Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Trap (1922)

Just when you think you've seen all the Lon Chaney films that have been found, another one gets cleaned up and rereleased. I recently picked up the Kino release of what is claimed to be Lon Chaney's first starring role in a film, The Trap. By all accounts on IMDb, he had appeared in over 100 films and shorts prior to starring in this film. Like many other Chaney films I've seen, he plays a character who has been wronged, which makes it a perfect vehicle for him to demonstrate his talent at changing his appearance from one of innocent benevolence to crazed and vengeful. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Messiah of Evil (1974)

I decided to watch something from 50 years ago by selecting a title from my 1973 movies and landed on Messiah of Evil. It wasn't until I went to write this post that I realized the incorrect date was listed on the Film Detective DVD, and it had actually been released in 1974. If not for that error, I may have been writing about Jesus Christ Superstar today instead. It seems to be an era for messianic movies.

"A hundred years ago, the moon started turning red up in the sky and things began to happen. It was like the redder the moon got up there, the closer the people were being jerked toward hell. Well, the people started bleeding out of control. They found children eating raw meat. It was like the town was festering with an open sore, until the night that they...until the night they came down out of the canyon and..."

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

This month, the Criterion Channel is featuring a collection of films by Marilyn Monroe. I've seen quite a few of her films, so was pleasantly surprised to discover a film I'd not seen before, Don't Bother to Knock, which also has Anne Bancroft providing some lovely lounge music and Richard Widmark looking for love in all the wrong places. 

"The way you treat people. The way you think about them. All you can focus on is the cold outside of things, the simple facts. Not any causes of why's or wherefores. Oh, you're sweet. And you're fun. And you're hard. And you lack something that I ask for in a man." 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Whatever Happened to The Season of Horror?

This post is part of a new series I'm calling Stale Crumbs, a collection of posts I've written months or years ago that have never been published. Hopefully, they won't be as unpalatable as actual stale crumbs. Of course, it's entirely possible the Stale Crumbs series may end up going nowhere, that my posts on The Dunwich Horror, Psych-Out, and Mystery of the Wax Museum, among others, may continue to lurk in draft form. I always have the best intentions to get back into blogging and then something suddenly comes up. 

The following post was written back in January 2023.

My absence from blogging during this year's Season of Horror may have led my dwindling readership to ponder whether the Aging Broad may have made it to the final curtain. Good news, everyone! I'm still here. Despite not finding time to write, the Season of Horror came. Somehow or other, it came just the same. Here are a few highlights from this year's viewing:

I started off by diving into an exploration of the many movies based on the Mexican folktale of La Llorona

I saw The Conjuring and this felt like more of the same with La Llorona as the featured malevolent spirit. It had some scary elements that ended up being less effective since I'd seen them before. Meh. 


This movie didn't make much sense, was poorly written and, for the most part, terribly acted. I should have listened to other reviewers who said the same thing. There were a few parts that made me laugh, though that was not the intention, and my misplaced amusement did not make up for the WTF feeling I had through the rest of the film. 

"Vaya con dios, Maria."

La Llorona (2019)
This retelling does not adhere strictly to the traditional legend and focuses more on the Mal hombre who wronged La Llorona. Interesting and well done. Unsettling more than scary. It is the best of all versions I watched. 

La Llorona (1933)
This version seemed more of a mystery than horror. It covers two of the folklore origins which makes for a long digression, but also gives it a greater sense of authenticity. I enjoy it mostly for the period in which it was made, which makes it my favorite version of the tale thus far.

La Llorona (1960)
I enjoyed this retelling, though it was rather frustrating that La Llorona was reluctant to carry out her curse in the end. She may have had the best wail of all the Lloronas. "Ay! Mis hijooooooos!"

Next, I revisited some movies featured in the '80s Horror Collection on the Criterion Channel. 

Near Dark (1987) 
I've seen a lot of vampire movies. For the time, this was a novel take and is still enjoyable to watch. 


Christine (1983)
I have not seen this since the '80s. As with many movies based on King novels, the book is better. Quite a bit is lost in the screen adaptation. 

After that, I got sidetracked by Noirvember before returning to some classic horror. 

I watched this on Thanksgiving. It's a great movie that the whole family can enjoy, especially Raymond Burr fans. I do enjoy him, but the constant voiceover does detract. 


Gojira (1954)
Of course, I had to follow up with the original Godzilla, which is much more enjoyable without the incessant narration. It's interesting to revisit this well known movie monster from childhood and wonder how it became such a beloved monster. Son of Godzilla may have been a factor.


Now this was a real humdinger! Bela Lugosi engineers a giant bat that kills anyone wearing a special aftershave he formulated in order to exact revenge on his greedy employers who have enriched themselves from his work while he remains a poor mad scientist. This bat has a wail that could rival La Llorona. It's an absolutely ludicrous movie that entertains nonetheless. 

Somehow I missed out on my usual 70s horror fare this season. That will have to be remedied during the next Season of Horror.