Archive for October, 2017

Your Halloween Costume

Posted in Fashion, FILM with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by dcairns

Some guy in THE MAZE. While I would be the last person to attempt to dissuade you from attending your Halloween soirée as Lord Roger McTeam the giant Scottish frog from William Cameron Menzies’ THE MAZE (pictured) — the classics really are best —  I thought I might offer some more subtle suggestions. After all, as with sexiness, horribleness can be more effective if understated.

I forget what movie this guy’s in, maybe someone can tell me. I think it’s a Lugosi. But he’d make a great Halloween costume. All you need is a shirt, a bad haircut and his massive face.

Lon Chaney Jr. in CALLING DR. DEATH has a great look. The dark glasses and bathrobe effect — simple, disturbing, and yet elegant.

Or you could just go as this mildly constipated man.

Amaze your friends! Bemuse your enemies! This outfit modelled in THE DEVIL COMMANDS is really attractive, but perhaps impractical, especially if your host expects you to bob for apples.

If you have a small child, why not dress them as Paul Kelly, attaching a prosthetic head and upper body to bring them up to the correct height. Come on! You can’t tell me that wouldn’t be scary — actual manslaughterer Kelly, tottering and swaying towards you, his waxy, immobile face rocking from side to side?

From Don Post Studios.

The INNER SANCTUM guy would make a great costume. You’ll need a goldfish bowl and a table with a hole in it.

Stylish yet deadly. The handgun is very much part of the ensemble, so be sure you’re in an open carry state.

These two awful-looking men from VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES wouldn’t make a great costume individually, I admit, but collectively — think of it, one side of you is the guy on the right, and the other is the guy on the left. People will think you’ve had a stroke. Terrifying!

Also from THE DEVIL COMMANDS. Because evening dress and electrodes is always a good look.

“You know me, anything in a pith helmet.” This one is maybe TOO terrifying? Fortunately I’ve forgotten what it’s from.

 

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221b Terror Street

Posted in FILM with tags on October 30, 2017 by dcairns

                 

The Sunday Intertitle: Inn Trouble

Posted in FILM with tags , , on October 29, 2017 by dcairns

One of our most enjoyable discoveries of the last few years was Claude Autant-Lara’s L’AUBERGE ROUGE, a wickedly macabre anti-clerical farce set in a mountain inn where the hosts have taken to murdering and robbing their guests. So I was excited to discover an earlier (1923) version of the same legend made by the often brilliant Jean Epstein.

On a bad day/film, Epstein could be dull, but he’s great fun in experimentalist mode, as he is here, essaying a spooky tale literally told after supper by some snobs in periwigs, by candlelight and everything. And it’s great to see him working with macabre material, as he does so effectively in THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER.

One could quibble — many of Epstein’s visual experiments are too dramatic for their circumstances. Intercutting between our heroes riding through the night — quick cuts of riders flashing by, hooves cratering mud — with the crowded hostelry ahead — a more languid wide shot, repeated — he creates a degree of hilarity because nothing’s actually happening in the inn. It’s a simple journey/destination treated as if it were a chase to the rescue.

Then, when the innkeeper gestures with his towel to demonstrate that the joint is so crowded you can’t even find a seat, Epstein attaches his lens to the towelled hand and pans it round the room, like a ’20s Sam Raimi. Huzzah! But Eh?

But then, when the creepy old woman sneaks up behind our main guy, and Epstein extends the moment for max suspense, and gives us the subsequent card-reading with giant close-ups (some of them impressionistically blurry) and giant title cards and looming hands — it’s REALLY GOOD. Silent horror films should always go this far. Hardly any do.