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Boris Karloff & Roddy McDowall go batshit crazy in this wild 50s TV version of ‘Heart of Darkness’

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Mistah Kurtz… he fucking nuts.

Boris Karloff is a bug-eyed Mr. Kurtz in this hip, bongo-fury, sub-beatnik fifties adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s tale Heart of Darkness. Karloff does his best over-the-top batshit crazy thing and is joined in a face-off by a half-naked, scenery-chewing and equally bug-eyed Roddy McDowall as Marlow, who overacts his way through the proceedings with considerable gusto.

This ain’t no run-of-the-mill take on Conrad’s classic story but one written by Stewart Stern the screenwriter of Rebel Without a Cause. And like that famous paean to teenage acne and angst, Stern has introduced a psychological subtext that gives the matter a topically Freudian twist which, to be frank, doesn’t quite work.

But heck, that don’t matter when there’s so much fever onscreen with Karloff and McDowall ably supported in their psycho-drama by Eartha Kitt as the Queen, Oskar Homolka as the Doctor, Inga Swenson as Maria, and Cathleen Nesbitt as the Crone.
 
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Gone Daddio, solid gone…
 
Heart of Darkness was loosely based on Conrad’s own experiences of his time spent in Africa and was intended as a condemnation of the racist imperialism he had witnessed firsthand. This might get a bit lost in Stern’s script where the Africans are mainly presented as little more than enthusiastic child-like bongo players—but it is what it is and you’re all grown-up enough to make up your own mind about this strange and quite daring television drama.

And if you can’t, well, take a taste of what it’s all about from Gonzo-theorist Erich Kuersten’s long essay “Ride the Snake” over at his blog Acidemic, where he explains just how this “primitive TV broadcast of Heart of Darkness spews forth an admission of evil and in the process exorcises it.” Kuersten is one of those rare original and essential writers who really should have a book of his articles published. ‘Nuff said.

Any-old-how, enjoy the madness of King Boris.

Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.05.2018
08:27 am
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Retro recipes from Johnny Cash, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Boris Karloff & more!


Johnny Cash is all of us this holiday season. Drunk, hiding in the bushes and eating cake.
 
On average, people gain anywhere between seven to ten pounds over the holiday season. The annual feeding frenzy is now in full swing ready to send our cholesterol into outer space while we simultaneously pour all kinds of delicious booze all over our livers. While I love pie and bourbon just as much as anyone else, I also like to cook so I thought it would be fun to share some fun celebrity recipes from yesteryear.

Most of the recipes below were published in the 1978 charity cookbook, Habilitat’s Celebrity Cookbook, 1930’s What Actors Eat When They Eat, and 1981’s Celebrity Cookbook. I’ve included a nice selection of recipes shared by icons such as Cary Grant’s barbequed chicken, Boris Karloff’s guacamole (which calls for sherry mind you), and Johnny Cash’s “Old Iron Pot” family style chili. The majority of the recipes are of the traditional variety—such as beef stew and meatloaf, though there are a few curve balls. Like Bette Davis’ “Mustard Gelatin Ring” which sounds about as appetizing as the rat she served to Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and actress Bea Arthur’s fancy-sounding “Avocado with Jellied Madrilene.” For those of you who lack Arthur’s gastronomical refinement, madrilene is a cold tomato consommé. Check them all out below!
 

 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.05.2017
02:00 pm
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Scary Monsters & Super Cheap Thrills: The awesome movie poster art of Reynold Brown

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House on Haunted Hill’ (1959).
 
If I had the money, I guess I’d buy an old abandoned cinema somewhere downtown or maybe one of those big ole drive-ins that’s been long left for dead some place out in the desert. I’d refurbish it then screen double-feature monster movies each and every day. Double-bill after double-bill on continuous performance. Choice picks from the whole back catalog of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, dear old Peter Cushing, and “King of the Bs” Roger Corman. Yeah, I know, I would probably go bust within six months—but hell, it would have been worth it just to see these classic horror movies and glorious science-fiction films on the big screen where they belong and not on flickering cathode-ray tube of childhood memory.

The walls of this fantasy cinema would be covered with the finest movie posters and artwork by the likes of Albert Kallis, Frank McCarthy, and Reynold Brown—“the man who drew bug-eyed monsters.”

Brown has probably impacted on everyone’s memory one way or another as he produced a phenomenal array of movie posters. Brown supplied artwork for B-movie features like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Attack of the 50ft. Woman, mainstream movies like Spartacus and Mutiny on the Bounty, to those classic Corman horror films House of Usher and The Masque of Red Death. I know I can hang large parts of my childhood and teenage years by just one look at a Reynold Brown poster. Straight away I can tell you when and where I saw the movie and give a very good idea of what I thought and felt at that time. Now that’s the very thing many a great artist tries to make an aduience feel when they look at a work of art. While artists can spend a lifetime trying to achieve this, Reynold Brown was doing it as his day job.
 
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The Thing That Couldn’t Die’ (1958).
 
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Tarantula!’ (1955).
 
More of Reynold Brown’s classic sci-fi and hooror movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.28.2017
01:18 pm
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Thrill to the covers of Boris Karloff’s ‘Tales of Mystery’ comic
11.17.2015
11:43 am
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E.C.‘s Tales from the Crypt was long dead and buried by the time I’d picked up my first Spider-Man comic and attempted web-slinging off the garage roof. If I’d known about Tales from the Crypt then, I would have abandoned Peter Parker to life as a useful flyswatter and hung my star to the Crypt Keeper. All things horror were a childhood obsession—and though with hindsight some graduate of Psychology 101 might give my predilection for nasty thrills an asshat theory about using horror movies as a means to control personal fears—the truth is—I just fucking loved ‘em.

Of course, the possibility that out there—somewhere—was a happy marriage of comic book and horror story was a pre-pubescent fantasy as remote as the coupling between Cinderella and Prince Charming. Then one day I discovered Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery at the back of a rack of comics and knew the Prince’s luck was looking up.

Ye gods, the covers alone were enough to put my imagination into overdrive—like a hyperactive kid popping bubble wrap—the images of prehistoric beasts devouring fishermen on storm-tossed seas, gruesome subterranean creatures clambering out of crypts, devils torturing unrepentant souls, and a viscous ooze devouring all. The fact that each cover had a passport photo of the debonair Mr. Karloff—a man who looked like he worked at a bank or sold life insurance to the over 50s—only made the thrills more enjoyably fun, as I knew this kindly old man would never, ever, go overboard with the horror. Or would he?

Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery was originally a spin-off from his TV series Thriller. When the series was canceled, publisher Gold Star re-titled the comic as Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery. It continued to be published after Karloff’s death in 1969, and ran into the seventies—around about the time when I picked-up on it. If you want to have a swatch of the whole set of covers available have a look here or here.

This little bundle of goodies culled from everywhere and beyond brings back fine memories of the pure joy to be had imagining the possible terrors that were about to unfold—and appreciating the best thrills are all in the mind.
 
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More fabulous Karloff kovers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.17.2015
11:43 am
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Bela Lugosi might not be dead: Mind-blowing sculptures of classic movie monsters
10.19.2015
09:26 am
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Bela Lugosi life-sized sculpture by Mike Hill
Bela Lugosi life-sized sculpture by Mike Hill
 
You may recall that DM has previously featured the work of LA-based master sculptor Mike Hill, and his uncanny life-sized sculpt of FX pioneer Ray Harryhausen being served tea and cookies by his skeleton minions.
 
Nosferatu (or Count Orlok) sculpture by Mike Hill
A close up of Nosferatu (or Count Orlok) sculpture by Mike Hill
 
Widely considered by his peers and fans as one of the greatest sculptors living today, Hill’s deep admiration for his ground-breaking predecessors such as Lon Chaney, Jack Pierce and Rick Baker (and their respective monsters), are brought back to life in his sculptures. Hill has created many sculptures based on the classic monsters created by his heroes like Frankenstein’s monster (based on Karloff’s portrayal in the 1931 film Frankenstein) or the Mummy (also famously played by Karloff in 1932’s The Mummy). Hill has even done life-sized sculptures of Baker (who’s still making monsters and is very much alive) and Pierce in action alongside their iconic, monstrous masterpieces.

Many images of Hill’s shockingly life-like sculptures that even when seen are hard to believe aren’t actually the real thing, follow.
 
FX artist Jack Pierce putting the finishing touches on Boris Karloff sculpture
Life-sized sculpture of makeup artist Jack Pierce putting the finishing touches on Boris Karloff for his role in the 1932 film, The Mummy
 
ScLife-sized sulpture of Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera (1935)
Life-sized sculpture of Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera (1935)
 
More “lifelike” monster sculptures by Mike Hill after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.19.2015
09:26 am
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Make Boris Karloff’s sherry-infused guacamole recipe, because you’re classy, but terrifying
07.31.2013
10:18 am
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Karloff
 
Yes, the man who played most of the famous monsters of filmland (see what I did there, Forry Ackerman fans?) was “Mad About Mexican Food,” and really, who isn’t?

This piece, from an unknown newspaper isn’t dated, but it’s apparently from a time when you had to explain guacamole to readers. (It’s “an avocado-based sauce.”)

2 avocados

1 med. tomato, chopped fine

1 small onion, minced

1 tbsp. chopped canned green chiles

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp sherry

Dash cayenne, optional

Salt, pepper

Peel and mash avocados. Add onion, tomato and chiles, then stir in lemon juice, sherry and seasonings to taste, blending well. Serve as a dip for tortilla pieces or corn chips or as a canape spread. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

The consummate English gentleman, Karloff apparently imbued his cosmopolitan dishes with a bit of refinement—I’ve never heard of adding sherry to guacamole, but I am so, so into it.

Via Badass Digest

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.31.2013
10:18 am
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The Gentleman of Horror: Boris Karloff appears on ‘This Is Your Life,’ 1957

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The Gentleman of Horror, Boris Karloff is the focus of this episode of This Is Your Life from 1957.

Few actors have such long and successful careers as had “Karloff the Uncanny”; or have thrilled so many different and disparate people across the world with his performances as “The Monster” from Frankenstein,  Imhotep in The Mummy, Professor Morlant in The Ghoul, all the way up to TV series, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Michael ReevesThe Sorcereors and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Targets.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.03.2013
02:15 pm
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Family Portrait: Film-maker Peter Bogdanovich talks about his Father’s paintings, 1979

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Film director, writer and actor, Peter Bogdanovich gave critic Michael Billington a brief introduction to his father, Borislav Bogdanovich’s art work in this short clip from 1979.

Born in 1899, Borislav Bogdanovitch was a Serbian Post Impressionist / Modernist artist, who was one of Belgrade’s leading artists, and exhibited alongside Jean Renoir and Marc Chagall. Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Borislav relocated with his family to New York, where he continued to work, though less successfully, until his death in 1970.

Before his death, Borislav saw Peter’s first major movie—the modern urban horror, Targets:

‘I don’t think he said more than 4 or 5 words about it, but he had obviously been very moved by the experience. It was a heavy movie, it was a tough movie, and it wasn’t very pretty about life in Los Angeles, or America, and he felt it was a tragic picture. I could see it on his his face what he thought about it—he didn’t have to say much.’

The film, which starred Boris Karloff, marked the arrival of Peter Bogdanovich as a highly original and talented film-maker, who was exceptional enough to direct, co-write and occasionally produce films as diverse as the superb The Last Picture Show; the wonderful screwball comedy What’s Up Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal; to the excellent Ryan and Tatum O’Neal comedy/drama Paper Moon; and the the greatly under-rated (and hardly seen on its release) Saint Jack with Ben Gazzara.

But Bogdanovich is magnanimous in his praise for others (see his books on Orson Welles and John Ford) and claims, at the start of this interview, that it was his father who was a considerable influence on developing his film-making skills:

‘I think it is unquestionably true that whatever I did learn, in terms of composition, or color, or the visual aspect of movies, I certainly learned from my father through osmosis—it wasn’t anything he sat down and taught me. The thing that my father was extraordinary, he had this way of influencing people—getting things across without saying, “This is what I am trying to teach you.” It wasn’t like that at all. My father wasn’t didactic in anyway, he was casual.’

From being one of the most interesting and original film-makers of his generation, Peter Bogdanovich has rarely had the opportunity to make the quality of films he is more than capable of producing. Last year, in response to the Aurora shootings, Bogdanovich wrote an article for the Hollywood Reporter in which he lamented the loss of humanity in films:

‘Today, there’s a general numbing of the audience. There’s too much murder and killing. You make people insensitive by showing it all the time. The body count in pictures is huge. It numbs the audience into thinking it’s not so terrible. Back in the ’70s, I asked Orson Welles what he thought was happening to pictures, and he said, “We’re brutalizing the audience. We’re going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum.” The respect for human life seems to be eroding.’

 

 
With thanks to NellyM
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.22.2013
07:41 pm
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Boris Karloff: Color footage of Frankenstein’s Monster

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At night, during the making of the Frankenstein films, Boris Karloff sometimes slept with his monster make-up on, as it took so long to apply. He would sleep between 2 books to protect his neck from any harm, which could be caused by those famous glued-on bolts. Karloff spent up to 4 hours in make-up, as the legendary Jack Pierce applied his iconic design.

Over the years, I have seen quite a few hand-tinted photographs of Karloff as the Monster, but rarely any color footage. So, this brief home-movie clip from 1939, of Karloff in full make-up on the set of Son of Frankenstein, is quite delightful.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The First Film Version of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ from 1910


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.11.2012
07:31 pm
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Boris Karloff and the horrifying world of teenagers in revolt
10.22.2012
02:45 am
Topics:
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As we draw closer to Halloween, there is no better time to address the horrors of youth.

Boris Karloff narrates this 1964 Movietone featurette, Today’s Teens, on the terrifying world of teenagers and rock ‘n’ roll where no one is safe from the voodoo beat that enchants, seduces and drives kids utterly insane.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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10.22.2012
02:45 am
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Bela Lugosi: An interview with the Vampire from 1932

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Bela Lugosi was often depressed performing the role of Dracula. He dreamt he was dead, and woke in the morning exhausted, he tells Dorothy West in this episode of Intimate Interviews from 1932.

Lugosi explains how after the First World War, he participated in the Hungarian revolution, but soon found himself on the wrong side. He therefore left the country and arrived in America, where he continued his career as an actor.

His first success was in the title role of the stage production of Dracula. This led him to starring in the classic film version, directed by Todd Browning in 1931. Thereafter, he made a series of Horror films for Universal Studios, most notably starring against that “King of Horror”, Boris Karloff.

Lugosi jokes with West telling her is learning slang and knows how to say “okay”, “baloney” and “the cat’s whiskers”. He also goes onto say he likes living in America as people know how to mind their own business - which is more a reference to the way sections of Hollywood society ostracized the actor. Lugosi ends the interview pretending to be one of the Undead.
 

 
Bonus clip, Lugosi interviewed leaving the sanitarium in 1955, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.15.2012
06:36 pm
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Dirk Bogarde: Never screened on TV interview from 1975

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Bishopbriggs was where the trams from Glasgow ended. It was also where Dirk Bogarde spent his early teenage years, from 1934-37, living with a well-to-do uncle and aunt, while commuting to-and-from Allan Glen School in the city.

Glasgow shaped Bogarde, and though he hated his time there, he latter admitted, in his first volume of autobiography, A Postilion Struck by Lightning:

‘The three years in Scotland were, without doubt, the most important years of my early life. I could not, I know now, have done without them. My parents, intent on giving me a solid, tough scholastic education to prepare me for my Adult Life, had no possible conception that the education I would receive there would far outweigh anything a simple school could have provided.’

What Glasgow gave the young Bogarde, after his childhood idyll of Sussex, was “a crack on the backside which shot [him] into reality so fast [he] was almost unable to catch [his] breath for the pain and disillusions which were to follow.”

At Allan Glen’s School, Bogarde soon found himself “dumped in a lavatory pan by mindless classmates” because he spoke with “the accent of a Sassenach”. It was part of the cruelty that taught the young Bogarde to build a “carapace” against his peers. In his isolation he developed his skills as an artist and writer, and dreamt of escape.

Glasgow also offered Bogarde his first sexual experience with an older man - the dressed in beige Mr. Dodd, who he met whilst skipping classes at the Paramount Picture Palace - “the meeting place of all the Evil in Glasgow”.

Mr. Dodd seduced the young schoolboy with an ice lolly and a hand on the knee, during a performance of Boris Karloff’s The Mummy. Though Bogarde had seen the film 3 times before, he was keen to replicate Karloff’s performance, and so willingly returned to Mr Dodd’s apartment, where he was tightly trussed-up in bandages, all except his pubescent genitals, which thrust through the swaddling rags “as pink and vulnerable as a sugar mouse.” Mr. Dodd flipped Bogarde onto a bed, and tossed him off. Bogarde felt something terrible was going to happen, and offered up 3 or 4 “Hail Mary’s” in the hope of being rescued. Of course, he knew God’s help wouldn’t arrive, as he knew what would happen as Mr Dodd fiddled about.

When he left Glasgow, Bogarde was changed. He had developed the drive that would bring him success, and formed a personality that would keep the world twice-removed from the creative and sensitive young man he was at heart.

The following interview with this charming man was never broadcast on TV. Recorded in London for the release of the film Permission to Kill (aka The Executioner) in 1975, Bogarde discussed the movie, and his career with interviewer, Mark Caldwell.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Dirk Bogarde Still Cool

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2012
07:41 pm
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Rising Star: An interview with Glenn McQuaid director of ‘I Sell the Dead’ and ‘V/H/S’

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Sometimes there comes along a director, whose talent is so apparent that you wonder why they’re not more famous. Glenn McQuaid is such a director, and his first feature, I Sell the Dead, in 2008, offered everything I want from a horror film.

It was my brother who tapped me in to Mr. McQuaid’s work. My brother and I had grown-up under the spell of the horror films produced by Universal in the 1930s and 1940s (with Karloff and Lugosi, and Lon Chaney jnr.), and Hammer films (with Cushing and Lee) from the fifties and sixties. Of course there were also the Vincent Price and Roger Corman collaborations, as well as the Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg anthology films of the 1960s and ‘70s.

We also had a love of stories by Dennis Wheatley (in particular his series of classic horror novels published under his Library of the Occult - Stoker, Shelley, ”Carnaki, the Ghost Finder”, and Guy Endore), and the tales of terror penned by Poe, Blackwood and Bloch.

My brother raved about I Sell the Dead, and when I saw it I had to agree. Written and directed by McQuaid, it stars Larry Fessenden, Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman and Angus (Phantasm) Scrimm, and is near perfect - a witty, clever and engaging story, presented in the style of the best, classic horror film. I was smitten, the same way I was when Boris Karloff as the Monster first walked backwards into the laboratory; or by Oliver Reed when he turned into a werewolf. McQuaid knows his genre and its cinematic traditions.

For his next film, McQuaid is one of the directors (alongside David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and Adam Wingard ) of the soon to be released anthology film, V/H/S, for which he wrote an directed the “unconventional killer-in-the-woods chiller Tuesday The 17th”. When V/H/S previewed at the Sundance Film Festival, it received the kind of exposure of which publicists dream.

At its screening two audience members fled in terror – one fainted, one puked. The last time I recall such a response was for The Exorcist in 1973, where there were reports of fainting, vomiting, and even an alleged possession.

When was shown at SXSW, V/H/S was described as ”an incredibly entertaining film that succeeds in being humorous, sexy, gross and scary as fuck.” While Dead Central gave it 5/5.

Though all the directors have been praised for the quality of their films, the reviews have singled out McQuaid for the excellence and originality of his contribution.

Before all this kicked off, I contacted Glenn McQuaid to organize an interview. Over the following weeks emails went back-and-forth, until the following arrived. The interview covers Mr McQuaid’s background, his influences, early work, The Resurrection Apprentice, working with Larry Fessenden, Ron Perlman and Dominic Monaghan on I Sell the Dead, to V/H/S.
 

 
The full interview with Glenn McQuaid, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.17.2012
06:24 pm
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Vincent Price: An interview with French TV, from 1986

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O, Vincent Price - wasn’t he fab? He had this terrific ability to sound both menacing and amused at the same time. It was part of the reason why his performances were always so enjoyable to watch, he brought a dark humor to the most chilling of horror, as seen in Theater of Blood, Tales of Terror, or House on Haunted Hill. No matter how gruesome the thrill (pet dogs fed to their owner, a puppet skeleton scaring a victim into an acid bath), one instinctively knew that at heart Price was fun, guaranteed to always be good company. As can be seen from this short interview from French TV in 1986, where Mr Price talked about working with Roger Corman, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, James Whale, reminiscing about past successes and unmitigated failures.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Vincent Price: An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe


 
Part deux of Monsieur Price, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.12.2011
07:29 pm
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Before there was Tim Burton, there was ‘Mad Monster Party’


 
Mad Monster Party is a 1968 Halloween-themed children’s film created by the Rankin/Bass animation house and written by Mad magazine’s creator, Harvey Kurtzman (with Len Korobin).

Rankin/Bass were famous for their stop motion Christmas favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. The film was directed by Jack Bass in their signature “Animagic” process.
 

 
Many of the characters in Mad Monster Party were designed by Mad’s Jack Davis, a man well-suited for the gig by his earlier comedy/horror work in the pages of EC Comics. The film featured the vocal talents of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller who were represented onscreen by their own likenesses.

Mad Monster Party was very influential on Tim Burton’s short film Vincent, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Some of the monster characters in Corpse Bride seem to be in homage to the earlier film. It would also appear that the Sesame Street character, “The Count” made his first appearance here, too…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.18.2011
05:51 pm
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