Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Hootenanny

(Art by Virgil Finlay)

Happy Halloween! The festivities may be over but since today is the actual holiday what better way to celebrate than jamming to some ghoulish grooves? First up is Niall O'Conghaile's Disco Argento 2: The Sequel, another collection of "horror/disco cash-in records." Then we have Rural War Room Radio's Monsters and Mayhem Show, an eclectic mix of off-beat spooky songs. From Sun Ra to Dusty Springfield to Mothra's Theme it's all here. And finally there's Gutter Satisfaction's punk-rock Halloween show, Spooky Juice. The Cramps, The Ramones, Messer Chups - this is a Halloween show for people who are too cool for Halloween shows.

Disco Argento 2: The Sequel! by theniallist

Monsters and Mayhem Show (02hrs04mins)

Spooky Juice (01hr57mins)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

RiffTrax: Night Of The Living Dead

In ancient times is was said that even the Olympian gods themselves were not safe from Momus, the god of mockery. Today the RiffTrax crew proves that goes double for critically acclaimed sf movies. George A. Romero's landmark Night of the Living Dead (1968) bit so deeply into the collective imagination that today "zombies" have infected every nook and cranny of pop culture. While some of his shambling imitators are more deserving of ridicule than he is it's still a treat to see this classic get the iconoclastic MST3K treatment.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Dunwich Horror

Before H. P. Lovecraft's novelette The Dunwich Horror (1928) was made into a campy film in 1970 it featured on 1940's radio. Staged as a live broadcast this radio play stars Academy Award winning British actor Ronald Colman and is much more faithful to the original story. The audio is a bit scratchy, but that works in the show's favor and lends itself to the feeling of hearing a remote feed.

Suspense (01 Nov 45) "The Dunwich Horror" 25m43s

[via the Internet Archive]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hellsing Ultimate VIII PV

Nothing says Halloween like a new chapter of the Hellsing Ultimate OVA. Hopefully we won't have to wait as long for the final two installments.The last chapter ended in a spectacular cliffhanger. As chapter 8 opens, the Nazi vampires have overrun Britain, the Vatican legions are preparing for a riconquista of isle, and the Hellsing Organization has been decimated. I'm going to watch this over the weekend to find out if even Alucard can overcome those odds.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Disco Argento mix

It's the Halloween season and that means it's time to boogie. So shake your booty to Niall O'Conghaile's "Disco Argento mix, a compilation of late 70s and early 80s horror movie-inspired discomania put together for Glasgow’s Menergy club. It features dancefloor versions of the themes from Phantasm, Friday the 13th, Dawn Of The Dead, Amittyville and Demons, some score tracks and a few soul horror cash-ins." The danse macabre was never so funky.

THE NIALLIST Disco Argento Mix by Menergy Mixes

Full tracklist at Dangerous Minds

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Body Snatchers

John Dickson Carr's radio adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Body-Snatcher" (1884). Gaslight notes that the promotional campaign for the story was quite sensational. "Unique and gruesome methods of advertising were used...and much attention was drawn to the story. In London, posters were displayed of so ghoulish and startling a character that they were suppressed by the police."

Suspense (24 Nov 42) "The Body Snatchers" 29m32s

[via the Internet Archive]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mystery Science Radio #19 Epic Halloween Special 2011

Epic Halloween Special
"When we last heard from our heroes they had abandoned the Yellow Submarine. Their strange offshore / underwater pirate radio adventure continues..."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Signalman

Before Agnes Moorehead made Darrin Stephens' life miserable she had a long career in film and radio. She appeared in more episodes of Suspense than any other actor or actress. The "first lady of Suspense," as she was known, stars here in an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Signal-Man." H. P. Lovecraft mentioned this story in his study, Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927), remarking that it is "a tale of ghostly warning...and touched with a verisimilitude which allies it as much with the coming psychological school as with the dying Gothic school."

Suspense (23 Mar 53) "The Signalman" 28m54s

Friday, October 21, 2011

Soul Eater

If there's an anime that has a Halloween ambiance it's studio Bones' adaptation of Atsushi Okubo's Soul Eater. Okubo has cleverly appropriated and redeployed the motifs of Western pop-culture Gothic in an amusing and unconventional way. (One unfortunate side effect of this is that the series perpetuates negative stereotypes about witches, without much concern for viewers of the Wicca faith.)

The story revolves around meister Maka Albarn and her weapon Soul Eater, who like other weapons is capable of taking human form. Both are students at the DWMA technical school, which is training them to prevent the reappearance of the Kishin, evil demon gods that once ravaged the world. The goal of the meisters is to have their weapons defeat and absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, which will turn the weapons into super-powerful Death Scythes.

While in general the story is rather conventional shonen fare of the Bleach variety, Soul Eater's distinctively stylized presentation and quirky characters help set it apart. The anime is mostly faithful to the manga, at least until the battle against Arachnophobia. The translation is adequate, but a few of the episodes refer to the Kishin as "Afreets" for some reason. And keep an eye peeled for a Twin Peaks allusion, although in this case instead of a dancing dwarf it's a dancing imp.

Update: I just thought I should mention that the Twin Peaks allusion comes in episode 12, not in the first episode that I posted here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hitchhiker starring Orson Welles

The talented Orson Welles stars in "The Hitchhiker." You'll probably recognize the story, which was later adapted for The Twilight Zone. In an entertaining introduction he promises the tale contains none of the "phosphorescent foolishness" of so many other spook stories.

Suspense (02 Sep 42) "The Hitchhiker" 29m17s

[via The Internet Archive]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Etidorhpa, or The End of Earth

Illustrations by J. Augustus Knapp

Etidorhpa or the End of Earth (1896) by John Uri Lloyd

From The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:

Lloyd, John Uri (1849-1936) US chemist, author of Etidorhpa, or The End of Earth: The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and the Account of a Remarkable Journey (1895; rev vt 1901), a metaphysical FANTASTIC VOYAGE in which the narrator – whose manuscript has been discovered by Lloyd – is led by a blind humanoid named I-Am-The-Man to a LOST WORLD in the interior of the Earth, which he excitedly explores while gaining occult enlightenment into the higher forms of love (the title is Aphrodite reversed). Etidorhpa, which went through eleven or more editions, is noteworthy for its bitter attack on the rational sciences. Like other notable HOLLOW-EARTH works of the period, the geography of Etidorhpa derives from the theories of John Cleves SYMMES. [JE/JC]

Produced by Pat McCoy, Suzanne Shell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Pit and the Pendulum

Another tale calculated to keep you in suspense - or at least get you into the Halloween mood. Today, the suave Vincent Price stars in John Dickson Carr's adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale, "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1843). Price was so talented that he could easily have carried the whole show with a straight reading of the story, but it's still an entertaining treatment.

Suspense (10 Nov 57) "The Pit and the Pendulum" 24m40s

[via The Internet Archive]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


In order to get into the Halloween spirit this year I've decided to post some old episodes of the CBS Radio drama Suspense. First up, an eerie mystery story from none other than Ray Bradbury.

Suspense (13 Nov 47) "Riabouchinska" 29m33s

[via The Internet Archive]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wild Zero

Director Tetsuro Takeuchi's Wild Zero (2000) is an off-beat, garage horror movie that perfectly captures the raw attitude of Guitar Wolf.

The film opens with a fleet of UFOs racing toward Earth. As the radio broadcasts news of a meteorite crashing to earth, young Ace (Masashi Endo) is combing Brylcreem into his pompadour. He's off to see his idols, Guitar Wolf, in concert. As for the Wolves, they've had enough of Captain (Makoto Inamiya), the eccentric and sleazy club owner who gave them their start. Ace interrupts the ensuing Mexican standoff, blurting out the unforgettable line, "Rock 'n Roll is NOT over, baby! Rock 'n Roll NEVER DIES!" After the resulting shootout, Guitar Wolf makes Ace his blood brother. He also gives him a wolf whistle, telling him to blow it if he needs help. For his part, Captain, who just lost several fingers, is out for revenge against the Wolves.

Meanwhile, three friends, Toshi (Yoshiyuki Morishita), Hanako (Taneko), Masao (Masao), are on a road trip to see the meteorite. They pull into a gas station where they find Tobio (Kwancharu Shitichai), a young hitchhiker. Suddenly, Masao snaps, pulls some knives and tries to hold the place up. Just then who should show up but Ace? When he opens the door it hits Masao in the face, and the three friends flee. Ace is glad to play the hero for Tobio, and the two take to each other immediately. Elsewhere, a soldier (Haruka Nakajo) waits by the roadside. She's planning to sell weapons to some yakuza, who unbeknownst to her have been ambushed by zombies. As the zombies rampage and the UFOs swarm the cities of Earth, all these characters will intersect in ways they might not have expected.

Like one of Guitar Wolves songs, this movie belts itself out with an energy all its own. Although descended from films like The Return of the Living Dead (1985), it has more of the underground feel of a cult classic like Repo Man (1984). It rides a wave of raucous garage punk by the likes of Teengenerate, Bikini Kill, Oblivians, The Devil Dogs, and of course Guitar Wolf themselves. What the Wolves lack in dialogue they make up for in presence, with Drum Wolf and the late Bass Wolf slicking back their hair every chance they get. Inamiya-san turns in a brilliant performance as the flamboyant Captain, and almost steals the show. And there's a welcome nod to George A. Romero when the characters begin asking if any of them has seen Night of the Living Dead.

The zombies here have a ghastly blue pallor, giving them a garish menace that only adds to the film. Rest assured that their heads explode with the the graphic regularity that zombie movie fans expect. And in a clever twist on conventions, Ace has a moment of erotic panic when he discovers that Tobio is a ladyboy. The spirit of Guitar Wolf appears to admonish him, "Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!" For surprisingly this quirky splatter flick is ultimately about the power of love to overcome all obstacles.

According to Wikipedia, Guitar Wolf has begun looking for a sponsor for the sequel, Wild Zero 2. After the credits roll we see Captain rise for the dead, still set on revenge. If that second film ever gets made he just might get his chance.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sentiment, Inc.

Science Fiction Stories, #1 1953

Sentiment, Inc. by Poul Anderson

"The way we feel about another person, or about objects, is often bound up in associations that have no direct connection with the person or object at all. Often, what we call a "change of heart" comes about sheerly from a change in the many associations which make up our present viewpoint. Now, suppose that these associations could be altered artificially, at the option of the person who was in charge of the process...."

Produced by Greg Weeks, Dianna Adair and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Friday, October 7, 2011

"I reach that, brother."

B-movie character actor Charles Napier has passed away. I'll always remember him for his rĂ´le as Adam in episode 75 of TOS, "The Way To Eden". That's the episode where a group of space hippies, led astray by the Timothy Leary-like Dr. Sevrin, try to subvert the the order and discipline of the Enterprise.

Not only was it a typically zany third season installment, but like the earlier pro-Vietnam War episode, "A Private Little War", it illustrates that despite a general Wellsian sense of progressiveness the show never strayed too far from the conservative shibboleths that were de rigueur for 1960's US TV. Even so it's fun to watch Spock get funky in a space hippy jam session. An interesting bit of trivia is that it was originally planned that one of the hippies would be Dr. McCoy's daughter. But since they'd recently added the character of Chekov to the cast to increase the show's youth appeal they changed her into his old girlfriend, Irina.

[via Dangerous Minds]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rock 'N' Roll JET-Movie

Here's something for the weekend's viewing. Wild Zero, a grindhouse zombie flick starring Japanese rock 'n' roll rebels, Guitar Wolf.

I haven't seen it yet myself, but I can't imagine being disappointed. There's nothing quite like a Japanese zombie film. And in my book zombies + Guitar Wolf = win. The soundtrack alone makes it worth watching.

[via Dangerous Minds]