Friday, December 17, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I put together a little treat that I hoped would do the trick if you were looking to get into the Halloween spirit, but I couldn't get it to download onto this blog no matter what I tried. Please click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWrwCbTBezY to visit my YouTube channel and view One Dark Night. The above picture I meant to include in the collage but somehow overlooked!
I wonder if anyone (other than Brer) can identify the theme music?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Another bit of classic 70's horror, filmed on location in San Antonio, Castroville, Bandera, and Leakey, Texas, released in 1975. In the wake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Central Texas seemed to be the new Transylvania. For those of us from the area, it added another layer of fear, seeing such familiar terrain and people as the backdrop to a tale of terror, this being one of the worst kind: Satanic horror!
Folks from the San Antonio area might be amused to see the old Alamo Speedway at the beginning of the movie, along with a cameo by local legend/radio personality Ricci Ware as a racing official.
This is a genuinely scary and fun movie, with acting a cut above the usual of the genre, and a simple straightforward plot that keeps you hooked.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Mickey and the Haunted House. Another Halloween must. The whole cartoon is great by the way, but the music is really fun. In this 1929 short you can see a pretty rare example of Disney's recycling some animation cycles: some of the dancing skeleton scenes are taken from , logically enough, Skeleton Dance, a Silly Symphony from the year before. Even so, they have some fun with it by having the wind blow away all but the dancing legs!
By the way, I finished Blatty's sequel to The Exorcist, entitled Legion. This was the source to the movie Exorcist III. Oh, what an unholy mess, pun of course intended. It was not all bad, but it was so perfunctorily resolved after an immense build-up, it made me envision Blatty really working hard until the check from the publishers cleared, and then just sewing it up ASAP so he could hit the horse tracks.
Kinderman, the pre-Columbo Columboesque detective is the star of this one, and he is transformed into something of a Jewish mystic. In fact, the whole tale seems to have been written to support his philosophy that Lucifer was the big bang, an explosion of matter into a previously only spiritual universe, and that we are all part of him, trying to find our way back to God. Throw the oh-so-popular early 80's go-to topics of serial killers and televangelists, and you got yourself a sequel sir.
Even the book adds in the back of this 1983 paperback were a degradation from the awesome crap of the 70's. Here we have adds for V.C. Andrews "greatest" releases. I suppose I shouldn't mock, I have never read any V.C. Andrews. But still...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The place: The Dixie Drive-in.
Ah, yes, good times. Mom loaded up the kids and took us to a double feature: The Phantom of the Paradise and Magic. Never mind that on the way to the theater a small pick-up swerved around us completely out of control , slamming into a telephone pole and vaporizing its unfortunate occupant before our eyes. Shaken and in shock we crept our way through the darkened traffic lights to the drive-in, glass from the wreck still glittering the hood of our car. We were not in too much shock to know Phantom kind of sucked and that Magic was pretty damn good.
Not so much a horror story as a psychological murder/romance, concerning Corky, a successful ventriloquist/magician/comedian, (played brilliantly by a young Anthony Hopkins), and his dissolution into madness as his Dummy alter-ego, Fats, starts calling the shots for the otherwise meek and sensitive entertainer.
Of course there is horror involved. Somehow things can never go well when you put a dummy in charge, (as all voters know) and people who stand in the way of Corky's re-connecting with his childhood dream girl (Ann Margaret) start finding themselves the victims of Dummicide.
The movie is based on a novel by William Goldman, and there was always some speculation on the side that Fats may not just be a fragment of Corky's psyche, but a malevolent force that sought to possess him, an idea that is fed primarily by a scene in the movie that shows Corky raging at the seated Dummy, whose eyes move around without Corky there to manipulate them!
I heard in the director's commentary on the DVD that it was an error that was left in just to bedevil viewers. Nice!
I have watched Magic several times over the years, and have a certain fondness for it. It has one of the most memorable previews ever, as shown above. "Magic is FUN...We're dead..."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
One of my "must see" viewings every Halloween is "Trick or Treat", a Donald Duck short featuring Donald, his nephews, and a friendly old hag named Witch Hazel. This song is fun and catchy. I can hardly ever say the phrase "trick or treat" without hearing this song in my head!
We had a great comic book story version of this for years before ever seeing the cartoon, and the phrase "Whiskers from ye billy goat!" was much quoted from it.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This one haunted my childhood , seen by seemingly everyone but the members of my family. I remember camping out with some relatives who had seen the movie, and they chilled and regaled us with various scenes from the movie. (The guy being hassled by Bigfoot while sitting on the pot was a fave!) Years later I got the movie on DVD and finally got to see it. Whoo-ee, a bit of a stinker, but for all it's cheap glory it managed to weave a pretty effective atmosphere, and its' documentary style (aside from the weird musical interlude) really made it fun. When I got the DVD I was shocked to see it was rated 'G', so infamous a film of terror! Then I watched it...Is there anything milder than 'G'? Still it spooked my son and nephew when we watched it, especially when I slipped out of the room and then came back in in a gorilla mask!
I read The Exorcist this week, continuing my October habit of reading great works of horror, and really enjoyed it. I was impressed at how closely the movie stayed with the book, save for a few minor dead-end side plots. But what really gave me a blast of the nostalgia of growing up in the weirdness of the early 70's era that spawned both Boggy and Exorcist, was the Bantam book order form in the back of the old paperback copy that I read.
....In Search of...Extraterrestrials by Alan and Sally Landsburg
....The Devil's Triangle by Richard Winer
....In Search of Ancient Mysteries by Alan and Sally Landsburg
....Not of This World by Peter Kolosimo
....The Reincarnation of Peter Proud by Max Ehrlich
....Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken
....A Complete guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray
....Gods From Outer Space by Erich Von Daniken
....The Outer Space Connection by Alan and Sally Landsburg.
Kind of brings it all back, eh? (BTW, all were in the $1.25-$1.95 range...sigh...)
Friday, October 15, 2010
Do you remember this movie? It was in fairly heavy rotation on TV when I was growing up, but now seems to have slipped into the mists of time. The things that stood out in my memory were first the theme, which, as it turns out was written by the same guy that wrote the Addams family theme, and the ghost of the wacky lady in the red nightie. She always scared me, even though she was played for pretty broad laughs. Turns out this was produced by Master Schkockmeister William Castle! I saw the guy who plays the teenage son , Barry Gordon, on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm the other day playing an old Rabbi. I always think of him as that nebbishy kid from The Spirit is Willing!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
1978. The Golden Age of "made for TV " movies!
I haven't seen this movie since then, but I remember it well. Bette Davis' performance as the Widow Fortune was powerful scary. (She reminded me of Mrs. Tennyson, my 7th grade Reading teacher at that time!) Later, when I was in 10th grade I read the Thomas Tryon novel Harvest Home on which this mini-series was based, and really enjoyed it as well. The great combination of Fall/Harvest imagery and ancient/pagan ritual made for a very evocative seasonal impression, that has stuck with me for all these years.
I have waited for years for this movie to be released, it is available on DVD only in bootlegs; some old VHS copies are still floating around for sale. It is available for viewing on YouTube and I think I shall watch it there. ( Might not be the best quality, but hey, after 32 years, who cares?)
Tryon also wrote another good book, The Other, which also had a memorable movie made from it, about a little boy on a New England farm, who is haunted by the spirit of his less than innocent dead twin . Reading Tryon, Stephen King, and H.P. Lovecraft at this time convinced me that it was a very good thing that New England was on the other end of the country from me!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This is a collection of nice stuff from the Golden Age of Illustration, set to the track "The De Lesseps' Dance" from the Shakespeare in Love soundtrack. I wanted to present these with no added effects so that I didn't get in the way of the great pictures. I recommend watching this on full screen. Enjoy!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
With the political "silly season" cranking up I figured this next Babeltoon was most apropos. Although drawn a few years back, nothing much has changed. I always thought that "a pox on both your houses" political humor was just too easy. However, as someone who has for decades now observed political activity with the same ghoulish delight that some people have watching Faces of Death videos, I just couldn't resist. You have to appreciate the absurdity of the system that we allow to run the world.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
A few years back I drew several stories starring a cast of animal characters. I used them like a theatrical troupe playing different characters in different genre tales. This was "our" homage to Star Trek, and was a lot of fun to do. The music on here is a cheesy version of the theme to Blade Runner by Vangelis, taken off of an el-cheapo Laserlight Sci-Fi theme collection.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
A small tribute to the Monster Madness that permeated the kid culture of my youth, dedicated to two Horror Fathers who were instrumental in it's intensity, William M. Gaines of EC Comics, and Forrest J. Ackerman of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I have long admired the accompanying music, "Reel Ten", taken from the Repo Man soundtrack.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
An homage to my favorite Tolkien character. Thanks to all of the artists whose visions of Gandalf were used for this piece, Leonard Rosenman for the music, and Professor Tolkien for cooking up the whole wonderful mythos that has enlightened our lives...
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I am in an odd position of having nostalgia for nostalgia. When I was a kid a huge wave of 50's nostalgia swept the country, most memorably via American Graffiti and Happy Days. But anyone watching TV at that time was inundated with countless K-Tel 50's record compilations- ("Remember those Saturday nights you wished would never end?") 50's style music on commercials, Sha Na Na, etc, etc. I always got a kick out of the Statler Brothers and their 50s nostalgia song came early in the wave, so I never held it against 'em. This is one of their fun songs that we listened to a fair amount from the old parental collection. This video was a homemade production off of Youtube that I thought did a great job of illustrating the song, and actually cleared up a couple of things I always wondered about in the references. I am sure some enterprising child of the 60s or 70s could make a killer version of this tuned to that time, er that is, if an enterprising person could be found among us!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
I thought I might put something current on lest I give the impression that I only listen to songs that are over 40 years old. (Only 95% of the time I do.)
Border Reiver is the first song on Mark Knopfler's new album Get Lucky and is a good representative of state of the art Knopfler...Celtic flavored, literate and fun. For my money Knopfler is the best living guitarist and one of the best songwriters of all time. The flutes unfurling under the drive of the main theme on this song never cease to move me profoundly. Any one who has ever had o job "on the road" can appreciate the spirit of this song. Simply amazing...
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Another old single from Mom's collection, and having the distinction of being the only recording from a member of the Rat Pack in the collection, "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" by Dean Martin was much listened to as well. (I love the "puh-piyah's"). A jaunty tune with Dino's signature Italian flavor, "Naughty Lady" must be listened to all the way to the end for the cute surprise.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
"Roll Muddy River" was on another one of those country anthology LP's of Pop's, maybe the same one that "What Are Those Things" was on, I can't recall. I always liked the folksy ramble of this song. It looks like there are many different versions of this song done by many artists, ranging from real bluegrassy to rockin' country. I am not 100% certain that this particular version, by the Wilburn Brothers, is the exact version we had, but if it is not, it is very close to it.Again, I know nothing about the Wilburn Brothers. I can't help but recall an alternate lyric coined by my oldest brother, "I've got a notion Kung Fu's in slow motion", every time I hear this.
I hope it doesn't get too tiresome, but I am having fun finding these old songs we used to listen to. This one has been a challenge, too. It was on an anthology album of various country hits that Pop had from the 60's, and was a particular favorite. Charlie Louvin is the artist here, and I am sorry to say I am not familiar with his work. Looking over the albums and titles that are available on iTunes (this song is not BTW), he seems like an old school Johnny Cash type, just my kind o' guy. (He even duets with EmmyLou Harris!) So he is worth further investigation. The only version of this song that is available on iTunes is by Roger Miller, who I normally like all right, but his version is full of weird vocal mannerisms popular at the time that really grate on me when I have this great version to measure it by. I know the accompanying video is kind of weied, right? But it is evocative of the times in its own bizarre way, too...
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
We had an old 79 of this that I believe was my Grandmothers' originally, and boy did we listen to the fire out of it. It was a thick, heavy disc with a red Columbia label and it had a lot of pops and crackles, but the voyaging spirit the music conveyed was infectious. The anarchronisms always cracked me up, too. I never paid any attention to the artist, Guy Mitchell, when listening to it then, which made it a little hard to find, but then the music was the thing to me then, not the artist. I see that it is available for 99 cents from iTunes, but I am a little hesistant to hear this song too cleanly...The "canned" effect of the LP really takes me back...