Sunday, October 31, 2010

Asylum Sneakers

In madhouse the doctor is stuck
Makes monster of murderous schmuck
No longer sedated
the thing he created
goes bonkers and then runs amok

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (Terence Fisher, 1974). Happy Halloween, y'all! We trust you've enjoyed this years Countdown to Halloween. And don't worry, you won't have to wait until next October for more horror movie rhymes. But up next is a Noir November, with a tribute to the great Robert Ryan.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Frankie Panky

To sate this doc's strangest desires
A monster-sized man she requires
The bigger the better
Perhaps a red setter?
To gutter this trash flick aspires

Joseph Cotten was a long way from Citizen Kane
in the sleazy Lady Frankenstein (Mel Welles, 1971).

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Sew to Pieces

Who knew it was Frankenstein's goal
to take two and to make them one whole
The doctor will wed
two lovers, both dead
in a union of body and soul

Frankenstein Created Woman (Terence Fisher, 1957)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Corpus Crispy

Doc Frankenstein must be destroyed!
I guess he has someone annoyed
With murder and raping
the bottom he's scraping
The old death-by-fire's employed

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! (Terence Fisher, 1969)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Six Feet Under Review

Were critics who saw the film chilled?
We never will know--they were killed

And to their reviews
they all bid adieus
Like graves, all their jobs would be filled

The Curse of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher, 1957). Here we pick up the Frankenstein thread where we left off in the Countdown to Halloween last year, leaving the Universal for the Hammer Frankenstein films.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eat, Slay, Love

The zombies are roaming the swamp
They stumble and stagger and clomp
When getting the munchies
they crave something crunchy
On southern-fried brains they will chomp

Selected panels from Zombie Wedding at Slaughter Swamp, from Creepy #4, available from Dark Horse comics. The story was written in classic 1970s drive-in horror flick style by Nick Cuti and drawn by yours surly. Creepy and all art © New Comic Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
If you like creepy comics, keep a bloodshot eye peeled for The Horror! The Horror! by Jim Trombetta, a gorgeous new book on pre-code horror comics from the 1950s.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gypsy Mothra

Maleva began to recite
"Though man says his prayers ev'ry night,
a wolf he'll assume
when wolfbane's in bloom
and autumn's full moon's shining bright."

Lon Chaney Jr. and Maria Ouspenskya in The Wolf Man (GeorgeWaggner, 1941). Image source: Movie Morlocks, where Moirafinnie writes: Of Ouspenskaya‘s approximately twenty Hollywood movies, her iconic work in The Wolf Man is undoubtedly among the most memorable roles of her career. As Maleva, the gypsy woman whose maternal fatalism helps to guide Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) through his descent into lycanthropy, the actress delivers the most outlandish lines with such conviction, she lent the Curt Siodmak script enormous credibility. Encouraging Chaney to accept the supernatural significance of his true destiny after spotting the pentagram on his palm, she intones the rhyme “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright” without a trace of ironic detachment, but just enough supernatural world-weariness and maternal wisdom to bewitch audiences."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hairy Larry

The son of the Talbots, named Larry,
At campfire of gypsies would tarry
By full moon one night
He suffered a bite,
Contracted a curse and grew hairy.

Lon Chaney Jr. in his most famous role, The Wolf Man (GeorgeWaggner, 1941). The Countdown to Halloween is howling mad.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gore Score

In a house that's perched high on a hill
lives a son who is shy but quite ill
When he checks in a guest
you can guess what comes next...
With the strings screeching psycho and shrill

The stabbing strings of Psycho are just one example of the many uniquely memorable film scores written by the great Bernard Herrmann. We're de-composing the Countdown to Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Score Scare

She wakes and suppresses a scream
It seems it was only a dream
She starts to relax
but then, tension racks
on hearing the eerie main theme

The lovely Fay Wray, in a still found at Starlet Showcase. Does anyone know what film this is from?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

R.I.P. Bob Guccione


He lived a life lacking regrets
except for no gold statuettes
No ally of PETA's,
he liked his Lolitas,
and kept them in penthouse as pets

Bob "the Gooch" Guccione, the man responsible for Penthouse magazine and the director of "additional scenes" for Caligula (1979), is dead at 79.

Chop 'til You Drop

She's having psychotic attacks
and chopping off heads with an ax
Since Joan's been released
the death rate's increased
and heads have been piling in stacks

Recently released nutcase Joan Crawford is soon wielding a bloody ax in director William Castle's uncharacteristically gimmick-free shock-fest, Straight-jacket (1964). One of several films that followed in Psycho's bloody footprints that were written by Psycho author Robert Bloch.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spinal Gollum

The Tingler will feast on your fear
Get scared and the thing will appear
It hides in your spine
just waiting to dine
Be glad that it's not in your rear

Vincent Price drops LSD and scares the crap out of folks in an attempt to reveal The Tingler (William Castle, 1959). Trying to scare the film's audience, producer/director William Castle created one of his patented gimmicks, "Percepto". The effect amounted to rigging a certain number of theater seats to vibrate when "The Tingler" was loose on screen. Title cards urged the audience to scream, explaining that a scream was the only way to dissipate fear, and thus diminish the title creature's fear-fed power.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tripping the Fright Fantastic

A man with a skeleton dances
A cad, he makes vulgar advances
He lewdly intones
"I'm jumping your bones.
I'm into postmortem romances."

Vincent Price on the set of William Castle's House on Haunted Hill (1959).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Haunted House Calls

The souls of the dead won't lie still
They're haunting my house on the hill
These spectral remains
Are dragging their chains
With seven small coffins to fill

My chances of bed rest are nil
Perhaps if I pop one more pill?
To hell with the sleeping
There's skeletons creeping!
I better start making my will

Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart spend a sleepless night in the House on Haunted Hill (William Castle, 1959). Castle's gimmicky, in-your-face literalism is the polar opposite of Tourneur's subtlety. The Countdown to Halloween continues.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Name That Rune

A parchment to skeptic is passed
Its power has left him aghast
The demon it calls
most certainly mauls
whoever's left holding it last

Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins and Niall MacGinnis star in Night (aka Curse) of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957), director Tourneur's treatise on belief in the supernatural. Andrews is a skeptic and debunker of the occult who, along with the audience, slowly comes to realize the truth about warlock MacGinnis and his devil cult. Slowly that is, if you ignore the opening shots of a cheesy demon insisted upon by the film's producer, which only serve to undermine Tourneur's subtle technique of creating mood and mystery through suggestion and omission. Image source:Bad

Saturday, October 16, 2010

R.I.P. Barbara Billingsley

To Barbara we now bid adieu
We'd all love a mother like you
But we will not cry
You're always nearby
in reruns on TV we'll view

A mother of under-achiever
young son who was nicknamed "The Beaver"
She vacuumed in pearls,
let wisdom unfurl
from lips of her hubby Ward Cleaver

Eerie Query

A leopard escapes in the night
and kills senoritas on sight
Or maybe the killer
with claws in this thriller
is someone who isn't quite right

Jean Brooks, Dennis O'Keefe, Margaret Landry and James Bell in The Leopard Man (1943), the third and final collaboration between producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur. The story was based on the Cornell Woolrich novel, Black Alibi. Horror is stalking each day this month in the Countdown to Halloween. Image source: The Film Sufi and Movie Morlocks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Disturbed Serb

She crawls on all fours on the floor
and scratches her claws in the door
She thinks she's a cat
so tells the men "scat!"
The victim of Serbian lore

Simone Simon in Cat People. Image source: Spectacular Attractions

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sister Pact

Whenever male drunks groped or pressed her,
Or know-it-all docs tried to best her,
Irena's thoughts strayed
From things "man" to things "maid" ...
And that bracing chill sound -- "Moya sestra!"

Simone Simon, a newcomer to America, is greeted at her wedding party by sinister Elizabeth Russell who murmurs words from the home country in
Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942).

Cat Calls

She's lost and alone in the city
He finds her intriguing and pretty
Refusing to face him,
she cannot embrace him
when calling her, "Here, kitty-kitty!"

Kent Smith woos cool kitten Simone Simon in Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dentata Errata

She thinks she belongs in a zoo
and legend of cat curse is true
So, fighting the fate
of biting her mate
fellatio she will eschew

Simone Simon and Kent Smith in Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942). The Countdown to Halloween just coughed up a hairball. Poster found at Wrong Side of the Art.

All of you horror fanatics should crawl over to Arbogast on Film for his annual October-long feature, 31 Screams.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cat Scratch Fever Dream

The feline inside of her gnaws
In nightmares it scratches and claws
By terror she's gripped
To shreds her bed's ripped
The fear she's a cat is the cause

Simone Simon has a rough night in Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1944). "I detest the expression 'horror film,' " Tourneur told Positif. "I make films on the supernatural because I believe in it." There's more ahead in the Countdown to Halloween.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bridal Cower

By honeymoon he wasn't thrilled
Their marriage she never fulfilled
When horniness stirred
inside something purred
and mood in the boudoir was killed

Simone Simon and Kent Smith in Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942). The Countdown to Halloween will scratch your eyes out. Image source: Wrong Side of the Art.