They’re Baaaack! The 5th Annual Halloween Havoc Horror Festival!

Monsters and Murderers, Ghosties and Ghoulies, Vampires and Voodoo Queens… they’re all back this October for Cracked Rear Viewer’s 5th Annual Halloween Havoc, 31 days of horror film reviews to celebrate the Halloween season! This year, I’ve lined up the most eclectic, esoteric, and downright weird collection of creepy movies ever assembled, ranging from the sublime to the (quite frankly) ridiculous, all tied together by the thread of terror! Not to mention weekend extras you’ll wanna keep an eye out for… just pray you don’t lose the other eye to some maniac in the process!! The fearsome fun starts tomorrow right here at Cracked Rear Viewer, and I hope you’ll join me for 31 Days of Devilish Delights!

 

 

Halloween Havoc!: Ten Trailers of Terror

The fourth annual Halloween Havoc is now in effect – 31 Horror Films in 31 Days! And this year, we celebrate the classic Universal Monster movies all month long! To quench your bloody thirst for all things horror, here are Ten Trailers of Terror as a preview of scary attractions:

Frankenstein (1931)

The Black Cat (1934)

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

Invisible Agent (1942)

Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943)

Captive Wild Woman (1943)

Phantom of the Opera (1943)

House of Dracula (1945)

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

The frightening fun starts tonight!

Halloween Havoc Is ‘Universal’ This Year!

The fourth annual ‘Halloween Havoc!’ extravaganza begins Tuesday October 1st here on Cracked Rear Viewer! Lovers of classic horror films will want to follow along as I post a fright flick review every day for the month of October, and this year, there’s a twist… I’ll be taking a fond look back at all the classic Universal Monster Movies! All your favorite boogeymen will be here – Boris and Bela, Lon and John (Carradine, that is!), Elsa and Evelyn, and a (g)host of other stars. There’ll be Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, mad doctors and fiendish henchmen – what more could you ask for this Halloween season! Be sure to join Cracked Rear Viewer all October long for a monstrously good time!

And in case you want to get a (severed) head start, check out these previous Universal Horror posts from the Cracked Rear Viewer crypt:

DRACULA – THE OLD DARK HOUSE – THE MUMMY – MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE – THE RAVEN – THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS – THE INVISIBLE WOMAN – MAN MADE MONSTER – THE WOLF MAN – HOLD THAT GHOST – THE MAD GHOUL – HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN – ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN – TARANTULA – THE BIRDS – JAWS

Cleaning Out the DVR Pt 15: Halloween Leftovers 2

Halloween (and ‘Halloween Havoc!’) may have come and gone, but for horror fans every day’s Trick or Treat! Here are 5 fright films scraped from the bottom of this year’s candy bag:

THE BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN (United Artists 1956; D: Edward Nassour and Ismael Rodriguez) – This US/Mexican coproduction stars Guy Madison (TV’s WILD BILL HICKOCK) and Patricia Medina (PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE) up against a giant prehistoric Allosaurus in the Old West. The movie starts as just another standard Western until the three-quarter mark, when the beast finally makes his appearance. Jack Rabin’s cartoonish special effects can’t hold a candle to the great Willis O’Brien , who’s given credit for the film’s story idea (later remade as the much better VALLEY OF GWANGI ). Good as Saturday matinée kiddie fare, nothing more. Fun Fact: Patricia Medina was the wife of actor Joseph Cotten, who made quite a few horror flicks later in his career.

THE DEADLY MANTIS (Universal-International 1957; D; Nathan Juran) – Another William Alland-produced sci-fi flick from the fabulous 50’s, coming at the end of the ‘Big Bug’ cycle, involving a prehistoric Praying Mantis awakened from its frozen slumber to wreak havoc across North America. Air Force Colonel Craig Stevens teams with paleontologist William Hopper and pretty magazine reporter Alix Talton to stop the flesh-eating terror – mainly by talking it to death! Some of the Arctic set scenes are reminiscent of Howard Hawks’ THE THING, but don’t get your hopes up, this film’s nowhere near that classic. This ‘Big Bug’ is a Big Bore!  Fun Fact:  Director Juran won an Oscar for his art direction on 1942’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, and his later directorial credits include a pair of sci-fi hoots from 1958: THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS and the immortal ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN!

INDESTRUCTiBLE MAN (Allied Artists 1956; D: Jack Pollexfen) – Lon Chaney Jr stars as Butcher Benton, an executed convict brought back to life via a massive dose of electric current, giving him superhuman strength in this horror/crime hybrid. Chaney, looking pretty ragged due to his alcoholism at this point in his life, does well in a mostly mute role as the murderous Butcher seeking revenge on the double-crossing rats who sold him out, giving an athletic, energetic performance. Dad would’ve been proud! The rest of the cast is game, but hampered by the ultra-low budget and somewhat silly dialog (“You rotten, stinkin’ mouthpiece!”). Casey Adams (later known as Max Showalter) plays the detective on the case, narrating a’la DRAGNET’s Joe Friday, and Robert Shayne (SUPERMAN’s Inspector Henderson) and Joe Flynn (MCHALE’S NAVY’s Capt. Binghampton) are the biochemists who revive the Butcher. The macho script was written by two women, Vy Russell and Sue Bradford, who also penned the 1963 cult classic MONSTROSITY! Not a great film, but not all that bad; Chaney fans will definitely want to take a look. Fun Fact: DP John Russell (Vy’s husband) was also the cinematographer on another horror film of note – Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece PSYCHO!

BILLY THE KID VS DRACULA (Embassy 1966; D: William Beaudine) – The Count goes West to battle a reformed Billy the Kid in this no-budget piece of dreck. John Carradine reprises his role of Dracula from his Universal days, but even at his most demonic can’t save this juvenile schlockfest (though his crazed hypnotic eyes are pretty scary!). It features the cheeziest rubber bat this side of THE DEVIL BAT , and is padded with plenty o’stock footage. The acting, script, and direction are all rock bottom, making this fail as both a Western AND a horror movie. Yet somehow, the producer enticed veterans like Roy Barcroft, Marjorie Bennett, Harry Carey Jr and his mom Olive Carey , Virginia Christine, and Bing Russell to appear. Must’ve done a casting call at the unemployment office that week! The film was shot in just 5 days – and it shows! Fun Fact: This was the last feature for both director Beaudine and Miss Carey, both of whom started their film careers at the dawn of motion pictures (Beaudine in 1915, Olive Carey in 1913).

SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM (AIP 1973; D: Bob Kelljan) – This much maligned sequel isn’t as bad as some claim, just not as good as the original. William Marshall is back as the undead Prince Mamuwalde aka BLACULA , and Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier plays a voodoo cult priestess! There’s some neat touches updating the usual vampire tropes for the 70’s Blaxploitation crowd, and a decent supporting cast (Michael Conrad, Bernie Hamilton, Richard Lawson, Don Mitchell, Lynn Moody, Barbara Rhodes). A fun little fear flick that’s better than it’s reputation. Fun Fact: Director Bob Kelljan also helmed another AIP vampire sequel, 1971’s THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA.

See you next October, fright fans!

Halloween Havoc! Is Over!

The third annual ‘Halloween Havoc!’ horror movie marathon has ended, and I’ve gotta thank you all for reading! Cracked Rear Viewer had its biggest month ever, with 4,417 views from 2,930 visitors – a smashing pumpkin success! Once again, thank all you Dear Readers for your undying support, and I’ll be back in a few days with more classic movie and retro pop culture reviews. Right now, I’m gonna crawl in my coffin and take a well deserved nap!

Peace,   Gary Loggins, your ‘Cracked Rear Viewer’

Halloween Havoc! Extra: Vincent Price Does “The Monster Mash”

In what’s become an annual tradition here at Cracked Rear Viewer, it’s time for Halloween season’s theme song, “The Monster Mash” ! This time around, Vincent Price and his fiends, including fellow horror icon John Carradine , perform the hit from 1981’s cult movie THE MONSTER CLUB, featuring a scary soliloquy by Vincent on the monsters known as “humes”! Without further ado, here’s this year’s “Monster Mash”! And Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls!:

Cracked Rear Viewer’s 3rd Annual “Halloween Havoc!” Begins Sunday!

Get ready for fright nights as once again I do 31 horror films in 31 days! This is the third year I’ve taken on this terrifying task, and the madness starts on Sunday October 1st with old fiends, er friends, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Roger Corman! But the fearful fun doesn’t stop there! This year’s lineup includes ghouls and ghosts, maniacal murderers and sick psych-biddies, giant bugs and tiny terrors, warlocks and witches, supernatural and spaced-out zombies, and even a terrible tree monster!! There’ll also be some abominable extras every weekend. I hope you’ll join me for this month-long look at all cinematic things that go BOO in the night!

Thanks for making Halloween Havoc a big success!

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October has come and gone, and so has my second annual ‘Halloween Havoc!’ horror movie marathon! I put a lot of effort into this, and it’s paid off with a record-breaking 2,421 views from 1,258 viewers in 62 countries. It’s a labor of love for me, as the horror genre has always been my favorite film category, and my hat’s off to you Dear Readers who took the time to join me on this excursion into terror.

Cracked Rear Viewer has picked up 19 new followers, and I’d like to thank you and hope you’ll continue to join me as we rediscover the world of classic cinema. Thanks also to you loyal followers who took the time to comment, it’s greatly appreciated! I’ll be taking a break for a few days to catch my breath, but will return in a few days with more movie madness. Again, my sincere thanks to one and all!

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Don’t be afraid! HALLOWEEN HAVOC! is returning!!

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Beginning this Saturday (that’s tomorrow, folks!), I’ll be doing the second annual “Halloween Havoc!” horror movie marathon! 31 scary film reviews in 31 days for all you connoisseurs of macabre movies out there. All the big fright stars will be here: Karloff! Lugosi! Price! Cushing! Lee! Godzilla!

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You’ll get chills down your spines as we look back at man-made monsters, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, zombies, and things that go BOO in the night. Last year was a big success, and I’m hoping you’ll (grave)dig this year’s tribute to the horror films of yesteryear. There’ll be Universal classics, Hammer horrors, AIP spooktaculars, undiscovered gems, and famous monsters of all ilks. As always, every post will be reblogged on THROUGH THE SHATTERED LENS   , where the crew of writers there will also be offering their terrifying takes on shocking cinema. Join the “Halloween Havoc!” party right here on Cracked Rear Viewer beginning Saturday October 1st! If you dare!!