Friday, October 30, 2009
Starring Bela Lugosi, John Carradine & George Zucco
Directed by William Beaudine
From Monogram Pictures
Creepy Classics has word that - finally - there is a DVD release of this Poverty Row Lugosi gem - Voodoo Man!
The new release is from RiffTrax (Michael J. Nelson from Mystery Science Theatre), and the disc comes with two versions of the flick - the original and the goofed-on audio commentary one.
If you have never seen this chiller, all you need to know is that Lugosi, in one of his better low-budget film performances, is a mad doctor (are there any other kind?) who wants to bring his dead wife back to life. Plus, he's sporting a pretty damn funky goatee!
So naturally he comes up with a crazy plan to revive her, which involves kidnappings and soul transference through voodoo. Such wonderfully insane logic only found in these kind of films!
As indicated, Lugosi is at the top of his game here, and Carradine and Zucco are along for the frightful ride in this fun voodoo-erific flick.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"Meet The Creeper!"
Variety is reporing some very cool classic horror news this morning.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has teamed up with with Turner Classic Movies on a new "manufacturing-on-demand service," starting tomorrow with a bunch of cool Universal fright flicks never before released on DVD. The service will be accessible at TCM.com.
The first five scary pictures are as follows:
Murders in the Zoo(1933)
Mad Doctor of Market Street(1942)
The Strange Case of Dr. RX (1942)
The Mad Ghoul(1943)
House of Horrors(1946)
Each title is $19.99 while the the entire five-film set is priced at $49.99. That's a little pricey, but if you are a completist or absolutely love one of these titles (The Mad Ghoul and House of Horrors are frightfully fun flicks, and the latter stars Rondo Hatton as The Creeper), maybe you want to treat yourself.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"She's sweet as sugar...with a voodoo army of the undead!"
Starring Marki Bey, Robert Quarry and Don Pedro Colley
Directed by Paul Maslansky
Produced by American International Pictures
From the opening strains of The Originals' theme "Supernatural Voodoo Woman" through its reprise after the finale of the film, Sugar Hill proves to be one of the more interesting blaxploitation flicks of the 1970's. Now, it's not a very good film, but it sure is a whole hell of a lot of fun!
Our lovely star of the film is Diana "Sugar" Hill (the very foxy Marki Bey) she of the alternating hairdo but more on that weirdness later. Sugar is the fiancée of cool owner Langston. Seems that mob boss Morgan (Count Yorga himself Robert Quarry) wants to buy the club, but Langston refuses to give up his baby. So, naturally, Morgan's crew of goons beat up and murder the hapless club owner in his own parking lot.
When the police are of no help in apprehending the killers, Sugar decides to seek revenge and bring the killers to justice in her own fashion. How does she do that you ask? Naturally, the answer is voodoo! Of course! Why don't I think of that when I seek vengeance?
Probably because I don't own a crumbling ancestral mansion in the bayou where local voodoo queen Mama Maitresse lives. Don't ask too many questions or your head will start to hurt. Just roll with it, kids.
Mama Maitresse agrees to help Ms. Hill get her voodoo groove on, and summons the loa of the dead, Baron Samedi (Don Pedro Colley who really steals the film).
The good Baron agrees to assist our heroine, but asks for something in return. Also more on that later. And no, he doesn't want Sugar's soul in case you were in a betting mood. Baron Samedi then raises his army of the living dead. One by one the dead dig and crawl their way out of their resting places. You see, the swamp is the location where a number of slaves had perished many years ago.
As you can see, these zombies definitely have a certain..........look to them. The weird big reflective bug eyes are certainly strange and eerie in a kooky 70s kinda way. Couple them with machetes, knives and other weapons of mass destruction, and you gots the making of some serious ass-kicking justice!
So, one by one, Sugar, Samedi and her zombie army hunts down Morgan's men and meeks out her voodoo-erific revenge. A machete murder here, a wild pig killing there, a self-inflicted stabbing, and even a massage gone terribly wrong - all at the hands of the magically delicious undead.
Now, earlier I referenced the interesting coiffure of our star. When Sugar is in her "normal" mode, she has long straightened out hair. However, when she is leading Baron Samedi and the legion of the living dead, she sports a giant full blown afro while wearing a snazzy skin tight white jumpsuit. Again, no explanation is given nor do I even want one. Many writers try to reconcile this bizarreness, and yes there are deeper political and racial issues here, but just roll with it, baby and enjoy.
Soon, the formerly ineffectual police are on the case. Oh so coincidentally, the lead officer is Sugar's ex-boyfriend, Valentine (Scream Blacula Scream's Richard Lawson ) who comes to believe that voodoo is involved in the string of murders and that Sugar may be involved. Meanwhile, Morgan continues to try to buy the club from Sugar who inherited it from her deceased fiancée.
Well, of course, it all comes to a head after Sugar reveals to bad guy Morgan that she is behind the murders. She calls him out and tells him to come meet her at her old creepy mansion in the swamp. Oh hell yeah, sounds like a great idea, Morgan.
So of course Morgan heads out to the bayou and drags along his racist bimbo girlfriend (who earlier had one of the most boring and poorly paced cat fights in film history). Morgan storms into the run down house and discovers Sugar holding court in the dining room. He is about to learn that revenge is a dish best served cold!
Yup, this Last Supper is one hell of a party, gang. The other members of the soiree are all of the dead henchmen who are themselves now zombies! Morgan reacts like any good movie bad guy and promptly leaps out a window, and tries to escape. Unfortunately for him, he stumbles into one of those pesky pools of quicksand and drowns. Didn't see that one coming, did you?
Oh, and remember Morgan's girlfriend? Sugar offers her up to Baron Samedi as his prize for helping out in this caper. He thanks Sugar and offers her a gift of her own - his super duper cane. The Baron snatches up the woman and disappears back into the magical land of the dead. Well, really, all he does is walk up a small incline and over a hill where there is apparently a fogger or two and some strobes. Not exactly how I picture the netherworld, but then again I'm no Mama Maitresse.....
.............and cue music. The End!
If you have not seen this slice of 70's greatness, please do so. The script is wildly insane, and while there isn't anything really special about the direction or the performances besides Colley, it is a fun flick. Currently, you can find it haunting Comcast's On Demand, and there are much worse ways to pass some time this Halloween season.
The hurricanes and zombies are on me!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Wow - here's a cool little feature on the AMC website this month!
Your chance to watch some really fangtastic horror flicks free of charge. Nothing like a little cheese to go along with your Halloween beverage of choice. These are among some of my favorites in the genre and I know you will find at least one you haven't seen before and will completely dig!
Included are genre classics like Fiend Without A Face, Devil Doll, How To Make A Monster, The Horror Of Party Beach, The Undead, Voodoo Woman, War of the Colossal Beast and the one - the only - Werewolves On Wheels.
Check out the site and enjoy.
This is kind of interesting - the first "authentic" haunted house is opening in China.
The country's first Halloween haunted house attraction is called the "Shanghai Nightmare" and is the creation of 26-year-old American-Chinese Gan Quan and his girlfriend Xu Jiali. "Shanghai Nightmare" is set in a crumbling, century-old warehouse and features more than 13 chambers filled with "gory scenes, sound and light effects and actors dressed as ghosts and goblins that attack visitors."
Maybe Chris can score an interview for Hauntcast. Ha!
I thought these unique and strange sculptures were amazing. They are all constructed from random items such as bread, insect parts, feathers & shells.
May be of inspiration to some of you artists and prop builders out there!
Monday, October 26, 2009
If you are a fan of the Romero classic Night of the Living Dead -and frankly, who isn't? And if you aren't, you should be! - you might want to check out The Living Dead Fest in Evans City, PA on October 30 and 31st.
Details in the link!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
For all the fans of Lugosi and Karloff out there, here's news of a nice little DVD release that may be of interest. There are 4 fright flicks included in the set, including the wonderfully creepy The Walking Dead. From the Back Cover:
The Walking Dead (1936): Jolted alive as the monster in the classic Frankenstein, Boris Karloff is resurrected anew in the eerie tale of a man framed for murder. Sent to the chair... and seeking revenge after being brought back to life by science. Michael Curtiz directs.
-Commentary by historian Greg Mank
Frankenstein 1970 (1958): Karloff operates the lab switches and gizmos as Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Granting a film crew access to shoot a horror flick at his family castle... and now having what he needs for his monstrous experiments: fresh young body parts ready for harvesting!
-Commentary by historians Charlotte Austin, Bob Burns, and Tom Weaver
You'll Find Out (1940): Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Peter Lorre scare everyone silly planning murder to nab a young heiress' inheritance in a spoofy, spooky haunted house tale featuring the music and merriment of popular Kay Kyser and his band
Zombies on Broadway (1945): Mad scientist Lugosi encounters two lunkheaded Broadway agents (Alan Carney and Wally Brown) looking for a real-life zombie as an opening attraction for a new night club.
Friday, October 23, 2009
"A dinner was served for three
At Dracula's house by the sea
The hors d'oeurve were fine
But I choked on my wine
When I learned that the main course was me!
The waitress a vampire named Perkins
Was so very fond of small gherkins
While serving tea
She ate 43
Which pickled her internal workings!
Igor the scalpels go on the left with the pitchforks
What a swimmer is Dracula's daughter
But her pool looks more red than it oughter
The blood stains the boats
But it's easy to float
Because blood is much thicker than water!
Dracula old friend how are things in Transylvania? Ha ha ha.....
For dessert there was batwing confetti
And the veins of a mummy named Betty
I first frowned upon it
But with ketchup on it
It tasted very much like spaghetti!
Goodnight whatever you are!"
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Calling all cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies! The Halloween spooktacular is out!
Happy Halloween to all me minions! This show features all the drunken debauchery that you would expect from the Scream Team plus and interview with Jim Weilock from Graveside Manor/ Hauntingly Enchanted Evening in Coventry CT.
“For fans of the fantastic!”
Amoktime is a great site that sells all kinds of insanely cool monster and horror toys....er, I mean collectibles. Yes, much more mature sounding. "Collectibles."
Anyway, there's something here for everyone, as the site sells items from your favorite Universal films, as well as other fan favorites like Dark Shadows, Halloween, way cool exclusives and even new classics like Trick R Treat.
All I know is that I have to add the Blacula figure to my Christmas list.
Now, to start a petition for a Blackenstein one...........
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What up all you cool ghouls! Wow, Universal has treated us to not just one - but now two - yes two - trailers for their fangtastically wondrous Wolf Man redo coming in February.
I know a lot of people are sick to death of the remakes, and a little cautious about this one in particular. Regardless, The Wolf Man remains one of my favorite of the Universal classic monsters and I am hoping this is a great reinterpretation of Chaney's baby. Given the first trailer, I completely discount the music attached to this one as the studio is just trying to drum up some excitement as they usually do for a second or alternate trailer.
Additionally, we all know that if this does well, Universal will green light a new Creature from the Black Lagoon and possibly The Bride of Frankenstein. Those, coupled with the upcoming (two) versions of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and a film version of the Dracula sequel has this monster kid hoping for the best.
Check out the second trailer right here!
....or "What we've learned from horror movies"
With Halloween upon us, it is worthwhile to remember a few simple rules to help keep this season healthy, happy, and SAFE!
1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.
2. Never read a book about demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.
3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.
4. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.
5. When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and go alone.
6. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.
7. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.
8. If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET OUT!
9. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits; just get out.
10. Do not take ANYTHING from the dead.
11. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.
12. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you're doing.
13. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are female. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.
14. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on -- kill them immediately.
15. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.
16. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and most likely be eaten.
17. Beware of strangers bearing tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.
18. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices. Also if your house ever tells you to "GET OUT!!!" do so immediately. Leave your stuff and go.
19. Dress appropriately. When investigating a noise downstairs in an old house, women should not wear a flimsy negligee. And carry a flashlight, not a candle, preferably a heavy flashlight. Wearing steel-toe boots would show great insight.
20. Do not mention the names of demons around open flames, as these can flare suddenly. Be especially careful of fireplaces in this regard.
21. Do not go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.
22. If favorite dolls or toys begin telling you things or playing with you, don't wait to see if they are going to turn evil. Nothing good has ever come of these situations, so go ahead and get rid of them.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Directed by William Castle
Starring Vincent Price, Joan Crawford, and others
From Sony Pictures
Another one of my favorite directors/producers and writers is getting a frightfully fancy DVD release this week. Yup, the consummate showman and marketer of celluloid mayhem William Castle did it like no one else. His films have a peculiar quirky quality, and among some of my favorite genre films.
This set will be released this Tuesday, October 20th and will contain the following Castle classics:
13 Frightened Girls (1963)
13 Ghosts (1960)
The Old Dark House (1963)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
The Tingler (1959)
Here's the official product description to whet your horror appetite:
Iconic horror director William Castle created a simple, but winning formula for his films: a little comedy, a lot of scares, a preposterous gimmick, and a clear sense that fright films should be fun. This even meant Castle would, like Hitchcock, appear in his trailers and even the movies themselves. Though his career spanned 35 years and included everything from westerns to crime thrillers, he'll always be remembered for his horror films from the late 50s to the mid-60s. And now Sony presents all eight of his Columbia features - three making their DVD debut, the rest newly-remastered - in one "spook-tac-ular" collection. And as a bonus, it includes the award-winning feature-length documentary, Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story.
While the suggested retail price is a bit on the high end, if you look around it is a lot cheaper.
If you are not all that familiar with Castle's works, definitely do yourself the favor and check them out. You won't be sorry you did.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
These images kick so much ass I had to post them!
They were done by artist Adam McCauley , a San Fransisco resident, and are so cool I wish they were legal postage. I love the fact they evoke German Expressionist wood cuttings and prints but are completely recognizable monster icons.
You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when:
10. You get winded from knocking on the door.
9. You have to have a kid chew the candy for you.
8. You ask for high fiber candy only.
7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you lose your balance and fall over.
6. People say: 'Great Boris Karloff Mask,' And you're not wearing a mask.
5. When the door opens you yell, 'Trick or...' And can't remember the rest.
4. By the end of the night, you have a bag full of restraining orders.
3. You have to carefully choose a costume that won't dislodge your hairpiece.
2. You're the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker.
And the number one reason you know you're too old to TOT is....
1. You keep having to go home to pee.
Written by Keith M. Johnston
If you are a student of horror history or a fan of the Universal golden age of horror, this scholarly article will be of interest.
This is an in depth and extremely fascinating analysis of the trailers used by the studio to sell their shock films.
Definitely spend some time and check it out.
What a wonderful way to celebrate Halloween if you are in the SF area.
The Symphony is hosting a screening of the 1922 classic German Expressionist silent film which will be accompanied by Dennis James on their 8,264 pipe Ruffatti organ.
Tix range between $20 to $30 - well worth this experience.
Friday, October 16, 2009
While this will probably shock most of you, I am a huge comic book geek in addition to being a die hard monster movie fan.
This wonderful old ad speaks to both of my passions and there's something about it that just makes me smile.
Thanks to my good fiend Tim for the heads' up on this Hammer news.
According to Variety, the recently returned from the grave Hammer Films is working with British literary agency PFD to pursue book deals based on its film properties.
This is really sweet news and has the potential for some terror-ific adaptions. More details and news as it comes.
Well, it's hard to believe, but last night we taped the 12th Fright Flicks and Horror Reviews segment for Hauntcast. Who woulda thunk it! As always, we had a great time shootin' the bull about horror movies, Halloween and good beer. It's been an absolute blast being part of the show...although I do question Chris' mental soundness given he keeps asking me back every month!
In-between getting his haunt together, Chris is working really hard to get all the segments together and edited. Somehow, I know my boy will get it done.
For any listeners out there, the new show will be out next Friday, October 23rd, just in time for All Hallows. Bottoms up!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Written by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas
Published by McFarland Publishing
From the creepy cover to the final frightful page, here's another recommended book that has the coveted Johnny Thunder Seal of Approval! Universal Horrors The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946 is a definite treasure for all fans of the Universal horror films - a great reference book which covers all of their classic monster flicks of the 30s and 40s.
This updated version covers all of our favorite releases from the legendary studio from 1931 through 1946. The book covers 86 films and includes cast lists, credits, plot summaries, behind-the-scenes stuff along with some critical analysis. There are also lots of great pictures and poster photos included.
Another fun, smart read that helps us all stay scary!