Five Supernatural-Supreme Flicks for All Hallows' Eve

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 28, 2016 04:55pm | Post a Comment

7 Faces of Dr. Lao

-- By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

Tis’ the season for kicking your feet up on the thrift store ottoman, sipping a small glass of slightly chilled port, and sniffing the pumpkin seeds burning in the oven while watching a spooky-mooky old flick on the tube. Here are my humble suggestions of five “fine” viewing pleasures that one may acquire in the glorious horror movie aisle of your favorite music store.

The Gorgon (1964), Directed by Terence Fisher
The GorgonHey, wait…those aren’t green dreadlocks?!
Set in the year 1910, a Gorgon decides to take a lil’ vacation from Greece and hangs out in an abandoned castle of a small German village where she gets her kicks getting the locals “stoned.” Can the Scooby Doo super-duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing defeat this reptilian-haired problem? I mean really, these guys can pretty much defeat anything…including each other.

Here is a quote from the film that I plan on using the next time my Uncle Fred (who practices astral-projection in Mexico) pokes fun at me for my love of collecting Bigfoot tracks and ghost hunting...

Dr. Namaroff (aka my Uncle Fred): “We are men of science. I don't believe in ghosts or evil spirits, and I don't think you do either.” 

Professor Jules Heitz (me): “That's one of the most unscientific remarks I have ever heard. I believe in the existence of everything, which the human brain is unable to disprove." 

This somewhat forgotten Hammer film was directed by Terence Fisher, who gave us other such classic Hammer films like The Devil Rides Out (supremely good) and The Curse of the Werewolf (sluggish pace, but at least it has a lovely Russ Meyer-ish female cast). Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), Directed by the great George Pal
7 faces of dr. laoThe mysterious circus of Dr. Lao pitches its tent outside the little western town of Abalone, Arizona and changes the thoughts, dreams, and lives of the local-yokels. Much like the previous movie above, there is a gorgon that also gets a lady stoned. And hey, both movies came out the same year too. Maybe everyone was getting stoned in '64? Although, this is more of a “family” fantasy film then the rest, it does have an abominable snowman and a giant lake serpent that runs amok. In one scene, you may notice the stuffed two-headed tortoise that hangs out in the Addams Family’s living room too.

With Tony Randall playing seven roles, the one that you will remember the most is when he is playing Pan, the Greek God of the Wild. Actually, it’s not even Pan you will remember; its Barbara Eden, as her librarian character gets steamy hot and bothered while Pan frolics around her in a dance of ecstasy. Imagine if she panted like this in her Jeannie costume…Holy hot-cakes Batman, looky here!

Yes, it is a tad racist, with Tony dressed as an old Chinese magician and talking like Charlie Chan. If you can watch Mr. Moto without throwing a beer can at your TV for it being politically incorrect, then this film is for you. This is currently only on DVD. 

The Fog (1980), Directed by John Carpenter
The FogI got a thing for lighthouse horror flicks and my favorites are The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959), Tormented (1960), and The Fog. Maybe you last saw this as a kid and forgot all about it? It's story of a strange, glowing fog that sweeps in over the small coastal town of Antonio Bay in Northern California, with the vengeful ghosts of some mariners who were killed in a shipwreck 100 years before. The bonus for those who live in the Bay Area is that this was filmed just up in Point Reyes, Bolinas, and Inverness, so after the movie you can take a scenic drive up the coast and hang out in the fog and look, ghosts from a movie!

But beware if ye be beach-combing and come across a piece of driftwood inscribed with the word "DANE." If you do, you can quote B-Real and say…Insane in the membrane, insane in the DANE!

This is also a great movie if you are a local radio DJ. KUSF is coming back from the dead!! This lovely film can be found on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Cat People (1942), Directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Val Lewton
An American fella marries a beautiful Serbian gal who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her Cat Peoplehomeland's fable if they get fresh or "knock boots" together. Well, I've had a few crazy ex-girlfriends (maybe they refer to me as the nutball ex-boyfriend) but none that were comforted by the sounds of the big cats roaring from the zoo. And does she turn into a ferocious cat woman when she gets some back-seat necking? You can only find out after you buy this Lewton masterpiece! I'm always root'n tootin' for Val Lewton and his string of low-budget horror films he produced for RKO Pictures in the 1940s. Lewton's studio head-honchos would supply the film titles and he had to make a movie to fit them, such as I Walked With a Zombie (1943), The Leopard Man (1943), The Ghost Ship (1943), and The Body Snatcher (1945). Find the Val Lewton box set and go bonkers. Criterion released Cat People on DVD and Blu-ray.

Experiment in Terror (1962), Directed by Blake Edwards
Experiement in terrorMore of a creepy bank robbery and murder mystery, Experiment in Terror is a late film noir like no other. Lee Remick and her little sister, played by Stephaine Powers (The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) are terrorized by the sinister Garland Humphrey "Red" Lynch, who is played by Ross Martin. Most folks will remember Ross for being the man of a million disguises on The Wild Wild West television show, but after watching this you will only remember him as a super creepy grandma! Tough guy Glenn Ford plays the good guy...he is a pretty solid dude in most noir flicks.

Set in San Francisco in the '60s, you will see many places you must still drive past to get your favorite burrito in the Mission.

The soundtrack from Henry Mancini is as smooth as a Bayanihan from the Tiki Ti too. This movie overall is heavy on the creepy sauce and is sure to give you the free willies. Available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Rent! Own these...YES!

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Kai Wada Roath (35), Horror (213), Film (180), Halloween (85), Henry Mancini (7), Supernatural (2), Val Lewton (1), Jacques Tourneur (3), John Carpenter (18)