Ten Years of the Madness, Week FOUR (The Final Push!)

Ten Years of the Madness, Week FOUR (The Final Push!)

The baby antichrist’s head is crowning as we bear down for the final push into madness for week four. I had bad weeks for 2 and 3 but tried to go out with a bang. And with a major Peter Cushing binge.

Peter Cushing binge – 28 X 6 = 168 points

The Curse of Frankenstein
Year: 1957
Time: 82 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Peter Cushing. Christopher Lee. Terence Fisher. Hammer. And so, the legend began…
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Horror of Dracula
Year: 1958
Time: 82 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: One glimpse of Christopher Lee as Dracula and I was never the same.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Revenge of Frankenstein
Year: 1958
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Not really one of my favorite Hammer films, and I was never big into Frankenstein, but… Peter Cushing!
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Mummy
Year: 1959
Time: 88 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Okay, i know the whole Cushing/Lee dynamic of Cushing usually being the good guy and Lee being the bad guy/monster, but covering up all of Lee’s suave sexiness is just criminal…. CRIMINAL I tell you!
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Flesh and the Fiends
Year: 1960
Time: 97 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: No Christopher Lee, but a young Donald Pleasance in a role modeled after a real killer… in fact the whole premise of two guys murdering people to sell bodies to a doctor to experiemnt on is based on a true story.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Brides of Dracula
Year: 1960
Time: 85 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: I have nothing against David Peel, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Christopher Lee.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Evil of Frankenstein
Year: 1964
Time: 84 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Well, you can’t say Dr. Frankenstein isn’t persistent. If it wasn’t for Cush-Cush I wouldn’t have bothered with this.
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Gorgon
Year: 1964
Time: 83 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Heeeee’s back! Christopher Lee and Cushing together again with a new story about a gorgon turning villagers to stone during the full moon.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors
Year: 1965
Time: 98 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: I LOVE these old anthologies, and I love Cushing who is hardly recognizable here as the Tarot reader. Bonus in my mind for the tarot readings, as I am obsessed with all things fortunetelling. And damn, Kiefer really is he spitting image of his father, Donald!
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Skull
Year: 1965
Time: 83 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Poor Peter Cushing buys the skull of the Marquise de Sade and it turns him into a killer. This is one of my all-time favorite horror movies of the era.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Island of Terror
Year: 1966
Time: 89 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Not a lot of love for this as I like my horror scary, not campy with the bad special effects. I know it was the standard for that era, but eh, Peter Cushing is better than this.
4 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Frankenstein Created Woman
Year: 1967
Time: 92 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Peter Cushing’s corpse is reanimated so he can continue reanimating corpses. So very meta.
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Torture Garden
Year: 1967
Time: 93 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Peter Cushing AND Jack Palance. And a haunted house carnival attraction anthology. Overload! Overload!
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Blood Beast Terror
Year: 1968
Time: 88 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Cushing is investigating the murders of men, but little does he know not only is he looking for a woman rather than a man, but a woman who can transform into a blood sucking moth. Who knew moths could be so dangerous?
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Scream and Scream Again!
Year: 1970
Time: 95 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Cushing. Lee. Vincent freakin’ PRICE! The unholy trinity together in one of only 2 movies that had all three. Automatice 10 rating.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Vampire Lovers
Year: 1970
Time: 91 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: I love Peter Cushing, but Ingrid Pitt sort of stole the show in this one as a very deadly houseguest.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The House That Dripped Blood
Year: 1971
Time: 102 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: One of my three favorite horror anthologies of all time (Trick R Treat and Black Sabbath are teh other two). Cushing becomes infatuated with a wax siren, Lee tries to keep his daughter from following her dead mother’s witchy past, and Ingrid Pitt gets her fangs again. Perfection.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

I, Monster
Year: 1971
Time: 75 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: The Amicus version of Jekyll and Hyde with Cushing and Lee. I still hate it when they make Lee ugly.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Dracula AD 1972
Year: 1972
Time: 96 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Oh, this is quite dated and silly, but it introduced many people to the faulous Caroline Munro. If you get a chance to catch her at a Con, do it.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Horror Express
Year: 1972
Time: 88 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: The proverbial missing link is discovered frozen stiff, but must be taken on a long, trans-Siberian train ride. He thaws out. Uh-oh.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Creeping Flesh
Year: 1973
Time: 92 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: I don’t know why I love this so much but I do, cheesy special effects and all. Ancient bag of bones returns to creeping flesh when water added.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

And Now the Screaming Starts!
Year: 1973
Time: 92 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Peter has a smaller role in this film, but it’s still a great Amicus production, with Stephanie Beacham as a new bride impregnated by a ghost.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Year: 1973
Time: 87 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Dracula AD 1972 sequel with Satan worshippers trying to bring back Dracula. Really? Hey, that’s AbFab’s Pats as a redhead.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Beast Must Die
Year: 1974
Time: 93 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Eight people are trapped on an island and one of htem is a werewolf. Love teh “werewolf break” for you to peruse the clues and guess who is the beast.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Madhouse
Year: 1974
Time: 99 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Vincent Price’s character is a horror actor released from an insane asylum after recovering from a breakdown, but people start winding up dead.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Legend of the Werewolf
Year: 1975
Time: 85 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: Wolf Boy from the traveling circus grows up to graduate from freakshow to werewolf, then crosses Peter Cushing who begins tracking him.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Ghoul
Year: 1975
Time: 88 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: If you are worried about your insane, cannibalistic son chained in the attic escaping and  attacking others, you probably ought not hold a big event at our estate. Just sayin’…
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

House of the Long Shadows
Year: 1983
Time: 100 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Peter Cushing

Summary: The second of two movies with the full unholy trinity: Cushing, Lee and Price. There is a great part I’m sure was unscripted because the line is delivered off camera, but Lee’s character is being snooty and trading barbs with Vincent Price, and as Lee walks away, you can hear Price off camera murmur, “Bitch.” Awesome!
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Other Movies – 2 X 6 = 12

Suspiria
Year: 1977
Time: 92 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Doc Terror – Dario Argento

Summary: This is the quintessential example of how Argento takes the horrific and makes it beautiful…which makes it more horrific and disturbing.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Trick ‘R Treat
Year: 2007
Time: 82 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: I forget why it’s ATB but was ruled as such early in the Madness so I saved it for Halloween

Summary: I so love this movie, with it’s interweaving anthology stories, it’s cheeky humor, it’s scary moments and it’s homage to real Halloween lore. I want to go to that street party so bad.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

TV 5 X 4 = 20 points

American Horror Story: Cult, Ep 8
Year: 2017
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Current season ATB

Summary: Okay, that was very Handmaid’s Tale disturbing. I want to smack Winter for going along with her nutty brother.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

American Horror Story: Cult, Ep 9
Year: 2017
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Current season ATB

Summary: Whoa, didn’t see that coming with the pasta and wine scene. Sarah Paulson’s gonna get them all. I did figure out the Kool Aid thing though. Okay, now I want to kill Winter, even if she is Princess Leia’s daughter.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things 2, Ep 1
Year: 2017
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Current season ATB

Summary: They had me at Devo. Gratuitous 80s refernces, but are they ever gonna give that poor girl a decent hairstyle?
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things 2, Ep 2
Year: 2017
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Current season ATB

Summary: With the right wig she could pass for Natalie Portman, The Professional era. “Pretend” you’re stupid teenagers? Death by squirrel!
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things 2, Ep 3
Year: 2017
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Current season ATB

Summary: I don’t know about this season. I’m loving alll of the 80s references, but it’s just not drawing me in like season 1. And I can’t stand Bob/Sean Astin. C’mon, Wynona Ryder was engaged to JOHNNY DEPP. She’d never settle for this guy. They did redeem themselves somewhat with Jim Croce.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

 

200 points

Retro Cinema: ‘The House That Dripped Blood’

Retro Cinema: ‘The House That Dripped Blood’

When people think of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, they think of legendary film studio Hammer. But there was another British film studio that liked to pair the two in horror movies, Amicus films, who put out some great horror anthologies. Not only did we have the House of Hammer, but the House of Amicus, and like it’s better known rival, Amicus was a house that dripped plenty of blood.

One of the best anthologies produced by Amicus was “The House That Dripped Blood.” This four-part anthology featured Cushing and Lee, although they performed in separate segments. It also featured legendary Hammer vixen Ingrid Pitt, vamping it up in her typical fashion. Basically, that woman just played herself in each of her roles, with “herself” being utterly fabulous with her long cigarette holders and plenty of cleavage.

The first of the four segments features a writer and his wife who move into the old house that serves as a backdrop connecting the four stories. He wants to finish his novel about a vicious murderer. Problem is, it seems his murderer is coming to life and stalking him and his wife. Sounds very Stephen King, doesn’t it? Well, this was before Stephen King made it big, as the film was produced in 1970. Although one has to wonder if this didn’t inspire “The Dark Half” just a little bit. For the record it was Robert Bloch who wrote these stories.

Anyway, writers in particular will get a kick out of the whole writing process and the way writers tend to try to make their characters so real — Sometimes a little too real. The Dominic character is very sinister on the page and as a flesh and blood stalker. And oh, that creepy laugh.

Is he real or is he just a figment of the writer’s imagination? Watch it and find out the twist at the end.

Then we move into the second segment, with Cushing looking mighty sharp in a red smoking jacket… so elegant and refined. As he listens to his classical music and goes through his theater programs, he comes upon a photo of a beautiful woman and walks into town looking quite lovelorn. He happens upon a “Museum of Horror” and decides to check it out.

As he wanders around the museum, which is basically a waxworks, he comes upon a rather interesting display of Salome with the head of John the Baptist on a platter. And this Salome seems to have a mesmerizing effect on Cushing… Her eyes remind him of the woman in the photo he was looking at earlier.

“She is beautiful isn’t she? My Salome…” says the proprietor out of the blue. Where did that guy come from? “Perhaps she reminds you of someone? You see, she has a strange effect on people. They seem to see in her all sorts of things.”

As it turns out, not only does she remind Cushing of his long-lost love, but she’s modeled after the proprietor’s deceased wife, who he says was a murderess who was executed for her crime. So he created the tribute to her to preserve her beauty for all time.

Suffice it to say that dead or not, he doesn’t take too kindly to other men ogling his deceased wife. First, he takes out his jealous rage on a friend of Cushing’s who stops in after a visit, then on Cushing himself when he finds he can’t stay away.

That’s quite a woman, wax or not.

The third segment features Lee, as a rather uptight widower and father of a young girl. Seems his little girl has an unnatural fear of fire, and Lee has a rather unnatural fear of just what powers this little girl might possess. Seems Mama dabbled in some of the dark arts, so Lee doesn’t like to have any dolls around the house. Unfortunately, the young woman he hires to tutor the little girl doesn’t really quite understand the complexities of the situation, and when he destroys the doll given to his daughter as a gift, she doesn’t just get mad, she gets even with Daddy.

This old house has a whole lot of old books, and some of those books have some witchy spells in them. Mix that with some candles melted down to make a brand-new doll, and I think you see where this is going. It doesn’t end well.

The final story of the anthology is where Pitt finally gets to shine. An actor moves into the house and his current role is playing a vampire in a horror film. He hates the cheesy sets and the bad, fake looking costumes, so he takes upon himself to find his own vampire cloak. He goes to a vintage clothing an antique store and finds a something much more real. Little does he know how real it is.

But when he puts on the cloak on set, funny things happen. Funny, as in him sprouting fangs and trying to bite his costars. But no one seems to believe him when he tries to tell them the cloak has magical powers to turn him into a vampire, least of all Pitt. When he sets out to prove to her that the cloak is real, let’s just say he’s in for quite a surprise.

All four stories of this anthology featured great actors, great stories and some really creepy moments. You can’t go wrong with Lee and Cushing, even outside the Hammer franchise. If you haven’t heard of Amicus before, I strongly suggest you not only check out this movie, but some of their other titles as well: Another big favorite of mine is their feature film “The Skull,” featuring Cushing. You may have a great Hammer collection, but your horror collection is far from complete without some Amicus, as well.

 

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Christopher Lee gets film tribute from Johnny Depp

Christopher Lee gets film tribute from Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance Saturday night to pay tribute to a true legend of the silver screen — Sir Christopher Lee, who received a prestigious British Film Institute Fellowship for his long and distinguished career. The two, who have worked on three films together, had nothing but the kindest words for each other. Depp called the 91-year-old actor “a national treasure” and “a genuine artist,” while the elder statesmen of horror declared depth one of the few younger actors “who is truly a star.”

Lee was visibly struggling with his emotions as he approached the podium to accept his award from Depp, telling him, “I didn’t know you were going to be here. I must try and pull myself together.”

Director Tim Burton is the man who brought this pairing together, with Depp and Lee working together on “Sleepy Hollow,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Dark Shadows.”  Lee also lent his voice to “Alice in Wonderland.”

While the younger generation knows Lee for his roles in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, all of the classic horror fans know him for his work with Hammer Studios alongside Peter Cushing. Along with Vincent Price, the trio made up a sort of (un)holy trinity for horror fans in that era, although rumors abound that Lee has since distanced himself from his work in “Dracula.”

Of course, it’s only fair to presume that the reason Burton cast him in his movies was his love of all the old Hammer films, which he has said that “Sleepy Hollow” pays homage to. I’d venture a guess that Peter Jackson had those old Hammer films in mind when casting Lee in “Lord of the Rings” movies, as well.

It’s great to see Lee getting his due from the film community, but his somewhat frail appearance in the photo of him and Depp together gives rise to concern that we may be losing the last icon of the golden age of horror all too soon. (And no, 91 years isn’t nearly enough.) It’s a shame that most of the commentary on the photo revolves around Depp’s blonde hair and not the screen legend seated next to him.

Lee is bigger than his role as “Dracula,” or any of his roles. He is the last connection we have to not only the time when Hammer Studios ruled, but our last connection to the legends of that time like Price and especially to Cushing. As long as Lee is still with us, we still have a little piece of the magic that was Cushing and Lee together. But when Lee is gone, it will truly be the end of  not only a legendary actor, but the greatest era of horror itself.

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Who’s your mummy now? The Mummy in film

the_mummy_movie

From the creepy eyes of Boris Karloff, to the uber hot Arnold Vosloo, the mummy has taken many forms on celluloid, evolving in a rags-to-Egyptian-riches presentation. Spanning more than 60 years, the mummy has become a monster classic, although not as often celebrated as the vampire or zombie. The original 1932 classic is one of Universal’s creepiest movies, and the 1999 take has humor and sexiness. Celebrate the best of mummies on the big screen.

The Mummy (1932) with Boris Karloff

While it wasn’t technically the first mummy movie (the first being a French film titled “The Mummy of King Ramsey” in 1909) Boris Karloff’s chilling portrayal is considered the standard to which all other mummy movies and performances are compared. Credit should also be given to the director and cinematographer who created the moody atmosphere of the film, with its chiaroscuro lighting.

The Mummy is sort of a pre-cursor to the zombie, at least the shuffling, slow-moving variety. Who would have thought something that moves so slowly could be so menacing? Perhaps part of the mystique is the lure of Egyptian lore, giving this monster an exotic edge.

Continue reading “Who’s your mummy now? The Mummy in film” »

Hammer Films to shoot Winchester House movie

 

winchesterhouseHammer Films, the legendary movie studio that immortalized Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as horror icons, recently made a comeback with the film “The Woman in Black,” but now the studio has moved on to another spooky subject — they’ve picked up feature rights to make a supernatural thriller at the most haunted house in America, the Winchester House, according to Variety.

The real story behind the house is scary (and crazy) enough, but it looks like Hammer intends to use the setting for a new horror film, according to Simon Oakes, CEO of Hammer and vice-chairman of Exclusive Media, who announced the deal April 27.

The house, built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle estate, created the mansion that never ceased being built until her death in 1922. It seems Winchester believed that she was haunted by the spirits of all the people that were killed by the rifles her family sold, and somehow got the idea into her head that as long she kept building on the house, the spirits would never be able to find her and she would live forever.

Needless to say, that theory didn’t work out so well for her.

The Victorian mansion is in San Jose, California and has been a magnet for those interested in paranormal activity with many reports of spirit sightings in the house. The house was designed to be a maze where spirits would get lost if they attempted to follow Winchester. Some of the more bizarre architectural details include a staircase that goes down seven steps, and goes up 11 steps, and staircases that go nowhere.

Imagination Design Works and Nine/8 Entertainment will also be involved with the project, as they also organize the Fright Night event held at the house in October.

Nine/8 includes Andrew Trapani, who is also known for producing the film “The Haunting in Connecticut” for Lionsgate Films. Brian Gilbert will also be involved in the project, with his previous credits including the horror film “Wrong Turn.”

Exclusive Media’s credits include Hammer’s release of “The Woman in Black.”

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