Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 31

It's Halloween! Put on your masks and stare at the TV!

I'm stuck in an office all day, but I'm still going to fire up TCM on my iPad and just let their traditionally excellent Halloween programming play in the background. Here's today's haunting line-up, (all times PST):

8:30 AM - Dementia 13 (1963)
10:00 AM - 13 Ghosts (1960)
11:30 AM - The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966)
1:30 PM - House of Wax (1953)
3:00 PM - Poltergeist (1982)
5:00 PM - The Old Dark House  (1932)
6:30 PM - The Haunting  (1963)
8:30 PM - House on Haunted Hill (1958)
10:15 PM - The Cat and the Canary (1939)
11:45 PM - The Old Dark House (1963)
1:30 AM - The Bat (1959)

OK, maybe I won't let them all play since Fearless Vampire Killers has moments that are a little NSFW...

I've already worn this year's costume twice, so I think this evening will be devoted to candy eating and movie watching in my not very scary pajamas. I haven't even watched Halloween yet this year! That needs to be rectified.

I hope everyone has a spooky and spectacular Halloween, and thanks to all of you for stopping by this month. As always, it's been a blast, and I hope to see you all again next year!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 30

I checked TCM's line-up for today, hopeful that, it being the day before Halloween, they'd be showing some good horror movies. And indeed, they do have one movie listed.

You all remember that terrifying exercise in horror called Back to the Future, right?

Oh, TCM. You so crazy!

Speaking of horror movies that aren't horror movies, here's one of my all-time favorite horror comedies: James Whales' 1932 version of The Old Dark House, featuring Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Gloria "The Old Lady from Titanic" Stuart, and a hilarious Ernest Thesiger. You'll never pass the potatoes the same way again.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 29

Not sure how you're spending this Sunday, but I sure know how I am!

I know I should probably savor it, but I'm three episodes in, and don't want to stop!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 28

On the second day of this year's countdown, I sang the praises of David S. Pumpkins, so it seems apt that he get a second mention as the end of the countdown draws near. Tonight, he gets his own animated special, airing at 11:30pm, as part of SNL's Halloween show.

It could be terrible. In fact, odds favor that outcome. But I'm still gonna watch the hell out of it!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Musty TV's Manical Halloween Countdown - Day 27

Tonight at 7:15pm, TCM is airing a movie that I used to bribe a teacher to let me into a class that had a waiting list when I was studying film at SFSU. This was back in the days before DVDs and streaming everything, when old films were a lot harder to come by on VHS. During the first class--and for the life of me, I can't remember the topic of the class--he brought the film up as an example of something, and then mentioned how sad he was that hadn't been able to find a copy of it anywhere.

The minute he mentioned that, I knew I had my in. Once class was over, I went up to him and flat out said, "Let me into this class, and I'll give you a copy of Pretty Poison."

It's an appropriate movie to for a female college student to bribe someone with, since it's about a manipulative teenage girl who just might be a psychopath.

End of story: I'm pretty sure I got an A in that class.

As for the movie itself, it stars Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld in what might be her best performance, in a film that is kind of a gender swapped version of Badlands, as two screwed-up teenagers fall for each other, and one of them turns out to have penchant for murder. The trailer makes it sound like some kind of screwball comedy, and while it does have its funny moments, it's a lot darker than it looks.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 26

I don't have a movie for you today. Instead, let's go back in time for a moment

Every couple of years, I feel it's very important to remember that there was once a creepy gnome terrorizing parts of Argentina, and he was caught on tape.

OK, fine, maybe he wasn't exactly "terrorizing" Argentina....and maybe he wasn't an actual gnome...and OK yeah, whoever it was probably knew those kids who conveniently began to film nothing a few moments before his appearance.

But I still think this is one of the most brilliant bits of fake video ever made; the scream and cut to black at the end pushes it over the edge into masterpiece territory.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 25

One of my favorite movies is David Fincher's Zodiac. I watch it every summer around the Fourth of July, (the film's opening slaying takes place on July 4th), and I just never get tired of its 1970's aesthetic and Bay Area location.

I can safely say any fan of Zodiac should definitely be watching Fincher's new Netflix series, Mindhunter, as there is a lot in common. Aside from the serial killers (or "sequence killers," as the FBI agents first label those multi-murderers; of course, I always prefer "sequins killers" myself), the look is very similar, and the 1970's vibe is on point.

In some ways, it's a procedural drama, as the agents do help to solve more than one case during the course of the series. But I appreciate how each crime serves the series's bigger plot, which is centered on how the FBI developed serial killer profiling in the 1970's, and helped steer the agency away from some outdated modes of investigation. It's a great combination of the grisly and the scientific.

The whole series is available now, perfect for Halloween bingeing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 24

Looks like my morning commute!
TCM is airing one of my all-time favorite horror movies tonight at 11pm, Carnival of Souls. I've probably included it every year since I started partaking in the countdown, so I won't go on and on about it again. Instead, here's a look at a pristine trailer ...

And, if you're so inclined, the whole movie, though the print isn't quite as crisp as that trailer...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 23

 Tonight at 5pm, Movies! is airing the original 1958 version of The Blob, starring Steve McQueen, and featuring what may be the best horror movie theme song ever, by Burt Bacharach.

I mean, how can you not love a horror movie whose monster is just a giant, red, a gelatinous mass?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 22

Last night, Creature Features aired the movie The Milpitas Monster, a 1976, locally-shot horror movie I'd never heard of. It's about a monster created by garbage, and apparently it was inspired by Bob Wilkins, who used to make fun of the city of Milpitas when he was hosting Creature Features. He also makes an appearance in it.

It's terrible and it's great, and you can watch it right here!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 20

I didn't see spiders in the forecast! Damn weathermen.
Tonight the Svengoolie show will be airing the giant spider flick, 1955's Tarantula, which, for a movie about giant spiders, is actually pretty good.

Here's director Joe Dante speaking a bit about it for Trailers From Hell.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 20

It's Friday once again, and I'm going to take this opportunity to not recommend something, but instead warn you against seeing something.

If you've been contemplating seeing that new serial killer drama starring Michael Fassbender, DON'T. The Snowman is easily one of the worst movies of the year.

Not convinced? Maybe reading my full review over on SFist.com will do it.

In the meantime, here's a snowman much scarier than anything seen in The Snowman.

Get off my lawn!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 19

Tonight brings the return of a Halloween tradition I treasure: The airing of It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown at 8pm on ABC. Watching Peanuts specials as an adult makes you realize how inherently odd it is that there are no adults around. What kind of parent lets a kid spend the night in a freezing pumpkin patch? In the Thanksgiving special, all the kids end up at Charlie Brown's house for an early dinner, and then his grandmother's house, which when you think about it is pretty sad, right? Either they have no parents, or no parents that care enough to actually spend Thanksgiving with them.

So no wonder Linus has created an imaginary deity that will appear to him on Halloween and show him the kindness missing from his home life. And sure, Lucy does eventually rescue him from a death by hypothermia, but before that she stabs a pumpkin to death in front of him. The horror!

It's followed at 8:30pm by Pixar special Toy Story of TERROR! which is one of the better modern holiday specials to make it into yearly rotation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 18

Here's something silly for the day: TCM's "Which Classic Movie Monster Are You?" quiz.

I got the Bride of Frankenstein, and have to admit I'm pretty pleased by that. Who did you get?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 17

Hey girl, let's listen to spooky tunes and eat candy corn
Let's talk spooky music. Around this time of year I tolerate endless replays of The Monster Mash and Thriller, but my favorite spooky record has got to be Dead Man's Bones by Dead Man's Bones.

Who are Dead Man's Bones? Well, Ryan Gosling is involved.

Wait! Come back!

I swear this isn't the kind of music you'd expect from a former Mickey Mouse Club member. It reminds me of the Langley Schools Music Project, which featured a 1970's school choir doing pop songs,  and which, if you've listened to that record, is itself a little creepy. But this time the youth choir is singing about zombies, ghosts, and graves.

Sadly, their 2010 album is, so far, their only one and I doubt there will be another; it kind of feels like a lightning in a bottle sort of thing.

You can listen to the whole record on this playlist, and below is my favorite song.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 16

The terrifying shirtless future!

TCM is airing a lot of "horror" movies this morning and afternoon, but my pick is the 1975 flick The Ultimate Warrior, which, no, is not a movie about a wrestler, but is a post-apocalyptic flick starring Yul Brenner and Max Von Sydow in 2012 New York City, which I've oddly never seen. Odd because I'm a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic, especially these days....

It's on at 3:15pm.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 15

Always a mad scientist, never a bride.
You shouldn't let an October go by without watching at least one Ed Wood Jr. movie, right? So tonight's your chance, as RetroTV is airing Bride of the Monster at 10pm. This was Bela Lugosi's last speaking role on film and ends with him (well, a stunt double) fighting an octopus. In other words, perfect.

It was also featured on a Joel episode of MST3K, which you can watch right here, right now!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 14

That ain't mistletoe
We're almost halfway through the month, and now is as good a time as any to watch the It's a Wonderful Life of Halloween movies.

I'm speaking, of course, of the original Night of the Living Dead, a film that is black and white, in the public domain, aired repeatedly throughout the month, and a bit of a downer. Of course, It's a Wonderful Life isn't in the public domain anymore, so isn't played repeatedly in December, but it used to be, and I feel the comparison still stands


Friday, October 13, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 13

Ugh. Blood Red Velvet cupcakes are the worst!
Happy Friday 13th! For this special occasion I'm going to do something a little different, and recommend a movie hitting theaters today: Happy Death Day, which is, yes, basically a horror version of Groundhog Day. Or I should say, a slightly more horrifying version of Groundhog Day since, when you think about it, the premise of that move is already pretty horrifying.

You can read my full review of the movie up on SFist.com now!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 12

Come to mommy!
Now that I've kissed cable goodbye, I'm paying more attention to the weird broadcast channels that exist out there, and their offerings. Of course a lot of them are either shopping channels or foreign language, but there are also things like Decades, GetTV, Laff, and, of course Movies! (Yes, the exclamation point is included in the channel's name.)

Tonight at 7:30pm Movies! is airing Full Circle, a 1977 horror movie starring Mia Farrow as a bereaved mother living in a haunted house in Kensington, England. It's also known as The Haunting of Julia, and was based on the novel Julia by Peter Straub. (And it's clear the programmers at Movies! know this, since they're airing the unrelated but identically titled Julia, starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave afterwards.)

It's also available on YouTube, and you can watch that version below. And if nothing else the film serves as an excellent PSA about the value of learning the Heimlich maneuver...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 11

Oh TCM and their crazy categorization. Tonight at 10:15pm you can watch that classic of horror, 1960's The Time Machine!

I mean, the Orlocks are creepy and all, especially if you have a phobia about really long loin cloths, but this is science fiction, through and through.

Science fiction, mixed in with some hair styling tips.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 10

Poor misunderstood monster. He's just trying to give the Golden Gate Bride a hug!
San Francisco has a long tradition of being attacked and/or destroyed in movies, and the first film to show the Golden Gate Bridge as the target of a monster is 1955's It Came From Beneath the Sea, which you can watch this morning at 9:30am on the Movies! channel.

And if seeing the Golden Gate Bridge come to an untimely end is something you enjoy, you'll love this supercut featuring just that.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 9

I know I post this every year...and this year is no different! It's just that there are some things I like watching every Halloween, and the "Amelia" story from Trilogy of Terror is one of them. This version on YouTube also has an introduction by Vincent Price, and vintage TV ads, so double the fun!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 8

Sundays are Dracula night on TCM, and tonight's offerings are The Return of Dracula, House of Dracula and....Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. The latter two star John Carradine as the Count.

We need a good Dracula reboot! Maybe in this same vein (sorry), where Dracula comes face to face with a superhero or something. I mean, a Batman vs Dracula couldn't possibly be worse than Batman vs. Superman, right?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 7

Hey, did you know Creature Features is back? Kind of? Of course, "Creature Features" was a generic title for your local late night scary movie TV programming, and if you grew up in the Bay Area, it meant it was either hosted by Bob Wilkins or John Stanley, with Bob Wilkins being the obviously superior host. And it also had the superior theme song!

Unlike a lot of horror hosts, Bob Wilkins didn't have a gimmick, unless being soft-spoken while smoking a cigar can be considered gimmicky.

For better or worse, this new incarnation features a host with a definite gimmick: he's an aging British goth rocker named Vincent Van Dahl, though Jeff Bodean, the man behind the wig, is actually from Sonoma county.

I've only seen two episodes so far, and it's a little...awkward. There's not much to Bodean's shtick aside from a terrible accent, and the interviews are very stilted. Still, I appreciate the fact that a local guy decided to revive the show. And it looks like one upcoming episode has John Stanley filling in as host, so that's a bonus! Check it out tonight at 11PM on  KOFY-TV20, or online.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 6

Oh man you guys. I don't know why I decided to start reading Gin Phillips's book Fierce Kingdom Tuesday night, but I will admit I didn't really know exactly what it was about before I started it. I knew it was a thriller, and about a mother and her young son who get trapped in a zoo at night, and it seemed like a good thing to read around Halloween.

And wouldn't you know it, the book actually takes place during Halloween, which is a weird coincidence. But the bigger coincidence--the scarier coincidence--is why that mother and son are trapped.

It's because of a mass shooting.

When I got to chapter two of the book, I literally started hyperventilating and had to stop for a bit. But since then I've hated having to put it down, and if I had the time I imagine I'd read it in one sitting.

For some, it all might be a little too real, and too soon to read something like this. But I've always found that art helps me process terrible events better. I really can't explain why. I also had an urge to rewatch Peter Bogdanovich's movie Targets after Monday...

I imagine for most, Halloween is all about fun horror. And that's totally understandable. But sometimes I need to acknowledge that some monsters are real...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Coutndown - Day 5

There are few horror movie scares more overused than the cat scare. At this point, if you put a cat scare in your movie, it's kind of the horror equivalent of the Wilhelm scream; it's gonna get you a laugh more than anything else.

This compilation doesn't have every cat scare ever put on film--though that's an art project I'd definitely want to see!--but it does have some good ones.

One gripe: it cuts up one of my all-time favorite cat scares, from a Halloween episode of Community. So here's that one in its entirety.

Man. I miss (good) Community.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 4

I've barely got time to breathe this week, so today I'm just going to ask, have you seen Get Out yet? Because it's the best horror movie of the year. And yes, I know the year isn't over yet, but I really don't think anything coming down the pike is going to top it. So basically what I'm saying is, if you haven't seen it yet, run, don't walk, to....well, I guess your computer at this point since it's available to stream basically everywhere but Netflix.

There are a lot of good analyses out there, but I have to admit this examination of the film's use of milk, and its relation to white supremacy, has got to be one of the more surprising ones. (Spoiler warning.)

Monday, October 02, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 3

Boris and Bela sing the duet "The Girl Is Mine"

If you want classic Universal horror, then just plant your butt down in front TCM today starting at 5:00pm PST for Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Island of Lost Souls, The Black Cat, and The Invisible Man.

But if for some reason you have to choose only one, then let it be The Black Cat, because you've already seen The Bride of Frankenstein, the second best movie in this list, right?

If I could live in a horror movie set, I think I might choose The Black Cat's, with its art deco architecture, expressionist lighting, satin bedding, silk robes, and supernatural baloney.

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 2

I've been thinking about possible Halloween costumes and, as per usual, have nothing concrete planned, no real ideas, and not enough time to execute anything. Like, I'd love to go as Mrs. David S. Pumpkins, but that would require finding some of that Jack O'Lantern fabric, and sewing a dress. And I suck at sewing. Any questions?

Watching that sketch got me thinking about Tom Hanks's career, and if he's ever been in a horror movie. Some might say The 'Burbs counts, and as much as I love that movie I'd have to put that one in the comedy camp more than horror. (But can I just say, I love that someone actually posted an analysis of the film's Sardine Scene up on YouTube?)

No, Tom Hank's one true horror movie was, as tends to be the case with a lot of stars, also the first movie he ever appeared in, 1980's He Knows You're Alone, about a slasher who kills brides-to-be the night before their wedding.

I've never actually seen it, mainly because as a kid I was a real snob when it came to slasher movies, and I guess I still am. So many post-1978 slasher movies were such bad Halloween rip-offs that I stopped giving any of them a try.

Though I'm kind of curious to see if Hanks gets killed in it, because frankly, it looks like he's asking for it.

That bandana won't protect you, Hanksy.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 1

That weird, tingly feeling...in your pants.
Speaking of TCM.....

I figured I might as well start with a classic, and my usual fallback of TCM, but in looking at their schedule, I noticed something peculiar. Why would they classify the original Lugosi Dracula and the sub-par Son of Dracula as Horror, but deem the excellent Dracula's Daughter a Drama?

Some may see this as nitpicking, but here's the thing. If you want to see all the horror movies TCM is airing in a given week, and you sort their listings by that genre tag, you'd miss Dracula's Daughter.

Also, what's up with these classifications?

Basically what I'm saying is Turner Classic Movies needs to hire me to fix their genre tags. Call me!

But back to Dracula's Daughter, which, despite having "Dracula" in the title, does not feature an appearance by Bela Lugosi, who actually only ever played the Dracula character twice on screen: in the original, and in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The daughter, ("Marya Zaleska"), is played by Gloria Holden, and I guess the Count brought her up in mid-Atlantic America, because she doesn't have her father's accent. She does however, have a magic hypnotizing ring. I mean, just look at the size of it. I'd be mesmerized!

"Do you like it? Only $15 bucks on Etsy!"
Also, look for an appearance by gossip queen Hedda Hopper as a party host trying to push some sherry on Ms. Zaleska. You can catch the riveting "drama" at 6:30pm, PST, tonight on TCM.