(As this tenth year of 32 Days of Halloween runs its course like a zombie plague, I wanted to throw the mic one last time to that Halloween researcher extraordinaire, Rox of Spazhouse, and let her handle the first bit of our final night. –Widge)
Peter Lorre and Vampira on The Red Skelton Show (January 8, 1955)
Widge’s Note: Back over to Rox for what she’s found while creeping through pop culture’s catacombs…
Based upon Nikolay Gogol’s short story, The Portrait, directed by Wladyslaw Starewicz, is the tale about a young penniless artist who purchases a painting. This painting’s subject comes alive much to the young man’s horror. This eight minute piece is the only surviving part of a larger forty-five minute work that has been long lost. Even though this clip is only eight minutes it is quite terrifying. People who love to purchase paintings at estate sales and antique stores may want to reconsider their purchase after viewing.
Wladyslaw Starewicz is a pioneer and giant in the realm of early 20th century stop motion photography. One of his better known works is called “The Cameraman’s Revenge.” “Revenge” is a stop motion short film utilizing insects to tell a story. When Starewicz was young, he studied etymology, and he became interested in filming when he tried for days to use cameras to record a battle between two uncooperative stag beetles. They kept dying under the extremely hot lights. He then decided to use stop motion filming which proved to be most effective way to tell a story using insects. Starewicz’s career expanded through the decades, escaping from revolutions and survived through wars, and his work has been regarded highly among film makers such as Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson to name a few.
Widge’s Note: I think it’s time to hand the mic off to Rox. How do I know that? Because when you get an email with the subject line of “BORIS KARLOFF COFFEE! Yes I am shouting” then you know it’s serious. Take it away, Rox.
This is wonderful! Act along with Boris in this commercial:
Before we get to Rox of Spazhouse and her latest find in the Halloween mines, I felt it was time for some Peter Lorre. You know that feeling, right? A Lorre deficiency? Well, feel it no more. Here’s a bit of classic old-time radio from 1942 and the Suspense show… “Til Death Do Us Part.” And Lorre’s voice is fan-tastic.
What’s not to like about October? Candy corn, Halloween, crisp cool air, leaves turned and dropped to the ground. The crunching noise of dried dead leaves. Wind whistling through the bare leaves. Darkness comes early.
At this time of year, my thoughts always turn to the landscape of change and to that imaginer of the strange, who wrote eloquent prose to ignite the imagination. I am talking about Ray Bradbury and his great body of literary work. Several occasions he spoke of meeting carnival folk in Illinois and one such person, a magician, befriended him. At some point this conjurer pointed a finger at him and announced, “You will live forever.” It has been some time since his passing, but legend Ray Bradbury (Uncle Ray to us hardcore fans) is still very much alive to us.
I crack open my beat up paperback copy of October Country. (One day I will own Dark Carnival but that is another post.) Those of us who are blessed by being born in October really believe the book is for us and about us. We are the October’s children. Stories I am recalling as I write this are bringing tears to my eyes. They are tears, though tears of happiness, because these stories–though creepy, strange and horrifying–bring me joy. The language of his prose had the power to place me into the mind of his main characters. Running through his landscape of autumn. October with its vibrancy of color and desolation; intensity then death. October and Ray Bradbury, and you can’t have one without the other. Both are magic.
First, it’s time for another commercial. Man, we should figure out a way to get paid for these. Anyway, this is by far one of the scariest commercials we’ve ever had during 32 Days of Halloween…because it pairs horror-meister Stephen King…with Skynet.
Another Spazhouse pick for this evening: it’s 1973’s The Devil’s Daughter. Here’s what Rox has to say for herself:
“Shelley Winters and a whole house of 70s character actors such as Jonathan Frid from Dark Shadows. I have vague recollections in watching this. I watched and it has the same glee quality as re-watching other 70s horror where evil triumphs.”
This evening it’s an episode of “Spazhouse Presents,” with Rox taking on the role of host. Although I would give good money to see Rox play full-on “horror host” for a feature film on some cable access channel or something. Anyway, I’ll just say this about tonight’s film–Burnt Offerings: it has one of my favorite horror movie titles. It is one of the most no-nonsense straight up titles ever. It’s sinister before you even get done saying or reading it. Love it muchly. I now hand the mic to Rox.
Back in 1997 or 1999, Karen Black was at DragonCon. I was excited to see that she was attending and had gotten her to sign the photo of her with Oliver Reed in the movie Burnt Offerings. I found it interesting that no one was really lined up to chat with Karen. This may be of course because it was way before her resurgence into horror fame with Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses. So even though Karen Black won several Golden Globe awards and was nominated for an Academy award I am not sure how many people sought Karen out at the convention. So I made to most of the time she was at her table.
In remembrance of our behind the scene supporter (really, he kept me on top of watching all the shows I reported on and movies–in fact he would ask if I had my recommendations and topics for podcast night), we repost my reading of “Casey at the Bat.” He was a major baseball fan and also taught literature and the humanities, so I went to him for help with the poem’s cadence and inflections when I recorded this for National Poetry Month. In addition, he knew the importance of Need Coffee and DragonCon to me. He was a veritable Charlie from Charlie’s Angels.
Harold Sunshine February 3, 1935 – October 29, 2013
Widge’s Note: Late putting this one up. Sorry for that. 2012 wasn’t finished stealing my lunch money.
Holidays. Fitness. Sex. No matter what your issue, you should feel no fear. For Rox has arrived with another episode of Help Me Rox to give you survival tips on these topics and many others. She takes from her bindle of wisdom and bestows the goodness upon you, free of charge. Well, as far as you know.
Joining her on this quest to save your happy ass is Special Guest Mighty Bill, professional viking, part-time lord of evil, giant flask model and one of the curators at Kinky and the Geek. He also owns a bar that makes Leigh speechless. Think about that. Also, the man working as fast as he can to engineer this beast as well as keeping Rox’s lawyer on speed-dial..that’s Jon Boutelle of The Unique Geek. Read More