Category Archives: Film / Tv / Theater Review

Song of the Day #1890

Song of the Day: Not a Day Goes, words and music by Stephen Sondheim, is one of the highlights from the 1981 Broadway musical, “Merrily We Roll Along.” Today, Sondheim died at the age of 91. He leaves behind a vast musical legacy. This is only one of so many Sondheim songs I’ve featured through the years. In the original Broadway production, it was performed by Jim Walton [YouTube link]. But the song was recorded subsequently by singers as diverse as Carly Simon, Patti LuPone, Barbra Streisand, and Bernadette Peters (below) [YouTube links]. RIP, Sondheim.

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Halloween” (X)

The tenth and final installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from, what else? … the original John Carpenter-directed and scored 1978 film, “Halloween,” starring “Scream QueenJamie Lee Curtis. A fitting way to wish all of you a Happy Halloween! The claustrophobic scene takes place in a closet, where Laurie Strode is trying desperately to avoid the clutches of Michael Myers—who long ago perfected the art of wearing a mask! You don’t think she actually killed him, do you? Check it out!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “The City of the Dead” (aka “Horror Hotel”) (IX)

It’s Halloween weekend and time for the ninth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments.” It’s a scene from a little 1960 film that is a sentimental favorite; it gave me the creeps when I first saw it on my black and white TV as a youngster. “The City of the Dead” is the extended British version of what was re-titled “Horror Hotel” for American audiences. This one has it all: gloomy atmospheric fog, a wretched graveyard resting on unconsecrated ground, witches, warlocks, thunder and lightning, human sacrifices, and the macabre presence of the great Christopher Lee. Tomorrow evening, TCM is showing this film back-to-back with “Psycho” and there’s a reason for it. SPOILER ALERT! This movie was released a few months after “Psycho”, but filming began in October 1959, one month before Alfred Hitchcock’s classic went into production. Both films use an infamous plot device that left audiences stunned: knocking off one of the central characters in the first reel!  It took 47 minutes to happen in “Psycho” and a little less than 40 minutes to happen in this film. If “Psycho” warns us of the dangers of taking a shower in the Bates Motel, “Horror Hotel” warns us of the dangers of descending into the caverns beneath The Raven’s Inn. Don’t these folks check out their accommodations before they book a room?! Don’t these people know the Codes and Conventions of a Horror Film?! Sheesh!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Frankenstein” (VIII)

No horror movie series would be complete without at least one film clip from the grand Universal Monster Tradition! The seventh installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the 1931 James Whale-directed classic, “Frankenstein,” with Boris Karloff as the Monster. This wasn’t the first cinematic representation of the 1818 Mary Shelley novel; that distinction belongs to Edison Studio’s 1910 silent one-reeler. However, this scene, when Henry Frankenstein (“Victor” in the novel) brings life to a being made from the reassembled remains of corpses, is a true gem. “It’s Alive!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Poltergeist” (VI)

The sixth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, comes from the original 1982 supernatural horror film, “Poltergeist.” The film has its share of very spine-tingling, shocking moments. But let me make one thing perfectly clear. I. Do. Not. Like. Clowns. Everything from Pennywise to Bozo Creeps Me the Freak Out! Would you buy a cereal with this face on the box? It’s traumatizing! I don’t like creepy puppets or dolls either. So animated puppet-like clown dolls are enough to send me to the lobby! (Okay, I don’t like Spiders either, but that’s another story!) Check out this scene from one of the best ghost movies ever made!

*Ed: Wow! How mysterious! The film is on TCM Right Now (started at 8 pm ET)

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “House on Haunted Hill” (V)

The fifth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the original 1959 Vincent Price classic: “House on Haunted Hill.” The man whose devilish laugh has echoed through the ages, on film and on theatrical pop hits—and even live with Joan Rivers [YouTube links] pulls all the strings in this scene! Take an Acid Bath and call me in the morning!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Black Sunday” (IV)

It’s Sunday, and it’s a Black One! The fourth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the 1960 Mario Bava masterpiece of Italian gothic horror: “Black Sunday” (aka “La Maschera del demonio”). This film is unsettling from the very first scene, which I feature today. It is listed among Bravo’s 100 Scariest Films of All Time [YouTube link]. So you don’t like wearing masks, eh? You might have a point! Har! Har! Check it out!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “The Shining” (III)

The third installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1980 film, “The Shining,” an adaptation of the Stephen King novel that the author reportedly despised, even though he acknowledged that it was a valuable contribution to the horror genre. Lots of creepy and hilarious moments in this film, but the one that stands out is Jack Nicholson’s Bathroom Entrance Via Axe! “Here’s Johnny”—ranked as one of the 100 Most Quotable Quotes in Film History by AFI—may have broken the tension in the theater, but only through the audience screams! The night that my mother and sister saw this film, some jokester in the theater broke the balcony glass to gain access to an acutal axe—and proceeded to use it against the exit door to match the action on screen. Folks were as jarred by the events in the theater as they were by Jack’s Ax-tual Adventures! Check it out!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “The Omen” (II)

The second installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments” is from the original (and best) 1976 version of “The Omen,” which, like “The Exorcist” before it, featured a stellar cast and fine screenplay. And, also, like “The Exorcist,” it features many creepy, shocking scenes. I’m posting one of those today, though it was really hard to pick just one. It’s when American diplomat Robert Thorn (played by Gregory Peck) returns home to check his son Damien’s scalp for the mark of the Antichrist in the form of a 666 birthmark. The tension leading up to his discovery and what happens when the housekeeper, Mrs. Blaylock (played by Billie Whitelaw), attacks him, is palpable, to say the least.

“The Omen” — Be careful what you look for!