Sunday, October 23, 2011


8:00 pm – Carnival Of Souls (1962)
9:30 pm – A Night At The Movies: The Horrors Of Stephen King
10:30 pm – Dementia 13 (1963)
12:00 am – Straight-Jacket (1964)
1:45 am – The Pit And The Pendulum (1961)
3:15 am – The Masque Of The Red Death (1964)
5:00 am – The Devil’s Bride (1968)

As is the case every Monday night in October, TCM is presenting a powerful line-up of horror films for the ages.

Starting out with the surreal and dreamlike CARNIVAL OF SOULS, the story of a young woman who seems haunted from every corner, stalked by forces both real and unseen. Despite it's production values, this movie achieves an unsettling quality that many a blockbuster cannot approach.

Fun Fact: Director Herk Harvey one reel of footage for the film was overexposed during the developing processing and was lost from the film. The Saltair that appears in the film burned down in the early '70s. In the '80s another version of Saltair was rebuilt. Shortly after it was built, the Great Salt Lake rose and flooded it out. In 1993, the building was remodeled and reopened, now it's mainly used as a small venue for musical acts.

DEMENTIA 13, while not quite the mind-bender that is CARNIVAL OF SOULS, is a strange mix of family secrets, jealousies and psychosis. While working for Roger Corman on another film, Francis Ford Coppola was given the opportunity to also write and shoot his own first mainstream picture and it became DEMENTIA 13. Corman and Coppola argued about the final product and Corman padded the film with a prelude involving a psychiatrist giving a D-13 test to the audience to see if they were fit to sit through it.

Fun Facts: The British title for the film is THE HAUNTED AND THE HUNTED. In the U.S. it was released as the bottom part of a double feature with Corman's X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES.

Written by Robert Bloch, STRAIGHT-JACKET is one of several psycho-biddy pictures made in the '60s after the success of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?. This one stars Joan Crawford as a woman who killed her husband and his lover with an axe, for which she was institutionalized. Upon her release many years later, she stays with her adult daughter, a successful artist and sculptress. Soon strange behavior and more axe murders begin to occur and the question is put forth: Just who is the killer this time?

Fun Facts: Lee Majors' first movie appearance (uncredited) as Crawfords husband. Little cardboard axes were given to movie patrons as they entered the theatre.

Richard Matheson's screenplay for THE PIT AND THE PENDULULM is, obliviously, based on the original story by Edgar Allen Poe. It is very different from Poe's original, however, in that the first two thirds were made up out of whole cloth. It involves a man journeying to find out the cause of his sister's death at her husband's Spanish castle set not long after the inquisition. Vincent Price chews up the scenery and spits it out as usual as the brother-in-law.

Fun Facts: Corman shot the movie in about 15 days for a budget between $300,000 and $1,000,000. The actual pendulum was 18 feet long and weighted about a ton.

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH features Vincent Price at his most villainous. The more we grow to hate the petulant royal asshole, the bigger the payoff when the climax of the film takes place. Price plays Prospero, a vile and powerful royal who bullies his way through the picture. He holds a ball as the plague spreads all over the countryside thinking himself immune to the things that touch the common man. That is, until the Red Death comes for him... Another great story by Poe, adapted and converted by Roger Corman, who adapted eight Poe tales to film.

Fun Fact: Corman's first movie filmed in Britain. Filmed in Britain to take advantage of British tax law and to acquire a subsidy for using an all British crew to shoot the film.

A finely crafted supernatural horror story adapted by Richard Matheson from a novel by Dennis Wheatley, THE DEVIL'S BRIDE (aka THE DEVIL RIDES OUT) is the story of master of the occult, Duc de Richleau (played by Christopher Lee), investigating the dealings of the son of a friend in regards to the worship of Satan. The tale quickly puts his small group at odds with a cult of devil-worshippers and even Old Scratch himself!

Fun Fact: THE DEVIL RIDES OUT was originally scheduled to shoot in 1963, but was postponed due to fears of censorship because of the elements of satanism in the story. Christopher Lee has said that this is his favorite role--one that he would like to take up again some day (fitting, as the character from the novel is much older than Lee was at the time of this filming).

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