Sweet Treats & Costumed Freaks

"The Paper-Bag Mask"

Some of you know that I also blog over at Mid-Century Living. During October I like to share things like vintage Halloween costume ideas & pumpkin carving tips there and I recently posted some old recipes for candy apples from a 1966 Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. If you’re looking for some Halloween cooking ideas or just want to know how to carve a pumpkin ’60s style please drop by Mid-Century Living:
Halloween @ Mid-Century Living

Spellbinding Songs

spellsongs

During the month of October I’ll be sharing Halloween inspired music mixes that you can stream online at 8tracks. My first offering was called “Frankenstein-A-Go-Go” and this time I’m sharing a 12 song mix called “Spellbinding Songs” featuring songs recorded between 1955-1968 about witches and that old black magic that they weave so well. Enjoy!

Track Listing:
Eartha Kitt – I’d Rather Be Burned As a Witch (1959)
Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft (1957)
Sammy Davis Jr. – That Old Black Magic (1955)
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You (1956)
David Seville w/The Chipmunks – Witch Doctor (1958)
Dave Gardner – Mad Witch (1957)
The Johnson Brothers – Casting My Spell (1959)
Elvis Presley – Witchcraft (1963)
Kip Tyler – She’s My Witch (1958)
Donovan – Season of the Witch (1966)
Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman (1968)
The Rattles – The Witch (1968)

http://8tracks.com/mixes/409940/player_v3

Frankenstein-A-Go-Go

Frankenstein-A-Go-Go

I recently joined 8track, which allows members to create their own internet radio or mixed tape so during the month of October I’ll be sharing Halloween inspired music mixes that you can stream online. My first offering is called “Frankenstein-A-Go-Go” featuring 12 songs recorded by a variety of artists between 1958-1973 about the good doctor and his monster.

Track Listing:
Carlos Casal, Jr. w/The Chipmunks – Don’t Meet Mr. Frankenstein (1958)
Soupy Sales – My Baby’s Got A Crush On Frankenstein (1962)
The Crystals – Frankenstein Twist (1962)
Dickie Goodman – Frankenstein Meets The Beatles (1965)
Eddie Thomas – Frankenstein Rock (1958)
The Castle Kings – You Can Get Him Frankenstein (1961)
Nicole Paquin – Mon Mari C’est Frankenstein French version of You Can Get Him Frankenstein (1961)
France Gall – Frankenstein (1972)
Byron Lee And The Dragonaires – Frankenstein (1964)
Hollywood Flames – Frankenstein’s Den (1958)
New York Dolls – Frankenstein (1973)
Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein (1973)
http://8tracks.com/mixes/404881/player_v3
Frankenstein-A-Go-Go

Mod Macabre October 1-31

Mod Macabre

The last few months have been pretty rough. I’m currently recuperating from a car accident and spending a lot of time at home so I thought it would be fun to participate in the Countdown to Halloween blogathon this year as an official “Cryptkeeper” with a special focus on Mod Macabre. So what is Mod Macabre? It’s a celebration of everything that makes Cinebeats tick!

Horror movies from the ’60s and ’70s! &#9745
Sexy scream queens! &#9745
Mod mad men! &#9745
Groovy spooky soundtracks! &#9745
Vintage horror comix! &#9745
Creepy collectibles! &#9745
and anything else that falls under the Mod Macabre banner.

I’ll be updating Cinebeats frequnetly throughout the month of October so check back often!

In the meantime, please feel free to explore the “Horror” and “Thriller” sections at Cinebeats. You can find lots of reviews and various articles about films perfect for October viewing as we countdown the days to Halloween.

Update: I’ve decided to turn my blog comments back on for the month of October. They were turned off at the beginning of the year due to lots of spam and I didn’t have the time to respond to all the comments I was receiving. Comments will still be moderated and may take awhile to show up on the blog but I thought I’d open them up again in celebration of the season.

A Joan Blondell Blogathon

Joan BlondellThe funny & fabulous Joan Blondell

From my latest post at the Movie Morlocks:

“During the month of August TCM highlights the work of a select group of talented performers as part of their annual Summer Under the Stars festival. The Movie Morlocks were asked to select one overlooked star from the Summer Under the Stars line-up to spotlight during a weeklong celebration of their work. Last year the Morlocks highlighted the accomplishments of Woody Strode and before that, Gloria Grahame and Fred MacMurray. This year the Morlocks are setting their sights on Joan Blondell with a blogathon that takes place August 18th – 24th.”
Kona Coast (1968)

I decided to kick start the blogathon with a look at Kona Coast (1968), which was just released on DVD from the Warner Archives and will be playing on TCM August 24th. Kona Coast may not rate as one of the best films that Blondell ever appeared in but it does contain some elements that should appeal to fans of groovy ’60s cinema, including one of the best 7-minute openings I’ve seen in a long time and a terrific score by by composer Jack Marshall. Kona Coast is a fun late night summer movie that probably should be watched while you have a few Mai Tai’s on hand. You can read my full review by following the link below.

Joan Blondell Goes Hawaiian @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

I also created a special Flickr gallery of images from Kona Coast that you can find here.

Hooked to the Silver Screen

bowie
David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

I got knocked flat by a nasty flu bug that has kept me in bed all week. I’m still on the mend and not fully recovered but I wanted to post a quick update and compile some links to a few things of possible interest.

First up, here’s a couple of links to my latest posts at The Movie Morlocks. The first is for an interview I did with local artist Nicolas Caesar who will be appearing on Creepy KOFY Movie Time tonight at 11PM, February 19th. Creepy KOFY Movie Time is a local Northern California TV program that airs every Saturday night on KOFY TV20 or CABLE13 and they play classic horror films as well as cult favorites. Nicolas will be chatting about the Herschell Gordon Lewis’ movie Color Me Blood Red (1965) on this week’s show along with the program’s regular hosts Balrok and No Name.
My KOFY Break with Nicolas Caesar @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

This week I almost didn’t post anything at The Movie Morlocks but at the last minute I managed to (roughly) finish a little something that I had been working on for weeks called “Life On Mars” that borrows it’s title from one of my favorite David Bowie songs. It’s a personal post that takes a look back at my earliest attempts to write film reviews for my school newspaper. If you want to know what films I was watching and writing about at age 14 you can find a couple examples I scanned from old school newspapers. I had planned on writing more in-depth on the topic but I couldn’t find any other issues of my school newspaper to scan and I was getting a little too self-reflective for my own good. I didn’t want to bore Movie Morlock readers with my self-indulgent trip down memory lane so I tried to make my post as brief as possible. Unfortunately my fever didn’t help matters much and I’m sure I rambled a bit more than I had intended. But movies have always been an important part of my life and it’s fun to look back at my early reviews and remember how I started seeing films differently at age 14.
Life On Mars @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

Rondohammer
Martin Kosleck and Rondo Hatton in House of Horrors (1946)

The Rondo Awards were announced this week and although Cinebeats wasn’t nominated for anything this year, a few of my favorite bloggers were including Stacie Ponder of Final Girl, Pierre Fournier of Frankensteinia, August Ragone of The Good, the Bad and the Godzilla, Curt Purcell of Groovy Age of Horror and the esteemed Tim Lucas of Video Watchblog who also has lots of other nominations for various projects he’s worked on including his magazine Video Watchdog. If you do vote this year please consider their fine contributions to the blogosphere.
The Rondo Hatton Awards

In other news, the For the Love of Film Noir Blogathon started on Valentine’s Day, February 14th and runs until February 21st. Some of my fellow Morlocks expressed interest in participating so they took up the gauntlet for TCM. I’ve linked to a couple of their contributions below and posted a great video clip for the blogathon compiled by another one of my favorite bloggers, Greg of Cinema Styles. If I wasn’t feeling like death was at my door I might pull something together myself but please give these other posts a look.
For the Love of Film Noir Blogathon: THE STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog
For the Love of Film (Noir) Blog-A-Thon: The Sound of Fury (1950) & TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

‘Tis the Season

happyholidays20102
Happy Holidays from Cinebeats & Julie Christie!

‘Tis the season. I’ve been preoccupied with home renovations, work and holiday plans lately so I haven’t had a lot of free time to watch movies or blog and I don’t think I’ll be updating much in December. In an effort to keep things interesting here at Cinebeats I thought I’d compile a bunch of brief updates into one post and wish you all Happy Holidays!

Giving Thanks
I celebrated Thanksgiving at the Movie Morlocks last week by writing about a bunch of movie related people and characters that I’m thankful for. We don’t say thank you enough anymore and I’m not sure when good manners became so passé but I suppose I’m a little old fashioned. I decided to share my thanks for a few things I’ve had on my mind lately including Joseph Cotten, Gene Tierney, Deborah Kerr, Richard Harris, director Fritz Land and Eli Wallach who recently received his first Academy Award at age 95.
Giving Thanks @ The Movie Morlocks
eliw
Eli Wallach in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

The Paul Naschy Blogathon
Over at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies The Vicar of VHS is hosting a Paul Naschy Blogathon November 29 – December 3. I love Paul Naschy and I don’t know if I’ll have the time to participate in the blogathon, but you can bet that I’ll be doing a lot of reading in December! The Vicar is gathering links to all the blogathon submissions and the response has been tremendous so far. Naschy would have celebrated his 76th birthday this week and he’s still fondly remembered by his fans. It’s wonderful to see this Spanish horror icon getting so much attention and The Paul Naschy Blogathon is a great way to keep Naschy’s memory alive.
The Paul Naschy Blogathon @ Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies
pnbogathon

Irvin Kershner 1923-2010
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I watched a bunch of terrible new or “newer” movies including James Cameron’s ridiculously expensive cartoon Avatar (2009), Peter Jackson’s mind-numbingly bad The Lovely Bones (2009) and Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables (2010), which (once again) wasted the talents of Jason Statham and Jet Li and only served to remind me why I disliked so many ’80s action movies. In the midst of all this crap I re-watched one of my favorite Irvin Kershner films, the deliciously decadent murder mystery, The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). During the film I kept being reminded of Kershner’s talent and wondering why he never made another film as interesting and stylish as The Eyes of Laura Mars? I’ve written a little about Kershner’s A Fine Madness (1966) as well as his odd comedy S*P*Y*S (1974) but I haven’t written about The Eyes of Laura Mars or another Kershner favorite, The Flim-Flam Man (1967). Today Irvin Kershner is mostly remembered for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), which many consider to be better than the first Star Wars film. When news spread that the director had died on November 27th after suffering from lung cancer for 3 years, The Empire Strikes Back garnered the most headlines and attention but I think of it as the movie that ended Kershner career. After making that Star Wars sequel he seemed to slowly fade away and didn’t take on any more challenging projects. I wish Kershner would have worked with director & writer John Carpenter (the writer of The Eyes of Laura Mars) again. They made a really interesting team and delivered one of the most fascinating American thrillers of the ’70s. If you want to see Irvin Kershner at his best watch The Eyes of Laura Mars.
Irvin Kershner’s Obituary @ The Los Angeles Times
eyeslauramars
Fay Dunaway stars in The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

didmposter65

Frankenstenia is celebrating the life and career of one of my favorite actors with The Boris Karloff Blogathon taking place Nov. 23-29th. I didn’t sign-up to participate because I couldn’t commit to anything. My current blogging schedule is sporadic and a bit crazy because at the moment most of my attention is focused on trying to buy my first home. But I did mange to find some time to write a little something about one of my favorite ’60s era Karloff films, Die, Monster, Die!

Die, Monster, Die! was produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff for AIP (American International Picture) and directed by horror film veteran Daniel Haller. Haller started his career as an art director and production designer and he worked with AIP for many years before he began directing films for the company. Haller’s early work with Roger Corman is especially noteworthy since he helped give Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptations a distinct look and feel. During the ’60s Daniel Haller collaborated with Roger Corman on some of his best films including Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Premature Burial (1962), The Raven (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) before directing his first film; the Karloff feature Die, Monster, Die! in 1965.

In the film Boris Karloff plays a crazy old curmudgeon named Nahum Witley who is keeping a dark secret from his family in an attempt to better their fortune and bring honor to the family name. The plot of Die, Monster, Die! is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space which was originally published in 1927. Haller’s film plays fast and loose with Lovecraft’s original tale but it’s an entertaining mess of a movie that benefit’s greatly from Karloff’s demanding presence and low key performance. Die, Monster, Die! is notable because it gave the 78 year-old Karloff one of his last opportunities to play a monster in a horror film. Although Karloff’s transformation from stately Nahum Witley to a radioactive zombie in Die, Monster, Die! is all too brief and a far, far cry from his amazing and better known performance as Frankenstein’s monster in the classic Universal horror films, Karloff did seem to have some fun with his role. Die, Monster, Die! isn’t one of Karloff’s best movies but it does hold some appeal if you happen to to be a Karloff fan and appreciate gothic horror films as well as creative adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories as much as I do.

I happen to own the 1966 Dell comic book adaptation of Die, Monster, Die! and I thought it would be fun to share some pages of it with my readers as well as other comic book fans. I’m afraid that I don’t know who the original artist is and an extensive online search didn’t provide me with any clues* but I like the artwork and figured other Karloff fans might appreciate it too. I’ve posted a small sample of the comic book below but if you want to see more (and larger) pages from the Die, Monster, Die! comic book you’re going to have to visit Curt Purcell’s always fabulous Groovy Age of Horror blog.

diemonsterdiecover
diemonsterdie00

Make sure you spend some time checking out The Groovy Age of Horror archives where you’ll find lots of examples of groovy art to entertaining and delight even the most discriminating readers. And for more Karloff related posts visit Frankenstenia where Pierre Fournier is collecting links to posts about the actor for The Boris Karloff Blogathon.

* Update: The Karloff Blogathon host Pierre Fournier thinks the name of the uncredited artist behind the Die, Monster, Die! comic might be John Tartaglione. More information is welcome!

Remembering Yasuharu Hasebe (1932-2009)

btk01Akira Kobayashi in Yasuharu Hasebe’s Black Tight Killers (1966)

While I was trying to compile a post for the Japanese Cinema Blogathon currently happening at Wildgrounds I read the sad news that one of my favorite Japanese directors, Yasuharu Hasebe, has died after he contracted pneumonia on June 14th. Hasebe was 77 years old, but he was still an active director and his last project was the police drama The Case Files of Mamoru Yonezawa (Kanshiki: Yonezawa Mamoru no Jikenbo; 2009).

After learning about Yasuharu Hasebe death I immediately decided to put aside my previous plans to write about one of my favorite Japanese actors (Akira Kobayashi) and focus on writing a bit about Hasebe’s work instead. In a sad coincidence, Akira Kobayashi also appeared in some of Hasebe’s best films.

Only a handful of the movies that Yasuharu Hasebe made are currently available on DVD in the US but they showcase the work of an incredibly talented director who injected his action-packed dramas and violent pink films with pertinent social messages and bucket loads of style. Although he’s not as revered as many of his contemporaries, Yasuharu Hasebe was able to masterfully navigate through the Japanese studio system while carving out his own distinct creative path. The director wrote or co-wrote many of his best films, which often touched on similar themes including female oppression and exploitation, as well as race relations and the American occupation of Japan. Yasuharu Hasebe’s films are frequently sited for their orchestrated action and extreme violence but I think that many of them have maintained their power because of the director’s socially conscious scripts and keen sense of mise-en-scène.

Yasuharu Hasebe seemed to enjoy placing his camera in unexpected places and shooting his films in an intimate manner that is often surprisingly innovative. Although I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere else, I firmly believe that the recurring visual motifs and framing techniques seen throughout many of Hasebe films mark his work with an individual flair that is undeniably his own. I wouldn’t hesitate to call Yasuharu Hasebe an “auteur” but I know that I’m in the minority. It’s important to point out (as I’ve often done before) that western film criticism of Japanese cinema is still in its infancy and I suspect that Yasuharu Hasebe’s films will receive much more critical attention and acclaim in the future as more critics and film scholars are exposed to his work.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of my favorite Yasuharu Hasebe films and television productions that are currently available on DVD in the US . . .

Continue reading

Summer Blogathons

The long hot lazy days of summer are upon us and the film blogosphere is turning up the heat with an interesting batch of blogathons. I really like the community spirit behind blogathons and they often encourage some great writing as well as an interesting exchange of ideas. If you enjoy writing about film and have your own blog please consider participating in some of these upcoming events.

The Japanese film blog Wildgrounds is hosting a Japanese Cinema Blogathon June 15-21. This is a wide reaching international event that encourages participation from film bloggers all over the world no matter what their native language happens to be. The idea behind the Japanese Cinema Blogathon is to unite Japanese film fans in an effort to “promote Japanese cinema” and “help readers discover films” that have often been overlooked. This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart and I’m glad that Michael has made an effort to put this blogathon together. For more information please visit the link below:

Japanese Cinema Blogathon June 15-21

Continue reading