32 Days of Halloween X Begins Here! (Holy Crap!)

Jason X

September 30th is upon us. And you thought it was dead. You thought the stake was in its heart, that you cut off its head and stuffed a Kenny G CD into its mouth…but you should know better. It cannot stay dead. And sooner or later, when you least expect it (despite the fact you own a calendar), it will rise again. Thus: 32 Days of Halloween X. Our tenth year celebrating the best goddamn holiday anywhere. Yes, even better than National Coffee Day. How is that possible, you ask? Because everyday is National Coffee Day. So coffee is a given. Like breathing. Which brings me back to where I started: the thing that should not be, and the thing that doesn’t need to breathe. Namely: this festival.

We begin in a random vein (ha!) with some Oingo Boingo, a band that just feels Halloweeny even when they’re not playing a strictly Halloweeny song…but they are playing it on Halloween. So it all works. Also, I think Danny Elfman is 65% water and 25% Halloween. Anyway, here’s “Clowns of Death” from their Farewell concert back in 1995.

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By | 2017-09-30T18:55:59+00:00 September 30th, 2017|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 31: X the Unknown!

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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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:42+00:00 October 30th, 2014|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 31: Lux Radio Theatre!

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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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:42+00:00 October 30th, 2014|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 30: Dr. Cyclops!

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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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:43+00:00 October 29th, 2014|32 Days of Halloween|1 Comment

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 30: Inner Sanctum!

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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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:43+00:00 October 29th, 2014|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 29: Necromancy!

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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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:43+00:00 October 28th, 2014|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments