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).

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The Trick Is To Stay Alive!

SpectiCast Presents

Halloween_cover

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.

halloween1978

 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.

 

halloweenjohncarpenter

The Picture of Dorian Gray

dorian-gray-wallpaper_

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

“I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me and gives something to it. Oh, if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day — mock me horribly!” The hot tears welled into his eyes; he tore his hand away and, flinging himself on the divan, he buried his face in the cushions, as though he was praying.”

“Dorian Gray” – Oscar Wilde’s -“The Picture of Dorian Gray”

 

Hurd_Hatfield_in_The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_trailer

Dorian Gray

If you could, would you? Sell your soul for eternal youth.

That was the choice made by Dorian Gray. His story is a classic cautionary tale. Be careful what you wish for.

This week’s DVR recommendation for TCM Horror Fridays at 8:00 pm.

Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) is a striking and wealthy young man living in 19th century London. While posing for his portrait with his artist friend Basil Hallward (Lowell Gilmore), he meets the cynical and audacious Lord Henry Wotton (George Sanders) who tells him that youth and beauty are fleeting and while he’s young he should entertain every worldly pleasure. Dorian is naive and in the presence¬†of an enchanted Egyptian cat wishes he would stay forever young and only his portrait would age.

 

 

While visiting a local pub, The Two Turtles, he meets the beautiful and demure Sybil Vane. She sweetly sings “Goodbye Little Yellow Bird” and Dorian is totally enamored. Falling in love, he asks Miss Vale for her hand in marriage and invites both Basil and Lord Wotton to the pub to meet his love.

doriansybilbird2

Sybil Vane

 

When Dorian informs Lord Wotton of his intention to marry Sybil, Wotton suggests he tests her virtue by inviting her to spend the evening with him. If she rebukes him then she’s chaste if she accepts she’s a tramp and as the saying goes “why pay for the cow when you can have the milk for free.” Dorian buys into this plan thus beginning his downward spiral into narcissism and pleasures of the flesh.

 

 

Sybil accepts Dorian’s request to stay with him and the following day Dorian sends her a breakup letter expressing his disappointment in her. Heartbroken, Sybil is devastated and Dorian becomes aware of the first signs of cruelty to appear upon his portrait’s face.

 

 

Years pass with his peers aging, but Dorian’s youth remains. Gossip swirls and his friends begin to shun him; questioning why his appearance is the same. Dorian goes full tilt debauchery until he finally reaches rock bottom.

There are people today who could benefit from heeding the lesson in the “Picture of Dorian Gray.” The evil you do comes back to bite. Karma is a bitch.

 

dorianGrayKhayyam

 

 

Scary Kids Halloween!

Countdown to Halloween!

halloweenkids

Getting closer to All Hallows Eve! Continuing my series of film recommendations for Turner Classic Movies Horror Fridays at 8:00 pm. This week’s DVR choice is “The Bad Seed” (1956). Talk about scary kids! ¬†This flick is a cult classic that is truly shocking and begs the question – Is evil inherited? “The Bad Seed’s mother – Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly) must confront that possibility as she begins to suspect that all is not quite right with Rhoda (Patty McCormack), her perpetually well-mannered child. Mom is finally forced to confront the possibility that her daughter may actually be a murderous sociopath after circumstances become too real to ignore.

“The Bad Seed” (1956)

Let’s start with our angelic, eight-year-old darling – Rhoda Penmark who oh so sweetly plays the French song “Au Clair de la lune” on her piano while screams emanate from the basement. Don’t ever threaten to narc on her. Looks like they’re going to be needing a new caretaker.

This child is cold blooded! In her case, trinkets are a girl’s best friend. So, when an old woman promises to leave Rhoda a gem, she – the old woman – apparently couldn’t die fast enough so our little darling volunteers to help the process along. Oh boy, a Penmanship Medal, a very tasty trinket indeed. But Rhoda loses out to classmate Claude Daigle and feels cheated so of course she takes matters into her own hands to acquire what she feels she deserves. Oh well, poor little Claude Daigle.

 

This film was the first of its kind since the censors forbade movies that featured children as killers. But Warner Bros.’ Studio was able to get away with it by adding an “adults only” tag to the film’s advertising and altering the original ending.¬†The film is based upon a play (of the same name) by Maxwell Anderson, which in turn is based upon William March’s 1954 novel¬†The Bad Seed. The play was adapted by John Lee Mahin for the screenplay of the film.

 

 

The play’s principal players,¬†Nancy Kelly¬†(Christine Penmark),¬†Eileen Heckart¬†(Mrs. Daigle),¬†Henry Jones¬†(LeRoy the caretaker) and¬†Patty McCormack¬†(Rhoda Penmark) all revised their roles in the film adaptation.

 

“The Bad Seed” was one of Warner Bros.’ biggest hits of the year, grossing $4.1 million and one the year’s top 20 at the box office. Academy Award Nominations were given to Nancy Kelly: Best Actress, Eileen Heckart: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Patty McCormack: Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Cinematography (Black-White) Hal Rosson. Eileen Heckart won a Golden Globe Award for her performance.

Since I always follow the film fan rule, I won’t divulge the ending. Plus I promised Warner Bros.’ at the end of the movie.

 

Happy Viewing!

Halloween – Friday Night Frights!

tcmhorror

TCM Horror Fridays in October

In my countdown to Halloween, I’ve already started watching my Friday night fright movies with help from my favorite classic film channel Turner Classic Movies. Fridays in October at 8:00 pm, they’re featuring theme-based horror flicks. The theme for Friday, October 9th is ‘Rogue Body Parts’. (sounds like fun!) To help other fans with fright flick selections, I’ll be recommending my DVR worthy choices for the TCM Horror Fest. So fire up the DVR, grab your favorite go-to snack and settle into the Halloween spirit!

 

Mad love

Mad Love (1935) – Peter Lorre, Frances Drake

 

My DVR choice of movies featured in the ‘Rogue Body Parts’¬†theme, is “Mad Love”¬†(1935) directed by German filmmaker Karl Freund¬†and starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake and ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ himself, Colin Clive. An adaptation of Maurice Renard’s story The Hands of Orlac, it’s probably one of the most bizarre movies you’ll ever see.

madlovegogol

Peter Lorre as Dr. Gogol

“Mad Love” was so disturbing for the time that the studio released the film with an opening disclaimer that began,¬†“Ladies and Gentlemen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning….” The Hays censorship office had objections to the showing of the train wreck or any “gruesome” images. It also had issues with the torture scenes and a shot of Dr. Gogol fondling the wax replica of Yvonne. Oops!

madlove5

This movie is Lorre’s American film debut and he portrays the strange Dr. Gogol – his name alone evokes an unsettling mood. Well, Gogol seems to have a thing for sadomasochism which he enjoys at the ‘Th√©√Ętre des Horreurs’. Actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) is the object of Dr. Gogol’s obsession as she embodies his fantasy on stage in the theater company’s latest torture production.

So sorry Dr. Gogol but Yvonne is married to Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive) – accomplished concert pianist – but anyway, she is so NOT into this creepy little man who has a standing box seat and has attended every performance. Gogol is so obsessed with Yvonne that he buys the wax figure of her after the show’s final performance. Mind you this is a life-size replica that he enshrines in his home so he can “always possess her.” Told you he was creepy.

Yvonne Orlac in wax – Dr. Gogol

The brilliant Dr. Gogol is a renowned surgeon with whom Yvonne, in desperation, must plead with to save her successful pianist husband’s hands and career after a gruesome train wreck. Well, of course, he’ll help his love but during emergency surgery on Stephen he comes up with the twisted idea to graft the hands of a knife-wielding killer who has just been put to death on the guillotine. (And of course, Gogol attended the decapitation.) However, soon afterward Stephen begins to suspect that something is seriously wrong with his new found extremities.

This is where we add another level of freaky to the plot. I’m not going to give anything away – that goes against every film fan rule. So, check it out and let me know on a scale of 1 – 10 the creep/freak factor in the comments. Also, be sure to stay tuned for next week’s DVR worthy fright flick. Theme – ‘Scary Kids’.

 

Happy Viewing!

 

Macabre the 13th

I really don’t need an excuse to watch the creepy, macabre “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) but on Friday the 13th it just seems apropos.

WHAT-EVER-HAPPENED-TO-BABY-JANE

 

 

This film showcases not only the destructive rival between two sisters Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) but also the real life, career-long rival between the actresses. That’s at the center of what makes this such a fabulous movie. I can just see Bette’s wheels turning as she relishes her slow, ongoing torture of Joan, her on-screen nemesis.

 

What ever jane and blanche

 

Directed by Robert Aldrich¬†from the novel by Henry Farrell, the story revolves around former child star – Baby Jane Hudson who can’t make the successful transition to film unlike her sister Blanche who spent her childhood in Baby Jane’s shadow. But, because of a car accident, Blanche is left crippled and Jane is begrudgingly forced to take care of her. Emphasis on the begrudging! – The result? – 133 minutes of pure on the edge of your seat, I can’t believe she just did that, sadomasochist Baby Jane Hudson.

What ever i've written a letter

Baby Jane – “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy”

 

 

What ever blanche bird

Blanche Hudson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For full disclosure, I’ve always loved Bette Davis! Check out my previous post, If it’s Sunday, break out the hankies! Bette always sought out challenging roles and wasn’t afraid to “go there.” As a matter of fact, in her first acclaimed film, “Of Human Bondage” she both emotionally and physically portrayed the grotesque nature of her character. She made her appearance “haggish” wanting to express the true physical appearance of someone with tuberculosis.

The success of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” re-energized both actresses careers in the 60’s as the “psycho-biddy” subgenre of horror/thriller films featuring psychotic older women came into vogue. Two other movies that followed the trend were Aldrich’s Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte¬†and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?.

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design.

So, on this Friday the 13th if you’re looking for a treat – I recommended spending a little time with the Hudson sisters and find out – “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”

 

iheart 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.

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).