If you were going to see a movie projected on a mausoleum while surrounded by the graves and tombs of Hollywood’s deceased elite, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery would be the place to see it. And the “Bride of Frankenstein” would be the film to see.
Nestled behind the Paramount Studio, the cemetery offers a surprisingly charming atmosphere for which to spread out a late evening picnic. Patrons are encouraged to bring blankets, food, drinks, and anything else that might make the show more comfortable. But remember, as a courtesy to other moviegoers, no tall chairs. Also keep in mind that, because it is an open-air venue, the audiences tend to be very laidback. You can expect to hear constant chattering and see a lot of getting up and moving around. So leave your usual movie theater decorum at the gate and relax while you enjoy a unique summertime event under and above the stars.
Given the surroundings, the cemetery is the perfect place to discover (or rediscover) a Hollywood classic. Directed by James Whale in 1935, “Bride of Frankenstein” is the remarkable follow-up to the director’s famed “Frankenstein”. Unlike most sequels, this one is quite charming and highly regarded for it’s sparkling wit. While the film follows the parameters required of a horror film, it still manages to give us a monster (or two) to care for without sacrificing the mad science we’ve come to expect.
A somewhat underrated craftsman, Whale was actually a very talented man whose resume tends to be remembered for the flash of the fantastic or gore of his monster films (“Frankenstein”, “The Invisible Man”) rather than for the sophistication or loveliness of his dramas (the original “Showboat”, the original “Waterloo Bridge”). With “Bride of Frankenstein”, Whale directs with an easy playfulness that enables the film to rise above the usual confines of its genre. Although the movie is truly one of the great horror films of all time. it is surprisingly sharp, sophisticated and funny. Despite its age, the film is as compelling now as when it was first released to the public.
Boris Karloff (“The Mummy”), best remembered every Christmas as the Narrator for “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, stars in his most famous role as Frankenstein’s monster. And the accomplished character actress Elsa Lancaster, (“Bell, Book and Candle”) who is better known for playing maids or spinster aunts, is virtually unrecognizable in her brilliant portrayal of the bride. Of course, many of the actors from the first film, such as Colin Clive (Baron Henry von Frankenstein), reprise their roles for the sequel.
In addition to the film presentation, DJ Dave Orlando (Dr. Who, Dubclub, Punky Reggae Party) spins before and after the screening, helping to contribute to the ultra casual, backyard party atmosphere that has become a huge part of the Cinespia cemetery events.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard at Gower. Gates open at 7:30 pm, the movie begins when it’s dark at 9:00 pm. Reservations are not necessary. A $10 donation will be requested at gate. An additional $5 is required for the available parking inside.