Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!




Please have a safe and happy Halloween! Don't eat too much candy and don't scare anyone too badly. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Casting the Runes radio show



For your Halloween listening pleasure here is an excellent episode of the CBS Mystery Theater! This is yet another version of M.R. James' brilliant story 'Casting the Runes' and the second radio adaptation of this story that I've posted here. For a listen to the earlier show try this LINK

And for this slightly altered version of the tale entitled 'This Will Kill You' you can download the MP3 HERE or listen through the player below. Both shows are good and I recommend them for an entertaining and creepy night of audio fun. 

Halloween Fun





Sunday, October 28, 2012

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967)


For the past decade I’ve harbored a strong dislike for the film FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967). I love most Hammer films and rate their Frankenstein series as far superior to their Dracula run but with repeated viewings of the entire set of six (or seven if you’re charitable) I kept finding myself irritated by FCW. Most horror fans disparage the true oddball of Hammer’s ‘Adventures of Baron Frankenstein’ films THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) and there are many reasons to single it out- it’s the only one not directed by the great Terrance Fisher; its story doesn’t fit in with the previous film’s continuity; the hypnotism element is silly; the monster is a box-headed freak, etc. But I’ve always liked EVIL for many of those same reasons. I think it’s wonderful to have an alternative tale of a slightly different Baron played by the superb Peter Cushing while he was in his prime. His performance in EVIL is a little sunnier, maybe even more relaxed, which makes his bursts of vengeful anger at the townspeople that destroyed his earlier experiments much more effective. EVIL doesn’t fit the films before or after it but I’ve always cherished it, warts and all, for the quirkiness of its tale and the way it’s told.

But FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN began to bother me from the first viewing. Why was the Baron suddenly trying to mess around with ‘souls’? What is this crap!? The Baron I knew would have laughed at the very idea of such a thing. He was a man of reason and science, dammit! Souls were silly fictions made up to scare the ignorant masses into being nice, obedient slaves. Frankenstein dealt in reality! He dealt in the grimy, bloody viscera of the human animal and knew what made it function. This is the man who constructed a body from corpses and zapped life into it! Souls? Show me one! Where is it? The fact that this story posits that he would care about a soul much less attempt to construct a way of capturing one just struck me as ridiculous.

Then I rewatched the movie last week. The fine podcast 1951 Down Place wasthe push I needed. When the show’s hosts decided to cover FCW for its October show I cringed. I like to be able to add comments for them when I can and since I hadn’t seen the film for years I felt it was time to revisit the Baron’s soul experiments. I did not look forward to it.

Imagine my surprise when, this time, the film worked for me. The process by which the Baron might come to shift his experimental focus from only surgery to this line of inquiry became clear. After multiple failures, that he often could not account for, his ever quick mind seems to have moved to new areas. Since he had clearly perfected the physical aspect of the process (after a fashion) it would be only natural to look into a better way of moving the human mind from one person’s corpse to a fresh creation. The question of how to insure a stable ‘creature’ is then solved- fix the damaged body then insert the consciousness of another person into the repaired body. No more screwing around with brains and transplants – he can just swap the mental essence of a person from one place to another. Genius! Of course, the bizarre machinery he builds that can capture the ‘soul’ is completely crazy in both concept and in the way it’s depicted. With its floating ball of energy held in a colorfully lit room it comes off as absurd even in context of a Frankenstein film but that’s a secondary concern here that the film wisely moves past as soon as possible.


So then once my dislike of this core element of the story dropped away I was able see how good FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN really is overall. It has the same wonderful Gothic production values I love in Hammer movies, great performances (Thorley Walters is fantastic), extremely nasty villains, a sympathetic pair of leads/lovers and a great logical progression for the story as it winds to its tragic conclusion. I have to say I now consider this to be my third favorite Hammer Frankenstein movie behind REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED. That is quite a leap. I can hardly believe how radically my view of FCW has shifted- it’s a full 180 degree switch. This surprising reevaluation makes me excited to revisit other movies from the studio to see what happens. Maybe SCARS OF DRACULA will turn out to be a work of brilliance that I’ve been snubbing? No- I doubt that!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cross-Section of an Alien!

Because its better to know where the vulnerable parts actually might be - if there are any! 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NaschyCast #32 - THE NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1981)



With much joy and some sadness we finally talk at length about THE NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF. We have been holding off discussing this one for many reasons- its the last of Naschy's werewolf films for us to cover; it's a standout entry in the series; its the only Waldemar Daninsky film available on Blu-Ray; etc. The good news is that it is such a solid effort that repeated viewings only make it more impressive. Many key players return, both in front of and behind the camera making this a fun time for longtime fans but the lycanthropic action is plentiful enough to also make it a good bet for neophytes. This is a big, bold, colorful, violent and atmospheric slice of Gothic Horror and it is a worthy addition to not just Spanish Horror cinema but to the genre as a whole. With Naschy writing the script, directing the film and starring in the title role how could it be anything else but an earnest splash of monster fun?

Naschy really lets his film-fan side show in this one with many nods to older classic horror moments from THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THE MASK OF SATAN (a.k.a. BLACK SUNDAY) and several others. We hope you'll enjoy our conversation on this wonderful film. As we had little feedback in the mailbag we conclude the show with a brief look at the amazing MUCHAS GRACIAS SENOR LOBO book that showcases an extensive collection of Naschy movie memorabilia. Please let us know what you think by dropping us a note at naschycast@gmail.com or joining us over at the NaschyCast Facebook page. Oh- and Happy Halloween! 




Monday, October 22, 2012

Jack O'Lanterns for the Season







Because no October is complete without the sight of a carved pumpkin keeping the evil spirits away. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Neil Volks artwork!



The top piece is from Volks's work for his brilliant ongoing series Flesh and Blood (as I wait for issue 3!) and the bottom one was done by request. Yes- that is Stella Star from STARCRASH with a Light Sabre facing off against Christopher Lee as his STAR WARS character. Will the joys of his monster mind never cease? I have no idea (or have forgotten) who in fiction the vampire character or the attacking lady in the upper left corner actually are. Can anyone identify them? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Daniel Horne Monster Art



I am always stunned by the fine artwork of Mr. Horne and love seeing his stuff turn up on the covers of magazines. I'd love to be able to pay him to craft a Monster mash-up of my own choosing. 




Sunday, October 14, 2012

What I Read in September



THE PRISONER by Thomas M. Disch (excellent sequel to the classic TV series)
Festival at Wolfnacht by Stephen Sullivan
KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE by Charles Runyon
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN by J. Carson Black

I was thrilled to finally get around to reading the 'official' sequel novel to the classic British TV show The Prisoner. I've been a fan of the show for decades and I consider Thomas Disch to have been a fantastic writer so I'm surprised at myself for putting this off for so long. The book is a very good continuation of the series postulating that the events of the last episode were not quite as final as we might believe. Number 6 has been returned to the Village and is being more cleverly groomed to be the new Number 2. I found the structure of the tale to be perfect, the tone spot on and the dialog sharp and very much in keeping with the show's sparkling template for arch exchanges between intelligent antagonists. I can unreservedly recommend this to fans of the brilliant original 17 episode show.

Stephen Sullivan's excellent short story set in one of his large fantasy universes was very good with only one problem- I wanted more! Some of the characters are so interesting that I wanted to spend more time with them before the amazing, violent action cranked up. What was great for me was that I couldn't help seeing this as a great Hammer film that never got made- and that is a very good thin to be able to say. If you've never read any of Sullivan's work this is a good place to start.

KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE was a book I thought was going to be a type of spy tale -don't ask why- but turned out to be a very literate murder mystery. I really enjoyed it and was happy with its complex characters and their difficult choices.


DARKNESS OF THE EDGE OF TOWN is a pretty straightforward police procedural about the tracking of a serial murderer of children. This crime case intersects with another from the lead investigator's past and her own childhood. It is a well done thriller but not in the upper tier of things I've read recently. I'd be willing to read more from the author.  



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Giant Sized Chillers





The joys of Marvel's old Horror Comics are many and varied. Its always fun to read a few of them in the chill of October. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NaschyCast #31.5 - Beyond Naschy- LORNA, THE EXORCIST (1974)


For the first time in many moons we bring you a .5 episode. We have always used these non-Naschy shows to highlight Spanish horror films of note and often there is a connection to the films of Paul Naschy. In this case there isn’t a direct association but we decided to cover LORNA THE EXORCIST for different reasons - not because of its Spanish born director Jess Franco but because of its lovely star- Lina Romay. When Miss Romay passed away earlier this year Troy and I were stunned, as were most of her fans. We had no idea she was in ill health and her most recent public appearances with longtime companion Franco had shown us the typical smiling, supportive lady we’ve come to know and love. As fans of her beauty and her screen talent we felt we had to do something to mark her passing and with this film we feel we’ve found a very good piece of work to discuss. Little seen for decades LORNA sports a brave, nuanced performance from Lina and, barring a sub-plot we found questionable, it is an excellent example of Franco’s 1970s Franco low-budget transgressive esthetic. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to sing her praises and we hope everyone will get some enjoyment out of our conversation.

We had a lot of fun talking about the film's Faustian plot, interesting sea imagery, strange locations and copious nudity. Did I mention the nudity? Oh- and I manage to create a new descriptive phrase I expect will  sweep the nation in the coming weeks- 'Obliquely Clear!' Start using it now and avoid the rush.  I think we covered most aspects of the movie pretty well but if you have something to add (and we hope you do!) please write us at naschycast@gmail.com and let us know how you would rate this intriguing effort. The mailbag section is petty amazing this time out with me going off on a rant about the Universal Horror Blu-Rays and - in a real surprise- Troy rants about Gamera DVDs.  Will wonders never cease? You can find us over on the NaschyCast Facebook page or at the email address above. The show can be downloaded from the link below, found in the iTunes Store or streamed through Stitcher Radio.




Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Disney Halloween



I always enjoy a little Disney Halloween flavor with my October creepiness. The idea of those classic characters as monsters just seems like a lot of fun. I'd love to see a full length Halloween cartoon produced these days with Mickey and crew having a Halloween party in a house that turns out to be haunted.