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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 31: X the Unknown!
Posted on 10.30.14 by Widge @ 9:24 pm

X the Unknown (1956)

As a long distance dedication to Rox, here we go back to Hammer Films for our penultimate night of movies...it's 1956 and X the Unknown. It's written by Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster (who brought you, among other things, the hammer Dracula) and directed by Leslie Norman (who would go on to direct mostly television, including a slew of Saint episodes). It stars Dean Jagger (Vanishing Point), Edward Chapman (Things to Come) and a relatively young Leo McKern ("Be-at-tle") from early in his career.

The setup is fairly simple and routine for those of us who have been around for eight years now...a creature from prehistory has decided to come up to the surface of the earth to eat radiation. And goes from place to place doing so, like a glowing buffet. But it's old school Hammer, so what's not to like? Enjoy.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 31: Lux Radio Theatre!
Posted on 10.30.14 by Widge @ 7:00 pm

Lux Radio Theatre

One of the things I love to speculate about is alternate versions of pop culture. What if they had used William Gibson's somewhat mental Alien 3 script? What if Terry Gilliam had directed Watchmen? Hell, what if Sylvester Stallone had played Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop? (These things were all possibilities...I didn't just make up random bits. I mean, yeah...usually I do, but not in these cases.) So Lux Radio Theatre did that from time to time--they would reunite the cast of a recent film to perform a radio adaptation of it. And remember--these days you can actually get a world premiere--a simultaneous world premiere--of a film. Back then? Hell no. You didn't usually get an America-wide premiere. (I actually need to check and see when the first one was.)

So one of the ways that they promoted the films was this. And here's two. We get to hear a version of the 1943 Phantom of the Opera--with original cast members Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster--but with Basil Rathbone stepping for Claude Rains. Oh, and your host...is Cecil B. DeMille. And then we go to 1955...where they go back to 1953 and re-cast War of the Worlds with Dana Andrews and Pat Crowley. Enjoy!

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 30: Dr. Cyclops!
Posted on 10.29.14 by Widge @ 11:54 pm

Dr. Cyclops

What's the first thing that struck me while watching Dr. Cyclops? That it's a film from 1940 and in color...which seems fairly early. Turns out it's the earliest: the first American sci-fi film in Technicolor. And it has considerable appeal since the bad guy shrinks his victims--shades of Irwin Allen. It always seems to go back to Irwin Allen with me. Also, is it just me or is Albert Dekker seeming to be going for Ultimate Mad Scientist Villainy status? I mean, I know this isn't a Marvel movie and I still expect him to say Hail Hydra. Jebus.

Anyway, enjoy Honey, I Shrunk My Adversaries.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 30: Inner Sanctum!
Posted on 10.29.14 by Widge @ 2:48 pm

Raymond Johnson, host of Inner Sanctum

Inner Sanctum was a rather large media franchise: Simon and Schuster had their mystery novels, there was a series of movies, a television series, and a series of films starring Lon Chaney Jr. But my favorite iteration is the old-time radio show, hosted originally by the creepmeister Raymond Edward Johnson. That's him up top there.

My favorite story about the show can be found on Wikipedia, but I've heard it from elsewhere as well: the creaking door isn't a door at all...the effect was provided by a squeaky desk chair. At one point, someone mistakenly oiled the chair, removing its ability to creak--and the foley guy had to just mimic the sound himself. Nice.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 29: Necromancy!
Posted on 10.28.14 by Widge @ 7:00 pm

Necromancy (1972)

And you thought Michael Gambon in Toys was a weird guy to run a toy factory. But being militaristic is almost normal when compared to Orson Welles, who runs the toy factory in a small town and is trying to use his position of power to return the dead to life. As you do. It's Necromancy, though it's gone by other names such as The Toy Factory, The Witching and A Life for a Life.

Also of note: this is directed by Bert I. Gordon, helmer of Earth vs. the Spider, Food of the Gods and everything in between. And I have read online about multiple re-cuttings of the film...so there's no telling which version we actually have here. Regardless. Enjoy.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 29: Garth Marenghi's Darkplace!
Posted on 10.28.14 by Widge @ 6:03 am

Garth Marenghis Darkplace

Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade, two very disturbed individuals, are also Garth Marenghi and Dean Learner, two even more disturbed individuals, and they bring you this 1980s lost series by way of 2004: it's Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. This is quite possibly one of the best 80stastic sendups in all of television history...and if you don't get why it's so terrifyingly accurate, then you should probably ask your parents. This series was followed by a chat show hosted by Learner, Man to Man With Dean Learner, and sadly I'm not sure we've seen any of Marenghi since. Because this is so wrong it goes back around to right again, rings the front doorbell and runs off.

This is the first episode of six. Sadly, despite actually being shown stateside, it isn't in print on Region 1. Your best bet is to snag it and Man to Man in this boxed set. It's worth it.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 28: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf!
Posted on 10.27.14 by Widge @ 11:00 pm

Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Not the Nickelodeon film. No, this is the 1973 film which was the last film directed by Nathan H. Juran, helmer of such classics as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (not to mention a slew of Irwin Allen TV episodes). And yes, it stars Kerwin Mathews (who was the aforementioned Sinbad). Mathews plays a divorced father who saves his son from a werewolf, only to be bitten himself. And truly, hijinks thus ensue. Enjoy.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 28: Holiday Haunted Mansion and Mystic Manor
Posted on 10.27.14 by Widge @ 6:32 pm

Dueling Ghost from Disney Haunted Mansion

Yes, more of the Haunted Mansion. I am a bit obsessed. But, to be fair, this is the day we have previously posted video of a ridethrough of Disneyland's mashup: when The Nightmare Before Christmas invades the Haunted Mansion. So we have that for you. And then, a ridethrough video of Mystic Manor, the version of Haunted Mansion they have at Hong Kong Disneyland. I was at D23 when they were showing the concept info for this...so thrilled as hell to see the ride now. It'll do until I can get over there. Enjoy.

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Of Dammiting Hydra and Engaging the Masses
Posted on 10.27.14 by Wolven @ 3:38 am

Gillette Fusion: Hydra Cool

The latest from the insidious Hydra Product Placement Division.

Two big things happened this past week. One was quiet, but the other was very loud.

The quiet and more recent one was Marvel's Epicly Smooth rollout of the Age Of Ultron Trailer--yes, smooth, even in the face of it being leaked. Pretty much instantaneously, they popped it on their main YouTube page and all commercials for the upcoming Agents Of SHIELD episode with which the trailer was supposed to premiere went from "world premiere" to "world BROADCAST premiere" like it was Nothing. As I've said before, there's probably a "Leak Team" in most big studios these days, and if there isn't, there SHOULD be.

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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 27: Space Invasion of Lapland!
Posted on 10.26.14 by Widge @ 11:00 pm

Space Invasion of Lapland

I'm sure I must have heard of tonight's pick previously...but a title like Space Invasion of Lapland, well, it seems like that would stick in the mind. It's apparently also known by many names, sort of like Prince...those names include Horror (or Terror) in the Midnight Sun and even Invasion of the Animal People. A co-production between the U.S. and Sweden, it features a terrible monster from space that crashes to Earth in a ship mistaken for a meteor, then starts to show an utter disregard for life--even attacking innocent reindeer! It was directed by Virgil W. Vogel, a guy who directed the hell out of some TV...everything from Wagon Train to Airwolf. Enjoy!

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