Okily dokily, now that Easter is officially a wrap, let’s get back to Ho-biz and catch up on some of the Ho-rrific Happenings that went down whilst I was on vacay, shall we? 🙂
First up: There were 2 Super Duper Noteworthy Birthaversaries I feel any properly self-loathing Ho-rror Bloggess needs to mention. Let’s take a quick TARDIS trip so I can pretend I posted these on their appropriate dates… 😉
April 1: Lon Chaney
A very happy birthday to the world’s first movie monster, Lon Chaney!
Leonidas Frank Chaney, the man who would be Phantom, was born to deaf parents on
this day in 1883. As a result of his upbringing, Chaney learned to communicate
with his face and hands, and developed a special understanding and appreciation
of the unique and disabled. Through his pantomime, Chaney was able to weave a
tapestry of powerful emotions without uttering a word. Through his self-applied
makeup and moving performances, Chaney had a knack for creating grotesque
characters with human souls. He understood his misfit “children” and infused
with as much pathos as he did menace. While others in Hollywood at the time were
perfecting one persona, Chaney used each film as a canvas for total
transformation. You could say (and I do… ;)) that our Birthday Boy was the first true character actor.
The “Lonster” (as I like to call him ;)) was very press-shy, granting very few interviews and seldom attending premieres. Mostly, this was done as publicity ploy, adding a macabre mystique to his already offbeat persona. Chaney was said to be very supportive of struggling actors, including Boris “McBadass” Karloff, to whom he would often give advice. Rumor has it that Lon was seen placing some baby birds back into the nest out of which they had fallen, and begged a witness not to tell anyone: “I will never hear the end of it. Everyone thinks I am so hard-boiled!” (Awwwwww!!! #MMM :))
I’m hardly unique in admitting that Mr. Chaney is a personal hero of mine. His influence can still be felt today as artists continue to consistently pay homage to his undeniable genius. As a popular saying goes, “Don’t step on that Spider! It might be Lon Chaney!” (But also, you shouldn’t do it anyway, because Spiders are rad…JS! ;))
NeXXXt up on our journey to the past (April 5, to be eXXXact :)), I give you Mr. Roger Corman. <33333
Big, wet birthday kisses to the King of B’s, Mr. Roger Corman! For nearly 60 years,
Rockin’ Roger has produced and directed films with budgets that wouldn’t
cover the cost of craft services on a Michael Bay fart flick, but have jump-started
the careers of many film making now-legends. Jack Nicholson, Robert
DeNiro, Dennis Hopper, James Cameron, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, Ron Howard (aka #MCE #1,876 :)), John Sayles, Martin Scorsese, and many awesome others have all graduated from the “University of Corman.”
While the talent that was developed under Corman’s bat-like wing is impressive, King Corman’s own achievements as a director are pretty gosh-darn remarkable. The Poe cycle of the ’60s are among the most stupendous and graphically galvanizing works of gloriously gothic gloom to ever hit the silver screen! In my humble opinion, The Masque of the Red Death is a much a classic of grotesque cinema as Psycho or Horror of
Famously, Corman made Little Shop of Horrors in 2 1/2 days and still
managed to make a frighteningly fantastic lil’ comic horror picture. (Though it was admittedly Moranis-less, but he’s not completely to blame for that… ;))
While most of us associate Roger with eXXXploitation cinema (NOT a bad thing!!! :)), he was also responsible for bringing the artsy foreign films of Fellini, Kurosawa, and Bergman to the American drive-in, something that was unheard of at the time.
In 2009, Corman received a well-deserved Ho-norary Oscar for his contributions to cinema.
2009 Governors Awards – Roger Corman Receives… by dreadcentral
(Just a very few of Mr. C’s most memorable contributions… ;)) xoxo