Forget “Scream.” Forget “Scary Movie.”
Directed by Mel Brooks and featuring Gene Wilder as the progeny of Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, “Young Frankenstein” is the scary movie spoof. Brooks and Wilder adapted the screenplay from Shelley’s horror masterpiece, blending elements of the original’s blood-chilling terror with the zany, “Blazing Saddles”-trademark Brooks-and-Wilder comedic sensibility.
Gene Wilder is Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, a neurosurgeon who inherits the estate of his infamous grandfather, Dr. Victor von Frankenstein, and consequently pays it a visit. Having dealt with the professional ramifications of being the grandson of a monster-obsessed doctor, however, Frederick insists that his name instead be pronounced Fronkensteen:
“Well, why isn’t it pronounced Froaderick Fronkensteen?”
“It isn’t. It’s Frederick Fronkensteen.”
“You must be Igor.”
“No. It’s pronounced ‘eye-gore.’ “
The house staff of Frankenstein’s castle proceeds to lure Frederick into his grandfather’s lab, where the young doctor inevitably becomes obsessed with the family pursuit of tissue regeneration. Wilder’s character struggles against this fascination with the macabre endeavor, but not too hard and not too long: “All right, you win. I give. I’ll say it! DESTINY! DESTINY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME!”
Studded with comedy’s legendary figures of the screen and television, the cast of “Young Frankenstein” features Marty Feldman (a staple of British television) as Igor, Peter Boyle (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” ) as the monster himself, and the impressive Brooks roster of terrific comediennes: Cloris Leachman (“Beerfest,” “Malcolm in the Middle”) Madeline Kahn (“History of the World: Part 1,” “Blazing Saddles”), and Terri Garr (“Tootsie,” “Dumb and Dumber”).
“Young Frankenstein” is both a tribute to classic horror and an irreverent parody of its conventions, with plenty of awards as clout. The film was nominated for two Oscars, received two Golden Globes, won five Golden Scrolls from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and numerous awards from other guilds, both nationally and abroad Discover it tonight at The Michigan Theater, where it’s playing as part of the Comic Masters Series by the University’s department of screen arts and cultures.
Tonight at 7 p.m.
$6.75 for students, $8.50 for public
At the Michigan Theater