Usually, today is the day I post a bunch of odds and ends that fell out the bottom and didn't fit anywhere else. But then I ran across this video...and it felt like it needed to be shared...and that it would be disrespectful to add anything else to it. Because I think it speaks for itself.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!