Saturday, September 3, 2016

Driveway to the Cemetery

A cold front takes hold, briskly reminding us that autumn and winter creep ever closer.  And so does a foreboding, demoralizing presidential election, but enough on that.  After all, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to bogeymen and untold horror.

So let us play make-believe for a moment and pretend the only things to fear are the phantoms, monsters and madmen that reside in our memories, from the movies and books and nightmares we were long since told to outgrow.

I recall a grainy, gray stroll through a secluded cemetery, a fleeting homage to a dear departed father, a thunderclap and flash above, and subsequently…a bit of harmless teasing somehow gone sinister. 

And then, as if born of that abhorrent jest on hallowed ground, a crude, pale figure appears.  


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer's End

Alas, another summer unwinds, lost to the hostile, windswept ravages of time.  The end of summer is often accompanied by bittersweet reflection, but this one was especially hot and our troubled world seemed particularly beset with, well, trouble.  

And yet it isn't quite over, and in these dying hours I'll celebrate the summer of 2016 with my idea of the perfect summer movie, THE BLOB (1958).  A few of you might be scratching your heads, so I'll try to explain.

As well as being the quintessential drive-in movie, there are numerous reasons THE BLOB gently tugs those heart strings as if an ode to the warmest season.

Teenagers in love, falling stars, Eisenhower-era hot rods, parents who cannot possibly understand, a young Steve McQueen as our steady, reliable high school hero (well, young-ish--he was 27 at the time)...In THE BLOB, these elements come together in a manner seemingly perfectly fused to capture a bit of old magic from summers yore.

And of course, there's the small matter of that titular, mysterious mass itself.  You see, the Blob, though it may look like a hunk of Smuckers' strawberry preserves and seem a bit gimmicky and cheap in retrospect, has but one mission: consume everyone in it's path.  And with each new victim, it grows ever larger.

Summer has always been the season of youth, of boundless romantic possibility--and in THE BLOB the adults cannot seem to do much right, and so it is the teenagers who must save their town from the unspeakable scourge of death and horror that is this growing, glowing mass from beyond space.

Well, it gets bigger.

Too close-minded and cynical to believe its existence, the grown-ups become the quarry. 

When in doubt, reach for the closest jar of acid.

But when the Blob invades the local theater's midnight spook show--ground zero for late-night teenage revelry--you know it's only a matter of time...

While there might only remain a few warm nights this year, THE BLOB perseveres some 58 years later.  Or at least it does in this neck of the woods.

Did I mention the catchy theme song(!)? 

Monday, August 29, 2016

"What's the worst sin you've ever committed?"

"The worst sin I've ever committed? Uh, I think...impure thoughts about Art Linkletter."

Comedian and noted iconoclast (and budding filmmaker) Woody Allen takes a spin in Dick Cavett's chair (actually, this is from The Woody Allen Special, which aired on 9/21/69) and even manages a few laughs out of the reverend Billy Graham.

The Fading Reverb: The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes

"The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes"  (Night Gallery, originally broadcast September 15, 1971)

With "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes", Rod Serling's small screen adaptation of the 1950 Margaret St.Clair short story (directed by John Badham), Night Gallery gives us a brief glimpse into a peculiar, familiar world--and then destroys it.

The young Clint Howard prepares to give us some very bad news.

                                     "And now, I want to tell you about tomorrow."