I’ve been hoping and trying to get a few photos of Ben looking handsome on our be-pumpkin’d front porch, but unfortunately, the weather has been less than cooperative—the only day this week we’ve had morning sunshine, I was on my way to visit an out-of-state doctor! Alas! I’ll keep trying, though. It looks so pretty with all of those bright squashes!
In the meantime, tomorrow is the big day, and of course we’re getting rain predictions. We had rain combined with bitter cold last year, resulting in our having far too much candy left over and not seeing as many crumb-crunchers—I’m hoping the weathermen are wrong regarding tomorrow. Trick-or-treating is from 6 to 8 and we are looking for a big turnout!
Of course, after eight, we’ll likely be sitting down with some pulled pork from the crockpot and seeking out some creepy movies. As you’ve likely anticipated, Thursday—All Hallows’ Eve—TCM gives us all horror films, all day long. Daytime brings us various movies featuring Christopher Lee, and in prime time, we get to enjoy our final few films with Star Of The Month Vincent Price. (As always, I am disappointed not to see the always-funny Young Frankenstein in the mix, though, Price or no!) And that lineup of Price films (only one of which I’ve seen, and it’s been a while on that count.) is creepy indeed, all deserving of inclusion for this week’s TCM look-ahead.
After that, we’ll skip straight along to Tuesday, birthday of Vivien Leigh; from morning ’til well after dark, TCM will be airing some of that beautiful lady’s fine films—but I’ll work on getting that sneak peek Saturday or Sunday so you can set your DVR; a few favourite Leigh movies are scheduled, and it seems to me they deserve their own post.
No newly-released photos to share with you this week; frankly, I’ve not enough in the realm of “creepy” and “scary” save the photos I’ve posted here already; anything else seems less than fitting. I could of course go out photographing politicians and bureaucrats, but that’s not very appealing. Instead, I’ve embedded the movie trailers right into the post for you.
Pit And The Pendulum ’61
Only modestly related to Poe’s tale about a victim of the Spanish Inquisition, it nevertheless has earned the distinction in the eyes of some as allowing Price to play the most fantastic character he ever played. Shocked by the sudden death of his unfaithful wife, Nicholas Medina (Price) is confronted by her suspicious brother, who may, based upon Nicholas’ father’s job as regional inquisitor, feel at least vindicated in his concerns…to say nothing about the odd happenings seeming to indicate that Medina’s wife has come back to life. Is she really alive? And what of her tortured husband, slowly and certainly being driven to vengeful madness by his grief and the seemingly supernatural signs?
Directed by Price’s House of Usher partner, Roger Corman, this promises to be a fun thriller indeed. Crypts, a castle that’s also a house of inquisition torture, thick masses of cobwebs in dimly lit passages…For Halloween night, after the trick-or-treaters have gone home, this should be fun. Barbara Steele & John Kerr also star. Along with that pendulum. Ahem.
The Haunted Palace ‘ 63
An amalgam of Poe’s tale and H. P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (a few lines from Poe’s The Haunted Palace are read just prior to the ending credits). Mr. Ward (Price) is the descendant of Joseph Curwen (also Price), a man burned at the stake a hundred years before for experimenting on women (why yes, this did take place in New England!). Taking possession of his ancestor’s castle as part of his inheritance, Ward and his wife find the townspeople cold…though that may be due to the fact that Curwen had cursed them all with terrible deformities while burning at the stake. All along, while finding his new home unnervingly familiar, Ward is more and more under the thrall of the portrait of his crispified ancestor that still hangs on the wall. Slowly, refusing to be denied, Curwen begins to posses Ward via the portrait.
Chaney stars as the castle’s caretaker, a man with some…well, let’s be blunt: evil connections. Debra Paget stars as Ward’s wife. Nitrate Diva has a terrifically insightful review of The Haunted Palace just in time for TCM’s showing. All it did was whet my appetite for this one.
The Masque Of The Red Death ’64
This is actually a fairly faithful adaptation of one of Poe’s more famous tales (and the film I’ve seen, but that was in high school—why, my I ask, does TCM only pull these out of the hat every decade or so? Bueller? Bueller?). While a plague ravages the population, sardonic Prince Prospero and fellow nobles are secured in his palace…where he worships the devil and the group passes time by torturing various unfortunate peasants. Not my kind of crowd, dear reader. But don’t worry, Poe had a sense of morality.
Price’s sixth Poe film for director Roger Corman, Masque of the Red Death is a feast for the eyes (those familiar with the story can probably guess why, and be happy about it)—it’s quite nicely filmed—and was not only well-received critically but by audiences.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes ’71
1AM Thursday (Friday)
This is just…bizarre. I’ve read a little about it, watched a few trailers, and…wow. A sort of British horror-comedy film, but it has some good things going for it that interest me enough to probably flip it on tomorrow night. First of all, Vincent Price costars with another of my very favourite actors, Joseph Cotten. And the story itself—a doctor, having apparently decided the Hippocratic oath is bunk, is hunting down and bizarrely killing the doctors he blames for his precious wife’s death during a botched surgery. How does he take the docs out? By using the ten plagues God brought against Egypt in Exodus. In London.
Now, I’m quite certain the Almighty would not approve of this in any way, but it does seem that it would make for a fascinating movie, don’t you think? Throw in the note that TCM suggests Dr. Phibes “comes across almost like a live action version of the artwork of Edward Gorey” and my affection for black comedies, and we might have a winner here.
Also interesting about this film is that its star’s most famed feature—his distinctive, dangerously silky voice—is taken from him in it. As Dr. Phibes, he ‘speaks’ via a cord plugged into his neck that plays from a Victrola. No joke (though for what it’s worth, the film is set during the 1920s).
The Tomb of Ligeia ’64
5AM Thursday (crack of dawn Friday, brew that coffee!)
Another story of a man obsessed with his dead wife, once more with Roger Corman directing Vincent Price, wraps up the Halloween programming—though if you’d seen your spouse’s eyes open in their coffin, I suppose we could excuse you for that obsession.
After seeing his bride’s eyes open through the glass coffin window, aristocrat Verden Fell (Price, of course!) finds himself susceptible to the belief that her spirit still roams the earth, particularly when a black cat leaps to the top of her headstone. Even so, when neighbor Lady Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd, who plays his dead wife Ligeia as well) falls from her horse and Fell nurses her back to health, the pair seem unable to resist falling in love, marrying despite the disapproval of family & friends. Bizarre and inexplicable behaviour from Fell particularly follows…and a black cat with a rather nasty attitude toward Rowena in particular has decided to take up residence at the estate.