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32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 2: The Strange Door!

Strange Door (1951)

For tonight’s feature, we’re going to 1951 and a team-up of Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff in The Strange Door. But first, for today’s #TrackoftheDay, we go to the classic 1990 Concrete Blonde vampire album, Bloodletting.

Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting

So, if you were in high school and college around the time this came out, I’m not sure how you could have avoided this. You could have not gotten the full vampiric impact of the album, since its biggest hit was “Joey” (though it’s a damn good song) and also in 1990 they had the Cohen cover “Everybody Knows” from Pump Up the Volume. But it’s just a solid album all the way through. Consistently, my favorite song has been this, “The Sky is a Poisonous Garden.” The lyrics are fairly straightforward but the chorus/title have always seemed to me to hint at something big and bad and wrong that we’re simply not allowed to be privy to. And…that could be for the best.

The 20th Anniversary version of the album is available from Amazon here.

Let me provide some context for this next bit: it’s Soliloquy by Sasha Krieger, out of Canada. It’s a video compilation of a little over three minutes of people shouting out into the (defined in several different ways) void, being greeted with nothing but echoes. I first encountered this at a massive art party in Atlanta, Flux Night, back in 2013. It was projected onto the exterior wall of a building, running in a loop. It was profoundly eerie there, and it’s only slightly less so here. I just dig the hell out of this.

You can find Krieger’s website here.

And now, to our feature presentation. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Sire de Maletroit’s Door,” it’s more true to its source material than, say, 1963’s The Raven. I say that in there is a door and a contrivance to get Young Gaston (Richard Stapley) through that door and into the clutches of Sire Alain de Maletroit (Laughton), but from there they’ve expanded on the original idea in order to make it darker and more of a thriller. The original story is more of a short, odd romance. Regardless, you do get some Karloff in the mixture, so that is always welcome.

The Strange Door is available on Blu-Ray, complete with a commentary from a trio of film historians.