Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring Out the Old, Bring in the Booze

Let's toast to a holiday merry
and drink of the grain and the berry
And then, in a fog,
the hair of the dog
Tomorrow, a stiff Bloody Mary!

A happy and safe new year's eve from all of us at Limerwrecks! Top: Robert Montgomery and Thomas Gomez Ride the Pink Horse, not elephant. Above: Jack Palance and Shelley Winters share a glass in The Big Knife.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Wax of Life

Spoiler warning!

When nabbed by a wax covered freak
the lovely Fay Wray gives a shriek
She's stripped in his lab
and strapped to a slab
where all of her fans get a peek

Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray visit The Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz, 1933), where her flesh is a lovely rosy pink in two-strip Technicolor.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Fright at the Museum

The figures in wax hold a pose
like bodies that suddenly froze
On New Year's you'll see 'em
inside the museum
They're statues with tags on their toes

It's a New Year's Eve full of murder, mirth and mayhem in The Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz, 1933). Love that two-strip Technicolor!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just the Wax, Ma'am

Each figure is not what it seems
The sculptor has gone to extremes
His horrible acts
are covered in wax
Which causes some fabulous screams

Fay Wray and Glenda Farrell scream in the new year in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz, 1933), and in glorious two-strip Technicolor yet. There didn't seem to any reason to set it over New Year's--except perhaps to give Farrell's wisecracking reporter a constant hangover.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Screaming at a White Christmas

White Christmas, the best-selling single
made registers ring for der Bingle
But memoir of Gary
made daddy seem scary
A brutal and a creepy Kris Kringle

In his memoir Going My Own Way, Bing Crosby's eldest son Gary detailed years of emotional and physical abuse by his father. May all your Christmases be white instead of black-and-blue.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Belated R.I.P., Captain Beefheart

With beef in his heart, he did play
the blues in a dadaist way
No one of his ilk
could be safe as milk
as decals-licked Don Van Vliet

Feliz Navidada

Poor Santa's not feeling so jolly
He's decked in surreal boughs of holly
The visions of dread
that dance in his head
are gingerbread dead à la Dali.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh

There's no joy at the monster's nativity
No presents or signs of festivity
His mom was no virgin
but dad is a surgeon
Playing God is his favorite activity

David Cairns

Merry Christmas from the angry, torch-bearing mob at Limerwrecks!! Top: Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1933), with masterful makeup by Jack Pierce; Above: Colin Clive and Karloff in Frankenstein (Whale, 1931). Author David Cairns is the mad doctor behind the horror film blog Shadowplay.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Frosty the Wolf Man

He's making a list, checking twice
He knows if you're naughty or nice
So don't misbehave,
for down in a cave,
he's keeping a monster on ice

Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Roy William Neill,1943).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It Flamed Upon a Midnight Clear

His raising the dead's not a living
and townsfolk are most unforgiving
But Doc isn't crying
His monster's undying
A gift that will never stop giving

James Finn Garner

Top and above: Frankenstein (1931). Below: House of Frankenstein (1944). For all your baseball doggerel needs visit James Finn Garner's Bardball.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Zombie

The island's young honeymoon bride
gets bewitched and so leaves her man's side
But even before,
this drip's such a bore,
it's hard to be certain she died

James Finn Garner

It's Holiday Horrors at Limerwrecks. Madge Bellamy, Bela Lugosi and Robert Frazer in White Zombie (Victor Halperin, 1932). Writer James Finn Garner is the rotting brains behind the baseball doggerel site, Bardball. James feels that White Zombie's unlikable romantic couple keep this pre-code horror film from reaching classic status. What's pre-code, you ask? How about Madge Bellamy trying on her, um, wedding dress.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cruel Yule

'Twas Christmas, but he couldn't tell
Imprisoned alone in a cell
His cheer turned to woe,
He sits on death row,
Awaiting a film noir farewell.

Above: Elyse Knox and Regis Toomey in I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (William Nigh, 1948), a no-budget noir adapted from the Cornell Woolrich story by crime scribe Steve Fisher (I Wake Up Screaming). Don Castle plays an innocent man who's shoes implicate him in a murder; Toomey is the creepy cop who wants to get Castle's wife (Knox) under the mistletoe. Watch a scene on youtube, here. Image source: Noir of the WeekThanks to Noir City for the title.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stocking Suffer

Not frankincense, don't give him myrrh
All Charles wants for Christmas is her
But diamonds and furs
are gifts she prefers
He'll end in the morgue or in stir

Charles McGraw and Joan Dixon in Roadblock (Harold Daniels, 1951). Watch the minute-and-a-half Roadblock Christmas on Youtube, here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lady in the Fake

Before this film noir has begun
the holiday tone is undone
The holly seems merry
but jolly turns scary
The Christmas cards cover a gun

'tis Christmas, but just a veneer
without all the usual cheer
With dicks, dames and cops
the merriment stops
It's more of a seasonal sneer

Unlike the novel by Raymond Chandler, the film Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1947) takes place over Christmas. The only reason for this seems to be the gag in the opening credits, where a series of seasonal title cards are removed, the last of which revealing a pistol. Image source: The Movie Title Stills Collection.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lady in the Lens

The yuletide has left in its wake
a lady adrift in the lake
The actors all stare
at camera, square
and normally that's a mistake

Audry Totter, Tom Tully, Lloyd Nolan and Lila Leeds all stare at the camera in Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery (1947). Using the 'subjective-camera' as detective Phillip Marlowe's point-of-view, the film was touted as the biggest breakthrough since Talkies. For some reason the story takes place over Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Night Befalls Christmas

The angels are singing, so hark
Their carols are moody and stark
The tears that she cries
like stars in her eyes
Her Christmas is spent in the dark

Two beautiful examples of Woody Bredell's cinematography for Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944) starring Deanna Durbin. Image source:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blake Edwards, R.I.P.

He's known for a panther that's pink
and driving Jack Lemmon to drink
Had Breakfast, and then
Bo Derek as Ten,
and one that he wrote with his shrink

Writer/director/producer Blake Edwards has died at age 88. Edwards' many films include the Pink Panther series, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Days of Wine and Roses (with Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon as an alcoholic couple), Ten, and his semi-autobiographical 1986 film That's Life, which he wrote with his psychiatrist.

Connubial Hiss

When marriage and murdering mingle
she finds that her spine starts to tingle
She's wed to a creep
forever to keep,
and wishes instead she was single

Deanna Durbin is unhappily married to Gene Kelly in Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944). Image source: Mubi

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tingle All the Way

A Christmas in prison's no fun
where wish lists and holly aren't done
He's sentenced for life,
but threatens his wife,
when crashing from stir with a gun

Richard Whorf, Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin in Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944). Image source: The Night Editor, where you'll find an article on the film as an example of the X-mas Noir.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fright Christmas

No pardon, parole and no bail,
her husband just broke out of jail
She's in for rough sledding,
for home he is heading,
to drown her in bowl of wassail

Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin star in Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wedlock and Key

She finds that he's rotten inside
and from him she's trying to hide
She changes her name,
but finds all the same,
to her criminal husband she's tied

Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly miss the bliss in the deceptively titled Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944). Welcome to Christmas Crimes, the film noir part of our seasonal counter-programming here at Limerwrecks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Something Mad About the Joy

Her holiday's filled with unease
It's chilled by his mental disease
Gene Kelly don't tap,
prefers shooting crap
or bringing his girl to her knees

David Cairns

Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin spend a sinister Christmas Holiday (1944), director Robert Siodmak's noir take on a story by Somerset Maugham. For more winter chills, be sure to visit David Cairn's film blog, Shadowplay.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Inter Laughing

Please don't take this query in jest
I'd like to eternally rest
I wouldn't impose,
but do you suppose,
you'd shovel some dirt on my chest?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Take My Life...Please

Please honor my final request
I'm more than a little depressed
At living I tire
I'd like to expire
I trust I'm not being a pest

It's not Mr. One-Liner Henny Youngman, but lawyer Raymond Burr who defends Angela Lansbury in Please Murder Me (Peter Godfrey, 1956). You'll find our previous limerick on the same film, here.