Thursday, January 28

The Haunted Palace

It's Thursday, and that means new video time!
This week I present Episode 55 of THE FANTASTIC FILMS OF VINCENT PRICE looking at one of my favorite Price films - THE HAUNTED PALACE:


In this episode Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the Roger Corman film The Haunted Palace, based on the H.P. Lovecraft story THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD. Price plays two roles in this one, Charles Dexter Ward and his evil ancestor, the warlock Joseph Curwin. Excellent film, highly recommended. About this series: Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Tuesday, January 26

Interview with Jon Mikl Thor - The Metal Morgue

Today I thought I'd share with you an episode of a short-lived interview series I did called THE METAL MORGUE, recorded in 2011. This originally ran in the podcast 6ftplus, but I have since added video and photos to go along with the interview. It features an interview with actor/musician/body builder Jon Mikl Thor talking about filming the 1980's heavy metal classic ROCK N ROLL NIGHTMARE, behind the scenes stories from that shoot, his music career, and more. Recorded in 2011.



To find out more about Thor visit his official website at thorcentral.net, and tell him Dr. Gangrene sent ya!

Saturday, January 23

Dr. Gangrene hosts DREAMSCAPE

Dr. Gangrene's Creature Feature from October 29, 2005. The film was DREAMSCAPE. Shot live on location at the NASHVILLE COMIC AND HORROR FESTIVAL. Includes interviews with Michael Berryman and Robert Z'Dar. These are the segments, recorded off the air, I left a few commercials in place just for flavor. Cast includes Doc Gangrene, Nurse Moan-eek, and Lump.

Friday, January 22

Shackle Island Slammed by Snow

Not sure what I did to piss Old Man Winter off, but he struck with a vengeance today...


Letter to Vincent Price from actor Mark Damon



OK here is something really cool. This sold on auction back in 2007 for just under $400. It is a letter to Vincent Price from his costar Mark Damon. The two actors appeared together in HOUSE OF USHER in 1960. He thanks Vincent for his kindness and professionalism. Very neat letter, glad that it was preserved for posterity. Click to enlarge and read it...



Thursday, January 21

Scary Monsters #100 - End of an Era

I got my advance copies of SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE #100 in the mail last night, and it was a bitter sweet event. Congratulations to publisher Dennis Druktenis on reaching this milestone issue. 100 issues of any publication in today's market is an outstanding achievement, and Dennis has made a magazine that was a true labor of love. This will be on newsstands soon, so be sure to grab a copy for yourself, as this will be the final issue of the current incarnation of "The Only Real Monster Magazine!"



The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price checklist

Have you guys been keeping up with THE FANTASTIC FILMS OF VINCENT PRICE series I've been hosting? Below is a link to every episode so far, broken down by decade. 54 episodes and counting (next week's episode is THE HAUNTED PALACE).


Click the links below to catch up on any you might have missed!






1930s/40s
Episode 1 - Service de Luxe
Episode 2 - Tower of London/Eliz & Essex
Episode 3 - The Invisible Man Returns
Episode 4 - The House of Seven Gables
Episode 5 - Green Hell
Episode 6 - Brigham Young/Hudson's Bay
Episode 7 - The Song of Bernadette
Episode 8 - The Eve of St. Mark
Episode 9 - Laura
Episode 10 - The Keys of the Kingdom
Episode 11 - A Royal Scandal/Wilson
Episode 12 - Leave Her to Heaven
Episode 13 - Shock
Episode 14 - Dragonwyck
Episode 15 - Moss Rose
Episode 16 - The Web
Episode 17 - The Long Night
Episode 18 - Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein/Up in Central Park
Episode 19 - Rogues' Regiment
Episode 20 - The Three Musketeers
Episode 21 - The Bribe
Episode 22 - Bagdad



1950s
Episode 23 - The Baron of Arizona
Episode 24 - Champagne for Caesar
Episode 25 - Curtain Call at Cactus Creek
Episode 26 - Adventures of Captain Fabian
Episode 27 - His Kind of Woman
Episode 28 - The Las Vegas Story
Episode 29 - House of Wax
Episode 30 - Dangerous Mission
Episode 31 - Casanova's Big Night
Episode 32 - The Mad Magician
Episode 33 - Son of Sinbad
Episode 34 - Serenade
Episode 35 - While the City Sleeps
Episode 36 - The Ten Commandments
Episode 37 - The Story of Mankind
Episode 38 - The Fly
Episode 39 - House on Haunted Hill
Episode 40 - The Big Circus
Episode 41 - Return of the Fly
Episode 42 - The Tingler
Episode 43 - The Bat



1960s
Episode 44 - House of Usher
Episode 45 - Master of the World
Episode 46 - The Pit and the Pendulum
Episode 47 - Convicts 4
Episode 48 - Confessions of an Opium Eater
Episode 49 - Tales of Terror
Episode 50 - Tower of London
Episode 51 - The Raven
Episode 52 - Diary of a Madman
Episode 53 - Rage of the Buccaneers
Episode 54 - Beach Party

Rare Vincent Price TV Game Show appearance

Got a neat little treat for you folks today - This is an episode of a 1954 TV series called "What in the World" which features guest star Vincent Price along with two experts in the art world, attempting to identify primitive works of art from various parts of the world. Price not only holds his own with the experts, but proves himself to be every bit as knowledgeable (if not more so). Fascinating look at an early game show, preserved on kinescope.

Price made many television appearances throughout his career, and at this point was becoming recognized equally as an art expert as well as an actor. What is interesting is the closing shot of this program, where Price has ducked out a few minutes early to head to his performance of BLACK EYED SUSAN, a Broadway play he was starring in (it is mentioned at the beginning of the program that the play is currently running in Philadelphia, which is where this was obviously filmed). Always insanely busy, Price squeezed in time for a game show appearance promoting art before rushing out to perform onstage.



Wednesday, January 20

More Crazy Coincidences

Okay, so check this out. The other day I was watching an episode of THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR entitled "Monkey's Paw - A Retelling." It starred Leif Erickson and a very young Lee Majors. Pretty decent story, a basic retelling of the classic Monkey's Paw story by W.W. Jacobs, updated to (then) modern times.







Well, that was cool - but here's the crazy part. I finished watching it, switched back from my DVR to regular television, and was flipping through the channels when I landed on an old episode of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN which starred - I kid you not - none other than Leif Erickson! What were the odds I'd run across that very episode at that very moment? Pretty cool - the episode was part two of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN: SOLID GOLD KIDNAPPING, which was actually a made for TV movie from 1973. The Hitchcock episode was from 1965, so here the two actors were reunited 8 years later. And I caught both performances in the same evening 42 years later. Pretty crazy cool, if you ask me!




Tuesday, January 19

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #54 - Beach Party!

Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the 1963 Beach film BEACH PARTY starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Price has a small cameo as "Big Daddy," a wise old man who spends his time sleeping in the bar until he wakes to speak his words of wisdom...






Saturday, January 16

Dr. Gangrene Presents #14 - The Doctors

Boris Karloff stars in this episode as a doctor who has a brush with the supernatural. From 1958 Starring Boris Karloff, Tony Travis, Argentina Brunetti

Thursday, January 14

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #53 - Rage of the Buccaneers

In this episode Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the 1963 film RAGE OF THE BUCANEERS. Ricardo Montalban stars as Gordon the Black pirate, and squares off against Vincent Price as the evil Romero, to try and crush the slave trade in this Italian made low budget picture.



About this series: Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Wednesday, January 13

Dr. Gangrene Presents #13 - The Captain

Boris Karloff stars in this episode as a miserly sea captain who returns from a voyage to a wife he no longer loves. He devises a plan to be rid of her permanently - murder! But not even death can prevent her from returning for justice... from 1958, starring Boris Karloff, Kay Stewart, and Tudor Owen.

Monday, January 11

R.I.P. Angus Scrimm

Word surfaced this weekend that veteran actor Angus Scrimm passed away. Angus, best known as The Tall Man in the excellent PHANTASM series, actually got his start in the music business, where he worked writing liner notes for a variety of musicians, even winning a Grammy in 1974 for his notes for “Korngold: The Classic Erich Wolfgang Korngold."

His first couple of film roles were in horror pictures - SWEET KILL (1972) and SCREAM BLOODY MURDER (1973). Three years later he would work with Don Coscarelli on the film JIM THE WORLD'S GREATEST. The two would reunite in 1979, when Coscarelli wrote the role of The Tall Man for Scrimm.


 In 2015 Coscarelli filmed the fifth and probably final installment of the Phantasm series, PHANTASM RAVAGER. The previous installments were PHANTASM (1979), PHANTASM II (1988), PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD (1994), and PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION (1998). Ravager is scheduled to premiere this year.




I remember showing these films to my kids when they were younger, and how much they loved them just as I did. I think I'll be revisiting them sometime soon, for sure...

Dr. Gangrene Presents #12 - Ordeal on Locust St.

Dr. Gangrene presents a Lovecraftian tale about a family with a dread secret - their son is a deformed, fish-like creature. A hypnotist thinks he can cure him through past life regression. From an episode of ONE STEP BEYOND, 1959, starring Augusta Dabney, David Lewis, and Suzanne Lloyd .

Friday, January 8

Further Tales from the Crypt developments...

Bloody Disgusting is reporting today that the  upcoming TALES FROM THE CRYPT series reported yesterday from M. Night Shyamalan will NOT feature the Crypt Keeper.



They are sadly not citing sources, saying only it is from a "trustworthy insider" - so I don't know how much credence to put in this report - but if I had to guess, I'd say they're probably spot on, regardless of the dubious sources. This entire project is starting to stink, and not from good old fashioned EC-style shambling corpses, mind you, but the rot of a half-baked idea drug out into the light.

This is actually starting to sound closer to the aborted 2011 reboot that fell through. That version would have had little to do with the original series and was not an anthology format. This new series - again according to Bloody Disgusting - is not going to be an anthology style series either.

Whoever is actually behind this new series - whether it be Shyamalan or someone else - please use some common sense. NO ONE thinks a series called TALES FROM THE CRYPT without the Crypt Keeper is a good idea. No one. And if HBO does own the character and design from the popular Tales series, then you need to reconsider this, because any version besides that damn puppet and John Kassir's voice will be a DISASTER.


What everyone really wants is a relaunch of the Tales anthology series, plain and simple. If you can't deliver that, then name it something else. There were plenty of other titles at EC, you know. HAUNT OF FEAR, VAULT OF HORROR, SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES, WEIRD SCIENCE, WEIRD FANTASY, CRIME SUSPENSTORIES - just license one of those titles.


There were also other hosts - The Old Witch and the Vault Keeper. Either of those would be perfect to use. And for Cryptsakes make this an anthology series! THAT is what the fans want! Why try to reinvent the torture wheel? You have a built in audience that is hungry for a new anthology series. Fans of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, TWILIGHT ZONE, MONSTERS, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE - we haven't had a good series since MASTERS OF HORROR. It is time.

Which is why people got so excited about the news yesterday. And why the backlash is so severe today. People care about that series. The Crypt Keeper is a star. If you can't deliver a proper followup to the amazing HBO series then just leave the Tales brand alone.


Thursday, January 7

TALES FROM THE CRYPT resurrected for 2016

TNT announced today it is reviving the classic TALES FROM THE CRYPT TV series with none other than M. Night Shyamalan at the helm! The series is set to debut this Fall on TNT, but in a slightly different format.


The series will be a 2-hour block titled TALES FROM THE CRYPT. Within that block will be a variety of content 'curated' by Shyamalan. Sound confusing? Yeah, that's what I thought too. In a report here TNT reports that the new show will actually be an umbrella for a number of shows under the TALES FROM THE CRYPT banner.

This brings forth a number of questions:
Why not just revive TALES? Will the Crypt Keeper still be the host? if so will it still be in animatronic form, and will John Kassir still provide the voice? At this point I couldn't imagine a version of the Crypt Keeper without his trademark performance.

This isn't the first time a revival of TALES has been rumored. In 2011 another version was announced that would have featured a running plotline featuring characters from the TALES universe. Thank goodness that didn't go through, that idea had disaster written all over it from the get-go. TALES has always been an anthology series, from its 1950s roots in EC comics to the 1972 film of the same name, to the successful and ground breaking run on HBO from 1989-96.

I am curious, hesitant and hopeful for this latest incarnation, should it actually crawl out of the crypt and shamble onto TV screens this Fall.Let's keep our cleavers crossed it turns out well.

Tuesday, January 5

Spotlight: Nancy Kovack

This week's episode of the Fantastic Films of Vincent Price was DIARY OF A MADMAN, a fun little film co-starring the gorgeous Nancy Kovack. Well as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I love these moments of serendipity such as occurred last night, as I cued up an episode of THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR and who did I see onscreen but none other than... you guessed it - Nancy Kovack!

THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR is a really underrated show. I've watched a half dozen episodes lately and they always delivered. This particular episode was called "The Second Verdict" and starred Martin Landau and Frank Gorshin.kovack had a minor role as Landau's fiance.




Nancy was an interesting actress who appeared in a number of fan-favorite TV series in the sixties and seventies including BEWITCHED, I DREAM OF JEANNIE, and GET SMART, as well as BATMAN:





and STAR TREK:


 

According to the IMDB she was a native of Flint, Michigan, who became a student at the University of Michigan at 15, a radio deejay at 16, a college graduate at 19 and the holder of eight beauty titles by 20.



She also appeared in a number of films including  JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS where she played  Medea. 


In DIARY OF A MADMAN she played the part of Odette Mallotte, a vain and ambitious model who accepts Price's marriage proposal despite being already married to painter Paul Duclasse (Chris Warfield). However, Price is possessed by an entity from another dimension, and forced to murder her, in a scene that is fairly graphic for its time.



DIARY OF A MADMAN was made in 1963, three years after Hitchcock's PSYCHO. The influence is felt clearly in this scene, however, with Price slashing his victim repeatedly in true Norman Bates fashion. Interestingly, Kovack would film the ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR episode just one year later, in 1964. She retired from acting in 1976. Today Nancy is alive and well and married to music conductor Zubin Mehta, director at one time or another of both the Los Angeles and Philadelphia Philharmonic, as well as the Israel Philharmonic orchestra.


Dr. Gangrene Presents #8 - The Front Runner

Dr. Gangrene hosts this episode of One Step Beyond called FRONT RUNNER. A jockey has a brush with the supernatural. Starring Ben Cooper and Walter Burke. Directed by John Newland

Monday, January 4

the Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #52 - DIARY OF A MADMAN

This episode takes a look at the 1963 horror film DIARY OF A MADMAN.

Based on the story THE HORLA by French writer Guy De Maupassant, Diary stars Vincent Price as a French magistrate haunted by a disembodied entity called the Horla, a race of beings drawn to our dimension through acts of evil. Directed by Reginald Le Borg, also starring Nancy Kovac and Chris Warfield.


About this series: Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

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