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Sunday Viewing:: Ghost Story’s House of Evil and Doorway to Death

November 23rd, 2014 · 4 Comments

Ever since our pal Crabbymoon identified a recent NTT as an episode of GHOST STORY aka CIRCLE OF FEAR, I’ve been on a binge-mission. I had started the series on YouTube years ago but it disappeared as soon as the universe discovered I was enjoying it. Thank Goodness Crabbymoon rekindled my interest because a recent Google dig unearthed the series in its entirety, looking far sharper than it had before. (You can view the entire series HERE and I’d suggest doing it pronto because something tells me this ship is sailing soon.) Not every episode is a goldmine but there are more than a few standouts and even the lesser offerings are laced with super potent LSD (Lurid Seventies Décor). I haven’t watched them all yet but allow me to spotlight two segments, both directed by DARYL DUKE (THE SILENT PARTNER).

HOUSE OF EVIL is a must see. Written by ROBERT BLOCK, it stars a young JODIE FOSTER as Judy, a deaf-mute girl who discovers she can communicate telepathically with her grandfather who happens to be played by MELVYN DOUGLAS. It’s a sweet set up until you learn that grandpa dabbles in black magic and his inheritance is hate. DOUGLAS and FOSTER are not surprisingly both phenomenal. There’s a scene involving grudge-gramp instructing unsuspecting Judy on how to make voodoo dolls out of raisin cookies, tooth-picks and swatches of stolen clothing and there’s something truly mesmerizing about its patience and the weaving of Douglas’ voiceover with dreamily random piano cords. It doesn’t hurt that this supernatural tale takes place in a slightly remodeled version of the BEWITCHED house.

DOORWAY TO DEATH is a later episode written by HAMMER regular JIMMY SANGSTER during the shows retitled CIRCLE OF FEAR second season. This is the first episode I ever saw and it remains hard to beat in my book. SUSAN DEY, LEIF GARRETT and DAWN LYN (Dodie!) are siblings who have just moved into an apartment building in San Francisco. This is a rather unusual ghost story as the younger kids explore the third floor they encounter a room that leads to another dimension where a seemingly nice man spends an inordinate amount of time chopping wood in the snow. It turns out his axe has chopped more than just logs and the silent apparition has his eye on DEY as a replacement for the wife he killed. As with HOUSE OF EVIL, director Duke brings a lyrical dreamy quality to the story while never letting up on the suspense. So far these two kindertraumatic episodes are my favorites but I’m keeping my mind open as other installments include the likes of JANET LEIGH, KIM DARBY and PATTY DUKE. Back to YouTube for me.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974)

November 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Not watching THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK is basically like telling your eyeballs you hate them. Why would you do that? Read my full gush HERE and pleasure your poor peepers below.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: The Brady Bunch’s Fright Night

October 26th, 2014 · 1 Comment

#Bradygate. The boys trick the girls into thinking a threatening force haunts the yard. The girls convince the boys that a rebellious spirit is breaking free from a trunk. Harmony can only be restored once toiler Alice has obliterated an effigy of her oppressor’s head. Don’t lament the destruction of Carol’s lone artistic achievement, having won third prize rather than first it is valued as less than garbage. This is the way we all became the Brady Bunch.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Galactica 1980’s The Night the Cylons Landed

October 19th, 2014 · 1 Comment

I think we can all agree that if Cylons landed on Earth on Halloween night it would be particularly devastating, as folks would naturally assume that they were costumed revelers rather than robots committed to the final annihilation of the life form known as man. If this concept chills you to the bone fear not, the entertaining yet borderline atrocious two part episode of GALACTICA 1980 entitled “The Night the Cylons Landed” is here to assure you that there’s nothing a clown, a microwave oven, a few verses of “The Goodship Lollipop” and Wolfman Jack can’t fix. As the Cylons take Manhattan, keep your eyes peeled for PETER MARK RICHMAN as crabby Colonel Briggs who’d go on to portray crabby chaperone Charles McCulloch in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 8.

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YouTube Alert :: Square Pegs’ Halloween XII

October 12th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Way back in 1982, right smack in the heart of the slasher craze, the TV show SQUARE PEGS did a Halloween episode inspired by the then current furor entitled HALLOWEEN XII. It would behoove you to watch this classic episode below and then go ahead and order the entire series HERE.

square pegs muffy tepperman halloween

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · YouTube Alert!

YouTube Alert:: The Trouble with Miss Switch (1980)

October 5th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Halloween is coming up swiftly so stop messing around and get in the mood by diving into the best ABC WEEKEND SPECIAL ever known, THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH (1980). Featuring some of the greatest voice talents of all time (JANET WALDO, JUNE FORAY, NANCY McKEON), and showcasing the most impressive animation this side of THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN, discriminating viewers should have no trouble being enthralled out of their gourds by THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH.

Come for the talking cat, stay for the terrifying “comput-o-witch”! When it’s over, you’re sure to feel your life is over too but fear not, the characters you have fallen in love with return in the outstanding equal-sequal, MISS SWITCH TO THE RESCUE (1982).

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · YouTube Alert!

Sunday Viewing:: Thriller’s Parasite Mansion (1961)

July 20th, 2014 · 13 Comments

I can’t believe I’ve never seen a single episode of the BORIS KARLOFF-hosted anthology series THRILLER before. I have several excuses as to why not but they make me sound stupid, so I’d rather not share them. Thankfully the fates stepped in and forced the issue. I was watching something on YouTube the other day when an episode of THRILLER popped up as a suggested next watch on the side. All I saw was a title card which read “Parasite Mansion” and I was sold. I can’t resist a title like that, it sounds like the name of my new favorite band. Well, I must have watched the best episode first because I find it hard to believe there’s another one better than “Parasite Mansion.” It’s all downhill from here. It’s like a swampy pitstop between THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) and THE HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (1932) and it features SPIDER BABY‘s (1967) BEVERLY WASHBURN as a tortured waif plagued by a poltergeist who is holed up in a decrepit room clinging to a rag doll and scribbling gibberish on the walls. The word “jackpot” comes to mind.

Like all great stories, this one begins with car trouble, the kind of trouble that occurs when someone blows out your tires with a shotgun while you’re driving through the woods on a dark, rainy night. PIPA SCOTT plays Marcia, a thoughtful woman with (Ginny Field-style) psychology on her side who wakes up in a cob web strewn, Southern gothic mansion and is kept against her will by a family of lunatics all bent on keeping a supernatural secret. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin anything but I must add that JEANETTE NOLAN as bonkers ringleader Granny Harrod is through the roof, over the moon, one for the books, phenomenal. I found her so mesmerizingly hideous that my pupils turned to hearts. I love a good hag and Granny Harrod is like the haggiest hag who ever hagged. It’s so sad she can’t be in every episode of THRILLER.

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Sunday Viewing:: The Babysitter (1980)

July 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Is there any possible chance that there are people alive on this planet who have never seen THE BABYSITTER (1980)? I would rather that not be the case. THE BABYSITTER has everything! It has WILLIAM SHATNER, PATTY DUKE, STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST, JOHN (fresh off THE FOG) HOUSEMAN and QUINN CUMMINGS! The only thing it doesn’t have is an actual babysitter on account of the lunatic in this is really more of live-in nanny but who cares about that? Can you believe this slice of excellence was directed by PETER (ROMEO IS BLEEDING) MEDAK the very same year he directed the super-classic THE CHANGELING? It’s true because that is what my nice computer just told me. Read our dusty old review back HERE and save your day from becoming meaningless by watching the spectacular full movie below….

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Unk’s Youtube Ghost Hunt

June 29th, 2014 · No Comments

We were the recipients of a thunder and lightening storm the other night. Naturally I turned off all the lights in order to obtain the maximum effect. Don’t you love it when you can’t see a thing until the lightening illuminates the room, and you half expect to see JOHN CARADINE with SENTINEL–eyes staring at you but you don’t? Well, I wasn’t about to let this fortuitous spooky backdrop go to waste, I needed to watch a ghost movie and quickly. I had no time to go rummaging through my collection of films because I knew very well that would lead to much side stepping, second guessing and ultimately alien abduction level lost time. So I hit the youtubes in search of uncharted paths. I went on a YouTube ghost hunt…

First stop, HASTA EL VIENTO TIENE MIEDO (1968) aka EVEN THE WIND IS AFRAID. Now that’s a title, ain’t it? The contents of this movie are so scary the breezes’ kneezes are bucklin’! This Mexican import was written and directed by the great CARLOS ENRIQUE TABOADA who is guilty of gifting many a gem including 1984’s POISON FOR THE FAIRIES, which we spotlighted on these pages earlier. This one concerns a haunted boarding school and so we’re pals right out of the gate, as it never hurts to remind me of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED or THE FACTS OF LIFE.

A student named Claudia is having creepy dreams about a tower on the school grounds and a young lady hanging on a robe therein. When she and her friends investigate the tower, which is strictly forbidden, they are caught by their oppressive headmistress and punished. The girls are told their upcoming vacation is canceled and they are to spend the winter holiday at the school. This is bad news for the girls and good news for any ghost who appreciates a captive audience. It turns out the headmistress knows more than she’s telling and that the ghost is more interested in revenge than simply spooking bystanders. If you like inappropriate dance numbers, catfights, suicide, possession, random owl sightings and plenty of wind, look no further. This is a perfect rainy night movie with plenty of old fashioned, SCOOBY DOO chills and at least one unusual twist. The ghostly appearances are rather well orchestrated too so you might just get a jolt if you’re lucky as well.

HAUNTED: THE FERRYMAN (1974)

JOHN IRVIN who appropriately enough, went on to helm 1981’s GHOST STORY directed this British TV production, which is based on a story by KINGSLEY AMIS (THE GREEN MAN). It’s about a novelist (JEREMY BRETT) who has written a book involving the ghost of a killer/rapist ferryman who haunts an inn. He and his wife jump in a car to avoid a press party, get caught in a rain storm and take shelter in an inn that is way too much like the one in the guy’s book for comfort. The name is nearly the same; the employees are nearly the same and the whole joint looks just like the one he made up in his head. This leads him to rightfully fear that the goings on in his yarn may likely take place too, which means an upcoming appearance of a killer/rapist phantom ferryman. There’s a great build up of dread here and it’s hard not to be curious about what exactly is going on and how. The ending kind of leaves you in a lurch though it’s forgivable on account of when the title ghoul does show up he’s scarier than you’d expect and kind of resembles the scarecrow from FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES. At less than an hour long this is an eerie thought-provoking side dish perfect to gulp down between lengthier movies.

DEATH DREAMS (1991)

How I ended up here, I don’t know I just did. I thought I was signing up for a hokey laugh fest and found myself totally engrossed instead. This was swell. Well, at least until they get to the courtroom stuff. I hate courtroom stuff unless it’s GENE HACKMAN vs. MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO. This TV movie finds MARG ( AFTER MIDNIGHT!) HELGENBERGER living the dream with new husband CHRISTOPHER REEVE and a daughter from her previous marriage to a guy who kicked the bucket. The fun doesn’t last though because her daughter drowns in a lake and then comes back as a ghost and is all about pointing her finger at her possessive control freak step daddy! OK, I know we all love REEVE because how can you not? But I gotta say I always found about 9 to 10 percent of him super duper creepy. Maybe it’s the piercing eyes, maybe it’s the missing upper lip, maybe it’s the fact that he looks like a robot or an illustration in a Sears catalog, I’m not sure. The wonderful thing is REEVES snags exactly that 10 percent I always saw and drags it to the forefront for his performance here. He’s really super (!) good in this.

DEATH DREAMS is based on a book by WILLIAM KATZ and directed by MARTIN DONOVAN who also directed APARTMENT ZERO and wrote DEATH BECOMES HER. DONOVAN‘s got a fantastic eye and there are several clever visual flourishes that stand out. He seems really good with actors too as both leads come off extremely well and he allows FIONNULA FLANAGAN of THE OTHERS free reign to pull off a highly memorable nearly over the top turn as a psychic doctor. She’s a real hoot and would fit right in on AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Again, the courtroom stuff towards the end is a bit of a snore but this is definitely a fun and worthwhile ghost tale. Just when you think it won’t go as far as it might it does and the final scene provides a impressive well earned comeuppance for creep-master REEVE.

So there you have a night of hopefully off the beaten path ghostly YouTube viewing. I enjoyed all three of these flicks. I’m sure none of them will exactly terrify you but who cares? I live in the city, if I want to be terrified I can just walk two blocks in the wrong direction. Ghost movies are more about opening the doors in your head and seeing who or what pops in and allowing yourself the possibility that there may be more to the world than the concrete boundaries we’re fed. It may be comforting for some to imagine life after death but for me it’s simply comforting to imagine that my revenge has no expiration date! Gee, I hope we have another thunderstorm soon.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing Suggestion:: Billy V. on Tim Burton’s Hansel & Gretel

June 22nd, 2014 · 5 Comments

Reader Billy V. wrote in and suggested that we feature TIM BURTON’S HANSEL & GRETEL today for our weekly Sunday Viewing and that’s just what we’re going to do. Legend has it that this short flick aired only once on the Disney Channel way back in the greatest year that ever happened, 1982! It’s not hard to see why BURTON‘s vision was quietly hidden under Micky Mouse’s rug, it tastes like it’s marinated in Kindertrauma sauce! Yikes, that witch looks like the lead singer for THE CULT and acts like SEAN YOUNG pitching for a part in a movie! She really gives JOAN COLLINS in the SHELLEY DUVALL version a run for her money! And don’t get me started on that gingerbread man. Ya know what? This is so wacked-out and off the wall that I find I am now finally ready to forgive TIM BURTON for being behind the lowest point in cinema history, the breakdancing Mad Hatter scene from ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I’m just going to forget it ever happened! Thanks for the treat Billy V.!

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming