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Archive for October, 2010

While my last post was all about horror host icon, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, I would be remiss if I did not mention the woman who essentially started the notion of the  horror host, Vampira. Actress Maila Nurmi’s Vampira might have been the modern forbearer of sexy meets scary, her vampy, pun-laden character inspired by a series of New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams. Her short-lived TV program, The Vampira Show, introduced the world to a character that would go onto inspire other fictional females of the dark, like Elvira, Vampirella and Lilly Munster. Although Maila Nurmi is probably most famous for her role in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), her character Vampira, like Elvira, has inspired its own cottage industry, with legions of fans the world over.

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Elvira was the queen of the horror movie hosts. Besides Cleveland Ohio’s, Ghoulardi, she is probably the most famous, most beloved of the late night horror hosts. Quick-witted, with sarcasm to spare, actress Cassandra Peterson’s character Elvira juxtaposed her irreverent evaluations of the movies she presented with a towering bee-hive hairdo and a tightly fitting, Vampira-inspired dress that barely contained her ample bosom. Elvira’s Movie Macabre was something of a staple of my TV watching in the early 80s, and it’s not hard to understand why she was so popular.

This fall her iconic show, Elvira’s Movie Macabre, rises from the dead for a new season.

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As of late, I’ve been working on a project with a few friends, a project that has been evolving, sometimes at a snail’s pace (my own fault), since this past May. Below are the first couple of “sneak peaks” of that particular project,  a line of old-school monster cards called, Krazy Kreeps. The intention is have packs of six or seven cards by various illustrators and cartoonists all packaged with a crappy piece of gum (ah, the memories). These will be debuting sometime in the near future on my buddy, Chad Hawks’, amazing horror-themed website, Chateau GRRR.

HeadlessHipster

Spookarella

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With a title like this one, you’d think I’d be doing a post on dancing bears or singing monkeys, and belive me, it’s not like I haven’t thought of it before. Alas, I am referring to those denizens of the animal kingdom that are lurking in the shadows, waiting to kill you and everyone you love.

When yard work a few weekends ago involved me rummaging through my garage which had become festooned with spider webs, it got to me thinking about that classic of the 1970s rampaging nature sub-genre movie starring William Shatner, Kingdom of the Spiders (1978). Kingdom is schlocky in the best B-movie tradition, with Shater hamming it up as usual. I first caught this film on TV when I was 10 or 11 and the opening scene with a gaggle of tarantulas falling from a speeding car’s sun visor, has stayed with me ever since. The creepiest moments come when victims are found cocooned in giant spider web nests. And who doesn’t love the scene of the pilot of the bi-plane screaming like a little girl after suddenly discovering giant blood-thirsty spiders have invaded his cockpit. It’s like your in-laws dropping by for a surprise visit carrying a bucket full of giant blood-thirsty spiders instead of subscription to the fruit -of-the-month club. Well, maybe not exactly.

This particular sub-genre of the suspense/horror film really found its legs in the mid to late 1970s. After the success of Jaws (1975) many studios were wanting to cash in on the feeding frenzy of fear. Below are a few other wonderfully awful films from this particular off-shoot of the horror film.

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Check out Trent’s review of Darwyn Cooke’s latest installment in the Parker series over at the Violent World of Parker blog . My inclination toward Hanna-Barbera is noted.

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