Monday, October 31, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: "Theme from Halloween"

It's the theme from the 1978 horror movie that inspired a dozen whistles -- at least in one of the second-run theatres I saw this movie in. And quite frankly, no true John Carpenter fan has really lived until he or she has sat in a movie theatre and listened to a dozen people whistling the music from Halloween. Granted, this is a rather obvious choice, but sometimes you gotta go with what's obvious. Besides, I always liked the music in this movie.

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Happy Halloween

Actually I had hoped to post more items this October but the constant quest for employment and money has left me a bit too busy for that. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. I pray things will improve next month because heaven knows I have enough unwanted problems right now as it is.

Anyway, enjoy the holiday.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trailer of the Week: She-Wolf of London (1946)

Oh, no! It's June Lockhart and it looks like she's suffering from a bad case of Kate Hodge Disease. If only Ms. Hodge had the type of career Ms. Lockhart had after this movie.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hey, I Remember This Show: She-Wolf of London

I never saw this show on its first run through syndication but I caught up with it on DVD. It started out on a promising note but then the writers either lost interest or changed direction and what looked like good campy fun during the first few episodes slowly went downhill and became just campy.

It's a pity. For a while, this show came close to doing for werewolves what Buffy the Vampire Slayer did for vampires and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that Joss Whedon was inspired by an episode or two. Due to budget problems, the show later changed settings from England to the good old USA but that still did not improve matters. In fact, the American episodes include some of the worst stories of the series.

And this intro for the new "American" version did not help matters much.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Hammer House of Horror

I don't remember this show ever coming to our side of the Atlantic. When you consider a lot of the British shows that did, that's amazing.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

I will take places where you’ve never been. I will show you things that you have never seen. And I will see the life run out of you.
--Alice Krige, Ghost Story (1981)

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TV Quote of the Week

How many freaking vampires am I supposed to care about these days?
--Leslie David Baker, The Office (US), "Costume Contest"

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Robbing Michael to Play Paul

About ten minutes into the movie Paul, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost meet a Hispanic bellboy who proves to be one of the few people in the entire picture who knows nothing about ufos. By some odd coincidence, he always happens to be the film's only Hispanic character as well -- though to be fair, I was kinda surprised to see Pegg and Frost include such a character in the first place, given the fact that they do not exactly hail from a country with a large Hispanic population. Anyway, the scene with the bellboy struck me as puzzling because on one hand, Pegg and Frost were savvy enough to avoid the inevitable joke about illegal aliens. On the other hand, the scene seemed to come mighty close to including such a joke and indeed, the scene ends on such an awkward note that I could not help wondering why Pegg and Frost included it.

If that was the film's only flaw, I could have happily ignored it. After all, I always liked Simon Pegg and it does not hurt that Frost and he both starred in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, two of my favorite films of the last decade.

Yet this latest film they made together just did not work for me. Perhaps it was because the humorous side of aliens have been explored in the movies far more than Frost and Pegg's previous subject matter. Or perhaps it was because Pegg and Frost really did not have a lot to say about this subject that was all that imaginative. Occasionally, they came up with a nice sight gag and some witty dialogue but all too often they depended on the same rude humor that almost every other recent movie comedy has used.

Moreover, the main gimmick of their movie seemed to echo the gimmick of the atrocious Nora Ephron movie Michael: a traditionally asexual being comes down to earth and starts acting contrary to asexual tradition. The main difference, of course, being that instead of the being being an angel as in Michael, the being in this case is an extraterrestrial. Occasionally, Frost and Pegg tried to add a bit of social commentary by making the alien visitor -- an extraterrestrial nicknamed Paul -- an enlightened being who mentally and emotionally liberates almost everyone he comes in contact with -- a subplot the audience is undoubtedly supposed to find funny since the alien's chief form of liberation seems to involve encouraging people to cuss a lot, have sex and partake of illicit drugs. In short, Paul encourages the humans to do the kind of things they normally would have wanted to do anyway.

Even that would not have been so bad if so much of the movie's humor did not seem directed at a more sophomoric audience than the people who watched Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Thus, in place of the witty dialogue we have come to expect from Pegg and Frost, we get endless shots of Paul mooning the humans and doing various other off-color stunts. Plus we get the umpteenth ripoff of X-Files and Men in Black in the form of a subplot involving mysterious agents -- feds, natch -- who are attempting to stop Paul and his human companions when they are not acting as childish as the movie's intended audience.

Nevertheless, Paul has enough laughes that I can readily see why many people might enjoy it. I just wish I could honestly say that I was one of them.

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In Rio, Romance Is for the Birds

I liked this movie well enough for the first ten minutes when it seemed like it would be the story of the sweetest relationship between woman and bird since Lesbia and her sparrow. But then they had go bringing another bird into the plot and then a guy.

They couldn't just leave female bookstore owner Linda Gunderson and her pet macaw Blu alone to find their own path; no, they had to go ahead and imply that both of them were missing something. Well, the two of them seemed just happy together. Happy, I say. And sure it's nice that Linda and Blu finally found happiness with others but jeez, all that trouble that they went through to find it. Frankly, Blu would have been better off had he stayed home in Alab -- er, Minnesota. Run, Blu, run. And for heaven's sake, ignore that Anita girl and don't stick to your own kind.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: "Night Moves"

Catherine Tramell, eat your heart out.

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Halloween Trailers

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Asylum (1972)
Cannibal Girls (1973)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Day of the Dead (1985)
Dracula (1931)
Fright Night (1985)
Halloween (1978)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Horror of Dracula (1958)
Jaws (1975)
Leprechaun 2 (1994)
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
Massacre at Central High (1976)
Munster, Go Home! (1966)
Portrait of Jennie (1948)
Scream (1996)
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (2009)
She-Wolf of London (1946)
Tarantula (1955)
The Birds (1963)
The Bride Wore Black (1968)
The Crazies (1973)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
The Invisible Woman (1940)
The Night Walker (1964)
The Others (2001)
The Tingler (1959)
Theatre of Blood (1973)
Them! (1954)
13 Ghosts (1960)
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: "The Stripper Song"

From the 1980 horror flick The Monster Club, it's vocalist Stevie Lange with the most unusual Halloween song ever. Granted, the lyrics don't sound very Halloweenish but what happens between the lyrics definitely is. And not just because the dancer who fills in the gap between Stevie's singing has a slight resemblance to Lady Di. After all, I suspect that said resemblance was strictly unintentional.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Masters of Horror: "The Black Cat"

Director Stuart Gordon tries to do for Edgar Allan Poe what he did for H.P. Lovecraft with his Reanimator series. The result is not quite as memorable as I would have liked but at least I can tell Gordon tried. If nothing else, it will be interesting to compare cult icon Jeffrey Combs' performance as Poe with that of a more conventional actor when John Cusack plays the same character in the upcoming mystery flick The Raven.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Masters of Horror: "The V Word"

After seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and five seasons of Angel -- not to mention the various vampire shows that have aired since then -- it must be very hard for TV screenwriters to come up with yet another new angle on the vampire theme. However, this episode does not even try to come up with anything new to say about vampires and the most imagination it displays is in the title. Once you have figured out what that means, the rest of the episode is all downhill.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Masters of Horror: "Valerie on the Stairs"

If nothing else, this episode was a nice flashback to the days when horror movies did not feel obliged to explain everything at the end. Indeed, without the DVD commentary, some of you might feel a bit confused as to what actually happened at the end of this story -- and perhaps that's a good thing.

The story is about a would-be writer who checks into a special hotel intended to house other would-be writers. Unfortunately, the writer's literary efforts are interrupted by visions of a ghostly damsel in distress who is being pursued by a monstrous demon. The writer takes it upon himself to investigate and finds himself involved in a bigger mystery than he would have ever imagined. Unfortunately, his efforts to save the girl and make himself the hero of this story inevitably backfire in a way few would have guessed...

In any event, this episode deserves credit for having one of the most original endings I ever saw in this series. It just might take some of you a while to figure it out.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trailer of the Week: Munster, Go Home! (1966)

Herman Munster inheriting an English estate? Sounds like a nice trick considering the fact that Munster doesn't sound too much like an English surname. But then the poor man has inadvertently scared more people than Casper the Friendly Ghost so no doubt he is long overdue for some good luck.

And if you think Marilyn Munster looks strange as a redhead, don't worry. Pat Priest -- who played one of the Marilyns on the original show -- probably thought so too. However, she was passed over by the studio in favor of new actress Debbie Watson when they were doing the casting so her opinion didn't matter.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: The Munsters

The Addams Family was one of my late father's favorite TV comedies when I was growing up and I wish I could claim that I liked them just as much when I was a kid. But, unfortunately, my first love was The Munsters. Only when I got older did I develop much affection for The Addams Family -- perhaps because the opening credits for that show used to creep me out when I was very young.

The Munsters, for some reason, seemed more accessible. Granted, the gags were often more lowbrow and less imaginative than the ones in The Addams Family. But they were funny too.

If The Addamses were the aristocrats of the Halloween sitcom world, the Munsters were the working stiffs. Or to put it a different way, the Addamses were the rich eccentrics who kept to themselves for the most part while the Munsters were the good-hearted democrats who were not above mingling with their more conventional neighbors when they could.

In any event, here is the intro and outro from the second season. If you wish to see the intro for the first season, please go here.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: The Munsters Today

Until I came across bits from this series on YouTube, I had honestly forgotten that there ever was a Munsters reboot, much less one that aired way back in the 1980s.* And after watching this intro, I can see why this show was not more popular. After all, this show's opening credits do not exactly encourage me to think I had missed out on anything by never watching an episode. However, YMMV.

For what it's worth, this is the intro from the first season, starring Mary-Ellen Dunbar as Marilyn Munster:

And this is the intro from the second season, starring Hilary Van Dyke as Marilyn Munster. She first started playing Marilyn after the thirteenth episode of the first season and went on to play her in the third and final season as well. Please don't ask me why she chose a look more reminiscent of Kelly Bundy than the original Marilyn. I guess she had her reasons. Plus neither she nor any of her fellow cast members sing those awful lyrics from the first season intro so that alone is a big plus. The show's theme always worked better as an instrumental, anyway.

* Actually it aired from 1988 to 1991 and lasted one season longer than the original show. Go figure.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

R.I.P. Barbara Kent

Actress Barbara Kent, most famous for such silent films as the 1927 Western No Man's Law, took her last plunge last Thursday at age 103.

She will be missed.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

You’re young, Estelle. The young do not understand grief.
--Vincent Price, The Raven (1963)

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TV Quote of the Week

Let’s take out some puppets.
--David Boreanaz, Angel, "Smile Time"

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A Turn for the Curse

Time is not always kind to old movies and time has a tendency to be especially unkind to old horror movies. Perhaps this is because horror movie fans inevitably grow up and seek different thrills than the ones they experienced in youth. More often, it is because the things that scare one generation don't always scare the next to the same degree.

Thus I have always been amused by those rare horror movies that have actually managed to grow more respectable with age. The Hammer films, for example, were rarely popular with critics when they first came out and as recently as the 1970s, it was popular for old school horror critics to blame the House of Hammer for the decline and fall of the old-fashioned horror film. Yet judging from most film critics nowadays, one would never imagine there was a time when the Hammer films were less than respectable.

Of course, part of this might lie in the fact that Hammer Studios were among the last people -- apart from the good people at Roger Corman's American International -- to set horror in the past and make it work. There has been many cinematic attempts to create horror period pieces since Hammer quit making such films but unfortunately, few such films have been as successful as the early Hammer films and indeed, my mind winces at the thought of having to rewatch such works as Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula in a way that it doesn't wince at watching, say, Hammer's Horror of Dracula.

But as good as the 1958 Horror of Dracula is, it would have never come about were it not for the success of the 1957 flick The Curse of Frankenstein. Curse was Hammer's first attempt at remaking the old Universal classic and it was a doozy. It was not necessarily all that perfect on an artistic basis. For example, as much as I admire the way Hammer makeup artists created a look for Christopher Lee's creature which was as convincing as the makeup used for Universal's Frankenstein Monster, it is hard for me to pretend that Lee's portrayal was an improvement on the more sympathetic Boris Karloff version. Indeed, one of the failings of Curse is the way it doesn't even try to portray the Frankenstein Creature as a being worth caring about.

Then again the movie doesn't try to create any sympathy for the monster's creator, either. If the creature is bad, its creator -- Baron Victor Frankenstein (played by Peter Cushing, natch) -- is worse. In order to achieve his ends, the Baron is not above robbing graves, cheating on his own bride-to-be and even murdering innocent people. Even on his wedding night to his cousin Elizabeth (played by the always gorgeous Hazel Court), he can't bring himself to think of anyone else but himself and his creation.

In the end, the Baron finally succeeds in either killing or alienating everyone close to him. And ironically, his own creation comes closer to bringing him to justice than any mere human...

As you might guess, Curse doesn't even pretend to be faithful to the original Mary Shelley novel and given the legal necessity of avoiding any close similarity to the original Universal movie lest Hammer be sued for plagiarism, it's probably just as well. All the same, Curse manages to be more memorable than I expected as well as a fitting beginning to Peter Cushing's long career as a horror movie icon. Come to think of it, Christopher Lee's career since this film has not been too shabby, either.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: "Dancing with Myself"

Tobe Hooper's Dance Party.

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Halloween TV Quotes

David Boreanaz, Angel, “Not Fade Away”
David Boreanaz, Angel, “Not Fade Away”
David Boreanaz, Angel, “Smile Time”
Danny Mora, Angel, “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco”
Paul Rhys, Being Human, “Serve God, Love Me and Mend”
Russell Tovey, Being Human, “Ghost Town”
James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “After Life”
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Blood Ties”
Tom Lenk, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Conversations with Dead People”
Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Grave”
Nicholas Brendon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Inca Mummy Girl”
Adam Busch, Clare Kramer, George Hertzberg, Harry Groener, Juliet Landau, Mark Metcalf, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Lessons"
Mark Metcalf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Lessons”
Michelle Trachtenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Lessons”
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Never Leave Me”
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Pangs”
James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Pangs”
Emma Caulfield, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Sleeper”
Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Some Assembly Required”
Allyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Tough Love”
Alexandra Moltke, Dark Shadows
Michael C. Hall, Dexter, “Let's Give the Boy a Hand”
David Tennant, Doctor Who (The Second Series), “Tooth and Claw”
Matt Smith, Doctor Who (The Second Series), "Vampires of Venice"
Darren McGavin, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, “Demon in Lace”
Simon Oakland, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, "Legacy of Terror"
Darren McGavin, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, “The Devil's Platform”
Darren McGavin, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, “They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...”
Henry Darrow, Night Gallery, "Cool Air"
Bradford Dillman, Night Gallery, "Pickman's Model"
Bradford Dillman, Night Gallery, "Pickman's Model"
Louise Sorel, Night Gallery, “Pickman's Model”
Clint Howard, Night Gallery, “The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes”
Joanna Pettet, Night Gallery, “The House”
Grant Show, Point Pleasant, “The Lonely Hunter”
Kate Hodge, She-Wolf of London, "Nice Girls Don't"
Kate Hodge, She-Wolf of London, “She-Wolf of London”
Annabelle Weenick, She-Wolf of London, “She-Wolf of London”
Scott Fults, She-Wolf of London, “The Juggler”
Scott Fults, She-Wolf of London, “The Juggler”
Anderson Knight, She-Wolf of London, “The Juggler”
Peter Cellier, She-Wolf of London, “What's Got Into Them?”
Carolyn Jones, The Addams Family, “Halloween with the Addams Family”
Carolyn Jones, The Addams Family, “The Addams Family Splurges”
Peter Wyngarde, The Avengers, “A Touch of Brimstone”
Diana Rigg, The Avengers, “Never, Never Say Die”
Darren McGavin, The Night Stalker (1972) (TV Movie)
Leslie David Baker, The Office (U.S.), “Costume Contest”
Paul Lynde, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special
Nancy Cartwright, The Simpsons, “Sideshow Bob Roberts”
Dan Castellaneta, The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror VII"
John Larch, The Twilight Zone, “It's a Good Life”
Collin Wilcox, The Twilight Zone, “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”
Suzanne Lloyd, The Twilight Zone, “Perchance to Dream”
Betty Garde, The Twilight Zone, “The Midnight Sun”
Betty Garde, The Twilight Zone, “The Midnight Sun”
Frank Overton, The Twilight Zone, “Walking Distance”
David Duchovny, The X-Files, "Fire"
Gillian Anderson, The X-Files, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”
Ken Kirzinger and Sonny Surwiec, The X-Files, “Ice”
David Duchovny, The X-Files, “Pilot”
William B. Davis, The X-Files, “Talitha Cumi”
Gillian Anderson, The X-Files, “The Rain King”
Fifi D’Orsay, Thriller, “The Grim Reaper”
Stephen Moyer, True Blood, “The First Taste”
Anna Paquin, True Blood, “The First Taste”

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: "The Gonk"

Because I'm all about the happy tunes.

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Halloween Movie Songs

“Death Waltz” -- Suspiria (1977)
“Don't Stop Me Now” -- Shaun of the Dead (2004)
“Jack's Lament” -- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
“Jack's Obsession” -- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
“Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)” -- Beetlejuice (1988)
“Mad Monster Party” -- Mad Monster Party (1967)
“Main Theme from Dawn of the Dead (1978)” -- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
“Main Title from Beetlejuice -- Beetlejuice (1988)
“Main Theme from Gojira (1954)” -- Gojira (1954)
“Monster Mash” -- The Monster Club (1980)
“Puttin' On The Ritz” -- Young Frankenstein (1974)
“Science Fiction-Double Feature” -- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
"Super Heroes" -- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
“Sweet Tranvestite” -- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
“Tears to Shed” -- Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)
“Tempest” -- Psycho Beach Party (2000)
“The Gonk” -- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
“The Piper Dreams” -- The Omen (1976)
“The Stripper Song” -- The Monster Club (1980)
“The Time Warp” -- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
"Theme from Carrie (1976)" -- Carrie (1976)
“Theme from Halloween -- Halloween (1978)
“Theme from Psycho -- Psycho (1960)
“This Is Halloween” -- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
“Tubular Bells” -- The Exorcist (1973)
“What's This?” -- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trailer of the Week: House of Wax (1953)

What? An entire movie shot in 3-D? How come Hollywood doesn't make movies like this anymore?

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

Long before Carl Kolchak, Mulder and Scully, the Ghostbusters or the Buffy gang, there was that intrepid debunker of supernatural fiends, Scooby Doo. There have been several incarnations of this heroic character's show but this is the first and the most famous one.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: The Addams Family (1973-1975)

I remember a cartoon version of The Addams Family making a guest appearance on Scooby-Doo but I forgot that they also had their own cartoon show as well. Indeed, they also had a cartoon series in the 1990s shortly after the success of the first Addams Family movie. However, this is the version I would have seen when I was a teenager.

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Halloween Movie Quotes

Geoffrey Bayldon, Asylum (1972)
John Hoyt, Attack of the Puppet People (1958)
Winona Ryder, Beetlejuice (1988)
Margot Kidder, Black Christmas (1974)
Crystal Lowe, Black Christmas (2006)
Piper Laurie, Carrie (1976)
Ken Foree, Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Ken Foree, Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Emma Cleasby, Dog Soldiers (2002)
Martine Beswick, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
Martine Beswick, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
Sarah Jessica Parker, Ed Wood (1994)
Peter Cushing, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
Roddy McDowall, Fright Night (1985)
Patrick Swayze, Ghost (1990)
Alice Krige, Ghost Story (1981)
Hulk Hogan, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Tony Randall, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Charles Cyphers, Halloween (1978)
Donald Pleasence, Halloween (1978)
Jadeen Barbor, Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Alan Dexter, I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)
Wilhelm von Homburg, In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
Jeff Bridges, King Kong (1976)
Angela Bettis, May (2002)
Zelda Rubinstein, Poltergeist (1982)
Duncan Lamont, Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Barbara Shelley, Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Skeet Ulrich, Scream (1996)
David Arquette, Scream 4 (2011)
Murray Hamilton, The Amityville Horror (1979)
Elsa Lanchester, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Vincent Price, The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
Fred Clark, The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)
Clea DuVall, The Faculty (1998)
Clea DuVall, The Faculty (1998)
Charles Lung, The Leopard Man (1943)
Danny Elfman, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Danny Elfman, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Elias Koteas, The Prophecy (1995)
Vincent Price, The Raven (1963)
Jack Nicholson, The Shining (1980)
Edward Woodward, The Wicker Man (1973)
Claude Rains, The Wolf Man (1941)
Tom Cruise, Vanilla Sky (2001)
Martin Stephens, Village of the Damned (1960)

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Halloween TV Shows I and II

Angel: “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Hush”
Doctor Who (The Second Series): “Blink”
Doctor Who (The Second Series): “Midnight”
Doctor Who (The Second Series): “Vampires of Venice”
Masters of Horror: "Dreams in the Witch House"
Masters of Horror: "Family"
Masters of Horror: "John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns"
Masters of Horror: “The Black Cat”
Masters of Horror: “The V Word”
Masters of Horror: “The Washingtonians”
Masters of Horror: “Valerie on the Stairs”
Mockingbird Lane: "Pilot"
Night Gallery: "A Matter of Semantics"
Night Gallery: “Pickman's Model”
Night Gallery: “The House”
She-Wolf of London: “She-Wolf of London”
Supernatural: “Pilot”
The Dick Van Dyke Show: "It May Look Like a Walnut"
The Monkees: “I Was a Teenage Monster”
The Munsters: “Low-Cal Munster”
The Twilight Zone (1985): “Button, Button”
The Twilight Zone (TOS): “Mirror Image”
The X-Files: “Ghost in the Machine”
The X-Files: “Space”
The X-Files: “The Rain King”
True Blood: “Strange Love”

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Movies

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Black Christmas (1974)
Captain Kronos -- Vampire Hunter (1973)
Dark Shadows (2012)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Equinox (1970)
Frankenstein (1931)
Frankenstein Versus the Wolf Man (1942)
Ghost Town (2008)
Haute Tension (High Tension) (2003)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
I Married a Witch (1942)
Igor (2008)
Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)
Leprechaun (1993)
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
May (2002)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Psycho Beach Party (2000)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Strangeland (1998)
Suspiria (1977)
The Body Snatcher (1945)
The Brood (1979)
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Faculty (1998)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
The Grudge 2 (2006)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Old Dark House (1932)
The Old Dark House (1963)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Wolfman (2010)
Warm Bodies (2013)
Werewolf of London (1935)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

All astronomers are amateurs. When it comes to the heavens, there's only one professional
--Claude Rains, The Wolf Man (1941)

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TV Quote of the Week

Did you not hear me when I said I have no need of human company? And could you not understand why?
--Bradford Dillman, Night Gallery, “Pickman’s Model”

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The Werewolf of Madrid

There’s a great scene toward the end of the 1961 Hammer film The Curse of the Werewolf but unfortunately you have to wade through a lot of scenes of people doing cruel things to other people to get there.

Is it worth to get there?

Well, it depends. The Curse of the Werewolf gives us a young Oliver Reed, a likable narrator, a surprisingly benign Spanish cleric and a novel explanation for lycanthropy. The movie is loosely -- very loosely -- based on Guy Endore’s novel The Werewolf of Paris but unfortunately, the adaptation eschews almost every scene in The Werewolf of Paris worth reading and includes a few I would rather not have revisited.

Hammer deserves credit for attempting to do something more complex than the usual Lawrence Talbot routine but I can not honestly say that this is one of their better movies. The main problem with the plot is that Reed is sympathetic enough as cursed Spanish lycanthrope Leon Corledo that I can not help but wish a happy ending for his character yet an unhappy ending is all but a foregone conclusion. To be fair, the plot does hint at possible alternative endings. For example, Corledo attempts to elope with his girlfriend at one point, only to be stymied by the police. At another point, the cleric hints that Corledo could be sent to a monastery. (An odd solution given the Catholic Church’s traditional attitude towards the supernatural but in the wake of recent events, all too believable.) However, this plan ultimately fails as well.

So is Curse of the Werewolf worth seeing? Not really. Yet there is something about that final scene in which Corledo’s girlfriend, dressed in black, stands alone in a way which suggests Goya’s famous painting of the Black Duchess. Perhaps I am stretching things a bit but then again I do not often see scenes that remind me of Goya paintings in a movie, let alone a Hammer movie. I just wish this one scene had appeared in a better film.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: "Think I'm in Love"

Fangs for the memories.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

The Sarah Jane Adventures: "The Empty Planet"

Rani and Clyde wake up to a world in which everyone has disappeared save for the two of them and a mysterious little boy. Plus the three of them are being chased by giant robots.

But the really mysterious part comes when Rani and Clyde arrive at an English restaurant that advertises sweet potato and chorizo soup -- a dish which might not seem so strange in New York or Dallas -- but in London? I always thought England did not have a large Hispanic population. So where did the idea for chorizo come from?

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: "Jack's Lament"

Poor Jack! If only someone had the foresight to introduce him to that nice red-headed girl who keeps following him around.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Doctor Who (The Second Series): "The Wedding of River Song"

That's it? That's the big season finale?

I should have known something was up when I found
myself increasingly distanced by the show's endless references to the Doctor's impending death. Granted, even kids in grade school had no problems predicting that the Doctor really wouldn't die at the end of this season, but still...

In any event, I still enjoyed the episode. I just wish things had been tied together just a bit more.

And I did love the hint that the Doctor was Jewish. Indeed, at the end of his impromptu wedding ceremony, I kept expecting him to break a wine glass beneath his feet while Rory and Amy cried, "Mazel Tov!" But I guess Moffat figured he had played with the minds of Doctor Who fans long enough.

However, I find myself even less optimistic about the next season than I was at the end of last season. And that is a real shame given that Matt Smith has shown a lot of potential this season for becoming one of the most memorable Whos since -- well, David Tennant. I don't really want to see the show go back to its "Doctor Who as the ultimate imaginary boyfriend" formula of the first few seasons but I don't want to see it become unwatchable either. So once again I keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Though, come to think of it, a Doctor Who/Primeval crossover episode would not be a bad way to start the next season...

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Trailer of the Week: The Tingler (1959)

Oh no! Vincent Price is trapped in a William Castle movie. Is there no way he can escape?

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Hey, I Remember This Show: Groovie Goolies

Yet another attempt to exploi -- er -- adapt classic movie monsters for the children of a new generation. Orginally linked with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Goolies eventually got their own solo series in the early 1970s. However, they were never as popular as either The Archies, the show on which Sabrina first appeared, or Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the most popular animated series with a horror theme back in the 1970s.

Perhaps it was just as well. The harder people back in the day tried to update the old-time movie monsters, the more anachronistic they seemed in the long run. And really? A hippie werewolf? Perhaps Abbott and Costello weren't so bad after all.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Drak Pack

A trio of teenagers descended from classic movie monsters decide to redeem themselves by becoming superheroes in this animated TV series from the early 1980s. And to think that all this time, I thought "Drak Pack" was a term invented by Marv Wolfman to describe the team of vampire hunters in Marvel's old Tomb of Dracula comic book series.

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Movie Quote of the Week

What do you expect? Such an audience needs something stronger than a pretty little love story. So why shouldn’t I write of monsters?
--Elsa Lanchester, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

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TV Quote of the Week

Life is not a monster movie.
--Annabelle Weenick, She-Wolf of London, “She-Wolf of London”

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Friday, October 07, 2011

R.I.P. Charles Napier

American actor Charles Napier, most famous for his part in the 1980 comedy The Blues Brothers and his voice-over role in the TV series The Critic, issued his last challenge Wednesday at age 75.

He will be missed.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: "Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive"

The Aussie answer to a certain horrific Robert Louis Stevenson classic -- complete with a guest spot by Sherlock Holmes.

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Favorite Halloween Videos from Years Past


1. “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” -- Concrete Blonde.

A musical foray into Anne Rice territory.

2. “Dracula's Tango” -- Toto Coelo.

The one video from the 1980s few of my generation have ever heard of. And to think we make fun of Twilight movies.

3. “Hammer Horror” -- Kate Bush.

Not only can Kate sing but she really knows how to make an entrance as well.

4. “Swingin' at the Seance” -- The Moon Rays.

An obscure video which deserves more publicity than it got.

Plus as a special bonus:

5. “Monster Mash” -- The Monster Club Soundtrack.

“Maestro... Our song.”


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: "Theme from Psycho"

I should have posted this sooner but it has been a crazy week for me. I hope it has not been as maddening for you all as well.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Doctor Who (The Second Series): "Closing Time"

The Doctor finally gets rid of Amy and Rory just in time to run into an old friend -- Craig, the apartment dweller from last year's episode "The Lodger." Craig is living with his girlfriend Sophie now and the two of them have a baby to boot. They are still not officially married yet but then this is not only a family show but also a British family show so no one on the writing staff really cares.

Unfortunately, there is a group of Cybermen kidnapping people in the area and it is up to the Doctor to find a way to defeat them without putting Craig and the baby in harm's way. Guess which one of those goals the Doctor does not accomplish?

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Doctor Who (The Second Series): "The God Complex"

Remember that old cliché about how only people with a faith in a certain ism -- for example, Communism or Zionism -- tended to survive the trauma of the Nazi concentration camps?

In this episode, we see a reversal of that cliché in which faith in something -- anything, in fact -- proves deadlier than faith in nothing at all. Granted, the show stretched pretty hard to make its point. Almost too hard.

Nor is it always that logical. At one point, it shows a young Muslim woman being haunted by the ghost of a father who demanded high grades from her -- yet most Muslim women nowadays are not known for being from families which demand great educational efforts from them, much less straight As. I must admit to admiring the chutzpah it took for the episode's writer -- Toby Whithouse of Being Human fame -- to create a sympathetic Muslim character in this day and age but it was all ultimately a wasted effort.

Oh, well. This episode did make for an interesting thought experiment. I just wish there was a little more thought.

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Trailer of the Week: 13 Ghosts (1960)

It's a good thing they don't use silly visual gimmicks to try and sell movie tickets nowadays.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Hey, I Remember This Show: Milton the Monster

Oddly enough, this was one of the first Saturday morning cartoons I ever remember seeing as a kid. Until YouTube came along, I was beginning to think I had imagined this odd intro.

Of course, that intro seems almost normal compared to this one.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Count Duckula

How did I ever miss out on a show like this? I suppose "just lucky, I guess" would not quite be the right answer...

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