Sunday, February 14, 2021

LOVE MEANS... 2021 EDITION!!!

HEY THERE ALL YOU LOVERS... HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS SPECIAL ENCORE PRESENTATION OF MY VALENTINE'S DAY POST FROM 2010:


One of my all time favorite films is the Vincent Price classic The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I won’t be reviewing it for the “Scared Silly” project because it really isn’t a horror-comedy – it’s more of a horror film with some comedic aspects - dark, black comedy (juxtaposed against some wonderfully colorful art direction). And even if it was a full-fledged horror-comedy it was made in 1971, a full five years after my cut-off date of 1966 (which I’ve designated as the year of the last traditional horror-comedy, Don Knotts’ The Ghost & Mr. Chicken). “Phibes” really is a one-of-a-kind not to be missed film, however – check out its trailer:



The reason I’m talking about Dr. Phibes on Valentine’s Day is because the Phibes movie poster based its wonderful “Love means never having to say you’re ugly” tagline on the tagline of one of the biggest hits of the prior year, Love Story starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw.


That melodramatic weeper’s tagline “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” became a mantra for many men who were sorry they had to sit through the whole treacly affair, but too afraid to admit as much to their wives and girlfriends! Years later, a shopping mall offered free La-Z Boy recliners to any man who could actually sit through the whole Love Story - multiple times in a row - without falling asleep or bailing out completely... or BALLING OUT completely... as detailed in this news report:



I’ve always found it hard to warm up to love stories about dullard and/or self-centered humans – and there seem to be so many. When love stories show up in comedies, action or horror films, they just seem more real to me (even if the trappings are pure fantasy) because the mettle required to truly sacrifice yourself for your loved one just seems more sincere when you have to face a horrible monster, dangerous villain or even a guy in a bad gorilla suit to do so.


Here’s one of the all-time great examples of unrequited love. It comes from a sublime classic among horror films, The Bride of Frankenstein. Again, this isn’t a horror-comedy, but it is a horror film with ample doses of comedy thrown in (along with fantasy, sci-fi, romance, tragedy and all sorts of underlying meanings and themes). And it is required viewing.



There’s an offshoot of the “horror-comedy” film genre that I like to call the “supernatural romantic comedy.” These are films involving one or more partners in a love story who are either ghosts, witches or some sort of supernatural creature. They aren’t always “horror-comedies” because they tend to be on the light breezy side without any of the requisite creepy trappings although sometimes they do have scenes where those supernatural powers are being used to frighten an antagonist deserving of comeuppance. Some examples of films in the “supernatural romantic comedy” genre include I Married a Witch, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Bell, Book & Candle and the Topper movie series.



One of the all-time best “supernatural romantic comedies” also happens to be one of the best Abbott & Costello movies ever made as well. It’s a movie a lot of people remember - just check out the message boards at www.abbottandcostello.net – at least once a month a visitor stops by to ask “what was that film where Costello was a ghost trapped in a wishing well?” Gordon Lightfoot even referenced it in a song – at least I think he did, as he sings “just like an old time movie ‘bout a ghost from a wishing well,” and I still haven’t found another film that fits that description (believe me, I’ve tried).



So to all my “Scared Silly” readers, here’s wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day. And if you want to watch a good supernatural love story, skip “Ghost” this year and watch Abbott & Costello’s The Time of Their Lives instead. Lou Costello actually makes a believable and quite likable romantic hero, and both he and partner Bud Abbott deliver some top-notch dramatic performances (and of course comedic bits as well). My experience has been that it’s the one Abbott & Costello film that people who don’t usually like Abbott & Costello actually enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Go enjoy it already!



(P.S.: It's a good one for President's Day, too)!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEKEND, WATCH SOME CLASSIC UNIVERSAL MONSTER FILMS FOR FREE... INCLUDING ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN!!!

Now here's something this early new year for all classic monster fans to get excited about: this weekend, Universal Studios is going to run some of their most legendary and popular horror films in their entirety on their "Fear: the Home of Horror" YouTube channel. And the fun will last the whole week through! 

Prior to this weekend, Universal has run trailers, clips, and other short videos about their classic horror films, but this is different: these are the films from beginning to end, in their entirety! 

There are some amazing movies scheduled, and of course, I encourage any Scared Silly fan to be sure to partake of these essential entries, for if it wasn't for their effectiveness and popularity, the horror-comedy films spoofing such terrors wouldn't be as enduring. 

Some personal favorites of mine are a pair directed by James Whale: The Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man

The former is just a total work of art on multiple levels, mixing horror, comedy, social commentary, fantasy and more. Many have dug deep into its contextual layers, and I recommend anyone read up on what makes the film so unprecedented in its time... but of course, I recommend you watch it, first! 

As for The Invisible Man, well, it's just wow... the juxtaposition of its humor against the homicidal madness of its protagonist is jarring to the max. 

The centerpiece for Scared Silly fans, of course, will be Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. You can read my in-depth review of the king of all horror-comedies by clicking on the title... and if you're anything like me, I'm sure you won't mind watching it for the umpteenth time when it appears on YouTube! 

The way this will all work is that Universal's YouTube Fear channel will premiere specific films Friday, Saturday and Sunday... and thereafter, the films will be up on the site to view again throughout the following week! 

The times for each of the days are: 

Eastern Time – 3pm 
Pacific Time – 12 noon 
Central Time – 2pm 
Mountain Time – 1pm 
Argentina Time – 4pm 
UK/England – 8pm 
Europe/Scandinavia et al – 9pm (21:00) 
Eastern Australia – 3am (the day following each date below)
Western Australia – 6am (the day following each date below)
Japan (Tokyo) – 4am (the day following each date below)

Here is the schedule: 

January 15, 2021 Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932) 

January 16, 2021 Frankenstein (1931), Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) 

January 17, 2021 The Invisible Man (1933), The Wolf Man (1941), Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) 

Click here to access the YouTube channel where these films will be available. You'll have a monstrously good time!!! 

Until this weekend, enjoy this featurette from Universal's YouTube page about Abbott & Costello's multiple meetings with monsters!!!

 

Friday, January 1, 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2021 EDITION!


Welcome to 2020... in the real world! Here in our world of reminiscing of decades past, welcome to 1950!:



No matter how much time marches forward, let's always remember to keep the very best of the past alive... especially when it comes to classic horror-comedy films!

HERE'S WISHING YOU EVERY BLESSING FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

NEW YEAR'S EVE IN A HAUNTED HOUSE - 2020 INTO 2021 EDITION!!!


Hmmmm…. Father Time is kinda’ scary, isn’t he?

Speaking of time, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for making the past few years so much fun for me. Thank you to all those who have tweeted about my blog, chosen to “follow” the blog, have left comments on posts and told others about the project. I am especially grateful to all the blogs and websites who have publicized this wacky endeavor over the years. And most of all, there's no blog without you readers out there so thank you to ALL SCARED SILLY FANS!

It goes without saying that 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years of all-time for the majority of us, myself included. I won't belabour my own hurts and losses here - we have all been affected in some way. I'll just say to have friends and family to help you through such times as these is a blessing indeed... and in all cases, we all should just be loving each other. If enough of us go forth each day with love in our hearts, I am confident the year 2021 will end on a positive upswing, moving away from what we've endured in 2020. So... love.

As always, it wouldn't be New Year's Eve here without Vagabond Opera performing “New Year’s Eve in a Haunted House,” composed by avant garde jazz legend Raymond Scott, the man behind many of the melodies heard in Looney Tunes cartoons - enjoy everyone in your life and all you blessings as you enjoy your New Year's Eve!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

SOME DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FROM ME TO YOU - 2020 EDITION!!!



















Hope your holidays were grand, friends! Here's a few additional goodies to keep you in the festive spirit!

(NOTE: Many of the feature films, shorts and animated cartoons discussed on this site, being from an earlier time, may contain elements considered insensitive and politically incorrect to us today. Any such controversial themes do not represent the thoughts and opinions of Paul Castiglia and the films discussed and presented here are done so purely for their inherent entertainment and historical value, apart from any such themes).

ENJOY!















Thursday, December 24, 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE 2020 FROM VINCENT PRICE!!!


Here's a curio: a rendtition of A Christmas Carol featuring as narrator one of our Scared Silly favorites, the Prince of Horror (often with tongue placed firmly-in-cheek), Mr. Vincent Price himself!

Believed to be the earliest television version of A Christmas Carol, it was produced as an advertising vehicle for Magnavox and aired on 22 stations across the nation on Christmas Day, 1949.

Dickens' venerable tale endures, much like the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special, due to its underlying themes befitting from whom Christmas' name derives. In this case, we have repentence, redemption and re-birth at the core, all told to us in those dulcet tones that only Mr. Price could so eloquently deliver.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

THE HORROR OF... SANTA CLAUS!!! 2020 EDITION

















NOTE: This is an encore of a piece originally posted in 2011, with an added thought from 2019 regarding the song, "Here Comes Santa Claus"

What has to be one of the most surreal and (unintentionally) scariest children’s films ever made is director RenĂ© Cardona’s 1959 Santa Claus. Enterprising exploitation producer/distributor/showman K. Gordon Murray snapped this one up, dubbed it (poorly) into English and unleashed it upon an unsuspecting American public year after year after year.

I say “unsuspecting” because no one in America could have suspected the Santa legend was so different in Mexico. Or maybe it was just different for the writers and directors behind this cinematic oddity. I’ve read many articles about the film and I’m still not sure what the answer is. All I can say is that the differences are not subtle.

Some examples: In this version, Santa doesn’t live in the North Pole – he lives in a castle in the clouds! He doesn’t have real reindeer – they are mechanical! He doesn’t come down chimneys – he enters homes with a magic key. All this, plus he fights an emissary of the devil (no, the photo at the top of this post isn't photoshopped)!

It gets weirder… and scarier… from there. Santa watches over (or more accurately, spies) on the children of the world via a telescope whose unnervingly snaking appendage has a blinking eyeball for a lens! Santa’s right-hand man is Merlin (yes, the sorcerer from Camelot legends) and somehow Santa has gotten children from all over the world to perform for him in a lengthy and very politically incorrect sequence where he watches choirs from many lands sing to him. Oh, and speaking of children, Santa doesn’t have elves. He has children make the toys for him!















As if Merlin’s involvement wasn’t non sequitur enough, the film also shoehorns a distorted Christian sensibility into its core, as Santa basically works on Jesus’ behalf. Which of course makes Satan mad to no end and inspires the dark one to send his hench-demon Pitch into battle against Santa in both direct and indirect ways (in the form of recruiting bad little kids to bedevil the good ones who have Santa’s favor).

NEW THOUGHT I HAD IN 2019: Could this movie have possibly been inspired by the 1947 song, "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman? I've always felt it had the same bizarre mix of secular and Christian Christmas concepts - "let's give thanks to the Lord above 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight!" I wonder what Esquivel would say about that?...



So it’s not technically a horror film… but it is quite scary. And it’s not a comedy... but it’s so bizarre and absurd that it can’t help but make you laugh in spots (even if that laughter is uneasy at times). For me as a Christian believer, there is an extra layer of weirdness in its cockamamie misrepresentation of the faith that is both scary and funny simultaneously (not funny “ha-ha” but funny as in, “I can’t believe what I’m watching!")...

...but enough of me talking about this film. It really has to be seen to be believed. That plus others have already done in-depth and entertaining examinations of the film which you can read when you click on the links below:

B-Movie Review of Santa Claus

Monster Shack review of Santa Claus

...and best of all, an official blog has been launched containing various articles and reviews of the film – not to mention your chance to vote on such pressing questions as “Which country featured in Santa’s Heavenly Workshop suffered the most ethnic stereotypes?” and “What is the creepiest gadget in Santa’s ‘secret’ lab?” Just click below to visit this new blog appropriately named...

Santa Claus Conquers the Devil: 50 Years of K. Gordon Murray’s Santa Claus

As we wind down the year here’s wishing everyone the safest, happiest and most blessed of holidays.

Now, here’s the trailer for Santa Claus – watch if you dare!