Thursday, October 23, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: halloween marathon: house on haunted hill

Originally published 10/10/13:

House on Haunted Hill begins with Elisha Cook Jr. and Vincent Price, each speaking directly to the audience, setting the mood of the movie and the evening to one of creepy horror. Adding to the spooky atmosphere are shots of the exterior of the haunted house — Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright a prime example of his Mayan Revival architecture.

A disembodied Vincent Price, "Welcome to the House on Haunted Hill"

Frederick Loren (Price), "I am Frederick Loren, and I have rented the House on Haunted Hill tonight so that my wife can give a party. She's so amusing. There'll be food and drink and ghosts, and perhaps even a few murders. You're all invited. If any of you will spend the next twelve hours in this house, I will give you each ten thousand dollars, or your next of kin in case you don't survive. Ah, but here come our other guests."
The five, presumably greedy "guests" are good-looking test pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), newspaper columnist Ruth Bridges (Julie Mitchum), the house's owner Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook, who is spookier than most of the spooks), suave psychiatrist Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), and pretty young thing Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), who works for one of Loren's companies. Also in attendance, besides the host, Frederick Loren, is his wife, Annabelle. The two aren't exactly a loving couple.
Frederick Loren, "Don't let the ghosts and the ghouls disturb you, love."
Annabelle Loren,"Darling, the only ghoul in the house is you!"
House on Haunted Hill is all in good fun. The guests show up to the party each in their own individual hearse. Each person is supplied with a gun for their own protection. There is a vat in the basement filled with acid. Ghouls and ghosts appear to be on hand to help each of the guests into the netherworld. When the film was first released, director William Castle (The Tingler, Homicidal, The Old Dark House) used a gimmick called "Emergo" in theaters to further scare the audience — a skeleton was made to fly over the audience at a key moment during the film. It is rumored that Alfred Hitchcock, after seeing the success of the low-budget black and white horror movie, applied similar principles to his next film, Psycho. It is true that the sets and design of House on Haunted Hill do share the same production values as Hitchcock's television series, which may be the more direct ancestor of both films. Although dated, and undeniably goofy, thanks to the always wonderfully eloquent Price, House on Haunted Hill is still great Halloween viewing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

lovejoy's back for more antiques, crime and fun

Acorn Media has recently released Lovejoy, Series 2, and it is just as much fun as the first series. Based on the books by Jonathan Gash, Lovejoy stars Ian McShane as an antiques dealer who has an eye for authenticity — in antiques and women. The British series was originally filmed and aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the A&E Network showing the series stateside in the 1990s. Fans of McShane and the series should be very happy that Lovejoy is finally available on DVD.

Lovejoy is a British mystery series, but the accent is more on character and story than whodunnit. Frequently Lovejoy and his friends find themselves involved in so many plots and switcheroos that most of the fun comes from trying to figure out who's on top at the moment. When viewers first met Lovejoy last season, he was trying to balance his antiques business with his gifts as a "divvie," a person who can suss out whether an object is the genuine article or a fake. He was frequently plagued by a rival antiques dealer, Charles Gimbert, aided and abetted in his schemes by pals Tinker Dill (Dudley Sutton) and Eric Catchpole (Chris Jury), and becoming friends with the lovely lady of the local manor, Lady Jane Felsham (Phyllis Logan).

Gimbert is gone in the second series, Jane and Lovejoy are now business "partners," and Tinker and Eric are still on hand to run interference whenever Lovejoy needs. Lovejoy is still (almost always) broke. In fact, the first episode of season two, "Just Desserts," finds him being released from prison — after being framed — and he is determined to find out who in the antiques trade set him up. His time in jail has echoes throughout the season, with the local constabulary always suspicious of his movements, and Lovejoy frequently seeking revenge for himself, or justice for other innocent parties. There are some familiar faces from British film and television as guests stars this season, and Lovejoy and Jane even let a few sparks fly between them. ...

Read my complete review on Cinema Sentries

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

chasing clouds

I have always been a huge fan of clouds in the sky, cumulus, nimbus, cirrus, stratus, and beyond. Florida seems to have some of the best cloud formations of anywhere I've lived or visited.





Monday, October 20, 2014

oregano oil

I've been getting over a cold, and it was suggested I try oregano oil to help hasten the end of the bug.



It's REALLY intense, even for this part-Italian girl. It does not taste like just a few sprinkles on your pizza. Just a few drops can burn. But I do think that my cold has been shown the door.

Anyone else ever try oregano oil?