Thursday, September 27, 2012

Midnight Cinephile's Halloween Movie Primer - Turner Classic Movies

Here's a little something you may not know about the ol' Midnight Cinephile.  Though I spend hours upon hours of the wee hours watching B - Z grade celluloid madness, I have another passion that almost rivals that of my horror love:  Classic film.   I am absolutely head over heels in love with the golden age of Hollywood.  If it's a classic film then I'll watch it.  I don't care what genre it is.  Horror, Film Noir, Drama, Comedy, Western, Musicals....hell I'll even watch a good classic romance!  I can't get enough.  Turner Classic Movies is one of my all time favorite cable stations and they keep the good stuff coming in October.

There isn't a movie fest per se.  There's no fanfare, no special hosts or gimmicks.  It's simply added right into the programming.....and there's something that I love about that.  Don't get me wrong....I love my FearFest and 31 Days of Halloween.  I love the hype and excitement of big spooky celebrations.  But I also love the quiet dignity in which TCM presents their Samhain offerings.  TCM first gives us a full day of spooky classics on Saturday, October 27th.  

Starting with The Devil Doll (1936) at 6:00am and ending 24 hours later with Witness To Murder (1954), TCM gives us 14 films running the gamut from 1946 Karloff classic Bedlam to the sublime 1955 chiller, Diabolique.  At 2:00pm(EST) they also show the original documentary A Night of the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King.  It's going to be a fantastic day of classic movie mayhem!  You can see the full day's schedule here.

Sunday, October 28th, we are treated to a nice run of films starting at 8:00pm (EST)  We're treated to a trilogy of Ray Harryhausen films!  First up is the classic 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).  This is one of my favorite Harryhausen films and features a fantastic battle sequence between an elephant and the films monster, called the Ymir.  Not to be missed!  At 9:30 comes Earth vs The Flying Saucers (1956).  Tim Burton payed homage to Harryhausen's stop motion saucers in his 1996 film, Mars Attacks.  The final Harryhausen film is First Men in the Moon (1964) which is of course based off the story by H.G. Wells.   As if this isn't enough, we're then treated to the 1925 silent Lon Chaney classic The Phantom of the Opera and the extremely chilling M (1931) which is quite possible Peter Lorre's greatest performance.  An absolutely fantastic line-up that is most worth of your DVR's space!

On Tuesday, October 30th, we get another 6 films!  Starting with the 1927 silent film The Unknown (another great Lon Chaney film!  Don't miss this one!) at 8:00pm (EST) and finishing up with Suddenly Last Summer (1959) a film about a wealthy widow trying to silence a girl with by means of a lobotomy!  You can check out the rest of Tuesday night here.

And finally on October 31st, we get the greatest line up of films this Halloween season!  We start with another Lon Chaney film, London After Midnight (1927) and ends on a high note with Universal's The Invisible Man.  You can also see House of Dark Shadows (1970) as well as the Roger Corman shocker Dementia 13 (1963).  You can see the whole day of programming for Halloween HERE.

This is a great opportunity to watch lots of great films that don't get played very often on TV, so fire up them DVR's and plan your schedules!  There's nothing better than any one of these old classics and a bottle of wine!  Red, naturally.  Unless you're Dracula, because obviously you never

Midnight Cinephile's Halloween Movie Primer - AMC's FearFest 2012

It's almost time kiddies.  Almost time for all that candy, candy, candy.....steady old boy!  I am a complete Halloween Junkie and fanboy.  I love everything about it.  I love the kiddie stuff and I love the more adult themed stuff.  You'll find a certain twinkle in my eye this time of year. Everything is pumpkin flavored.  The leaves are starting to turn brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.  It's finally starting to cool off and soon it will be crisp and wonderful with the smell of autumn.  I wait all year for this.

One of the things I love most is the almost non-stop Halloween and horror related programming that will be stalking the airways.  Halloween themed episodes of all the sitcoms will run in heavy rotation, including my beloved Simpson Treehouse of Horror episodes, even cooking shows and reality shows put a spooky spin on things.  And of course there is the movie fests that air throughout October.

First up, we'll take a look at AMC's FearFest, which used to be called MonsterFest (which I liked better.....but hey, who am I?).  This used to be my favorite of the Halloween-time movie fests.  They would show awesome films like Island of the Burning DamnedCurse of the Werewolf and The Brain That Wouldn't Die.  I would tune in and see these and other great classic horror movies....some that were pretty obscure (such as Island of the Burning Damned) and some that I had never even heard of before.  You could always count on a good mix of films.  These days, it's become more of the same movies repeated over and over again.  Let's break it down:   FearFest is showing 57 different films over the course of 19 days.  I can hear what you're saying now "Hold on there, Mr. Man.  That's alot of films!  You should be happy with that!"  Yes, 57 is a good number of films.  However, while some films get shown only once or twice, other films get shown four or five times!  For instance Corridors of Blood gets shown twice.  The House on Haunted Hill 1999 remake gets four showings.  Bride of Frankenstein gets ONE measly showing (and NO other Universal classic monsters films are shown!  WTF!) yet Pet Sematary II nets FIVE showings?  Now come on....there has got to be something wrong here.  I KNOW that there are far more films in AMC's arsenal that this.  Why can't they show more Universal classics?  Where the hell are the Hammer films?   Where's the oldies but goodies like The Beast With Five Fingers?  I don't want to sound like an ingrate, but where are all the really cool films you used to show, AMC?  I love you AMC and of course I'm going to tune in and watch, but throw a cinephile a bone here and toss me a little more variety!

Okay, now that I got that bit off my chest, we can continue!  This year, all ten of the original Friday the 13th movies will play, which is very cool.  Apparently no love for Freddy vs. Jason though.  Funny thing about the F13 movies.  I have them on VHS, Betamax, DVD, BluRay, Netflixed, Viewmaster, etc, etc.....I've seen them all approximately eight gazillion times.  Still have to tune and and watch them whenever they're on TV though.  It's a disease....I can't help myself.  I love that hockey mask wearing, machete wielding maniac!   He just tugs at my black little heartstrings.

Of course there will also be the prerequisite Halloween films as well.  Oddly the schedule only shows up to October 29th on AMC's official site, but I'm fairly certain that October 31st will yield most of the series shown throughout the day.  So if you are a slasher fan, you are gonna be in gorehound heaven.  Okay.....well.....basic cable gorehound heaven......AMC actually shows a fair amount of the red stuff though, so you'll be all set!

Also let's not forget that The Walking Dead Season 3 premiers on Sunday, October 14th @ 9pm(EST) following a Season 2 marathon to get you pumped up and ready for more zombie action!  This is followed by the obligatory encore episode and then Talking Dead (which I love as much as the main show!) hosted by The Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick.  THEN at 11:30, it's the return of Comic Book Men!  Coincidentally, Kevin Smith is hosting FearFest this year as well!  So that is definitely a good reason to tune in too!

So what's the line-up look like this year you ask?   Check out the FearFest Schedule and plan accordingly.....or set your DVR's accordingly.  Then make sure you've got a sack full of sweets, some candy apples, candy corn and popcorn (gotta have the popcorn!) and hunker down for some spooky goodness.

Well kiddies there you have it.  AMC offers up some solid programming (if a bit overkill on some of the films) this season.  Next up we'll take a look at what Turner Classic Movies has to offer us!


Halloween Re-Release 2012

John Carpenter's revolutionary slasher classic is being re-released this October in a limited nationwide run in select theaters courtesy of Screenvision, Compass International Pictures and Trancas International Films.  According to, this will be the widest distribution of the film since 1978.  The film will be b presented in a full HD transfer and 5.1 audio track  Also screening with the movie will be the exclusive documentary You Can't Kill The Boogeyman:  35 Years of Halloween" by filmmaker Justin Beahm.  

There is s growing list of theaters that are hosting the film starting October 25th and running through the 31st.  You can see the full list HERE.  You can bet that the Mrs. and I will be in attendance and enjoying every second of it!

If you (like me) have always wanted to see the original Samhain slasher classic on the big screen, don't miss this event!  I can't wait to hear Carpenter's score booming through the theater and revel in the HD goodness.  If you haven't seen Halloween before....well....SHAME ON YOU....and go to this event to rectify that immediately!

They've even released a re-release trailer:

Get ready because 35 years later, it's time to experience The Night HE Came Home all over again!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mija Lou - The Interview and new Halloween Pics!

You have been a patient lot.  I know that you've been chomping at the bit to see more of the lovely Mija Lou.  Well, your wait is over.  Midnight Cinephile is not only proud, but extremely privileged to bring you an exclusive interview with the Danish beauty.  And of course as promised, there are some of Mija's latest from her Halloween Photoshoot.  Let's not delay any longer.....

The Interview

How long have you been modeling?
- I have been modeling since the start of this year (2012).

How did you get into modeling?
I've always loved to be in front of a camera and I started in my early teen years to have my friends photograph me, just for fun.
At that time I didn't think I could be a model because of my alternative style and my confidence wasn't great either. So I had to work some years on feeling better about myself.
Then last year a new friend and I talked about taking some cool photos of me in her new photo studio in her garage, and this year I had my first shoot at her studio. It was so much fun! Without her I would not have been where I am today. 
(Berglind H. Ketilsdóttir aka BHK DESIGN.)

What would your ultimate dream gig be as a model?
Tough question! I think, to shoot with my favorite models, Lily Black, Lauren Beth, Naomi VonKreeps, Goldy Loxx and the one and only Dita Von Teese and let's not forget the incredible Mosh.
I would love to attend Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend as a model for a clothing/accessories firm, and also to one day be the cover girl of a magazine.

Who are your inspirations?
My main model inspirations are Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese, Mosh. Then there is all the old era pinups like Betty Brosmer, Mae West, Ava Gardner, Veronica Lake and so on.
To inspire my darker sides are Vampira, Wednesday Addams, The Bride Of Frankenstein and Patricia Day from HorrorPops.

What got you interested in horror?
I've always when I was younger and had movie nights wanted to see horror movies, and when I got in my teens I found out I could just see them for my self. I began watching horror movies in the dark because I wanted the "effect" and I really had a good time just me and the movie. Haha. I played a lot of theater back then as well, and my dream was to be a zombie in a horror movie.
Then I started to have my friends photograph me and I had most fun when I could dress up like a zombie or something other scary.
I began buying a lot more horror movies, and got more and more interested in this world.
+ I've always loved myths and ghost stories. I love to read stories on the internet and share them with my friends.

I know that your favorite horror flick is the original Night Of The Living Dead. How well do you think you would do in a real zombie apocalypse?
After seeing a lot of zombie movies I think I would kick ass! Hmm or would I... Haha seeing how stupid I would look in my head right now! I probably would hide and paranoia would drive me crazy..

What can you tell us about your Zombmija collaberation with Piers Hazell?
Piers Hazell is an artist I've met on Twitter. He has become a friend of mine. He started offering me to draw a zombified Mija Lou and of course I wouldn't miss that opportunity. The first one he did of me turned out to be very popular, and because we talked a lot he offered to draw a second one. Then we began talking about doing something more and maybe collaberate on something. I told him about my Halloween alter ego persona Zombmija and then we agreed to make an Zombmija comic strip. We collaberate on the story and the whole look of the comic strip.
I feel very lucky to do this collaberation with Piers Hazell, because he's a true artist and can't wait to have this done someday to show you all. I promise, with his talent and with both our zombie thinking cool minds it'll turn out awesome!!

What can you tell us about The Alternative Model Directory and The Poetic Pinup Revue?
TAMD is a directory of alternative models on facebook run by the lovely Ashley Schandelmeier. I've got huge respect for her and think it's really admirable what she's doing for the page and models! She's helping all alternative models, aspiring as well as established. The page is always up to date and running. I'm listed there under "European Models: Northern Europe" and very happy to be a part of it with all the other gorgeous models. It's a great way to meet new friends as well, and Ashley makes sure that everyone feels welcome and takes care of all the models. You go Ashley!!
The Poetic Pinup Revue is an magazine run by another lovely lady named Harlean Carpenter. The magazine pages shows poetry, photography, artwork and flash fiction. You can say it's an artistic magazine, which is my kind of thing. I really like this magazine because it's all about art and again, I have huge respect for Harlean and owe her a big thank you for giving me this oppurtunity.
I'm very proud to have my first magazine publication in The Poetic Pinup Revue and I'm really excited about it! Look out for me in the October Special issue with the theme "Contumulation & Carrying On" and even better, the November issue "Food For Thought" as well! YAY!

Sounds like you're a pretty busy girl! What do you do to unwind?
I like to lie in my bed with my Mac and listen to music and drinking coffee. I spend a lot of time discovering new music, old & new. I'm always looking to learn new things and expand my knowledge. I already know a lot despite my young age and people tend to be shocked when they find out.
Also I like to watch horror movies by my self in the dark and to be with my family and friends.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I'm still young in 5 years, 26 that is. If all should go according to my plan, I will be living in London with my boyfriend and my dog. Working in the music industry or having my own coffee house with live music.
I will still model in my spare time and hopefully at that time, I'm more known in the industry.

What's your favorite movie snack?
POPCORN! And lots of it!

What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?
Some of you may think I'm crazy and some of you may believe me. The scariest thing that's happened to me is when I saw a ghost. And yes, I'm pretty sure it was a ghost!
Some years ago my friend and I where at a forrest waiting for our friend to come (He lived in the forrest). All the time my friend was on the phone with him and first she was like "Oh come on! Hurry up! We are here waiting for you" and then he must have said he was close or something because my friend told me he was really close and then I looked at the entrance to the forrest and saw a white blurry silhouette and quickly I thought it was him and started to wave.
Then my friend shouted in the phone "You're not here yet?! You said you were close!?" I quickly looked at the silhuette and it slowly faded, quickly tried to find possibilities to what I had seen, and realized there was no answers.
It took about 10 seconds from when it faded 'till I realized this was scary, then I told my friend about it and 3 seconds after she RAN LIKE HELL and poor slow me RAN LIKE HELL after her and we were both screaming!! Haha!

The day after, my friend were overhearing her parents talking with some of their friends about a man who had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree... In that forrest!!! Creepy, huh ;)

So it would be safe to say you believe in the paranormal?
After the story above, I could just leave you all to guess ;) But yes I do. Have always been very interested in the paranormal.

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
Having a little trouble right now deciding. At my Halloween photoshoot I'll be a Devil, Black Cat and something more casual like a pumpkin/witch/skeleton thing. So I'm thinking it'll be one of those three.
First year I'm not going as my Halloween alter ego Zombmija by the way.

Is there anything you want to tell the readers of Midnight Cinephile?
Yes. Thank you all for having the interest in reading my interview. I'm very honored that Matthew have done this for me. Midnight Cinephile is my favorite horror blog and I recommend everyone that's loves horror to follow this blog!
The dedication Matthew put into this is admirable. His knowledge and interest really shows.

If you would like to see more of me please visit my facebook page and you are always welcome to say hi!


Thank YOU Mija!  

And now, without further adieu, I present you with Mija's Halloween Photos!   Enjoy!

Well, there you have it!  I hope that you enjoyed the in depth interview and the new photos as well!  Yearning for more Mija?  You can always follow her on TwitterFacebook or even check out her Blog (it's in Danish, but that's nothing a little Google Translate can't help with!)

I'm sure that you will be seeing more of Mija in the pages of Midnight Cinephile as well!  So stay tuned and stay spooky!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

They - Alien Invasion Isolation

I love bad movies.  They don't even have to be in the "so bad it's good category"....I love them all. Sometimes I find one that I just can't watch, but those are far and few between.  More often than not I can find some redeeming value in a movie and feel good about recommending it to other midnight movie hounds.  Even more rare is the when I start to watch a movie, expecting it to be bottom of the barrel bad movie fun and finding a gem.

That is exactly what happened when I watched They.  Also known as Hell Fire and perhaps best known as Invasion From Inner Earth.  They is a Bill Rebane film, so you can understand why I would be a bit apprehensive.  After all Bill is responsible for such flicks as Blood Harvest, The Giant Spider Invasion and The Demons of Ludlow.  Of course he also did one of my favorites....Rana:  The Legend of Shadow Lake!

This flick starts things off right by ripping off the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in a bizarre synth score over the opening credits.  It's actually rather perfect because the music in They is all over the place.  On minute you've got the weird GBU cover/ripoff synth music, the next your listening to some classical guitar...then you've got some clarinet music....then you've got strange tones that aren't even necessarily music....then some stock classical music.  Mix and repeat.  Weird stuff man....and it keeps you off balance. 

They follows a group of people trapped up in a lodge in the remote wilderness.  Jake and Sara run the lodge and a small plane ferrying business.  Jake is bringing three science majors back to civilization after they spent a month studying up in the wilds.  As Jake tries to land at Hightower airport his friend Sam, who runs the airport, tells him not to land.  Muttering that everyone is dead and it's not safe.  Jake tells Sam to hold tight and attempts to land, but Sam lays down on the runway.  Jake pulls up and decides to try landing at Bear Creek and trying to contact someone to find out what's going on.

THEY are not going to get very far.....

Which searching for gas, two of the students, Stan - who is clearly the most intelligent and open minded of the group and Andy - the resident dill-hole, search the empty cabin and find a radio.  They also see a strange red light glowing on the wall that seems to move under it's own power.  Now when I say a red light, I don't mean like a pinpoint of light or something like that....oh no.  Nope.  This looks like someone put a red gel over a flashlight and shined it on the wall.  This is what we're dealing with for special effects here!   Anyway, the red light really wigs them out.


Jake is able to make contact on the radio and finds out that there are people dropping like flies from a mysterious disease.  He then contacts Sara to tell her that they will be returning to the lodge to figure out what's going on.  Meanwhile, Sara gets an unsettling radio transmission from a strange voice asking her where she is.  

Andy.  Only an asshole would wear a hat like that!

Sara is happy to have Eric (the third science student) back with her, because they've grown close over the past month.  I dunno if it was like working the bed springs close or what.....the relationships in this movie are a bit weird.  Such as Sara's relationship with Jake.  It just seems.....odd.  Could be bad acting.....could be bad could just be the insanely bizarre vibe that this movie puts out.

Stan.  Easily my favorite character.  Dig that crazy plaid!

Anyway, as the group tries to figure out what to do, Stan proposes that the cause of everything may in fact by UFO's.  Apparently he's got some Ufology books with him and he starts to explain to the group about incidents that he's read about.  I'm not even going to try to explain the first theory that he whips out because quite frankly, after watching the film twice, I still have NO idea what the friggin hell he was talking about.  Ah well.

Killer Smoke!  Nyarrrgh!

There are the few odd scenes of folks in town running through red and green colored smoke.  Fire trucks and police cars driving about.....mass hysteria!  Oh yeah....and a couple of paper plate flying saucers.  I wonder exactly what these peeps were running from, because they were running right INTO the smoke!  Just part of the bizarre charm of the movie!  

Looks nice and peaceful don't it?

Things go from odd to strange to weird in this movie.  Through radio chatter and an odd television show, we learn more about the invasion that is taking place.  Stan throws out more facts about prior UFO cases and then people start to die.  Andy is the first to go when he decides he's had enough after they finally manage to tune in a radio station only to find that there is only one song playing on repeat.  He steals the plane and it apparently blows up under alien influence.....or something like that.

Does she love Eric?  Does she love her brother (ew?)  Who knows!

Jake and Stan decide that someone has got to try and get to town.  They are running low on supplies and soon they will starve to death.  Jake volunteers to take the snowmobile and try to find some help.  After much footage of Jake blowing through the wilderness, he succumbs to the aliens when some of that strange smoke starts to blow out of the snow.  He starts to get sick.  Then he doubles over and vanishes right off the snowmobile!  WTF?!???

Flying Saucers Rebane Style!

Three days later and Stan, Eric and Sara are back at the lodge, wondering if their friend is coming back.  They are just about out of food and they decide that they need to make a trek out into the woods themselves and take their chances in the wilderness or stay where they are and starve to death.  Eric wants to stay but Stan and Sara convince him to come with them.

Aliens attack with Christmas Smoke!

As per usual, I'm not going to ruin the end of the movie.  Our trio sets out for a LOOONG trek through the snowy woods in search of civilization and salvation.  As they make camp and sit around a campfire trying to keep warm, Stan unleashes the rest of his theory on Eric and Sara.  His theory is all at once chilling and a bit on the ridiculous side.  The alien forces are not coming from outer space, but rather from inside the Earth.  Okay so far, right?  Hollow Earth theory and all that....I can dig it.  Here's where it gets a bit wonky:  He states that about eight thousand years ago, Mars came in close proximity to Earth....closer than our own moon.  This close proximity caused havoc with the electrical fields causing stuff like floods and earthquakes.  All of this was too much for Mars to handle and the Martians knew it, so they jumped ship, so to speak and found that the interior of the Earth closely matched their own atmosphere.  So they hid inside the Earth.  Yep.  So  yeah.....odd....yet creepy.  It would have been more creepy if he was telling them this at night....but it was a daytime campfire story.  If you can believe it, it gets even STRANGER from there! a Norman Rockwell painting.....FROM HELL!!!
 You can see the influence that They may have had on future films that take a pinpointed remote view of apocalyptic events.  Films such as Signs, in which everything we know about the invasion comes from news reports and in one scene, the aliens can be heard communicating through a radio.  In the film Pontypool, a zombie apocalypse plays out through a series of chilling phone calls that a early morning radio DJ receives.  While these films may not have directly taken any ideas from this movie, the seed was there.  Was this the first time that a film tried this approach?  To be honest, I don't know.  But what I DO know is that if you give it a chance, this movie is a slow burning creeper that will leave you feeling unsettled.  This movie is a true gem and deserves to be watched. 

Westlawn Film's Halloween Pitch

Frederico D'Alessandro has released on his YouTube channel a pitch animatic for a proposed Halloween reboot.  It is, in a word, incredible.  I truly hope that someone takes notice of this and gives this man a shot at making this happen.

Mr. D'Alessandro is no stranger to Hollywood, having made a name for himself as one of the top storyboard artists in Hollywood.  He's worked on such films as I Am Legend, Where The Wild Things Are and the last two Narnia films.  He is now head storyboard artist at Marvel, working on Thor, Captain America, The Avengers and currently Iron Man the man knows his stuff.

He has is own production house as well, called Westlawn Films.  His short Recollection won multiple awards including Best Horror Short at the San Diego Comic Con!

You can check out Recollection HERE.

Here's the Halloween Pitch Animatic:

Intense, right?  I would really love to see D'Alessandro's vision of Halloween get made.  Hopefully someone out there will see this pitch and give him the shot he deserves!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mija Lou's New Blog

Anxiously awaiting more Mija?  Well, we've got a sneak peak at her upcoming Halloween photos and some other great news!  Mija has started a blog where you can read her thoughts about modeling and hear straight from her about varies shoots and projects.

You can visit her over at The Lonely Danish Pin-Up Blog.  It is written in Danish, so just make sure you've got your translator handy!  Go and check it out now!  Do it.  Do it. Doooo it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sinister Trailer

Coming October 5th from the producer of Paranormal Activity and the writer/director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose comes a new "thriller".  Remember when we used to call these flicks horror movies?  Ahh....those were the days.

Anyway, this looks to be a fairly creepy movie to enjoy this Halloween season.  Ethan Hawke plays a true crime novelist who discovers a box full of mysterious video tapes that depict brutal murders on them.  It's pretty clear that the supernatural plays a big part in this movie.  It seems to be a cross between The Poughkeepsie Tapes and and The Amityville Horror with perhaps a touch of The Ring thrown in for good measure....but keep in mind I'm basing this completely off the trailer.  

Speaking of which, let's check that out!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vampires vs Leprechauns!!!!!

 As I was perusing about the web, I came across a film slated to be released in 2013 from Causeway Films.  Yes, that film is Vampires vs Leprechauns.  I know next to nothing about this movie at this point, but I did find a few concept photos and a concept trailer on YouTube as well.  

Just the title alone has my B-Senses a tinglin'!  How can it not?!  It sounds like something that you'd debate in the middle of the night......after chemically altering your brain.  In short, I love it!  

Directed by Allan Gildea and Written by Spence Wright.
Head on over to their Facebook Page and LIKE 'em!  And of course, stay tuned to Midnight Cinephile as I dig deeper and bring you all the VvL news that I can find!  

Check out the teaser trailer they put together!

Hammer House of Horror - Children of the Full Moon

British horror film juggernaut Hammer Films created a short lived TV series in 1980 called Hammer House of Horror.  There were 13 episodes in total, ranging in subject matter from supernatural creatures to serial killers, maniacs and cannibals.  Many notable actors appeared through out the episodes including Peter Cushing and Brian Cox in The Silent Scream, Pierce Brosnan in The Carpathian Eagle and Kathryn Leigh Scott in Visitor From The Grave.

The opening from Children of the Full Moon

I get that same look from MY wife when I'm driving.....

The episode in question, Children of the Full Moon, tells the tale of Tom and Sarah Martin who set off to take holiday in a quiet cottage.  On their way to said cottage, the car malfunctions and starts to accelerate, despite Tom gnashing on the brakes and even trying to pull the E-brake.  Eventually, the car gives back control on a lonesome wooded road and Tom pulls it to the side.  After collecting themselves, Tom looks under the hood and determines that they're gonna need a tow.  

Well here's your problem.....

The couple heads off down the road in search of help.  They come across an old wooden gate and figure perhaps there's a house nearby, so they stray off the road and follow a path in the woods.  They come across an old house, inhabited by the incredibly creepy Mrs. Ardoy and a whole pack of kids ranging from toddlers to pre-teens.  Mrs. Ardoy offers to let them spend thin night since Tom was unable to find a tow that late in the evening.  

Let's take a shortcut through these insanely creepy woods!

A series of spooky events begin to unsettle Sara as Tom goes back to the car for some things.  Becoming much too uneasy in the house, she decides to go and meet up with him.  She doesn't get very far into the woods before Tom comes running in her direction, telling her to run back to the house.  Apparently something with prickly grey fur attacked him.  Mrs. Ardoy tries to convince him that it was just a stag.  

Sure she LOOKS like a sweet lady......

After an awkward dinner, the couple is shown to their room, which Ardoy asks of them to stay put because she doesn't want them to startle the children, who will be roaming the house that night, in celebration of an old world festival.  The couple agrees to stay put, but when Sara see's a furry monstrous face at the window, Tom climbs out and down a drain pipe to investigate.  That's exactly when Mrs. Ardoy and the children come to the door and Sarah is attacked by a hairy beast. Trying to climb back up the pipe to rescue his wife, Tom slips and falls, knocking himself unconscious. 

Well, hello there Lurky McLurkums!

Tom awakens in a hospital and Sarah is at his side.  When he asks about the house, Sarah tells him that she has no idea what he's talking about and it must have been a dream.  Tom is discharged and life resumes.....but there's something off about Sara now.  She starts to make steak every night for dinner.....until eventually she doesn't even cook it.  When she tells Tom that she's pregnant things get even stranger.....

Just your friendly neighborhood woodsman!

The entire episode has a great creep factor to it and there are some scenes, especially the one in which Tom comes across an axe wielding woodsman as he searches the forest for the old house, that stand out with their atmosphere.  This is one of those "curl up on a rainy afternoon" type of enjoyed with some coco and perhaps a tasty treat!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Twilight Zone - Episode 6 - Escape Clause

"You are about to meet a hypochondriac.  Witness Mr. Walter Bedeker, age fourty-four.  Afraid of the following:  death, disease, other people, germs, draft and everything else.  He has one interest in life and that's Walter Bedeker.  He has one preoccupation, the life and well-being of Walter Bedeker.  One abiding concern about society:  If Walter Bedeker should die, how will it survive without him?"

And thus begins out Faustian tale of a man who gets far more than he bargains for when he strikes up a deal for immortality.  After a visit from his doctor, who informs Mr. Bedeker that there is nothing wrong with him, and that all of his perceived aches and pains are imaginary, Walter gets a visit from a portly fellow named Cadwallader....who is quite apparently The Devil.  In return for his soul, Bedeker will get to live forever.

Walter Bedeker....hypochondriac extraordinaire

Bedeker strikes not only a deal for immortality but for indestructibility as well.  Literally nothing can harm him.  Thus, Old Scratch puts an Escape Clause into the contract stating that at any time, Bedeker can invoke the escape clause at which time Cadwallader will appear to claim his soul and grant him a swift departure.  

Mr Cadwallader....aka....Ol' Scratch, Satan, Mephistopheles...

Walter embarks on a thrill seeking campaign...jumping in front of subway trains, drinking lethal household chemicals and such.....all trying to search for a thrill.  After drinking said chemicals, and discovering that it tasted like weak lemonade to him, Bedeker decides that he will jump off the roof of his apartment building. His wife, Ethel, desperately tries to talk him out of jumping and accidentally falls from the roof herself.  

Hey, watch out for that third rail there....

Walter sees this as a thrill seeking opportunity.  He phones the police and tells them that he's killed his wife....wanting to see what it would be like to get the electric chair.  Unfortunately for him, his lawyer is a pretty good one and gets his sentenced reduced from death to life imprisoned with no chance of parole.  Well, there's not going to be much thrill seeking at the penitentiary....unless he's into dropping the soap.....I think you can see where this is headed.  

Devil:  1   -  Bedeker:  0

Ah well, you know what they say....the best laid plans of Mice and Men and all that jazz....blah blah 

This episode is darkly comedic.  It walks a fine line between the whimsical (the dialog with Cadwallader) and the dark and disturbing (Bedeker leaping in front of a speeding subway train).  While this particular episode carries the much used "Be Careful What You Wish For" parable, it does it quite well and is quite a memorable episode.  David Wayne is fantastic as Walter Bedeker....and I would be willing to bet that Bill Murray used him as a bit of inspiration for his role in Groundhog Day.  

Midnight Factoids:

- Originally aired November 6, 1959
- Escape Clause was one of the three episodes in production that Rod Serling mentioned before the pilot episode....along with The Lonley and Mr. Denton on Doomsday.
- The Tower of Terror Ride @ MGM has a plaque in the basement stating that the last time the elevator was checked, it was October 2, 1959 by Mr Cadwallader.

Tales From The Celluloid Crypt:

- David Wayne appeared in several episodes of the original Batman series as The Mad Hatter.  He also starred in The Andromeda Strain as Dr. Charles Dutton.
- Thomas Gomez, while mainly appearing in westerns had his first role in Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror as R.F. Meade
- Virginia Christine starred in Billy the Kid vs Dracula as Eva Oster.