Tag Archives: Dracula

It’s Alive Proves Good Things Do End in -eum

At this point, my fascination with the Universal Monsters has gone on longer than the actual active period of the Monsters* so I’ve read and absorbed just about all the available information about them. So walking into It’s Alive!, an exhibit of “classic horror and sci-fi movie posters from the Kirk Hammett collection” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, I fully expected this to be a simple repacking of the same information I’ve already seen a thousand times.

However, though I know all of these stories and I’ve seen most of these images (though there was a foreign Frankenstein poster I’d never seen), seeing them in a physical space at their original size was something I wasn’t prepared for. I’d seen these images on paper or in pixels; seeing them like this was like taking a walk through my mind and getting to see how all the dots connect.

The exhibit is arranged by theme, with attention paid to chronology, but it jumps the timeline where it will strengthen the connection. I wouldn’t have been able to draw a line between the 1921 Hamlet and 1931 Dracula myself, but by linking the design of the posters, this exhibit has made it so I’ll always think of one when I think of the other.

There are a couple of props—the outfit Boris Karloff wore in the Black Cat, Lugosi’s White Zombie suit, a Wolf Man test mask—but if there is one thing I think everyone should see, it would be the Basil Gogos originals on display. Those covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland are about as famous as pictures of the actual actors, so much so that it’s easy to forget they’re actual paintings, not some clever Photoshop filter. I found myself planted inches away from a Basil Gogos painting of Boris Karloff as Im-Ho-Tep, staring at the brush strokes and chunky swaths of paint for way longer than I’d like to admit. And once you get bored of that, there’s a couple Frank Frazetta originals to stare at too.

Kirk Hammett himself is represented by a display of his Monster themed guitars, along with a nice video package about what all this Monster memorabilia means to him. I wish the guitars were available to play, but I can understand why the museum doesn’t let random jackasses butcher the “Fade to Black” solo while other patrons are trying to study a Strickfaden machine in peace.

Even without the ability to shred I was having so much fun I didn’t even stop to “well, actually…” the guy who said he saw London After Midnight. Being so enthralled that I don’t start spouting off about classic horror is the highest recommendation I can give.

*For the record, I consider Dracula through Abbott and Costello Meet Frankensein (1931-1948) to be the active period, though that doesn’t mean outliers like Lon Chaney’s Phantom or the Creature from the Black Lagoon don’t count as Universal Monsters.

Genetic Decree – A Death Metal Song About Cystic Fibrosis (video)

Most songs about disease don’t reflect the experience of the disease. Instead, they’re packed full of maudlin sentiments designed to drop a tear from your eye on the car ride home from the supermarket. I can’t speak for all diseases, but neither one of mine came with a soaring string section.

Sure, there’s a bittersweet beauty to the frailty of life, but in an age where people cry at beer commercials, that button is too easy to push. It’s time for a new approach.

Cystic Fibrosis makes it possible to drown in your own mucus. If you get sick enough, they harvest lungs from the dead to replace yours. Cystic Fibrosis is brutal. It requires brutal music.

So, here’s a death metal song I wrote about CF (technically, it’s blackened death thrash, but let’s not split hairs here). Even if you don’t like Death Metal, you should watch the video, because I made a lot of people—Producer and Arbiter of Taste Bekka Wrynn, Director Walter Forbes and Script Doctor/Key Grip Thomas Forbes—work on it for nothing but pizza rolls. Plus, you can see me stab myself!

You can download the track at https://allhallowsevil.bandcamp.com/track/genetic-decree. It’s a pay what you want download. Anything you can throw in the hat would really help out.

Silence, Dread and Frankenstein

Allow me to present my qualifications.

Allow me to present my qualifications.

Any talk of whether or not Universal’s 1931 production of Frankenstein horrified audiences of the time is mostly speculation at this point—speculation surely tainted by Universal’s press department—but judging by what the censor boards did to it, someone, somewhere was fucking terrified. That somewhere was probably Kansas City, whose censor board cut the most, effectively halving the already brisk running time of 71 minutes. Continue reading

How Hometown Buffet Compares to Having a Disease

This is exactly how I remember eating at Hometown Buffet.

This is exactly how I remember eating at Hometown Buffet.

When the New York Times asked mountaineer Gregory Mallory why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied “Because it’s there.” If they were to ask me why I used to eat at Hometown Buffet so often, my reply would be similar.

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