Today is Mother's Day, and I'm a theme junkie. I love to exploit a good holiday with a cheesy connection I might have to said holiday. That being explained, I am not doing the movie Mother's Day, the remake of the movie Mother's Day, certainly considered doing Psycho and definitely did not consider doing the remake of the movie Psycho. Today is dedicated to both my beautiful and loving mother and my fiance who is a beautiful and loving mother :insert mother hen with chicks images:
Mother Hen... with Chicks
Trailer for Kaufmann's Mother's Day
Trailer for Psycho
How do we honor this day when we have precisely two mothers to consider? We do... A DOUBLE FEATURE (as the title to this blog suggests... in caps... so you can't miss it). So let us begin with my dear mutta...
Introduction to our Double Feature
From about the time I learned how to program a VCR in the 80's she was quite against most of the horror genre (any mother would be... it's usually disgusting), but she absolutely loved the old macabre world. Especially Vincent Price. She never told me why she loved him so, but I believe it's his voice, his calm, gentelmanly way and ... his ability to kill creatively. My mom's favorite horror film is House on Haunted Hill from 1959 (no remakes for her).
What is a VCR?
Trailer for House on Haunted Hill
This movie always seemed a bit disjointed to me. Scenes slightly out of place and the production just seemed... a bit sloppy. I didn't realize it when I first watched this movie, but it would be my first B-movie. Low production, schlock gimmicks, less than steller acting (although not really in this case), and ... it would be my first William Castle production. Who is William Castle? He was the master of gimmickery. None more exemplerary of his antics than House on Haunted Hill.
Filmed in "Emergo". An inflatable glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire floated over the audience during the final moments of some showings of the film to parallel the action on the screen when a skeleton arose from a vat of acid and pursued the villainous wife of Vincent Price. The gimmick did not always instill fright; sometimes the skeleton became a target for some audience members who hurled candy boxes, soda cups or any other objects at hand at the skeleton.Essentially, William knew how to get 'em in the seats. His productions were somewhat shotty, but that is all part of their charm.
William Castle... Roasted!
Enter Vincent Price... You have to love him. He's my favorite horror movie actor by far. He has a certain "I don't know what". His manor of speaking is haunting (sounds like he may have a nodjule on his vocal chords and/or smokes a pack an hour). Price goes from collected knight-in-shining-armor to sinister devil to terrified unassuming spectator to mass murderer... in ONE FILM! So we know we love Vincent. We have William Castle creating the strange world of supernatural puppetry in the late 50's and early 60's and we have... a bassoon.
Vincent Price... .org
The music to this movie has stood out to me since I first saw it. Strange cascades of delicious, thick bassoon riffs running up and down your spine. If you watch this movie loud enough, you'll vibrate your seat (did Castle intend this as a precursor to the Tingler?). And the screaming... oh the most excellent vocal performances. Endless screams. Screams that I can still hear in my head if I try and sometimes when I don't. Sonic presence, acting that bests the best horror movie villain or hero, William Castle tricking the trickiest of audiences and... a haunted house, with murders and party favors! Oh my!
The Bassoon: the instrument of love
Scream Queen Annabelle Lorren
What's not to love about this classic? As the tag line says, "See it with someone who's got warm hands," and I'm quite certain my mom would like to remember that I saw it with her and she's got the warmest hands. It's the kind of movie only a mother could love and as we know... a boy's best friend is his mother (thanks Norm).
And now... for the second half of our DOUBLE FEATURE we bring you one of the most terrifying movies the other mother in my life, the future Mrs. Terror, mother of one ghoulishly delightful wee one... POLTERGEIST!
POLTERGEIST... the trailer
Defintion of a Poltergeist
Why is this movie terrifying? Your kid gets sucked into an alternate ghost dimension by an entity you can't see, the TV is your enemy, toys come to life and strangle you, goo... lots of ectoplasmic goo, Zelda Rubinstein (honey, I'm home for dinner and my name is Tangina), trees coming to life, pools of dead bodies... Craig T. Nelson, smoking a joint... c'mon coach. There's every reason to be scared of this movie.
Let's talk about the curse! The supposed real life curse. For that we turns to our trusted correspondant... Wikipedia!
"The Poltergeist curse" is the rumor of a supposed curse attached to the Poltergeist motion picture series and its stars. The rumor is superstition largely derived from the fact that four cast members died in the six years between the release of the first film and the release of the third, with one dying during production of the second film. Two of them died at young ages, 12 and 22. It is not clear that these particular films are atypical in the number or nature of the deaths of their actors, and at least two of the supposed victims had serious health problems before becoming attached to the film series.So even in the event that you don't find this movie as terrifying as the rest of us there's at least the reasonable chance that if you acted in it, you'll experience the real life macabre.
The actors who are supposed victims of the curse include:
-Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest sibling Dana in the first movie, died on November 4, 1982 at age 22 after being strangled by her jealous boyfriend. The boyfriend, John Thomas Sweeney, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison, but was paroled after serving three and a half years.
-Julian Beck, 60-year-old actor who played Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died on September 14, 1985 of stomach cancer diagnosed before he had accepted the role.
-Will Sampson, 53 years old, who played Taylor the Medicine Man in Poltergeist II, died as a result of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems on June 3, 1987.
-Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies, died on February 1, 1988 at the age of 12 after what doctors initially described as an acute form of influenza but later changed to septic shock after bacterial toxins invaded her bloodstream. At the time, she had suffered acute bowel obstruction, initially diagnosed as Crohn's disease, which may have been the cause of death."
The Heather O'Rourke Story: Current Affair
Now what most of you don't know is that as a child, the future Mrs. Terror had bright blond hair. She may have even resembled Carol Anne... in that she had bright blond hair. Does this movie terrify the future Mrs. Terror more because she resembled the object of the poltergeist??? maybe she hears the voice of Zelda telling her to go toward the light (because let's face it, that gives me goosebumps). Maybe having a daughter makes this movie ten times more scary too. To imagine for a moment... you have a very curious daughter at home. She likes to wake up and watch TV (not necessarily in the middle of the night... but that's what she does pretty much every day). She's always talking about strange fictional characters you haven't seen or heard (or can figure out how her imagination could have come up with said characters). She starts disappearing randomly... mostly it's because she's running around outside or playing hide and seek but isn't that one step away from being kidnapped by ghosties?
Needless to say, no one in this house has been kidnapped by a poltergeist and while the neighbors are clearly possessed we have nothing to fear except rugs being cleaned at 10PM. There's the added bonus that television no longer goes off the air and the national anthem doesn't sound followed by white noise.
How a TV Station signs off
Channel Seven Sign Off
As Tangina (Zelda... :shutter:) says, "This house has many hearts," but none as gorged as the mom in OUR house who loves us, cooks, cleans, and makes sure we don't leave the house in shirts that expose our bellies (TMI?).
Tangina/Zelda... so that you get just how creepy she is
So to both the mommy's in my life who are extra special good to me and have done and given me so much. Happy Mother's Day (from the bottom of my some-what black, mostly disfigured heart). Thus endeth the DOUBLE FEATURE!
Richard O'Brien... Science Fiction Double Feature... acoustic