Boris Karloff’s Thriller The Remarkable Mrs Hawk: A Modern Re-telling of Homer’s Odyssey, Circean Poison with a Side of Bacon.

Of Circean poison and intoxicating things. When dealing with The Gods, the result is suffering.

The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk (air date December 18, 1961)

Starring Jo Van Fleet as Mrs. Cissy Hawk, John Carradine as Jason Longfellow, Paul Newlan as Sheriff Tom’Ulysses’ Willetts, Hal Baylor as Pete Gogan, and Bruce Dern as Johnny Norton. Directed by John Brahm and adapted to the screen by Donald Sanford from a story by Margaret St Clair

“What beast-molding Drakaina [Kirke] shall he [Odysseus] not behold, mixing drugs with the meal, and beast-shaping doom? And they, hapless ones, bewailing their fate shall feed in the pig styes, crunching grape stones mixed with grass and oil cake. But him the drowsy root shall save from harm and the coming of Ktaros [Hermes].”

Here is yet another favorite episode in the Thriller canon that always brings a smile to my face, even having seen it a number of times over the years. One of the most memorable and striking attributes that most of Karloff’s macabre little theatrical plays possess is an uncannily vivid sense of place, despite them having been filmed on a sound stage at Universal Studios.

Not only is this particular episode so effective because of Jo Van Fleet’s performance as the modern-day witch but it’s also due to the presence of the ubiquitous John Carradine, whose facial expressions alone can be so accentuated by his acrobatic facial expressions that make him so uniquely entertaining to watch not to mention listening to his Shakespearean elucidations, hard-bitten insights, and crafty machinations.

Not unlike the great Burgess Meredith. These actors both, use their faces as their canvas.

It’s a very interesting idea to take mythology and place it in a southern Gothic rural setting, alongside the carnival which adds a layer of mystique.

There’s a great scene that utilizes theatrical anachronism wonderfully. Cissy Hawk carries the bowl, or ‘Circe’s cup’ the night she feeds the pigs grapes and turns Johnny back into a man for a while. An ancient rite on modern rural farm land.

Another thing that’s notable is her wand is a plastic back scratcher!

The mixture of the playful score, clarinet, flute, and the grunts and groans and deep bassy string swells in contradiction adds such a maniacally macabre touch to the episode.

Perhaps it’s just good writing and set design that forges a perfect landscape for each story’s central theme to thrive. Mrs. Hawk is one of those contributions that offers just the right meat, from the perfect theatrical marrow. Continue reading “Boris Karloff’s Thriller The Remarkable Mrs Hawk: A Modern Re-telling of Homer’s Odyssey, Circean Poison with a Side of Bacon.”

Obscure Scream Gem: Invisible Invaders (1959) “The Dead Will Kill The Living…And The People Of Earth Will Cease To Exist”

Invisible Invaders (1959) Directed by Edward L Cahn. Responsible for 2 of my favorite films of the 50s It, The Terror From Beyond Space 1958 and The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 1959

Stars the ever present John Agar (Tarantula 1955, Brain From Planet Arous 1957) as Major Bruce Jay.


Philip Tonge (Miracle on 34th Street 1947, Witness For The Prosecution 1957) as Dr. Adam Penner. His role as Adam Penner was the final role for Philip Tonge. He died on January 28 1959 before this film went into release on May 15 (shooting began December 11, 1958)

Jean Byron as Phyllis Penner (The Magnetic Monster 1953 tv actress, mom on The Patty Duke Show, Pat in the Columbo episode  Ransom for a Dead Man 1971)


and Robert Hutton (Tales From The Crypt 1972 Trog 1972 The Vulture, The Slime People 1963) as Dr John Lamont and a small part by Hal Torey (Earth vs The Spider, The Cosmic Man) as a local Farmer turned dead man walking.

And of course the inimitable John Carradine as Karol Noymann, a dead scientist inhabited by the lead invisible.

Released May 15th, 1959 Double billed with The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake. Music by Paul Dunlop offers up a very science eerie sonic landscape. Written by Samuel Newman and Philip Sheer is responsible for the very effective re-animated corpse make-up.

Invisible Invaders predates Night of The Living Dead 1968  by 9 years.

Night Of The Living Dead offered up more of a variety of local dead folk, some even in their boxer shorts and nightgowns.

From the book Interviews with Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers. Writers Producers, Directors, Actors Moguls and Makeup by Tom Weaver.  McFarland Press. On page 11 interview with John Agar.

Asking John Agar how much guidance he got from Ed Cahn on the set of Invaders.

Agar says “Edward Cahn was Mr Speed-O He’d jump and almost get in the shot before he’d yell “cut” But in all fairness, I have to say that directors like Eddie Cahn Didn’t really have a chance. They had a schedule to contend with and they wanted those films finished ka-boom. I think he did the best he could with the time he had. but in something like Invisible Invaders, it’s pretty much learn the lines and get’em out. They just didn’t have the money to stay there and work on it.”

A silly fun fact:
In the film, John Carradine’s character is named Dr. Karol Noymann. In the ending cast list, his character is listed as Carl Noymann

An alien contacting scientist Adam Penner in the form of the corpse of Karol Noymann famous scientist killed in a laboratory experiment comes knocking on Penner’s door. The disembodied voice of Noymann informs Penner that they have been on the moon for twenty thousand years, undetected due to their invisibility, and have now decided to annihilate humanity unless all the nations of Earth surrender immediately. Hiding out in an impenetrable laboratory bunker trying to find the key to the aliens’ invisibility and thus penetrating their weakness, Penner, his daughter, a pragmatic army major, and a squeamish scientist are attacked from outside the cave bunker by the aliens, who have occupied the bodies of the recently deceased.

This is one of those 50s sci-fi films where the military is working with science and not in conflict with it, to defeat a common enemy invader that threatens to destroy our world. Continue reading “Obscure Scream Gem: Invisible Invaders (1959) “The Dead Will Kill The Living…And The People Of Earth Will Cease To Exist””

The Face of Marble (1946) An Odd John Carradine Obscurity with an “Identity Crisis”

The Face of Marble (1946) Directed by William Beaudine (Ghosts on the Loose and Bela’s The Ape Man and Billy the Kid VS Dracula)

Screenplay Michel Jacoby Original Story William Thiele and Edmund Hartmann.

Since I’d like to be a John Carradine completest I was very thrilled to get the chance to finally watch The Face Of Marble. Carradine whom I adore so much that I could virtually watch the man eat a tuna sandwich with a cup of coffee and I’d be content because Carradine has such a wonderfully sublime complexion.

Expecting such as the case with The Man Who Turned To Stone, that the horrific side effects of the unusually well intended Dr Charles Randolph’s experimenting with re-animation of dead people, that said dead people would appear to have well…. FACES OF MARBLE!!!!!!!!! not Faces of Pallor.

The guy looks more like he belongs in a German 80s New Wave music video.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the film, as it had some interesting atmospherics and again, Carradine always brings something wonderful to the table. It’s just that this offering from Monogram Pictures, sort of suffered from a severe identity crisis!

The Face of Marble didn’t know what kind of film it was supposed to be. Frankenstein, The Man They Could Not Hang, Isle Of The Dead, The Hound of the Baskervilles, I Walked With a Zombie, Ghosts On The Loose, Dracula, The 4D Dog? or a variation on White Zombie. And even though it predates The She Creature the end of the film is pretty much the same with footprints in the sand that lead into the ocean, the waves breaking against the shore with no sign of Elaine or Brutus.

The character of Maria reminds me more of the superstitious old women Madame Kyra who suspected the beautiful Ellen Drew of being a “Vorvolaka” a Greek sort of succubus or vampire in Val Lewton’s Isle of the Dead (1945)

John Carradine plays the kindly Dr Charles Randolph who has moved to an isolated house on the coast somewhere to pursue his experimentation in reviving dead bodies. Unlike most mad scientist’s who are narcissistic Megalomaniacs Dr Randolph is more like the kindly altruistic humanitarian type that Boris Karloff often played who is truly looking to help mankind with his discovery. He is assisted by a clean-cut young man Dr. David Cochran played by Robert Shayne. Dr Randolph isn’t even one of those tyrants who forces David to work with him, by threatening either his death or worse the life of his girlfriend. At one point he accepts David’s wishes to go home with Linda. So Randolph doesn’t fall into the evil mad scientist trope, just an altruistic good-natured scientist who wants to help all of humanity by bringing them back to life if let’s say they drown or fall out of a building, you know help a poor dead person out. Continue reading “The Face of Marble (1946) An Odd John Carradine Obscurity with an “Identity Crisis””

The Unearthly (1957) “Here’s to youth, here’s to eternity” John Carradine the ubiquitous actor

The Unearthly (1957)

The Unearthly was directed by Brooke L Peters (IMDb has the director listed as Boris Petroff) and scripted by Jane Mann and Geoffrey Dennis. The film stars the ubiquitous character actor John Carradine, the sultry Allison Hayes, the mammoth Tor Johnson, Myron Healey, Marilyn Buferd, Arthur Batanides, and Sally Todd.

John Carradine with his characteristic cello-like voice plays Dr. Charles Conway, the archetypal mad scientist who has developed a 17th artificial gland. Conway believes he has discovered the secret to eternal youth and immortality. Dr. Conway revels “I can prolong life for thousands of years, perhaps forever this 17th gland is the secret of youth.”

John Carradine-I am a ham! Part 1

The voluptuous Allison Hayes (Attack of The 50 Foot Woman 1958, The Undead ) plays Grace Thomas, a woman who has suffered a nervous breakdown and is brought to Dr. Conway’s house for a rest cure. Grace has been tricked by her doctor, Dr. Loren Wright (Roy Gordon) who’s been working with Conway, by procuring the victims and ensuring they do not have any living family members who can trace them. Dr. Wright slips up when he doesn’t realize that Grace has a father. The plan is to take her coat and handbag and fake her suicide.

Myron Healy is Mark Houston an undercover cop posing as an escaped convict, that Lobo finds lurking on the grounds. Dr. Conway having heard the description of the man threatens to call the police but offers Mark sanctuary because he is a perfect specimen to experiment on. Houston is purposely posing as the escaped murderer in order to infiltrate Conway’s operation.

Tor Johnson as Lobo once again (Bride of The Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space) is a giant with the mind of a child who is the caretaker, bodyguard, and overall man-servant to Dr. Conway.

Dr. Conway and his icy assistant Sharon Gilcrest (Marilyn Buferd) are experimenting on these human guinea pigs trying to find the secret of eternal youth.

Also, there is the unfortunate Jedrow, stuck in a cataleptic state, with a huge gash in his neck where the 17th gland was implanted. It’s sweet when Lobo washes his face with a wet rag. He somewhat looks like the Man Who Turned To Stone or an extra from Carnival of Souls.

Dr. Conway’s home is a front for his experiments, seemingly a sanatorium for neurotics. While his guests/patients are Danny Green (Arthur Batanides) an edgy drug addict, and Sally Todd is Natalie Anders suffering from chronic sex appeal?

They all think that Conway is actually trying to help them get over whatever affliction they’re supposedly troubled by. Sharon is drugging their milk and secreting them away for the glandular transplants.

Unfortunately, his operations have failed, only creating monstrous and insane mutants that wind up locked away in his basement dungeon.

Sally reads trashy romance novels and flirts with all the men, even Lobo, who mumbles Pretty Girl like a 2-year-old. Danny is a cranky rageaholic whose temper tantrums are irritating.

Mark and Grace discover that Conway has experimented on Natalie turning her into a horrifically scarred version of herself. Together with Danny, they stop Conway’s experiments, but ultimately as is typical it is one of Dr. Conway’s own creations that kills him. And his assistant Sharon is taken away by the police. Grace and Mark go off into the sunset.

Some memorable quotes:

“In science, there have always been some necessary sacrifices”– Dr. Conway
“The unearthly  In science nothing is taken for granted.”-Dr. Conway
“Here’s to youth, here’s to eternity.”
“Alright I wear a leather jacket and I’m not a midget, so what?” -Mark Houston
“I’m a scientist, thinking is my business.”-Dr. Conway