Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Mad Monster Party

While researching the Mad Monster Party movie, I stumbled across this fabulous artwork by illustrator Dave Perillo. He created it for an exhibition in 2009,
called Creature Double Feature. The show, which was held at Brave New Worlds Comics, in Philadelphia, challenged the artists to interpret the definition of the
word "creature".

I have always loved the illustration from the '50s and '60s, and Dave's retro style
is very reminiscent of that period.  

The Mad Monster Party print is available from Etsy shop, Hen-N-Chicks (here). Amongst the other artwork in his shop are prints inspired by Edward Scissorhands, Dawn of the Dead, Doctor Who, and Alice in Wonderland.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mad Monster Party

Okay... this is one kooky little film! Quite how I missed this mad malarkey growing up, I can't imagine, and can only conclude that it may never have been shown in Australia. Anyway, I'd still be completely ignorant of its existence if I hadn't noticed it mentioned in a post about child-friendly horror movies on The Horror Hotel blog (here). I didn't really like the other Rankin/Bass stop motion animation films, like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but I had much higher hopes for this one because of the subject matter.

While Mad Monster Party is far from perfect, it's hard to resist the blend of traditional gothic horror imagery and 1960s pop culture. I particularly enjoyed the James Bond-esque opening titles song, with Batman-style word graphics like "shriek", and "gasp", as we were introduced by location to the rogues gallery of classic horror monsters featured in the story. The sets of Frankenstein's castle were fabulous, and the storyline was littered with appealingly silly jokes like Dracula stating that he was "the original Batman", a reference to the popular Batman television series that was airing at that time.

Full of very Sixties stream of consciousness looniness, and punctuated as it was with songs, this movie reminded me a little of the television show, The Monkees, except The Monkees' songs were good, and these, for the most part... weren't. In fact, this movie featured a number of musical interludes which appeared to be designed solely to induce the urge to stab oneself in the eye with a fork. There was one cute song called "Do the Mummy", performed by a skeleton band called Little Tibia and the Fibias, and if only they had left it at that, the film would have been so much more enjoyable.

There were also a couple of truly bizarre moments that really made me wonder how they got away with calling this a children's film back in the day. For example, in one scene, a Phyllis Diller voiced "Monster's Mate", and Baron von Frankenstein's buxom assistant, Francesca, strip down to their underwear and engage in a cat fight. As they roll around the floor, meowing sound effects can be heard. Then at another point, the camera zooms in on Frankenstein's male chef provocatively pinching the buttocks of an Igor-like character. My son, incidentally, thought these scenes were hysterical!

By all accounts, this movie has a cult following amongst those who remember it fondly through the rosy spectacles of nostalgia. It is certainly a freakily surreal roller coaster ride, and if, like me, you like the aesthetic of the gothic horror classics, and the Sixties, then it will probably make you smile. Apparently the look of Mad Monster Party was a big influence on Tim Burton's stop motion films, which is a pretty impressive legacy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Buffy Revisited

Principal Snyder: "My predecessor, Mr. Flutie, may have gone in for all that touchy-feely relating nonsense, but he was eaten. You're in my world now. And Sunnydale has touched and felt for the last time."

Ever since I posted the short film, Callalilly (here), I've had creepy dolls on my
mind, and creepy dolls have lead to thoughts of evil clowns and demon children.
As I continue to revisit Buffy, it's interesting to be reminded that all three archetypes are represented in the short, twelve episode, first season.

After hapless Principal Flutie is devoured by a pack of students possessed by hyena spirits, we are introduced to his unpleasant replacement, Principal Synder, in the episode, 'The Puppet Show'. Synder orders Giles to run the school talent show,
while Buffy, Willow, and Xander are recruited as unwilling performers. The Scoobies, however, are diverted from their life in the theatre by a sinister ventriloquist dummy, named Sid, who appears to be stalking the show.

In 'Nightmares', the residents of Sunnydale are subjected to their darkest dreams
and imaginings suddenly manifesting in physical form. Xander finds himself being pursued by a knife wielding clown in the episode, but he faces his childhood terror, and strikes a vicarious blow for all those suffering from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) in the process.

Then we have the Anointed One. In spite of his innocent visage, he is a vampire
child who wants nothing more than to see the Slayer, and the good folk of Sunnydale, dead. The Anointed One proves that one should never underestimate the abilities of
a sinister kiddie, especially when Giles discovers an ancient prophecy stating that young Collin will be the little devil responsible for leading Buffy to her death at the hands of the Master.

Collin proved he had tenacity, too. While the doll and the clown were each
dispatched within the space of a forty minute episode, the Anointed One was
a recurring character who became something of a Mini-Me for the Master throughout Season One. In fact, even though the season finale is imminent, and as such, the Master's demise is at hand, that pesky little demon child is not destined to get his comeuppance... not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fifty Delightful Darklings!

Jenny Krueger:
"I like to see people's insides on their outside."

Well, who could resist
a statement like that? Not me!

Jenny Krueger, of the blog, Memoirs Of A Scream Queen, became my 50th follower yesterday, and as it happened,
I became her 100th follower on the same day.

Thank you, Jenny!
I'm so glad we were each other's milestones! If you haven't already done so, you can check out Jenny's fabulous blog here.

And to everyone else who
has followed my blog...
I truly appreciate you all!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blog Award

Today I received this blog award (below) from Miss Bobo of Rockinglicious blog, and I have been charged with the task of passing it forward to other blogs that I dig.

iDig Your Blog Award Protocol:
1 ) Gratefully accept this award. 
2 ) Link to the person you received it from.
3 ) Post 3 interesting facts about yourself.
4 ) Pass this award around to at least 5 blogs you dig. 
5 ) Notify them.

So, without further ado, I will get on with abiding by the award rules:

1. I gratefully accept this award.

2. A big thank you to the lovely Miss Bobo, of Rockinglicious blog (here),
for presenting it to me.

3. Hmmm... I don't know if these qualify as interesting, but they are facts:
  • I am an Australian, born to Australian parents, but my country of birth was Papua New Guinea. My father was working there as a lawyer,
    and I lived there until I was 3.
  • I am married with one son, and I say with all sincerity, that I have
    the best husband and kid in the universe!
  • I was obsessed with London as a teenager and moved there a few years after finishing high school. I lived and worked in London for almost
    5 years before returning to Australia.
4. I am passing this award along to the following FAB blogs with my gratitude
for their support and blogger buddyship:
  • Autumnforest is my firecracker of a blogging buddy. Smart, funny and compassionate, she is the mover and shaker of our corner of the blog world. A visit to her blog, Ghost Hunting Theories (here), has become
    a daily ritual for me.
  • Another of my blogging buddies is Justine, of Justine's Halloween (here). She writes fascinating and thoughtful posts on all manner of topics related to Halloween and arcane matters. We have a very similar, and slightly wicked, sense of humour, and I always enjoy the comments that she leaves on my blog.
  • Slowdeath77, of the Horror Smorgasbord blog (here), is a hardcore horror fan with a tough guy image, but he is really a teddy bear. His posts are infectiously enthusiastic and informative, and he is kind and generous.
    A total sweetheart!
  • Adsila, of the fabulous blog, Above the Norm (here), is also adorable, and I love it when she drops by my blog to visit with me.
  • LuLu Kellogg's blog (here), is warm, friendly and inspiring, and it's an absolute pleasure for me when she pops over here to leave her most welcome comments.
  • And last, but not least, is the Real Queen of Horror blog (here).
    Simply put, Zena is fun, effervescent, and mad for horror.
5. You're all fantastic, and have been duly notified.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Classic Ghost Story

“What she wants is unknown,
but she always comes back,
the spectre of darkness,
the woman in black.”

This is the official teaser trailer for The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe. The movie is due for release February 2012, and I have to say, judging by this clip,
it looks promisingly creepy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Delightfully Dark Finds

A Frozen Charlotte Doll Mourning Necklace 

This necklace, from Etsy shop, GhostLove Jewelry, is a solid sterling silver locket-style pendant hanging from a black velvet cord. The locket is in the shape of a coffin, with a cross on the lid, that opens to reveal a tiny Frozen Charlotte doll inside. This doll is an antique, as GhostLove Jewelry explains:

"This doll is part of a rare collection of porcelain bisque dolls excavated from the ruins of an old doll factory that operated between 1890 and 1913 in Thuringia, Germany. That makes them over 100 years old!"

You can see more from GhostLove Jewelry here.

"Frozen Charlotte" commonly refers to a doll, made from either china or bisque with immovable or "frozen" limbs, manufactured from about 1850 to 1920. The dolls ranged in size from an inch to 18 inches or more, and being charms in Christmas puddings, or occupants for doll houses, were amongst their many uses. 

The name is believed to have originated from an American folk ballad called
Fair Charlotte or Young Charlotte, by William Lorenzo Carter. The song was based upon a poem called A Corpse Going to a Ball, by Seba Smith, written around 1843. The poem and ballad are cautionary tales, thought to pertain to a true incident, about a girl called Charlotte who ignored her mother's request to cover her fine clothes with a blanket, and then froze to death on a snowy sleigh ride to a ball with her intended husband. The story was meant to discourage such vanity in young women.

This is part of the ballad:

They reached the place and Charles jumped out and held his hands for her, 

"Why sit you there like a monument, have you no power to stir?"
He asked her once, he asked her twice; she answered not a word. 

He asked her for her hand again, and yet she never stirred.

He took her hands within his own -- oh, God, they were cold as stone. 

He tore the mantle from her brow, the cold stars on her shone. 

Then quickly to the lighted hall her lifeless form he bore; 

Young Charlotte was a frozen corpse and never spoke no more.

He sat himself down by her side, and the bitter tears did flow, 

He said, "My dear intended bride, I never more shall know."
He threw his arms around her neck and kissed her marble brow
And his thoughts went back to the place where she said, "I'm getting warmer now."

He put the corpse into the sleigh and quickly hurried home, 

And when he reached the cottage door, oh, how her parents mourned! 

They mourned for the loss of their daughter dear, and young Charlie mourned for his bride, 

He mourned until his heart did break, and they slumber side by side.

You can see the rest of the ballad here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Night of the Lepus

Sheriff: "Attention! Attention! Ladies and gentlemen, attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help!"

I watched this film years ago with my best friend, Sue. As teenagers, we stumbled across it on late night television and were riveted by the utter absurdity of it all. We laughed until we cried over the giant, mutant bunnies, blood dripping from their little choppers, attacking the good folk of a small Arizona town.

Over the years, Sue and I have reminisced fondly about Night of the Lepus, and to this day, we agree that it still holds the title for being the most ludicrous movie that we have ever seen. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cautionary Tale of Callalilly

"A temper, if not tamed,

can leave a little rag doll maimed."

This is a short film, from doll artist Christy Kane, that definitely falls into the delightfully dark category. But, beware if little dolls freak you out!

You can check out Christy Kane's Etsy shop here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Buffy Revisited

Buffy:  "If the apocalypse comes, beep me."

The last time I re-watched any Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a couple of years ago and then it was just seasons 5, 6, and 7, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I made the commitment this week to start again from the first episode. It will probably be a long journey because I really haven't got the time to watch the show in marathon chunks, and after Season 3, I will need to start watching Angel, too, in order to keep the crossover episodes in chronological order.

So I'm five episodes in, and it's fascinating, and a little frightening, to see how young the cast all look. I can't believe that the first season was made in 1996. Sarah Michelle Gellar is so baby-faced and I am trying to remember if girls really were wearing the mini-dresses and go-go boots that she sports in the early Buffy days.

The other thing that struck me was the lack of cell phones. The idea of teenagers without cell phones is almost inconceivable, now. Giles keeps tabs on Buffy via a beeper.

Granted, some of the monsters, like the sexually predatory teacher who turns into a giant praying mantis, are sort of ridiculous, but somehow the show is so charming that I don't care. All in all, I'm looking forward to Buffy revisited.

And, I had forgotten how much I had missed the Master until he poked one of his minions in the eyeball with a sharpened fingernail, and uttered the words, "Hold on... You've got something in your eye."