Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TERROR IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE or MY WORLD DIES SCREAMING - A MOVIE REVIEW


William Castle was known for his horror films with gimmicks in the theater to engage the audience. A few producers jumped on the bandwagon. Most notably, Alfred Hitchcock asked theaters to for a "No Late Admissions" policy on the movie PSYCHO and even used this in promotions for the film. It worked, both increasing ticket sales and the shock value of the movie.

On the other hand, some promotional gimmicks failed. One of those was Psycho-rama and a film called TERROR IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE or MY WORLD DIES SCREAMING. To go into to much detail on this film isn't worth it, because unlike William Castle, the producers of this film didn't even attempt to make a great film. They thought their gimmick "Psycho-rama" would cover their shoddy workmanship. All you need to know is a woman has recurring nightmares about the attic of an old empty house. Her new husband takes her to the house on their honeymoon.



"Psycho-rama" was a series of "subliminal messages and images" that were added to the film to "heighten the terror." Subliminal messages are supposed to be hidden, so as to only be recognized by the subconscious. The "Psycho-rama" images appear as a sudden flash that blots out the action on screen for about two seconds. The other problem is the images they chose to use to "heighten the terror." If the producers had any sense, they would have used a photo of a skull, an angry dog or a gruesome corpse. The images the producers used were a cartoon drawing of a bald guy with thick glasses eating a mouse and a devil sticking his tongue out (above). After a while, these start to get annoying because they seem to pop-up at random.

Add to this the story writing on the story is cliched and rather bland. Also several typical continuity errors, such as the story taking place late at night, yet when characters walk outside, it is daylight. Also the cars seem to change the direction they are parked mid-scene.


This film also waste two very talented people: Actress Cathy O'Donnell, who appeared in the movies BEN HUR and THE BEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and Gerald Mohr, who was the star of the TV series, Foreign Intrigue, narrator of The Lone Ranger TV series, and the original cartoon voices of Green Lantern and Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards. I notice they even spell Ms. O'Donnell's name wrong on the poster.

It is interesting to watch once for the novelty, but you probably won't watch it over again like many of the great horror films and even a few of the bad ones.


 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

CASTLE DRACULA FUN HOUSE COLORFORMS

Some of my favorite toys as a child were the many Colorform playsets I had. Castle Dracula Fun House was one I especially loved. What set this one apart from the others was the working doors in which you could hide the cartoonish versions of the famous Universal monsters behind, so you could torment the goofy guy in the ugly pajamas. I would like to know the artist name. I wish I knew what happened to my set, I would love for my 4 ear old great-nephew to play with it. You can click on the photos for a larger look.


Friday, October 17, 2014

R.I.P ELIZABETH PENA



I started to post her sexy party scene from JACOB'S LADDER, but decided on this because this has to be one of the funnier moments in TV history.

HORROR FILM DAMSELS WHO PROBABLY HAD "ACCIDENTS"


A memorable moment from Pieces

I realize this post might be considered a new low for me. Some will obviously feel it is juvenile, sick, disgusting, perverted and just plain, old poor taste. People looking for "family friendly" Halloween information or memories may want me burned at the stake after reading this post. I just wish Vincent David Jericho was still around. This might make him kick a waste basket across the room (as I've been told he would do sometimes after reading my old blog).

It is a medical and scientific fact, fear can cause both involuntary urination and involuntary defecation. It is rarely seen in horror films. There are a few notable exceptions such as Pieces (see photo above), Friday the 13th Part 2, Man Who Fell to Earth, Jeepers Creepers. The door for on-screen urination in horror films was opened with The Exorcist and Last House On the Left, both in 1974, but both were voluntary, so they don't count here.  One, was at requested by a knife wielding villain, and the other, to quote Flip Wilson "The Devil made her do it." Granted, it would be hard to show an involuntary bowel movement or a "butt pucker" in a movie.

This post is mainly about those "Golden Age" pre-70s horror film damsels and characters. Which ones were so scared they "had an accident?" My selections in this post are based on 1) intensity of the situation and 2) the performance of actress. Lets face it, there have been some actresses in horror films who never convince us that they are scared. There are also moments in horror films that which may give the characters (and us audience members) a fright, but nothing traumatic. A good example was the bad habit Universal got into in the 50s of having the male hero tap on the female heroines shoulder, causing her to jump and scream. He then smirks, chuckles and says "Did I scare you?" In the scenes I mention here, the damsel or heroine is in one terrifying and hopeless situation after another. As a matter of fact, the actresses in the Universal films do not seem to be very scared. Also, later films and those made by independent film companies seemed to put women in more danger.




Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in ALIEN (1979):  Let's start off with the inspiration for this post. When I was living on the second floor of Hammons Hall during my freshman year at Southwest Missouri State University, several of us on the second floor gathered in a room to watch Alien on TV (ABC, I believe, showed it. Maybe it was on VHS). Near the end of the movie, Ripley disrobes down to her underwear (see photos above). My roommate, Cedric Boyd, jumps up and shouts "AH COME ON! HER PANTIES WOULD NOT BE THAT CLEAN AFTER ALL OF THAT!" Cedric was right! Of course, the same could be said for many of the horror film heroines and damsels that preceded her.


Jenny (Una O'Conner) in THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933):  Some of this should be obvious as to my choice here. First off, Jenny is an older woman, who probably has an incontinence problem anyway. Second, she has these screaming fits every time the Invisible Man gets mad at her. Third, there is a scene where the cops are meeting in the pub to decide how they plan to capture the Invisible Man. They are unaware that he is in the room. He soon begins attacking everyone in the room, including killing a cop. Jenny goes into a screaming tizzy, while standing on a table, stamping her feet and holding her skirt (above). If this were made today, there would probably be a puddle on the table under Jenny. Since this was pre-code and a James Whale film, I surprised we didn't see a puddle under Jenny. Maybe the holding of the skirt was Whale subtle way of letting us know she wet her bloomers.


Nadine (Beverly Garland) in NOT OF THIS EARTH (1957):  Being caught and subsequently chased by an alien is bad enough, but being chased by an alien in a Cadillac, when you are on foot would just naturally cause a person to leave a trail of urine. The sunglasses-wearing Mr. Johnson (Paul Birch) tries to hit the phone booth Nadine is standing in with the car! Unfortunately, I couldn't find photos of Nadine in the phone booth and the pursuit. She does escape from the noise-sensitive Mr. Johnson by screaming (bottom photo).



 Woman with her dress caught in the car door (unknown actress) in EARTH VS THE SPIDER (1958):  This character has no name, nor is there a record of the name of actress is in this scene (photo above). I'm convinced she ruined her underwear. It seemed to be a cliche in the "giant creature" sci-fi films of the 50s. When everyone is fleeing for their lives, there is always one unfortunate individual who can't get away. This poor lady has her dress caught in her car door as a giant spider comes stomping down the street, which means the people left on the street probably got a good view of the damage she did to her underwear.
    

Mrs. Farley (Helen Jay) in DEADLY MANTIS (1957):  First off, I've never seen the 16 mm home movie version of this film, but if it started with this scene, the film would be bearable because this film has some much padding and stock footage in the first 30 minutes that you begin to wonder if there is even going to be a monster in the film. It seems to be leftover footage from an Air Force recruiting film mixed with a silent movie about Eskimos. The movie actually get good here as the giant preying mantis flies from the North Pole to New York to wreck havoc on a foggy night. Mrs. Farley gets off of the bus after a long trip and probably has to use the bathroom really bad. She has to try to walk home in heavy fog. That is when the mantis decides to wreck the bus she just disembarked. Mrs. Farley (above) gives one one of more hilarious screams of terror in film history. It would later go on to be fodder for Cheech & Chong in IT CAME FROM HOLLYWOOD and Mike & the Bots on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Shortly after this scene, one of the characters says something about the mantis causing two accidents. Actually, three if you count the one Mrs. Farley had.



Laura (Anitra Ford) in MESSIAH OF EVIL (1972):  Loyal readers to this blog know that I have crowned MESSIAH OF EVIL the best overlooked horror film of the 70s. This scene is one of it's greatest scary moments. Younger people would love this because it features the current hot pop culture monster: cannibalistic zombies. However, what makes this scene so effective will be lost on younger folks because both are no longer apart of the supermarket experience: cheesy instrumental "supermarket" music and the rubber mat that opened the automatic doors. Laura is in what seems like a nearly abandoned Ralph's Supermarket. She feels she is being followed by a man. She turns a corner and discovers a group of people eating raw meet from the freezer in the meet department. They see her looking at them, so they decide to go after her. Laura runs for the door, but no matter how hard she stomps on the rubber mat, the doors won't open. She tries pushing it open but that doesn't work (bottom photo). I'm guessing she left a huge puddle on that rubber mat as she tried to open the door. To make things worse, she tries to allude the zombies by running back through the store, but they surround her in an isle, so she can't escape. She dies screaming, while the light sounds of Muzak play overhead. "Clean up in Isle 5."


Barbara (Judith O' Dea) in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968): Talking about kicking a horror film off in full gear! No sooner has smarmy brother Johnny taunted his skittish and nervous sister with the immortal line, "They're coming to get you, Barbara," than a ghoul walks up to him in the cemetery and smashes his head into a headstone. Barbara takes shelter in the car but doesn't have the keys ("Johnny has the keys!" she screams during a meltdown later in the film), so she lets the car roll down the hill into a trees. She runs to an old farm house where she finds some mangled, scarfed bodies and meets Ben, played by Duane Jones. For the rest of the film she sits on the couch, presumably in her wet and messy panties, with a look on her face that says, "My brother is dead, I wrecked the car and I'm no longer wearing clean underwear."



Lila (Vera Miles) in PSYCHO (1960): It is hard to believe but some people have still not seen this movie! Instead of spoiling this for those folks, let me try to say this without spoilers. At the climax of the film, Lila is sneaking around the Bates house trying to find evidence that Norman killed her sister. Norman almost catchers her, so she hides in the basement, where she finds Norman's mother. At this point, Lila lets out a horrific scream (Hitchcock used it in the trailer), at which point Norman burst in and to kill her.  The expression on her face at the end of this scene (bottom photo) is one of a woman who just soiled herself. I think this is a testament to Vera Miles acting skill.




Teresa the gymnast (Dawn Richard) in I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957): This scene has to be the most erotic and sexually suggestive scene in a 50s horror film, next to Julie Adams swimming around in her white bathing suit in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Since this was a movie about high school, I think they should have been a scene where this character was called "Teresa the Tease," because that is what she does here. Her practice for the gymnastics competition leads us to believe one of the judges is Hugh Hefner (Dawn Richard was named Playboy Playmate of the Year after this movie came out). Tony Rivers (Michael Landon) is so horny watching her spread her legs and dangle her breast in front of him, that he doesn't notice that he is standing beside the school bell. It rings and sends him into one of his werewolf spells. Teresa is hanging upside-down and spread eagle on the parallel bars, when she sees the werewolf coming after her. She manages to get off the bars and runs to the gym door, only to find it locked. She runs to another door and it is also locked. Having filled her leotard and tights, she tries running away again as Tony the werewolf falls into a stack of metal folding chairs (probably slipped in her pee puddle), but he catches her and slaughters her. Dawn Richard's was also used in the poster art and promotional material, so when you see the photos of her screaming her head off, remember that I think she had a major accident thanks to a very hairy Little Joe.


Carol Butler (Coleen Gray) in THE VAMPIRE (1957):  This is one of a handful of attempts to bring old fashion supernatural monsters into the modern, atomic age of the 50s by giving them a scientific explanation. John Beal plays a small town doctor, who makes a house call to a man, who does experiments on animals for a local university. This guy gives the doctor a bottle of pills containing an experimental drug made from vampire bats. His daughter (Lydia Reed - Hassie from The Real McCoys) mistakes it for his migraine pills and gives him one. He starts turning into the goofiest looking vampire in movie history. Deciding that he has killed too many people, he decides to commit suicide. His pretty nurse, Carol, played by the lovely Coleen Gray, catches him in the act. She tries to stop him and he cold cocks her. As she starts to get up off the floor, he starts turning into the ugly vampire creature again. She probably wet herself before she could stand up. She manages to get up and run to another room, but he catches her. She forces her into a corner, where she screams, "Get away from me! Get away from me!," and, more than likely, loads her panties with poop.


The Shepherdess (Ann Darling) in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935): I'm not sure if it had something to do with the Hayes Code or studio policy, but women in the Universal Gothic horror films of the 30s and 40s don't seem to be very scared. They give out a basic scream and faint. They also do not seem to be in real danger. The only woman in those films who I felt could have been in a situation where they lost control of their bodily functions (other than Una O'Conner in THE INVISIBLE MAN) was the shepherdess (above) that is attacked by the Frankenstein monster in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. She screams bloody murder as he holds her down for a few seconds. Add to the fact that for lunch she probably had sauerkraut and brats with a big glass of beer, she probably had an accident in her bloomers and dirndlgewand.



Louise Currie as Billie Mason in APE MAN (1943): This still publicity photo doesn't do the climax of the film justice. As a matter of fact, in this photo, Louise Currie doesn't look very frightened, and the gorilla and Lugosi look silly here. Currie plays Billie Mason, a newspaper photographer, who is kidnapped and held hostage by an ape-like mad scientist, played by Bela Lugosi. He has a pet gorilla, that gets loose and kills him. It then chases Billie up a big staircase. The door at the top of the staircase is locked. I'm sure incontinence ensues as she screams her head-off.


Lorna Thayer as Carol Kelly in THE BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES (1955): This is a case were you hope the character had an "accident," because she is hateful and obnoxious. She winds up in two "accident" inducing situations and neither are caused by a monster directly. Carol Kelly could be a poster child for PMS. First off, she treats her teenage daughter like dirt, even though it is her birthday. She banishes a mentally-disabled, porn-loving mute, known only as "Him" (Leonard Tarver) from her home (not to give out a spoiler, but when you find out the truth about "Him", you'll hate her even more). She also treats her daughter's German Shepherd bad, which she comes to regret. The dog becomes possessed by an alien power and chases her out of the house. She runs to get help (top photo) from "Him," who at first ignores her (she did kick him out of the house). The German Shepherd corners her in the woodshed, but "Him" comes to the rescue with an AXE (!!!). She tells her husband (played by Paul Birch of NOT OF THIS EARTH) that she just got "a little bruise on my face." Yeah right, lady! A German Shepherd tries to eat you alive before your mentally-challenged neighbor hacks him into little doggie pieces just a few inches from you, and you just got a "little bruise." Admit it, Carol, you wet and filled your granny panties to the maximum capacity.

The next day, she is, at least, nicer to her teenage daughter. This time, the neighbor's bull gets possessed by the alien and charges her. She falls (bottom photo), but her husband shoots the bull with a rifle before it can stomp her into the ground. Her husband and daughter run to see if she is okay, but she lays there crying with her face against the ground, probably thinking "That's two times this week I was so scared I had an accident." Lorna Thayer's other big movie role was as the crabby, battle-axe waitress in FIVE EASY PIECES, that Jack Nicholson told to "Hold the toast between your knees."

Finally, the two characters who obviously would have had an "accident" due to the nature of the events that take place in the film.


Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974): It would take me a while for me to list everything that happens to this poor girl in the last half of this film. All you need to know is she is chased repeatedly by a maniac with a chainsaw, who is wearing a mask made from human skin. She survives at the end, but I'm sure she was never able to get those white pants clean enough to wear again.


Ann Darrow (Faye Wray) in KING KONG (1933): Faye Wray has been called "the Original Scream Queen" because she was in five influential horror films in a span of two years. She also had a very distinctive scream. She put everything she had into her screaming. Her most famous role is Ann Darrow in KING KONG. As with TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, it is obvious to anyone that a person would lose control of their bodily functions, if they were to become the plaything of a giant gorilla. The producers probably realized this. In this scene, on Skull Island, Kong holds Ann in his hand while undressing her. He smells of the torn part of her dress and his hand. He probably thinks, "This smells like pee-pee and potty."


This post was done for entertainment. It is just to be silly and funny. Please don't report me to the authorities, local congressmen or start a crusade on Facebook to have me banned from the Internet. It would just show your stupidity and make you look like an overly sensitive twit. Besides, if you are going to blame someone for this post, blame Cedric.
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