iheart Halloween!ūüĎĽ

Halloween is my favorite holiday! It’s a day for self-expression. A day for fun and fantasy. A day for taking control of phobias and fears and turning your back on Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Where’s your power now Fred? Way to shut that mess down.

It’s also a day to indulge in all your favorite classic, creepy, monster, sci-fi horror films.

Therefore, in the spirit of Halloween, let’s pay homage to the original man of horror. The “Man of a Thousand Faces”- Lon Chaney.

 Man of a Thousand Faces РLon Chaney

lon chaney man of a

Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883¬†‚Äď August 26, 1930), born Leonidas Frank Chaney

Born to deaf parents, Lon learned to express himself and communicate visually. He took his desire to become an actor and created an art form and space for himself that was revolutionary to the motion picture industry. His makeup artistry allowed him to transform and become grotesque characters in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). He’s regarded as one of the most important character actors of the silent film era.

lon chaney headshot

The original “monster maker”, he would scout out the daily call sheets for a studio finding out what types of extras were needed for that day’s shoot. He created a make-up toolbox of possibilities for him to achieve the look and characterizations needed to be chosen for a role. This talent was the impetus for his unparalleled reputation in the burgeoning film industry.

 lon unknown poster

This flick is by far my favorite Lon Chaney! 

Chaney’s alliance with Director Tod Browning was inspired! Browning was into the macabre and best known for his films Dracula (1931) and the cult classic Freaks (1932) and Lon Chaney had the acting and makeup skills to realize any twisted character¬†the director could come up with.

My favorite movie line is from their 1927 silent film The Unknown – “crack of your ass”. (okay, I can’t swear that’s what he¬†said) But, seriously, as Alonzo the Armless, he threatened his co-star Joan Crawford with bodily harm if she did not bend to his will. Remember Grandma Klump from Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor(1996)? “You might walk over, but you limpin’ back! “Chaney totally went there. Check it out:

Let’s talk about the level of twisted in this movie:

A word of advice, if you’ve got a thing about someone that’s all consuming and you’d do anything to get with that person, forget about it!

Plot: This crazy man, Alonzo the Armless (Lon Chaney) has a knife throwing act using only his feet and is in love with Nanon (Joan Crawford) who”can’t bear to be touched.” He has arms¬†but pretends not to for his act and so Nanon will talk to him. When it’s discovered that he indeed has arms, he blackmails a low-rent surgeon to amputate them. Sick!

Nanon and Alonzo

lon and nanon

After his surgery, Alonzo returns to the circus and his knife throwing act. Hoping to rekindle his relationship, he strolls over to Nanon’s circus wagon to see his rival Malabar, the circus strongman, (Norman Kerry) with his hands all over his love. Holy crap, it’s on! Alonzo schemes to get his girl back by rigging the speed of Malabar’s horses in his act which will dislocate and sever his arms during the live circus performance.

Alonzo

lon feet

Alonzo’s sick plan is working until Nanon realizes what is happening and tries to stop the performance. And then boom! The”crack of your ass” line. As you saw in the clip, things didn’t really work out the way he saw it play out in his mind.

Malabar

lon malabar stretch

This documentary, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces is a great biography for more in-depth background information and presents a great opportunity to discover your own Lon Chaney gem.

Here it is, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces

Lon Chaney is also the father of Lon Chaney, Jr best known¬†for his role in Universal’s The Wolfman (1941).

The Black Prince of Darkness – Blacula 1972 ūüíÄūüéÉ

Original 1972 theatrical poster

Way to turn the classic “Dracula” on its’ head! I think the idea to present Blacula as an 18th Century African prince during the slave trade was historical and topical. Although considered a Blaxploitation horror film, it was taken with a serious approach and hits the mark on the classic Universal horror flick.

This trailer is so typical of an American International Picture, high on exploitation and drama. Formed on April 2, 1954, from American Releasing Corporation (ARC) by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer. It was dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget films.

Samuel Z. Arkoff.jpg

Samuel Zachary Arkoff (June 12,1918 ‚Äď September 16, 2001)

The ARKOFF formula:

  • Action (exciting, entertaining drama)

  • Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)

  • Killing (a modicum of violence)

  • Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)

  • Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)

  • Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Image result for american international pictures

The plot of Blacula is the story of Manuwalde (William Marshall), an African Prince. It’s a modern twist on the classic Dracula legend and is told in a very compelling and chilling way.

blacula 1972

William Marshall “Blacula”

In the year 1780, while on a goodwill visit to ask Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to help him suppress the slave trade, (which existed in parts of Africa, like the rest of the world, and was a part of the economic structure of some societies for many centuries), he is refused by the Count. Instead, Manuwalde is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula and wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee) is killed.

Quote – Dracula: You shall pay, black prince. I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell. I curse you with my name. You shall be… Blacula!

Image result for blacula 1972

The scene then shifts to the year 1972¬†with two interior decorators from modern-day Los Angeles California traveling to Castle Dracula in Transylvania and unknowingly purchasing the now-undead Mamuwalde’s coffin, which they ship to Los Angeles.

 blacula 1972

One of the interior decorators – Could he be Richard Simmons’ twin or what?ūüėĄ

Later unlocking the coffin, the decorators release Mamuwalde, becoming his first two victims, turning them and the others he encounters into vampires like himself in his bloodthirsty reign of terror. (Wikipedia)

Blacula was released on August 25, 1972, to mixed reviews.¬† American International Pictures’ marketing department in an effort to ensure that black audiences would be interested in Blacula; created posters for the film including references to slavery, hence, blaxploitation.

Blacula-pressbook_0007

Noted for creating the Blaxploitation horror genre, Blacula¬†debuted at #24 on Variety’s list of top films. It eventually grossed over a million dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1972.¬†A sequel to the film titled Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973 by American International. The film also stars William Marshall in the title role along with actress and star of (“Foxy Brown” 1974)¬†Pam Grier.

 

Trivia:

Blacula was in production between late January and late March 1972. While Blacula was in its production stages, William Marshall worked with the film producers to make sure his character had some dignity.

Image result for blacula 1972

His character name was changed from Andrew Brown to Mamuwalde and his character received a background story about being an African prince who had succumbed to vampirism.

Blacula was shot on location in Los Angeles, with some scenes shot in the Watts neighborhood and the final scenes taken at the Hyperion Outfall Treatment Plant in the beachside, west Los Angeles Playa del Rey.

The Hues Corporation - Blacula 1972

The Hues Corporation 1972

The music for Blacula is unlike that of most horror films as it uses rhythm and blues as opposed to haunting classical music.¬†The film’s soundtrack features a score by Gene Page,¬†who was one of the most prolific arrangers/conductors of popular music during his time and worked on more than 200 gold and platinum records.

A variety of the artists Gene Page worked with:

The Supremes, The Four Tops, Buffalo Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Donna Loren, Martha and the Vandellas, Cher, Barry White, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Whitney Houston, George Benson, The Jackson Five, Roberta Flack,Elton John, José Feliciano, Leo Sayer, Seals & Croft, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Frankie Valli, Dobie Gray, Peabo Bryson, Lionel Richie, Jeffrey Osborne

Music on the soundtrack also included contributions by The Hues Corporation. They are best known for their 1974 single “Rock the Boat”, which sold over 2 million copies. (Wikipedia)

Related image

In the spirit of Halloween and Throwback ’70’s, check it out. I think you’ll “Dig it”!

iheart Halloween!ūüĎĽ

Image result for halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday! It’s a day for self-expression. A day for fun and fantasy. A day for taking control of phobias and fears and turning your back on Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Where’s your power now Fred? Way to shut that mess down.

It’s also a day to indulge in all your favorite classic, creepy, monster, sci-fi horror films.

Therefore, in the spirit of Halloween, let’s pay homage to the original man of horror. The “Man of a Thousand Faces”- Lon Chaney.

 Man of a Thousand Faces РLon Chaney

lon chaney man of a

Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883¬†‚Äď August 26, 1930), born Leonidas Frank Chaney

Born to deaf parents, Lon learned to express himself and communicate visually. He took his desire to become an actor and created an art form and space for himself that was revolutionary to the motion picture industry. His makeup artistry allowed him to transform and become grotesque characters in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). He’s regarded as one of the most important character actors of the silent film era. (Wikipedia)

lon chaney headshot

The original “monster maker”, he would scout out the daily call sheets for a studio finding out what types of extras were needed for that day’s shoot. He created a make-up toolbox of possibilities for him to achieve the look and characterizations needed to be chosen for a role. This talent was the impetus for his unparalleled reputation in the burgeoning film industry.

 lon unknown poster

This flick is by far my favorite Lon Chaney! 

Chaney’s alliance with Director Tod Browning was inspired! Browning was into the macabre and best known for his films Dracula (1931) and the cult classic Freaks (1932) and Lon Chaney had the acting and makeup skills to realize any twisted character¬†the director could come up with.

My favorite movie line is from their 1927 silent film The Unknown – “crack of your ass”. (okay, I can’t swear that’s what he¬†said) But, seriously, as Alonzo the Armless, he threatened his co-star Joan Crawford with bodily harm if she did not bend to his will. Remember Grandma Klump from Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor(1996)? “You might walk over, but you limpin’ back! “Chaney totally went there. Check it out:

Let’s talk about the level of twisted in this movie:

A word of advice, if you’ve got a thing about someone that’s all-consuming and you’d do anything to get with that person, forget about it!

Plot: This crazy man, Alonzo the Armless (Lon Chaney) has a knife-throwing act using only his feet and is in love with Nanon (Joan Crawford) who”can’t bear to be touched.” He has arms¬†but pretends not to for his circus¬†act and so Nanon will talk to him. When it’s discovered that he indeed has arms, he blackmails a low-rent surgeon to amputate them. Sick!

Nanon and Alonzo

lon and nanon

After his surgery, Alonzo returns to the circus and his knife throwing act. Hoping to rekindle his relationship, he strolls over to Nanon’s circus wagon to see his rival Malabar, the circus strongman, (Norman Kerry) with his hands all over his love. Holy crap, it’s on! Alonzo schemes to get his girl back by rigging the speed of Malabar’s horses in his act which will dislocate and sever his arms during the live circus performance.

Alonzo

lon feet

Alonzo’s sick plan is working until Nanon realizes what is happening and tries to stop the performance. And then boom! The”crack of your ass” line. As you saw in the clip, things didn’t really work out the way he saw it play out in his mind.

Malabar

lon malabar stretch

This documentary, The Many Faces of Lon Cheney, is a great biography for more in-depth background information and presents a great opportunity to discover your own Lon Chaney gem.

 

 

Lon Chaney is also the father of Lon Chaney, Jr who was best known¬†for his role in Universal’s “The Wolfman” (1941). The Wolfman is part of the original Universal Monster Franchise including “Dracula” (1931), and “Frankenstein” (1931).

Lon Jr always lived in his father’s shadow and in later years he battled¬†throat cancer¬†and chronic¬†heart disease¬†among other ailments after decades of heavy drinking and smoking. In his final horror film,¬†Dracula vs. Frankenstein¬†(1971), directed by¬†Al Adamson, he played Groton,¬†Dr. Frankenstein’s mute henchman.

¬†Chaney’s career in movies and television spanned four decades, from 1931 to 1971.

Make sure to add Lon Chaney, Sr. and Jr. films to your Halloween lineup. Classics!

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Director’s Cut – The Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)ūüéÉūüĆ∑

 

IN THEATERS OCT 29th, OCT 31st

 

Warner Bros. Entertainment Presents

 

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

 

Business is bad at Mushnick‚Äôs Flower shop. Shy Seymour and brave Audrey will soon be unemployed. That is until Seymour pricks his finger and a sickly little exotic plant gets its first taste of human blood. The plant spurts ten feet tall. As horticultural interest in ‚ÄúAudrey II‚ÄĚ sprouts, Mushnick‚Äôs business takes off. But fresh blood must be found‚ÄĒand people start disappearing. Love and business bloom at a hilarious yet bloody cost. (Fathom Events)

I’m so excited to see one of my Halloween favorites back on the big screen. And, fascinated to see ¬†Frank Oz‚Äôs restored original dark ending, staying true to the play.

 

 

‚ÄúIt will be very interesting to see if, in this new political and cultural climate, if there will be any association with that, with the plant. Let‚Äôs just say that,‚ÄĚ says Oz. The original ending, he acknowledges, ‚Äúmay still be too dark for people, and I accept that.

It may not be as satisfying emotionally, and I accept that. But on the other hand, the reason ¬†screenwriter Howard Ashman and I wanted it was that it is the Faustian legend. Seymour does have consequences for his actions. We needed to omit those consequences to keep the audience happy, which I agreed with, by the way. I think we had to do it. But now it will be very interesting to see.‚ÄĚ (Yahoo Entertainment)

Fans will not want to miss Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut, which features the rarely-seen original ending and an exclusive introduction from Frank Oz.

Purchase Tickets here.

 

The 1986 Frank Oz film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie.

 

Image result for little shop of horrors

 

The original 1960 film was a ¬†black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated¬†B-movie legend, Roger Corman¬†and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze¬†(Seymour), Jackie Joseph¬†(Audrey), Mel Welles¬†(Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”.¬†It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

 

 

For a true Halloween treat, I highly recommend screening the original! Check out Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles.

Check out this previous post for background and trivia on the Broadway stage production and the original 1960 film.

 

 

Image result for little shop of horrors

Happy Halloween!

Turn Your Back on Evilūüėą

Image result for a nightmare on elm street

I was thinking the other day, Halloween is one of my favorite¬†holidays but, with the horrors I see every day on my television, I’m not sure I want to watch my top-pick scary movies this year to celebrate.¬† Funny thing is I’ve always looked at Halloween as an exercise and opportunity to face your fears and take control of how you deal with life.

In giving in to my apprehension, I was letting the nightmare in the White House affect my joy and alter my attitude and behavior. But, then I remembered the classic film “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the leverage that Heather Langenkamp’s character (Nancy) discovered she had against Freddy Krueger when she turned her back on him. In that moment, he disappeared and she took back her power over her attitude and commitment¬†to fighting his evil.

In my opinion, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is an allegory for our pent-up fears which prevent us from fighting through obstacles and taking ownership of our own happiness. Dreams are supposed to be representative of our true thoughts and understanding said dreams can help us understand what makes us tick.

 

“A Nightmare on Elm Street”¬†is a 1984 American¬†slasher film¬†written and directed by¬†Wes Craven, and the first film of the¬†Nightmare on Elm Street¬†franchise. The film stars¬†Heather Langenkamp,¬†John Saxon,¬†Ronee Blakley,¬†Amanda Wyss,¬†Jsu Garcia,¬†Robert Englund, and¬†Johnny Depp¬†in his feature film debut. The plot revolves around four teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams (and thus killed in reality) by¬†Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago. (Wikipedia)

Image result for a nightmare on elm street

Nancy confronting her mom.

Because Nancy’s mom ( Ronee Blakley) lives in a constant state of agitation over her part in the death of Freddy Krueger, she projects these feelings of anxiety on her daughter. She drinks heavily in an attempt to deal with her overwhelming sense of guilt and terror and even goes so far as to putting bars on the windows of the house to protect her daughter’s life.

When she eventually tells Nancy the truth about the legend of Freddy, Nancy understands her mom’s frenzy and Freddy’s desire to kill the children of those involved in his demise. Nancy decides to break through this paralyze¬†by trying to save her friends, learning how to defend herself and eventually discovering the means to take away Freddy’s control over her, her friends, and by extension, her mom.

Image result for a nightmare on elm street

Freddy, Nancy

Nancy could have taken on her mom’s constant state of panic, but instead chose to break the cycle.

I’m taking Nancy’s lead and turning my back on the paralysis and dread that the malice in the White House has managed to wreak on our country and the world.

Image result for a nightmare on elm street

So, in the spirit of Halloween, the celebration has begun with decorations and the enjoyment of my choice best of the best as I turn my back on evil and continue¬†the battle against a madness greater than any horror film I’ve ever seen.

 

 

 

 

Scary Meets Hilarious Halloween Fun! Abbott and Costello Meet FrankensteinūüéÉ

 

abbott and costello meet frankenstein

I’m a lifelong¬†fan of Halloween and Universal Horror films. From “The Phantom of the Opera”(1925) to “The Wolfman”(1941), I own the entire catalog.

And, when you take those classic monster movies and add in the hilarity of the top comedy duo of the day, you end up with the hit comedy-horror flick “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”¬†(1948).

 

Starring the legendary comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello the production has the reputation of being the final nail in the coffin of taking seriously Universal Horror monsters.¬†The film is also considered the swan song for the “Big Three” Universal horror monsters ‚Äď Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein’s monster¬†played by (Glenn Strange), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), none of whom had appeared in a Universal film since 1945’s House of Dracula.

abbott and costello meet frankenstein

left to right – Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Frankenstein (Glenn Strange), Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.)

The movie makes glorious fun of the classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman and is one of my all-time favorites!

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the film’s poster title), or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the onscreen title)‚ÄĒalthough the film is usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein‚ÄĒis a 1948 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The picture is the first of several films where the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal’s horror film stable. (Wikipedia)

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The plot revolves around¬†Lawrence Talbot-The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) making an urgent call from London to a Florida railway station where Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) work as baggage clerks. Wilbur answers the phone, and Talbot tries to impart to him the danger of a shipment due to arrive for the “McDougal House Of Horrors”, a local wax museum, which purportedly contains the actual bodies of Count Dracula (B√©la Lugosi) and the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange).

Bud and Lou at work

However, before he is able to warn Wilbur, a full moon rises, and Talbot transforms into The Werewolf. Wilbur, thinking the call is a prank, hangs up and continues on with his work day. Later that night, Chick and Wilbur arrive at McDougal’s “House Of Horrors”, open the first crate and find a coffin with “Dracula” inscribed on the front.

When Chick leaves to retrieve the second crate, Wilbur witnesses Dracula awaken and he tries to get Chick’s attention. However, when Chick returns with the second crate, Dracula hides just in time to go unnoticed. Dracula hypnotizes Wilbur and re-animates Frankenstein’s Monster. The plot thickens as Dracula intends to transplant Wilbur’s brain into the Frankenstein Monster. What could possibly go wrong?

The film is peppered with classic Abbott and Costello humor. In a discussion whether Costello would share an extra female admirer of his:

Chick Young: You know the old saying? Everything comes in threes. Now suppose a third girl should fall in love with you?

Wilbur Grey: What’s her name?

Chick Young: We’ll say her name is Mary.

Wilbur Grey: Is she pretty?

Chick Young: Beautiful!

Wilbur Grey: Naturally, she’d have to be.

Chick Young: Now you have Mary, you have Joan, and you have Sandra. So, to prove to you that I’m your pal, your bosom friend, I’ll take one of the girls off your hands.

Wilbur Grey: Chick, you’re what I call a real pal… you take Mary.

Image result for happy halloween

Trivia:

  • The film was originally intended to be titled The Brain of Frankenstein, but its name was changed prior to the filming schedule, which ran from February 5 through March 20, 1948.

  • During filming, Glenn Strange found Costello so funny he would often break up laughing, requiring many retakes (this is readily apparent in the scene where Costello sits on the Monster’s lap).

  • Boris Karloff refused to actually see this film, although he did help promote the film and can be seen in several publicity photos, including one where he is buying a ticket. Karloff appeared with the duo the next year in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, and in 1953 in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • During the scene in the laboratory where the Monster comes after Chick and Wilbur after throwing Sandra through the window, Glenn Strange stepped on a camera cable, causing the camera to fall and break some bones in his foot. Lon Chaney, Jr., who was not working that day and who had previously played the Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein, took over the role of the Monster for that scene as well as the scene where the monster is throwing barrels and crates at Wilbur and Chick while they are trying to escape in a rowboat at the pier.

  • This was the only time B√©la Lugosi reprised the role he had created in Dracula (1931). He had previously portrayed vampires in Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Return of the Vampire (1943) and would do so again in Mother Riley Meets the Vampire (1952) (and made a gag cameo as Dracula in a 1933 Hollywood on Parade short), but this was the only other time he played Dracula as a sustained role on film.

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Abbott and Costello were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello whose work in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and early 1950s. Their patter routine “Who’s on First?” is one of the best-known comedy routines of all time and set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. (Wikipedia)

abbott and costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Readers Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time. The film is number 56th on the list of the “American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest American Movies”. (Wikipedia)

Image result for american film institute 100 funniest movies

“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” is a playful romp through the Universal Horror franchise and a great family movie to add to your Halloween viewing list.

Image result for happy halloween

 

Blacula 1972 ūüíÄūüéÉ

 

Blacula 1972 poster

Original 1972 theatrical poster

Way to turn the classic “Dracula” on its’ head! I think the idea to present Blacula as an 18th Century African prince during the slave trade was historical and topical. Although considered a Blaxploitation horror film, it was taken with a serious approach and hits the mark on the classic Universal horror flick.

This trailer is so typical of an American International Picture, high on exploitation and drama. Formed on April 2, 1954, from American Releasing Corporation (ARC) by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer. It was dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget films.

Samuel Z. Arkoff.jpg

Samuel Zachary Arkoff (12 June 1918 ‚Äď 16 September 2001)

The ARKOFF formula:

  • Action (exciting, entertaining drama)

  • Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)

  • Killing (a modicum of violence)

  • Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)

  • Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)

  • Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Image result for american international pictures

The plot of Blacula is the story of Manuwalde (William Marshall), an African Prince. It’s a modern twist on the classic Dracula legend and is told in a very compelling and chilling way.

blacula 1972

William Marshall “Blacula”

In the year 1780, while on a goodwill visit to ask Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to help him suppress the slave trade, (which existed in parts of Africa, like the rest of the world, and was a part of the economic structure of some societies for many centuries), he is refused by the Count. Instead, Manuwalde is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula and wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee) is killed.

Quote – Dracula: You shall pay, black prince. I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell. I curse you with my name. You shall be… Blacula!

Image result for blacula 1972

The scene then shifts to the year 1972¬†with two interior decorators from modern-day Los Angeles California traveling to Castle Dracula in Transylvania and unknowingly purchasing the now-undead Mamuwalde’s coffin, which they ship to Los Angeles.

 blacula 1972

One of the interior decorators – Could he be Richard Simmons’ twin or what?ūüėĄ

Later unlocking the coffin, the decorators release Mamuwalde, becoming his first two victims as a vampire, turning them and others he encounters in his bloodthirsty reign of terror into vampires like himself. (Wikipedia)

Blacula was released on August 25, 1972, to mixed reviews.¬† American International Pictures’ marketing department in an effort to ensure that black audiences would be interested in Blacula; created posters for the film including references to slavery.

Blacula-pressbook_0007

Noted for creating the Blaxploitation horror genre, Blacula¬†debuted at #24 on Variety’s list of top films. It eventually grossed over a million dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1972.¬†A sequel to the film titled Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973 by American International. The film also stars William Marshall in the title role along with actress and star of (“Foxy Brown” 1974)¬†Pam Grier.

 

Trivia:

Blacula was in production between late January and late March 1972. While Blacula was in its production stages, William Marshall worked with the film producers to make sure his character had some dignity.

Image result for blacula 1972

His character name was changed from Andrew Brown to Mamuwalde and his character received a background story about being an African prince who had succumbed to vampirism.

Blacula was shot on location in Los Angeles, with some scenes shot in the Watts neighborhood and the final scenes taken at the Hyperion Outfall Treatment Plant in the beachside, west Los Angeles Playa del Rey.

The Hues Corporation - Blacula 1972

The Hues Corporation 1972

The music for Blacula is unlike that of most horror films as it uses rhythm and blues as opposed to haunting classical music.¬†The film’s soundtrack features a score by Gene Page,¬†who was one of the most prolific arrangers/conductors of popular music during his time and worked on more than 200 gold and platinum records.

A variety of the artists Gene Page worked with:

The Supremes, The Four Tops, Buffalo Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Donna Loren, Martha and the Vandellas, Cher, Barry White, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Whitney Houston, George Benson, The Jackson Five, Roberta Flack,Elton John, José Feliciano, Leo Sayer, Seals & Croft, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Frankie Valli, Dobie Gray, Peabo Bryson, Lionel Richie, Jeffrey Osborne

Music on the soundtrack also included contributions by The Hues Corporation. They are best known for their 1974 single “Rock the Boat”, which sold over 2 million copies. (Wikipedia)

Universal Horror – The Golden Age of Movie Monsters

Universal_monsters_logo

 

For a comprehensive and what I consider a definitive history of one of the original Hollywood Studios – Universal, check out the Documentary – “Universal Horror.”¬† Universal was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle¬†and is the world’s fourth oldest major film studio.

Originally airing on Turner Classic Movies in 1998, “Universal Horror” showcases the golden age of 1930’s movie monsters. The film also highlights Carl Laemmle’s family and Carl Laemmle, Jr’s¬†game-changing vision of producing films based on classic horror tales.

 

 

The studio is known for such horror classics as Frankenstein (1931) and Dracula (1931), the Universal monster franchise. Dracula is a 1931 American Pre-Code vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and was loosely based on the novel by Bram Stoker.

Casting for the film became problematic initially since Laemmle was not at all interested in Lugosi, in spite of good reviews for his stage portrayal. Laemmle instead considered other popular actors of the day, including Paul Muni and Chester Morris.

 

Frankenstein is a 1931 American Pre-Code horror monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale. The film stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. Trivia: Bela Lugosi turned down the role saying the monster was just a hulking beast.

In 1991, the Library of Congress selected Frankenstein for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

Throughout the documentary, we hear personal accounts and behind-the-scene stories from early stars such as Rose Hobart Рco-star in the original film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Gloria Stuart РThe Invisible Man (1933) and Lupita Tovar РDracula (1931) Spanish Version.

 

 

Forrest Ackerman, (November 24, 1916 ‚Äď December 4, 2008) was editor and principal writer of the science fiction magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland¬†and recalls his experiences in the documentary of seeing these films first hand. Ackerman’s magazine would provide inspiration to many who would later become successful artists, including Joe Dante,¬†Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Stephen King, George Lucas,¬†Danny Elfman,¬†John Landis and countless other writers, directors, artists, and craftsmen.

Also affectionately called “Forry,” Ackerman was central to the formation, and spread of science fiction fandom, and a key figure in the wider awareness of science fiction as a literary, art and film genre. Famous for his¬†wordplay¬†he coined the genre nickname “sci-fi”.

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Universal Monsters Tribute

 

The end of Universal‚Äôs first run of horror films came in 1936 as the Laemmles were forced out of the studio after financial difficulties and a series of box office flops due partly to censorship and a temporary ban on American horror films in Britain. The release of MGM’s Mad Love and The Raven (both 1935) were the final nail in the coffin for monster movies, being too strong for 1935 tastes, with its themes of torture, disfigurement, and grisly revenge.

 

The monster movies were dropped from the production schedule altogether and would not re-emerge for another three years. In the meantime, a theater owner revived Dracula and Frankenstein as a double feature, resulting in an immediate smash hit and leading to the original movies being re-released by the studio to surprising success.

As I celebrate this Halloween, my film line-up would not be complete without those original horror classics from the original horror classics studio – Universal!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Trick Is To Stay Alive!

SpectiCast Presents

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John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN

THE 1978 CLASSIC RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN

October 29th at 7:30 pm

A special event in cinemas nationwide

 

In my opinion, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is the quintessential All Hallows Eve movie. It still freaks me out to the point where I can only watch it during the daytime. So sad:(

Fathom Events and SpectiCast is presenting this special screening of “Halloween” on October 29th at 7:30 pm. Go, Go, Go, see it on the big screen! It’s frightening enough on the small screen and in the theater, I bet it’ll have you curled up in a ball! My favorite lines from the film are – Tommy: “What’s the Boogey Man?” Dr. Loomis: “As a matter of fact… it was.”

This movie is credited with the first strong female in a slasher film and redefines the genre. Jamie Lee Curtis,¬†in her film debut,¬†plays the title role of Laurie Strode. Laurie is not only book smart but has a strong sense of survival. She’s the ‘I’m gonna fight you tooth and nail’ type babysitter who doesn’t just scream and lay there making easy pickings for the killer. Watch out Michael Meyers, she’s no easy win.

A classic film all the way! A must see for every true horror fan.

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 ticketsonsalehalloween

John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN
In Select Cinemas Nationwide

Thursday, October 29
7:30 p.m. (local time)

Buy Tickets

¬†“It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”

Michael Meyers returns to Haddonfield, and the big screen, for one terrifying night on Thursday, October 29th with John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. One of the most successful independent movies of all time, the original HALLOWEEN redefined the horror genre as we know it and has spawned a horror franchise of seven sequels.

In 1963, six-year-old Michael stabbed his 15-year-old sister to death. Institutionalized for the next 15 years, Michael manages to escape and heads for his hometown of Haddonfield the day before Halloween. Meanwhile Laurie Strode, a serious student, is spending Halloween night babysitting for the neighbors. Little does she know the danger she and her friends are in with Michael on the prowl.

This special one-night event will also feature an introduction with director John Carpenter, providing exclusive insights into his iconic horror indie.

 

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It’s A Charlie Brown Halloween!

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The trailer for the upcoming peanuts gang film “The Peanuts Movie” started me thinking that not everyone may be into scary Halloween movies, so I decided to¬†share a favorite TV special from childhood, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”.

“The Peanuts Movie” opens November 6th and is from the genius imagination of Peanuts/Charlie Brown creator, Charles M. Schultz. In this trailer, we hear from the creators of “The Peanuts Movie” about Schultz’s drawing style and concepts. This film will be the Peanut gang’s big screen debut.

 

Now, without further adieu, let’s find out what the gang’s up to in -“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

The plot revolves around Charlie’s best friend Linus’ belief in the Great Pumpkin who supposedly comes to the pumpkin patch to reward faithful boys and girls. Despite everyone telling Linus what a fool he is for his conviction, he still keeps the faith. Unfortunately,¬†the night is a complete bust for Charlie who with his bad luck always gets a rock (Maybe it’s because of his jacked up ghost costume with eight million holes in it.) and Linus who never meets the elusive Great Pumpkin.

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As a child, I remember one of the most important decisions of Halloween being the selection of ¬†just the right costume so you can proudly walk up to your neighbors doors screaming, “trick or treat!” Opening up your bag and gleefully anticipating scoring one of your favorite Halloween treats. For me, it was always Snickers, hands down.

There’s nothing worse than the wrong costume coupled with lousy treats. And in Charlie Brown’s case, a stupid rock. Great, thanks a lot!

 

Another crucial choice of the Halloween tradition is picking and carving  just the right pumpkin. This is how Miss Lucy Van Pelt handles a pumpkin and her little brother, Linus. Plus, the gang gets a little fright in the pumpkin patch. But, how much fun would the evening be without a little ghosts and goblins scare.

 

We were first introduced to Charlie and the gang in the television premiere of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which still remains a perennial favorite. In my house, to this day, “Charlie Brown” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are required viewing as part of the official Christmas season. The¬†television special¬†was based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the program made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965.

With the success of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, other specials were developed featuring the lovable Peanuts Gang. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was the third Peanuts special and its’ initial broadcast took place on October 27, 1966.

For me, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” brings back fond memories of those magical childhood days and offers up a laugh or two along the way.

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 Happy Halloween!