Friday, September 30, 2016

Season of Horror: The Magician (1926)

Buckle up, my friends. Tonight's feature presentation is Rex Ingram's The Magician, which is beautifully tinted with original music by Robert Israel. With silent film, it's crucial to have a score that reflects the mood and action of the film, and Robert Israel does not disappoint. I am watching this movie on the Warner Archive Collection DVD

We open with a wonderful shot in Paris with a gargoyle in the foreground and the Eiffel Tower in the distance, with streets populated by pedestrians and traversed by few cars. We make our way to the studio of Margaret Dauncey, Sculpteur, who is working atop stairs on an enormous bestial sculpture. Some bearded artistic looking gent is admiring her process, and a closer look at her craftsmanship reveals a figure that bears a similarity to the Greek God Pan.

Artist Susie Boyd, who's been diligently working on a painting in the background, is signing her work entitled "Sunrise on the Seine," but after some consideration decides to change 'sunrise' to 'sunset.'

Definitely a sunset.

As Margaret puts the finishing touches on her sculpture, we see the head begin to turn from behind as though it were coming to life, and it becomes clear that the massive head is about to topple. Susie Boyd recognizes it just as we do, but despite her warning, the mammoth head is already falling atop Margaret. What a fabulous and horrific beginning to a film!

That looks like some dangerous stunt work.

"The saving of human life is a comparatively simple matter. On the other hand, the scientific creation of life does indeed call for the powers of a magician."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Season of Horror: Little Girl Lost (1972)

Tonight I've been watching some real horror called Mandated Reporter Training, so time is short once again and a horror snack is in order. Hopefully I'll be able to dive into something meatier this weekend and find time to complete a few updates. I am finishing up the second segment from last night's Night Gallery episode, called "Little Girl Lost."

"Can a man remain a genius when his mind is clouded by delusion?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Season of Horror: The Caterpillar (1972)

Since I've had quite a bit of homework to do tonight, I am trying to get my horror fix by watching one segment from Season 2 of the Night Gallery. Tonight's inspiration for bad dreams comes from Episode 22 and is called "The Caterpillar." Also in this episode is "Little Girl Lost," but I won't be watching it tonight.

"This item has a built in terror that can refrigerate even the most dispassionate amongst us."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Season of Horror: Parasite Mansion (1961)

I'm getting started on my horror viewing late tonight, so I'm dedicating myself to another episode of TV horror. Tonight's featured attraction, "Parasite Mansion," comes from that awesome horror anthology hosted by Boris Karloff, Thriller. I will be revisiting a few of my favorites from this series.

It's hard to believe it's been 6 years since I've seen some of these episodes. "Parasite Mansion" is one that I recall enjoying quite a bit, due especially to the performance of Jeanette Nolan. I must say that having temperatures close to 100 degrees is really spoiling my mood for the old dark house genre, but I'm forging ahead anyway and hoping the weather will follow suit.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Season of Horror: Legion of Demons (1973)

Tonight I'm watching an episode of Circle of Fear (formerly known as Ghost Story) called "Legion of Demons." The horror begins with a 70s motif intro with blaring horns and red spinning spiral. Whoever replaced the spooky and tasteful Ghost Story intro with this jarring assault may have been experimenting with pharmaceuticals.

"It's like the family you've never had."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Season of Horror: Frankenstein (1931)

Sunday afternoon seems ideal for watching one of Universal Pictures classic horror movies. I have selected Frankenstein for today's viewing. I know this film from childhood, but I still never tire of seeing it. I have always thought of this solely as a classic monster movie, but now that I've had quite a bit of pre-code movie experience, my perspective has changed somewhat.

I've seen Mae Clarke, who plays Elizabeth, as a moll who gets a grapefruit in the face in Public Enemy, as well as a prostitute hooking up with a naive soldier in Waterloo Bridge. John Boles plays Victor Moritz and is the face I recognize from Shirley Temple movies. Dwight Frye was Renfield before Fritz. Edward Van Sloan was Van Helsing before Doctor Waldman. Boris Karloff...well I still don't think of Frankenstein as being played by Boris Karloff, which is due to Karloff's brilliant acting and make-up. While this movie has been recreated many times over, there is nothing like the original Frankenstein.

"Where should we be if nobody tried to find out what lies beyond?"

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Season of Horror: Black Sunday (1960)

Saturday night has always held a special place in my heart for horror because of the nostalgia I have for Bob Wilkins and Creature Features. Tonight I am honoring the many scary Saturday nights of my youth by watching Mario Bava's Black Sunday.

Horror movies with witches have always been the most frightening to me. There just aren't enough really good witch movies, but this is one of the best. It is visually striking, with beautiful use of light and shadow, and uses music and sound effectively to set the mood. I love it more each time I watch it.

"You will be dead to man, 

but you will be alive in death."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Season of Horror: A Darkness at Blaisedon

It's late on Friday night and I can't decide what to watch. I considered Dead of Night, but didn't think I could stay awake through the whole trilogy. I realized I never watched Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon, which is included as an extra on the DVD. It's like watching an episode of Dark Shadows, which is expected since it shares director Lela Swift, writer Sam Hall and producer Dan Curtis, as well as Robert Cobert's musical cues from Dark Shadows. We also have DS actors Thayer David and Louis Edmonds making appearances. Amazon Prime members can stream it for free.

This show aired in 1969 and was a pilot for a series about two handsome guys and a gal investigating supernatural events, which never sold. In this show, skeptical Angela Martin hires the investigators to help prove that the house she inherited is not haunted so that she can sell it. We can bet that that's not what will happen.

"When you're dealing with the dead, 

anything can happen."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

That way madness lies...the Season of Horror Begins

Fall is the time of year when I crave classic horror movies most. I enjoy them year round, but it's when the days get shorter and gloomier that they're especially enjoyable. Since I have a lot of movies that I'd like to revisit, and continue to acquire new ones against my better judgement, I've decided to enjoy a bit of horror each night up until Winter, or as long as I can realistically continue such a madcap scheme. I hope to be able to post a rough note on what I've watched on each given evening, and possibly polish up the posts with updates, depending on the demands of Collinwood and work.

I have no schedule or concrete plans as of now. I am making selections based on what I feel like watching and what I have time to watch. I'll be including horror TV shows, though I mostly hope to focus on films from the 1920s to early 1970s. Since I was short on time this evening, I decided to pull out Ghost Story aka Circle of Fear, as it's been a number of years since I've watched it, and chose to revisit an episode written by Robert Bloch entitled, "House of Evil."

"Don't be frightened.  It's only Grandpa."

Monday, September 19, 2016

What's On-Screen

In the interest of having something posted this month, since a busy August got by me without a word, I'd like to chat about a few of the things I'm currently indulging in and hope to be writing about once I figure out how to manage blogging about Dark Shadows with a full-time job that requires a multitude of extra unpaid hours, while catching up to the many new movies I've acquired, as well as the Prime movies I've added to my Watchlist.

August was a time to celebrate joie de vivre as I like to revisit some of my favorite French films during my birthday month. My annual ritual began with watching Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Pardise) each year on my birthday, but since I discovered Drôle de drame this year, I have added it to the festivities, and it may be my new favorite film. Now that I've acquired all the Carné-Prévert films I can, I've added Criterion Collections from Jean Gremillon and Julien Duvivier. After being introduced to Max Ophüls from watching Caught, I picked up Le Plaisir and The Earrings of Madame de... I expect to see more of his films in future. I most certainly will be sharing my love for classic French film and anticipate creating new converts. Vive la France!

Now that we're sliding into late September and fall is imminent, I'm already getting a craving for classic horror. I recently added the Hammer Horror 8 film collection to my library and have been digging into that with Brides of Dracula and Curse of the Werewolf. That Hammer Horror bright red pasty thick blood looks awesome on Blu-Ray!  

This is not Blu-Ray.