tales of their creation are based in the very human condition of being. This condition is passed on from generation to generation and so, the characters continue to hold a certain level of importance for each new generation.

By contrast, The Real Wolfman is a singular documentary that provided me with a great deal of new information concerning the origins of the beast. Unlike Frankenstein, I wasn't as familiar with the story, so I was a bit surprised to see that the character is seemingly derived from animal attacks in France in the mid-1700s.

While they were most likely just regular old wolf (or man) killings, it's the power of myth that started there and continues to evolved to this day. While the documentary does present an argument that it could theoretically be possible for transformations based on diseases and the like, the real horror lies within man himself.

Again, it's the human nature that ties these two characters together and combine to make them two of the most iconic horror villains each and every year. This collection is a great viewing and you will most certainly learn a lot. Of course, most of that knowledge will only be useful in a bar trivia contest, but there is something inherently satisfying in the knowledge itself.