July 2013

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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Man from Earth (2007)

Drexel Jerome Lewis Bixby (January 11, 1923 in Los Angeles, California – April 28, 1998 in San Bernardino, California) was an American short story writer, editor and scriptwriter, best known for his work in science fiction.  He also wrote many westerns and used the pseudonyms D. B. Lewis, Harry Neal, Albert Russell, J. Russell, M. St. Vivant, Thornecliff Herrick and Alger Rome (for one collaboration with Algis Budrys).  He is most famous for the 1953 story "It's a Good Life" which was the basis for a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone and which was included in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).  He also wrote four episodes for the Star Trek series: "Mirror, Mirror", "Day of the Dove", "Requiem for Methuselah", and "By Any Other Name".  With Otto Klement, he co-wrote the story upon which the classic sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage (1966), television series, and novel by Isaac Asimov were based.  Bixby's final work was the screenplay for the 2007 cult sci-fi film The Man From Earth.

Actors: David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Alexis Thorpe, Richard Riehle
Directors: Richard Schenkman
Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
Run Time: 90 minutes

The Man from Earth is a 2007 science fiction film written by Jerome Bixby and directed by Richard Schenkman. The film stars David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist of the story.  The screenplay for this movie was conceived by Jerome Bixby in the early 1960s and was completed on his death bed in April 1998, making it his final piece of work.  The movie gained recognition in part for being widely distributed through Internet peer-to-peer networks and its producer publicly thanked users of these networks for this.  The film was later adapted by Schenkman into a stage play of the same name.

The plot focuses on John Oldman, a departing university professor who claims to be a Cro-Magnon (or Magdalenian caveman) who has somehow survived for over 14,000 years.  The only setting is in and around Oldman's house during his farewell party, with the plot advancing through intellectual arguments between Oldman and his fellow faculty members.  The movie is composed almost entirely of dialogue.

In the tradition of such psychologically-charged sci-fi outings as The Next One (1982) and K-PAX (2001) comes the cerebral science fiction opus The Man From Earth (2007).  The story concerns Professor John Oldman, a scientist who summons a group of associates to a cabin one freezing night, and strikes them with a fantastic revelation: he is not a traditional human, but a 14,000 year-old immortal, who has survived centuries of evolution from the Cro-Magnon Era to the present.  In the hours to follow, Professor Oldman's earth-shaking assertion about himself challenges the men on spiritual, scientific and historical levels.  But the most incredible is yet to come - an even more astonishing truth in which the men's discussions culminate.

For further information on this film you can go to the Official Website for The Man From Earth.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Stepford Sequels (1980)(1987)(1996)

The Stepford Wives is a 1972 satirical thriller novel by Ira Levin.  The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who begins to suspect that the frighteningly submissive housewives in her new idyllic Connecticut neighborhood may be robots created by their husbands.

Two films of the same name have been adapted from the novel; the first starred Katharine Ross and was released in 1975, while a remake starring Nicole Kidman appeared in 2004.  Edgar J. Scherick produced the 1975 version, all three sequels, and was posthumously credited as producer in the 2004 remake.

The term "Stepford wife", which is often used in popular culture, stemmed from the novel, and is usually a reference to a submissive and docile housewife.

Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980)

Actors: Sharon Gless, Julie Kavner, Audra Lindley, Don Johnson
Directors: Robert Fuest
Format: NTSC, Color, Dolby
Language: English
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Embassy Home Entertainment
VHS Release Date: February 23, 1989
Run Time: 95 minutes

Revenge of the Stepford Wives is a 1980 made-for-television sci-fi/horror film inspired by the Ira Levin novel “The Stepford Wives.”  It was directed by Robert Fuest with a screenplay by David Wiltse. Sharon Gless, Julie Kavner, Don Johnson, Arthur Hill, and Audra Lindley starred in the film.  It is the first in a series of sequels inspired by the 1971 novel and the original 1975 film.

The film first aired on October 12, 1980.  Despite the suburban Connecticut setting, it was filmed in California as is evident by the presence of palm trees and canyons.

This is the first sequel in a string of stories suggested by, but not necessarily true to the original concept of the novel.  Although the feel, costumes, and even music suggest the original film, a new and different twist is written for the sequel.

A TV reporter arrives in Stepford to do a story on the American town with the lowest crime and divorce rates and the tightest real-estate market (no one ever leaves).  She needs an assistant, and after  interviewing the seemingly-plastic women of Stepford, jumps at the chance to hire the down-to-earth Megan, who's married to a newly-hired cop who hasn't yet moved into the town.  Four times a day a siren sounds and every woman in town takes a pill (they each claim it's a thyroid condition).  Accidents start to happen, Megan disappears for a couple of days, and the reporter realizes something is amiss.  When Megan returns as a full-fledged Stepford wife, it's time for action.

The Stepford Children (1987)

Actors: Barbara Eden, Don Murray, Tammy Lauren, Pat Corley
Directors: Alan J. Levi
Writers: Ira Levin, William Bleich
Producers: Edgar J. Scherick, Gary Hoffman
Format: NTSC
Language: English
Run Time: 96 minutes

The Stepford Children is the second of three made-for-television sequels to the 1975 cult film The Stepford Wives. The film premiered on the NBC network on March 15, 1987.  The film was directed by Alan J. Levi and written by William Bleich.

Kenny, the boy kidnapped on the lake early in the film would later become famous as Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The robots evolved from the original depiction in the first film, who closely resembled mannequins or the animatronics found at Disneyland.  The advanced versions resemble "the Visible Man" toy, and this design was similarly recreated in the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives.

In this sequel to The Stepford Wives, Steven and Laura Harding (along with their kids David and Mary) have moved to the quiet community of Stepford, CT.  Steven joins the men's club, which is still assimilating their wives into robots.  This time, they have begun to turn their out of control teens into robots as well.  Once they are assimilated, they are obedient, homework loving, big band dancing droids.  Laura, David, and Mary stumble onto this mystery, and they must avoid Steven's plans to turn them into robots.

The Stepford Husbands (1996)

Actors: Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Sarah Douglas
Directors: Fred Walton
Writers: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Producers: Cynthia S. Holladay, Edgar J. Scherick, Mitch Engel, Natalie Hart, Sollace Mitchell
Format: Color, NTSC
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
VHS Release Date: May 18, 1999
Run Time: 120 minutes

The Stepford Husbands is a 1996 made-for-television thriller film inspired by the Ira Levin novel The Stepford Wives. It was directed by Fred Walton with a screenplay by brothers Ken Wheat and Jim Wheat.  It stars Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Sarah Douglas, and Louise Fletcher.  It is the third in a series of sequels inspired by the 1971 novel and the original 1975 film The Stepford Wives.

The film first aired on May 14, 1996. It was filmed in North Carolina.

This is the third sequel in a string of stories based on the original concept of the novel.  The first sequel, Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) starred Don Johnson, Sharon Gless, and Julie Kavner and suggested a similar drug induced compliance.  The second sequel, The Stepford Children (1987) starred Barbara Eden and hewed closer to the original.  This third sequel basically reverses the roles, with the women being the oppressors. Louise Fletcher's role, in particular, recalls the role of "Diz", the Men's Club President, in the original.

The Executive Producer for the film is Edgar J. Scherick, who produced the first film.

Jodi (Donna Mills) and Mick Davison (Michael Ontkean) move to Stepford, Connecticut, hoping that the change of scenery will help rejuvenate their marriage.  What they do not know is that the women of the town have plotted to mold their husbands into their versions of perfect men--sometimes with deadly results.

Newcomer Jodi is duped by her friend Caroline (Cindy Williams) into believing that her husband has serious problems that can be cured by spending time at the Stepford Institute for Human Behavior.  So Mick checks in to the clinic, where he is given an extra dose of behavioral therapy along with some psychotropic drugs.  When Jodi finally catches on to what's happening, she begins a desperate quest to rescue her husband from the hands of these manipulative people--before it's too late.

There also a documentary of the same name on the DVD of 2004’s The Stepford Wives.  It is a behind the scenes and making of type thing.

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All images found via Google Image Search with most coming from StompToyko.com

Cool Air (1926)(1971)(1993)(1999)(2007)(2013)

"Cool Air" is a short story by the American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in March 1926 and published in the March 1928 issue of Tales of Magic and Mystery. 

Lovecraft wrote "Cool Air" during his unhappy stay in New York City, during which he wrote three horror stories with a New York setting. In "Lovecraft's New York Exile," David E. Schultz cites the contrast Lovecraft felt between his apartment, crammed with relics of his beloved New England, and the immigrant neighborhood of Red Hook in which he lived as an inspiration for the "unsettling juxtaposition of opposites" that characterizes the short story. Like the story's main character, Shultz suggests, Lovecraft, cut off from his native Providence, Rhode Island, felt himself to be just going through the motions of life.

The building that is the story's main setting is based on a townhouse at 317 West 14th Street where George Kirk, one of Lovecraft's few New York friends, lived briefly in 1925.  The narrator's heart attack recalls that of another New York Lovecraft friend, Frank Belknap Long, who dropped out of New York University because of his heart condition.  The narrator's phobia about cool air is reminiscent of Lovecraft himself, who was abnormally sensitive to cold.

Schultz indicates that "Cool Air's” main literary source is Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", described as Lovecraft's favorite Poe story after "The Fall of the House of Usher".   Lovecraft had just finished the Poe chapter of his survey "Supernatural Horror in Literature" at the time that he wrote the short story.  Lovecraft, however, stated years later that the story that inspired "Cool Air" was Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the White Powder", another tale of bodily disintegration.

The story is set up as the narrator's explanation for why a "draught of cool air" is the most detestable thing to them.

The tale opens up in the spring of 1923 with the narrator looking for housing in New York City, finally settling in a converted brownstone on West Fourteenth Street.  Eventually, a chemical leak from the floor above reveals that the inhabitant directly overhead is a strange, old, and reclusive doctor.  One day the narrator suffers a heart attack, and remembering that a doctor lives directly above, heads there, culminating in the narrator's first meeting with Dr. Muñoz.

The doctor shows supreme medical skill and saves the narrator with a concoction of drugs, resulting in the fascinated narrator returning regularly to sit and learn from the doctor.  As their talks continue, it becomes increasingly evident that the doctor has an obsession with defying death through all available means.

The doctor's room is kept cold at approximately 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) using an ammonia-based refrigeration system, the pumps driven by a gasoline engine.  As time goes on, the doctor's health declines and his behavior becomes increasingly eccentric.  The cooling system is continuously upgraded, to the point where some areas are at sub-freezing temperatures—until one night when the pump breaks down.

Without explanation, the panic-stricken doctor frantically implores his friend to help him keep his body cool.  Unable to repair the machine until morning and without a replacement piston, they resort to having the doctor stay in a tub full of ice.  The narrator spends his time replenishing the ice, but soon is forced to employ someone else to do it.  When he finally manages to locate competent mechanics and the replacement part however, it is too late.

He arrives at the apartment only to see the rapidly-decomposed remains of the doctor, and a rushed, "hideously smeared" letter.  The narrator reads it, and to their horror, finally understands the doctor's peculiarities: Dr. Muñoz was undead, and has been for the past 18 years.  Refusing to give in, he has kept his body going past the point of death using various methods, including perpetual coldness.

Rod Serling's Night Gallery: Season 2, Episode 12

Cool Air / Camera Obscura / Quoth the Raven (8 Dec. 1971)

A Gothic love story about a woman and a man who lives in a refrigerated apartment. / Miserly banker Sharsted finds himself trapped after viewing his client's strange optical device. / Edgar Allen Poe can't even get the first line down on paper.

I will defer to The Lurker in The Lobby as someone who has actually seen the episode.

A better and far more timeless Lovecraft TV adaptation premiered December 8, 1971 on NIGHT GALLERY.  It is Rod Serling's reworking of Cool Air, directed by Jeannot Szwarc and produced by Jack Laird.

Potentially much easier to adapt than Pickman's Model, Serling's screenplay nonetheless totally reformats the story, presumably to make it more TV-worthy and to give it greater depth.  The results are satisfying, but definitely not pure "Lovecraft."

As in Lovecraft's version, Serling uses the first person narrator with occasional voice-over throughout the segment.  But Serling's narrator tells the story in a manner that would have been impossible for Lovecraft: not only does Serling introduce a female character (a shunned species Lovecraft most probably perceived as alien), but he also makes this female the segment's narrator!

And Serling goes further still by adapting Cool Air as a kind of love story, with strong suggestions of necrophilia at the end.

Necronomicon: Book of Dead (1993)

H.P. Lovecraft's: Necronomicon, original title Necronomicon, also called Necronomicon: Book of the Dead or Necronomicon: To Hell and Back is an American anthology horror film released in 1993.  It was directed by Brian Yuzna, Christophe Gans and Shusuke Kaneko and was written by Brent V. Friedman, Christophe Gans, Kazunori Itō and Brian Yuzna.  The film stars Bruce Paynea as Edward De Lapoer, Richard Lynch as Jethro De Lapoer, Jeffrey Combs as H. P. Lovecraft, Belinda Bauer as Nancy Gallmore and David Warner as Dr. Madden.

The three stories in the film are based on three H. P. Lovecraft short stories: The Drowned is based on The Rats in the Walls, The Cold is based on Cool Air, and Whispers is based on The Whisperer in Darkness.

"The Cold"

Reporter Dale Porkel is suspicious of a string of strange murders in Boston over the past several decades. Confronting a woman at a local apartment building, he is invited in only to find the entire place is very cold.  The woman he has confronted claims to suffer a rare skin condition which has left her sensitive to heat and light. Demanding the truth or his story runs as-is, Dale is told the story of Emily Osterman's arrival to Boston twenty years before.

Emily had supposedly taken residence in the apartment building, and told by Lena, the owner, not to disturb the other tenant, Dr. Richard Madden, a scientist.  Her first night, she is attacked by her sexually abusive stepfather, Sam, who has tracked her down.  Running away, the two struggle on the steps leading to the next apartment. Dr. Madden opens his door, grabs Sam's arm and stabs his hand with a scalpel.  The fall down from the stairs kills him.  Emily is bandaged up and given medication.  That night, Emily is roused by drilling noises and blood dripping from her ceiling.  Heading upstairs, she finds Dr. Madden and Lena mutilating Sam.  She passes out, to awaken later in her bed with a clean ceiling. Dr. Madden assures her she was having a nightmare.

The next day while job hunting, Emily sees two cops with a flyer asking for information about the murder of Sam. She confronts Dr. Madden, and he comes clean: Though Sam was already dead from the fall, Dr. Madden claims he would have killed Sam regardless for what he had done to Emily.  Dr. Madden reveals his copy of the Necronomicon and how he learned of its information on sustaining life.  In the greenhouse, Dr. Madden proves this by injecting a wilted rose with a compound to revive it, claiming that as long as it is kept out of the sun, it will never die.  The two have sex, with a distraught Lena spying on them.

That night, Lena threatens to kill Emily if Emily will not kill her, as Lena is in love with Dr. Madden, a feeling that has never been returned.  Emily flees, only to return months later.  Upon arrival, Emily finds her boss from the diner in Dr. Madden's apartment, struggling to avoid death.  Lena stabs the man in the back, killing him. Lena insists on killing Emily, but Dr. Madden will not allow it, the struggle destroying lab equipment in the process.  The resulting fire injures Dr. Madden severely, and without his fresh injection of pure spinal fluid, feels no pain as his body disintegrates before he dies.  Lena shoots Emily with a shotgun in revenge.  Emily announces her pregnancy, and Lena, feeling a loyalty to Dr. Madden, saves her.

Dale suspects the woman he's talking to is not Emily's daughter, but Emily herself, having contracted a disease from Dr. Madden during intercourse.  Emily reveals he is right, and that she is still pregnant, hoping one day that her baby may be born.  She also reveals that she has continued murdering for spinal fluid, and chooses to keep a supply stockpiled.  Dale realizes his coffee has been drugged as an aged Lena approaches him, brandishing a syringe.

Cool Air (1999)

In the 1920s, impoverished horror writer Randolph Carter rents a room from Mrs. Caprezzi, an elderly land lady.  Not long after settling into the shabby and almost bare room, he discovers a pool of ammonia on the floor that has leaked down from the room above.  Mrs. Caprezzi, while cleaning up the ammonia, regales Randolph with strange stories of Dr. Muñoz (Jack Donner), the eccentric old gentleman who lives in the room upstairs.  Later, Randolph suffers a heart attack and painfully makes his way to the doctor's room where he is treated with an unconventional medicine and makes a remarkable recovery.  Befriending the doctor, Carter soon discovers the awful truth about the doctor's condition, why his room is kept intensely cold, and the fragile line that separates life and death.

Cool Air was filmed on location in Glendale, California, USA over several weekends, using a CP-16R regular 16mm camera package owned by DP Michael Bratkowski.  The film was shot on Ilford Black and White regular 16mm film stock, a great filmstock, though prone to film dust and shavings when transferred using a Telecine Flying Spot Scanner, otherwise known as a Rank.

Chill (2007)

Chill is a multi-award-winning 2007 horror film written and directed by Serge Rudnunsky that stars Thomas Calabro, Ashley Laurence, Shaun Kurtz and James Russo.

The film was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's "Cool Air".  Similar plot elements include the fact that the doctor in the film (played by Shaun Kurtz) is named Dr. Muñoz as in Lovecraft's story, and must live in refrigerated conditions in order to survive.  There is also a mention of the Necronomicon in the film; while this does not occur in Lovecraft's "Cool Air", it does serve in the movie as a clue to its Lovecraftian inspiration.  Part of the plot hinges on the refrigeration system breaking down, again as in the Lovecraft story.  Physically the character of Dr Muñoz in the film does not resemble the character described in Lovcecraft's story, nor does he speak with a Spanish accent.

Overall, however, the plot of the movie moves away from the Lovecraft story in depicting Muñoz as the controller of a serial killer who preys on prostitutes.  Muñoz lives in the back of a deli which he runs, and the protagonist Sam, a writer who comes to work at the deli for survival money, gets dragged into the web of killings. Sam also falls in love with a woman named Maria who runs a clothing stores across the street and is being threatened by a local cop, Detective Defazio who she dated once.

The DVD packaging for the Australian release through Flashback Entertainment does not feature Lovecraft's name anywhere, though the American packaging indicates that Lovecraft's tale inspired the movie.  The film is omitted from Charles P. Mitchell's otherwise fairly comprehensive The Complete H.P. Lovecraft Filmography (Greenwood Press, 2001), possibly because the makers of Chill did not overtly capitalize on Lovecraft's name.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summarizes the plot as "Let's just say someone dies but cheats Death by harvesting flesh and dabbling in the occult."

Cool Air (2013)

Filmed in 2006 but not released until 2013 via Video on Demand.  Why?  I don’t know, maybe it just sucks that much.  No information is available for the delay.

Charlie Baxter, a struggling screenwriter, is searching for accommodation in a rundown mansion somewhere in the isolated mountains above Malibu.  An expressionless and creatively bankrupt young man who rewrites exploitation sci-fi / horror scripts for a living, he takes a room in the mansion and learns of the mysterious doctor residing in the room above his own who dabbles in strange experiments.  As he learns more about the circumstances of the doctor and the history of his landlady, her autistic daughter and the strange lodger across the hall, Baxter is inspired to write his long blocked "great American Screenplay".  Working furiously, Baxter suffers a heart attack, and staggers up to see the doctor for treatment.  He passes out immediately, but awakens a cured man.  But at a terrible price.  The Doctor, a strangely preserved woman named Shockner, persuades Baxter to stay until he recovers fully, and informs her "patient" of the medical condition that has forced her into a hermit's existence. Twenty years ago Shockner suffered a fatal disease.  Her solution found in the occult and dark arts, preserved her life but at the cost.  Slowly Baxter is drawn into a nightmarish world of insane experiments and murder.  He knows something must be done to stop the evil that resides in the room at the top of the stairs.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From Hell it Came (1957)

This would be the movie I made reference to yesterday when I discovered Uncle Fright.  If it were completely up to me the entire review would be nothing but two words.  Tree Monster.
Click Me for Amazon Actors: Tod Andrews, Tina Carver, Linda Watkins, John McNamara, Gregg Palmer
Directors: Dan Miller
Format: NTSC
Language: English
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Allied Artists
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2009
Run Time: 71 minutes
A South Seas island prince is wrongly convicted of murder and executed by having a knife driven into his heart.  The prince is buried in a hollow tree trunk and forgotten about until nuclear radiation reanimates it in the form of the "tabonga", a scowling tree stump.  The monster escapes from the laboratory and kills several people, including the true murderer (the witch doctor, whom the tabonga pushes down a hill to be impaled on his own crown of shark teeth).  The creature cannot be stopped, burned, or trapped.  Only when a crack rifle shot drives the knife (which still protrudes from the creature's chest) all the way through its heart does it finally die and sink into the swamp.  A pair of American scientists save the day.  TREE MONSTER!
According to Tim Healey, it deserves an honored place in the canon of the world's worst movies.  However, in Leonard Maltin's movie guidebook, the film was rated at 1½ stars (only the second-lowest of seven ratings available), with the comment that "As walking-tree movies go, this is at the top of the list."  James Rolfe reviewed it in his Monster Madness series, acknowledging the absurdity of having a tree monster "come from hell" rather than a demon or oni.  TREE MONSTER!

What more is there to say?  Well, Fangoria wrote…
Despite all my gripes here, FROM HELL IT CAME does hold a valid place in the pantheon. It is a great expression of the period’s Atomic Age fears and a superb example of the creature films that saturated the time. No, Tabonga is not at all scary. The plot is slow and dry, and the scientists’ constant mocking of the natives’ primitive ways comes across as a giant “We are America, and everyone else sucks,” yet the film still has a kitschy charm that makes it a decent watch.
Now available as part of Warner Home Video’s Archive Collection, FROM HELL IT CAME is recommended not as an example of brilliant filmmaking or intense scares, but more as a fun, cheesy laugh and a fine example of 1950s atomic worries. Check out the trailer below, and marvel at the wonder that is Tabonga!

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Where did all the horror hosts go?

Uncle Fright This past Sunday I was attempting to watch a movie, that I will be talking about in depth tomorrow, and although the audio and video were in sync at the start by twenty minutes in there was a fifteen second difference.  I can tolerate a lot of things in my movies but once the AV is out-of-sync that vein in my forehead starts a pulsating.  So to the Internet I go to find a copy of said movie, which I do find being hosted by Uncle Fright on Blip.TV.

After the film finishes I scan the rest of his shows to see if anything other movies look interesting/have never seen, find a few and realize his latest show is from March of this year.  Crap, I would have made a habit of watching this guy.  Too bad once I get through his catalogue there may not be anything new from him.  Maybe he is just taking a break.  We’ll bookmark that and come back to it at a later date.  By this point my wife has taken interest and is curious to what other hosts are on the net.  Let us see who else is hosting some scary movies but first some background.

I have written before about growing up in the shadow of Philadelphia Pennsylvania and spending my childhood watching Dr. Shock every Saturday.  No one person is more responsible for my tastes in horror and science fiction movies than that man.  No one person is more responsible for my opinion of how a horror host should be than that man also.  Dr. Shock was scary and funny and even when the sketch was falling apart he never broke character.  He did ever episode like it was being broadcast live and damn it he was going to do it all in one take.  I also had a friend in California who would occasional mail me VHS tapes of Elvira since she wasn’t syndicated in my area at the time.

Flash forward to the mid-2000s and one of the local independent TV stations becomes an affiliate of RetroTV which I don’t know if it still exists or not, RetroTV that is – the TV station is now MeTV.  With that family friendly network came a late night horror show by the name of Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In and it was awesome.  As corny as his sketches were sometimes he really know how to be the horror host that show needed.  It didn’t hurt that the movies he hosted were some of the worst in film history.  His segments were part of a whole show story arc that usually ended in his co-host Boney Bob having performed some heinous act of misunderstanding and hilarity would ensue.  And then the station dropped it’s affiliation and then Mac Kelly who played Wolfman Mac announced there would be no new shows.

Almost immediately the same station picked up the newly re-syndicated Elvira, Mistress of The Dark…for six weeks, and two movies played in repetition.  I don’t need to explain Elvira, you are familiar with her work and legend, I only hope there was way more to her show than those two movies and someone else is enjoying Miss E.  At the same time there was a cute goth chick hosting on one of the other national cable stations for a few months that for the life of me I cannot remember the name of.  Too bad, she was amazing with her black humor and just being generally gorgeous…not that Elvira was hard to look at you know.

Now I have Svengoolie who I tolerate for it is all I got.  History lesson over, back to my point.

In addition to Uncle Fright I come across Super Scary Theater with Miss Dementia out of Ohio I think.  Holy crap this show is speeding out of control and barely on the rails.  Between her and her cast this is chaos of epic levels and if there is one thing about chaos, you don’t control it – you just try to aim it and she has laser sights on a sniper rifle.  This could be my new favorite show, if it had lasted for more than four episodes before ending in July of 2011.  Damn it, you had a gimp and a tranny for co-hosts, how could that fail?  Did I mention her signature red dress barely contains her and she has a gift for smoothly making sure she doesn’t come spilling out?  All four of those episodes I found contain some of the best top-notch hosting I have seen in a while, corny yes but she plays it so over the top you can’t help but laugh and feel sorry when the set starts to fall apart and she just keeps rolling forward playing it all from the hip.

There are of course many other Internet hosts and shows but as I try to research into many of them I am greeted by 404 errors and domain squatters.  Where have all my horror hosts gone?

The one bright shining light in all of this is Count Gore de Vol and his weekly web show.  This man has the skills and personality to do the job.  In addition to his show he is also the champion of all horror host through TV history and maintains an archive of information pertaining to that branch of entertainment.  Count Gore is what I remember most from all those years watching Dr. Shock.  He is my hero and is the example I will try to live up to if I every get off my butt and follow through with my plans, helps that the wife is kicking my butt to do it too. 

I hope my tirade wasn’t too boring but this is something that means a lot to me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On a sidenote…

Pacific Rim is the most awesome film I have seen this year.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  Del Toro has made an excellent Kaiju movie and should be proud.  You made this old man happy to spend $12 to see it on a big screen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thale (2012)

The Huldra is a seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore.  The huldra is a stunningly beautiful, sometimes naked woman with long hair; though from behind she is hollow like an old tree trunk, and has an animal's tail.  In Norway, she has a cow's tail, and in Sweden she may have that of a cow or a fox.  Further in the north of Sweden, the tail can be entirely omitted in favor of her hollow or bark-covered back.
The huldras were held to be kind to charcoal burners, watching their charcoal kilns while they rested. Knowing that she would wake them if there were any problems, they were able to sleep, and in exchange they left provisions for her in a special place. A tale from Närke illustrates further how kind a huldra could be, especially if treated with respect.
A boy in Tiveden went fishing, but he had no luck.  Then he met a beautiful lady, and she was so stunning that he felt he had to catch his breath.  But, then he realized who she was, because he could see a fox's tail sticking out below the skirt.  As he knew that it was forbidden to comment on the tail to the lady of the forest, if it were not done in the most polite manner, he bowed deeply and said with his softest voice, "Milady, I see that your petticoat shows below your skirt".  The lady thanked him gracefully and hid her tail under her skirt, telling the boy to fish on the other side of the lake.  That day, the boy had great luck with his fishing and he caught a fish every time he threw out the line.  This was the huldra's recognition of his politeness.
Actors: Silje Reinåmo, Erlend Nervold, Jon Sigve Skard, Morten Andresen, Roland Astrand
Directors: Aleksander Nordaas
Format: Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: Norwegian
Subtitles: English
Dubbed: English
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Xlrator
DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013
Run Time: 77 minutes
Thale (2012) is a Norwegian supernatural horror film directed and written by Aleksander L. Nordaas.  The film was released in Norway on February 17, 2012, with a following worldwide release, sold to over 50 countries.
Elvis and Leo run a crime scene cleanup business and are hired to clean up after a death, when they discover Thale, a huldra that appears to be incapable of human speech, hidden in a basement.  She has been held captive there for a long time, and something or someone wants her back.
Thale is shown in the film appearing as a tall beautiful woman with a cow tail in keeping with the traditional legends of the Huldra, however she does not have a hollowed out back like a hollow tree.  Her fellow Huldra appear more like very lean hooved female Satyrs with the cow tail showing in the back.  The special effects presenting the creatures are first rate.
In a world where most reviewers are downrating this film for lack of gore or edge of your seat scares I veer away from the pack and say that if you want something that is slow burning and just plain creepy you can not go wrong with this film.  There are a few points where you will wonder what you are looking at but that just adds to the story.  The mythology says the huldra is a stunningly beautiful woman and the casting is perfect with Silje Reinamo.  She is painfully gorgeous and a joy to watch both for that and he ability to act the crap out of this role.

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