Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Buddha Man Meets Vincent Price!

The Fly (1958) In a novel opening to a 50’s sci fi flick – we start off as Andre DeLambre (David Hedison) lies dead, his head and arm crushed to paste in a hydraulic press at the factory owned by his family for generations. The police quickly realize this particular press cannot be set automatically, but must have someone at the controls – so this wasn’t suicide – it’s MURDER. Who could be responsible? Well, there are no flies on the police – they see Mrs. DeLambre (Patricia Owens) standing right beside the controls in question and they waste no time putting the blame squarely on her. Her brother-in-law Francoise (Vincent Price) cannot believe Helene capable of such an act and tries to find out why she did it – but the stoic woman refuses to answer – and her quiet calm does not endear her to the authorities, as they begin to believe she is cold and calculating. Making matters worse – they discover evidence that as the press first came down on Andre – his arm slipped out – and that Helene lifted the press, put his arm back in, and sent the press down a second time. What kind of a monster could crush her husband to death – twice?

Herbert Marshall and Vincent Price in the lab.

Eventually it becomes obvious that she is not attempting to flee – or fly – away in escape – but her refusal to explain her actions simply isn’t going to fly. She tells Francoise her story – a few weeks before, scientist Andre had made an amazing breakthrough in his research – he created a machine that could teleport solid matter across a room! Eventually Andre hoped his teleportation system would allow cheap and fast movement of food, goods, and people anywhere in the world – but that would come after perfection of the process – currently it’s just moving something from one cabinet to the other in his laboratory. However, the scientist’s adventurous side kicks in and he decides to take a trip through himself to test the effects of teleportation on living matter. (Seems a little risky, considering…) The first time through goes fine. But the second time is another matter, as Andre is unwittingly joined by a second passenger, and you’re not winging it if you remember the title of the movie at this point.

Charles Herbert and Vincent Price revel in their arachnophobia together.

After that second teleportation, Andre locks himself in his lab and won’t let anyone see him. Eventually he allows Helene to bring him food – but only soups and liquids – and he now wears a cover over his head and keeps one hand out of sight in a pocket. He also enlists her help in a feverish search for a fly – but not just any fly – this fly sports a tiny white head…without it he might not have a wing or a prayer…

David keeps his Hedison out of sight, while Patricia thinks he Owens her an explanation...

This is one of the most fondly remembered monster movies from the 50's - and with good reason. It's a well made thriller - even if the science is beyond goofy. A very solid cast is well orchestrated through the story by director Kurt Neumann - who sadly died right after the movie was released and never got to see it become his biggest hit. Like pretty much all movies like this from the time - the movie makes you wait a while to see the creature in the feature - but it's worth the wait - a cool makeup design by Ben Nye.

Don't harsh his buzz... 

I'm glad Vincent Price is playing Hedison's brother here - because that means we get Price throughout the movie - if he'd been the fly guy we'd have much less of him in the movie. Hedison - still sporting the first name Al before settling on David as a better choice a few years later - is a good choice for the doomed scientist. Patricia Owens handles the various sides of her character (loving wife, cool widow, hysterical screamer) very well - which leads me to wonder why she's not more well known than she is? Charles Herbert has been discussed in this blog before. A good child actor - with agents and managers canny enough to get him top billing in films he did a couple of years after this. And we must mention Herbert Marshall - a veteran actor who found the film silly - he and Price legendarily broke up at some of their scripted lines and actions - but who keeps his performance properly somber and serious.

I don't think you can mention this movie and not touch on the highly recommended 1986 remake from David Cronenberg - that version shores up the science by bringing in DNA and a transformation at the molecular level - which is still fantasy but a tiny bit more grounded in reality than switching heads and hands with an insect.

But we're still back in 1958 - and this original movie is highly recommended as well. In fact, why not watch the two versions back to back?

House of the Long Shadows  (1983)  A thrill collectively went through all classic horror fans when this movie was announced. The four reigning Kings of Horror (at the time) - Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine - all together in one film for the first time. Add in more cool British actors like Richard Todd, Sheila Walker, and Louise English (one of Benny Hill's Angels a few years previously) to make the movie even better. That the cast list ended with Desi Arnaz, Jr. didn't have us worried one bit. Then we saw the movie. We should have worried. In the midst of all those veteran actors, Desi stands out like a sore thumb and really mars the movie.

Christopher Lee, John Carradine, Peter Cushing, and Vincent Price.

It also works against that incredible quartet that the script - the zillionth adaptation of the hoary old chestnut Seven Keys to Baldpate - is pretty slow and doesn't really showcase any of the four that well. I don't mind it being another version of an old story - I just wish this adaptation had a little more pep. It's also a visually dark movie - at least it was in the old VHS and in the streaming version I watched not long ago - and it's sometimes hard to see what's going on - which is ironic considering how many times the story was used for radio shows. A big remaster to Blu-Ray might take care of the illumination issues, but until then good luck seeing parts of this. In the end, it's not that great - but what true horror fan could resist checking this out?

Thank you as always, my golden friend. Until next post - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Random Stew 10/28/14!

It's the season, and these ads are part of the reason...

Everyone I ever trick or treated is so lucky they didn't give me a packet of Kool-Aid. Soooooo lucky....

Cheap parenting at its best...

Jack Frost O'Lantern!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #187!

The Atomic Monster  (aka Man-Made Monster)   (Universal Studios, 1941)
Realart re-released this Universal Studios flick - and apparently it was in the 1950's if that retitle is any indication. This is a fun movie, but it's kind of sad - as lovable lummox Chaney is made into a murderous monster by good ol' Lionel Atwill.

They  (Dimension Films, 2002)

I really didn't care for this toothless PG-13 horror flick in the theater. But, here's the poster anyway.

The Brotherhood of Satan  (Columbia Pictures, 1971)

I finally got to check this flick out a week or so ago - not a great movie, but interesting - and I think one that would lend itself to a rewatch.

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Crazy Movie Weekend: Halloween Horrorfest 4!

October 24-26 marked the fourth edition of my weekend long horror movie marathon (itself within an all month long horror marathon)!

I took the whole day off this year - cleaned the house and trekked out for snacks and supplies - and of course the now truly traditional Friday night meal to kick off the movies:

Papa Murphy's Take-n-Bake Jack O'Lantern Pepperoni Pizza!

And then - just after 7pm - the films began! (SPOILER ALERT - the following images may present spoilers, plus there is an ongoing body count for each movie - if you haven't seen all of these movies beware...)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

My buddy Ray and his girlfriend Melinda joined me and my wife Suze for this one. I always snap pictures right off the screen - trying to get a good one to use in social media - to let everyone know what we're up to - and it's always in the hopes someone extra will join us - though that's not yet happened.

Donald Pleasence

This was the shot used on social media.


Don't worry, the cat is not part of the body count.

Terror Train

Ray, Melinda, Suze, and me.

The conductors don't appreciate practical jokes - and no one knows who's really in that snake costume...

Michy's legs were a draw to take this shot.

This is the social media shot.

Ray's carved buddy Jack is the mascot for the second Body Count shot.

Night of the Demons  (1988)

Ray, Melinda, Suze, and me - and James joined us near the end.

Linnea Quigley looking pretty damned demonic...when there's only one picture from the movie of course
it is the shot used in social media...

Snacks and an adult beverage flank our ever growing BC.

Laid to Rest

Ray, Melinda, Suze, James, and me. The biggest attendance for the weekend. *sigh*

Sean Whalen buys it. Doesn't he kind of look like Mrs. Bates from the end of Psycho here?

My door decoration holds up the next BC - with a little help if you look down his arm...

And that wrapped us up for Friday night - it was after 2am...

Saturday morning - shortly after 9am - and now it's just James and me for the rest of the fest!

George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead

A group shot.

As the credits roll and we hit a nice round number, my cat Eva Gabor photobombs the BC pic...

Wolf Creek

Trying to catch a good shot of Mick...

There it is! And this is the social media shot.

My Canadian buddy Elaine's Halloween card spruces up the next BC shot.

The Invisible Man Returns 

Though old movies are not James's thing - I mandated an old school scary movie to honor my start as a kid in watching horror. I gave him two choices. First - Boris Karloff or Vincent Price. He chose Price. Second - The Invisible Man Returns or House of Wax? He chose the one not to see.

Not a great shot of Mr. Unseen (Vincent Price) but I'm always a sucker for a leg shot.

Here's the social media picture.

But I kept shooting - isn't she a babe?

Almost got used for social media.

Same here.

More of our snacks appear - and The Invisible Man barely makes the Body Count rise at all.

I Spit On Your Grave  (1978)

A nice try at a shot, but ends up a little busy.

In trying to keep the photos PG-13 at most - but still present something creepy -
this guy and his knife was about my only option. This is the social media winner.

This was voted on for the social media shot - but I went with the other one because the knife has
gone invisible here.

Friday the 13th dominates this BC pic.

The Howling 

Not the greatest picture, as the double exposure of the next shot is already dissolving in,
but I love these stop motion werewolves you get the briefest glimpse of...

There's the machine itself, in all its glory! My combo VHS/Blu-Ray player! And that's The Howling disc
about to come out for the next feature...

The Collection

An interesting mid-dissolve shot - kind of cool, but not what I'm looking to post ...

Trying to catch the doom trap and the guy in the same shot - fail.

Trying to catch a good shot of Our Hero...not that great.

Trying for the guy and the trap again - more fail.

Let's try catching the killer then. The lighter looks good - but he's still in motion and soft focus as a result...

Not a perfect shot - but a good one - and this is the one I used.

Jason V is almost knocked over by a single film body count that rivals his across eleven movies!

Another choice for James - a sequel to one of the movies we had watched, or a remake of one of the movies we had watched? He couldn't decide at first - eventually saying whichever was newer. 2010's I Spit On Your Grave gets pushed to next year by 2014's:

Wolf Creek 2

James couldn't make out John Jarratt's Australian accent very well, so the captions were on for the
whole movie. It was near impossible to get a good shot of Mick when there weren't words at the
bottom, and I didn't want to stop the movie, turn them off, start the movie, take the pic, stop the
movie...etc. So this pic won.

I did get this pic - which makes Mick look really creepy eyed - until you realize those are his
fingertips and not crazy eyeballs.

Our dinner - wings - and James's drink of choice - Rum-n-Pepsi - are shown off for the next BC picture.


We had made good time watching Saturday and had time for two more movies. I knew what I wanted to finish
Saturday with, so James got the choice of what was next to last - one of the choices became Sunday's first
movie, and Splinter and Shredder moved to next year. We chose this body horror flick so we could get
thoroughly grossed out. During this movie - in all seriousness - a weird light floated around in the distance
behind my house. No sounds, too slow for a remote drone or toy, and it went straight up at one point, so
not a plane. We got creeped out and ran back to the movie after locking up the back patio and
closing the curtains.

Trying to catch her horrifically changed eyes. Fail.


Trying to catch the full effect again. Fail.

Better, but still not quite what I was looking for.


Bam! Putting on makeup with the messed up eyes and mouth? Winner winner chicken dinner! Sent this one out.

Another gruesome eye shot.

Jack returns for the next BC shot. Not a huge number of bodies - but we were good and creeped out!

You're Next

James said "there's your shot right there." He was right - the movie title and some gore? Perfect!

James always does a "dead guy" shot for the HHs.

That wrapped us up for Saturday night - nine movies - a good day well spent. We were all done shortly after 2am again.

Sunday morning - back at it around 9:30am....

Trailer Park of Terror

Hard to catch a good shot in this movie as there's lots of fast moving people and camera shots.

And then you get a shot like this. No, it's not what it looks like. She is taking his belt off with her hands.
I just caught it at the exact perfect moment to make it appear this movie is raunchier than it really is.
Sorry if that offends you - but it was too funny not to include.

A prop from my favorite horror convention!

Feast III: The Happy Finish

The previous two CMW: HHs had ended with the previous two Feast movies - so we closed out the trilogy this year.

This was actually a bathroom break pause - but this movie has so much fast moving stuff to challenge me
taking a pic that I just went ahead with it.

And as has become another tradition - I jump on camera for the Body Count Final Total.

FIVE HUNDRED AND TWO! Can you believe it?

So, the second poorest turnout for any Crazy Movie Weekend - only the very first one had lower attendance with just three people - and a bunch of entertaining movies with an incredible body count. Too bad for those invited - Sandra, David, April, Natalie, Brett, Rebecca, and Jeff - who didn't make it. Maybe next year. James and I had a blast, and I was happy Ray, Melinda, and Suze made it for Friday night's movies.

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With Several Movies, Cause I Am Outta Here!