We’re going WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYY back in time here! I’m talkin’ B.K. (Before Karloff) here! Yessir, this one’s before Caligari had a cabinet and before Chaney’s Phantom haunted the opera. From Edison (Yes, THAT Edison) Studios, it’s Frankenstein! Now, this short film has been described as a “liberal” adaptation and, boy, is that true! Instead of stitching corpses together, the bad doctor throws a bunch o’ chemicals into a vat, resulting in his own Pet Monster. It ain’t the Frankenstein we’re used to, but it’s certainly fascinating! With its strange optical effects, it’s like freaky-deaky magic show! It’s Strange! It’s weird! It’s one of the original horror shows! I highly recommend it to a you cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies out there! 🙂
Happy Birthday to Cinema’s Great Magician, Ray Harryhausen!
As you cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies probably know, Ray Harryhausen was the mightiest stop motion animator in the cosmos. He was both Prometheus and Athena, sculpting creatures from clay and breathing life into them. Mr. Harryhausen brought many great monsters into existence with just his skilled hands and superhuman patience. What he did was magic, pure and simple.
In ho-nor of Mr. Harryhausen, we’ve dug up this groovy interview… conducted by Mr. Tim Burton! In it, you’ll hear Ray talk about the birth of several of his creations, watch Tim Burton try not give in to his inner-fanboy, and see the two mess around with a flying saucer from Earth vs. The Flying Saucers! It’s an incredible watch for lovers of fantastic cinema and Master Harryhausen. Enjoy, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 xoxo
Happy Birthday, Ray! Thanks for all the cinematic magic. 🙂 xoxo
Ho-wdy, Franken-Freaks! Welcome to #TerrorTrailerTuesday, a new feature on the site on which we eXXXhume the spook-tacular trailers for a cl-ass-sick fright film series, the flicks of a ho-rror icon, or monster movies featuring a certain kind of creature. Today we’re stealing fire from the Gods, desecrating graves, and going to pieces for Peter Cushing’s Dr. Frankenstein! Is there any mad scientist madder than Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein? This quack dives head-first into depravity and never comes up air! While he has been portrayed in a somewhat heroic light (Evil of Frankenstein, ironically enough), he’s usually the biggest creep in the tomb. Cushing’s brilliant portrayal is both endlessly chilling and weirdly charming, the latter makes his ghastly deeds all the more ho-rrible.
It was a stroke of mad genius on Hammer’s part to make Cushing’s mad doctor the focus of their Frankenstein films, for no ghoul can compare to the great fiend who makes them. And there is no greater fiend than Cushing’s Frankenstein. With Cushing, the doctor was always in… sane. 🙂
Without any further a-boo, here are the trailers for the Cushing Frankenstein films!
Showtime’s American Gods is a leisurely stroll through a dream. It dazzles, delights, and confuses the viewer, but its story unfold at a mummy’s pace. Much of the series involves road trips and I suspect that was the point: the journey is much more fulfilling than the destination. Every episode is brimming with disturbing beauty and faerie story detours that are fantastical in every meaning of that word, but the primary story often feels like a skeleton to hang such fancies on. It could be said that the story doesn’t even really kick off until its first season finale, and that the entire season was essentially a prelude to what lies ahead. In that way, it’s easy to see why many would frustrated by the series. For me, it was very much a journey worth taking.
American Gods is based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same title. It’s an incredibly strange book and I adore it for that reason. Showrunners Bryan Fuller (developer of Hannibal, creator of Pushing Up Daisies) and Michael Green (writer on Alien: Covenant, writer/producer Heroes) are certainly no strangers to bizarre material. What they have crafted is a work that is faithful to the spirit and strangeness of Gaiman’s novel, if not its story. That’s not to say that their series isn’t recognizable as American Gods, but it’s certainly no word-for-word retelling. For those unfamiliar with the material, the central premise is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them and immigrants have brought with them their deities and sprites. As humanity’s faith in such beings wanes, New Gods have been born: figures who represent society’s obsession with modern forms media, transportation, technology, and other such concepts. At the center of this world of gods and monsters is Shadow Moon, a recently released convict who has lost everything that matters to him, including his wife. With nothing left, he accepts a job as the bodyguard of an enigmatic conman, known as Mr. Wednesday. In no time at all, Shadow finds himself involved in a conflict between the Old Gods and the New Gods. The world of American Gods is not far removed from our own in many ways, and completely alien in others. It’s a realm that has everything ours has to offer, but where belief is powerful enough to give life to legends. Anything a person can think of can potentially exist within this world, which gives many opportunities for truly magical imagery. And the series takes full advantage of it. Some of it is gruesome, some of it is weird, and some of it is gorgeous. But all of it is fantastic. In fact, it’s some of the most spectacular imagery I’ve seen for a television show in some time. The cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking, and the visual effects are a magician’s feat.
Like the book, American Gods takes many detours from its main plot. Though it’s easy to see why this would annoy the heck out of some viewers, most of these detours are pretty darn groovy. There’s one episode that’s mostly dedicated to the tale of an 18th-century Irishwoman (Cornish in the book) that really doesn’t further the conflict of the Old Gods and New Gods, but it makes this universe all the richer. When the series pauses to tell short stories, it feels more like an anthology than an epic. I certainly didn’t mind these diversions.
On paper, the cast seems exceptional. In execution, it’s pure perfection. Ricky Whittle’s Shadow and Ian McShane’s Mr. Wednesday play off of each other in marvelous fashion. As far as I’m concerned, McShane is Mr. Wednesday. Gillian Anderson is delightful as Media, wearing the guise of a new pop culture icon in each of her appearances. (Any show that has Dana Scully doing a David Bowie impression is fine by me!! ;)) Orlando Jones is wildly charismatic as the trickster Mr. Nancy and Yetide Badaki’s Bilquis says a lot with very little dialogue. As always, Crispin Glover is sensational as the mysterious Mr. World.
Perhaps the most surprising and delightful aspect of the first season is the inclusion of a new subplot with leprechaun Mad Sweeney and walking corpse Laura Moon, played by Pablo Schreiber and Emily Browning respectively. Both characters have been expanded far beyond their book counterparts. With Sweeney given a longer lifespan and Laura given more personality and backstory than just a dead wife, the pair very nearly steal the entire show away from the main characters. Their insult-laden repartee and unusual chemistry are nothing short of brilliant. If the series has outdone Gaiman in any regard, it’s in the handling of Laura and Sweeney.
All in all, the first season of American Gods is one heck of road trip. If one doesn’t mind frequent stops and detours, the series is superb fantasy. Gaiman’s magnificent novel is done great justice, and even improved upon in some regards. It’s very episodic, but most of its diversions are strong in their own way. We’ll have to wait to see if the second season stays in this direction, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if it did. American Gods is truly divine.
Happy Birthday to two site favorites: Clint Howard and Crispin Glover!
Both Mr. Glover and Mr. Howard are among the most beloved actors in the world of cult cinema. Neither one is your average leading man, but they’d be far less intriguing if they were. Crispin Glover is one of the most unique personalities in cinema. He has appeared in blockbuster crowd-pleasers, but his heart clearly lies with the darker, challenging side of film. As an artist in many fields, Mr. Glover is always provocative and has the uncanny ability to perturb viewers in fascinating ways. While the average film-goer may recognize him as the nebbish father in Back to the Future, Glover’s acting work has included everything from slasher films (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), art films (Dead Man), big-budget fantasy (Alice in Wonderland), offbeat crime films (Wild at Heart), black comedies (Nurse Betty), and other varied films. No matter the film, Glover always brings an intensity and strange quality that is all his own. Glover has brought his surreal talents to directing with What Is It? and It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine, both part of a planned “It” trilogy.There’s no denying that Glover is a true original.
Clint Howard will (to the general public, anyway) always be known simply as “Ron Howard’s brother”, but has Ron had memorable roles on three different versions of Star Trek? No, but Clint sure has! In fact, Clint has had a pretty legendary career in his own right. Starting in 1963, Clint Howard has been in… well, just about everything. Mr. Howard is the ultimate character actor. He’s been in countless iconic television shows, horror movies (including The Ice Cream Man, a favorite of our fearless ho-stess!), comedies (the first two Austin Powers movies, among many others.), has gone face-to-face with Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy on the original Star Trek series, and was Roo (!) in two Disney Winnie the Pooh shorts! In 1998, Howard won the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. It was clearly a gag, but it shouldn’t have been. Clint Howard has been around for over four decades and has produced many roles and moments that will be remembered by fans forever. If that isn’t award-worthy, we don’t know what is.
In honor of these two eccentric gentlemen, we thought it would be appropriate to have a little music… performed by the birthday boys, of course! The first is a new wave rocker performed by Clint Howard and the Kempsters, the second is Crispin Glover doing his best (and the all-time best) Olivia Newton-John in The Orkly Kid. Both performances are delightfully strange, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Much to my surprise (and dismay), I discovered that there are actually people of Earth who don’t know who BORIS KARLOFF is!!!
That is unacceptable, so I figured I’d break it on down and lay out some basic (though he was anything but ;)) Boris knowledge for ya’ll. (Especially dedicated to Mr. @itsfunnguy…You are so getting quizzed on this later!! 😉 xoxo)
He was billed only as “?” in the opening credits to Frankenstein, the film that made him a legend amongst both men and monsters. To a figure most unconventional, he gave both monstrosity and humanity. With an uncommon grace and dignity, he expressed simple, childish emotions in a manner that made us care for and understand the lonliness of an actual monster. When the picture concludes and the ending credits roll, the man behind the creature is given a name: Boris Karloff.
Boris Karloff is the gold standard by which all subsequent horror actors are judged. Following his success in the 1931 with Frankenstein, the British Karloff become Hollywood’s resident ghoul, starring in what would become a roster of classic horror films. His Rogues Gallery of performances would include the terrifying mute butler in James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932), the diabolical titular menace in The Mask of Fu Manchu, the Satanic fiend in The Black Cat (1934), the original Imhotep in Karl Freund’s The Mummy (1932), and enough monsters and madmen to haunt the nightmares of generations to come. Outside of Frankenstein, he is perhaps best-known as the narrator in 1966’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, infusing it with the same devilish charm we’ve come to expect from the King of Monsters. While he clearly had a plethora of timeless creeps to his name, he will forever be associated with the three Frankenstein films he did. Of the part, he once said. “The Monster was the best friend I ever had.”
Beloved both on and off screen, Karloff was as perfect a gentleman as he was a monster. Karloff was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 and often donated to charities. Every Christmas since 1940, he dressed up as Santa Claus and gave gifts to handicapped children at a hospital in Baltimore, a stark departure from The Grinch. He adored gardening, cricket, and all things English. For the last decade of his life, Karloff moved back to England, where he had a flat in London and a cottage he called “Roundabout” in the countryside.
Karloff will forever be a giant in the genre and in our pop culture. Whenever Frankenstein is mentioned, you can be sure that images of Karloff will be stirred up. He is perhaps the only figure (save for Jack Skellington) who rightfully dominates both Christmas and Halloween. As long as there are folks that love monsters, Karloff will remain an icon. Impressive for a man who started his career as a question mark.
Karloff as the voice of Baron Boris von Frankenstein in Mad Monster Party?.