Thursday, October 20, 2011

“Are you ready for Dr. Phibes? Hmm…???”

Professor Dennis Cozzalio, the distinguished online educator at SLIFR University, has collaborated with the noted musicology professor Anton Phibes on a horror movie quiz that I approached with trepidation; I like horror films but I can’t even come close to the level of proficiency exhibited by Dr. Cozzalio.  If you’re interested in taking this brain buster, you’ll find it at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule—as for myself, I can only hope to do a little apple polishing with my worthlessly feeble Blue Book answers:

1) Favorite Vincent Price/American International Pictures release.

Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

2) What horror classic (or non-classic) that has not yet been remade would you like to see upgraded for modern audiences?

I think my position on remakes of classic movies is pretty well-known the length and longth of the Internets.  So I’ll saunter on to question 3…

3) Jonathan Frid or Thayer David?

When I think of Frid, all I can come up with is Barnabas Collins.  With David, I remember him not only on Dark Shadows but also as Nero Wolfe (he was great) and stand-out parts in films like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Little Big Man and House Calls.  Advantage Thayer.

4) Name the one horror movie you need to see that has so far eluded you.

The one that immediately comes to mind is Let the Right One In (2008).

5) Favorite film director most closely associated with the horror genre.

James Whale.

6) Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Steele?


7) Favorite 50’s sci-fi/horror creature.

The Creature from that black lagoon.

8) Favorite/best sequel to an established horror classic.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is the best sequel to an established horror classic; I’m also partial to Dracula’s Daughter (1936).

9) Name a sequel in a horror series which clearly signaled that the once-vital franchise had run out of gas.

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

10) John Carradine or Lon Chaney Jr.?

Carradine.  He had more range than Lon (though I love the big guy, don’t get me wrong) and if he had played Count Alucard in Son of Dracula the movie would be held in far more reverence today.

11) What was the last horror movie you saw in a theater? On DVD or Blu-ray?

The last horror movie I watched physically in a theater was Scream (1996).  On DVD, it’s Drag Me to Hell (2009) (recorded it on DVD-R).

12) Best foreign-language fiend/monster.

The only one I can think of is Godzilla, so I’ll go with that.

13) Favorite Mario Bava movie.

La maschera del demonio aka Black Sunday (1960).

14) Favorite horror actor and actress.

Horror actor is Boris Karloff, without question.  Actress…well, I’ll go with Barbara Steele.

15) Name a great horror director’s least effective movie.

Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend (1986).

16) Grayson Hall or Joan Bennett?

Joan.  Not even close.

17) When did you realize that you were a fan of the horror genre? And if you’re not, when did you realize you weren’t?

When I was but a young tad, I’d live for the Saturday nights when my parents went out for the evening and I could stay up to watch Chiller Theater on WOWK-TV.  I guess that’s as good an education as any.

18) Favorite Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.) movie.

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957).

19) Name an obscure horror favorite that you wish more people knew about.

Haunts (1977) is a particular favorite, a moody little oddity featuring a great performance by May Britt.

20) The Human Centipede-- yes or no?

I haven’t seen it…and after looking it up on Wikipedia I’m going to have to say “Pasadena.”

21) And while we’re in the neighborhood, is there a horror film you can think of that you felt “went too far”?

Since I’m not a splatter movie fan, I have to admit nearly losing my lunch when I watched Peter Jackson’s Deadalive (aka Brain Dead).

22) Name a film that is technically outside the horror genre that you might still feel comfortable describing as a horror film.

The first one that immediately comes to mind is The Woodsman (2004).

23) Lara Parker or Kathryn Leigh Scott?

Lara.  (Gotta love the bad girls.)

24) If you’re a horror fan, at some point in your past your dad, grandmother, teacher or some other disgusted figure of authority probably wagged her/his finger at you and said, “Why do you insist on reading/watching all this morbid monster/horror junk?” How did you reply? And if that reply fell short somehow, how would you have liked to have replied?

I can’t ever recall any authority figure ever expressing that sentiment to me in those terms.  My parents were pretty cool about horror movies, even though they weren’t their particular cup of Orange Pekoe; my Mom doesn’t care for the modern or splatter stuff but she grooves on the old Universal output: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, etc.  If my Dad ever broaches the subject I’ll simply ask how a man who can sit glued to Operation Repo for hours on end can judge me.

25) Name the critic or Web site you most enjoy reading on the subject of the horror genre.

Never let it be said that I can’t suck up with the best of them.  The answer would be Dennis Cozzalio.

26) Most frightening image you’ve ever taken away from a horror movie.

That alien head from John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing.  I still have nightmares about that.

27) Your favorite memory associated with watching a horror movie.

I took my high school chum The Duchess to see Halloween II when we were in college and it was playing in theaters.  On the way home, she was wringing her hands in fear because she found the film so scary and I was only half-listening to her, fingering the change in my pocket.  I heard a coin drop, and when I bent over to pick it up off the sidewalk, four of my friends from the dorm jumped out from behind a building and scared every bodily fluid out of her that was possible.  I looked up to see a cloud of dust zooming up the street, just like a Road Runner cartoon.

28) What would you say is the most important/significant horror movie of the past 20 years (1992-2012)? Why?

Well, from a personal perspective—even though the last horror film I saw in a theater was Scream, I didn’t find it all that scary…and I think its reputation is inflated and far too jokey.  The last horror flick that I saw in a theater setting that really did a number on me as far as creeping me out was Candyman (1992).  So that’s the one I would pick, and it’s obvious that my expertise on this question is scanty at best.

29) Favorite Dr. Phibes curse (from either film).

The guy who crashes his plane while being attacked by rats…though to be honest, I would have bailed out of that mutha faster than you can sing “Ben.”

30) You are programming an all-night Halloween horror-thon for your favorite old movie palace. What five movies make up your schedule?

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is a yearly tradition here at Cinema Yesteryear, so that makes the list right off the bat.  I also like Night of the Demon (1958), a movie I often describe as “the best film Val Lewton never made.”  Next on the list would be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), a film I’ve always championed because it’s not nearly as bad as its reputation (or title) would indicate, and I’d probably follow that with Night of the Living Dead (1968), a movie that I still find unsettling (I love both Massacre and Living Dead because their low budgets make the horror that much more convincing).  Naturally, the festivities would come to a close with—what else?—Halloween (1978).

Bookmark and Share


Rich said...

'Dead Alive' was pretty insane, wasn't it? When I wrote about that movie this past May, I said that I see no need for anybody to make another zombie movie ever again because this one goes beyond them all. Still feel that way!

Mike Doran said...

The whole test is kind of time-consuming, but I would like to pass along my all-time favorite horror-movie memory:

House Of Dark Shadows played in Chicago during the month of November 1970. There was an off-year election that year, and one of the major contests was for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
The incumbent Democrat, George Dunne (father of Murphy Dunne, the Blues Brothers's keyboardist), was opposed by Republican Sheriff Joe Woods (the brother of Nixon's very flexible secretary, Rosemary Woods).
Sheriff Woods had a string of TV ads, dramatizations of ordinary citizens griping about what a lousy job the Democrat-dominated was doing.(These dramas were filmed in Hollywood - I recognized several members of Jack Webb Repertory in them.) At the conclusion, Sheriff Woods would march on camera and announce (in a kind of gravelly drawl) that if elected he would solve whatever problem was being groused about.

Anyway, House Of Dark Shadows.
Midway through the movie, there's the standard scene in the big mansion where the characters who haven't been attacked yet are gathered, and someone says something to the effect "Why doesn't somebody do something about these attacks?"
And at that point, somebody in the theater booms out (in a gravelly drawl):
"Ah'm Joe Woods! 'Lect me Pres'dent o' th' Cook County Board an' Ah'll do somethin' 'bout vampahrs!"

I guess you had to be there ...

le0pard13 said...

As I'd expect, some marvelous answers to this movie quiz, Ivan. THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM remains a favorite of mine. So true about Craven' DEADLY FRIEND. That's a great line-up for the Halloween all-nighter.

ClassicBecky said...

The Colossal Man! James Whale! Pit and the Pendulum! The Creature from the Black Lagoon! I knew there was some reason I like to read your blog.... You named just about all my favorites, except for a couple I have never seen which I will try to do now that I've heard of them.

Of course, my favorite TDOY expression in this one is "...I would have bailed out of that mutha faster than you can sing 'Ben'..."