Entries Tagged 'wiggery' ↓

Bloggenaire: Max Cheney Considine, The Drunken Severed Head

Ugh. My dear dudes, dudettes, and 'tweeners, I know I've been remiss in posting these Bloggenaires. I have no excuse. None! I won't even pretend to have one, although I'm tempted to make something up about...I don't know. Something about wigs. Mehhh, I got nothin', so it's best to get the Bloggenaire ball rolling again with the winner of the 8th Annual Rondo Award for Best Blog, Max the Drunken Severed Head of...The Drunken Severed Head! Don't ask how he types.

1) What's the key moment that led you to click that "Start Your Blog" button?

I can't remember the exact moment, but several things came together. I was a co-moderator at a Yahoo group called the Universal Monster Army, and was having a blast talking about old horror movies, monster movie toys and memorabilia, weird news, and generally cracking wise. Also, I had started doing interviews to share at the UMA-- with folks like Ted Newsom, creator of the "100 Years of Horror" series. And everyone was starting a blog. So I thought I could too, and jumped on the bandwagon. And why not? I like both music and being driven!

2) Please describe your blog in no more than 3 sentences. You must include the words / phrases "morbid", "aesthetic", and "electromagnetic".

My blog is viewed through electromagnetic impulses that create a picture on a monitor, sending out waves that soften and numb the brain. This anesthetic aesthetic both lessens and enhances the morbid aspects of my posts, much as vermouth cuts and sweetens the gin in a martini.

3) Bearing in mind that opinions are subjective (except mine because I'm always right), do you enjoy movies that are generally considered "bad"? Why or why not?

Well, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films were long considered junk movies. Many of my favorite flickers have had someone say they're "bad." (Yes, I said "flickers"-- I love me that alliteration, no matter how outta date I gotta be!)

I've enjoyed LOTS of bad movies, where ineptness in writing, cheap production values, and bad acting provides unintended, but socko entertainment! Just as long as the pace is quick enough to compensate for those deficiencies. I just don't admire bad movies for their shortcomings. I'm perverse, but not THAT perverse.

A slow-paced well-made film is one thing, but a draggy badly-acted cheapo is another. Longueurs in a Cocteau film can add to the experience, but the same doesn't apply to Ed Wood. But I can say that playing Bela Lugosi in a stage production of Glen or Glenda, as I did over a decade ago, was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

My favorites include Horrors of Spider Island, Teenagers From Outer Space, Devil Girl From Mars, and many Bert I. Gordon movies.

4) Did you know that there exists one variety of carnivorous parrot? It's true. They live in the mountains of New Zealand, and they eat the fat surrounding the kidneys of sheep- WHILE THE SHEEP ARE ALIVE. It's horrible.

If they're political sheep, I want to see this!

No, but seriously--this doesn't surprise me. Nature isn't always benign. I once saw a raven carry off a small rabbit, then eat it alive on the roof of a neighbor's house. It was traumatizing.

Gimme monsters ripping up bad actors instead! Although I do have a pet snake which eats live minnows, and my wife raises venus flytraps, so a bit of the bitch side of dear Mother Nature is on view at our house.

5) What's the one- ONE- horror movie you love so much you want to stick it down your pants?

THE TINGLER! (I can't believe someone hasn't beaten me to that gag before!) Actually, as a severed head, I never wear pants. I have been seen with undies on my head, but that's another story.

Oh, I suppose Bride of Frankenstein. Yeah, I know it's a cliched answer among historians and devotees of really old horror movies, but as a little kid sneaking out of bed to watch on a late-night creature feature, I was blown away by it, and forever marked by it. I was very spooked by the scene of the Monster appearing in the flooded pit and killing a man, and later by the scenes with Pretorious in the mausoleum. I was also moved by the tragedies that befall the Monster, and shocked by the explosion at the end. (Oh great, I spoiled it for ya.) I don't watch it often, but when I do, its effects on me are undiluted by time. But The Orphanage, Alien, and Black Sunday would all stand up to many repeat viewings. And it's nice to stick Barbara Steele down one's pants.

6) Adrienne Barbeau. Discuss.

She will forever be the crabby daughter on the Maude sitcom and the bitch in Creepshow to me. I can't accept her in Swamp Thing-- too nice.

I wish she'd played a nightgown-wearing bisexual vampire just once in her career, though.

7) Why should people bother to read your blog?

See answer #2 above.

And to appreciate your blog all the more. (Wink, wink.)

8) Where does Jigsaw get all the money he needs to build all those traps and buy all that warehouse space? Better yet, does he have some sort of engineering background? He must, right, if he designs all that crap?

I think he must be a character who escaped from a Bond film. 007 and his adversaries all seem to be rich, and geniuses with gadgets.

9) Several theories regarding the reasons why people would subject themselves to watching horror films (when they're so, you know, traumatic) exist. Which is closest in line with your feelings on and reactions to the genre? Feel free to elaborate. Or don't, see if I care.

a) RELIEF THEORY: The unpleasant feelings of distress cause more stimulating feelings of relief when the unpleasantness passes- the stressed arousal caused by fear becomes pleasurable arousal later on.
b) CONTINUOUS REWARD: The excitement felt during the film is the appeal in and of itself.
c) SOCIAL THEORIES:
1) Stereotypical gender roles are reinforced: men act as protectors, women need protection.
2) Violating social norms- watching "deviant" entertainment- is exciting.
3) Experiencing heightened emotions with others makes us feel like we "belong" and we're truly part of a group.

As someone who actually has a degree in sociology, I ought to be able to bullshit a great answer. But I'll stick with instincts and experiences and say a) and b) of the psychological theories and # 2 of the social theories are the most valid, and overlap. They can be simultaneously true-- distress being one aspect of the excitement in the "continuous reward" explanation. It's akin to the sensations of taste-- sweet being edged with bitter, and one flavor in one food providing "relief" to the sensation of another food.

Say, I just used another "taste" metaphor, like I did in answer #2. I wonder what Freud would say...

10) Which year produced better horror movies: 1977 or 1981? Why?

Except for the the totally whacked-out The Sentinel, and Suspiria, there isn't one horror film from 1977 that I ever want to see again. 1981 produced these rewatchables: An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Dead and Buried, and Scanners, plus some interesting sci-fi films.

11) What the eff is up with those French and their crazy horror flicks?

Hard for me to say. Don't know how to put myself in their place, because I can't speak through my nose. But they gave us Diabolique, Eyes Without a Face, Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, and Gance's I Accuse, so they must be as smart as they think they are.

12) What's your favorite Animals Run Amok movie?

Well, it sure ain't The Muppets Take Manhattan. Or Frogs, which has the slowest attacks on people ever filmed. Not Willard, because it spawned Ben, which foisted that awful Michael Jackson song off on us. Maybe Kingdom of the Spiders, just for the scene where a woman is so freaked by seeing a tarantula on her hand that she impulsively shoots her hand off with a gun. Or possibly Night of the Lepus, just 'cause it's got giant bunny rabbits.

Hmmm. This is a toughie. I saw Food of the Gods at a drive-in a coupla years ago, and LOVED it. But Them! is an intelligent, handsomely-made film about giant ants gone amok, and do you realize how unlikely THAT is? So I guess it's a tie between Food of the Gods for the camp value (a giant killer chicken!), and Them! for being the best all around animal attack movie.

13) If Jason Voorhees is on a train heading east at 80mph and Leatherface is on a train heading west at 65mph…why the hell would anyone ever watch Rob Zombie's Halloween?

As the masochist said when asked why she hung around her bad-tempered boyfriend, "Beats me!"

14) What are your funereal wishes?

I wish to never need to have a funeral, but in case I can't roll out the back door when Death comes looking for me, I guess I'd like to have a shindig for my friends that's a cross between a New Orleans-style funeral and a Halloween party. A fun-eral, if you will. With a big screen video message from me from beyond the grave, mwah ha ha ha!

You're invited.

15) Why do I have such a fondness for Shelley Hack? It's not like she's really done much to deserve it, but there it is.

Because in a past life, you WERE Shelley Hack. Yeah, I know, she's still alive, but don't bother me with details.

16) You're on a sinking ghost ship that's being piloted by a witch. What are your last words?

Boo to you, too! And abra cadav-- glub!...hic!...glub...glub...

17) Asking about your funereal wishes and your last words means nothing, I swear.

Now I'm worried. I'm thinking of that final scene in Psycho where Norman Bates is thinking to himself in his mother's voice, "I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

18) Do you know where I can get some lye?

I don't. And that's no lie. (Oh, ain't I a SCREAM? Don't answer that.)

Don't use lye. Carpet beetles are much efficient and thorough at removing flesh.

19) Weren't you glad when THAT JERK in THAT HORROR MOVIE got what was coming to him?

YEAH! He deserved it! Always bein' a smart ass! Making puns! Pretending to be something he's not!

20) Overall, what’s your favorite era of horror films?

I guess it's a tie between American films from the 1930s and films from the rest of the world in the 1960s.

21) Would you rather be:

1) a vampire
2) a witch/warlock
3) a werewolf
4) a Frankenstein (and yes, I know technically it’s “Frankenstein’s monster” but “a Frankenstein” sounds better)
5) a Jaws

Why don't you offer a Boogey man as a choice?

Okay, don't look at me like that. I'll play. I guess I most wish to be a were-Frankenstein, cause once a month I'd really like to scare people as the character I most enjoyed being on Halloween, as a kid.

But I'd settle for being a warlock for the merchandising opportunities. Man, I could clean up with the Harry Potter craze! (Yeah, I know vampires are also hot, but who the hell really wants a mouthful full of blood just to get young women all emo?)

22) If you could turn back time- if you could find a way- would you take back those words that hurt me, so I’d stay?

Of course, darling. You're my final girl.

You're always kind to me--you amuse me so much, and so often--how could I have said such things?!

Please come back--and BRING BACK MY BODY!

23) What's something you want people to know about you or your blog that I didn't ask?

It won't cause a sudden loss of vision-- anymore-- or an erection lasting more than four hours, and it's low calorie! It has some cool interviews and art, features a poem I wrote about Boris Karloff that impressed Pierre Fournier of Frankensteinia, and was complimented by Cool Ass Cinema as being like the old Famous Monsters magazine, but for adults. Those last two are distinctions I'm especially proud of.

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Big thanks to Max. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of...THE BLOGGENAIRES!

The Witches Mountain

I knew going in that Category 7 of Operation: 101010, movies pulled from my 50-packs, would frequently cause me to find myself swept up in a Category 7 storm of crap. If the Spanish film The Witches Mountain (1972), the first film I'm ticking off that list, is any indication...well, I may have to upgrade it to a Category 10 and call in Nancy McKeon or Randy Quaid or someone else who's portrayed a Stormologist to help me survive.

Now, I'm not gonna lie: the first five minutes of The Witches Mountain are completely awesome and completely insane. As some of the softest soft rock plays, a woman arrives home and finds that someone has plunged a knife through a wig, pinning it to her front lawn. Wanton wig abuse! I was immediately smitten with this movie.

She goes upstairs and spies her cat all bloodied and dead on her bed. A little girl comes in, calls the woman an infidel, admits to the kittycide, then heads to the garage to play with her pet snake (not a euphemism). The woman follows and...promptly SETS THE CHILD ON FIRE. Cue The Witch Chorus Singers (redundant I know, but it sounds better), the opening credits, and a look of What the fuckery? that would remain until it was time to cue the end credits.

Wait, there are no end credits in The Witches Mountain...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Whenever I set a child on fire, the first thing I want to do afterward is go on a nice vacation with my boyfriend. This mystery woman is no different, so she gets two tickets to one paradise or another and tells Mario (Cihangir Gaffari) to pack a bag. Mario is the very picture of delightful 70s sleaze, from his fluffy proto-mullet to his ambitious moustache to his chest carpet and medallion. He is kind of amazing.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone that a moment ago the woman SET A CHILD ON FIRE.

Perhaps he can sense that she's a nutcake, or perhaps he's just a cad. Whatever the case, Mario declines the offer of a free vacation and calls his boss to ask for a new "photo assignment" starting, like, now.

Mario must be a photographer for the CIA or something, because all we ever find out about his assignment is that he must go take some pictures of some mountains. Where, exactly? Eh, somewhere in the Pyrenees, it looks like. Why, exactly? 'Tis a mystery.

Along the way, Mario stops to take some photographs of a woman out sunbathing. The two begin talking and the woman, Delia (Patty Shepard) agrees to accompany Mario on his trip. This makes total sense. I mean, who wouldn't drive for hours deep into the middle of nowhere with a total stranger? It's not like anyone knows where she's going, so no one's going to bitch that it's a bad idea.

Anyway, they end up at a hotel run by Andorra's own answer to Marty Feldman. He is kind of amazing.

Thus begins our slog through the excruciating middle 65 minutes of The Witches Mountain. People talk, people sleep. Mario takes some pictures. Delia sleepwalks. They encounter a mysterious goat herder. They walk around. They say everything twice to the Marty Feldman innkeeper because he's deaf. Delia says she sees a face in the window in her room, but as usual, the picture is too dark for me to see anything.

mysterious goat herder

At one point, Mario and Delia are out taking pictures- well, Mario is talking pictures...Delia just sort of stands there- and someone drives off in their Jeep. They run after it and find it abandoned far down the road, outside of some little village that appears abandoned. It turns out that one house is occupied by a little old witchy-looking woman who claims she knows nothing of the Jeep thievery and she's totally the only person around.

Hey, remember when that woman set that kid on fire? Me too.

Mario and Delia invite themselves to stay with the old woman. Lest the sounds of The Witch Chorus Singers (they're back) lead you to think something is actually going to happen...well, don't get your hopes up because we're still ensconced in the 65-minute negative zone. They talk, they sleep, the old woman makes a big cauldron of something or other, Delia sleepwalks, Mario goes out and takes pictures. He stays out too long and after the sun goes down, the eeeevil fog rolls in. He gets lost, but spots some robed figures carrying torches and singing; yes, I think we've found The Witch Chorus Singers' Secret Hideout.

The next morning, Mario makes his way back to the old woman's house. He busts out his portable picture developing kit and...develops his pictures, anxious to see those robed figures again. The pictures of them are blank- however, random women appear in other photographs despite the fact that Mario did not see them and what's even more eerie, there's a photo of Mario and Delia that they did not take. Then some women drag the old woman out of her humble abode.

Finally, some GD action and stuff in this movie! Mario and Delia follow. They end up at the spot where The Witch Chorus Singers were hanging out...then they leave. Then Mario goes back. Then Mario finds some blood on a rock. Then I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Witches Mountain will probably never make any sense.

Now, I'm going to sum up the rest of the film using this series of rapid fire questions my roommate asked me when it was over. My answers are in parenthesis:
  • So, they grab her...and she wears a bridal gown? (yes)
  • Then she's in a dungeon? (y-yes)
  • And there's...a hairy, oily guy in there? (umm...)
  • And the witches are dancing? (It's like a failed musical.)
  • Then someone hits him over the head? The lead guy. (I think so.)
  • Then the girl he likes runs away? (yeah)
  • And he chases her. (yes)
  • And she runs off a cliff. (that was awesome!)
  • So he sets the village on fire. (It looked like it...)
  • Then all the witches are at his house. (I guess so.)
THE END, no credits.

The Witches Mountain leaves one with oh so many questions. What's the deal with the witches? And the bridal veil? And the dungeon? And the guy in the dungeon? And...why? And what the fuck is the thing that one of the witches is holding at the end? Seriously, your guess is as good as mine: I see a door hinge and a Zuni Fetish Doll.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO SET A CHILD ON FIRE? Well, she was there at the very end, but that doesn't explain anything. Oh, Witches Mountain, thou art verily a place of mystery.

This movie is so, so bad. So bad. Bad. Bad movie. If it consisted solely of the first and last 5-minute portions, though, I'd be sitting on a 50-pack of gold! The Witch Chorus Singers are purely and simply awesome, and they need to be heard by all. How you can achieve this without sitting through the film, I don't know. It may not be possible, but it may be worth the risk.

Nah, that's not true. The Witches Mountain may be a bad movie that's just plain bad. That's so hard for me to say, especially because of all the wig violence and singing and Mario's moustache. Siiigh.