Friday, October 31, 2014

Pop Song of the Week: "No One Lives Forever"

This song by Oingo Boingo may not be what most people consider to be a Halloween song but it should be.

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Movie Song of the Week: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"

I always liked this song and though some of you might not consider it a proper Halloween song, I do. Plus it has Mickey Mouse in his best role ever.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mi Prima Favorita!

It's my favorite cousin's birthday today.

I hope you all are as happy as she should be.

If you all are not all that happy, I hope that your lives change for the better.

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Movie Quote of the Week

We dream many foolish things when we're ill.
--Kathleen Robertson, Psycho Beach Party (2000)

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TV Quote of the Week

Fear. It's the oldest tool of power. If you're distracted by the fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above.
--David Duchovny, The X-Files, “Blood”

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Book of the Week


This book has been out for over three decades yet I have yet to encounter a more recent anthology that is so full of scary stories. Not only does Dark Forces showcase a lot of great writers of horror stories -- for example, Ramsey Campbell, T.E.D. Klein, Theodore Sturgeon, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch and of course, Stephen King -- but it also shows many of them at their very best.

The original idea behind this book was to create a dark fantasy equivalent of the classic science fiction anthology Dangerous Visions -- a book that had revolutionized the science fiction genre back in the 1960s. I can't say for sure how well it met that goal as far as the average horror story reader is concerned but I do know that I liked it very much the first time I read it. Moreover, while I have read many anthologies that had the potential to top it -- especially books that were part of Stephen Jones' Best New Horror series -- I have yet to encounter a book in the dark fantasy field that really tops it.

Of course, someone could release a book tomorrow that could prove me wrong. But until then...

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Cuento de Mi Id

“The Harrowing”

It is said that there are seven gates through which one must pass on the way to the underworld and that at each gate, one must discard an article of clothing to demonstrate one's vulnerability to the Ruler of the Underworld. Whether the rules were the same for men as well as for women, Theadora did not know. Nor did she know what became of one's clothing after it was discarded. She only knew that somewhere during the course of her journey, she had evidently miscounted. Either that or the sages were wrong -- there were eight gates through which she must pass.

At the first gate, she abandoned her shoes. The path before her was still strewn with small rocks and pebbles yet she deliberately chose to bare her feet before she bared any other part of her body.

At the second gate, she took off her earrings.

At the third, she slithered out of her skirt, and at the fourth, she discarded her blouse.

At the fifth, she unhooked her bra and walked topless into the increasing darkness.

At the sixth, she stripped off her stockings.

At the seventh, she shivered in the cold as she looked up at what had to be the largest gate she had ever seen in her life. The path was made of smooth stone now but that was not what bothered her. For after she walked through this gate, she would be naked. Not just naked, but butt-nekkid, nude, bare as a baby's bottom, sky-clad, naked as a jaybird, in puris naturalibus, wearing only a smile, clad in her birthday suit, in the altogether, adorned by air, decorated by dew, dressed in nothing and wrapped in emptiness. She had nothing more to abandon.

And yet on the other side of that gate, she came upon an even larger gate.

She rubbed her hands together and felt something on one of her fingers. But of course. Her wedding ring. She mumbled a quick prayer of forgiveness to her departed husband and took off the ring. She would never see this ring again, she thought. As it hit the stone ground besides her, the gate slowly opened and before her sat the Ruler of the Underworld. A figure that few people could view without going mad and that few madmen could view without going catatonic.

In a glacial voice the figure bade her step forward.

Theadora did so, shivering in the dark cold.

She knelt before the figure as the elders had taught her and murmured her prayer.

Then she waited.

After a wait in which every second seemed to take a century to pass, the Ruler spoke.

“What... do... you... want?”

“I want...”

Suddenly her throat went dry. What did she want? Part of her wanted to run away -- to scream and run back through the eight gates before it was too late. But that was too easy. It also seemed too much like the type of thing that the thing on the throne would want her to do.

She looked upon the unspeakable once again. Dared to look it in the eye. The thing was older than old, so wrinkled that Theadora could hardly tell if it were a man or a woman. It wore a wrinkled robe that threatened to fall apart any second and reveal the creature's nakedness. Its hair was just short enough to disguise its gender -- too long for a man, too short for a woman. Theadora got the feeling that the Ruler had been old when the Creator Herself had been young. She then got the feeling that the Ruler might even have once ruled the Upper World in a far older past, before its world was replaced by the present one and its powers confined to the world of the dead.

“I want my mother,” she said.

The Ruler smiled. It was an evil smile, one that hinted at infinite malice, but it was a smile.

Then the Ruler laughed. For centuries it seemed to laugh and then it would pause for a moment and start right up again.

Then it stopped.

“Are...you...sure?” it asked.

“I am,” said Theadora.

“Very...well,” said the figure on the throne. “Come... to... me.”

Theadora walked forward. The figure stood up, dropped its robe, and glanced down at Theadora, no doubt expecting an expression of shock or alarm.

Theadora refused to let the tiniest expression cross her face. Not even when the creature embraced her. Not even when it kissed her. Not even when it thrust its tongue between her teeth and its hands between her legs and pressed her upon the hard ground.

The ruler's embrace was cold. Very cold.

And then...

“Arise...” It said.

It sat back upon its throne and wiped itself with the remnant of its clothing. “Go... back... through... the... gates...

“By... each... gate... there... will... be... a... piece... of... cloth-... ing...

“Put... it... on....

“Do... not... look... back...

“If... you... ev-... er... re-... turn... here... a-... gain... you... had... bet-... ter... be... plan-... ning... to... stay...”

The ruler seemed to be smiling, but Theadora could not tell.

She turned, dabbed at the liquid between her legs, and walked up to the last gate.

There on the ground lay a ring.

She bent down to pick it up, not caring what sort of view she gave to the figure who sat behind her. As she put on the ring and walked through the gate, the mighty gate closed behind her.

Keep walking, she thought. Keep walking.

At the next gate, there was a scarf.

At the one after that, a pair of earrings.

Wait a second, she thought. I don't like this trend.

At the fourth gate, there was a pair of shoes.

Wait a minute, Theadora thought. It is almost as if it wanted me to stay naked.

At the fifth gate, there was a bracelet.

At the sixth, a pearl necklace.

At the seventh, a bra.

And at the eighth...

At last, she thought. A dress.

She ran forward into the sunlight.

Reached behind the gate to pick up the dress.

The gate closed.

Leaving her in sunlight...

And in the middle of a busy intersection.

“Wait a minute,” she thought. “I didn't enter through here. The Lord of the Underworld tricked me.”

As the eyes of a hundred passersby stared at her, she tried to put on her dress.

But as soon as she put it on, she heard...

“For heaven's sake, Theadora. How dare you act like that in public!”

She turned toward the voice.

Saw a pale figure standing in the middle of the intersection.

Then the gate re-opened and a mighty wind blew the figure away into the darkness beyond.

“Wait!” Theadora shouted.

The gate closed.

Nothing remained to mark its existence but her memory.

She was still pounding on the pavement where it had existed when the men in the white coats arrived.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Song of the Week: "Swamp Witch"

Talk about your creepy country songs.

And for some strange reason, this song seems more timely this October than it was in the past.



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Favorite Halloween Songs from Years Past

Repost

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. “Spooky” -- Classics IV.

The video is no big deal but the song has always haunted me since I first heard it. Plus how many romantic songs can one associate with Halloween apart from this one?



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

An obscure video which deserves more publicity than it got.



6. “Werewolf” -- Five Man Electrical Band.

I will admit that this video is not exactly very imaginative in a visual sense but the tune was one of my more memorable Halloween songs of my youth.



Plus as a special bonus:

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

“Maestro... Our song.”


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Winona Ryder!


Born October 29, 1971.

She was once the definite female icon of her generation and she was also once described by a local film critic as having played almost every type of daughter that it was possible for a white actress to play in modern-day Hollywood. She is no longer as major a celebrity as she used to be but she is still hanging in there.

As you might have guessed, she has always been one of my favorite actresses, regardless of her current rep. If nothing else, I can readily understand why a certain character in the movie Primary Colors had a crush on women who looked like her because it seems like almost every heterosexual male my age or younger went through a period back in the day when they too had a crush on her. Of course, such crushes were never requited and I am quite sure that Ms. Ryder is probably glad to be too old to play Beatrice to a generation of would-be Dantes though she might still miss the days when she was director Tim Burton's main muse.

Oh, well. I hope she has a happy birthday today regardless.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Fredric Brown!


Born October 29, 1906. Died March 11, 1972.

He was a well-known writer of mystery, fantasy and science fiction stories. He even wrote more than a few novels.

Unfortunately, he is not as well-known to most people of my generation as he should be but someday that might change. His work may not be to everyone's taste but I have yet to read a truly bad book that was written by him.

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Iconos de Televisión (Vampires I)










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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

R.I.P. Marcia Strassman


American actress Marcia Strassman -- best known for playing Julie Kotter on the ABC TV series Welcome Back, Kotter -- cooked her last dish of tuna casserole on October 24 at age 66.

She will be missed.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Les Daniels!


AKA Leslie Noel Daniels III.

Born October 27, 1943. Died November 5, 2011.

He was the creator of everyone's favorite fictional Spanish vampire Don Sebastian de Villanueva, better known in some quarters as "the vampire horrified by man". Unfortunately, he passed away before he could finish the series.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Juan Seguín!



AKA Juan Nepomuceno Seguín.

Born October 27, 1806. Died August 27, 1890.

He was one of the most famous Texans of Mexican descent to join the Texas Revolution on the winning side. Unfortunately, his story is rarely told by most traditional historians.

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Quote of the Week

Morality has always demanded more than it expected, in order to get what it needed.
--Will Durant, The Pleasures of Philosophy: A Survey of Human Life and Destiny

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This Is Embarrassing

In her comment to a Rod Dreher article on "sexting," blogger Erin Manning mentioned how her daughter used the term "Utopian bride" to comment on how ridiculous she (the daughter) considered "sexting" to be and then went on to comment about how 80% of her daughter's peers would not get that reference.

Quick confession: Though I am familiar with Thomas More and his book Utopia, I have never read enough of the book to be familiar with that reference either. In fact, I had to look it up. And I suspect many of my peers -- who are, of course, a lot older than Ms. Manning's daughter -- would not get that reference either.

That just goes to show what I get for depending so much on Masterplots.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brevity Is the Soul of Horror: Part II

A creepy short subject from Spanish filmmaker Ignacio F. Rodo. A tip of the sombrero to Samurai Frog for introducing me to it.

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No Re-Treat?


Seen in a local drugstore last October.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pop Song of the Week: “Happy, Happy Birthday”

In honor of Wanda Jackson, who actually had a birthday this week.

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Movie Song of the Week: “Main Theme from Phantasm

The movie is not exactly a classic but this theme sounds like something I would hear in my dreams. Or at least, my nightmares.

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Brevity Is the Soul of Horror: Part I

An oldie but a goodie from director James Dearden of Fatal Attraction fame. This short was made back in 1978 and yet portions of it still creep me out.

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Fantasy Quote of the Week

October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .
--Ray Bradbury, The October Country

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Science Fiction Quote of the Week

Some people recovered spontaneously and some were saved by prayers. Not everyone died who was infected. The death rate for the pneumonic plague was only ninety percent.
--Connie Willis, Doomsday Book

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Iconos de Cine (Vampires I)










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Friday, October 24, 2014

Movie Poster of the Week



That's what I want to know.

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Cuento de Mi Id

“The Tocayo”

“Mar-teen!”

Martin turned to look behind him but there was no one there. Nothing behind or in front of him but shadows.

Must have been my imagination, he thought.

He continued onward.

“Mar-teen!”

Martin turned again. Again there was no one behind him.

My imagination again, he thought.

He started walking faster.

“Mar-teen!”

This time he almost jumped out of his skin. The voice sounded very close that time. Yet he could not tell where it was coming from.

One of the surrounding apartments maybe?

Perhaps but they all looked dark. It was unlikely that anyone was even in one of them. And even if there were, they were probably asleep.

Then who--

“Mar-teen!”

Martin started walking faster. He had no idea who was calling him, but they obviously meant no good if they kept ducking out of sight. Besides he didn’t even know this neighborhood. He normally rode the bus home at this hour. Just his luck that tonight he had stayed after class just a little too long and ended up having to walk home instead.

Still his home couldn’t be too far away. He just wished he knew the neighborhood better.

“Mar-teen!”

Martin circled around, hoping to see someone shouting at him from upon a fire escape or from behind a garbage can. But there was no one in sight. No one at all. Except himself.

“Mar-teen!”

It’s a gang, he thought. They spotted my umbrella and briefcase, and they assumed I was easy pickings. Never mind that I’m probably poorer than they are. They’d probably just make up the difference with bruises.

“Mar-teen!”

If it was a gang, he thought, it was a pretty strange one. And how did they know his name anyway?

“Mar-teen!”

They picked a name at random, he thought. The minute I reacted to it, they knew they had the right one.

He frowned. The thought of having been fooled so easily made him angry. He felt like throwing down his briefcase and umbrella and challenging the mysterious name callers to a fight. He would never do that though. He knew better.

“Mar-teen Gar-see-ah! Doan-dey ess-staas?”

The voice sounded strangely familiar. As if it were someone he knew.

That’s crazy, he thought. He didn’t know anyone in this neighborhood.

So how come they knew his complete name?

Coincidence, he thought. Just coincidence.

“Mar-teen Gar-see-ah! Doan-dey ess-stass?”

The buildings were starting to look more familiar now. He recognized the corner street light ahead and sighed with relief.

He suddenly realized that for the last few feet he had been brandishing his umbrella like a sword and his briefcase like a shield. Pretty foolish of him, he thought. He wasn’t the type to start a fight, and you could fill a thimble with everything he knew about self-defense. Still if he had discouraged someone from messing with him, it was worth it. Even cowards could fight when cornered.

“Mar-teen!”

There he went again. He was beginning to sound nearer. Much nearer. Yet Martin still couldn’t see who was calling that name.

There went the voice again, calling for Martin Garcia. By now he was sure it was a coincidence. After all, he was in plain sight. Why keep asking where he was?

Whoever the caller was, he was obviously after another Martin Garcia. Which was just fine with Martin. He had no intention of getting involved in another man’s business.

Then he rounded the corner and ran into a dark-clad figure. He stopped and dropped his jaw in amazement.

The stranger before him was just a few years younger than he was. Young enough to be a possible gang member.

His hands were empty but there was no telling what he had beneath that black windbreaker. And that face. If it had not been so pale and free of chickenpox scars, it would have almost an exact duplicate of Martin’s own face. A coincidence, perhaps, one worthy of all those dumb TV shows his cousins watched, but it was unsettling all the same.

“Who are you?” Martin asked.

The stranger before him answered, “Martin Garcia.”

Martin scowled. His hands curled into fists. He was tempted to deck the stranger, but he noticed by the boy’s trembling that he was more scared of Martin than vice versa.

Maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he too was named Martin Garcia. It was not all that unlikely in this neighborhood.

“You’re kidding, right?” Martin asked, just to make sure.

The boy looked at him as if he was going to throw up.

“No, I’m not,” he said with an effort. “I really am Martin Garcia. Who are you?”

The unknown caller interrupted. “Mar-teen!”

Martin noticed that the boy paled as soon as he heard the voice.

“Who is that?” Martin asked.

The boy replied, “My father.”

“Your father?”

“Yes,” the boy said. “I ran away from home and now he wants me to go back.”

He looked Martin straight in the eye. “But I don’t want to go back. My father did mean things to me when I lived with him. He used to beat me and -- and --” his face blushed. “--treat me like a man treats a woman.”

Martin did not know what to say.

“That’s why I ran away,” said the stranger. “I -- I just couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to fight back but I couldn’t. He was too strong. Besides he’s my own father. So I ran away.”

“I see,” said Martin. Actually he did not see anything, but it seemed the right thing to say. The real scary part was how frightened the boy looked. Nobody deserved to be that scared of his own father.

He’s just a few years younger than me, Martin realized. He even has the same name. A tocayo, he thought. A namesake. There but for the grace of God...

“Mar-teen!”

The voice was louder this time -- and even closer than before. The boy grew paler.

“He’s coming,” the boy said.

Martin looked around. “Where is he?”

“Close,” said the boy. “Too close. He’s been following me ever since I ran away, and he doesn’t ever stop.”

Martin stared at the boy. “Why don’t you go to the police?”

“It wouldn’t do any good,” said the boy. “He’d just get me there. You see, just before I left home, I hit him on the head with a frying pan. I hit him real hard -- and it didn’t do any good. He still follows me.”

“But surely--”

“I hit him so hard his skull broke. I’m sure of it. And still he follows me.”

“Mar-teen!”

The voice sounded like it was just a few inches away now and still Martin could not see a thing. The boy’s eyes, however, were as wide as they could be.

He seemed to be staring at something just behind Martin’s shoulder -- something only he could see.

Then he screamed and ran off in the opposite direction. Martin started to run after him, then stopped and wondered what he was doing. It was then that he heard it. A second set of footsteps running right by him in the boy’s direction. And not a soul in sight.

There but for the grace of God, he thought. He walked hurriedly in the opposite direction.

************************************************************

He did not bother to tell his parents about what he had seen that night. He did not tell anyone. He just went straight to his room and buried himself in his homework.

Martin was never so grateful for night school as he was that night. At least it gave something to think about apart from what he had seen. When at last he was through and he retired for the night, he wondered what had happened to the boy. None of his business, he decided. It wasn’t his problem.

Nevertheless, it was a sad case. And lying there in the darkness, Martin could almost hear the same voice he had heard before.

“Mar-teen...”

It must be his imagination, he decided. Or a dream.

Even the sound of pebbles being thrown at his window was just his subconscious’s interpretation of a more mundane sound.

“Mar-teen...”

The voice sounded louder now. The pebbles being thrown against the window sounded louder too. Almost any minute he would see his namesake before him...

Klunk!

Martin sat up in bed. For a minute there, it sounded as if someone had thrown a huge rock at the windowpane. He turned on the lamp on his nightstand and saw that the windowpane was still intact, the street below still empty.

It was just a dream, he decided.

He reached for the lamp switch and brushed against something. It was a human hand.

Before he could scream, another hand clamped itself over his mouth. Then the lamp went out and things got really interesting.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Movie Quote of the Week

Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary", "spooky", "haunted", or "forbidden" in the title.
--Matthew Lillard, Scooby-Doo (2002)

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TV Quote of the Week

When you live forever, it's disappointing how little humans change. Technology, though, it always gets better. If I hadn't become a vampire, I would have missed out on the Internet, TIVO, World of Warcraft... and GPS.
--Alex O’Loughlin, Moonlight, “Out of the Past”

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When Bud and Lou Met Frankie


If Equinox is the definite example of an old-fashioned horror movie that just did not age well, then the 1948 film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is an example of the exact opposite. Indeed, I watched it just the other night and found myself laughing as much with the movie that night as I did when I first saw it as a little kid. Of course, one might argue that A&CMF is not really a horror movie but rather a horror comedy. Then again I can think of some horror comedies that have not aged well either and the chances are you can too.

Anyway, the secret to A&CMF's success lies in the fact that its makers were smart enough to play to their cast's strengths and not their weaknesses. The horror actors did not try to tell jokes or do pratfalls and the comedians did not try to look menacing or act scary. Of course, that approach seems obvious to most modern-day movie-goers but then the history of Hollywood is littered with cinematic failures whose flaws seem equally obvious in retrospect.

In any event, A&CMF was the first of the several films in which Bud Abbott and Lou Costello met monsters from the Universal movie lot and it is still the best -- and I'm not just saying that because this was the first Abbott and Costello movie I ever saw. I would like to say the same thing about a lot of Abbott and Costello movies I have seen but I just can't.

The movie begins with an eerie animated sequence which shows the Frankenstein Monster knocking on a tomb which contains the skeletons of Abbott and Costello -- who, of course, run away at the sight of him. From then on, it proceeds to introduce the various supernatural entities that will be appearing in the film. Even when the movie changes over to live-action sequences, it does not hesitate to set a mood and it keeps returning to that mood over and over again. Along the way, an easily scared deliveryman named Wilbur (played by Lou Costello) keeps running into Count Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster -- AKA Frankie -- and the Wolfman -- AKA Lawrence Talbot -- while driving his fellow deliveryman Chick (played by Bud Abbott, natch) crazy with the way he keeps acquiring the attention of two women -- a mysterious European brunette named Sandra Mornay and a blonde American woman named Joan Raymond. (I'm not sure why Wilbur and Chick never get last names in this movie but I suspect the writers thought the younger audience members would already be confused enough by the fact that Abbott and Costello were not playing characters named Bud and Lou. At least, I remember experiencing such confusion the first time I saw this film -- but maybe that was just me. And as I noted above, this was the first Abbott and Costello movie I had ever seen.)

Of course, this being a horror comedy, both women turn out to have ulterior motives for courting Wilbur. Ms. Raymond wants to use Wilbur to help solve an insurance case involving missing exhibits from a local wax museum while Ms. Mornay wants to use Wilbur for more nefarious purposes. Everything comes together on a dark but not so stormy night when Chick discovers the hard way that Wilbur was not fibbing about seeing monsters and then -- Well, you can probably appreciate what happens next much better if you see the actual movie.

For what it is worth, author Jeff Rovin once wrote a literary sequel to this movie called Return of the Wolf Man but unfortunately, it is out of print right now and almost impossible to find unless you're one of those people who can afford to spend a king's random on a paperback book. It would be nice to to say that I saw this book in my local library, but alas, I am not yet that lucky.

But, hey, in the meantime, we'll always have Bud and Lou. Not to mention a classic movie cameo at the film's finale -- if, indeed, "cameo" is the right word to use for a role in which a famous actor never actually appears on film yet utters a memorable line of dialogue. Confused? Well, that just means you haven't seen the movie yet. Shame on you!

But if you have already seen the movie, please feel free to consider that scene a classic example of cinematic torch passing -- a scene in which the torch passes from old school horror actors like Bela Lugosi to newer school horror actors like a certain gentleman from Missouri who "appears" in the above-mentioned "cameo." And if you still have no idea whom I'm talking about, that's okay. I do not remember knowing much about the actor in question the first time I saw this movie and yet I still enjoyed it.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Curly Howard!


AKA Jerome Lester "Jerry" Horwitz.

Born October 22, 1903. Died January 18, 1952.

He was everyone's favorite stooge of the original Three Stooges yet ironically he was the first of them to pass away. He has been missed.

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Beware the Equinox!



The 1970 film Equinox can best be described as one of those low-budget horror films that works a lot better when you are ten than when you are twenty -- and even then, you can't help watching it as an adult and wondering, "What was I thinking when I saw this as a kid?"

It does have a memorable last scene. But whether it is memorable in a good way is yet another matter altogether.

For that matter, the opening sequence involving a car with no driver seemed pretty memorable to me when I first saw this movie -- but that probably says more about my inexperience with horror movies back then than it does the craftsmanship of the movie's director.

If I had to pick the saddest thing about this movie, it is that it featured a brief appearance by the famous horror writer Fritz Leiber -- who was not at his best here and who really deserved a better showcase for his acting than this movie. If I had to pick the best thing about this flick, it is that it probably inspired director Sam Raimi's first horror movie The Evil Dead -- though I somehow doubt that Mr. Raimi will ever acknowledge that.

Anyway, I remember liking it when I first saw it at a very young age. But why I liked it? I have no idea. Perhaps it was the Claymation sequences that impressed me. Or all the references to demons. The movie did tend to work better when it focused on the nonhuman characters than when it focused on the human characters -- though there was one kissing sequence involving a demonic being who looked human that seemed to my adult eyes to be more laughable than scary.

I suspect that some of the animated sequences haunted my dreams for many nights after I first saw the movie but I somehow doubt that I would be affected the same way if I saw it for the first time today. And I for one would like to think that is a good thing. Right?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Song of the Week: "Joan Crawford"

One would think that they would play this song more often during October but apparently they don't. At least not in Dallas.

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Comic Book Image of the Week


This is one of my favorite scenes from Cemetery Girl: Book One: The Pretenders, the new graphic novel from Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden. (The art was done by Don Kramer.)

The character in this scene is, of course, the title character of the graphic novel. Her name is Calexa Rose Dunhill -- or at least, that is the name she gives herself. I could say more but you know, spoilers...

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Monday, October 20, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Wanda Jackson!


AKA Wanda Lavonne Jackson.*

Born October 20, 1937.

She is one of my all-time favorite country singers. I still remember the day I heard one of her songs playing in the music area of a now-deceased bookstore. It took me a while to get accustomed to her twang but once I did, I could not help wondering why I had ever had an issue with the type of singers who sang with twangs. Ignorance, I suspect.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that she is also a favorite singer of Rosie Flores, who is also one of my favorite singers.

Plus I love the way Ms. Jackson wears that red dress in the above photo.

* Birth name.

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Quote of the Week

Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.
--Bruce Springsteen, intro to his cover of Edwin Starr's "War"

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wow! Better Than Sharknado?


Spied at a local DVD store last October.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fantasy Quote of the Week

It was night in the lonesome October.
--Edgar Allan Poe, "Ulalume"

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Science Fiction Quote of the Week

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great god, His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscle and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips.
--Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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Iconos de Cine (Werewolves I)










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Friday, October 17, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Julie Adams!


AKA Betty May Adams.

Born October 17, 1926.

She is most famous for starring in The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I also like her in some of the bit parts she has done since then as well. Besides, The Creature from the Black Lagoon was one of the first movies I ever stayed up late to watch on my parent's television set and while I would be dishonest of me to pretend that I did so for Ms. Adams's sake -- at the time, I was way too young to appreciate her -- I must confess that the sight of her did not exactly keep me away from that movie when I was older.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Rita Hayworth!


AKA Margarita Carmen Cansino Hayworth.

Born October 17, 1918. Died May 14, 1987.

She was one of the most famous Latina stars of her time even though few audience members in her time probably knew she was Latina. She was born the daughter of a Spanish flamenco dancer and a showgirl of Irish and English descent.

As a brunette, she played some minor roles but she did not become a real star until after she became a redhead for the title role of the 1941 movie The Strawberry Blonde. Ironically one of her most famous roles after that involved being the second most famous pin-up girls of World War II, this despite her photo being shot in such a way that she might easily look either brunette or auburn depending on one's bias. Then again, her most famous role -- her title role in Gilda (pictured above) -- was that of a redhead. Fortunately, actresses no longer have to dye their hair to get such recognition today. Just ask Winona Ryder and Zooey Deschanel.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Jean Arthur!


Born October 17, 1900. Died June 19, 1991.

She is one of my all-time favorite comic actresses. I even love the sound of her voice, which manages to be distinctive even in an age when almost every actress had a distinctive voice.

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Movie Quote of the Week

But society faces momentous decisions. Decisions about the right to die, about abortion, about terminal illness, prolonged coma, transplantation. Decisions about life and death. But society isn’t deciding. Congress isn’t deciding. The courts aren’t deciding. Religion isn’t deciding. Why?

Because society is leaving it to us, the experts. The doctors.
--Richard Widmark, Coma (1978)

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TV Quote of the Week

Will you just stop shouting already?
--Clare Kramer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Gift”

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

R.I.P. Elizabeth Peña


American actress Elizabeth Peña -- most famous for such films as La Bamba, Lone Star, Tortilla Soup and The Incredibles as well as for such TV shows as I Married Dora and Shannon's Deal -- finally stopped worrying about her acting career on October 14 at age 55.

She will be missed.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mi Hermano del Medio!

Today is my middle brother's birthday.

We have not spoken in a long while -- his choice, not mine -- but I still hope he has a happy day.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Comic Book Image of the Week


Believe it or not, life with my little sister was never like this!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Quote of the Week

How much English do you need to know, after all, to feel the terror of a good old-fashioned movie monster?
--Tess Gerritsen, "Poe and Me at the Movies"

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

R.I.P. Jan Hooks


American actress and comedian Jan Hooks -- best known for her years on the NBC comedy variety series Saturday Night Live -- went offstage for the last time on October 9 at age 57.

She will be missed.

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