A Note on Spoilers

I decided it might be a good idea to make what’s known as a “sticky post” here on the front page for those coming in who might be concerned about spoilers. In these posts I’m going to be talking about varying aspects of movies that I’ve been watching, This may include writing about things that some would consider spoilers, including, at times, the endings of these movies. Those who are particularly spoiler averse may want to avoid reading these posts if they are planning to watch the movie in question. In certain circumstances where I will be discussing events towards the end of the movie, including the ending in at least a vague way, or when a movie contains a particular plot twist that might be considered major, I will try to post a more specific spoiler warning, because I do recognize that even though I may be writing about a movie that is decades old, it’s still going to be new to some people. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get on with it, shall we?

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OTR Tuesday – Horror Roundup

wt2The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. OTR  Tuesday is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

Happy Halloween!

This week, in honor of the scary season, I thought we’d take a look back at some classic OTR horror.

One of the best things about the old radio shows was that they largely left the perception of what was happening to your imagination. Sure, there would be descriptions of horrific things, but unlike television or movies, in which the special effects are often limited by budget or other considerations, as long as you have an active and engaged mind while listening to these shows, pretty much anything is possible.

That’s a large part of why it is such an effective medium for horror. Take a ghost for instance. If someone in a radio show says they see a spectral figure, well, what that actually looks like is not dependent upon what the special effects team is able to come up with. Instead, if in your mind you simply see a figure covered in a sheet, then that is what is there. If, on the other hand, your mind conjures up a shambling, decaying corpse covered with worms and maggots, then that is what the people in the cast are confronting.

You, and your imagination, are the director and the special effects and makeup people.

Add to that evocative music and sound effects, and soon you have the possibility of an incredibly effective spook show right there in your living room. Or, to be more prcise, in your mind.

So here are just a few tales from this great medium. I suggest getting comfortable, turning out the lights, perhaps closing your eyes, and sitting back and letting the voices you are about to hear take you on a journey through the corridors of mystery and imagination. But be careful. You never know just what might be lurking around that next corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Double Feature: BlacKkKlansman (2018) and…

Hey! We’re back! And another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

It looks like there will be two movies vying for the top spot this weekend, but the one that interests me most is Spoke Lee’s latest project, BlacKkKlansman,

Set in 1979, the movie, “based on a true story” (sorry, but I always put that in quotes, because quite often it means “I heard about this once from a friend of mine”) is the story of an African-American detective who tries to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The movie stars John David Washington (the son of Denzel as Detective Ron Stallworth and Adam Driver as Detective Flip  Zimmerman who is the white officer who provides a face for Stallworth when he is unable to avoid showing his.

Spike Lee can always be counted on to make interesting and provocative movies, and the fact that among the names of the producers are Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions and Jordan Peele, fresh off last year’s Get Out just serves to fuel my interest even more.

Here’s your trailer:

Of course, this is far from the first time the Klan has been depicted on screen, perhaps most famously in D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Instead of going with that one, though, I thought we’d take a look at a slightly different hate group Michigan’s Black Legion.

The 1937 film Black Legion stars Humphrey Bogart as Frank Taylor, a midwestern factory worker who is passed over for a promotion in favor of an immigrant friend. Taylor soon joins the ranks of the Black Legion (a pseudo KKK anti-immigrant group) who drive the immigrant from town, allowing Taylor to get the job he “deserves”.

From there, however, things actually start to go downhill for Taylor, who increasingly finds the Legion an outlet for his frustrations and hatred and an excuse to indulge his most vile impulses.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with BlacKkKlansman? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Quick Site Update: The Moose Is Now On Instagram

First, I want to apologize for the lack of posts this week, and recently in general. As we all know, sometimes life happens and it gets in the way of doing some of the things we love, and that’s been the case recently. However, I’ve got a number of articles in the works, and regular posting should resume next week.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the good news: I’ve just set up an account for Durnmoose Movie Musings on Instagram. I’ll be posting info on new articles there, along with a collection of classic movie posters. Each day will have a different theme, beginning with today’s which is Terror Thursday.

Check it out at https://www.instagram.com/durnmoosemovies/

Dead Ringer (1964)

There’s just something about Bette Davis that, ever since I was young, has creeped me out. I’m not even sure I can put a finger on what it is. It could be her general demeanor. It could be the voice, it could be those celebrated “Bette Davis Eyes”. Whatever it is, for me, no one does insanely scary (or is that scarily insane?) like Miss Bette.

So how do you make a Bette Davis movie even creepier?  Simple: cast Miss Davis as twins who hate each other.

In Dead Ringer, Davis plays Margaret DeLorca, whose husband Frank has just died. At his funeral, her twin sister, Edith Phillips (also, as noted, played by Davis) shows up, after an estrangement of 18 years. Edith has returned to pay her respects to Frank, with whom she was also in love, and who had originally courted her, before being stolen away from her by Margaret. The two (Margaret and Frank) had an affair while Frank and Edith were seeing each other, and when Margaret announced that she was pregnant, Frank agreed to marry her.

After the funeral, the two sisters go to Margaret’s mansion, where the real differences between them quickly become apparent. While Margaret is quite rich and outgoing, Edith is currently down on her luck, and the cocktail lounge she is running is about to be shut down because she can’t pay her bills.

When Edith finds out that Margaret was not actually pregnant and that she and Frank never had children, she is furious, and quickly devises a plan of revenge against her sister.

From this point, the plot goes completely off the rails in the best way, but I’m not going to go into how, except to say that Miss Davis completely lives up to my image of her as one of the best psychotics ever to grace the big screen. She embodies both a fierceness and vulnerability that showcase her performance skills to their highest levels.

Also along for the ride in this funhouse of a movie are Karl Malden as Edith’s police sergeant boyfriend Jim and Peter Lawford as Margaret’s secret lover Tony, who may have a deadly secret of his own.

Gere’s a trailer for the film which, while it is kind of spoilery, does manage to avoid giving away the main twist. Watch at your own risk.

 

 

Saturday Double Feature: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Back when the original Jurassic Park came out, it was a fascinating blend of practical effects and the latest CGI technology. It brought the featured dinosaurs to life in a way that had never been seen before, and that, coupled with a compelling adventure movie plot catapulted it to the top of the box office and ensured that we would be seeing a number of sequels.

Well, with this week’s release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, that number hits four, and although the law of diminishing returns pretty much ensures that by this time the franchise may not have hit rock bottom, but it’s certainly taking that swift slide down the slope.

As a matter of fact, considering how poorly we’ve seen other franchise entries perform of late, (I’m looking at you, Solo), I would only be slightly surprised if this doesn’t prove to be the lowest performing movie in the series yet.

Anyway, here’s your trailer:

So in looking for a movie to double feature with Fallen Kingdom, I thought we’d take a look back to a time when dinosaur special effects were… not up to today’s standards shall we say.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth was released in 1970 by Britain’s legendary Hammer Studio. The movie is the story of two ruling prehistoric tribes who are fighting over both territory and, of course,  a woman. In this case the woman is former Playmate Victoria Vetri.

As I stated, the effects in the movie are not exactly what would be considered state of the art today, but in 1970, they were actually nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 44th Academy Awards.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!