Happy Birthday, Lon Chaney!

(Submitted by Mr. Anton Phibes, who speaks for all of us here at Kinky Horror. 🙂 xoxo)

A Happy Birthday to the Man of a Thousand Faces, Mr. Lon Chaney!

The love I for bear Lon Chaney knows no earthly bounds. There have been many macabre movie masters since him, but few as masterful as Chaney. He was a shapeshifter, molding his face from one gruesome visage to another. In each monstrous form he assumed, Chaney brought out their humanity. His monsters had soul and beauty was the beast. Even his more sinister creations had a sensitivity that endeared them to us. Chaney made us feel for freaks, monsters, madmen, and criminals. With or without the make-up he famously created for himself, Chaney shined bright and loomed large.

I’m sure most of you have at least a passing familiarity with The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so I’d like to recommend a Chaney classic you may not have seen: The Unknown.

Directed by Tod “Freaks” Browning, The Unknown (1927) is a creepy circus caper of the highest order. Lon Chaney plays an armless knife thrower who falls in love with the owner’s daughter, played by a young Joan Crawford. To write more would be a grave disservice to the plot. Clocking in at  about 50 mins, there’s a shock a minute. Not a single second is wasted with fluff. For a film that’s 89 years old, The Unknown still has the uncanny ability to make one feel uneasy.  Imagine if The Gift of the Magi were written by a deranged lunatic, and you will have pretty firm idea of what kind of picture this is.

At the center of the madness is Lon Chaney at his freakiest. Chaney wears very little make-up, yet still manages to chill the blood. Burt Lancaster said that Chaney’s portrayal of Alonzo the Armless included “one of the most compelling and emotionally exhausting scenes I have ever seen an actor do.”  Of course, I’d argue that every moment Chaney is in the picture is darn compelling. Alonzo the Armless is, more so than the average Chaney villain, a contemptible fiend, yet Chaney’s power allows us to sympathize with him and his love for a woman he will never have. Lon Chaney achieves a feat worthy of any grand circus: He juggles menace, quirk, and pathos without dropping a single one.

Check out Chaney’s act below:

Happy Birthday, Lon!

A Happy Birthday to Houdini AKA “When Harry Met Robot”

A very Happy Birthday to “America’s First Superhero”, Harry Houdini!

Houdini was all sorts of badass. Of this, there can be no doubt. His very name conjures up visions of daring escapes, mind-bending magic, and insane physical feats. He was the first man to fly over Australian soil, first man to be filmed flying, debunked fake psychics, made escapology an art, taught U.S. solders how to escape German handcuffs in WWI, commissioned H.P. Lovecraft to write for him, AND gave Buster Keaton his stage name! Basically, he was a Chuck Norris joke that actually happened. Every magician wants to be him, but there can only be one Harry Houdini. To further cement his greatness, he was one of the first men to fight a robot on film!

That’s right, Sci-Fi Fiends! In the 1919 serial, The Master Mystery, The Handcuff King faced a mechanical menace and lived to escape another day! The serial is really just an excuse to watch Houdini escape from one set of restraints after another, so there’s very little in way of plot. Houdini will free himself from one trap… only to be put in another by the end! Clocking in at nearly 5 hours, I wouldn’t recommend watching the whole thing. However, watching any one segment on its own is a blast. Each chapter has Houdini doing his thing and a generous amount of robot nonsense to satisfy any monster lover. It’s well-filmed, has plenty of automaton action, and gives us a rare chance to see the Master Magician perform his famed escapes. Check out a segment below!

Happy Birthday, Houdini!

Happy Birthday, Evil Dead II!

Thirty years ago on this very night, a force of evil beyond description was unleashed upon the human race and it continues to swallow the souls of the innocent to this very day… 

That force was Evil Dead II and it remains a favorite among lovers of the terrifically hilarious. Serving as both a sequel and a remake of sorts, Evil Dead II goes back the original and throws a pie in its face. With inspiration taken from both H.P. Lovecraft and The Three Stooges, this film is a freak show of cartoon violence, slapstick splatter, monstrous monsters, and surreal visuals… and still manages to be darn creepy! Evil Dead II is a ghost train through the warped minds of co-writers Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel, the former also being the film’s director. In their cinematic funhouse, corpses dance in the night, furniture laughs in maniacal glee, the human hand turns against the body, blood sprays from any source, and madness is king. With very little money, Raimi and his team created a wonderfully nightmarish, visually brilliant,  and utterly strange film that rivals the sights and frights of any “A”  horror picture. On top of all that greatness, it also gave us the Bruce Campbell we all adore today, one-liners and all. After all these years, Evil Dead II is still… groovy.

Take a look behind-the-screams:

Sam Raimi thinks this film will “grab” you:

Happy Birthday, Buffy!! :)

Ho-ly Hellmouth! I can’t believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer is 20 years old today! This is my absolute favorite show of all time, and the fact that sooooooo many people are still celebrating its ass-kicking, vampire-slayin’ glory two decades later is pretty freaking amazing!

Joss Whedon took the cute blonde girl who often dies first in the average horror film and made her a complete and utter badass. She was the one the Creatures of the Night feared. Buffy was a strong female headlining traditionally masculine “action hero” storylines who kicked open the door for more badass babes starring in major shows.

BTVS easily could have been a total campfest, but it respected its characters, genre, and audience. It showed us that slaying vampires and demons could be a total blast (obviously ;)), but still possessed an uncommon depth and make us truly care for its misfits. Buffy was an incredibly smart and important show that will always have a big ol’ stake-shaped place in my heart…#SCOOBYGANG4EVAH!! xoxo

PS- Spike is the seXXXiest vampire ever!!! Suck it, Lestat! 😉 xoxo

PPS- Giles was also freaking hawt…I was sooooo jealous of Ms. Calendar (until…well, you know.)

PPS- I was inspired to do a quickie Buffy tribute today for my weekly #FreedomFriday offering. 🙂

March Monster Madness: Happy Birthday, Gill-man!

“Centuries of passion pent up in his savage heart!”

On March 5, 1954, a terrifying monster from a primitive age clawed his way into the modern world… and into the hearts of horror fans everywhere!

With The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Universal Studios unleashed yet another timeless movie monster into the world in the form of the Gill-man, the missing link between land and sea animals. Blessed with shimmering scales, powerful claws, gorgeous lips, and the biggest eyes in horror since Peter Lorre, the Gill-Man is the envy of all ghouls. In fact, his signature look is so fabulous that it’s been referenced, parodied, and ripped off by everything from The Munsters to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas to countless “B” horror Movies. Despite having only three (official) films to his name, the Gill-man’s popularity has endured throughout the ages, much like the Gill-man himself. This popularity has led to decades of action figures, model kits, shirts, masks,  pinball machines, plush dolls, Halloween decorations, and even a stage musical at Universal Studios Hollywood!  The Phantom of the Opera isn’t the only musically inclined monster, you know!

Happy Birthday, Gill-man! May you finally find a girl who appreciates your good looks!

Stay creepy, Creature!

#FBF: The “ToXXXic Tim” Edition

Ho-wdy, My Curry-craving creeps! As we all know, Tim “Wadsworth” Curry is just about the seXXXiest villian in… well, just about everything he’s in! That smooth baritone just makes every part eXXXtra hot… even when he’s playing sentient pollution! That’s right, ho-mies! Tim Curry played the bad guy (shocking!) in 1992’s FernGully: The Last Rainforest, which is basically like cartoon Avatar… except a gazillion times better! In the film, Curry gets to go full Frank N. Furter as he sings a seductive song… about polluting the world. Oh, Curry… only you could make being a Captain Planet villain seem cool! 🙂

That’s all well and good, but nothing beats seeing the man do his thang! if you need more Curry in your diet, check out Tim Curry recording the song below! Tim Curry, you’re totally toXXXic! 🙂

Side Note: These eXXXist, and I own them. (Thanks to Mr. DinosaurDracula and his awesome Fun Pack this month. :))

Happy Birthday to Dwight Frye, The Man with the Thousand-Watt Stare!

In remembrance of Mr. Dwight Iliff Frye (February 22, 1899 – November 7, 1943), on what would’ve been his 118th birthday (plus one day ;)).

Behind every great monster stands a great madman and few are madder than the Dwight Frye of the screen.  Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a galvanizing stare and psychotic intensity, Mr. Frye was cinema’s perfect henchmaniac. After gaining recognition as fly-eating lunatic Renfield in 1931’s Dracula, Mr. Frye spent most of his career in an endless parade of, in his words, “idiots, half-wits and lunatics.”  His portrayal of the half-mad Fritz in James Whale’s Frankenstein forever burnt the image of the hunchbacked lab assistant into our collective consciousness.

Mr. Frye was never happy about his typecasting in Hollywood and dreamt of doing bigger roles, like he did on the stage. Despite this, Frye always gave 200% to every role he took, regardless of its size or the amount of flies his character had to eat. He never achieved the success of a Boris Karloff and his parts were often cut from films. A remarkable resemblance to Secretary of War Newton Baker had him signed to a substantial role in a biopic President Woodrow Wilson for 20th Century Fox. Frye had hoped this role would give him the mainstream approval he had wanted. Unfortunately, after seeing a double feature of A Lady Takes a Chance and Sherlock Holmes Faces Death with his son, Frye and his boy boarded a Los Angeles bus, where he succumbed to heart attack, dying just a few days after being cast.

Dwight Frye may not have had the career he wanted, but he certainly left his fang-shaped mark on film fans. Two years after his death, he received his first fan letter. Film historians and horror publications like Famous Monsters of Filmland have been singing his praises for decades. Today, he has taken his place alongside Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the pantheon of classic horror stars and continues to scare the daylights out of children, adults, and flies to this very day. I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Frye has left behind a remarkable legacy, After all, how many horror icons have a 6 1/2 minute Alice Cooper song written about them?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Frye. You’ll always be a big, bright, shining star to us here at Kinky Horror. xoxo

#MMM: The “Thomas Jefferson is Bae” Edition

Happy President’s Day, Kinky Ho-mies! We’re skull-ebrating this patriotic ho-rrorday by looking at manliest, meatiest man to author the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson! 🙂

I know the real life Tommy J. had his faults, but which pres doesn’t? 😉 Thanks to 1776, I will forever get tingles in my no-no place every time I hear his name…

(#Rawwwwwwwwwwr, Mistah J! ;))

That’s right, kinky kreeps! Ever since I was a spooky little girl, I’ve had a GINORMOUS crush on Mr. Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson. Just look at that swagger…The man is the definition of a Walking Sex Stick! 🙂

Not only is he clearly a stud of the highest order… he’s also a kickass singer! AND, he had the brassballs to tell Mr. Feeney to suck it! 🙂

Ho-w can anyone not fall into forever lust with this magnificent morsel o’manly meatiness?  O say, can you see…just how darn seXXXy Tommy J. is! 🙂

On a super downer note, the beauteous Ken Howard passed away last year. Mr. Howard played Thomas Jefferson not just in this film, but in the original stage play. Thank you very much, Mr. Howard. You will always be my favorite president. 🙂 xo

On a happier note, have a Killer President’s Day, Kinky Kreeps! 🙂 xoxoxo

#TBT: Vincent Price’s Dracula

Is there any name more synonymous with exquisite terror than “Dracula?” If there is, it would probably be “Vincent Price.”

Considering how often Dracula is resurrected for film, it’s rather curious that legendary gentleman ghoul Vincent Price never gave us his interpretation of The Count.  Sure, Mr. Price played Dracula’s cousin in a charmingly silly episode of F-Troop, but that’s hardly the same as a full-blooded portrayal of the Prince of Darkness. Casting the ever-elegant Price as the urbane bloodsucker seems like a rather natural choice, but it never happened. We can only speculate on what a Vincent Price Dracula would’ve been like, but that doesn’t that Mr. Price stayed clear of the Dracula legend entirely…

The 1982 documentary Vincent Price’s Dracula (or Dracula: The Great Undead) begins with an opening worthy of any gothic picture: an old carriage cuts through the fog towards an ominous castle.The carriage speeds away, leaving us to wander up to the old fortress. We soon discover that our host for the evening is none other Vincent Price, sporting a smoking jacket and welcoming us in his own inimitable way, informing us that his servants are away. The title appears in a bold, dramatic font: “Vincent Price’s Dracula.”

From this point on, Master Price begins to tell us all about the history of the Count, from the real-life Vlad the Impaler to the Bram Stoker novel to the various films. During the presentation, we are treated to clips from Nosferatu (1922), Vampyr (1932), Mark of the Vampire (1935, erroneously referred to as a 1936 Dracula sequel here), Return of the Vampire (1943), The Vampire (1957) and Return of Dracula (1958). Curiously, the Lugosi Dracula and the Hammer Dracula films are absent here, but I suspect that may have something to do with copyright. At one point, Mr. Price reads an excerpt from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and it as glorious as one would imagine.

Filmed in a spectacularly gothic fashion, Vincent Price’s Dracula is the rare horror documentary that’s as entertainingly dramatic as a true monster movie. Vincent Price is sheer perfection here, but I doubt that would surprise many horror fans. With his trademark humor and regal bearing, Mr. Price seems to relish every moment of the material. Mr. Price was always delightful in everything he graced, no matter how strange or morbid it was. There are few men in horror that are as consistently charming as Vincent Price was and this documentary is drenched with that signature Price charm. In addition to its perfect host, this macabre feature is rich with classic horror embellishments that make this a fantastic watch for all you vampire lovers out there. To my knowledge, it is the only documentary in which the host transforms into a bat at the end.

For you, the Creatures of the Night, I present Vincent Price’s Dracula:

King Karloff Kinky Kwickie…Starring YOU!!! ;)

Ho-wdy, Karloff Krazies! Have you ever wanted to act with the great Boris Karloff? If you’re on this site, I’m guessing the answer is “HECK YESSSSSSS!!!” 🙂 Well, we’re here to make your (wet) dreams come true… as if that’s unusual for us. 😉

(#Rawwwwwwwwwr…Wet Dream Fulfilled, as far as I’m concerned. ;))

In the ’60s, the Kreeptastic Karloff  put his HACKting chops to good NOOSE in this chilling commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. In a Gore-geously Gothic Mansion, Mr. Karloff is faced with his most gruesome challenge yet… YOU! Subtitles are provided at the bottom and the viewer is encouraged to engage Mr. Karloff in a dialogue exchange. It’s okay to talk to your screen… we won’t judge. 🙂

It’s your chance to shine, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 Click on the video below and act along with King Karloff…Dreams really do cum true!! 😉 xoxo