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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nosferatu 1922

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Disc #2, Movie #1, 50 Horror Classics

I started this write-up with my regular style, my voice, so to speak, but it didn't fit. There is a certain sort of reverence that I cannot ignore, and so if you find it boring, I'm sorry, but I simply had to just back off on the humor. It somehow seemed almost disrespectful, which is something I don't usually take into consideration, since I'm the Warden of Hell, and can pretty much do whatever the hell I want. But in this case, it simply did. It's also a bit long, but it's not as long as the film, and I simply could not omit the quotes....

"From the diary of Johann Cavallius, able historian of his native City of Bremen:
"Nosferatu! That name alone can chill the blood!
"Nosferatu! Was it he who brought the plague to Bremen in 1838?"
"I have long sought the causes of that terrible epidemic, and found at it's origin and its climax the innocent figures of Jonathan Harker and his young wife, Nina."


Jofa-Atelier Berlin-Johannisthal and Prana-Film GmbH 
Presents Max Schreck as Count Orlok
in 
F.W. Murnau's
Nosferatu
(1922)

At home in Bremen, Jonathan Harker (Gustav von Wagenheim), and his lovely wife, Nina (Greta Schroeder) enjoy their wedded bliss until duty calls, and Jonathan's off to work as clerk to the estate agent, Renfield (Alexander Granach). "The agent Renfield was a strange man, and there were unpleasant rumours about him." 

An opportunity for the young Harker has presented itself in the form of a letter his boss received from Count Orlok (Max Schreck), a rich man, who lives in Transylvania. He is "free with his money" and looking for a place to reside in Bremen.  "You will have a marvelous journey. And, young as you are, what matter if it costs you some pain--or even a little blood?"  

While Jonathan is checking out the map, Renfield is all a flutter turning the letter over and over, relishing the mark of the Count.

“The house facing yours….That should suit him” he says. "Leave at once, my young friend. And don't be frightened if people speak of Transylvania as the land of phantoms..."


Excited about the opportunity, he rushes home to share the news with Nina. "I may be away for several months Nina. Renfield is sending me to some lost corner of the Carpathians..." Needless to say, Jonathan is far more excited than she, but at least she will stay with their good friends, Westenra (G.H. Schell), and his wife, Lucy (Ruth Landshoff). "Don't worry, Nina. Nothing will happen to me." And he is off.

He reaches an inn, and quite frankly, whoops it up a bit, so before he knows it, he's behind schedule, and shouts to the innkeeper for his dinner, so he can get to the castle. The other guests are shocked, and the innkeeper warns, "You must not leave now! The evil spirits become all-powerful after dark!"

The horses in the fields skit and scatter, and that which is supposed to be a wolf, or a werewolf, or even a phantom whose taken possession of a wolf, is really a hyena, but it's ok with me. It's 1922 for goodness sakes, and this movie has me glued to the TV.

The Innkeeper's wife shows Harker to his room, and I have to say, the bed was so great! A simple wooden frame, with long legs, that made the mattress sit, probably, three or four feet off the floor. I have never seen anything like it in the in the states. Although, maybe the rich have high beds. Wouldn't know about that. Maybe it's just a European thing. But it's practical and functional, maximizing what little space was available, and creating a great storage area beneath. There is a simple step stool to climb on board. It's well into the night, and the horses are freaking out. We see our four footed furry creature again, women cowering and huddling, and as Harker closes his window, he shivers, climbs up to his bed, and notices a book on the bedside table. "The Book of the Vampires." 

"...and it was in 1443 that the first Nosferatu was born."  Harker yawns, gives a "ah hooey" look, tosses the book aside, and turns in. 

Upon rising, he greets the day with another fine stretch and a gander outside. The animals return, and after stretching some more, he picks up the book. "Men do not always recognize the dangers that beasts can sense at certain times." Laughing again, he tosses, more vigorously than before, the book upon the floor, and then does something I've never before seen. He slips his arms out of his nightshirt and ties them around his waste, so he is bare from the chest up, and begins his morning ablutions: dipping his head in the bowl, washing his face, etc. Then it's time to ride, and another interesting thing happened. The coachman takes his usual seat, but another rider mounts one of the lead horses, and they are on their way. 

They bounce and wrench from side to side, and it looks loud and uncomfortable, and I'll bet that's exactly how it was. The day is drawing to a close, and the coachman calls out, "Hurry! The sun will soon be setting!" And just before it does, they stop, and Harker disembarks. "We will go no further, sir. Not for a fortune!" The coachman informs, and although Harker is taken aback, he grabs his bags. When he looks to the coachman, he's told, "We will go no further. Here begins the land of phantoms." And they part ways. "And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him."

We see a shot of Count Orlok's castle, and another carriage coming to meet Harker. The driver wears a hat with a feather, like Robin Hood, that sits low on his brow, and his cape is high, revealing nothing but his dark rimmed eyes. He motions, with his switch, to get in the coach. They arrive at the castle, and without a word, he simply points to the entrance. After entering the outer walls, Harker is greeted by a mysterious man, the Count no doubt, whose body, attire, and gait, remind me of a cross between Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka and Barnabas Collins, plus a slightly humped back, and a big crooked nose. His hat is, I'm sure, like the one in the little German ditty, "My hat, it has three corners. Three corners has my hat."  If I'm wrong, please let me know. He speaks, "You are late, young man. It is almost midnight. My servants have all retired." 

Once inside the castle, the Count reads a paper, while Harker eats. He can't help but notice the Count's eyes, and is shaken to say the least, and while cutting some bread, the clock strikes midnight; he's loses his concentration, and the knife slips, cutting his thumb. And when I say cutting his thumb. I think he really cut his thumb. It sure looks like he cut his thumb, which instantly grabs the Count's attention. He rises and approaches Harker. "Blood! Your precious blood!" 

His reaction startles Harker, who starts backing up while the Count moves towards him. "Let us chat together a moment, my friend. There are still several hours until dawn, and I have the whole day to sleep." Nosferatu bows to him, and Harker, seriously freaked out at this point, just keeps backing up without taking his eyes off the Count, making his way toward the chair he knows is behind him, concentrating, so intently, on the Count, that he practically trips on the step he must navigate prior to taking a seat. They converse, I suppose, for some time, until Harker falls asleep.....

"As the sun rose, Harker felt himself freed from the oppressions of the night.” But, something is off, and he grabs the mirror close by, and takes a look at his neck with wild eyes, a grin, and a yawn. It’s breakfast time, so he pours himself some wine. I do not see him eat. Exploring the grounds takes him to a gazebo, where he writes a letter.

"Nina, my beloved~
         Don't be unhappy. Though I am far away. I love you.
         This a strange country, amazing.
         After my first night in the castle, I found two large bites on              my neck. From mosquitoes? From spiders? I don't know. 
         I have had some frightful dreams, but they were only dreams.         You mustn't worry about me."

He runs to meet a rider who takes the letter and heads back into the woods.

"As twilight came on, the empty castle became alive with menacing shadows." 

And as the Count and Harker look over possible housing for the Count, he spies a picture of Nina. And his eyes widen. And here is my favorite line in the film....

"Is this your wife? What a lovely throat!" 

It is at this point, that the Count agrees the apartment across the street from the Harker's is best suited to him. "That old mansion seems quite satisfactory. We shall be neighbors." Harker's not as excited as was before. And that night before retiring, when he puts Nina's picture back in his bag, he finds The Book of Vampires

"Nosferatu drinks the blood of the young, the blood necessary to his own existence. One can recognize the mark of the vampire by the trace of his fangs on the victim's throat." The clock strikes midnight, and Harker is beginning to realize what is happening. Terrified, he opens his door, and sees Nosferatu in the hallway staring at him. Frozen at first, he then takes to his bed, turning aside to block out the view of the vampire entering his room. 

"That same night in Bremen, in a somnambulistic dream..." Nina rises from her bed and takes to the balcony, walking the ledge. "Nina?" Westenra frantically asks, and catches her just in time, as she faints and falls. "The doctor, quickly!"

And while Harker sleeps, Nosferatu bears down upon his neck, and drinks. But back in Bremen Nina wakes suddenly, "Jonathan! Jonathan! Hear me!" And it's as if Nosferatu hears her, and he backs away, never moving his arms with his gait. Nina is exhausted and falls immediately to sleep, once Nosferatu has left her beloved's room. "A sudden fever" the doctor tells the Westenras. 

"The doctor laid Nina's trance to some unknown disease. Since then I have learned that she had sensed the menace of Nosferatu that very night. And Harker far away, had heard her call of warning." Rising quickly, and in a state of panic, grabbing his neck, Harkern feels ill and weak. Searching for the Count takes him to the bowels of the castle where he spies a coffin. There between the broken slats of wood, he sees the face of the vampire, and throwing open the lid, he is floored, literally. Crawling up the stairs and away to his room, he is so shaken, he can barely make his way to the window to watch Nosferatu quickly assembling coffins, filling them with dirt, gathering them into a pile, and carting them off. Harker escapes his room by ripping and tying sheets together and lowering himself from the window to the ground, where he faints from fear and exhaustion. 

Down the river, a ferry makes it's journey to the sea to meet the ship Demeter“The men little suspected what terrible cargo they were carrying down the valley.”

Harker recoups in the home of the peasants who found him, but alas he still has a high fever. Waking with a fright, and in a state of delirium, Harker mumbles, "Coffins...Coffins filled with earth." The cargo in question is transferred to the ship's hold, and the Demeter sets sail to Bremen. The crew finds the boxes are not only filled with dirt, but also with rats.

“Nosferatu was en route; and with him disaster approached Bremen. At the same time, Dr. Van Helsing was giving a course on the secrets of nature and their strange correspondence to human life.”

“The professor told his students about the existence of a carnivorous plant” And his students, all four of them, watched while the Dr. fed a fly to a venus flytrap.

“Astonishing isn’t it, gentlemen? That plant is the vampire of the vegetable kingdom.”

“Nosferatu held Renfield under his influence from afar...That patient who was brought in yesterday has gone out of his mind!”  And so the warden, the other warden, checks on him. He is seriously wacked, grabbing flies from the air. 

“Blood!...Blood!”  He screams, before he attacks the Warden, but the guard takes him down.

Class is still in session…. "And now, gentlemen", Van Helsing continues, "here is another type of vampire: a polyp with claws…” And it is really fascinating, it’s a real polyp, like under a microscope, moving, and everything. This is 1922 Prisoners! “…transparent, without substance, almost a phantom.” 


And Renfield sees a spider in his cell, but the guard won’t let him get to it, and they tie him up.

This is such a beautiful shot.
“Nina was often seen alone among the dunes, watching and waiting for her husband’s return.” This is where the Westenras find her, and deliver a letter from her Jonathan, stating he has had frightful dreams, but is leaving immediately to return to her. 

Harker is still very weak and pale, with deep sunken eyes and dark circles around. He thanks the peasants, makes his way to a horse, and begins the long journey home. 

In his cell, Renfield spies a news page in the back pocket of the guard sweeping his room and snatches it. It reads.....

"New Plague Baffles Science
A mysterious epidemic of the plague has broken out in Eastern Europe and in the port cities of the Black Sea, attacking principally the young and vigorous. Cause of the two bloody marks on the neck of each victim baffles the medical profession." 

This makes Renfield very excited....

"Aboard the Demeter first one man was stricken, then all." And still the coffins lie unattended. "One evening, at sundown,the captain and his first mate buried the last man of the crew." One more burial at sea. The First Mate grabs an ax, and heads down to take a look in the hold. When he smashes open a coffin, the rats come pouring out, but this is not the worst of it. Across the room a coffin lid opens, and Nosferatu stands up, stiff, with arms stuck to his sides, and the First Mate freaks out, goes up on deck, and jumps overboard. The Captain sees where this is headed, ties himself to the wheel, (Is this what Captain's do when they go down with their ship?) as Nosferatu makes his way to the bridge. 

“Despite all sorts of obstacles, Harker pushed on towards Bremen. Meanwhile, driven by the fatal breath of the vampire, the vessel moved rapidly towards the Baltic.”

Nina is still drawn to the balcony, and raising her arms, she cries, "He's coming. I must go to him..." But she is under a spell, and is not talking about her husband, I don't think, please correct me if I'm wrong, as the ship approaches the harbor. Renfield is also sensing the arrival, "The Master is coming! The Master is Here!" And he starts going nuts, trying to escape up the wall, but he can't so he crawls up onto his bed and sits on his knees in the corner like a little kid waiting in anticipation. Seriously one of the creepiest sights I've ever seen, as he is not a little kid, but a wild haired old man. 

The Galley door opens, and Nosferatu rises from the depths of the ship. A guard enters Renfield's cell, and that was a major mistake. Renfield takes him down and flees. 

From Cavallius's Diary...

"I have long tried to understand why Nosferatu travelled with the earth-filled coffins. Recently I discovered that to preserve their diabolic power, vampires must sleep during the day in the same unhallowed ground in which they had been buried." 

He enters the town of Bremen with his coffin under his arm. The rats have entered Bremen as well, and flee the ship. Harker hurries down the road towards his home, and finally, after many moons, he is home safe in Nina's arms. She is quite weak, but he kisses her, like he hasn't seen her for months. It's very sweet. 

Nosferatu reaches his destination, and standing in a small boat, with his coffin under one arm, he crosses what looks to be a moat. Seriously, one of the craziest sights I've ever seen.

When the villagers check out the ship, they find the captain, dead, or near death, tied to the wheel, and not a single soul left on board. The ship's log reads....

"Ship's Log~Varma to Bremen 29 April 1838
Passed the Dardanelles--East Wind--Carrying 5 passengers, mate, crew of 7, and myself, the Captain."

As they examine the Captain's body, they read on...

"6 May 1838
Rounded Cape of Inatagran~One of my men, the strongest, is sick~Crew is restless, uneasy.

"7 May 1838
Mate reported stowaway hiding below decks~will investigate...

"18 May 1838
Passed Gibraltar~Panic on board~Three men dead already~Mate out of his mind~Rats in the hold~I fear the plague..."

And they panic.......... 

"The Plague is Here!
Stay in your Houses!"

And they flee, leaving the body of the Captain where it lay, and covering their faces with their handkerchiefs. A declaration is read aloud by the town crier.

~Notice~
To halt the spread of the plague, the Burgomaster of Bremen forbids the citizens of this city to bring their sick to the hospitals until further notice."



The townspeople seek shelter in their homes and barricade their windows. The undertaker goes door to door marking the dwellings of the dead with a cross. There are many crosses.

“Nina had promised her husband never to open the The Book of the Vampires, but she found herself unable to resist the temptation..."

"One can recognize the mark of the vampire by the trace of his fangs on the victim's throat. Only a woman can break this frightful spell~a woman pure in heart~who will offer her blood freely to Nosferatu and will keep the vampire by her side until after the cock has crowed."

When Harker finds her, they embrace. She knows he was bitten, and she knows by what, or in this case, by whom, and she knows Nosferatu is a vampire, and she knows that she has been under his spell, and she knows what she must do. Harker knows to, and cannot stop her. 

"The townspeople lived in mortal terror. 'Who was sick or dying? Who will be stricken tomorrow...'" And now their dear friend Lucy is sick, as well. Nina stares out the window as more and more caskets are carried down the street.  

Meanwhile, Renfield is running a muck through the town, a village mob hot on his tail. He's run through alleyways and straddled rooftops, while Nina cross stitches devising her plan. He gets to a field, but the villagers catch him, tearing his clothes to shred, and taking him back to prison. 

At his window, Nosferatu stares across the street, beckoning Nina to hers. While Jonathan sleeps in the chair next to her bed, she throws open the window inviting the vampire to enter. He disappears, and is on his way.

She wakes Jonathan and asks that he call the Professor, to get him out of the house. Nosferatu's shadowy form creeps up the staircase and into her room. She takes to her bed holding her heart in terror as the shadow hands reach and clench towards her. 

He goes down on her lovely throat, but he stays too long, and the cock crows, and he realizes his grievous err too late. Renfield senses it, and calls out through his cell window, "Master! Master! Beware!" 

And when the sun begins to glow on the buildings outside, he tries to flee, but is caught in it's rays, and disappears before my eyes, leaving nothing but a bit of smoke rising from the ground. 

Renfield, all tied up, is a broken man, and simply mumbles, "Master, Master." 

But Nina rises, and is finally free, shouting "Jonathan! Jonathan! Just as he and the Professor arrive. "And at that moment, as if by a miracle, the sick no longer died, and the stifling shadow of the vampire vanished with the morning sun."





One last shot as the sun shines on the Count's castle...



The End. 

And I am left in awe, and probably a needlessly lengthy post, but I simply could not help myself. One of the things I like most about this film is how realistic everything is. I mean, when you watch Gunsmoke and Miss Kitty and Matt are in the wagon, they’re not doing much bouncing, no pun intended. What I mean is, the wagon ride looks fairly smooth and comfortable. Now, I’ve never been in a wagon out in the desert, but I doubt very highly that it is a smooth ride. I’d say it was loud and dusty and bouncy and downright uncomfortable, and probably scary as hell, because you figure each rotation of the wheel was going to be it's last, and you'd be stuck out in the middle of the desert, and by the time one reached their destination, they were sore and miserable. The wagon on the way up to the castle was realistically wrenching from one side to the other, with wheels going into ruts on each side, and the whole dang wagon looking like it was about to fall apart. I think that’s what it was really like. And as a History major, I found so many simple things so fascinating, the height and simplicity of the bed. The slipping out of the nightshirt and tying the sleeves around his waste. The extra rider on the lead horse of the carriage. And how Count Orlok disappeared. He literally disappeared. It was filmed almost 100 years ago, and it wasn't even botched. And when Harker cut his thumb, I'd say he really cut his thumb. The hyena was a surprise. At first I thought it was some sort of animal that really lived there that is now extinct, so that's a little off, because who thinks of hyenas in the Carpathians right off the bat. Who knows? Maybe there are hyenas in the Carpathians. I've never been there, so I couldn't tell you. And Nosferatu carrying his coffin under his arm like it was a newspaper. And the passion between Jonathan and Nina was so clear and evident, but not slimy or dirty, just passionate. The way he held her. The things he wrote to her. And how it was just normal that he would be home in a few months. Ya know, I'll bet, and please bear with me, while I go on a little tangent here that really bugs the crap out of me. You can fast forward if you don't want to listen, but it's my blog, so I'm writing it. I could argue, and I believe I could argue successfully, that the number of divorces has risen steadily with the rise of technology. Seriously. 100 years ago people didn't have to account for every second of the day. They didn't expect a reply to a text in five seconds, and start getting nervous if they don't get one. They just lived. And if they received a letter, that was a treat. One didn't waste time writing about how you should have done this or why didn't you do that or where were you or why didn't you answer my texts. I think it has made us all paranoid and anxious and impatient and expectant of something right this second. They didn't deal with stuff like that. And they sure wouldn't waste their paper and ink to write about stuff like that. It was sharing the good things, and saying how much you missed each other, and then when you got to see them in three months, it was just heaven. Not that I'm given up my cell. I see the value, especially when children are involved. It's far less invasive, and they are far more likely to respond to your texts, by text, then they are to a phone call they actually have to pick up. But as far as relationships go, I think people are far to quick to just text off a frustration, and since there is not inflection in a text, they are often misconstrued, and then the trouble starts. So with relationships...limit the texts, unless they are sweet. With kids, hey, if you can shoot them a short message, they'll look at it. If you call them? Well, it depends. But back to the film. One problem I have, is a loose end, and if I've missed something, please comment and straighten me out. Dr. Van Helsing makes what I will call a cameo appearance. He is in the film, as far as I can tell, simply to infer to the relationship between vampires and the animal and plant world. Somehow making it plausible that there could indeed be vampires, because there are essentially vampires in flora, i.e.venus flytraps, and fauna, the polyp. He is in no way a vampire hunter, at least in this film, but simply to state scientific argument that vampires could exist. Unless I am missing something, and that may very well be the case. I am in no way an authority on Nosferatu, nor am I the sharpest tack in the box. So please, if you know something I don't about this particular aspect of Nosferatu, please chime in on the comments! And this story just goes to show, how misunderstood disease was, and how stories and myths and legends are made up to explain what can't be explained or stopped. If it can't be explained, than it must be supernatural, right? It's been going on for thousands of years, take the gods for example. That's how panic begins. And witch hunts. And vampire hunts. And Inquisitions. And mob mentality. Such a scary thing. And, as far as I'm concerned, the film is a little long. Probably like my post. Well, these little nit picky things certainly don't warrant taking away a flame, and Nosferatu, without a doubt, warrants five flames on the flame scale. What they pulled off in 1922 blew me away...again. 

Next it's Disc #2, Movie #2, Swamp Woman!

Until next time...Keep those fires stoked!

Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely







Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nosferatu COMING SOON!

Hell o Prisoners!

Thanks for stopping by! Viewing Nosferatu 1922 as we speak, and hope to have a post you will enjoy up by the end of the week! So please come on back! Until then....Keep those fires stoked!
Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely

Friday, November 15, 2013

Who says the sun don't shine down here in the depths?

I won an award! And it's not a Leg Lamp! Nor is it FRAGILE! It's........



I've been called Sunshine. And I've seen Sunshine, although I live in the Pacific Northwest, so not that much, but I have never been given the Sunshine Award! In fact, I've never won an award, accept for...no! I guess I never have won an award! So this is very exciting. I'd like to thank Brandon, over at Movies At Dog Farm, first and foremost, for nominating me. And his buddy Vern over at The Vern's Video Vortex, for nominating him, and what the heck, while I'm at it, Mette, over at Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions, for nominating him. Thanks for thinking of me Brandon! So before we get down to business, here are the rules and regs of this kick ass bit of Sol.....

The Rules!

1. Include the award's logo in a post or on your blog
2. Link to the person who nominated you
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself (Use these or come up with your own. I used Brandon's. They were good enough for me.)
4. Nominate 10 Bloggers
5. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated


1. How long have you been doing this, and when did you launch?
Which time? hah. Monday, February 27, 2012 was my first post, but then I got scared, and didn’t come back until August 2, 2013. I can watch a good slasher flick with the best of them, but putting myself out there in the great big huge blogosphere for everyone to see? eek!

2. Most pleasant blogging surprise
Fellow Horror Bloggers. First, I had no idea just how many there were. And second, I'da never figured on just how sweet and welcoming they are. And I’m gonna say sweet, because I’m a girl, and I can. For a bunch of people who enjoy watching people get skewered, decapitated, blown to bits, squished, vaporized, annihilated, gagged, tied, not so much raped or tortured, for me anyways, but stabbed, burned, and just about any other vile verb you can think of, these guys and gals would give you the shirt off their back, unless it’s their Horror Blogger Alliance Skull Pile T. Gotta buy your own to support Jeremy and the Alliance, if nothing else. 

3. Most hard won blogging wisdom
You have to actively seek out potential visitors, or you will be blogging to yourself.  And, Oh yes, just how little I know.

4. Topic of your favorite post
I think I would rather answer which one of my posts is my favorite, so there. And that’s easy! It’s the one on which I received my first comment! And that would be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1922 with John Barrymore. Some people frame their first buck, well, I don’t have one of those, so I framed my first comment, and it was from Grimm, Dear Grimm, from GrimmReviewz. How Grimm found me right off the bat, I have no idea, and I don’t care. I just know he did. And I was so thrilled when I saw his comment, I did a little dance. I will forever be indebted to Grimm, and if you don’t know who he is, boy, you’re really missing out. He’s been doing this for awhile, and his blog is amazing. If his comment wasn’t an ego booster, I don’t know what is. Motivated me to continue, it did. There's a huge difference between hoping someone visits your blog and someone actually visiting your blog.  THANKS GRIMM!

5. Favorite movie franchise
Halloween. I’m a die hard Michael fan. Although, I have to say I didn’t like all of them. Halloween III: Season of the Witch just pissed me off cause I didn’t get to see Michael, and I thought it was lame. And I didn’t like Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers much either, because I just wanted little Jamie to shut the hell up. I have not seen Resurrection. And since Brian over at Horror Movie a Day absolutely loathes it, now I’m afraid to.

6. Favorite animal?
Elephants. They take care of each other. Would fight til the death for their friends and family and the regular Joe in their clan. Maybe I like them because they are a lot like Horror Bloggers. And Brandon? I have to say, the fact that you answered "cats" was a little disappointing. Cats? Really, Brandon? Is that the best you can do? Couldn't you at least have picked something really exciting like dogs? Since you are Movies at Dog Farm and all? Seriously cracked me up, Dude. hahaha

7. Recent movie you most feel the need to re-evaluate?
Halloween Resurrection. Hah!
I have to re-evaluate simply watching it for the first time. Can’t really say I’m a die hard Michael fan, if I haven’t seen all of his movies now, can I. But if I do, and he’s not in it, and it's as lame as Brian says, boy, there’s gonna be hell to pay.

8. Favorite band
Pretty much changes on a daily basis. I know I am so sick of 80s music. That never changes. Never ever want to hear another 80s band as long as I live. And ya know, even though there was some pretty good stuff in the 60s and 70s, Geez Louise, how long can you listen to something? That’s a toughie, so today I’m gonna go with Herb Alpert. Gotta love Taste of Honey. I seriously have no idea. I would never turn off Nirvana or Louie Armstrong or Bennie Goodman or Glenn Miller or Don Ho or The Sex Pistols or Pennywise's Bro Hymn .

9. Favorite movie to subject straights to even though I’m almost certain they won’t enjoy it?
 Ace Ventura Pet Detective. I think it's funny as hell, but I don't think the straights would.

10. Favorite movies to subject straights to because I’m certain they will enjoy it? 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with John Barrymore 1922 and The Long Ships 1964. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because John Barrymore depends on his acting ability and makeup to creep the hell out of you, and he succeeds. And The Long Ships because of the music, the story, the bell, and that sword slide. The sword slide image will stay with you till the day you die, and it was made in 1964.

Winners!

Grimm at Grimm Reviewz
R.G. Lovecraft at R.G. Lovecraft Reviews
Christine at Fascination with Fear
HollyHorrorshow at Holly's Horror Land
Michelle at The Girl Who Loves Horror

Yeah, I know. There's 11. So sue me, just please don't take back my award! I already told everyone at work about it, and they'll think I'm full of crap.  





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Monday, November 11, 2013

Eaten Alive! (1977)

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Disc #1, Movie #10, 50 Horror Classics

"Things happen...All accordin' to instincts. They're ain't no, ain't no stations. Ain't no stations. Gotta do whatcha gotta do." Judd 



Virgo International Pictures
A Mars Production
Presents Neville Brand
in
Tobe Hooper's
Eaten Alive
(1977)

Down on the Bayou, Buck's (Robert Englund) a lookin' for something a little extra special tonight from Miss Hattie's (Carolyn Jones- Woot!) newest little filly, Clara (Roberta Collins). Well, that sure as hell ain't gonna happen, and after quite a ruckus, and a lot of whinin' and cryin' from the sweet little gal, Miss Hattie done shoos her off and gives Buck the pick of the litter...or two. 



A runaway, and one none too familiar with trade, Sweet Clara best be beatin' it down the road, cause she ain't makin' no money for Miss Hattie. Ruby (Betty Cole), the House nurse, donned in a white nurse's uniform and orthopedic shoes, sees she's got a couple a bucks, and points her in the direction of the Starlight Motel just down the road. "But don't you let on you're one a Miss Hattie's girls, now, child." 

Scared as a kitten in a wolf den, Sweet Clara mosies on down and meets Judd (Neville Brand), owner of this here fine establishment.

Well, Judd ain't no Einstein, but he's on to our Sweet Clara in a flash, and figures since she's one a Miss Hattie's girls, he can, you know, have his way, but Clara's seen as much action as she can handle, and some she can't, I'd bet, and she don't go down without a fight. Unfortunately, she's no match for Judd's pitchfork. And what's more, Judd's got a pet croc, and it's feedin' time at the Starlight. Sweet Clara is, yes, folks, Eaten Alive!

So whats Judd do? Well, he does what any god-fearin'-khaki-wearin-backwater motel proprietor would do. He begins to sing.


"Down roun' Tumbledown standin' roun' in the rain. Ain't got no ticket. Aint' got no bag. Still I'm waitin' on the the train...." 

 
Well, it's 'bout now we get some payin' customers pullin' in. Roy (William Finley) and his lovely wife, Faye (Marilyn Burns), their adorable little girl, Angie (Kyle Richards), and her little dog, too--Scuffy. But straight off the bat, Scuffy gets a little too close to the water's edge and gets Eaten Alive! Right in front of little Angie. Well, she's none too happy 'bout it, as you can imagine, so mom hoists her up and takes her up to their room, where she cries and carries on, while mom smokes and takes her pills, and dad goes into "pity me" mode natterin', "I'm so sorry, sorry, sorry." Yah ya are, buddy. Friggin' wierd, too.

And downstairs Judd is mumblin. 

"Things happen...All accordin' to instincts. They're ain't no, ain't no stations. Ain't no stations. Gotta do whatcha gotta do."

And then Roy starts getting real wierd--spazzin' out mimicking strangling his wife, while their kid looks on, and then he starts in, in this sing-song really freaky voice, "Why don't ya just take that cigarette and grind it out in my eye?" And he laughs. "Was that you're eye? Oh! Oh Honey, I thought it was an ashtray!" And his wife asks, for no apparent reason, "Did I burn you?" And he goes, "No, you didn't burn me. No ya just gouged my eye out! She just gouged my eye out! No wait a second.... heeheeheehee. Nope, nope, ya didn't do that . Oh no, ya did! Ya did! There's a hole in my eye! There's a hole in my eye! Oh ya gouged my eye out!" 
And he starts crawlin' around on the ground, like he's lookin' for crack. "Where is it? Where is it? Where'd it roll to Honey? Honey, let's just take that eye and scrunch it." And the kid's holdin' her ears. And he's freakin' out. And mom's takin' off her wig. And then he starts barking. Barking! She goes, "What do you want me to do? Throw myself to the alligators?" And he starts mimicking biting her with his hand. 

Well, Roy, the friggin' wierdo, runs out and grabs his shotgun. "Daddy's gone off to slay the dragon" mom says. Judd's none too happy 'bout it. "...ain't no common gator. No, no, that Croc he came all the way from Africa. He don't come from around her t'all. Frank Buck. Frank Buck. Ya know 'bout him? Brang him back alive! Frank Buck they call him. Come from up in Gaines ville....They'll never die...!" So Roy, with all his good intentions, is buckin' I mean barkin' up the wrong tree, and Judd pull's out his trusty pitchfork, right? No! Judd's got a reg'lar tool arsenal. So he whips out his trusty scythe! All god-feari'n-khaki-wearin'-backwater motel proprietors got scythes, right? I mean we're in the Bayou. Ya gotta have a scythe! But after unloadin' his shotgun in the swamp, Roy gets a little too close to the edge, and with a little help from Judd, he is Eaten Alive!

Well, no wonder Judd does a lotta singing and smilin' and killin'. Judd's got a habit, and once he gets back to his room, he opens up a packet a powder and pops the whole dang thing into his mouth! "That big C made 'me feel better already." And he proceeds to take his leg off. Yes, folks. Judd's done missin' his leg from the knee down. 

Well, of course, the first thing I'd do in this here fine establishment, would be to leave my kid in the room while my husband was off slayin' the dragon and some friggin' perv is runnin' around take my clothes off and take a bath, right? And that's just what Faye decides to do. But Judd goes on in, knocks her down, wraps her in a tarp, and starts whackin' the daylights outa her. 

Angie hears her mom screamin' her head off, and runs outside, so Judd goes chasin' her with his scythe all over the property, until she holds up under the motel. And I'm not sure why Judd went to all the trouble of bundlin' mom up so nice and pretty like, since he just unwraps her and ties her to the bed posts, binds her feet, tapes her mouth shut, and then starts tauntin' her. "Your little girl.. She done run under my place. 'Spect I gotta go in and pull her out. It's best I go...I go on..." But not before he wipes her face gently and sweetly says, "Judd knows. He knows what he knows." 

Back in town.....Clara's got fam. She's got a sister, Libby (Crystin Sinclaire), and a Dad, Harvey Wood, (Mel Ferrer), who didn't give a rat's ass about her leavin' to begin with, but since he's been sick, and nearin' death, he wants to make amends and bring her home, so they visit the local sheriff. They'd asked for Clara at Judd's, but I expect you know how that panned out. Sheriff Martin ( Stuart Whitman) takes them on over to Miss Hattie's.

Miss Hattie checks out Clara's picture, and without skippin' a beat, reports "Never saw her before in my life" and proceeds to try and sell Mr. Wood some property. She learns they're stayin' at Judd's. "Old Judd use to be a reg'lar roun' here, but I had to run 'im off. The old fool. All he wanted to do is look and talk his crazy fool talk. Scared the girls, too. Say, ya know what he says? He says that big gator a his is really a crocodile from Africa. He says those things don't die. Ya gotta kill 'em. He's the one tore off 'ol Judd's leg. Tore it clean off an et it." 

It's been a long day. Dad goes back to the Starlight, while Libby and Sheriff Martin go have a bite to eat and a cup o' joe at the local tavern. "I reckon if it was my daughter, I'd do the same thing," he says. 

Meanwhile back at the Starlight, Judd's trying to coax Angie out from under the house. I expect he'd a had better luck had he not been using his scythe, but what do I know? "Oooooh! We got something for ya.  mmmmmhmmmm, yes mam, look 'ere, little girl." Angie's a screamin'. "Mommy! Daddy!" And just 'bout that time Mr. Wood is pullin' in. He hears her. He hears somethin', but he's sick and old and stupid and forgets, just that quick, and enters the Starlight. No wonder Clara ran away. But I guess he simply had a senior moment and returns outside to find the source of the small voice. But Judd comes flyin' out the door and scythes him. And when I say scythes him, I mean he scythes him good, Prisoners. There is no CGI in this folks, and that scythe was past half way through his neck. It was friggn' awesome. It was just stuck there. And he was like holdin' on to it. And it was great. Sorry, mom. And Judd's all, "Ya think it's easy? Ya think it's easy?"

Back at the bar......

These two guys are playin' slap. That's all I can think of to call it. They were like slappin' each other in the face. It was some dumb guy game. Girls don't play slap. It's stupid. hahaha. (Sorry Brandon, Grimm, Jeremy, and James.:)) And our ol' friend Buck's there, and he picks up this chick. Buck does alot of that, I think. Libby and the Sheriff are still there, and she explains about Clara runnin' away and her dad bein' sick and all, and how he's spent a ton on private investigators, etc. Before they leave, Sheriff tells Buck, who's a big fat jerk, to take the chick and split. So, he does, and since the Starlight seems to be the only place in town, that's where they head.

Well, Judd may love his Croc, although, I'm not sure why since he "'et his leg clean off," but he hates Buck, even though Buck gave him his beloved pet, so when they arrive, Judd tells him to take a hike. But poor old Judd. Nobody takes him seriously, and so Buck says, "I may have to do what 'ol Hattie says I oughta..I oughta put a stick o dynamite up that 'ol Croc's ass o yers." Well, Judd sure don't want to risk that, so Buck goes on in. "They could do it right there in the dirt, if they gotta a mind, too." Judd says. Maybe he's not so dumb afterall.

Sheriff Martin (and yes, folks, Mom is still upstairs tied to the bedposts makin' quite a racket every time she hears Angie scream, which is ongoing.) drops off Libby, promises he'll send out an APB, and tries to reassure her. "Lot's a teens run away these days...she'll turn up." 

While mom's strugglin' next door, and Libby's gettin' ready for beddy, Buck's in his whitey tighties tryin' to get that something a little extra special from a little filly whose a little more accommodatin', but he starts hearing things. He's hearin' mom and Angie, and he simply can't concentrate, so he goes lookin' for the source. Judd's millin' about like a freak and wipin' the mom's tears, and the country music is playin', and things are getting really creepy. 


Buck, he goes outside, and starts lookin' 'roun, and just as he's about to look under the house, Judd comes out. "Ya hear that?" Buck asks. And Judd, who never makes much sense whether he's talkin' to someone or talkin' to himself says, "You think I don't know. 'Ol Croc'll eat anything, even old Buck." And since Buck was a little too close to the water, he is Eaten Alive! This makes Judd very happy, so he does the two step with his scythe. Don't y'all?

Buck's gal is still there though, albeit not for long. She actually gets away. She had enough sense to stay away from the water. She ran through the swamp, into the woods, onto the road, and since this must be a very busy swamp road, a car comes by and picks her up. 

Since Judd's outside, he might as well try and get that persnickety kid out from under his motel. And Judd has a flash a brilliance. We simply don't give Judd enough credit. He takes his scythe and cuts the wire fencing enclosing his Croc to free his fine pet. This does not sit well with Angie t'all, and she begins to scream...again. Mom's fit to be tied, hahaha, fit to be tied, which in turn grabs Libby's attention. She's wonderin' whether or not to go in. I mean is someone in trouble, or is someone having too much fun and just sound like they're in trouble? She took a chance and entered and then just kind of looked at her like, "uh, do you need help?" Afterall, it's perfectly normal for a woman to be tied to a bedpost with her feet bound and electrical tape on her mouth on the bayou, right? "Oh, Jesus. Jesus," she says, and cuts her loose.

And then all hell breaks lose, Prisoners. Judd's back inside, and he's swinging his scythe about, and chicks are flying through banisters, and chicks are crawling because they're legs are all sliced up, and Angie's screaming, and the Croc is swimming, and chicks are climbing fences and trying to get little girls away from big Crocs that don't die, and then Judd gets a little too close to the water and falls in head first and gets Eaten Alive! And then the movie stops. Yes folks, the movie stops before the end. I guess when you pay $25 bucks for 50 Horror Classics you can't expect perfection. But wait! It is 2013 and we have YouTube! So I search, and I find a part nine final cut of Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive, and we're back in business. 

Sheriff Martin pulls up and saves the day. And from the depths of the swamp, through the bubbles and the muck, surfaces what looks to be a prosthetic. And if if I'm wrong, please, for god's sake, someone post a comment and tell me what it really is. 

And that Prisoners is Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive! And my faith is restored in my 5 disc set of 50 Horror Classics. 

We all have instincts right? Isn't everything we do an instinct of some kind. So, it must be right, right? Or we wouldn't do it. That means we can justify every single thing we do. Every single thing. Because like Judd said. "We do what we gotta do." Thank you, Mr. Hooper.

And Kyle Richards, if you are out there, you rock, little chick. And if you are not messed up by having to play Angie, well, then, you not only rock, you are a beast, and I just want to give you a great big hug. Four out of five flames on the flame scale. Seriously creeped me out. And the only reason it didn't get five, was because of Robert Englund's whitey tighties. And Mr. Hooper? You're music rocked as well. Chilling.

We are on to Disc #2 Prisoners! Next it's F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu 19 friggin 22. I'm in hell. That's heaven to me. 

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



ps I have to say there were no bras in this movie, even under the dresses. Vasserette and all the other bra companies did not have a good year in 1977. And it sounds gross, but I hope y'all started to wear one, because undoubtedly, if you didn't, your fine breasts did not hold up so well, I expect.