Things are about to get serious – only a mere two weeks until the big day! Let’s kick things off in earnest with the full film of Roger Corman‘s Bucket of Blood. What better way to celebrate the coming weekend than a Beatnik Busboy murderer who just wants to be appreciated for his art? Two snaps straight up, daddy-o!
October 2014 archive
Even Siouxsie loves to dress up for Halloween (seems like it would be more an everyday event for her). As you plan and prepare your own costume, here’s a few great songs from one of my favorite Halloween playlists, Rhino Records’ New Wave Halloween. Still waiting for the release of a follow-up disc…
Oh man. Did you say you’ve never seen any of the Ealing Studios comedies with Alec Guinness? I envy you the joy you are about to experience.
I know most everyone loves the Cohen Brothers – and rightly so, they are artists of great skill in their own right – but when I watch their films I mainly admire how proudly they wear their influences on their collectives sleeve, particularly Preston Sturges and Ealing Studios chief among them.
And since we are looking at the dark and macabre this month, let’s start with the absolutely jaw-droppingly great Kind Hearts and Coronets, a deeply and deliciously dry pitch-black comedy, exemplifying Ealing at its best.
The plot concerns an undesired, discarded minor noble who kills his way through his family tree, all played by the young Alec Guinness (including the Lady Agatha!), to inherit the dukedom of the Descoyne family.
But really, this film serves as a vehicle for a young Alec Guinness to play eight separate roles, each funnier than the last. The script is as sharp-edged and bon-mot-filled as an Oscar Wilde play and the direction is as precisely perfect as any film student could ever dream to see.
So, here are a few more critics, directors and actors raving about how much they adore Kind Hearts & Coronets in case you need any more convincing. Absolutely well-worth watching, whether you’re feeling your most murderous or you just want some high level snark. You can catch the whole film on Turner Classic Movies or borrow the Criterion version from Netflix.
Plenty to catch up on today and I thought I’d pass some of the best pieces of my playlist onto you – a great mix of classic kooky rockabilly songs from my beloved Rhino Records Rockin Bones Box Set and a few extras to round out the list. I think this one just gets better the longer you listen…
Comment with your favorite Halloween songs – I need some more inspiration!
With Halloween this month, our culture and media is saturated with monsters – vampire soap operas, zombie thrillers, serial killer detectives, Cthulhu environmental parables – the list goes on.
Our fascination with monsters lasts increasingly throughout the year and something like The Walking Dead almost feels like a throwback to monster films of old with its genuinely terrifying unstoppable forces, since the majority of our books and films look to understand and humanize monsters.
A few months back, Refinery29 featured the work of Eliza Gauger, who in her online interactive project Problem Glyphs creates glyphs and sigils of power for individuals who submit a source of fear or shame to her. Her work is beautiful, but the reader-submitted stories are fascinating, sad and lovely as well.
Eliza seeks to create symbols to help overcome, accept and find power both from and over the fear and shame – and she often uses symbols of monsters from legend and myth to do so. I love the idea of personifying our fears and internalizing them through empowerment, but I’m also intrigued by her monsters and the monsters all around me this month.
What are your monsters? Have you made friends with them? Can you? Perhaps Eliza can help…
I can’t think of a better way to continue this series of posts than draw some attention to the ridiculously charming, totally family-friendly film, I Married a Witch.
The always stunning Veronica Lake stars as Jennifer, a centuries-old witch who curses the descendents of her Puritan accuser, Jonathan Wooley (Frederick March as several generations of Wooley men), to be forever unlucky in love. Trapped in a bottle with her father to escape their execution, Jennifer is released in the 20th century and immediately seeks out the current male Wooley heir to enact her revenge.
Of course, not all goes to her plan – Jennifer develops a crush on the stodgy Wallace Wooley and instead attempts to help him win a seat in political office, using all the skills at her disposal, including the help of her father (Robert Warwick).
Hijinks ensue in the best mid-century screwball comedy fashion, but it’s really director René Clair’s misty fairytale atmosphere and sly humor that lift I Married a Witch beyond being simply a fun film. Clair, the director of Le Million and Le Voyage Imaginaire, with the help of the brilliant Preston Sturges created this 1942 classic that inspired the Bewtiched television show and thus the magic twitching noses still running on TBS today.