It’s October 2016, the month of Candy Corn and Fiendish Features Coming to: The Last Drive In! 🎃

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Halloween Spotlight: ABC, NBC & CBS Movies of the Week–the year is 1973 🎃 13 Fearful Tele-Frights!!!

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PLAYGROUND OF DARK DREAMS: THE NIGHTMARE WORLD OF DANTE TOMASELLI

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Image courtesy of: Fangoria-from Torture Chamber (2013)

 

TERROR TV BLOGATHON HOSTED BY CLASSIC TV BLOG ASSOCIATION-GARGOYLES (1972) “A Devil’s Face of Frightful Beauty”

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KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES: SCIENCE FICTION FILMS OF THE 1950S: THE YEAR IS 1953

It Came From Outer Space (1953) | Dir: Jack Arnold | Ref: ITC003BL | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Universal ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement
It Came From Outer Space (1953) | Dir: Jack Arnold | Ref: ITC003BL | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Universal ]

SUNDAY NITE SURREAL: THE SENTINEL (1977) Even in Hell, Friendships often Blossom into Bliss!

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Wishing a Happy Grand Birthday to Olivia de Havilland 100 years old July 1st 2016!

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“I don’t need a fantasy life as once I did. That is the life of the imagination that I had a great need for. Films were the perfect means for satisfying that need.” — Olivia de Havilland

Esther Somers, Olivia de Havilland Leo Genn and Mark Stevens The Snake Pit 1948

The remarkable Olivia de Havilland turns 100 years old today. And it tickles me deeply and sincerely that we share the same birthday July 1st, so while I should be celebrating my own turn of the wheel, I felt it important to join in with so many others who recognize de Havilland’s enormous contribution to cinema and whose  lasting grace and beauty still shines so effervescently.

And so… I’d like to pay a little tribute to a few of my favorite performances of this grand lady!

Olivia de Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) and nominated for her incredible performance in The Snake Pit (1948), Hold Back the Dawn (1941), and Supporting Actress as the gentle, stoic but powerful strong Melanie in Gone With the Wind (1939).

Melanie and Scarlett

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The timeless beauty and grace of the great Olivia de Havilland at 99 years young!

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You’ve got to love a woman who has the wisdom to be surrounded by Siamese cats! Yet another thing we share… I adore you Olivia-

Olivia de Havilland never shied away from taking on challenging roles, whether she played the archetypal ‘bad’ woman or the ‘good’ woman this astonishing actress could convey either nature with the ease of a jaguar who stirs with inner pride and purpose.

She still possesses that certain inner quality that is a quiet, dignified beauty whose layers unravel in each performance. Consider her heart wrenching portrayal of the emotionally disturbed Virginia Stuart Cunningham thrown into poignant turmoil when she finds herself within the walls of a mental institution but doesn’t remember her husband (Mark Stevens) or how or why she is there. It’s an astounding performance in director Anatole Litvak’s The Snake Pit (1948)

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Olivia and Mark Stevens

The Snake Pit

The New York Film Critics awarded Olivia de Havilland Best Actress for The Snake Pit (1948). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role.  

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Leo Genn and Olivia
In an interview Olivia has said, “I met a young woman who was very much like Virginia… a schizophrenic with guilt problems. She had developed a warm rapport with her doctor, but what struck me most of all was the fact that she was rather likable and appealing.. it was that that gave me the key to the performance. “

The Snake Pit photo Alamy

Olivia de Havilland threw herself into the role of Virginia by getting up close and personal with mental health treatments of the time. She observed patients and the various modalities that were used in these institutions like, doctor/patient therapy sessions, electric shock therapy and hydrotherapy and attended social events like dances within the institution.

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Here’s just a mention of some of my favorite performances by this great Dame of cinema, who as Robert Osborne so aptly spoke of her “… the ever present twinkle in her eyes or the wisdom you sense behind those orbs.”

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Olivia de Havilland as Arabella Bishop in director Michael Curtiz’s Captain Blood (1935 ) co-starring familiar screen lover Errol Flynn
It's Love I'm After 1937
That multi layered manifestation of intelligence, courage and majesty… director Archie Mayo’s It’s Love I’m after (1937) co-stars another great STAR… friend, Bette Davis.

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They Died With their Boots On
Olivia is romanced again by the dashing Errol in They Died with their Boots On (1941)
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Olivia de Havilland as the exquisite Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
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Olivia plays Maid Marian in Michael Curtiz’s The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 once again co-starring with Errol Flynn. Olivia wears a magnificent wardrobe designed by Milo Anderson

Bette and Olivia in In This Our Life 1942

Reunited with Bette Davis she and Olivia play sisters Stanley and Roy Timberlake, in director John Huston’s In This Our Life 1942 where Bette steals Roy’s fiancée (George Brent).

The Dark Mirror 1946

In director Robert Siodmak’s psychological thriller The Dark Mirror (1946) Olivia de Havilland plays duel roles as dichotomous identical twins, one purely good the other inherently evil.

The Heiress

With Montgomery Clift in director William Wyler’s The Heiress 1949 Oilvia de Havilland plays the timid & naive Catherine Sloper who falls under the spell of opportunist Morris Townsend (Clift).

My Cousin Richard and Olivia

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Olivia de Havilland plays the intoxicating yet lethal Rachel who lures Richard Burton toward a dangerous fate. Adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel. The film also co-stars the sublimely beautiful Audrey Dalton!
MY COUSIN RACHEL, Olivia de Havilland (center, wearing veil), Richard Burton (right of de Havilland), 1952, TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved,
MY COUSIN RACHEL, Olivia de Havilland (center, wearing veil), Richard Burton (right of de Havilland), 1952, TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved

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In director Stanley Kramer’s melodrama Olivia de Havilland plays doctor Kristina Hedvigson who gets involved with the egotistical Lucas Marsh (Robert Mitchum) in Not as a Stranger (1955)

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George Hamilton, Olivia, Rossano Brazzi and Yvette Mimieux on the set of Light in the Piazza (1962) filmed in Florence Italy. de Havilland plays Meg Johnson whose daughter having suffered a head injury has left her developmentally challenged. Both mother and daughter are seduced by the romantic atmosphere of Florence.

Olivia and Yvette

Now we come to a very powerful performance that of Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard one of Olivia’s most challenging roles as she is besieged upon by psychotic home invaders, James Caan, Jennifer Billingsley, Rafael Campos, Jeff Corey and Ann Southern who hold the uptight American matriarch in her gilded house elevator when the electricity goes out and the animals get in, in Walter Grauman’s brutal vision of the American Dream inverted. Lady in a Cage (1964)

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Olivia de Havilland replaced Joan Crawford when tensions built on the set of the follow up to What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? 1962, the Grande Dame Guignol psychological thriller. Olivia de Havilland brought her own wardrobe and was not a stranger to pulling out the darker side of her acting self, portraying in my opinion perhaps one of the most vile and virulent antagonists the cunningly evil Cousin Miriam in director Robert Aldrich’s Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte 1964

HUSH... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, 1964. TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.
HUSH… HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, 1964. TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

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Olivia and Joseph Cotten

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Friends Bette Davis and Olivia

Flawless beauty

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Happy Birthday Grand Dame Olivia de Havilland… You are what puts the shine in the word ‘star’ forever vibrant and beloved by your fans and this girl who is honored to share your birthday! Hope it’s a grand day! Your EverLovin’ Joey

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MonsterGirl “Listens”: Reflections with great actress Audrey Dalton!

me and my mollusk

Audrey Dalton

Audrey Dalton born in Dublin, Ireland who maintains the most delicately embroidered lilt of Gaelic tones became an American actress of film in the heyday of Hollywood and the Golden Age of television. Knowing from early on that she wanted to be an actress while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts was discovered by a Paramount Studio executive in London, thus beginning her notable career starring in classic drama, comedy, film noir, science fiction, campy cult classic horror and dramatic television hits!

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Audrey Dalton as the lovely Louise Kendall in Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel (1952) directed by Henry Koster.

Recently Audrey Dalton celebrated her birthday on January 21st and I did a little tribute here at The Last Drive In. Visit the link above for more great info and special clips of Audrey Dalton’s work!

Since then I’ve had the incredible honor of chatting with this very special lady whom I consider not only one of THE most ethereal beauties of the silver screen, Audrey Dalton is a versatile actress, and an extremely gracious and kind person.

While I’ve read a few interviews one in particular in a division of USA TODAY: The Spectrum  Audrey Dalton survived a sinking, a ‘Serpent’ and a stallion by Nick Thomas. 

The article in USA Today asked about Titanic, Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, designer Edith head, the pesky mollusk and her appearances in several notable film and television westerns.

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Naturally they inquired about Audrey Dalton’s monumental contribution to one of the biggest beloved 1950s ‘B’ Sci-Fi  treasures and she deserves to be honored for her legacy as the heroine in distress, pursued by a giant Mollusk, no not a Serpent nor giant caterpillar it be!

She is asked… eternally asked about this crusty bug eyed monster, and why not! it’s part of a fabulous celebration of what makes films like The Monster that Challenged the World (1957) memorable for so many of us!

The love for these sentimental sci-fi films are still so much alive! Early this year, Audrey Dalton joined Julie Adams to celebrate with fans both their iconic legacies for starring in two of the most popular monster films of all time… The Monster That Challenged the World (1957) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954).

She’s been asked about her wonderful performance as Annette Sturges in Titanic (1953) with focus on her co-stars Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb, and of course about one hilarious anecdote around her role in several westerns, including TV shows like The Big Valley, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Wagon Train, and her fabulous fear of horses! Even more than that giant drooling crustacean? “That monster was enormous!” –Audrey commented in her interview with USA Today.

I don’t have a video of Ms Dalton on a rambunctious horse, but here she is giving a fine performance in the television hit series that ironically reunites Stanwyck as the matriarch of the Barclay family and Audrey together again…tho Stanwyck is not in this scene, she works well with actor Richard Long in an episode called ‘Hazard’ in The Big Valley (1966). Audrey went on to do one more episode as Ann Snyder in season one called Earthquake.

I am most taken with Audrey Dalton’s wonderful nostalgic joy and her earnest appreciation for the collaborations off camera and on the set- having a true sense of warmth, togetherness and a passion for her craft and fellow cinema & television artists, crew and players. I’ve used the term “players” when I refer to actors, something that Audrey Dalton pointed out to me was not only a very endearing description, but in addition, something I hadn’t known and felt an adrenaline rush to learn that Boris Karloff was known to do as well. Perhaps he is my grandpa after all. I can dream can’t I?

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Drum Beat
Alan Ladd and Audrey Dalton on a horse in Delmer Daves’ western Drum Beat (1954)

Audrey told me that she had a fear of horses, having expanded on it when interviewed by USA Today “I hate horses!” she admitted. “I mean I’m really scared to death of them. In one show I had to ride down a very steep hill and felt sure I was going to fall. I got through it, but when the scene was over the director asked, “Could you do it again, this time with your eyes open?”

My little conversations with Audrey seem to drift more toward our mutual appreciation of her experience working with Boris Karloff in some of the most evocative episodes of that ground breaking television anthology show THRILLER  hosted by the great and dear Boris Karloff.

The Hollow Watcher
Audrey plays the beautiful woman/child Meg O’Danagh Wheeler a mail order bride from Ireland married to Warren Oates the son of a bully played masterfully by Denver Pyle, Meg is a jewel trapped in a tortured space of rural repression and hounded by a folk lorish Boogeyman called The Hollow Watcher released in 1962-Link to past post above.

I hesitated asking one question which this feature is usually founded on. Because of my great admiration for years that I’ve held for Ms.Dalton, I couldn’t put restrictions on this wonderful opportunity to listen to the wisdom and sacred reminiscence by such a special actress.

Normally I call this particular feature MonsterGirl Asks, where I put one specific question to someone special in the entertainment industry, arts or academic world instead a full blown interview asking predictable or possibly stale musings that are often over asked or just not inspiring for all concerned. I’ve had several wonderful chances at getting to ask a question here or there. But I have to say, THIS feature is centered around a very heart-warming exchange between myself and Audrey Dalton, yes the sublimely beautiful, versatile & talented actress of film & television.

So I took a chance and asked if she would agree to do my MonsterGirl Asks feature. What happened was she generously shared some very wonderful memories with me so instead of calling it MonsterGirl Asks, I defer to the much lauded star and changed the title special feature as I humbly open myself up as MonsterGirl Listens to a great star who has had the graciousness and kindness to allow me to share these reminiscings with you.

hayfork & billhook

For years I have been such a fan of this otherworldly beauty, not just from watching Boris Karloff’s Thriller where Audrey graced three of the BEST episodes, nor is it her attractive self-reliance in defying Tim Holt’s priggishness as Lt. Cmdr. John ‘Twill’ Twillinger or showing shear guts in the midst of that giant Mollusk, that Monster That Challenged the World, nor is it just her ability to stare danger and death in the face, the very frightening face of Guy Rolfe otherwise known as Mr. Sardonicus in William Castle’s eerie cheeky masterpiece. Audrey Dalton has appeared in two of the most iconic treasures from exquisitely better times in the realm of Sci-Fi & Classical Horror film. She is still beloved by so many fans!

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Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton in director Arnold Laven’s memorable & beloved  sci-fi jaunt into the giant creature movie of the 1950s!
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Audrey Dalton and Ronald Lewis are unfortunate prisoners of the sadistic Mr. Sardonicus (1961) brought to you by the great showman of cult horror William Castle!

Though Audrey Dalton may have graced the world of cult horror & ‘B’ Sci-Fi phantasmagoria, she is quite the serious actress having been one of the main stars in Titanic (1953). Here she is shown with Robert Wagner.

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Audrey Dalton co-stars with Robert Wagner in Titanic (1953)

Then Audrey brings a delightful bit of class to director Delbert Mann’s Separate Tables 1958, Audrey is provocative, self-reliant and wonderfully flirtatious as Jean who joyfully seduces Rod Taylor, keeping him charmingly distracted and constantly on his toes! Though this gif has him pecking her adorable nose!

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audrey with don taylor in the girls of pleasure island 1953
Audrey with Don Taylor in her first film The Girls of Pleasure Island (1953) Alamy Stock Photo.
Rex Reason in Thundering Jets
Audrey Dalton co-stars with Rex Reason in Thundering Jets (1958)

Audrey played the lovely Louise Kendall quite enamored with Richard Burton in Daphne du Maurier’s romantic thriller  My Cousin Rachel 1952 also c0-starring Olivia de Havilland as the cunning Rachel.

with Burton in My Cousin Rachel
Audrey Dalton co-stars with Richard Burton in My Cousin Rachel (1952)-photo: Alamy Stock Photo.

Audrey’s been the elegant Donna Elena Di Gambetta co-starring in the romantic comedy with Bob Hope and Joan Fontaine in Cassanova’s Big Night (1954),

Cassanova's Big Night
Audrey Dalton, Bob Hope and Joan Fontaine in Cassanova’s Big Night : Alamy Stock Photo.
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Here’s Audrey in Drum Beat (1954) as Nancy Meek who must be escorted by Indian fighter Johnny MacKay played by Alan Ladd

Ladd and Dalton in Drum Beat 1954

Alan Ladd Drum Beat 1954
Audrey Dalton as the sensuous Nancy Meek in Delmer Dave’s Drum Beat (1954) co-starring with dreamy Alan Ladd. :Alamy Stock Photo
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Audrey plays Louise Nelson in this superb British film noir The Deadliest Sin (1955).

I am so touched by Audrey Dalton’s kindness. She not only possesses a beauty that could be considered otherworldly, and up there in the ranks of so many of the great beauties of that Golden Age of Hollywood, it turns out she is one of THE most gracious and kind people in an industry filled with egos and eccentrics.

I shared a bit about why I call myself MonsterGirl, that I am a singer/songwriter and how much I’ve loved her work in film and television for as far back as I can remember. I mentioned that I had heard so many stories about how kind and gentle Boris Karloff was in real life. That I wished Boris Karloff had been my grandfather. My own was a real ‘meanie’ and so around here we often joke and say Grandpa Boris.

I was so glad that I got the chance to tell her how much her contribution to THRILLER elevated the episodes to a whole new level, including Boris himself who brought to life a confluence of genius, the immense collaborative efforts of some of the most talented artists and people in the industry. Audrey Dalton worked with directors– Herschel Daugherty on Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook, with John Brahm on The Prediction starring along side Boris Karloff and director William F. Claxton and co-starring with another great actor Warren Oates in The Hollow Watcher 

The series has never been imitated nor surpassed in it’s originality and atmosphere. We conferred about our shared love of THRILLER and it’s impact on television as a visionary program and a wonderful working space off camera.

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Audrey Dalton has a fay-like smile, a pair of eyes that are deep & mesmerizing with a sparkle of kindness besides…

MonsterGirl Listens-

Audrey Dalton– “Here’s some thoughts for you on my most beloved work as an actor.”

“I was on a lot of Westerns (despite my fear of horses) but my most favorite show was the Thriller series. I had an agreement with Boris to do one a season. Boris Karloff was a lovely, gentle man who was loved by the crew. Many of them had worked with him years before. That was nice to see. The Thriller set was a wonderful place to be. We all had so much fun working with one another. When we filmed Hay-Fork, we would all go out for late dinners after filming. Alan Napier was very tall and had a wonderful sense of humor about it. He would tease Boris that he should’ve played Frankenstein’s Monster because of his height and strong features. But Boris was the best Monster of all. He was always a gentleman and genuinely enjoyed listening to everyone talk. He was a true actor and director. He watched people and life around him with huge eyes.”

On BORIS KARLOFF and his iconic anthology television series THRILLER:

karloff thriller opening

It must have been wonderful working with Boris Karloff on this remarkable series that possessed an innovative and unique sense of atmosphere, blending mystery & suspense, the crime drama and some of the BEST tales of terror & the supernatural!

Joey“I’m glad to see that you enjoyed working with him {Boris} on the show THRILLER… It was not only ahead of it’s time, and I’m not just trying to impress you, it IS actors like yourself and the quality and the true passion that you brought that helped make the show a very special body of work. It’s so nice to hear that you enjoyed the experience behind the scenes as well… It is one of my favorite classic anthology series. I can re-watch it over and over because it’s so compelling and well done!”

Audrey- “I feel very fortunate to have been working when the film industry was still relatively small and run by creative producers, writers and directors who had the studio solidly behind them, and not by financial conglomerates for whom film making was just one more way to make money. Boris could just call up his favorite film colleagues to work on Thriller, and that made it a wonderful experience. Film making today is a more complicated business with so much more emphasis on the business side and on ratings. We told stories because we were passionate about them. I’m not sure that passion is the same any more.”

“I watched some Thrillers last month after my daughter first saw your website.  They are creepy even for someone who acted in them. It was such a well-done, well-made show.”

on the Moors

“Thriller is such a gem that it would be wonderful if you wrote more about it.  It does not get the attention it deserves. Boris really considered it his masterpiece of so much talent in each episode.”

Joey- I laughed out loud, at your comment that Thriller was “even creepy for someone who acted in them.” I suppose it would be creepy, and I often wonder how the atmosphere of the set and the narrative might influence a performance just by the suggestion of the story and the set design! And the musical score is yet another defining element of the show. Jerry Goldsmith, Pete Rugolo and Mort Stevens’ music is so extraordinary! Moody and evocative. Jerry Goldsmith’s score for The Hollow Watcher is just incredible, it added to the emotionally nuanced scenes you had as the stirring character of Meg secretly married to the conniving Sean McClory in The Hollow Watcher. I will be covering very soon, your two other fantastic appearances in Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook and The Prediction.”

Audrey- “Boris would love to know you think of him as Grandpa Boris. He had a huge heart and I do so love remembering how kind and gentle he was.  I am so grateful to have been one of the lucky few who worked with him.”

On working with Barbara Stanwyck & starring in the classic hit TITANIC (1953)

dalton and stanwyck titanic

Audrey- “My other most cherished project was Titanic. I worked with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. Clifton was a little bit like snobbish and mostly kept to himself, but he was very funny with a sharp wit. Barbara Stanwyck was a dream – the ultimate pro, always prepared to act and ready to help the rest of us.”

On starring in director Delbert Mann’s Separate Tables (1958)

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Joey- “I loved your performance in Separate Tables! It’s obvious you were having fun and it was a lovely and playful characterization. As well as pretty modern which I loved! Did it send Rod Taylor running back to the Time Machine because you were such a strong and confident gal…”

Audrey -“Another favorite role of mine was “Separate Tables” with David Niven, Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth and Deborah Kerr. It was such a fun little film. We rehearsed for 3 weeks and shot it in sequence, which was very unusual. Niven was a wonderful, funny man, a great raconteur. It was great to just sit quietly in a chair and listen to his wicked sense of humor. Rita was incredibly nervous during filming and was literally shaking. We all had to be quiet to help her get over it. She was such a sweet person, but I think she was having health problems by then.”

Joey- “You were wonderful in Separate Tables! The old gossips like Glady’s Cooper (who –from her performance in Now Voyager, I wouldn’t want to be my Grandma or mother for that matter!) I adore her as an actress though… and Cathleen Nesbit they were hilarious as they watched nosily at your goings on with Rod Taylor… you both brought a very nice bit of comedic lightness to the underlying sad tone of Deborah Kerr and David Niven’s characters.”

Audrey“Now I might have to watch Separate Tables again.”

On ELSA LANCHESTER- 

Elsa The Girls of Pleasure Island

girls of pleasure island

I did wonder if The Girls of Pleasure Island co-star Elsa Lanchester had left an impression on Audrey Dalton, a seemingly feisty character I wondered if she had experienced anything memorable acting in her first feature film along side of another of my favorite actresses.

Audrey- “I don’t remember a lot about Elsa Lanchester. When we filmed “The Girls of Pleasure Island” it was on the Paramount backlot and I remember she always had a camera with her.  She was an avid photographer and she had a wonderful sense of humor.”

On WILLIAM CASTLE and Mr. Sardonicus!

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Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton and Guy Rolfe in William Castle’s macabre Gothic masterpiece Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

I read William Castle’s bio and it was quite a hell of a read! The stories about his childhood are wild. Like Audrey said, “he is a legend for good reason”, and Mr. Sardonicus (1961) is quite a macabre masterpiece in so many ways. Castle was considered a master of Bally-Hoo but he truly had an eye for creating weird spaces and stories. Although considered low budget, it doesn’t matter to so many of us, because he left a legacy and Audrey Dalton is part of that…

Joey- “I imagine working with William Castle on Mr. Sardonicus, there must have been a great deal of creepy moments because of that horrific mask that Guy Rolfe wore! and Oskar Homolka and his awful leeches, horrid man… (the character not the actor of course!) I hope it was as enjoyable working with William Castle as it was with Grandpa Boris. You were wonderful in the film!”

Audrey- “Bill Castle was another incredible director I was fortunate to get to work with. He’s a legend for good reason; I don’t think I have ever met someone so creative and driven about his work.  You are right that the mask that Guy wore in Mr. Sardonicus was chilling. I have not seen that film in years but I can see that image as clearly as if it were yesterday.”

Sardonicus

On being friends with actress BEVERLY GARLAND!

The Alligator Man

Audrey“I noticed you wrote a bit about Beverly Garland.  She was such a dear friend of mine.  She was in Pretty Poison with Noel Black who just passed away last year.   Bev died years ago and even though she remained active in the Scarecrow and Mrs King for so long, she loved acting in “B” films the most.”

Joey- “I am a big fan of Beverly Garland! I think she was a versatile and extremely accessible actress! Just wonderful to watch. Even her outre cool 1950’s police show DECOY: Police Woman!… Of course she’ll always be beloved for her ‘B’ movies with Roger Corman.

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It’s so wonderful to hear that you both were good friends. I’m sorry she’s gone. So many wonderful people we’ve lost. It’s so great to know that she enjoyed being known as a “B” movie actress in addition to her other incredible body of work. I loved her in director Noel Black’s Pretty Poison (1968). I forgot that she played the psychopathic Sue Ann Stepaneck’s (Tuesday Weld’s) mom!”

Beverly Garland not only exuded a gutsy streak in every role she took, she shared the notable distinction of starring in one of Boris Karloff’s THRILLER episodes called Knock-Three-One-Two co-starring with the wonderful character actor Joe Maross who has a gambling problem and will be beaten to a pulp if he doesn’t pay his bookie. So he enlists the help of a psychopathic lady killer to murder his wife Beverly for her tightly held purse and large savings account!

On ED NELSON– Like the wonderful Audrey Dalton, Ed Nelson exudes an inner light and sort of tangible kindness.

ed nelson

Joey “One very endearing thing that happened in August 2014 after Ed Nelson passed away, when I wrote a little something about the ubiquitous actor, his son wrote to me in particular to thank me for saying such nice things about his dad. It’s ironic Ed worked on several of Boris Karloff’s  THRILLERs too! When he had passed on, I hoped he knew how many fans he had and could have had the opportunity to enjoy a nice tribute from me for all the work he had done.”

Ed Nelson and Linda Watkins The Cheaters
Ed Nelson and Linda Watkins in The Cheaters episode of Boris Karloff’s anthology television show Thriller!

I just watched the 70s television show Police Woman with Angie Dickinson as Pepper Anderson —Audrey Dalton starred in the episode called Shoefly.” It was so nice to see her playing the wife of actor Ed Nelson, since they both starred in several roles of Thriller! and the chemistry between them was very genuine. And I told her so, and did ask about him.

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Ed Nelson plays Lieutenant John Hess married to the loving Rose in Police Woman episode ‘Shoefly” 1974

Audrey “I did know Ed Nelson quite well, by the way. We lost touch over the years, but during the time we were first filming Killers in Paradise and then again while filming Police Woman. He was a kind man and very smart.  And he was a very busy actor.”

COMING SOON: Boris Karloff’s anthology television show THRILLER  featuring Audrey Dalton in 2 memorable & evocative episodes– HAY -FORK and BILL-HOOK  and THE PREDICTION!

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Hay Fork and Bill Hook
Audrey Dalton in Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook shown here with Doris Lloyd as Mother Evans. There’s witchcraft afoot in the Welsh moors.

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Audrey- “Your website brings back wonderful memories and I have enjoyed reading it so very much. It is such a treasure.”

Joey- With all my sincerest gratitude and ever lasting admiration, it’s been one of the greatest thrills of my life, speaking to you, the amazing Audrey Dalton!

Love always, Joey

 

 

 

 

 

MonsterGirl Asks Frank Henenlotter: ❤ A Valentine Homage To An Un-Conjoined Aberration, the Little Impish Wicker Man, ‘Belial’

MONSTERGIRL ASKS: FRANK HENENLOTTER

The Great Frank Henenlotter

The Writer/Director who brought us the body as ‘Other.’

Belial
Conjoined brother Duane Bradley’s other half, Belial, somewhat like the mythic Blemmyae portrayed in Medieval paintings and etchings. He’s cute, he’s cuddly and fits really well in a wicker picnic basket for those special occasions.
A Blemmyae and other mythic oddities
A Blemmyae and other mythic oddities- To the left a Headless creature, face in their chest yet fixed with arms and legs who inhabit the earth.
Book: Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo: With 25 Illustrations from a Fourteenth-century Manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (New York: The Orion Press, 1958)Written and illuminated in Paris, ca. 1410–12
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 2810, fols. 29v, 194v, 195v

Blemmyae

MONSTERGIRL’S QUESTION-

Frank, this is a simple question that I’ve been very curious about for a long time, what is truly at the root of your choosing the name Belial for your most iconic monstrous personification of body horror in your classic film Basket Case from 1982. What tripped the wires in your head to name Duane Bradley’s brother in a wicker basket – Belial ?

Is it founded in the Hebrew proverb adam beli-yaal meaning ‘a worthless man’, because Belial was discarded by the doctors and his father as a non entity with no legitimatized form, also the name is based in Jewish and Christian texts referring to a demon?

Though Belial was more a product of physiological anomaly, rather than spawn from hell nor mutant. You can’t blame a guy for trying to get a little nookie…

He’s almost analogous to the mythic Blemmyae who’s heads were in their chests.

Or were you inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost…? Was he, yet a metaphor for the insatiable vice of desire?

John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I
BELIAL came last, than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for it self: To him no Temple stood
Or Altar smoak’d; yet who more oft then hee
In Temples and at Altars, when the Priest
Turns Atheist, as did ELY’S Sons, who fill’d
With lust and violence the house of God.
In Courts and Palaces he also Reigns
And in luxurious Cities, where the noyse
Of riot ascends above their loftiest Towers,
And injury and outrage: And when Night
Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons
Of BELIAL, flown with insolence and wine.
Witness the Streets of SODOM, and that night
In GIBEAH, when hospitable Dores
Yielded their Matrons to prevent worse rape.

FRANK HENENLOTTER’S ANSWER-

That’s an easy one. The father, appalled by the creature and full of hatred after his wife died giving birth, named him after the devil. Or one of Satan’s demons. I’ve heard Belial used as a synonym for Satan, and also as one of the many fallen angels. Either or, doesn’t matter to me. And I didn’t want something too obvious. I mean, calling him Beelzebub would’ve just been silly. Also, way back when, I looked up Belial in some reference book and it said the name translated as “ungodly.” Which certainly fit the look of the creature. More than that, however, I like the SOUND of the name. If you didn’t know the Biblical reference, the name sounds rather friendly: “Hi, Mr. Bradley! Can Belial come out and play today?” And though grotesque, I’ve always thought Belial looked friendly. At least when his mouth is closed.

Frank wearing a Basket Case Tee

Writer/ Director/ Historian/ Film Preservationist Frank Henenlotter is a New Yorker like me. He spent his youth absorbing the low-budget exploitation gems that were offered for those of us who wanted something beyond the mainstream. He frequented the soiled seated grindhouse theaters on 42nd Street, now over run with the dis-associative glitz of Disney. 42nd Street used to showcase the wonderful underbelly of cinema, the cheap and psychotronic films that created a whole new landscape to wander around, while the artistic self is just beginning to emerge and the hormones are raging. So Frank Henenlotter grabbed some 8mm film and went off to find himself.

The good old days 42nd Street

In 1972 his 16mm B&W short called Slash of the Knife played at the same 42nd Street midnight show with John Water’s Pink Flamingos 1972.

Henenlotter had a brief sojourn in advertising as a graphic designer and commercial artist before he immersed himself in his fantastical film career, known for his outrageously unconventional, outré quirky,darkly humorous, seamy atmospheres, and literally bloody good fun with his off center story lines.

It’s what make his films so unique. I discovered him in 1982 when I went to my local video store looking for something different to watch and stumbled upon a peculiar and intriguing VHS cover called Basket Case. So I rented it and went home ready to invest myself in the emergence of the 80s horror genre. Of course I purchase my own copy and still have the original VHS treasure.

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VHS Basket Case Cover

Belial in his basket

I had been weened on Universal classic horrors, Creature Features, Fright Night on WOR Channel 9, campy sci-fi gems of the 50s with giant bugs and shrinking men, mad scientists, Boris and Bela, and then the 70s came and the cinematic sky darkened, the atmosphere closed inward with a collection of starkly creepy low budget films that left my imagination and my tender psyche altered.

But here it was the early 80s and I wanted to embrace the new horrors. So when I sat quietly in my room and witnessed something so creative, so brutally funny and honest in it’s inventiveness, that I fell in love. Call it sleazy, call it gory, splatter, scuzzy, violent, tasteless, grotesque, excessively tacky, twisted in it’s vision, genres are so inter- textually linked that labeling them at this point is futile. Ultimately Henenlotter’s work has a splendidly unsettling lacquer and spirit.

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Photo from Kindertrauma.com

What I experienced was a modern day fairytale about two outsiders. Conjoined Siamese Twin brothers Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and Belial Bradley who take up residence in room number 7 at a seedy 42nd Street Hotel in NYC. Like the pathos evoked from Frankenstein’s monster and his ‘otherness’ The Siamese Twins, whose at times tumultuous brotherly bond set them off on a mission to punish the hack doctors who surgically annihilated their physical bond. The film made me laugh, shiver, empathize and adore that little guy in the wicker basket named Belial. Who wasn’t a demon or devil or mutant, just a little guy with authentic separation anxiety.

The film co-starred Terri Susan Smith as Sharon, Beverly Bonner as Casey, Robert Vogel as the Hotel Manager and Diane Browne, Lloyd Pace and Bill Freeman as Doctors-Judith Kutter, Harold Needleman and Julius Lifflander. Ruth Neuman plays the boys’ aunt. Richard Pierce plays their father, their mother having died in child birth.

Duane and Belial

The low key cinematography was done by Bruce Torbet, who also worked on Brain Damage. Frank Henenlotter was responsible for the film editing himself. Editing is key. And the very special Makeup department staff was John Caglione Jr, Kevin Haney, and Ugis Nigals as special makeup effects artists, Ken Clark did hair and make up.

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Brain Damage VHS cover. I still have this copy as well. image from
VHS WASTELAND

Quote from Basket Case (1982)

Aunt: [Reading to young Duane and Belial] “Art thou afraid? No monster, not I. Be not afraid, for the isle is full of sights, sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will humm about mine ears. And sometimes voices, that if I then had waked after long sleep would let me sleep again. And then in dreaming, the clouds we thought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me, that when I waked, I cried to dream again…”

Aunt reading to Belial

It’s no wonder the film has attained such cult status. I wound up renting Brain Damage which was released in 1988. Again the premise was so unique and freaky that it made me a fan of Frank Henenlotter for life. Brain Damage I think is the more queasy, darker and provocatively satirical film with it’s skid row orientation, but I’ll always love best, the gory fable that is Basket Case.

Brain Damage, again working almost as a modern fairytale is an allegory about addiction. With it’s young protagonist who becomes the host to an arcane and shiftily phallic parasite that feeds on human brains.

Frank went on to release Frankenhooker in 1990 ‘A terrifying tale of sluts and bolts’, and a two sequels to Basket Case, the last being 1992’s Basket Case 3: The Progeny. This last film revolves around Belial’s romance with female freak Eve, and the Bradley boys taking a trip to Georgia in the company of other freaks and freaks rights activist Granny Ruth (jazz nightclub singer Annie Ross) to seek the help of kindly doctor Uncle Hal (Dan Biggers) who assists with Eve’s pregnancy.

Basket Case 3

In addition to his writing and directing, Henenlotter’s been a fierce advocate and film preservationist, the force behind the rescuing and re-issuing of obscure vintage 60s and 70s horror, softcore and exploitation film relics from VHS and DVD through the fabulously valuable Something Weird Video. He also has added his witty commentary to several of the releases for the company. Henenlotter was featured in the documentary film Herschell Gordon Lewis – The Godfather of Gore and narrated the film on the 2010 FanTasia. In issue #304 of Fangoria Magazine Frank and comic artist Joshua Emerick started a Basket Case comic strip which offers a three panel piece in each issue.

Fangoria's BasketCase comic strip

Frank

Personal Quote:
[on being labeled a horror film director] –

“I never felt that I made “horror films.” I always felt that I made exploitation films. Exploitation films have an attitude more than anything else — an attitude that you don’t find with mainstream Hollywood productions. They’re a little ruder, a little raunchier, they deal with material people don’t usually touch on, whether it’s sex or drugs or rock and roll.” – Frank Henenlotter

“I think eccentrically and I’m a strange little person.”Frank Henenlotter

From VideoHounds Cult Flicks and Trash Picks -edited by Carol Schwartz on Page 234 The Hound Salutes Frank Henenlotter-

“Since then, Frank Henenlotter has come to be know mainly as a film historian and curator of sorts- but as you may expect, he’s done it in a rather odd fashion. Henenlotter was an expert on cult flicks and trash pick long before books were being written about them. He was rightfully chosen as the premiere interview presented in the landmark volume Incredibly Strange Films, despite the fact that he’d only made one official feature at the time, base solely on the depth of his knowledge. During the 1990s he began helping Mike Vraney of Something Weird Video unearth and release dozens of mind -bending exploitation films-many of them thought long lost-for a series that became known as “Frank Henenlotter’s Sexy Shockers from the Vault” Thanks to preservationists Frank and Mike generations to come will be able to enjoy vintage sleaze like Monster of Camp Sunshine, Bloody Pit of Horror, The Curious Dr. Hump and Olga’s House of Shame. In addition, Henenlotter has brought  some interesting new films by young directors to the label”. – Brian Thomas

Frank Henenlotter

Frank Henenlotter is beloved by his fans, gracious, accessible, funny, engaged, playful and thought provokingly outrageous. And thanks to his preservation of these lost cult films, I’ve gotten to see Aroused 1966, and Rent A Girl, Satan in High Heels (1962) and so much more!

I still wish he should commission Think Geek to make a Belial plushy. If they don’t I’m just going have to run myself over to Michael’s craft store and design my own friggin puppet already… I think Belial is cute as hell. So many people agree it would be a great iconic novelty.

In closing, special thanks to you Frank. You’re a lovely, eccentrically personable guy-It’s been so wonderful to hear your thoughts on Belial’s inception. I’m with you. I never thought he looked like a monster, even with his mouth open. That’s the point right… the way we ‘otherize’ those who are different. Grotesque is in the eye of the beholder. Look how pin heads are all the rage again since American Horror Story Asylum so successfully paid it’s endearing and intensely nuanced homage to Schlitze from Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932)

Schlitze from Browning's Freaks Pinhead

A Special Happy Valentine’s Day To Frank Henenlotter, to Belial, to brother & sisterhood and to all of you genre fans, freaks and all of us ‘others’- Love Joey (Your MonsterGirl)

Basket Case

MonsterGirl Asks Dante Tomaselli: American Indie Filmmaker / Auteur of the Nightmare Realms

The Nightmarish Journey of Dante Tomaselli

Why are Nuns almost as scary as Clowns?…a scene from Desecration

Dante Tomaselli was born October 29, 1969, in Paterson, New Jersey is an Italian-American horror screenwriter, director, and score composer. He studied film making at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and then transferred to the New York School of Visual Arts, receiving a B.F.A. degree in Advertising there. His first film was a 23 minute short called Desecration which was screened at a variety of horror and mainstream film festivals. Later on, Dante Tomaselli expanded Desecration into a feature length film and in 1999, the film premiered to a SRO audience at the prestigious Fantafestival in Rome, Italy.

It’s no wonder that he’s “just this guy from New Jersey with odd visions” and a life long supernatural / horror aficionado considering himself as a ‘supernaturalist, NOT a ‘satanist’, who also happens to be the cousin of film director Alfred Sole the director who brought us the edgy , cult Catholic themed horror favorite , Alice Sweet Alice (1976) which I loved,the clear mask, the yellow raincoat…and I only have one criticism of that film, which is the little psychotic brat killing the big greasy fat man’s kitten. That was heinous, and I could have done without that scene.

But I digress.

Dante’s 2nd feature film, is Horror (2002) which was Tomaselli’s first commercial success, and has maintained a wide release on DVD.

Tomaselli then made Satan’s Playground (2005), It stars 70’s and early-80’s cult-horror icons Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead), and Edwin Neal (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre). The film is set, and was filmed in, New Jersey’s infamous Pine Barrens Forest.

Dante just completed his fourth feature, Torture Chamber the fourth installment in his nightmarish journey exploring the imaginations of Hell and damnation.

From Horror Movies.ca Torture Chamber is about a 13-year-old boy possessed by unspeakable evil. It’s probably the first serious independent horror film in a long time that’s in the vein of The Exorcist. The demon is called Baalberith, which, if you believe in demonology, tempts its host to blasphemy and murder,” he told the site. “Jimmy Morgan is a pyromaniac, horribly disfigured from experimentation with drugs. This Catholic boy’s family is crawling with religious fanatics. His mother believes he was sent from the Devil to set the world on fire. His older brother is a priest who tries to exorcise him. When Jimmy murders his own father, he burns him to death. Because of this, the troubled boy is sent to an Institution for disturbed youths. While there, Jimmy has a Charles Manson-like hold on the other kids from the burn unit. Together, they escape and Jimmy finds an old abandoned castle for shelter. That’s where the burned kids find a secret passage way that leads to a medieval, cobwebbed torture chamber.

COMING SOON!

First I have to start off by saying that I had the great fortune, or if you believe as I do in synchronicity, fate led me to a copy of Desecration (1999), Dante Tomaselli’s first horror film/ Hallucinatory project, which was being sold at our local indie video store in Madison Wisconsin, a very hip and fully stocked video store known fairly nationally as a outre funky ‘go to’ place where the clerks knew every film in existence and could spout synopsis on a dime if asked by a customer.

You needed to take a very grueling test to work at that place, which I passed with flying colors, yet I worked there for only one evening, before having a panic attack outside, when I couldn’t handle the pressure of helping undergrads and frat boys who had little patience for me training on the register. The experience shamed me away from Four Star Video Heaven  for the remaining years that I lived in Madison, BUT.. came away from it with one great thing, which was I had an inside crack at the mark down videos there during my week of training.

A few scenes from Desecration

And there were many obscure gems there that I scored because of that. One of them was Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration on VHS. (Which I still own) I quickly took the video home and watched it by myself, taking in all the imagery and discovering that I had stumbled onto a new film maker that I admired and respected greatly.

An overall impression of Dante’s work I’ll give right now. I internalize the Tomaselli experience like one of my sleep paralysis episodes or any number of horrific nightmares I’ve had from childhood to adulthood.

A few scenes from Horror

NOTICE THE CHILDREN’S DOLL HOUSE JUXTAPOSED WITH THE SYRINGE OF HALLUCINATORY DRUGS

Dante’s work does come closer to examining a nightmare, than most dream sequences attempted by other film makers. The dreams that truly frighten us are the ones that are more REAL.

I’ve seen his work being compared to Argento and Fulci, and while I’m sure that Dante might take this as a compliment on one hand, it doesn’t give enough credence to his own originality as an auteur. I speak from experience since I’ve been lazily compared to Tori Amos, when I’d like to think of my work as it’s own very unique ‘thing’

I see Dante Tomaselli’s work as uniquely his own imaginary / hallucinatory vision. Dante’s works are like little filmic exorcisms, for childhood fears. Where the danger surrounds anyone who is young, and the adults become the monsters. Where religion becomes the monster, and where fanaticism, repression and abuse, drives people toward possession, damnation, and inevitably to Hell, or a hellish nightmare world where there is no escape nor salvation.

A few stills from Desecration

Here is an excerpt from The Inferno of Dante. It illustrates much of how I see a Dante Tomaselli nightmare world coming close to a reality of Hell, a more protracted vision from the descriptions of the classic Inferno Hell.

Dante’s Inferno Canto VII line 10

That savage beast fell shrinking to the ground.
So we descended to the fourth defile
To experience more of that despondent land

That sacks up all the universe’s ill.
Justice of God! Who is it that heaps together
So much peculiar torture and travail?

Classical Map of Hell by Bartolomeo

Saint Anthony’s Catholic Academy

Still courtesy of Dread Central.com and Dante Tomaselli. A scene from Torture Chamber

A still courtesy of Dante Tomaselli from the upcoming Torture Chamber

Desecration and in particular Horror, are brutal nightmares that are underpinned by transgression, guilt, strong Maternal symbolism, fear of matriarchal control. Then add all the religious delirium,and the use of fetish. It’s all very primal...Tomaselli, coming from an Italian Catholic upbringing which inhabits it’s own magical realm within Christian dogma, the ferocious nuns and mysterious Saints, and austere priests. The abject fear of retribution by God… it’s all rather scary!

Some more scenes from Desecration

Brides married to Christ, but the candle wont light for Sister Madeline

Yet on a very Americana landscape, with a truly American Gothic narrative due to the fixation on Catholicism, Italian east coast Catholicism and the ordinary American family, the church and the surrounding childhood fears, perversion, fanaticism and madness. Which have manifested into these Surreal nightmarish paroxysms on screen.

Bobby’s Mother…and the repressed fear of matriarchal control. Mothers are scary when they don’t approve of us, or they want something that we as children cannot give them.

I also see amidst the imagery…agony, fixation, rage, desire , craving. frenzy, hysteria and desolation, as the proponents of the narratives, of Desecration and Horror.

I have not seen Satan’s Playground yet, but plan to very soon. I understand that Satan’s Playground is more linear and self contained. Based more on a particularly creepy family who live in the woods, and blending the mythos of the Jersey Devil, (Which I believe is just a fisher, which is in the weasel family..they eat cats..I hate them, they are Devils!) but I digress as I am apt to do…

In his films there lays bare a simplicity that straddles both surrealism and more of a realism.,which adds to the nihilistic atmosphere. And as I’ve said, he paints a landscape that is closer to the true nightmare experience, which taps into pain and unconscious guilt.

There’s an authentic American angst about ours sins swallowing us up and spitting us out into Hell. In Dante Tomaselli’s dream world, there exhibits a charismatic starkness, which exposes us down to a raw nerve and makes us feel closer to what might be a more straightforward Hell, than the depictions from classical paintings and literature.

“Torture Chamber, at the core, is about a family in deep psychic pain. All my films are about peeling back layers of pain and guilt buried in the unconscious mind.”- Dante Tomaselli

Now, that I’ve given some of my own impressions, I can continue with this next installment in the MonsterGirl Asks series. Dante Tomaselli has been extremely gracious in allowing me to ask him a question, in the midst of his busy schedule, after having just finished his 4th contribution to his hallucinatory works of horror art…this last film called Torture Chamber, which I have been given a special private screening of  the trailer which will be up on-line in a few weeks! and I have to say, it will continue to brand Tomaselli a hallucinatory auteur and broaden his landscape a bit more, but does not scale back on the schadenfreude emotional shivers and psychic acrobatics that his earlier works cause the viewer to go through, definitely me for sure.

Before I go to my question…First let me tell you about his first film Desecration (1999)

Desecration is an eerie psychological chiller about a young 16 year old boy named Bobby Rullo played by Danny Lopes. It also stars Christie Sandford as Sister Madeline/ Mary Rullo (Bobby’s mother) Sandford brings a certain arresting presence to both characters.

Bobby is an outsider, a loner. Bobby suffers from a repressive Catholic upbringing, and the emotional turmoil caused by his mother’s unexpected death. It is only after he inadvertently causes the death of a nun, that a series of supernatural chain of events begin to unfold. Bobby begins a journey through Hell, coming face to face with his dead mother. There begins a landscape of powerful childhood nightmare, where demons are unleashed upon the senses and innocence must find its way out of this decent, while the gates of Hell open wider.

The film acts as a set piece for our childhood fears, and the overpowering influence of abuse, fanaticism and repression, which wreak havoc on our innocence. You can call it surrealist, art house, abstract, experimental, what ever way helps you describe, a film that is more about evoking feelings, than supplying you with gratuitous gore, violence with no context or morality sewn into the seams of the plot, or loaded budgets with high gloss CGI but no substance.

Desecration is in effect a film you experience from the inside out. You’re not supposed to make sense of it. There is no sense to one’s madness, or one’s descent into a nether region, possibly Hell, possibly hallucination. It’s like trying to describe what you see in a series of colored splats on a canvas that doesn’t need to define a literal depiction of ‘something’. Modern Expressionism art is like that. a) You can not describe accurately what agency is behind a blue splotch, it is representational. And b) The experience will mean different things to different lookers, viewers, gazers.

Now Horror (2002), utilizes some of the same imagery as Desecration, in fact Danny Lopes plays the character Luck.

Here Dante Tomaselli merges two disturbing narratives. The two plot lines will eventually cross paths with each other. Teenage runaways abusing drugs escape from a drug rehab and follow the psychopathic Reverend Salo Jr. with the promise of salvation to the isolation of his family farmhouse.

Still more stills from Horror

There is an eerie connection to Salo Sr. and the existence of child abuse, and once again fanaticism and religion. Leading the group of teenagers is a boy named Luck played by Danny Lopes. He is already tripping on major hallucinogenics. They are led to the secluded farmhouse where the intersectionality of the plot begins.

Dante and Raine Brown

Living on the farm is Grace, Salo Jr’s sullen daughter played by Lizzy Mahon whom her father and his extremely peculiar wife Mrs. Salo (again the great Christie Sanford ) have enslaved Grace by forcing to her to take drugs and by means of psychic brainwashing.

Grace’s feels a psychic connection to her paternal grandfather Salo Sr, played by Kreskin, as Reverend Salo Sr. Is he the only salvation who appears to be guiding Grace? Or are his comforting visitations revealed to be luring her into more dangerous territory. Grace’s visions lead her to ultimately learn about her parent’s demonic preoccupations and devil worship.

Scenes from Horror

The painting morphs into a savage visage of Grandfather Salo The Reverend Sr. The scene is gripping and effective and brings me back to the Pilot episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, where Roddy McDowall kills his wealthy uncle and the painting which keeps changing, foretelling of his retribution on his murderous nephew. There are little pockets of powerful gusts of energy in Dante’s films.

Raine Brown plays Amanda, Jessica Pagan is Marissa, Kevin Kenny is Kevin and Chris Farabaugh (Satan’s Playground) is Fred. Felissa Rose plays an art therapist at the Rehabilitation Center. On another note Tomaselli’s casting is spot on. These actors truly bring to life these characters, make them believable and are absolutely perfect for the roles they’ve been given.

Salo Sr. is played by The Amazing Kreskin, who’m I remember from my childhood as a celebrity mentalist. I don’t remember if he was amazing!, but I think he was pretty cool, and I love that Tomaselli is utilizing his creepy vintage prestige to add to the film’s atmospherics as well as a nod to the good old days.

AND NOW FOR THE QUESTION I ASKED DANTE TOMASELLI

MY QUESTION IS THIS: (MonsterGirl and Daisy Asks)

What strikes me as a very key component to a Dante Tomaselli experience is the use of sound in your films, which you yourself do all the scoring.

The soundscapes and the utilization and presence of auditory ‘spirit’ add to the occupying level of concentration that attaches itself to your stories. It’s partly what creates a disturbing influence to the atmosphere. I’ve read that you compose the soundtrack like you were making an album.

Tell me about your experiences trying to bring to life another level of the senses ‘SOUND’ which inhabits your hallucinatory/nightmarish realms, what does the sound design mean to you? What does it add to the film or as you would say the ‘equation.’ ?

Dante Tomaselli – The Sound Hunter!

DANTE TOMASELLI’S ANSWER:

When I was a little boy, I used to play an electronic organ. I’d sit there for hours and imagine strange images: ghosts, witches, quicksand, nuns, bats and haunted houses. I’d see rolling hills…with graveyards. I had so many nightmares…endless nightmares…and I remembered them so clearly. I always imagined…or feared…another world poking through…the spirit world. Somewhere on the other side was a shadowy realm with a cage or deep hole or cobwebbed torture chamber. Now as an adult, once the film is shot, I’m left alone with my footage, I love sound mixing. I feel like I’m home. It’s like the missing link. It’s me as a child all over again…playing my horror music on the organ, seeing pictures. Channeling something from far away…or deep within, something demonic, something celestial. I’m a sound hunter. If I’m missing a certain effect, anything, then I’m on the hunt for it. I can’t rest until I find it. Since I’m the film’s sound designer, music supervisor and main composer, everything, sound-wise is my responsibility. I like that. In the studio, I work with the engineer, all alone, just like I’m making an album. It wouldn’t be my film if I didn’t design the soundtrack. It is 50% of the film’s equation. On Torture Chamber, I brought on a small group of eclectic musicians to create some additional sound fx, soundscapes and tones. These musicians didn’t compose to picture, per se. They didn’t see the film. I didn’t want them to. I’m more interested in what is in the imagination. I’ll send a section of the script with some direction. What comes back to me is sometimes totally off the mark and not usable but occasionally something really gels and there’s this odd, fresh dynamic at work. Something unexpected.

So once I choose another composer’s soundscape, I’ll grab the best moments. Then I’ll mix those highlights with my own music and sound fx, usually a lot of low tones and glacial stings.

It’s this mixture that feels like a witches brew. I like to be surprised by the result of all that swirling and stirring. I want it to feel unpredictable, a little dangerous. Composing the score, I listen to sounds individually and mix them in my mind. I fantasize and watch the footage. It stays in my head and I eventually write it down. Once in the studio, I mix and match and it feels very much like sculpting or painting. I’m painting with sounds.

A still from the upcoming Torture Chamber courtesy of Dante Tomaselli

Thank You so much Dante, for that very eloquent and enlightening answer that sheds a little more light on your working process as a film maker.

And there YOU have just a little hint at Dante Tomaselli’s world, his work. Please visit his official sites,

http://horrorthemovie.com/

http://enterthetorturechamber.com/

http://www.myspace.com/horrorthemovie

Watch one of his films, and see for yourself, what can be done with an intensely ethereal imagination and a low budget and an inner vision of the landscapes where nightmare’s live and breath.

It’s been a supreme pleasure chatting with Dante Tomaselli,

MonsterGirl thanks him, and wishes him good dreams and productive nightmares!

And Happy Nightmares To You All- Dream on- MonsterGirl

MonsterGirl Asks: Joe Bob Briggs

A Little Background Story on a very smart, funny and gutsy guy:

Joe Bob Briggs, is a legendary television host, syndicated American writer, film critic, comic performer, actor, and all around patron saint of the lost art of the Drive In Movie Theater. He started out his career as a movie reviewer at Texas Monthly and The Dall Times Herald.

It was while working at the Herald that alias John Irving Bloom created his dynamic persona as Joe Bob Briggs, who’s satirical commentary on the ‘Exploitation’ movie genre gave birth to an unapologetic, unrelenting, proud male chauvinist, non conforming and rebellious redneck who holds a sentimental gestalt for Drive In movie theaters and their schlocky largesse , the relic of a time when the B movie was a sanctified art form as far as us horror movie freaks and geeks are concerned.

Joe Bob payed a humorous homage in his reviews to those by gone days of cult films and drive-in movies as he distinguished them from “indoor bullshit.”

From Wikipedia:

In addition to his usual parody of urbane, high-brow movie criticism, his columns characteristically include colorful tales of woman-troubles and high-spirited brushes with the law, tales which inevitably conclude with his rush to catch a movie at a local drive-in, usually with female companionship. The reviews typically end with a brief rating of the “high points” of the movie in question, including the types of action (represented by nouns naming objects used in fight scenes suffixed with –fu), the number of bodies, number of female breasts bared, the notional number of pints of blood spilled, and for appropriately untoward movies a “vomit meter”.A typical such concluding paragraph would be, “No dead bodies. One hundred seventeen breasts. Multiple aardvarking. Lap dancing. Cage dancing. Convenience-store dancing. Blindfold aardvarking. Blind-MAN aardvarking. Lesbo Fu. Pool cue-fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Tane McClure. Joe Bob says check it out.” “Aardvarking” is Brigg’s euphemism for sexual intercourse.

This is a little dialogue with one of Joe’s counting bits from the show featuring The Evil Dead 2:

Thanks to Intricate Idiot he caught my brain fart as I accidentally tagged the dialogue below as having come from Evil Dead 2 when of course it was from Phantasm 2. The Tall Man geez, MonsterGirl thanks them for that eagle eye correction!

From Phantasm II (1988)

“It has 3 Flying Silver Balls instead of the one in the original flick and a severed hand instead of a levitating severed finger, but otherwise it’s the same deal, The Tall Man is taking corpses down to his mortuary and turning them into killer midget monks again! So lets take a look at those drive in totals…We’ve got:

12 Dead Bodies, an exploding house, one four barreled squared off shot gun, dwarf tossing, 10 breasts. Course those are scissored out of the TNT version. Embalming needles plunged through various parts of various bodies, one motor vehicle chase with ‘crash and burn’, Ear lopping, forehead drilling, wrist hacking, bimbo flinging, grandma bashing, devil sex, crematorium fu, flame thrower fu”- Joe Bob

Although Joe Bob’s reviews covered Drive In movies, he eventually expanded his humorous tongue in cheek commentary to Video and DVD releases.

In July of 1985 Joe Bob debuted his one man show in Cleveland which was a mixture of story telling, comedy and music. Originally called An Evening With Joe Bob Briggs eventually it turned into Joe Bob Dead In Concert. He performed in over fifty venues over the course of two years.

What evolved from the stage show in 1986 was his television guest hosting of Drive In Theater, which was a late night B movie show on the cable network’s The Movie Channel. There he became so popular that he was signed to a long term contract. Joe Bob did the movie introductions also included The Mail Girl Honey Gregory. Drive In had become the network’s highest-rated show that ran for almost ten years, and was twice nominated for the industry’s Cable ACE Award. Joe Bob began appearing on numerous talk shows and became quite the late night celebrity. Joe joked that “calling her Honey probably pissed off the FemiNazi’s who wrote him letters and hated women being called honey,” so it was fun that,  Honey was her real name.

I had a similar experience with a group of uptight grad students reading me the riot act for calling my redneck neighbor Bubba, who blew up his garage deep frying a turkey, until I informed them that Bubba was in fact his given name…geez people, take a Valium.

When the network changed their formatting in 1996, it wasn’t long before Joe Bob joined TNT where he began to host Monstervision, which he did for four years ending in July 2000 after once again the network changed it’s formatting.In the late nineties he spent two seasons as a commentator on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and he starred in Frank Henenlotter(Basketcase 1982) documentary Hershell Gordon Lewis Godfather of Gore.

Recently, Joe Bob has appeared in several  interviews on the cult movie web site Mondo Video 

Joe Bob has stayed active as a writer, freelancing for such publications as The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Interview and Playboy. He was the regular humor columnist and theater critic at the National Review and has published 5 books of satire. Joe Bob Briggs’ movie reviews are collected in the now out-of-print books, Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, and Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In. He has also penned, The Cosmic Wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs, Iron Joe Bob and A Guide to Western Civilization, or My Story.

Until 1998 Joe Bob had two syndicated columns in The New York Times. Joe Bob Goes to the Drive- In and Joe Bob’s America. Though he had retired from writing his reviews, it was the popular demand to hear his point of view, that got him to start up the “Drive-In column again in 2000 this time for United Press International.

He also began another column called “The Vegas Guy, which was Joe Bob’s weekly excursion to the casino world.

In 2003 he gave us the books Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History and Profoundly Erotic: Sexy Movies that Changed History.

Joe Bob has returned to TNT to host MonsterVision horror movie marathons. He appears live at various spooky conventions and does guest appearances to raise awareness for the need to bring back The Drive-In movie theater or just to spread the joy of the B movie schlock we all love.

Briggs has contributed audio commentaries to DVDs  which include some favorites Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s DaughterWarlock Moon, I Spit On Your Grave, and several Ray Dennis Steckler films including The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies.

Joe still actively runs his internet website, where you can follow his exploits around the country, read a collection of movie reviews. There’s Damn Good Writing, MonsterVision, Joe Bob writing as John Bloom, The Vegas Guy, Advice For The Hopeless, Book Reviews and Interviews and so much more! Like his very popular “If You’re Not a Catholic Please Shut Up!”

You can also purchase his out of print books from his website too!!!!

MonsterGirl- (Jo Gabriel)

“I used to watch Monstervision on TNT and became an instant fan of yours. I thought you were hilarious and pretty sexy too!…

I loved what you were doing for classic and B horror films, having grown up with Chiller Theater and that adorable claymation hand that pops up and starts articulating those decaying fleshy 6 fingers to the creepy 70s sound effects. I consider your presence as a part of my trajectory as MonsterGirl.”

The Question!

“As a savvy film guy who knows how to do a proper breast count , why do you think it always comes as a shock to most people that chicks actually love horror films?

There are gazillions of us intelligent estrogen flingers who know more critical theory about the classic horror and cult film genres than a lot of dudes with bad mullets.

What’s your sage opinion on this phenomena?”

– MonsterGirl (Jo Gabriel)

The Answer!

Joe Bob Briggs-

“Joey,

The horrorchick is a relatively recent phenomenon and public perception hasn’t caught up yet. Ad campaigns for classic horror films were always directed at males, under the theory that it was the guy who chose the movie on date night. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a female audience before, it just means that they came out of the closet in the nineties and there are still more male horror fans than female.”

Thank you big guy! Your Chick Fan with a breast count of two, Joey MonsterGirl!

PS as an ironic follow up to this post, just this week I took a screen capture of Google. It seems they think I am a young boy, in terms of my film and cultural tastes….Hhmm talk about your blind sample!

Joe Bob Briggs on The Evil Dead 1981 “Now That Grandma Has Left The Room”

Joe Bob Briggs is not only a fabulous comedian & TV Host but he’s the patron saint of Drive In Movie Theaters. He’s witty, irreverent, makes no apologies and is savvy on all things shocking and schlocky!

He puts the nostalgia back into my git along. I weep for those woebegone days of icy cokes, salty popcorn and sitting in the back of my pops Chevy at twilight, watching a now ‘cult film’ in my pajamas as a little MonsterGirl.

Here’s a little snippet of Bob on a rant, during an excited evening on The Movie Channel as they are finally about to run Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead on cablevision.

MonsterGirl (JoGabriel)