Irish Eyes Are Smiling: THE QUIET MAN (Republic 1952)

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With the passing of screen legend Maureen O’Hara today, I’ve decided to put aside my Halloween Havoc! series this evening to take a look at one of my favorite Maureen movies, THE QUIET MAN. Paired once again with John Wayne and director John Ford, Maureen shines as Mary Kate Danneher, a feisty, hot tempered colleen who refuses to honor her marriage vows until she gets her “fortune” from brutish brother Red Will Danneher (perennial big lug Victor McLaglen). Mostly filmed in Ireland by Winton Hoch, the countryside scenery is breathtaking in vivid Technicolor, with Maureen radiant as ever.


The story concerns American ex-boxer Sean Thornton (Wayne), returning to his Emerald Isle birthplace of Innisfree after accidentally killing an opponent in the ring. When he first sets eyes on Mary Kate herding sheep, he’s immediately smitten. Sean buys his family homestead from the Widow Tillane (Mildred Natwick), outbidding Danneher, who knows how…

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Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 1.3 “Mr. Denton on Doomsday”


On tonight’s episode of The Twilight Zone, Al Denton (Dan Duryea) used to be a notorious old west gunfighter. Now, haunted as the result of killing a teenage boy, Mr. Denton is just the town drunk. However, a salesman subtly named Henry J. Fate (Malcolm Atterbury) comes into town and gives Denton the chance to once again be great. Of course, it all comes with a price and a lesson.

Originally aired on October 16th, 1959, Mr. Denton on Doomsday is one of the earlier episodes of The Twilight Zone. Today, it’s perhaps most interesting for its message of anti-violence. Myself,I just like it because I went to college in Denton, Texas.

Horror Film Review: Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1990, dir. Ron Oliver & Peter R. Simpson)


Prom Night III opens on a cemetery where we quickly settle on a gravestone for Mary Lou Maloney. Apparently, she was born in 1940 and died in 1957. Knowing the end of this movie, that really should say 1938-1955.


Then we cut to A Chorus Line (1985) if it were filmed by David Lynch. I’m so glad that they say this is supposed to be Hell at the end of the film cause not having seen the previous Prom Night films, I honestly wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Luckily, the only thing keeping you in Hell is a foot brace. Once Mary Lou gets that off she begins to terrorize a school with her ability to POV around the halls at night. That’s when we meet Jack Roswell (Terry Doyle). A simple man who just wants to mop floors and keep his alcohol chilled in the slop bucket. This was two years before it became the “it” thing to keep doughnuts in there.


Now since all horror films of this era had bad things happen in boiler rooms, he goes down into the boiler room. And what’s this? That’s a jukebox! Maybe if he’s lucky there’ll be some Foreigner or Tears For Fears on it. And that’s the cue for Sherilyn Fenn…I mean Courtney Taylor as Mary Lou Maloney to make her entrance. They knew each other and that’s not a good thing.


Standing in the boiler room, with his head hung low
Had no way out, his time was up
Heard the generic 1950s tunes, he could picture the scene
Turned around and saw Mary Lou, then like a distant scream
He heard “been a long time Jacky boy, did you miss me?”
He had lightning in his chest, and the very next day

He was found dead


Cut to a school assembly and we meet Alex Grey (Tim Conlon) playing La Bamba! That was common in films of this era. I mean Surf Ninjas (1993) used Barbara Ann, but at least here it makes sense since the film makes constant references to the 1950s for a reason. That’s when the principle reopens the gym by slicing off his finger with the giant ribbon cutting scissors. I’d say something must be going on here, but after what he just said before doing it, he probably just screwed up. I really don’t think Mary Lou had anything to do with this. He does seem that stupid.


Then his friend, who by the way is totally not supposed to be gay, tries to lure him into a summer reenacting On The Road while his girlfriend wants to lure him into a Hallmark movie on a ranch. Now Alex must go see the guidance counselor who has one of those penis cactuses on her desk that keeps getting in the way of the camera. Seeing as Alex is an idiot and can’t take her hints, he won’t be going to medical school anytime soon. I’m glad this scene was here so we know that he has the sexual imagination of someone who makes movies like Bikini Spring Break (2012). It’s important so that we actually believe that Mary Lou can use sex as a way to control him.


Now cut to what Alex believes is a romantic candle lit dinner. It’s about here where I realized that Tim Conlon reminds me of Bruce Campbell. So, since Alex needs to pick up a book at school, he goes inside and finds Mary Lou. He falls down where she proceeds to have sex with him on the American flag that he tore off the wall while the United States national anthem plays.


Just like Canadian teenagers are known to do. Waking up the next morning, Alex finds himself still at school, but during the day. Luckily he makes it to the bathroom.


Just like Italian Batman.


After Alex talks on a phone to voices from Fighting Street on the TubroGrafx-16 CD, we hear an announcement that the chess club tournament has been canceled. They are to report to the library to play with themselves. I guess even the guidance counselor has standards. Anyways, now Alex and his right ear ring rule friend look up an old newspaper about how Mary Lou died. Apparently, it was during a fire. Explains the burns on her face in a few scenes in the movie. Then Mary Lou gives him a hand job. We only hear the zipper, but before you know it, the test he was taking is over.


Then there’s a quick announcement for the girls weight lifting team. There’s a mandatory clinic on facial hair removal. I’m sure there’s also going to be a mandatory clinic for the boys ballet team on tucking. Especially on dealing with those pesky testicles by popping them back inside. But we don’t hear that part cause it’s football time!

After Mary Lou helps Alex out on the football field, we find out that Alex didn’t do so well on that test of his. The teacher was going to give him an F. No way that’s going to happen. The only F Alex is going to get is from May Lou. That’s when Mary Lou appears in the back of the classroom having made it look like a 1950s diner. I see nothing weird here. Slaughterhouse Rock did the same thing with an apartment two years prior to this movie. But there, someone was having sex on the other end of the wall pictured below.


Can Mary Lou top that? Mary Lou?

“How bout some of this. So tasty and hard and firm. And it just melts in your mouth.”


She’s got the lines, but it’s no scene of somebody getting killed with a porcelain penis like in A Clockwork Orange (1971). She then shoves a blender in his mouth and through his head. It’s a good scene, but I would have preferred if she had said this before putting a hole in his head:

“Bow down before the one you serve
You’re going to get what you deserve”

This is when Alex discovers the price of having a hot girl from Hell helping him out in more ways than one. He’s going to have to hide the body of his teacher. And look!


More American flags! Mary Lou truly is an American girl! Yankee Doodle Dandy even plays! Since Alex isn’t ready to tell Mary Lou to not come around here no more, he proceeds to hide the body in one of the cabinets. Now Alex’s friend pops up to remind us that the Cold War was going on in the 1950s and that the Soviet Union was still around in 1990.


Alex goes back to his home on Degrassi St. to find his girlfriend and family are throwing a little celebration for the perfect score he got from Mary Lou’s hand…I mean his on his test. Time to go back to the school at night and bury that body, but first we get a little reminder that sex ain’t coming his way from his girlfriend. Luckily, that’s what Mary Lou is for!


Of course Alex ultimately buried the body on the football field which causes a problem when he spots the teacher’s hand popping up through the field. Alex really needs to be more careful. I mean the camera crew is watching his every move from the bottom of the frame.

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This is when the overall grades come out and the guidance counselor finds out that Alex is number one now. Since she once knew a student named David who figured out the password was “pencil”, she figures Alex must have broken into the computer system. Of course Mary Lou isn’t going to let this go anywhere.


Mary Lou drags the counselor into a dark classroom and makes her all wet. By that I mean she drenches her in battery acid. What did you think I meant? Mary Lou is a 1950s girl! After several of the best lines Ron Oliver wrote for this movie are said, Alex and Mary Lou have sex again. Then his parents reward him again for his good grades with a Harley Davidson. And they make sure we know that thing is from the good old USA!


I’m surprised they brought a Harley Davidson onto the set. Those things can be dangerous, which is why, according to the credits on this movie, they had a Harley Wrangler by the name of Jake “Live To Ride” Fry. After a reference to Cool Jazz, Alex dons his leather jacket and shades then gets a lecture from his dad on sexual frustration. Time to bury that body! Unfortunately, a football jerk shows up to give him a hard time. Mary Lou shows up to throw a perfect spiral.


This really is the funniest death scene in this movie. Anyways, now Alex thinks she has gone too far. Since Alex doesn’t decide to get creative in dealing with her, he simply tells her off. This leads to her throwing a supernatural hissy fit and disappearing. Now Mary Lou won’t leave him alone. Not even when the teacher is trying to show a sex ed film called Social Disease.


The police also show up and we know they are detectives because a short clip of the Dragnet theme plays. After having a nightmare about the bodies of the people Mary Lou killed rising from the dead, Alex’s sister and the boom mic wake him up.


At this point, the bodies have been found. Also, Mary Lou now visits his friend in the form of Alex’s sister. I can’t say I thought I would see another scene like this that had a giraffe in it after watching An Erotic Tale Of Ms. Dracula recently.


She tears out his heart literally. Now Alex is going to take things really seriously. He gets a shotgun, come Coke, and Stay-Ups, which I’m sure work much better than Sta-Ups from Nightmare On Elm Street 2. This is when some rap that samples The Guess Who’s American Woman kicks in. Then the cops show up and I must say it was nice of Blood Simple (1984) to make a guest appearance.


The police capture Alex. Then the boom mic pops down again just to toy with us by making us think Dolemite might show up to save Alex. Instead, Mary Lou shows up as a guard and basically lets Alex out of prison. I mean the movie has to have it’s climax at the prom. It’s in the title!


Ah, movies from this era truly had hideous school dance dresses, but I’d collect them if I could. After killing off George McFly…


Mary Lou, Alex, and the girlfriend go to Hell. Not a whole lot to this part other than that the girlfriend does have some sweet flamethrower action.


Luckily, there is a car in Hell. And after driving it through Mary Lou…


her body sends the 1.21 gigawatts into the flux capacitor to send them back to 1957. No seriously, they do this whole part like it’s straight out of one of the Back To The Future movies. So, girlfriend dies and Alex is stranded in the 1950s with Mary Lou.


Then the rap kicks in again over the credits. It’s stupid and campy, but kind of fun. And this has been another edition of Valerie talks way too much about a movie.

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Godmonster of Indian Flats (dir by Fredric Hobbs)

Occasionally, before the main movie starts, the Alamo Drafthouse will show a clip from an old movie.  In this clip, a picnic is ruined by the sudden appearance of a giant mutant sheep.  Everyone screams while the sheep stares at them with that passive sheep look.  Whenever this clip is shown, the audience laughs.  And it is pretty silly, especially when it’s seen devoid of any another context.

Myself, I have to admit that I’m always amused when that clip is shown because I know that I’m probably one of the few people in the audience who knows that the scene comes from a 1973 film called Godmonster of Indian Flats.  Thanks to Something Weird Video, I have actually seen the entire film and I know that it’s probably the best movie ever made about a giant mutant sheep.

Of course, it’s also the only movie ever made about a giant mutant sheep.

Having sat through Godmonster a handful of times, I’m assuming that it was meant to be satirical.  At least, I hope it was meant to be a satire.

While Godmonster may be best known as being a film about mutant sheep, the majority of the movie’s screen time is actually devoted to the culture of the town of Virginia City, Nevada.  Virginia City is a tourist town, where everyone dresses like they belong in the old west and where tourists enjoy watching carefully staged gunfights and hanging out at the old-fashioned saloon/brothel.  The mayor of the town is evil old Mayor Silverdale (exploitation vet Stuart Lancaster).  Mayor Silverdale is determined to keep the town in the past and, as such, he is upset when a real estate agent named Barnstable (Christopher Brooks) shows up and starts trying to convince people to sell their land.

So, Mayor Silverdale and Sheriff Gordon (Robert Hirschfield, who has some truly impressive sideburns) decide to frame Barnstable for murder.  It turns out that Gordon owns a dog who knows how to play dead.  One day, when they see Barnstable engaged in target practice, Gordon shouts, “YOU SHOT MY DOG!”  The dog rolls over and plays dead.  Everyone in town believes that Barnstable murdered Gordon’s dog and it turns out that everyone in town loved that dog.  They even have a funeral, with a tiny casket.

(Don’t worry, the casket’s empty.  As Gordon explains to Silverdale, the dog is visiting relatives in the next town over.)

So, the entire town decides to practice some frontier justice on Barnstable.  However, as the mob chases after Barnstable, they end up stumbling across a laboratory.  And, inside the lab, is a mutant. 8-foot tall sheep.  The sheep escapes the lab and one member of the lynching party is accidentally killed.  The town blames the sheep but actually, the sheep is a gentle, well-meaning mutant.  Meanwhile, Mayor Silverdale views the sheep as another way to make money…

It’s up to Prof. Clemens (E. Kerrigan Prescott) and his hippie assistant, Mariposa (Karen Ingenthron) to protect the sheep.  But where did the sheep come from?  Well, Clemens explains that it all has to do with toxic nerve gas and ecological destruction…

Anyway, I’m probably making Godmonster of Indian Flats sound more interesting than it actually is.  It’s never as much fun as you would expect a movie about a giant sheep to be.  But, even with that in mind, where else are you going to see a giant sheep wandering throughout the desert?

Seriously, this is one of those movies that you should see at least once.  It may not be any good but it is one of a kind.


This is Your Life, Maureen O’Hara! (1957)

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And what a life it was! Maureen O’Hara, the most beautiful actress to ever grace the Silver Screen (in my opinion), passed away today at age 95. Star of such Hollywood classics as THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, and of course THE QUIET MAN, Maureen was featured in this rare 1957 edition of TV’s THIS IS YOUR LIFE. I’ll be taking a break from my ‘Halloween Havoc’ series to polish up my post on THE QUIET MAN, which I was going to save for St. Patrick’s Day. Until then, enjoy Maureen and some surprise guests with Ralph Edwards on THIS IS YOUR LIFE:

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Netflix Halloween 2015 : “100 Ghost Street : The Return Of Richard Speck”

Trash Film Guru


In 2010, a group of amateur paranormal investigators went to the scene of Richard Speck’s notorious killing spree in an ill-advised attempt to capture footage of his ghost, which purportedly haunts to the place. They never made it out. Now, the victims’  families have finally consented to release the video footage of their loved ones’ final hours to the public.

If this sounds to you like yet another of the cheap-as-shit “found footage” horror movies cobbled together in a few days (and at the cost of a very few dollars) by the shoestring operators of The Asylum, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, because that’s exactly what 2012’s 100 Ghost Street : The Return Of Richard Speck is. And yes, it’s as lousy as any and/or all of the others — and I’m sure you had that much figured out already, as well.


To be perfectly…

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Netflix Halloween 2015 : “Preservation”

Trash Film Guru


Next up on our little field trip trough the wilds of Netflix’s current horror offerings we come to 2014’s Preservation, a movie that I’d heard decidedly mixed things about,  but that I decided to take a flier on anyway simply because I figured “hey, it played the Tribeca film festival, so how bad can it be, right?”

Cue the one answer to that question you can see coming from a mile off : “pretty goddamn bad, as it turns out.”


Filmed just outside Los Angeles on a budget reported to be “low,” writer/director Christopher Denham’s thoroughly predictable “city slickers can’t cut it in the wilderness” non-thriller serves up three immediately unlikable characters in the form of secretly pregnant anesthesiologist Wit (played by Wrenn Schmidt), her workaholic, high-finance hot-shot husband, Mike (Aaron Stanton), and his PTSD-afflicted Afghan war vet older brother, Sean (Pablo Schreiber), who are headed out for a…

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Horror Film Review: The Last Wave (dir by Peter Weir)

ThelastwaveFor whatever reason, I’ve lately found myself very much enjoying films about the end of the world.  Who knows why.  Maybe it’s because I’m dreading having to sit through another election year.  Seriously, if the world just ended now, we could all be saved a lot of trouble.

Add to that, the weather’s been weird this year (and please do not take that statement to mean that I want to hear about climate change because seriously, that crap bores me to death).  We got hit by snow earlier in the year.  (I live in Texas, where snow is a big deal.)  It rained more than usual during spring.  Summer started late but when it did, it was hot and dry and there was not a rain cloud to be seen.  Two days ago, out of nowhere, it started raining and right now, we are under a flash flood warning.  Since I believe that existence is random chaos with no rhyme or meaning, I don’t necessarily think there’s any huge meaning behind the strange weather.  But still…

The 1977 film The Last Wave is all about strange weather and, in many ways, it’s the perfect film to watch while you’re stuck inside, waiting for the rain to stop.  (Watch it with Take Shelter and have a watery apocalypse double feature.)  The film opens in the Australian outback.  The sky is blue and clear.  And yet the children at a small schoolhouse hear thunder rumbling in the distance.  When it suddenly starts to pour down rain, the kids are excited.  Their soaked teacher manages to herd them back into the schoolhouse.  As the teacher struggles to calm the children down, we suddenly hear something pounding down on the schoolhouse’s tin roof.  Suddenly, the windows are shattering as huge chunks of ice crash through them.  Looking outside, the teacher is confronted with the sight of torrential rain, gigantic hail, and a perfectly blue and cloudless sky.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, three Aborigines are accused of murdering a fourth outside of a bar.  Assigned, by legal aid, to defend them is David Burton (Richard Chamberlain), a complacent upper middle class attorney.  Since David usually deals with tax law, he doesn’t understand why he has been assigned the case.  However, he take is because he feels a strange link to one of the accused men, Chris Lee (David Gulpilil).

Much like Michael Shannon in the previously mentioned Take Shelter, David has been visions and dreams in which he sees the world flooded.  As he researches the case, he begins to suspect that he may be seeing visions of the future….

Well-acted and visually stunning, The Last Wave is a thought-provoking meditation on nature of reality, the end of the world, the “old ways” vs the “new ways,” and whether or not humanity is even worth saving.  On top of all that, it features an absolutely brilliant final scene!

All in all, it’s not a bad way to pass the time on a rainy afternoon.

4 Shots From 4 Films — In Memory of Maureen O’Hara

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

Sadly, it had been announced that actress Maureen O’Hara passed away this morning.  As a lover of Golden Age Hollywood, Maureen was always one of my favorite actresses.  (After all, we were both outspoken Irish redheads!)  Maureen was one of the last surviving actresses from Hollywood’s golden age and, with her passing, a bit history passes too.

(I should also mention that Maureen played the mother of one of my favorite actress, Natalie Wood, in one of my favorite films of all time, Miracle on 34th Street.  Whenever I see Miracle, I think about my mom.)

These 4 Shots From 4 Films are dedicated to the memory of the great Maureen O’Hara.

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939, dir by William Dieterle)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939, dir by William Dieterle)

Dance, Girl. Dance (1940, dir by Dorothy Arzner)

Dance, Girl. Dance (1940, dir by Dorothy Arzner)

Miracle on the 34th Street (1947, dir by George Seaton)

Miracle on the 34th Street (1947, dir by George Seaton)


The Quiet Man (1952, dir by John Ford)

The Quiet Man (1952, dir by John Ford)


Halloween Havoc!: FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (1970) Complete Movie!

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fury-of-the-wolf-man1Speaking of werewolves (as I did in yesterday’s Werewolves On Wheels, let’s not forget about Paul Naschy. The Spanish horror star played lycanthrophy victim Waldemar Daninsky (aka El Hombe Lobo) in 11 freaky films (there was a 12th that is apparently lost forever). Naschy has a lot of fans, including your humble correspondent! So without further ado, here’s the 1970 FURY OF THE WOLFMAN:

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