The Helen Mirren class is excellent and she is an absolute hoot. Her approach to choosing scripts and then how she takes the scripts apart (literally) is fascinating, as well as how she advises you to deal with the writer and director. And when she steps back to actually show you what it looks like to act on film (and the spot on the camera you’re basically acting to), you get a sense that she knows who people on the crew are–and that she’s a class act. Not that you doubted that, I’m sure, but you know what I mean. Granted, in the section where she’s going through set decoration and rummaging through a buffet of props, I hoped she had a good relationship with them because I could see (if you weren’t expecting her to do these things) the people on the crew wincing and wondering what the hell she was on about. Really good insight. Also–and this is a small thing, but I never realized it before–she has a tattoo on one of her hands which, as you can imagine, has an interesting backstory.
Author - Widge
For tonight’s final entry in our journal of weirdness, we go to The Weird Circle itself: the episode “What Was It” from 1943.
The New Scooby-Doo Movies teamed up Scooby and the Gang with Batman & Robin, The Three Stooges, and here, of course, The Addams Family. I’ve long advocated making a new round of these with the likes of Slipknot, Ryan Gosling, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Just because.
Well, unbelievably enough, we’re coming up on time to put 32 Days of Halloween back into the coffin for another year. The Halloween Season, of course, extends through New Year’s, so don’t worry yourself about that. But before we go, we need to go to an old-time radio version of a classic, “The Hitch-Hiker.” Starring Orson Welles, who performed it a few times on radio, it was later turned into a Twilight Zone episode. If you’re starved for time, at least listen to Welles’ intro.
Before we switch over to one last oomph of science fiction for this year, let’s go to a CBC series called Nightfall and their production of the W.W. Jacobs classic, “The Monkey’s Paw.”
First, it’s time for some more old-time radio with Boris Karloff in the 1941 episode of Inner Sanctum called “Fog.” If you’re on a time budget, at least listen to the announcer and his intro. Sanctum had one of the best openings. Mmmmm?
Next, here’s an insane cast for you. It’s from the 80s classic series Faerie Tale Theatre, hosted by Shelley Duvall. “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers” has Peter MacNicol as the titular boy, plus Christopher Lee, Dana Hill, David Warner, Frank Zappa, and Vincent Price as the Narrator. Just damn.
Now we come to our feature film: Macabre from 1958, another William Castle classic. This was his entry into sensationalist promotional gimmicks: attending the film would get you an official certificate from Lloyds of London, insuring you for $1000 if the film caused you to die of fright. Fantastic.
First, let’s get a classic trailer going. Dom sent me this earlier with the comment that they just don’t make trailers like this anymore. Damn right they don’t. Which is a shame. It’s the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Next, we go to David McCallum and an excellent reading of “The Dunwich Horror.” Because it’s high time we had some Lovecraft in here.
For tonight’s feature, let’s not focus on the fact that it’s got an English language title card smacked onto it as elegantly as a swan, long since taxidermied and falling off a high shelf. Let’s not even dwell on the fact that it’s Michael Rennie’s final film. Instead, ponder this first sentence from the Wikipedia (which is always right) synopsis: Aliens, running a traveling circus as a cover, revive a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy and Frankenstein’s monster with a plan to use them to take over the world.
Who the hell isn’t on board after that? Enjoy.
Let’s make a stop back on the Swedish/American show known as 13 Demon Street, which we’ve mentioned to you before. And I’ll point you there to get the back story on just WTF this is, exactly. Because it can be confusing. Just know that, indeed, that is Lon Chaney Jr. as your somewhat host.
First, let’s go back to 1961 and enjoy an episode of the Roald Dahl-hosted Way Out. Even if you don’t hang around to watch the entire episode of “20/20,” do yourself a favor and watch the first ninety seconds or so. It’s fantastic.
For tonight’s revelries, let’s start off by sending you elsewhere. There’s no real way to embed an episode of Desert Island Discs, but since this is a unique and excellent interview with Vincent Price, it’s certainly worth going to check out.
Next, I recently heard the classic short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl read by Catherine O’Hara. The story is sort of like “The Tell-Tale Heart” if it had been written by…well, Roald Dahl. I couldn’t find that exactly, but here’s the next best thing: the 1958 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that adapted the story. And yes, that is a quite young Barbara Bel Geddes as Mary.
Update: Crap. Well, that didn’t take long. It’s been taken down, so I hereby replace it with “And So Died Riabouchinska,” which is probably the only place where Hitchcock, Ray Bradbury (story), Claude Rains and Charles Bronson all meet.