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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ll get to this evening’s feature filled with possession and mayhem in a moment. But first, we go to the immortal Spike Jones and “I Was a Teenage Brain Surgeon” with vocals by the equally immortal Thurl Ravenscroft.
Tonight, first of all…Hollywood Canteen was based on an actual place setup for military servicefolks where they could get in for free by wearing their uniform. The film came out in 1944 and the two cameos you have here are the tip of the iceberg. But seeing these two together again is, of course, priceless.
Casper the Friendly Ghost
There’s Good Boos Tonight (1948)
Written by Bill Turner and Larry Riley
Directed by Isadore Sparber
Horror certainly comes in many forms. It can be the visceral sudden fright of someone jumping out and helping boo. Or it could be the slow dawning realization of watching a story play out and it is not about what you thought it was supposed to be about.