Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy Walpurgisnacht!


The Witches to the Brocken go;
The grain is green, the stubble aglow.
There gathers all the mighty host;
Sir Urian' sits uppermost.

from Goethe's Faust, translated by George Madison Priest

Adding class to the joint...

...with poetry.

Googling "drunken severed head", I found this poem by one Gershon Hepner:

"severed head"

Reeling through the claustrophic clouds,
acting like a woman who is drunk,
the moon provides a moonlit shrine with shrouds
that wrap the head that's severed from the trunk.

Herod, once Salome has revealed
her nakedness, removing seven veils,
capitulates upon a fertile field
of fantasizing phallocentric males.

Mr. Hepner has the poem and his accompanying commentary here:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/severed-head/

And his biography can be found here:

http://www.poemhunter.com/gershon-hepner/biography/

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Website Name/Content Disconnect

If you've never heard of the website "Fred's Head Companion", you'll never guess what it's about.

And if you have a mind like mine, you'll be disappointed when you find out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blog obit for Bobby Pickett

Wonderful Wonderblog: 'Monster Mash' singer Pickett dies at 69

Includes a link to a collection of five covers of "Monster Mash".

Bobby Pickett, you left too soon!


Still seriously bummed about Bobby Pickett's passing away.

Just found a warm and funny Halloween 2006 interview with Pickett at this blog (the April 26 entry):

http://www.bluepower.com/index.html

He and the host John Rhys-Eddins kid around, discuss Pickett's life and career, and play the following set:

1)...."It's Alive"....Bobby "Boris" Pickett
2)...."Dead Man's Party"....Oingo-Boingo
3)...."Monster Mash"....Bobby "Boris" Pickett
4)...."Gallow's Pole"....Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
5)...."Werewolves Of London"....Warren Zevon
6)...."Sinister Stomp"....Bobby "Boris" Pickett
7)...."Got My Mojo Workin' "....Muddy Waters
8)...."Blood Bank Blues"....Bobby "Boris" Pickett

You MUST check this out. Only thing that has made me feel better lately.

Max

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bobby "Boris" Pickett 1938--2007

Bobby Pickett cared about environmental issues. Here's a 2005 video (The Climate Mash-- from cleartheair.com) that Pickett sang for which lampoons the current political climate and lack of attention to environmental issues.

Rest in peace, Bobby Pickett.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Buy Her Myuk Bag!

What the hell IS "myuk bag"?


http://reminiscingourtime.blogspot.com/2007/04/yeah.html

Candy Taken From Unusual Babies





And here (below) is an unusual baby, born last year in China. His third extremity is extremely rare, and even more rare is the fact that it is functional. I wish I had grown up with a friend so distinctive! As a child, I always found myself curious about, and drawn to, the odder-looking people I knew. I mean, attractive, plain and even homely-looking people are a common sight. WEIRD-looking folks are not. (Well, maybe more common now than when I was growing up, but still not real common. Although I did know a guy who claimed to have a third testicle!):

The Toy To Make A Man From A Boy!

Here's a vintage ad that made me titter (and I love to titter):

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Interview with actor Conor Timmis (KREATING KARLOFF)

In February I interviewed CONOR TIMMIS, a young actor who produced an independent titled KREATING KARLOFF. (Watch it at http://www.itsmyremote.com/kk.html .) As described at the link, the film is a "documentary following Conor Timmis on his journey to bring light to the contributions of famed actor Boris Karloff." Recreating scenes from the films "Frankenstein" and "The Mummy," Timmis hopes to create interest in a Karloff biopic, and, as it says at the link above, "memorialize his most favorite actor." The film is nominated for a 2006 Rondo Award for "Best Independent Film."

Here's the conversation with Conor, and I hope you enjoy it.

****************************************
In an interview you have said that when you were a child, other kids teased you by calling you "Karloff" because of your high forehead and heavy brow. Where do you suppose they heard of Boris?


"The look of Karloff's Frankenstein monster is an icon of Western culture, bigger than Superman and Batman even. Almost everyone on the planet knows that a high forehead with flat-top head, heavy brow and neck electrodes is FRANKENSTEIN."

The first Karloff movie you saw was THE MUMMY, when your father borrowed a library copy to show at home. What other Karloff or classic monster movies do remember seeing as a kid?

"As a kid, THE WOLF MAN was my next exposure to the Universal Monsters after THE MUMMY and another library vhs rented by my father. I loved Chaney Jr.'s werewolf makeup, the chilling transformation scene, spooky fog shrouded moors, and the lovely Evelyn Ankers. There is something about the opening shot of Talbot castle that always gets me.

"I rediscovered THE MUMMY and all of Karloff's films when I started acting around age 22. I had been reading a lot of classic horror authors at the time like Lovecraft, Machen, Hodgson and Benson and naturally fell into watching classic horror films."

Reincarnation is a theme in THE MUMMY. And in Tibetan Buddhism, each reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is said to have characteristics of previous incarnations. You were born after Boris Karloff's death. Did recreating scenes of Boris as Im-Ho-Tep ever make you pause and imagine that you might have been Boris? You're very familiar with his life. What qualities do you think you share with Boris?

"Playing the scene by the pool as Ardath Bey with Zita's cousin Liesl Ehardt gave me serious chills, especially since Zita Johann was deep into the occult and was a firm believer in reincarnation. There were a few spooky things that happened in the making of KREATING KARLOFF that made me wonder if the spirits of Boris and Zita were
helping things along.

"As far as qualities I share with Boris...hmm. Boris was a far better man and actor than I could ever hope to be. For a Hollywood actor Karloff was a saint. Like Boris I love reading, peace and quiet, the outdoors, athletics and women. I guess one main difference is I'm a big coffee drinker whereas Boris was a heavy tea drinker."

I am absolutely TANTALIZED and curious about the "few spooky things that happened...that made me wonder if the spirits of Boris and Zita were helping things along." Please share the details!

"Gotta keep a little mystery so I don't sound like an overly superstitious Irishman!"

You went from an initial $4000 budget on KREATING KARLOFF to $20,000 by taking on loans. What was the biggest expense of that sum?

"The biggest expense was the 3 day studio rental. The studio space with lighting equipment came to about $9,000."

Is it true that the Frankenstein Monster headpiece you wore in the film was worn by a famous actor?

"Yes, The Frankenstein wig and neck bolts I wore were leftovers from Phil Hartman's goofy Saturday Night Live monster makeup. To be honest, Hartman's wig didn't work out too well. It was too poofy and coarse and couldn't be trimmed short enough. It made me look like the love child of Lou Ferrigno's Incredible Hulk and Karloff's monster. It was all I could afford though. If I had a bigger budget, makeup artist Norman Bryn could have obtained a human hair wig which would have been ideal and could be easily trimmed and matched to Karloff's 1931 monster. In retrospect I wish I had opted for the bald look of 'The Bride Of Frankenstein' makeup since I couldn't afford a good hairpiece."

Let's say you do get to play Boris in a full length biography. Have you thought about who might play some of his famous co-stars, and if so, who do else would you like to see in the cast?

"My dream cast. I think Ewan McGregor would make a terrific James Whale. Edward Woodward would be great as Karloff's domineering father. Liesl Ehardt playing Zita Johann and Scarlett Johansson as Dorothy Karloff. Don't know who would play Lugosi. I've heard that in the 1980's DeNiro was very interested in portraying Bela for a Lugosi bio film. I don't think DeNiro would be right for Bela though."

Have you seen or heard any of Boris' TV or radio performances or any of his recordings? If so, which ones come to mind as ones you enjoyed?

"I love Boris' recording of Kipling's 'Just So Stories'".

Besides Karloff's movies, what are some of your other favorite films? Are there any other famous people you'd like to play? And Boris isn't the first actor with an accent you've portrayed, is he?

"My favorite non-horror films are 'Breaker Morant' and 'The Last Of The Mohicans'. Other famous people I would like to play are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Richard Marcinko and Aleister Crowley. As far as past accents I've done: played John Wilkes Booth with basically a heightened version of my own speech and a German-speaking SS Officer for a stage play of 'Stalag 17'."

As a kid, what monster "stuff" did you have and enjoy?

"In my early 20's I had a few of the Sideshow models. What I really want to own someday is the Karloff Mummy Sarcophagus put out by Sideshow last year. It brings out the geek in me!"

What would winning a Rondo award mean to you? And do you believe the old sentiment that "It's an honor just to be nominated"?

"It's a really tough category this year. I do believe it's a great honor just to be nominated. IF KREATING KARLOFF wins, I will present the award to makeup artist Norman Bryn since there would be no project without his virtuoso makeup and no film without his amazing interviews. Norm was the lynch pin and anchor of the entire film and I can't think of a better way to thank him than having a little bust of Rondo Hatton's head in his office."

Boris didn't overcome a drinking problem, didn't struggle to accept his orientation, didn't kill anyone, never was a celebrity getting lots of unwanted publicity in the tabloids, and never made a movie where he got to dismember someone onscreen in full view. Why would anyone under 40 want to see film about Boris' life and career?

"Karloff's life was the "American Dream" personified. A Cinderella story that would make an inspirational, heartwarming film. Recreating the making of the classic horror films would be exciting to watch. I think young people would easily relate to Karloff since he was an outcast who made good, so to speak. I think most teenage guys can see themselves in his Frankenstein monster when it comes to wanting acceptance, especially from women."

Thank you very much, Conor.

Metal Bats Banned In NYC!

The Associated Press reports that New York City is banning metal bats from its schools, on the theory that they produce more injuries than wooden bats.

Perhaps they should ban metal cats in Gotham, which are apparently much more dangerous:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A noble man


In this blog, I like to celebrate fictional monsters, and show the unusual.

Recently, a real life monster killed thirty three people at a college campus, and is the focus of much media attention this week.

But another man showed unusual courage that day in the same place, and is the man who deserves our attention.

To the right is a picture of Liviu Librescu, the hero of the recent Virginia Tech massacre, who lost his life to save others.

I learned his name just today, along with some details of his life and his actions at VT on April 16. According to the Associated Press: "The Israeli lecturer killed in the Virginia Tech massacre was a Holocaust survivor who later escaped from Communist Romania. Relatives said Librescu, an internationally respected aeronautics engineer and a lecturer at Virginia Tech for 20 years, saved the lives of several students by blocking the gunman before he was gunned down in Monday's shooting, which coincided with Israel's Holocaust remembrance day."

Mr. Librescu urged his students to escape by way of the windows, while pressing his lecture hall door shut against the gunman trying to enter. He managed to delay the killer long enough for all the students in the lecture hall to get out.

May we all be more tenacious and courageous like him.

(Photo Getty Images)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Art to stop your heart

I have found a website for a MOST talented sculptor, Thomas Kuebler. He has a photo of his 7-foot Frankenstein sculpture which took my breath away. Just take a look:

http://www.tskuebler.com/charismatic_characters/frankensteins_monster.html

This guy is amazing. He has sold his work to Anne Rice, among others.

The Zimmers : "My Generation"

Or should it be "My Degeneration"? (Average age: 79.)

This video made me happy.

Makes me look forward to getting old. Sort of. A tiny bit.


Tape Face

Has the woman in this video seen "Eye Of The Beholder" on the original "Twilight Zone"?



(photo from Shareware Junction)


Monday, April 16, 2007

Recommended stuff!


Here's a site I'll be ordering from (be sure to click on "view larger" and "zoom in" when looking at the merchandise):

http://www.cafepress.com/sketchythings

Rondo Award-winning artist Frank Dietz combines great art with nice gags in these items.

My favorite items: the "Hill Lady" and "Monster Poker" t-shirts, the "Gravedigger" magnet, and the "Got Tana?" mug.

04-20-07: The "Gravedigger" magnet and "Got Tana?" mug have disappeared from the web page! I'll ask Frank about them.

04-23-07: The missing items are back on the page!

Back when I was in school...

..we only saw the dullest of films. THIS would have been a change of pace!

com/news/local/chi-070416lynwood-parentsapr16,0,860317.story

But I do recall seeing a Disney cartoon about venereal disease once, in high school! It was called "VD Attack Plan". Cartoon germs plotting pain during urination! Wow! (Y'know, the name "Pegleg Pete"-- Mickey Mouse's nemesis-- would make a good euphemism for a guy afflicted with the clap!)

You can read more about the film from the source of my photos, othercinema.com:

http://www.othercinema.com/otherzine/ozissue2/vd.html


(During my 16mm film collecting days, I had a print of "VD Attack Plan". Fun to show to unsuspecting guests!)

Speaking of school days in olden times, friend of the severed head Bobby Beeman tells me that when he was eight years old, he conned another third-grader into buying "Dracula's autograph" for a quarter! (He'd used novelty "vampire blood" to sign with; later he got another quarter selling Frankenstein's autograph, suitably done in a shaky hand.) I wish I been that smart when I was a kid!

Is my brain in a cage?


Billboards featuring ads for the recent horror film CAPTIVITY have come under attack for their in-your-face pictures emphasizing the film's themes of torture and murder. I first learned about this at this thread at the Classic Horror Film Board:

http://p075.ezboard.com/fmonsterkidclassichorrorforumfrm53.showMessage?topicID=1642.topic

After reading this thread, I found that I had to square my free speech absolutism with my revulsion at the fact that such a billboard is something one CANNOT avoid seeing, when you travel a road it's on. I wanted it banned. Then I read of the FTC's consideration of regulating such ads:

http://p075.ezboard.com/fmonsterkidclassichorrorforumfrm68.showMessage?topicID=365.topic

That reminded me of how Congress got involved in pressuring comic book companies to self-censor horror comics with the threat that they would step in otherwise. Ugh.

And then I read this:

http://stupac2.blogspot.com/2007/04/why-free-speech-is-necessary.html


In that post, a blogger argues that if you draw any line at all in the limits to free speech, those limits will be moved to target any provocative expression of any idea, thereby limiting effective criticism of popular ideas, groups, or people. But the question of the limits of commercial speech isn't addressed. I still felt queasy about that billboard. It wasn't meant for persuasion to a moral or political stand, it wasn't meant as art (not really), it was made to generate sales of tickets.

And I came away being a supremacist. A text supremacist. I would take a stand that commercial speech is protected absolutely, as long as that speech is either text only, or does not feature images that cannot be avoided by others. As with pictures of nudity, it can be hidden. (And nudity doesn't bother me!)

Comments, anyone?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rare 1960s or early '70s Halloween mask!

This appears to be from the late-1960s to mid-1970s, a time when I was going out to trick-or-treat on Halloween. I never saw one of these then, or I would have HAD to have it! What a gruesome, garish get-up! Delights me to look at it.

Picture taken by me; mask and costume from the collection of Raymond Castile.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cthulhu invades the Family Circus!

I don't remember where I first saw this, so I can't credit the parody artist. But found it in a dusty folder in my hard drive and laughed when I saw it again.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Gleaned from the Net: Weird Rabbit Stories

More oddness for Easter.

Notice that two of the "giant rabbit" stories below use the same photo of big-a$$ bunny and handler, though they are supposed to be different stories in different places. Note too that snopes.com says rabbits as big as small children is a fact! Holy "Night Of The Lepus"!











Get your own killer rabbit here:


EasTER-ROR!

Just back from a long trip, the Drunken Severed Head awoke this morning to find he'd been visited once again by the Easter Blowfish!

I'm not sure why this happens at my house every year (My Transylvanian blood? Result of flipping off an old gypsy woman in traffic?), but I enjoy seeing the ghostly holiday puffer come around. He always brings chocolate fugu and gaily-colored eggs, and it's always so suspenseful as to which goodies have deadly toxins and which are safe to eat. I always do the kindness of sharing with my neighbors first, of course.

Holiday trivia: a species of large blowfish found along the Atlantic seaboard is also known as the rabbitfish.

More trivia, from Wikipedia: "
"Some sources claim that about 100 people die each year from fugu poisoning...There are some reports of completely paralyzed but fully conscious victims that were believed to be dead, and woke up a few days later or just before being cremated. In some parts of Japan a fugu victim is put next to his coffin for three days to verify the death. If the body does not decompose, it is not yet dead.

"The pufferfish is also reported to be one of the main ingredients used in voodoo to turn people into zombies. [Some of my best friends are zombies. Max] According to ethnobotanist Wade Davis, the pufferfish is the key ingredient in the first step of creating a zombie, where the tetrodotoxin creates a 'death-like' state. In the second step, hallucinogens are used to hold the person in a will-less zombie state."

Happy Easter, everyone!

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