Spiritualism & Spooks: The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

As a lifelong classic film fan who has seen more movies than she cares to remember, it’s easy to become a little jaded. But every year I manage to come across an old film that becomes a new favorite. In 2016 that film is the amazing, Amazing Mr. X (1948), a low-budget supernatural thriller also known as The … Continue reading Spiritualism & Spooks: The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

Telefilm Time Machine: Daughter of the Mind (1969)

Ray Milland sees dead people. Or to be more precise, Ray Milland begins seeing the ghost of his dead daughter in the made-for-TV movie DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969) based on a novel by author Paul Gallico (THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES; 1942, BITTER VICTORY; 1957, THE SNOW GOOSE; 1971, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE; 1972) and directed by Walter Grauman. This is … Continue reading Telefilm Time Machine: Daughter of the Mind (1969)

Telefilm Time Machine: SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975)

One of my favorite actresses is the beautiful and enigmatic Kim Novak and one of the first made-for-TV movies she appeared in was SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975). This surprisingly effective supernatural thriller combines elements of classic horror films such as PHANTOM SHIP (1935) and GHOST SHIP (1955) as well as THE EXORCIST (1973) into a spine-tingling original tale set on the stormy seas … Continue reading Telefilm Time Machine: SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975)

The Spiral Staircase (1946)

The Spiral Staircase (1946) is a longtime favorite of mine and it has been hailed as a prototype for many of the best giallo films. With thoughts of murder and black-gloved killers running through my mind it seemed like a good time to revisit this classic thriller that features an Academy Award-nominated performance by Ethel Barrymore as … Continue reading The Spiral Staircase (1946)

DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

The legend of Faust is one of the oldest occult tales in the Western world. This German fable has been the basis of countless plays, poems, novels, musical compositions, works of art and films. Faust's story has been reinterpreted many times in various ways but most renderings portray him as an aging unsatisfied scholar who … Continue reading DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

AAAHOO! – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

The setting is London in the early 1900s where a young Scottish woman named Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) is preparing to wed her beau (Don Porter). The happy couple’s plans are interrupted when someone or something begins killing locals at a nearby park. Terrified Phyllis is certain an old Scottish curse that has plagued her … Continue reading AAAHOO! – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is often referred to as an “Abbott and Costello movie for people who don’t like Abbott and Costello” but as a fan of the comic duo I find that proclamation a bit off base. The film does distinguish itself from the popular formula pictures they made during this period that often … Continue reading GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

BOOK REVIEW – Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures

Robert Wise is one of my favorite American directors but (as I've noted in the past) he rarely receives the kind of critical attention that's heaped on his peers. Wise was a proud product of the Hollywood studio system and a very private man. Throughout his career, he purposefully avoided the spotlight and regularly praised … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW – Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures

Ralph Nelson’s Duel at Diablo (1966)

As soon as the credits start to roll in Ralph Nelson’s DUEL AT DIABLO (1966) you know you’re in for something very different. A knife suddenly appears to cut through the screen and immediately starts slashing apart the United Artists logo. This stunning gesture told audiences at the time that they were about to watch a … Continue reading Ralph Nelson’s Duel at Diablo (1966)

TALKING WITH TRINA: AN INTERVIEW WITH TRINA PARKS

Tomorrow night TCM Underground will be airing the surprisingly surreal and smart blaxploitation comedy, DARKTOWN STRUTTERS (1975). I hesitate to tag DARKTOWN STRUTTERS with a simplistic label like “blaxploitation” because it’s really a cult movie that deserves a category of its own. The film manages to combine just about every popular movie genre imaginable including classic westerns and musicals, … Continue reading TALKING WITH TRINA: AN INTERVIEW WITH TRINA PARKS

MELVIN VAN PEEBLES: THE STORY OF A THREE-DAY PASS (1967)

In the late 1950s, Melvin Van Peebles went to Hollywood after completing a number of short films. He had aspirations of becoming a director’s assistant but an agent quickly squelched his ambition after telling him, “If you can tap dance, I might find you some work. But that is about all.” When he couldn’t find … Continue reading MELVIN VAN PEEBLES: THE STORY OF A THREE-DAY PASS (1967)

WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

William Mortensen in his studio with a photo of Jean Harlow. Last month I was gifted with a copy of American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen. This beautiful coffee table worthy book contains a compilation of work by William Mortensen (1897–1965), a brilliant, innovative and visionary photographer who once worked in Hollywood … Continue reading WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

GOING UNDER: REVISITING COMA (1978)

I spent Labor Day sick in bed. I was feverish, sore and incredibly cranky due to having my weekend plans derailed by a bad cold. On Monday night I began to feel slightly better after binging on Nyquil and homemade chicken soup so I curled up on the couch and turned on the TV. While … Continue reading GOING UNDER: REVISITING COMA (1978)

Book Review: Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980

Movies and pulp fiction share a long, rich, and complicated history that deserves more consideration and thoughtful examination. A new book recently released by PM Press and edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre does just that. Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980 is dedicated to examining … Continue reading Book Review: Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980