Monstrous Musings

Bride of the Gorilla

Bride of the Gorilla
Bride of the Gorilla— It’s a lurid title and at the same time more than a bit ridiculous. It didn’t start that way. The original title was to be The Face in the Water; it was to be screenwriter Curt Siodmak’s big directorial debut. Ah, but often things just don’t turn out, as we shall see.

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It Conquered the World

It Conquered the World

 

Much of my childhood was spent in the world before Star Wars, meaning that I grew up with a well exercised ability to suspend my disbelief (also instead of on a Xbox, the kids in my neighborhood played “Medal of Honor” by running around the front yard, hitting each other with sticks.) Saturday afternoons found me parked in front of a black and white TV, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the very same movies my father, probably wearing with the same amazed stare, saw in the movies houses of a generation before. The low rent films with rubber-suited monsters and pie pan spacecraft were not, to me, the object of silliness and ridicule. They were serious business; every bit as real to me as the latest and greatest computer generated wonders are to kids nowadays.

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House of Horrors (1946)

Rondo Hatton prefers Parkay

The International House of Pancakes: Ooh- la-la. It’s a name that invokes the idea of a breakfast bounty from all parts of the world. Maybe there are ephemeral cream-filled breakfast yummies from France? Or perhaps an exotic taste from the Far East? Nope. It’s just a table caddy with three or four kinds of terrible syrup. And now, in another sign on American decay, the peaked-roof buildings that housed the House of Pancakes are gone, replaced by the samey flat-roofed yawn inspiring architecture that graces pretty much every chain restaurant.

House of Horrors: It’s a title that invokes images of haunted houses or maybe a clutch of disgusting blood-sucking vampires hiding in the basement or a long weekend with the in-laws. Like the International House of Pancakes, the name does not describe the film in any way. Coming late in the Universal Horror canon, House of Horrors shows the decay of the studio’s vital monster force. Oddly, it (along with The Pearl of Death and Brute Man) prefigure the slasher movies yet to come.

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The Haunted Curiosity Shop

Image Michael Bay making a movies in 1901. His films would have the most cutting edge special effects of the day, no story, no soul, and it would be a about two minutes long.   That’s Walter R. Booth’s “The Haunted Curiosity Shop” in a nutshell.

There is no story, no characters as such, just about two minutes of grainy black and white silent movie spookies badgering the hapless proprietor of an antique shop. It’s still better than “The Transformers.”

I find the transition from high tech novelty item to storytelling medium interesting.

Late Phases

The Werewolf is a Ginger.

A Dramatization of How the Script for the Film “Late Phases” was Conceived.
by
Rob Silvera

“How would win in a fight? Charles Bronson or the Wolfman?”

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The Babadook

Knock, knock, knock.  Who's there? Dooooh.

I Have Returned . . .

Hey, it’s a new year and I’m back. Sorry, I’ve been gone for so long. Aside from being extraordinarily busy, there wasn’t too much to write about in 2014. We saw a lot of movies, most of them of outside the horror genre, and what we did see in the horror genre wasn’t worth writing about.

*cough* Annabelle *cough*

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Planet of Dinosaurs

 

I went trolling the interweb a couple of weeks ago looking to watch a good movie. Instead I found Planet of Dinosaurs. Okay, maybe that is a bit unkind. It’s not a terrible movie. And to be completely honest, I almost revel in some of the film’s cheesy 1970s cheapness.

James Shea is the man responsible for this gem. In allocating his limited funds, Shea blew the budget on stop motion dinosaur effects– a perfectly reasonable decision in my book. The result? A Planet of Dinosaurs with almost Harryhausen-worthy prehistoric beasties.

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The Frankenstein Theory

He's the World's Most Interesting Canadian.

 

The other night I watched The Frankenstein Theory.  Why? I have no idea.   I shouldn’t want to watch it, after all, it has all the things I loathe about current horror movies: a group of five to seven young people become isolated and are stalked by something horrible? Check!  Abuse of the “found footage format?” Check! Weak characters that nobody cares about because they’re all going to die? Check!  But wait!  There’s more!

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Evil Dead (2013)

Rachel Ray when she's sober

Today, my creepy lil’ kiddies, I’m going talk about the Evil Dead. You have nothing to fear.  This is 100% spoiler free.

It’s not The Evil Dead.  It lacks the slapstick silliness, cheap ickiness and originality of Raimi’s movie.  It’s  billed by the film’s producers (which includes Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, more on that later) as the scariest movie ever made.  Nope.  Evil Dead isn’t that.

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It’s in the Blood

It's in the Blood

When I was a kid, I used to have the most horrendous nightmares.  I would wake up in the night, paralyzed with fear.  Even now I recall wandering the nightmare version of the street we lived on, knowing that once again I was to be stalked and torn apart.  Every night I would go to bed. I would enter the murky, disordered world of dreams.  I would be chased.  I would hide. It always ended badly, an arm or leg painfully torn from its socket.  I’d wake up gasping for air.

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