Happy Birthday to the sassy lassie with the classy chassis… Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!!
Yes, Kreeps… the forever gore-geous Cassandra Peterson turned a fabulous 66(6) today, so it’s time to skull-ebrate!
We talk about Elvira A LOT on this site, but that’s only because there would be no Kinky Horror without her! She was (and is) a major influence on all of us spooky cats here! Her killer style, her wicked puns, her… uh, two big pumpkins… Elvira is definitely one of the coolest ghouls in the graveyard and our most HeXXXcellent inspiration! Whether she’s hosting scary shock schlock on TV or vamping it up at theme parks, Elvira will always be our Queen of Halloween. 🙂
In ho-nor of Cassandra/Elvira, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite Elvira Ho-st segments to showcase her eternal badassery. Enjoy 🙂
Happy Alien: Covenant Eve, cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies! We’re celebrating this glorious occasion with a look back at one of the franchise’s greatest heroines… and she’s not Ripley, believe it or not! My dear creeps, we’re taking the time to ho-nor Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, the chick who met her maker and lived to tell the tale! We all know Ellen Ripley’s the baddest badass to ever bruise those bestial brutes known as Xenomorphs, but I think Dr. Shaw doesn’t get enough love. She made her debut in 2012’s Prometheus, a film that’s as divisive as they come. Personally, I love the heck out of that film and Dr. Shaw is one of the reasons why. While it’s tempting to compare her to Ripley, Shaw is actually very different from that alien slayer in nearly every way. In fact, the only real similarity is that they’re both survivors in Alien films. The primary difference between Ripley and Shaw is motivation. Ellen Ripley is a pragmatic woman whose main objective is survival. She’s the sort who just wants to kill the freaky monster threatening everyone and move on. On the other hand, Shaw is motivated by knowledge. Elizabeth travels beyond the stars to find the answer to the question that has plagued us all since we first walked upon the earth: where did we come from? She’s interested in studying the unknown, something Ellen had no desire to do. Her intellectual pursuits not only set her apart from Ripley, but make her a endearing protagonist in her own right. Shaw is also awesome in how darn positive she remains throughout the film. While she is a devout Christian in the film, she’s less a fanatical zealot and more a spiritual optimist. Shaw loses everyone she cares about, has her faith challenged by just about everybody/everything, is nearly killed by one of mankind’s less-than-friendly creators, and experiences unimaginable physical pain. And yet, despite every ghastly thing thrown at her, Shaw still maintains her belief and quest for knowledge. To Shaw, there is always hope. That undying optimism is hard not to admire. Of course, Shaw also gets mad love for being a complete badass when it matters. In one of the most horrific scenes in modern horror, Shaw discovers she is pregnant with a FREAKIN’ ALIEN SQUID!!! Being an Alien film, you might expect this to be the end of our feisty redhead. No siree, Bob! Shaw takes the awesome approach to the situation. She runs off to an automated surgery table configured for male use and reprograms that shite to perform a C-section on her to remove that tentacled beastie! She did what no other Alien character has done and survived a Chestburster(-like) attack! If that’s not enough for ya, she avoids being crushed by an alien ship and getting killed by an extraterrestrial… while still recovering that nasty surgical wound!
Here’s to you, Dr. Shaw. The truth is out there, so keep searchin’! 🙂 P.S. She also gets major points for being the daughter of a character played by Patrick “SeXXX God” Wilson!
Howdy, Kinky Kreeps! 🙂 February 1st marked the 40th anniversary of Dario Argento’s eXXXellent Suspiria, and the beginning of our year-long celebration of its greatness! With the U.S. release and a new 4K restoration coming up, we’d figured we’ll have a lot of love to give this bewitching masterpiece. For today, though, we have jerked one (#ha ;)) from our vaults submitted by Mr. Dr. Anton Phibes! Take it away, sir-spiria! 😉
On February 1, 1977, a cinematic pythoness cast her insidious spell on hordes of unsuspecting filmgoers. This sorceress’ influence is known by and felt by all who live for fright films. Her name was Suspiria, and she is possibly the most grotesque, yet beautiful film experiences of all time. Those who know me in real life are probably sick to death of me praising this particular film, but my love for it burns like a dance academy on fire. This film is my Halloween or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I can think of few films as enchanting and morbid as Dario Argento’s fairy story about a clever heroine and a wicked witch.
Suspiria begins by introducing us to our heroine Suzy Bannion, played to perfection by Jessica Harper, my life-long film crush. Suzy travels to Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy. Strange events occur and the students are targeted by a ruthless killer… Or, perhaps a force beyond our comprehension. As the students begin to get picked off, Suzy begins to unravel the school’s dark, terrifying secrets.
Suspiria is, in many ways, a “pure” horror film. Humor does not figure in to diffuse the sense of dread we feel, nor are there any action scenes, romance, or any obvious attempts at commentary. Argento’s fable is dedicated to scaring the wits out of you from the start. The aura of foreboding is palpable from the very first frame and we are treated to the most ghastly, yet gorgeous murder(s) in any terror film. Every aspect of Suspiria seems to have been chosen to create the most exquisitely stunning horror imaginable.
Primary colors have never been so brilliantly used to instill fear as they were in Suspiria. The whole look is an excellent fusing of EC Comics luridness and the ethereal lushness of a 1940s musical extravaganza. To achieve this style, the film was shot on normal Eastmancolor Kodak stock, then printed using the three-strip Technicolor process, utilizing one of the last remaining three-strip machines. Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli was required to watch Disney’s Snow White as a visual reference. A rather fitting one, considering that Suspiria is essentially a classic fairytale for adults.
Salutations from the Other Side, Ho-rror Ho-mies! Yesterday, the monsters came out to play in Karloffornia with two events for fantastic film lovers: Day of the Scream Queens (and Kings) at Dark Delicacies and a screening of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest with screen legend Martin Landau! We here at Kinky Horror were fortunate enough to attend both events and we have a little taste of the greatness for you! 🙂
4th Annual David DeCoteau’s Day of the Scream Queens (& Kings)
“For the past 30 years I have had the pleasure to work with many talented actors and actresses in Cult movies. DAY OF THE SCREAM QUEENS (& KINGS) is a celebration of our many years working together. Del and Sue of the best Horror Boutique in the world, DARK DELICACIES graciously offered their incredible store for this event. Every performer attending this event has appeared in at least one of my movies and this will be the first time in history ALL of these stars will appear together anywhere!” – David DeCoteau
Cult filmmaker David DeCoteau (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) returned to Burbank with a group of some of the greatest cult stars to ever creep around on the Silver Scream! In a fantastic gathering of cinematic ghouls worthy of House of Frankenstein, DeCoteau and his merry band of maniacs gave Burbank fright-seekers a chance to meet some the cultiest cult stars in Horror! The folks attending the event treated these queens and kings of horror with the respect and enthusiasm these professional scare-makers deserve. To many of us, these fine performers are bigger than the Brads and Angelinas of the world!
Here are some our petrifying pics from the event:
The Very Beginning…
Hordes of Fright Fans gathered for the event!
The Legendary Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, Escape From New York, The Fog, Swamp Thing, Batman: The Animated Series) signs an Escape From New York Poster. Just call her Billie, everyone does.
Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Adrienne Barbeau in conversation. How often do you see Angela Baker and Catwoman chat?
Scream Queen Brinke Stevens (far too many to list here!) and William Butler (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Night of the Living Dead 1990), a man who has had the honor of being killed by both Jason and Leatherface!
From left to right: Monique Parent (1313 Franchise, Helene Udy (My Bloody Valentine 1981), and Galyn Görg (Robocop II, Star Trek: Voyager) tending to fans.
Chopping Mall director Jim Wynorski stops by.
Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop 1 and 2) is pretty in pink.
Robert Brian Wilson (Silent Night, Deadly Night) remains one of the best “Santas” in horror. I know our Ho-stess wouldn’t argue with that…
Brothers unite! Robert Brian Wilson and Eric Freeman (Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2) shared a table.
North by Northwest with Martin Landau!
A legend paid tribute to another legend… Martin Landau (Ed Wood, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, 9, North By Northwest) honored beloved casting director and film memorabilia collector Marvin Paige at a screening of North by Northwest to celebrate what would’ve been Mr. Paige’s 89th birthday. The 88-year-old Mr. Landau showed very few signs of his age, remaining as sharp and spry as the best of us. Mr. Landau has been a favorite of many of us here at Kinky Horror, so it was truly extraordinary to hear him speak. On the film, Mr. Landau gave some insight on his character (apparently, he intended for him to be gay and James Mason just went with it), revealed that he was made aware of his casting in the film when Alfred Hitchcock showed him the storyboards (Hitchcock said at one point, “And here is when you enter the picture.”), and revealed that Mr. Hitchcock made the film after feeling some disappointment in his Saboteur. Afterward, he revealed that he got the part in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors after telling Allen that the character Landau would eventually play should be given a human, sympathetic quality, despite the villainous things he does throughout the feature. Mr. Landau was a delight to listen to… and even did impressions of Allen and Hitchcock during the interview! When the interview was finished, Mr. Landau signed a petition to get Mr. Paige a star on the Walk of Fame. Thank you, Martin Landau and Marvin Paige.
Martin Landau speaks!
Mr. Landau signs the petition.
A standee of Marvin Paige.
Mr. Landau’s arrival at the Egyptian:
As a bonus, here is one of our favorite Martin Landau moments:
And check out his performance in the The Outer Limits episode, The Man Who Was Never Born, a highly underrated bit of sci-fi television.
Hiya, Ho-rror Ho-mies! Last Saturday was The Women’s March, a worldwide protest in support of women’s rights, health care reform, environmental protection, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion,and workers’ rights. Without getting too political, we noticed that a few eXXXtremely awesome queens of genre fiction (and Dita Von Teese *squee!!* :)) were in attendance, and we love them even more for it! Here are some of the Gore-gous women that marched on Saturday. (And there are so many more that could be included…It was a beautiful experience, and I’m ho-nored I got to be part of it. Now the real work begins… 😉 xoxoxo)
Jessica Harper (Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween series, Terror Train, Scream Queens)
Rose McGowan (Scream, Charmed)
Dita Von Teese (Burlesque Queen)
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl)
Lily Rabe (American Horror Story)
Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story)
Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira”)
Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, American Gothic)
Die-ana Prince: Your Ho-stess at the Protest 😉 xoxo
Greetings, you fabulous fright fiends! I would like to take a moment to ho-nor three of the most awesomely creepy-peeps in fright film history: Handsome Halloweenie Mr. John Carpenter, Hammer Ho-ttie Caroline Munro, and Mummy Maker Karl Freund! Let’s get this Mad Monster Party started, shall we? 🙂
Caroline Munro: January 16, 1949
The First Lady of Fantasy! 🙂 Caroline “Forever Goddess” Munro is the only performer that can boast a career that includes being turned into a vampire by Christopher Lee’s Dracula, portraying Vincent Price’s wife in the eXXXcellent Dr. Phibes series, encountering creatures created by Ray Harryhausen, and who was also a Bond Girl! Dang! Those are some spooky-good credentials! 🙂 If that’s not impressive enough, Ms. Munro was the only actress to have been signed to a long-term contract with Hammer Studios! Caroline Munro is pure Ho-rror Ho-tness and is a cult icon of highest order. In addition to her impressive acting resume, the Mighty Munro writes a column for Space Monsters Magazine, proving that she’s still an important player in the ho-rror community… as if there was any doubt. 🙂
Blurry-But-Awesome Caroline Munro Meeting!!!! 🙂
Happy Birthday, you Gore-geous Genre Great! 🙂
John Carpenter: January 16, 1948
John Carpenter came here to make kickass movies and chew bubblegum… and he’s all out of bubblegum! 🙂 One of the true innovators of genre filmmaking, Mr. Carpenter more-or-less created the slasher genre as we know it today with Halloween in 1978 and just kept on creating clas-sicks for years! The Fog, The Thing, They Live, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China are all among the best genre cinema has to offer, and I bet few would argue with that. (And those who do are wrong! ;)) In addition to writing and directing awesome movies, he scores ’em! Halloween’s oft-imitated theme was composed by the man himself and remains one of the most spine-tingling horror themes ever! Happy Birthday, you Dark Star! 🙂
Karl Freund: January 16, 1890
Now here’s is a devious dude with an eye for terror! Karl Freund was the cinematographer on some of the most monstertastic monster movies ever! His work includes Metropolis, The Golem, Murders in the Rue Morgue(1932), and Dracula with badass bloodsucker Bela Lugosi! As a director, Mr. Freund directed The Mummy (1932) and Mad Love (1935), two fright films I just can’t praise enough! If that wasn’t enough to make him a legend, Mr. Freund is also responsible for the development of the three-camera system used to shoot sitcoms, a system he used on I Love Lucy! Mad Love for Mr. Karl Freund! 🙂
Happy Birthday to these three Legendary Legends of Awesomeness! (And to anyone else who happens to be celebrating today. :)) xoxoxo
December is rough time to have a birthday, dear fiends! As great as the Ho-rrorday season is, some birthdays get overshadowed because this time of the year. To make up for this, we’re celebrating the totally awesome December horror birthdays today in one big ol’ post! We wish all these wonderful ghouls the best and we hope they have/had the most spooky-cool birthday imaginable! 🙂
TONY TODD: DECEMBER 4, 1954
If there is a man we can describe as the modern Christopher Lee, it’s certainly Tony Todd. Standing at a Sasquatchian 6′ 5″ and possessing a wicked charisma, Mr. Todd is certainly worthy of his reputation as a legend of fright! Mr. Todd’s compelling performance as the titular boogeyman in 1992’s Candyman is the kind of Monster that elicits both fear and an odd sort of sympathy like only the truly great movie creeps can. The great monster would go on to play a plethora of great monsters and madmen, including the eternally classic duo of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! We dare you to say his name five times!
SHIRLEY JACKSON: DECEMBER 14, 1916
The Undisputed Queen of Horror Literature! Ms. Jackson is primarily known for The Haunting of Hill House (the basis for The Haunting) and The Lottery, a truly chilling short story. Genre geniuses Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Richard Matheson have all cited Jackson as an inspiration on their own work and she remains the High Priestess of Printed Chillers. While all of her morbid fiction is prime fright fare, I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle, one of my all-time favorite novels. The first paragraph is one of the greatest openings ever written and a great example of her peculiar style:
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenent, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.
Thanks for haunting us, Ms. Jackson!
The first paragraph is certainly one of the greatest openings ever written:
SARAH PAULSON: DECEMBER 17, 1974
Sarah Paulson is one of three performers to appear in every single season of American Horror Story and she always emerges as one of highlights in a show bursting with sensationally macabre delights! Throughout the course of the show, she has portrayed a psychic, a perpetually teary-eyed ghost, Siamese Twins with a dark past, a witch, and other victims of the strange and macabre. She also starred on American Gothic in the mid ’90s, so Ms. Paulson is no stranger to the world of Terror-Vision. Of all her wonderfully oddball performances on AHS, it’s her dual performance as the conjoined Dot and Bette in Freak Show that made her a favorite of ours here at Kinky Horror. Two heads are better than one!
FREDDIE FRANCIS: DECEMBER 22, 1912
Here’s a fellow with an eye for horror! While Terence Fisher was Hammer’s Master of Terror, Freddie Francis certainly has an impressive collection of British shockers to his name. His works include 1971’s Tales from the Crypt for Amicus, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Evil of Frankenstein, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, and Girly. In addition to his Hammer and Amicus terror tales, Mr. Francis had an excellent career as a cinematographer, even winning two Academy Awards! Mr. Francis was also the man who gave The Elephant Man its eerily beautiful look in 1980. For six (including the wraparound) excellent tales of the macabre in one, Check out Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors! Looking creepy, Freddie F.!
DICK MILLER: DECEMBER 25, 1928
Dick Miller is a National Treasure to anyone with a healthy love for exploitation, blood, and gooey ghouls! With his craggy face and distinctive voice, he has graced (and saved) a seemingly endless amount of B-movies with a blue-collar charm all of his own. Horror aficionados will certainly remember his turn as Walter Paisley in Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood, a true classic of splatstick! Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve certainly seen his lovable mug before, as Mr. Miller has appeared in such classics as The Terminator, The Howling, and Gremlins. The affectionate and ever-popular descriptor of “that guy” was practically coined for Miller. Appropriately enough, there is a documentary called That Guy Dick Miller that serves as wonderful tribute this legend and we highly recommend it to both fans and newbies alike. Nice to know That Guy!
BARBARA CRAMPTON: DECEMBER 27, 1958
Barbara Crampton is one of the dreamiest, screamiest scream queens to ever haunt the screen! From her early (and still excellent) work in Re-Animator and From Beyond to her work in modern fare like You’re Next and Beyond the Gates, it’s clear that this scare idol is going strong and will continue to her decades-long reign! Ms. Crampton is one of horror’s best-loved actresses and an inspiration to us here at Kinky Horror. For fans looking for a new Crampton masterpiece, check out her truly excellent turn in We Are Still Here, a modern creeper sure to turn your hair white! Keep up the ghoul work, Ms. Crampton!
F.W. MURNAU: DECEMBER 28, 1888
The Master of Shadows! F.W. Murnau was once called “the greatest poet the screen has ever known” by French film theorist and director Alexandre Astruc, and his dreamlike imagery certainly backs this claim up. Murnau was like a painter, more concerned with the mood and images than the dimensions of his characters. His cinematic paintings have lost none of their power today. Why, just look at enduring popularity of his Nosferatu, his unauthorized adaptation of Dracula! That film is the golden standard of the German Expressionist Accustomed to the weird and eerie, Murnau also directed versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Faust, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, HIs Jekyll and Hyde and Hunchback are lost to time, but his Faust survived and is highly recommended. Hail Murnau!
BARBARA STEELE: DECEMBER 29, 1937
The Scream Queeniest of All Scream Queens! Barbara Steele is up there with Vincent Price and Peter Cushing in the realm of fright legends! Her piercing eyes cut through you like a machete and her dark presence will stick with you long after the credits roll! She’s worked with Vincent Price, Roger Corman, Mario Bava, Joe Dante, and many other titans of terror and she can hold her own with the best Horror has to offer. Her performance in Black Sunday is iconic in every sense of the word and continues to haunt the best of us to this day. Ms. Steele has a gazillion slasherpieces her name, but we highly recommend Long Hair of Death, a lesser-known gothic chiller with great atmosphere and a killer ending that does Wicker Man before Wicker Man! Long Live the Queen!
(This bit o’ festive fright brought to you by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks Ho-rrorday Ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)
Christmas horror movies usually take full advantage of the season’s mascot, Santa Claus, and have him rampaging around, slaughtering all the bad boys and girls who are on his naughty list. Or just killing a bunch of random people, but the point is that it was usually Santa or someone dressed up as Santa doing all the killing. That’s what separates Don’t Open Till Christmas from the rest of the bunch. It’s some psychopath going around killing anyone dressed as Santa, so it’s kinda the opposite thing going on. However, that doesn’t make it a great film. Filming began in 1982 and it wasn’t finished until 1984. It had such a troubled production, it’s still a shock that this movie ever was finished.
The film is directed by Edmund Purdom, who starred in the fantastic Grindhouse flick Pieces. Don’t Open Till Christmas is also produced by the same producer as Pieces, Dick Randall (he’s the guy you have to thank for all the sleaze in these pictures). Edmund Purdom also stars in the film… for a good chunk of the beginning, then he’s gone and then he’s back to not really tie up any loose ends, but just to reassure you that he was still in it and was at one point a major character in the film. There is an explanation for all of this. Apparently, Edmund Purdom left filming halfway through shooting when producers felt he wasn’t delivering quality work and writer Derek Ford stepped in to finish the job, even reshooting most of the scenes, including special effects shots to make them more gory. There were also numerous rewrites and such, so things became pretty disjointed during the editing process. However, Edmund returned to finish the movie and in the end what we get is a film that starts off making sense, to characters vanishing and having other characters explain what is going on instead of showing what happened or explaining what happened to characters that are no longer in the movie. Oh and a sort of abrupt ending.
Setting the tone right off the bat, a man dressed as Santa is in the back seat of a car trying to get his candy cane slobbered when somebody stabs him and his lady to death. The opening rings very much like Friday the 13th, a common connection both this film and To All a Goodnight share. We’re then introduced to a couple we think will be our main characters, but because of the aforementioned production troubles, it’s probably more accurate to say that these are the characters we spend a good amount of time with, Kate and Cliff. They’re at some sort of Christmas party with Kate’s dad dressed as Santa when he’s speared through the back of the head. The people in the room look more disappointed than scared or shocked that someone just got stabbed through the back of the head right in front of them. Kate doesn’t seem to mourn her father long either, so maybe he was a dick. Chief Inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom) and Detective Sergeant Powell stop by to question the couple, but nothing really comes of it, until later that night when another Santa is barbequed on a street grill and the jolly old man erupts into flames. Guess he was stuffed full of coal.
Now we get to meet an odd character whose true motives are obvious by looking at his wide eyed, crazy man gaze and his awkward interactions with people, Giles (Alan Lake), a man who claims he writes for the paper. Giles seems to be planting seeds of suspicion about Harris in Powell’s head. Almost to the point where it’s super obvious that he may be the guy you think he is… Anyway, another randomly drinking Santa is shot square in the mouth just to add another body to the pile. Hey, this is an exploitation film! We don’t need a reason other than we want to make it offensive and sleazy! You think it’s gonna stop there? No, sir. Another Santa has his throat slashed while watching a stripper through glass.
By now you may be noticing a theme that every Santa in this movie is either drunk or a pervert. Or both.
Harris continues to visit Kate and Cliff, because not only does he seemingly have the hots for Kate in a creepy way, but also because Cliff was present at the time for two of the murders, so we gotta add him to the naughty list. Meanwhile, Giles continues to suggest that Powell is hiding something to Harris and later that night, guess what? Another Santa is murdered. Another drunk Santa. This is enough for Harris to be thrown off the case, who just so happens to be randomly visiting an institution. Nothing in that last sentence is shown, mind you, but repeated out loud as exposition by Kate who is on the phone trying to find Harris. This is something that happens a few times throughout the movie to explain Edmund Purdom’s absence from the film. It’s a cheap way around it, rather than having to recast or reshoot, but as a film, this is inexcusable. Imagine you are watching something like Inception and instead of watching what the characters were doing, someone was on the phone and repeating out loud what is being said to them to fill in that gap for you. Even Cliff vanishes from the ending. He’s seen being cleared of the murders and they lead you to believe that he’s gonna help catch the killer, or something, but then as Kate is trying to get close to Harris and the two are having dinner, you see Cliff trying to spy on them and that’s it. No more Cliff.
So, a few more drunken, perverted Santas get murdered and there’s a random Caroline Munro cameo and the stripper is kidnapped from earlier by the killer who says she’s going to be some sort of ultimate sacrifice for the evil of Christmas or some shit. I don’t know why they needed to throw this in there, seeing as it feels really out of place. It’s at this point they finally reveal the identity of the killer as he confronts Kate in her apartment, but if you have a single working braincell, you already knew who it was. I don’t know why the movie felt they needed to keep it a mystery this whole time seeing as you could kinda see his face through that mask and his character wasn’t exactly subtle whenever he was on screen. That’s not taking away from Alan Lake’s performance, however, as he was really intense and kinda creepy. Sadly, he ended up taking his own life shortly before the movie was released for a number of drinking and depression related issues.
So, why was the killer brutally murdering anyone dressed up as Santa? As far as I can tell from a flashback at the very end, the killer saw his Mommy getting down with Santa. This also happened in Christmas Evil, oddly enough, so I don’t know if this was ripping that off or just trying to be extremely sleazy. Seeing as how the movie is produced by Dick Randall, neither would surprise me. If I can say one thing really positive about this film, it’s that it has a great amount of sleaze and violence. Probably more than another 1984 Christmas slasher flick called Silent Night, Deadly Night. It’s strange to see all of the bored housewives and easily outraged mothers protesting that movie, but where were they during Don’t Open Till Christmas? I’ll tell you, it’s all about marketing. Silent Night, Deadly Night used the image of Santa holding an axe and going down a chimney to promote its film, depicting Santa as the killer, where Don’t Open Till Christmas used a guy killing Santas. So if I learned anything from this, it’s that it’s okay to kill Santa, but not be Santa doing the killing. Thank you marketing and angry mothers everywhere, that makes total sense.
This isn’t the best made Christmas horror film out there and some will say it’s probably not all that good and they’d be right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It feels downright dirty to be watching this film, especially when Pat Astley shows up in a sexy little number that exposes her goodies to unwrap. It has a very odd, synthy score that adds to its goodness, even if it’s not always used at the most opportune times. Actually, there are quite a few times when it’s just used out of place, like when two characters are talking about nothing in particular and the music is being used like something is gonna jump out at them. This may sound odd, but the mixture of Edmund Purdom’s inexperience as a director and all of the reshoots, rewrites and replacements, everything that made this film a disaster is what makes it memorable. Of course, it’s not by any measure good. It’s actually quite bad, but it’s highly entertaining and feels all Christmasy, which is what it’s all about.
We here at Kinky Ho-rror would like to honor two women that taught us that naughty could be nice and dark could be beautiful: Malia “Vampira” Nurmi and Bettie Page. On December 11, Vampira was born (1922) and Bettie left us (2008). In an era of repression, both women celebrated their kinky sides and challenged the tyranny of the norm. Even in the internet age, these gore-geous ghouls remain the height of glamour for fierce females who embrace the dangerous side of beauty. xoxoxo
With a bloodcurdling scream, a form-fitting dress as dark as her hair, and a piercing stare to cut through the soul, Vampira was and always shall be THE Glamour Ghoul. With a sexuality uncommon for the conservative ’50s and a campy sense of humor, Vampira hosted fright films and hypnotized the audience with an enchantingly strange persona. She solidified her immortality with her eerie appearance in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. After her initial success, she became an icon in the punk scene, hanging out with The Misfits on occasion. There is not horror host alive who doesn’t owe something to her exotic persona and/or camp humor to her and her style continues to inspire Goths, Punks, and Pinups to this very day. Dig ya, Vampira!
Vampira in her mortal form.
Bettie page is the indisputable Queen of Pinups. A controversial figure in her time, she was often photographed nude or in lingerie and participated in bondage shoots that would curl your hair in the ’50s. Her unabashed sexuality and free-spirited nature have made her a legendary figure in the pinup scene. At a time when few women pursued a college education, Page earned a bachelor of arts degree in education from Peabody College in Tennessee in 1944, illustrating the image of figure of both brains and beauty. Bettie’s spirit and likeness have lived on throughout the years and she continues to reign as the Queen of Pinups. Long live the Queen!
We admire and adore you, Bettie and Vampira…Always. xoxo