#TerrorTrailerTuesday: The “DIEs and Dolls” Edition

Ho-wdy, Toys and Ghouls!
Annabelle: Creation is creepy-crawling into theaters this week, eXXXpanding the Conjuring universe in terrifying fashion. While you’ll have to wait for next Shriek-end to read our thoughts on the film, we’re getting all dolled up for ya now with the most putrid playthings committed to film!
What can we say… all dolls are freaky as all heck! If film has taught us anything (which it has), it’s that every single one of those creepy little bastards is possessed by the Devil and/or a serial killer!  When they’re not trying to make you look insane to your loved ones or attempting to kill Catherine Hicks, they’re just sitting there… wordless… plotting their neXXXt misdeed. I tell ya kreeps, those monstrous mannequins are going to make dummies of us all!

It’s playtime… check out the #TerrorTuesday trailerage below:

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!

Thank You, Daryl and Bill Paxton :(

We here at Kinky Horror are devastated by the loss of two legends of their fields: actor Bill Paxton and magician Daryl. We wish to take this time to honor both of these men, who both made the world a far lovelier place with their mere presence.

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Known as “The Magician’s Magician,” Daryl handled cards with the consummate elegance of a surgeon. At the age of 7, his friend’s family gave him a trick deck, jump-starting a lifelong love affair with magic. Daryl started, like many young entertainers, performing on the streets and at restaurants. Soon enough, Daryl gained some considerable recognition for his unique style and fantastic skill.  As a performer, Daryl has won countless awards, headlined Caesars Palace, was voted one of the 100 most influential magicians of the 20th century by Magic Magazine, and performed at President Bush’s inauguration. The prestigious prestidigitator was also an excellent educator. Daryl spent a large portion amount of his career giving lectures to young magicians who were hungry for knowledge. With his death, the world seems a bit less magical. Thank you for all the wonder and knowledge you’ve spread over the years, Daryl.

Bill Paxton

Horror fans, monster lovers, and even general moviegoers are all familiar with the brilliance of Bill Paxton. Mr. Paxton’s extraordinary body of work includes such classics as Aliens, The Terminator, Titanic, True Lies,  Weird Science, Tombstone, and Near Dark. With his larger-than-life presence and effortless ability to steal the show with limited screentime, Bill Paxton always injected life into whatever project he graced. As Severin in Near Dark, Paxton managed to charm and disgust us at once as a remorseless monster who’s far more likable that he ought to be. His portrayal the wise-cracking Hudson remains one of the best supporting performances in any monster movie. Having meet the man on a few occasions, I can firmly state that Bill Paxton was as kind as he was talented. During a phone conversation with him, he managed to sneak in a quick “Game Over, Man.”  That is certainly a chat I will remember for the rest of my days. Nominated for four Golden Globes and a Primetime Emmy, the beloved actor has made fans of critics and audiences alike. If all of that wasn’t impressive enough, Paxton is the only man to be killed by an Alien, a Predator, AND a Terminator! Thanks for everything, Mr. Paxton… you truly were the ultimate badass.

Rest in Peace, Gentleman. 🙁

Scary Shorties: The Jester (2016)

(Submitted by Dr. Anton Phibes…Thank you, Sinister Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

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Greetings, boils and ghouls! We here at Kinky Horror like to shine a blood red spotlight on some glorious grotesquies that you may have missed. Today’s hidden gem is a shocking short from MakeDo Entertainment simply titled The Jester.

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The Jester tells the tale of the titular ghoul, a petrifying prestidigitator who punishes those who lack the Halloween spirit. With a spider-like grace and a silent charisma, he stalks the night to search for an audience for his macabre magic. At only ten minutes, The Jester creates a wonderful monster that could easily support a full-length feature. Heck, this mad magician has the potential to become a franchise figure! While there are some conceptual similarities to Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, The Jester stands on his own as a guardian of Halloween. For those looking for an early Halloween treat, check out The Jester below!

Just Another Magic (1978) Monday…

(Review submitted by Dr. Anton Phibes…Thank you, Magic Man! 😉 xoxo)

Long before he got a taste for flesh, Anthony Hopkins delivered portrayal of a different sicko. One that’s less known, but equally as chilling as the bad doctor. Unfortunately, Sir. Anthony is overshadowed by his co-star: himself. This film is Magic from 1978, and Mr. Hopkins plays Corky Withers, a timid magician who hits the big time when he adds a foul-mouthed dummy by the name of Fats to his act. When a network requires Corky to take a mental exam before the pilot for his own show, Corky flees to his home town and tries to rekindle his relationship with an old flame, played delightfully by Ann Margaret. The longer he stays, the louder Fats becomes. How much control does Corky truly have and why is it that he and Fats converse long after the spotlight has faded?

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Automatonophobia is the fear of anything falsely represents a sentient being, such as scarecrows, animatronics, scarecrows, wax statues, and dolls. It is an entirely irrational fear. After all, these things were made by humans like you and me. Many of those listed are designed to bring us hit and to amuse us in the innocuous way. How could something as a ventriloquist’s doll hurt you? Its fiberglass eyes devoid of any life. Still…. motionless… there’s nothing malevolent or sinister about a dummy… is there?

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For those of you who suffer from such a fear, Magic is certainly not the film for you. Fats is everything grotesque and twisted about Corky. Why, even his appearance reflects this. The film never lets you know exactly how real Fats is. While it may lean towards one direction, explanations of both a natural and supernatural nature are given enough validity. In one of the most chilling sequences, Corky is tasked to keep Fats quiet for 5 whole minutes. Even a task as simple as a ventriloquist keeping his dummy silent turns into an unnerving exercise in suspense.

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As mentioned before, Anthony Hopkins plays Corky. Corky could be described as Norman Bates with a deck of cards, but that would be doing an injustice to the film. Corky is wholly likable, when he’s himself. His passion for the art of magic is admirable and charming, as is the almost innocent demeanor he possesses. Anthony Hopkins actually does a beautiful job with the few magic tricks her performs in the film, making Corky seem like the real deal. Of course, Corky does have a darkness to him. Hopkins fuses the young magician with an intensity and sinister side that are truly unsettling. That is nothing compared to his Fats, though. Fats, real or not, is equally horrifying and hilarious, but he definitely burrows himself deeply under your skin. Hopkins does this bizarrely high voice that adds so much horror and humor without going futher than needed in either direction. Originally, Gene Wilder was considered for the part. One almost wonders how that would play out in a story of this nature… (“Gross.” -D.P. ;))

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While Hopkins as the demented ventriloquist/dummy are the film’s star attraction, the supporting cast is certainly nothing to scoff at. The ever-perfect Burgess Meredith plays Ben Greene, Corky’s gruff manager with a legitimate concern for the lad. The aforementioned Ann Margret is simply lovely as Peggy, the Christine to Corky’s Phantom. Even Ed Lauter as the husband Peggy no longer loves is fairly likable. Horror works best if you care for those involved and Magic certainly has that aspect down. You feel for the psychotic young prestidigitator as well as those affected by his growing madness.

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Richard Attenborough, the director of Gandhi and the man who welcomed us to Jurassic Park, helmed this film with a great eye for suspense that Hitchcock himself would probably appreciate. Princess Bride‘s William Goldman adapted his own novel to screen with a solid script that is filled with wonderful lines and tension, winning an Edgar award for his work. The atmospheric score by Jerry Goldsmith is simply a masterpiece, highlighting both the tragic and mysterious nature of the film. Goldsmith’s score is one I listen to on a regular basis and is one of the most underrated in the history of the genre.

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While Anthony Hopkins would go on to bigger things, it is his performance as Corky that is nearest to my blackened heart. Magic is everything a suspenseful horror story ought to be: disturbing, creepy, and a little heartbreaking. The audience gets to know and love Corky and that makes the film even more terrifying. You care for Corky and you spend the film wishing that every horrible thing you suspect will happen won’t. Corky, Fats, and their peculiar brand of Magic will linger on long after the tricks have been played and the curtain has dropped.

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Ho-stess’s Super Classy PS– You can see Ann Margret’s nipple in this…Score!! 😉 xoxo
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