Happy Horrorthon! In The Cats of Ulthar by Lovecraft, there is a town that has a strict rule: Do not kill cats and NO DANCING! Most people have this don’t kill cats thing as an unspoken rule, but for the people of Ulthar, it had to be written the fuck down! The town wasn’t always this way. The town had two old psychopaths that got their jollies out of luring and slaying cats just for the Memmmmmmories. Poor Rum Tum Tugger never saw it coming. For him, a new day would not begin.
Everything was going purrrrfectly, until a bunch of demonish people passed through Ulthur. The travelers had a child with them who had a wee kitten, but not for long because when the the travelers fell asleep, the old couple decided all nine lives of the kitten must end and not even Elaine Paige’s voice could save it.
This made the boy demon all bummed out so he he summoned demons to empower the town’s cats to eat the elderly couple and they did have one big Fancy Feast! So, the town made the no killing cats rule, which caused a severe lasagna shortage and general hatred of Mondays.
Suspense was an anthology series that aired from 1949 to 1953. As you can probably guess from the show’s title, each episode was a thriller of some sort. Occasionally, the episodes were also horror-themed. Suspense was also a live production, with each episode essentially functioning as a 30-minute play.
Tonight’s episode of Suspense originally aired on April 26th, 1949 and it features Boris Karloff. It deals with four thieves hiding out in a British Inn, after having stolen a ruby eye from a holy statue in India. Needless to say, that was not a particularly wise decision.
During tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, ESPN is hosting the final trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The last film of the new trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker seems to have Rey (Daisy Ridley) coming into her own as a Jedi. It also looks like her friends are due to face a new threat, could it really be The Emperor? While Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi may have left some audiences divided, Disney is hoping this will bring everyone in line and in the theatre. It seems to be working as theatres around the country are already selling out in pre-sales for the film.
It looks like we have Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) fighting against and alongside each other again. Could this also mean some sort of redemption for Kylo? We’ll find out come December 19th, when the film is released.
Having absolutely nothing to do with either of the Curse films that preceded it, Curse III: Blood Sacrifice takes place in South Africa during the 1950s. American Elizabeth (Jenilee Harrison) has just married plantation owner Geoff Armstong (Andre Jacobs) and is still struggling to adjust to living in Africa. When her sister, Cindy (Jennifer Steyn), comes over for a visit, she and Elizabeth stumble across what appears to be a native ceremony. When they realize that the local witch doctor is about to sacrifice a goat, Cindy steps on and grabs the goat. Not happy at being interrupted and needing to make a sacriice to atone for an earlier murder, the witch doctor places a curse on Elizabeth and her entire family. Later, a rubbery fishman stalks the plantation, using a machete to kill every colonialist it comes across.
Curse III is the best of the Curse films, though that may not be saying much. The film is largely a standard slasher with a super natural twist, right down to the first victims being horny teens. However, both the setting and the 1950s time period make the film slightly more interesting than the usual 90s, direct-to-video horror fare, with the curse being the result of a cultural misunderstanding and many of the victims too blinded by their own prejudices to realize how much trouble they are in. Making what would turn out to be both his first and last film as a director, acclaimed editor Sean Barton showed that he knows how to put together an effective “stalking” scene, wringing out all the atmosphere that he could from that plantation. Best known for co-starring in the later seasons of Three’s Company, Jenilee Harrison is adequate if not particularly memorable in the lead role but the film is, not surprisingly, stolen by Christopher Lee, who plays a local doctor and who lends Curse III whatever gravitas it may have.
Today, I was planning to take a look back at L.A. Noire but, due to last night’s storms, I lost power right as I was about to start composing my thoughts. The power has since come back but, rather than do a rush job on one of my favorite games, I’m going to hold off on posting about L.A. Noire until tomorrow or Wednesday.
Instead, for today, I’ll recommend The Last Half of Darkness, a haunted house game that can be played at the Internet Archive. In The Last Half of Darkness, you are searching the home of your late aunt. Your aunt was a voodoo witch and you stand to inherit her considerable estate if you can finish the potions that she was working on and also solve the mystery of her death. To do that, you are going to have to go through and search her home. The problem is that you are not alone. Open the right door and you will find the secret to returning life to the dead. Open the wrong closet or cabinet and prepare to meet your fate at the fangs of a snake or the hands of an angry ghost.
The Last Half of Darkness is a challenging game that is also a lot of fun, assuming that you can get the hang of the game’s point-and-click interface. Instead of typing out your commands, you click on a list of options that are on the right side of the screen. You then have to click on the picture of whatever object you want to pick up or direction you want to head. It took me a while to get used to it but, once I did, it barely bothered me.
This is a good game, full of wit and atmosphere and puzzles that require some concentration but which are not impossible to solve. For those of you like me who sometimes need to cheat to win a game, here’s a helpful walk-through.
Ulli Lommel’s 1980 slasher film The Boogey Man is a pretty silly movie but I do like this scene. The idea of seeing something in the reflection of a mirror that doesn’t appear to actually be in the room is one of my top nightmare fuels.
Plus, after the storms we had last night and the fact that there’s still debris all over the place and just driving from one location to another is kind of a pain in the ass right now, there’s just something satisfying about watching a mirror get destroyed.
Along with The Haunt of Fear and Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror was a horror anthology comic book that was published, from 1950 to 1955, by EC Comics. Hosted by The Vault-Keeper, The Vault of Horror featured adaptations of classic horror stories along with totally original tales of terror and fright. The Vault of Horror was so popular among young readers that eventually a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham claimed that it, along with other comics, was responsible for juvenile delinquency and every other social ill facing 1950s America. Congress investigated and, because of all the bad publicity, EC canceled all of their horror titles.
However, the jokes on Wertham and Congress because The Vault of Horror is now eagerly sought after by collectors and is viewed as a high point in comic book history. Below are a few covers from The Vault of Horror, all done by artist Johnny Craig.
Today’s horror on the lens is 1966’s Curse of the Swamp Creature!
Probably the best thing about Curse of the Swamp Creature is that it was filmed in the town of Uncertain, Texas, which is right near the Texas/Louisiana border. Uncertain, which sits on the shores of Caddo Lake, was incorporated in 1961. Reportedly, when filling out the paperwork, the town’s founders wrote “Uncertain” in the blank for the name because they genuinely hadn’t come up with a name. And …. well, you know what happens when you try to make a joke on an official document.
Anyway, this film was directed by Larry Buchanan and that’s really all you need to know about it. Buchanan specialized in making low-budget remakes of other films, though he always claimed that Curse of the Swamp Creature was a totally original idea on his part. The film is about a mad scientist who lives in the swamp and is trying to reverse evolution. Things don’t always work out the way that they should and occasionally, the mad scientist has to feed his alligators. John Agar’s in the movie, of course.