Friday, May 27, 2011
So last week I posted all about the weeklong "Vincentennial" event taking place in St. Louis to commemorate what would have been Vincent Price's 100th birthday. Now the actual day of Vincent's birthday (May 27th) has arrived!
Therefore, I'll point you once again to my previous post on the subject - click here to read all my thoughts on Vincent.
Also, since I last posted I discovered another fine blog by a fellow named Jeff York. He did his own wonderful piece on Price a few weeks back, and best of all, provided a lovely hand-drawn caricature of Vincent to boot! Enjoy it all by clicking here.
Now here's director Mick Garris ruminating on the wonders of "The Raven," courtesy of our favorite website here at Scared Silly - Trailers From Hell:
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Greetings Scared Silly fans! I have some exciting news for you. Yesterday we adopted a cute little kitty named Poe! Like our beloved Max who we lost last year (read about him when you click here), Poe is a black male and so far he has the same sweet disposition as Max.
A couple of really cool things: first, when we visited the couple giving the kittens away (Poe had some brothers available, too), I noticed a cartoony Frankenstein Monster nutcracker in the home. And the husband was wearing a Universal Monsters t-shirt! I told them all about Scared Silly and "Archie's Weird Mysteries" and they mentioned being fans of the latter.
Then there's the new kitty's name, Poe. My wife was the one who thought Poe (as in Edgar Allan, naturally) would be a good name (even before we learned the folks adopting him out were classic monster fans), and I quickly concurred. After all, I grew up with Edgar Allen Poe stories.
Furthermore, two of my favorite horror-comedies feature black cats and are loosely (very loosely) based on the Poe tale, "The Black Cat." You can read those reviews when you click on the titles below:
THE BLACK CAT (1941)
TALES OF TERROR (THE BLACK CAT SEQUENCE) (1962)
So here’s to Scared Silly’s new mas-cat – long may you mew!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Something rather marvelously wonderful is taking place this week in St Louis, Missouri. That’s because the city famed for its arch is also famous for producing one of Hollywood’s great arch-villains!
I’m speaking of course of the inimitable Vincent Price, who would have turned 100 on May 27th. To celebrate, St. Louis is throwing a grand birthday party starting on May 19th and going all the way through May 28th! They’re calling it the “Vincentennial” (the “Pricentennial” sounds good as well, but maybe they passed on that one because it rhymes with “Bicentennial” – perhaps for Vinnie’s 200th birthday?). Many special events are planned including screenings of some of Vincent’s most famous horror films, guest speakers like Roger Corman (the man who directed Price in several of the classic Edgar Allan Poe movie “adaptations”) and Price’s daughter Victoria (author of a biography on her father), and special exhibits of Vincent Price memorabilia.
One of the city’s premier newspapers, The St. Louis Beacon has several excellent articles about both the event and the man who inspired it. I’m sure many of my readers know how much of a renaissance man Price was – in addition to being a legendary actor he was also a gourmet chef, an extremely vocal advocate for art (he brought fine art into the mainstream with a special collection sold through Sears department stores), and even an author (“The Book of Joe” was his tribute to his dearly departed dog).
Whether you knew any of the above or not, you can read the wonderful features from the Beacon when you click here.
If you want an extra bang for your virtual buck, click here to check out Pete Timmermann’s piece from Playback:stl. Timmermann concentrates primarily on Corman and the Poe cycle, providing additional background on these fine Vincent Price films.
And how do I feel about Price? Well, if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know “Uncle Vinnie” has long been a favorite of mine. If you’d like to read some of my previous posts about Hollywood’s Crown Prince of Horror, just click on any of the titles below:
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
THE COMEDY OF TERRORS
TALES OF TERROR (“THE BLACK CAT” SEQUENCE)
WELCOME TO HALLOWEEN SHRIEKEND!
FRIDAYS WITH FRIGHTENSTEIN
You can learn all about my favorite Vincent Price horror flicks (and horror-comedies) at the above links, but while I’m here I’ll also recommend two of his out-and-out comedies, the brilliant “Champagne for Caesar” co-starring Ronald Coleman (Coleman, the smartest man in town becomes a contestant on a game show sponsored by Price’s company… and Price is none too happy shelling out the winnings to Coleman in a tour de force performance) and “Dr. Goldfoot & the Bikini Machine,” a James Bond spoof whose infectious silliness makes up for the areas in which it is lacking (note that Mike Myers must have seen this one – the Austin Powers “Fembots” are surely inspired by this film).
I’d also like to recommend a film that is beyond categorization – it’s one third film noir, one third romance and one third screwball comedy – and that’s where Vinnie comes in, as the hammiest actor who ever took the stage in “His Kind of Woman,” with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell… yet another tour de force for Price!
Last but not least, I encourage you to check out the various Vincent goodies for sale from Amazon at the bottom of this post, including the Midnight Marquee Actor Series book on Price to which I contributed an essay.
Let’s go out on a high note… courtesy of Vincent’s co-star in this clip, Kermit the Frog from “The Muppet Show!” Here’s to you, Vincent!
Friday, May 6, 2011
This Saturday (May 7th, 2011), the tenth annual Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) event will be held in comic shops across the country. In the past nine years, scores of free comic books were given away by participating retailers to not only thank comic book aficionados, but to introduce the wonderful world of comics to new readers and fans as well! You can learn more about the event at the official FCBD site by clicking here.
Among the comics being given out this year are few that should appeal to “Scared Silly” fans. “John Stanley Summer Fun” from Drawn & Quarterly is a compilation of all-ages comic stories from one of the all-time masters of the genre, John Stanley (not to be confused with the horror movie historian-author and TV host of the same name). Included in this free edition is a story featuring Melvin Monster.
This year Melvin is joined by a couple of newer characters that seem mighty intriguing. With apologies to Godzilla, Super Dinosaur may just be the most stupendous dino that ever lived… and he just so happens to have lived through the ice age and made it to modern times! With awesome powers and even more awesome tripped-out armor, Super Dinosaur more than lives up to his name!
Kiddie cryptozoologists are going to have a field day with "The Intrepid Escape Goat!" Just check out this description from the Free Comic Book Day site: "It is the dawn of the 20th Century, and one brave soul dares to walk the line between the worlds of science and the arcane; he is Thomas Fleet... The Intrepid EscapeGoat! Touring with his ward and assistant Isis (a 2,000-year-old mummy girl), EscapeGoat performs to sold-out crowds around the globe... but it's what happens offstage, when locals call upon him to solve the paranormal mysteries plaguing their cities, that provides the most peril!"
Thomas Fleet sounds like he’d be right at home hanging out with Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and their pals as they encounter “Archie’s Weird Mysteries.” That’s the comic series I wrote, and while it’s not a part of Free Comic Book Day, if you’re going to the comic shop anyway, I politely request that you consider asking them to pre-order a copy of the upcoming book collecting my stories, “ARCHIE ALL-STARS”: ARCHIE’S WEIRD MYSTERIES.” I’ve written about it a few times recently – just click here to get all the details.
In addition to Melvin Monster, Super Dinosaur and The Intrepid Scapegoat there will be several other great FCBD offerings featuring the likes of Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, The Tick, The Simpsons, Inspector Gadget, Kung Fu Panda, Betty & Veronica, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Sonic the Hedgehog and many more. And this post wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to my pal Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics of Concorde, CA – Joe was the guy who came up with FCBD in the first place! He’s one of the sharpest comics retailers out there, a champion for great comics and literacy and a heck of a nice guy.
I’ll leave you with this promotional clip that Merlyn’s Comic Shop of Washington put together – it’s their spoof of a famous modern-era horror-comedy, called “The Spokane Ghostbusters” – enjoy!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Legendary actor-director-producer Jackie Cooper has passed away at the age of 88. I won't go into deep details on his career as I couldn't possibly cover it as eloquently as others who knew the man may end up doing. I for one am looking forward to seeing any articles that may be forthcoming from Leonard Maltin and/or Richard W. Bann, authors of the essential "Our Gang: the Life & Times of the Little Rascals."
Some Cooper highlights include at least three iconic roles: Jack/Jackie in the "Our Gang" theatrical short subjects from Hal Roach Studios (better known to generations who saw the films on TV as "The Little Rascals"), beleaguered boxer Wallace Beery's son in "The Champ," and Daily Planet newspaper editor (and boss to Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen) in the "Superman" movies from the 1970s and '80s.
Shortly after he left the Our Gang series Cooper was nominated for Best Actor for the title role in 1931's "Skippy" (at the age of 9!). On top of that he had the title role (and was nominated for two Emmy awards) portraying TV's "Hennesey" (a navy lieutenant doctor - Cooper also produced the show) and directed two Emmy-winning TV episodes - one each of "M*A*S*H*" and "The White Shadow."
Of course, here at "Scared Silly" we're most interested in his work as an Our Gang/Little Rascals kid. He is perhaps most famous for being smitten with teacher Miss Crabtree (the lovely June Marlowe) in a pair of shorts, "Teacher's Pet" and "School's Out." To really get on-topic here, I have to mention "Bouncing Babies," which takes place on Halloween Day and features the Gang in spooky costumes ("The Haunted Closet" blog features several great screen grabs from it) and "Moan & Groan, Inc." a bona-fide old dark house entry for the kids. "When the Wind Blows" gets an "horror-onable mention" for its brief scare moments as well.
Here's a clip of Jackie and the gang coming face-to-face with a gorilla from the public domain short, "Bear Shooters" (mislabeled as "Bear Hunters" by whoever posted this YouTube clip, but that happens sometimes). Jackie's the kid sliding the bear trap across the ground starting at approximately 2:20. Thanks for all the memories, Jackie!