I believe that ideally, the Universal Monster Movies should first be seen when you’re a child, before you’re influenced by special effects and the logic of science – when you still believe that monsters live under the bed. I don’t think you can first see these movies as an adult and really love them the way you can as a child.
If I watch these through adult eyes, yes, I see the gaps in the stories (although the movies are still beautiful to watch) but since they live in a place in my heart from my childhood I can still see THAT version. The version that scared me to the core. (Maybe it’s just me, but as a child Dr. Pretorius, in Bride of Frankenstein, gave me real nightmares, he was freaking scary.)
The Universal Monster movies are about the most basic human fears – all the fears that you still have when you’re a child. The fear of dying – what happens when you die, the fear of losing control of your anger, the fear of having no control over your life, the fear of strangers, the fear of deformity, the fear of Monsters watching you and “getting you.”
I think the Doctors in the Frankenstein movies were more scary to me than the monster because the monster was a created thing, and at the mercy of his environment – much like a child. The doctors are like adults deciding what’s to be done without regards for the monster’s feelings or ideas – as children isn’t that how we felt at some points – frustrated at times, afraid of how much seemed unknown to us and beyond our control. I think that helplessness and frustration turned to destructive rage is something that many children can understand and relate to. As a child you see the Frankenstein movies through the eyes of the monster, as an adult, I don’t know if you view it the same way.
Anyway – watch the movies and try not to be too adult-like when you’re watching them. In fact, try not to be too adult-like at Halloween in general!