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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hell o Prisoners

I have to come clean--I can't sleep at dawn, and even though Night of the Living Dead warrants a spot, a very high spot, some time between the time I bought this locket full of gems and started posting, I morphed the title from "50 Horror Classics" to "50 Greatest Horror Films". Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, but in any event, I need to retract my grievous error, so from now on, my mission will not be to see if the 50 movies on this 5 disc set stands up to the bogus title I created, but to simply watch them and give you my rating on the flame scale. So, with that said, it's time for Movie #5, Disc #1,"50 Horror Classics"........




Image Ten Productions 
Presents Duane Jones
in 
George A. Romero's
Night of the Living Dead 
(1968)

Maria Full of Grace, although not a horror film, is the most disturbing movie I've ever seen. Maybe because it took me to a world that I, in my naive middle class American white girl way, didn't even know existed, and that in itself pisses me off. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, even though it's a zombie flick, and as you know, I think zombies are, well, pretty boring, is behind by only a nose....I've seen it before, of course; isn't it required viewing for all of us horror junkies? And every time I watch it, and even though I know it's coming, and you think I would have gotten used to it by now, I just want to say, "GET OUT OF THE WINDOW! THEY'RE GOING TO PUT A BULLET THROUGH YOUR HEAD! THE FUCKING IDIOTS!" So, now....

Siblings, Johnny (Russell Streiner) and Barbra (Judith O'Dea), are making their annual 200 mile, one way, obligatory trip to the cemetery to put a wreath on their father's grave in North Carolina. Barbara's down with it, but Johnny could care less. Once they park their beastly Bonneville, Johnny's dinking around with the radio, and before he turns it off, we catch just a glimpse of a report to which they should have listened. But, soonest begun, soonest done, as Roland of Gilead would say, so he turns it off, and they head over to the grave. Totally unaware of their surroundings, they completely miss some wierdo in a suit gimpin along between the stones in the distance. Johnny'd just assume engage in a little let's-freak-out-my-little-sister  shenanigans. 

He notices the man, and says to Barbra, "Do you remember....I jumped out at you from behind a tree, and Grandpa got all excited and he shook his fist at me, and he said, 'Boy you'll be damned to hell'...Boy, you used to really be afraid! You're still afraid. They're coming to get you, Barbra... Look there comes one of them." While Johnny bolts, Barba walks directly into the path of the man, who starts to choke her. Johnny tries to fight him off to no avail, and Barbara jets for the car. This doesn't stop the man, who, with graven eyes, wails on the the doors and the windows, but she gets away...until she sideswipes (there goes the Bonneville) a tree, but makes it on foot to a seemingly deserted farmhouse. 

While searching the house, she finds a load of taxidermy (can't even write that without hearing Quint) and a head-- minus skin-- plus bulging eyes and teeth, so it's pretty much all downhill from there for Barbra; she's a mess. She runs outside and sees some headlights approaching, and out steps this black man, Ben (Duane Jones). Normally I wouldn't specify his color, but it's relevant to the story line. Returning to the farmhouse, he bolts the door, and starts asking her questions. Who is she? Does she live here? What is she doing here? But, like I said, Barbra's a mess, and completely in shock, so he's not getting any answers. 

Ben, from the start, takes charge of her, their surroundings, and their situation, ransacking for food and other necessities, and begins to break apart furniture and unhinges interior doors, locates some tools, and starts boarding up the place to keep them out. At night their numbers are multiplying, and the beasts try to get into the truck parked outside, their only means of escape, but when he goes outside to beat them off, one gets in and goes for Barbra. Upon return, Ben beats him down, literally, and says "We'll be alright here till someone comes to rescue us--but we have to work together." 

He told her his story. He'd encountered them down the road. First there were like 10. Then they started coming from everywhere. He couldn't find anyone alive anywhere, so he grabbed the first truck he saw and plowed down like 50 or 60 of them. "They scattered through the air like bullets." Poor Barbra, she asks for candy. And then she starts freaking out about Johnny. They "have to find Johnny!" As he tries to calm her down, she slaps him, and what does he do, I love this part, he slaps her back...hard! It was effective, she passed out, not from the slap, just passed out, and he gently lay her on the couch, and unbuttoned her coat, because she had been complaining about being too hot. 

He turns on the radio...

 "Epidemic of mass murder being committed by a virtual army of unidentified assassins.....No apparent reason....Mass homicide...Ordinary looking people...Trance...There is no way for us to say who or what to look for...We don't know what type of murder happy characters....Victims partially devoured....Killers are eating the flesh of the people they kill...More ghastly with each report...."

The President has called an emergency meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI, CIA...and the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations. 

Enter. One big asshole. Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman). He's been held up in the cellar with his wife, Helen (Marilyn Eastman), and their daughter, Karen (Kyra Schon), who is sick. Ben asked him why he didn't come up to help with boarding up the place, or fending off the killers, so first he says, he didn't hear them, then he says he didn't come up because the commotion could have been the killers. Then he goes, "You telling us we gotta risk our lives, just because somebody might need help?!" Ben, just replies, "Yeah, something like that," and pretty much, at this point, understands that he's dealing with an ignoramus who will probably be more trouble than he's worth.

There is another young couple there, Tom (Keith Wayne) and Judy (Judith Ridley). Tom tries to convince Cooper that staying up top is safer, just like Ben said. "The cellar is a deathtrap." He also agrees that if they just stick together, they'll be alright. Cooper's an insecure bigoted control freak (am I biased here? hah), and Ben has this great line, "It's tough for that kid that her old man is so stupid--now get the hell down in the cellar...you can be the boss down there. I'm the boss up here." God, I love that line. 

Downstairs, Cooper tells his wife about the two guys up top. She tells him she already knew that; she "heard them screaming." "Well, I wasn't about to take any unnecessary chances." "Of course, not, Harry." "Let them stay upstairs--too many ways for those monsters to get in. We'll see whose right. We'll see when they come begging me to let them in down here." "That's important, huh?" "What do you mean by that?" "To be right and everyone else to be wrong." And then she gets really mad when she finds out they have a radio upstairs. "They have a radio upstairs, and you boarded us up down here! Take those boards off--how are we supposed to know what to do? Those people aren't our enemies!" 

Judy trades spots with the Cooper parents to look after Karen. And, I know, I've already made it perfectly clear what a dick Cooper is, but, really, I have to go on....So he's upstairs, and all he can do is complain about what a shoddy job Ben did boarding up the joint. "Look at this, There's a million weak spots up here!" But get this, what does he do? He bums a smoke from his wife. "Why don't you do something to help somebody?!" she yells. 

Radio....

"It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and have been committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of reports from funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals, have concluded that the unburied dead are coming back to life and seeking human victims..."  

At first, they were telling people to stay indoors, but now they want people to make it to rescue stations that have been set up. And everyone's wondering why space experts are being consulted about an earthbound emergency. Turns out an Explorer Satellite was sent to Venus. On it's way back, we shot it down. The space vehicle was said to have carried "mysterious high level radiation".

Television...

News footage, where in which, the scientists are saying there is a correlation between the radiation and the killers, and the government officials are him hawing with, "Well, now, we don't know that...I must disagree until it is irrefutably proven...Everything is being done that can be done." 

Television.....

Interview...."It takes just a few minutes after death for the them to change." " Well, that doesn't give you time to make funeral arrangements." "No, it doesn't." Is that hilarious or what? I didn't expect to laugh out loud, but I did, sure enough. 

Ben's trying to get everyone on board to get the hell out of there. He knows he's got the truck, but it's about out of gas, and he doesn't have the key. Tommy knows where the key is, so they're trying to make a plan. They've got to make it to the key, to the truck, and to the pump. They all start making mazeltov (yes, I know. Molotov. It was an accident. But it gave Brandon over at Movies at Dog Farm the best laugh he'd had all day, so at the sake of losing whatever credibility I may have, I'm gonna embrace my dumb ass mistake and leave it...with the explanation. I have to retain some sense of confidence. Hope it made you laugh, and if you just thought I was a dumb ass. Well, then, you just thought I was a dumb ass. Thanks, Brandon for callin' me out!) cocktails to keep the zombies at bay. Ben and Tommy make it outside. Cooper starts throwing the cocktails from the upstairs window. Judy decides she wants to go too, the dumb ass chick. And so Tommy's got the gas hose, and there's fire and gas and zombies all over the place, and the truck catches on fire. They start to make a run for it, but of course, Judy, who should have stayed in the damn house to begin with, can't get out, because her coat is stuck. Well, KABOOM! Toast.

Ben makes a break for it, and starts rushing towards the front door, but what did Cooper do? He locked him out! Did he open the door when Ben started screaming for him to open the door? Hell, no! So when Ben finally breaks the door down, and gets in, he beats the hell out of Cooper. 
The group talks about Karen. Cooper doesn't want to carry her to the nearest town, not because she's sick, but because, as I have irrefutably shown you, he's a dick. So Ben says he'll carry her. "What's her problem?" Oh, she got bit on the arm by one of those things. That's all. 

News flash...

Search and Destroy missions...."Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul." Love that, but wait, it gets even better. Sheriff McClelland (George Kosana) is asked, "Are they slow moving, Chief?" "Oh yeah, they're dead. They're all messed up."

Electricity goes out. The zombies start breaking in, including Brother Johnny. In fact, he gets Barbra, and then the rest swarm her. Everything goes to hell. Cooper grabs the gun, and forces his wife into the cellar. Ben and Cooper start to brawl, and Ben, thank God, shoots the son of a bitch. Cooper makes his way down to the cellar, and drops dead right next to his daughter, whose been lying there this whole time, but evidently she's been dead a few minutes, because she is hungry. 

When mom makes her way down there, little Karen is feasting on her father. She should have just stayed upstairs, because Karen picks up a trowel and stabs the shit out of her. Ben makes his way downstairs. Cooper rises. Ben shoots him in the head. Mom opens her eyes. Ben shoots her, too. 

Cut to daybreak. The house is quiet. The birds are chirping.  "Everything appears to be under control," McClellan says to the reporter.  They let the German shepherds out of the back of the van. He and his men, the search and rescue team, are on their way.They sweep the field adjacent to the farmhouse--shooting anything that moves. They're picking zombies off right and left. Shoot first. Ask questions later. 

Ben wakes and hears the helicopter. The cops. The shots. Help has arrived. Just like he said to Barbra at the beginning, "We'll be alright here till someone comes to rescue us--but we have to work together." 
One of the rescuers hears a noise coming from the house. They see someone at the window. "Shoot him right between the eyes! BANG!  "O.K. he's dead--there's another one for the fire." And that's how we close. Closeups of the dead in a huge pyre, Ben among them. And so ends our tale, more true to life than I want to admit. A tale of bigotry, prejudice, insolence, ignorance, absolute power, authoritarian misappropriations, cover ups, zero accountability, and radiation fall out. 

1968 was a landmark year for Civil Rights in America. With the death of Martin Luther King, the ringing in of the Black Panther Party showed that people were fed up. Tired of mistreatment, injustice, inequality, loss of life in Vietnam, the distribution of wealth, bureaucratic indecency and deceit, the middle aged white guy on a power trip, the government cover ups,  the naive white middle class female, the macho redneck mindset, the German shepherds, the shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality, the out of control, unabated, mindless search and rescue, the shitty parents breading bigots, the fraternal order of pride and ignorance, the disregard of the thoughtful smart black man, academia, and honesty; and to hell with the subservient wife, the black vs white, they simply weren't going to take it anymore. Romero's black and white film choice, in itself, set a tone, which created the mood of archaism. It wasn't just in America. The phenomena was worldwide. It was the year of the 1968 Protests, and Romero's film is an accurate depiction of the time. A really horrible and embarrassing time, but also a capstone year, in which, people finally said, ENOUGH! I may be stoking the fires of hell, but I have no tolerance for intolerance and the reign of the unjust. I think Romero's movie was a wake up call for all of us, to show us just how dirty we'd become. We'd become a nation of flesh eaters. Night of the Living Dead is basically a protest film with zombies, and a big fat reminder that WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER--NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, etc. It is entertaining always, and sometimes enjoyable, if laughing sarcastically or watching assholes get their asses beat is enjoyable. I find that to be the case, and it rates a definite five flames on my flame scale. Next it's Movie #6, Disc #1, Atomic Age Vampire. 

Until next time...Keep those fires stoked.
Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely




Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Movie #4, Disc #1, "50 Greatest Horror Films".  That remains to be seen....


Miller Consolidated Pictures
Presents Douglas Kennedy
in
Edgar G. Ulmer's The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)



Joseph "Joey" Faust (Douglas Kennedy) is a crook who's just escaped from the State Pen, via help from some chick named Laura (Marguerite Chapman). Their relationship is unclear, but I think they used to team up back in the day. She's not his wife, who evidently narked on him to begin with, and she's not his daughter, whom he's never met. It is clear that she set up his escape, but we don't know how, and I WANTED TO KNOW. 

They get stopped right off the bat via roadblock, and he simply faux sleeps and lowers his hat. Laura's driving, and explains to the cops that her husband's had too much to drink at a party, and besides, his license is suspended for drunk driving. The cops shoo them on.

They soon arrive at a large Victorian Ranch House way out in the boonies, where he meets Major Krenner (James Griffith), whose about to blackmail him into being another pawn in his plan of creating an invisible army. There's a bounty on Faust's head, 5k, dead or alive, and the Major would have no qualms collecting. 

The major has a couple other people he's blackmailing or deceiving as well. There's Professor Ulof (Ivan Triesault), German Scientist and Refugee, who accidentally killed his own wife during experiments he was forced to carry out in the concentration camps. All of his patients were hooded, and he didn't know it was his wife, until it was too late. Krenner is holding his daughter, Maria (Cormel Daniel), hostage, and will kill her if he doesn't cooperate. And then there's Julian (Red Morgan...whose pretty beastly by the way), his henchman, who works for him only because the Major says that his son is alive in a European prison, and that he can help to get him out....after Julian takes care of some business for him. Turns out, his son is dead.

Professor Ulof has access to a full lab, and has been experimenting to make materials disappear with different types of radiation . The rays neutralizes all tissue and bone structure in the body, and any accidental concentration of rays from the apparatus could set off a chain reaction of the materials kept in the vault and "nuclear fission could result". He demonstrates the disappearing act with a common guinea pig. Seems to work well enough.


Faust  soon realizes that invisibility is a pretty hand trait for a crook, and so once transparent, he takes the upper hand in the lab, and starts pounding on the Major. 


The Major needs more radioactive chemicals, but they're kept under tight security in town, so the Major and Faust, take up a symbiotic relationship: the Major won't turn in him, and Faust will pull off the heist...for 25k. He's able to sneak in the building, cut the breakers to the alarm system, knock out a couple of guards, and break into the vault stealing the necessary canisters. On the way home, why not stop at the First National Bank to make a large withdrawal? Alas, while standing in the main lobby, holding a bag of money, he starts to materialize.

Professor Ulof warns the Major that prolonged treatment makes the process of transparency unpredictable and unreliable. It will come and go as it pleases, and will eventually end in death. It's just not working anymore. He needs to do some more research and work the bugs out. The Major has a better suggestion, he wants him to use the dreaded X13, which is stronger, yet lethal, but it works better, and he doesn't care if Faust dies or not, since he's basically just a test subject anyway--the conduit between an army and an invisible army to wreak havoc and take over the world! 
But Faust kinda likes the Professor, so he breaks Maria out of captivity, and they flee, it's then that the Professor comes clean about his own radiation poisoning and that of Faust's. He appeals to Faust the Father, and deems him a would be martyr in stopping the Major's psychotic plan. So, Faust returns to the house, and in true Dreyfus-Hooper-Jaws style, says, "Don't wait for me." He throws some blows with the Major in the lab, but the canister is lose and unstable and soon explodes, and there's nothing left, but a huge mushroom cloud. 

Professor Ulof is questioned by Drake (Edwin Erwin), the head of the nuclear facility, who thinks the Major's plan is not half bad. Just think what the counter intelligence department could do with an invisible army. Why, the possibilities are endless, but the Professor warns of the consequences, and says that the secret is best left with the dead. Professor Ulof gets the last word, and the last line of the Amazing Transparent Man. With full close up, staring straight into the camera, he poses the question, "What would you do?"


This is your typical Cold War nuclear-scare film. I wouldn't call it a horror film, but the experiments, even the death of Ulof''s wife, the transparency, and the idea of creating an invisible army is scary enough to warrant a flame. I think there were also some pretty good fight scenes, too, between the amazing transparent man and the Major as well as with the security guards. And there were definitely a few cheeky lines. Like, when Julian asks Faust if he knows what his shotgun will do to him, "You know what one of these'll do son? It'll rip up your spine and roll it up like a ball of string." Really? I had know idea. I thought a double barrel would just blow a big God Damn hole in ya. A ball of string? hah. That's good. And then when Faust wants the scivy from the Major, he asks, "What's the score, Critter?" Loved that one. Probably gonna use that one myself. I enjoyed Calker's score as well. There just wasn't enough of it. And sheez, just look at the picture just above. Gotta love that shot of Kennedy. All in all, I think it warrants one flame on the flame scale. It's no worse than The Corpse Vanishes, and although not a full fledged Horror movie, the plot was scary enough. An invisible army....that's some scary shit. Hey, I have a question. Now I want to see a movie that succeeds in creating an invisible army. Can you suggest one?

Next it's Night of the Living Dead (1968) (YAY!)
Until next time....Keep those fires stoked.
Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Doomed To Die (1940)

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Movie #3, Disc #1 "50 Greatest Horror Films." That remains to be seen.....


Monogram Pictures Corp. presents Boris Karloff 
in
William Nigh's Doomed to Die (1940)

THIS HAS NO BUSINESS BEING ON A DISC SET ENTITLED "50 GREATEST HORROR FILMS"! IT'S NOT A HORROR FILM! IT'S A MYSTERY! AND WHY IS IT THAT HOLLYWOOD MORPHS CAUCASIANS INTO OTHER ETHNICITIES! DON'T ANSWER THAT. I ALREADY KNOW. BUT IT'S SERIOUSLY LAME IF YOU ASK ME, AND IF YOU'RE READING THIS, WELL, YOU DID! SO IF YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THE MYSTERY, DOOMED TO DIE, YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO GO TO SOME MYSTERY BLOG! I WON'T WASTE MY "HORROR" FANATICS' TIME! WARRANTS ZERO FLAMES ON THE FLAME SCALE, HENCE NO FLAME BELOW. OUR BELOVED BORIS AS MR. WONG! PLEASE MONOGRAM, GIVE ME A FLAMING BREAK! 


So I'm off to Movie #4 Disc #1, The Amazing Transparent Man (1960). 

Until next time....Keep those fires stoked.
Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Movie #3, Disc #1, "50 Greatest Horror Films". That remains to be seen.....



Monogram Pictures Corp. presents Bela Lugosi in
 Wallace Fox's The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

As vows are exchanged, our bride grows faint and drops like a clock. Nerves? Heat? Second Thoughts? No...just dead. The Reverend releases her body to the caretaker, and her body is carted off. Imagine their surprise when the real caretaker shows up to claim it. Headlines explode......
BODY OF DEAD BRIDE DISAPPEARS

ANOTHER BRIDE DIES AT ALTAR

SHADOWY CORPSE THIEF ESCAPES

The wedding of the season approaches, when the DA (Eddy Kane) receives a visit from Socialite, Mrs. Wentworth (Gladys Faye), and her daughter Alice (Joan Barclay), out of concern for the safety of the young bride in her upcoming nuptials. He assures Mrs. Wentworth, in true Mayor-of-Amity style, she has nothing to worry about; they're will be plenty of security. This does little to appease her, but Alice is not concerned, and the ceremony will go on as planned. 
Next, Patricia "Pat" Hunter (Luana Wallace), a fast talking Woman of the Year type reporter, shows up for a little drama from the DA. She came to the wrong place. "Your paper can print, 'THERE WILL BE NO MORE THEFTS OF GIRLS' BODIES!'." Convinced she'll find a scoop, Pat is not going to miss the Wentworth wedding.
While Alice and her mother put the finishing touches on her bridal look, a lovely corsage is delivered. "Wear this next to your heart, Darling. With all my love." How thoughtful of Dwight to send her such a sweet token of his undying love. But even with all the security on board, while speaking her vows, our Alice, like the other brides of late, keels over. This time, however, her body is hoisted into the coroner's auto, and they jet to the morgue via police escort. As the cavalcade speeds off, Sandy (Vince Barnett), Pat's colleague and photographer, twiddles the orchid he found on the ground, and shows it to Pat, thinking it may be a clue. "What a peculiar sweet odor," she says, and fending off a wave of dizziness, she's off to the office to give a full report. 

En route to the morgue, the cops are forced to stop when a car parked on the side of the road was engulfed in flames. While they investigate, our thief pulls up to the back of the coroner's ambulance, opens the back, swiftly transfers the body from their vehicle to his, and speeds off, just as the cops realize there's no driver in the burning rig. A decoy perhaps? But it's too late; the corpse has vanished!
CALLING ALL CARS! 
CALLING ALL CARS!

The Dispatcher radios, and the first car stopped is our villain's. The police set out to search the vehicle and find a coffin, but when they open it, who lay to rest? Why no one else but my beloved Bela. They thank the driver for his cooperation and let him go. Soon our thieves reach their destination, the home of Dr. Lorenz (Bela Lugosi). Mike (George Eldredge), his henchman, carts the young bride into the laboratory, where Lorenz's servant Fagah (Minerva Urecal), and her two sons--Angel (Frank Moran), a big Igor-lookin' lout, and Toby (Angelo Rossitto), a 2.9 ft dwarf, wait for instruction. Angel immediately goes to the new bride and starts petting her. Seriously a perv and scary as hell. Lorenz counters with a whip. "My little family," Lorenz lilts.There is another woman in attendance, the Countess Lorenz (Elizabeth Russell), who is wailing hysterically. "Hurry! Look at me! Look at me!" Old and haggard and strung out, she hides her face. Lorenz proceeds to draw a clear liquid (?) from the bride, mixes it's contents in a bleaker, and then injects the Countess. Her shrill denotes her agony, but the Countess soon calms, and wanders to the mirror and gazes at her youthful transformation. 

Meanwhile back at the paper, Pat tries to convince her boss, Editor Keenan (Kenneth Harlan), of the significance of the orchid. After all, all the brides had one, but in true George Taylor style, he poo poos her theory. He wants bodies and top stories, not flowers, but since this is all he has to go on, he gives her the go, and she's off. 
She finds out it's not your typical orchard. It is "hybridized" by only one man, Dr. Lorenz. That's all she needs, and catches the next train to pay him a visit. Arriving at the station, she tries to get a ride out to the Lorenz place, but is turned down by the taxi driver, and Mike and Toby, but she is not easily discouraged, and she hops on to the back of their rig. Toby spies the extra baggage; they pull over and kick her out, taking off with her bag, and leaving her stranded, until finally another car approaches. It's Dr. Foster (Tristram Coffin---what a great name) who is himself headed to the Lorenz place. He's been working with Dr. Lorenz on a cure for his ailing wife. He warns Pat, that the couple is a little eccentric. What an understatement. 

They are ungreeted at the door by Toby, who introduces them to Lorenz. Quite pleased to see Dr. Foster, and surely amiable enough to Miss Hunter, he welcomes them. The Countess, however, is not as hospitable. After she yells at Toby, "Get out! You Gargoyle!," she slaps Pat, yes, literally slaps her in the face, and tells her she's not welcome there. I think that was my favorite part, a pleasant surprise in a film proving to be quite mundane. Lorenz calms his wife, and queries the reason for Pat's visit. She's there to interview him about the orchids. 

It's late, and the thunder and lightening is simply murderous, so he convinces her to stay the night, and he'll answer her questions in the morning. Not thrilled, but ever sensible, she agrees. This is the beginning of "the most gruesome night of her life." Someone stole her orchid; She's visited by Lorenz who enters through her cabinet, and just seems to stare at her; Angel lays an orchard by her pillow, and wakes her up by petting her; She finds the secret passage through the cabinet and goes investigating; She sees Lorenz and the Countess sleeping in coffins; She finds the corpse bride; And since Angel has become a liability, she's witness to Lorenz killing him, and then, of course, she faints.

Awaking in her own bed, she tries to tell Dr. Foster what's gone down, but he patronizes her and credits it to a dream. "Don't you remember talking to me last night in the hallway? "she asks. "No." But then he concedes that maybe he was in a "somnambulistic state." Lorenz visited his room and gave him the Lugosi eye as well, but it apparently worked better on the Good Doctor than on our Heroine. She makes it the hell out of Dodge, leaving Lorenz asking about the interview. She explained something had come up, and she had to get back to the office right away, so she needed to make the first train. 


Back at the paper. She's fired. Been off the grid. Keenan's pissed. But she's got the scoop of her life! So he says, "Now take it easy. Stop breathing hard, and tell us all about it." Is that not the lamest line, or what? Seriously, I wanted to sniff an orchid myself right about then. Dr. Foster shows up. Maybe he was hypnotized? Maybe Pat's right? Heaven forbid! He's found a coffin full of a special type of moss used by hybridizers to grow orchids. He explains the Countess appears a young woman but has the heart and arteries of a 70 or 80 yr old woman. He proposes that the brides are not dead, just in a cataleptic state, and that he uses them, the young virgins, to keep her youthful. "Why, That's Preposterous!" shouts Keenan. All they need is another bride to prove it.

Pat hits up her friend, Peggy Woods (Gwen Kenyon), a starving actress, who moonlights as a cigarette girl. She's leery to say the least, but is convinced to take the role when Pat tells her, her "face will be on all the front pages, and Broadway and Hollywood Directors will be offering her contracts." (Ya gotta love that line. Things just ain't what they used to be in Tinsletown.) Just don't smell any strange orchids, (that's mine) and "Don't forget to faint at the altar." (That's Pat's.) The orchid arrives like clockwork. Pat and Dr. Foster watch as the faux wedding takes place. "Isn't it just like a real wedding, Doctor?" "Yes. Too bad it isn't......ours." "Is that a proposal?" "Yes."  Please, are  there any orchids left? I'm dying for one. 

Pat gets a message that the Reverend wants to see her, and sure enough, when she enters his office, there is Lorenz. He chloroforms her, and states he would prefer she was a bride, but she'll do. What does this mean already? He wanted the virgin brides, but what is Pat, an unwedded common trollop? He takes her back to his place, and begins the process, but Fagah, a mom first, (rule #1 Never, ever, mess with the kids.) stabs him for killing her son. Mortally wounded, but still alive, Lorenz first kills Fagah and then drops dead. The Countess prepares to draw from Pat just as Dr. Foster enters, and he kills her. The cops and Pat and her boss enter, and it's all over. "Do I get a byline yet?" she asks Keenan. "After this you can get a clothesline with my shirt on it." 

Dr. Foster and Pat have a wedding of their own. NO ORCHIDS. And once they are pronounced husband and wife, Keenan goes, "Finally make a newspaper woman out of you, and you have to go and quit!" And they all lived happily ever after, well, except for Sandy, who's held on to one of the orchids. He smells it, and collapses. 



Well, hhmmm. What can I say? Poor Bela. Just couldn't make a comeback after Karloff took his Universal seat. Should this movie be included in the "50 Greatest Horror Films"? In a word? NO! IMDB gives it a -1/10. I think that's a little harsh. It should've at least rated a zero. I have several problems with it, but if my post is half as boring as the movie, you get the picture, so to speak. So for the redeeming qualities: Luana's satin robe; when the Countess calls Toby a gargoyle and slaps Pat; some really bad writing, that is so bad, it's comical, so I had a good laugh; Frank Moran, who is so creepy, he might sweeten my dreams.  Luana did a pretty good job with the quick dialogue. I wouldn't say it was up to The Women, but she gave it a good go. She certainly wasn't Tess either, but she put in a good effort considering the script she had to deal with. I just get annoyed with copycat parts. I think Kenneth Harlan did a great job as Editor Keenan, but it was so Daily Planet's hard nosed George Taylor, that I just kept thinking, come on Mr. Fox, let's use a little imagination. All in all, I give it 1 fizzling flame on the flame scale. I hesitate to give it zero flames, I'm only on movie #3, what's if something is worse?! And Pat certainly did have a pretty satin robe, so huzzah to the costumer on that one! And Frank Moran seriously creeped me out. The frickin Perv. The Corpse Vanishes really should have vanished before it hit the big screen. Swept right off the cutting room floor. I'm not sure if it fits into Horror Movie A Day's horror genre of "crap", but it's pretty close. What do you think?

Next, it's Doomed to Die with Boris Karloff (1940).
Until next time....Keep those fires stoked.
Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely