Monday, June 30, 2008

Divorce Cakes!

Previously, I've shared pics of ghoulish and gory cakes for Halloween. Now, I can share pictures of cakes suitable for a messy, violent divorce, thanks to a friend who forwarded them on to me! Bon appetit to all unhappy, squabbling couples out there!

Related links:

The Erotic Baker
(x-rated cakes)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Hey, are you a reader of TDSH who is under 18? Well, come back in a few days and check out the latest entry then. This post right here ain't for you, okay? Adults only please. (Kids, don't bother scrollin' down, because there ain't any naughty pictures. Just text for "mature readers.")

This is writer Polly Frost. Don't be fooled by the Serious Author look in this pose. She is the mad creator of "Deep Inside," a book of stories that will make your eyes bulge, your jaw drop, and your fingers rapidly turn pages. "Deep Inside" is a collection of stories of erotic horror-- many with a sharp comic edge-- and it is simply the best of its kind. Much of it has the added element of deftly done satire. Not only are some of the tropes of erotic horror and sci-fi sent up, but modern social conventions and personality types that need skewering are also Swiftly dispatched. (Well, Swift crossed with DeSade.)

I'm not a big fan of this particular subgenre, usually. But-- but, but, butt-- Ms. Frost's stories are not just the porno pieces with bloodletting or monsters that are banged out (pun intended) by other writers. No-- these are imaginative, disturbing, and FUNNY tales of pervy sex, spiced with supernatural or sci-fi elements, and complicated by the psychological hangups of her memorable characters.

Crashing into social mores in these stories are a dithering dominatrix, a lesbian couple with a magical dildo, piercing addicts, alluring tentacled aliens who bring the curse of blissful-but-addicting orgasms, Viagra mainliners, and the people of a future where all sex is sensational, though everyone has forgotten how to do it simply and directly.

The narrative drive of the stories in this book is revved up, and carries the vivid cast along in an anxiety-provoking but thrilling way. The prose isn't always buffed to a perfect shine, but this ain't Jane Austen, anyway. When Ms. Frost grabs you by the lapels in this book, you won't want to look at her nail polish anyway-- and how could you, when she's shaking you?!
But before you leave this page, read the conversation below I had with Ms. Frost, conducted by e-mail and by phone. She is a charmer! You'll be titillated, stimulated and gratified...


Max TDSH: In an interview at Dark Party Review, you describe yourself as a "satirist". That is exactly the word that came to mind to describe you when I read "Deep Inside".

In "The Orifice" you seem to satirize the piercing trend, as a young couple who are the focus of the story get pierced in more and odder places and ultimately lose their identities, in a manner of speaking. Was this deliberate -- do you feel people are running away from knowing themselves, or were you sending up the piercing fad by taking it to the farthest extremes imaginable?

Polly Frost: Thank you for noticing that in the story! Sure, you’re absolutely right, I was having some fun with a contemporary trend.

I find piercing is a sexy body art form. I believe that body modification is a way of taking control of your own physical identity -- and I’m all for that. At the same time, I agree with you: I think that if you assert your identity too much, you can run the risk of losing it altogether.

Quite apart from the satirical side of that story, I also wanted to pay homage to some of my favorite Japanese tentacle sex anime! I’m a huge fan of Hideki Takayama’s “Legend of the Overfiend.” Imagine getting boffed by one those creatures!

Max TDSH: In "The Dominatrix Has a Career Crisis", you send up the self-esteem movement that began in the '70s, and educational norms that emphasize a positive self image over intellectual achievement.

Do you dislike those trends in modern America?

Polly Frost: People sometimes say that satirists are drawn to making fun of what they’re most attracted to, or guilty of. And that’s certainly true of me. In fact, if you’re satirizing stuff you don’t really care about, you’re probably writing poor satire.

I grew up in Southern California, and my education there was drenched in “self-esteem” bullshit. It has turned me into kind of a feeling-good-about-myself addict. I do a lot of self-esteem self-pumping during the average day. I’ll sit there and think that if I just felt better about myself, I’d do better work. Which, you know, is really silly.

Now that I’ve confessed to that, can I say that I hate the way that the self-esteem movement has shaped people’s ideas of how they can behave? The idea that people will do better if they just feel better about themselves is one of the oddest -- and most terrifying -- educational developments ever to come about, it seems to me.

I see no evidence that it helps people actually live more constructive lives. I do see plenty of evidence that it can lead to narcissistic and even sociopathic behavior.

The fact is, if you feel badly about something you did, maybe you should. It’s called a conscience, and it’s not a bad thing to have. There’s nothing inherently wrong with negative feedback or bad feelings. They’re just information, and sometimes what they’re telling you is really useful. Sometimes you really do need to adjust your behavior. This inability so many people have today to tolerate the occasional bad feeling is really striking, isn’t it? It’s also prime fodder for satire.

I do think that the self-esteem movement has made it hard for a lot of people raised that way to go out into the world. The world doesn’t care how you feel about yourself. The world isn’t always going to make you feel good about yourself. Parents who encourage this kind of “self-esteem” in their children are really just infantilizing them, making them eternally dependent on them. Maybe young people could do with a little less positive ego-stroking and a little more help learning how to tough it out when the going gets tough.

Max TDSH: How critical are you of yourself and your achievements?

Polly Frost: One of the things you have to learn as a writer is to see your own work pretty objectively.

All that said, self-criticism isn’t always the answer either. Self-criticism can be just one more way of focusing too much on yourself. We all know people who are disarmingly self-critical. Then, after an hour of listening to them go on about their faults, you wise up and realize it was a just a very good way of commanding your attention.

I think that artists have to walk a tricky line between being self-critical and being able to make an artistic choice and go with it. If you’re too self-critical, perhaps you’re masking a cowardice about putting your work out into the world.

My own solution to the dilemma -- what I try to live up to, anyway -- is to try to think less about myself and more about the characters in my fiction. It’s important to let them come to life and make their own choices. It’s a really wonderful feeling when it happens.

There’s nothing quite like the experience of entering into another character. My husband sometimes teases me, saying I’m 60 percent actress and 40 percent writer, and he may be right. I’m not one of those writers who loves endlessly fussing with words. I’m one of those writers who does everything she can to enter into her characters and bring them to life.

Max TDSH: Can you name some short stories that made an impact or are memorable for you? These are the writers whose stories have unnerved me: Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Chambers, Dennis Etchison, Fritz Lieber, Karl Edward Wagner. Oh, and Lovecraft, Bierce, and Charles L. Grant have also all left me with lasting chills.

Polly Frost: You’re listing a lot of my favorites. I would like to point out two short stories I recently reread. One is Patricia Highsmith’s “The Snail-Watcher.“ It’s creepy, it’s brilliant, and it’s in “Eleven,” a collection of amazing chilling stories. The other story that recently knocked me out was “The Tattooer” by Junichiro Tanizaki. It’s in a collection of his called “Seven Japanese Tales.” It’s a story of erotic obsession -- and body modification too. It’s sexy psychological horror that I think you might really like. Like Highsmith, Tanizaki is someone I think your readers would find fascinating. He was both literary and sensational -- he was influenced by both Oscar Wilde and Poe.

Max TDSH: Another question that comes to mind after reading your stories is-- would you become a member of the opposite sex for a week if you could? Me, as a former actor in a lot of community theater and a few semi-professional gigs (I once played Yorick in a production of "Hamlet") I have often wondered what if would be like to truly be someone else for a brief while, and switching genders is as far as one can go.

Polly Frost: What a fun question! I’ve never gotten that one before in an interview. Do I get to pick the man I’d be for a week? If so, I’d like to be a Japanese samurai in the Edo Period. Maybe I’ve just watched too many Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai movies, but the idea of swaggering through villages in a kimono with my hair in one of those amazing top knots, and then pulling out my swords to successfully battle dozens of opposing samurai, seems like a good way to be a guy for seven days. Hopefully, I wouldn’t disgrace myself and have to commit hara kiri by the end of the week.

Max TDSH: I know you're married. I'm curious, however, to know what kind of pick up line an erotic horror writer might use, or have used in the past?

Polly Frost: Funny you ask that, because one thing I love doing is writing pick up lines for fictional characters. I especially like giving them to actors to read. Because I think that in order to pull off pick up lines you really do have to be a good actor. It’s all in the performance. And while my husband may think I’m part actress, that part-actress in me is a very bad actress. Trust me about my acting talent. I know my own limitations.

For example, I’ve just been in a sound studio with 30 actors recording the audio play, “Sex Scenes” that my husband and I co-wrote. “Sex Scenes” is set in Hollywood, and it’s episodic, like a radio play, only with x-rated humor. It’s going to run a total of 14 hours and we’ll be releasing it this summer as an audio download.

At one point in “Sex Scenes” one of the young female characters (she’s an Eastern European hooker) uses the pick up line, “Hey, baby, wanna fucky fuck?” We gave it to a wonderful young actress and said, “Here, say this with a straight face.” Which she did! Not to mention a convincing Eastern European accent.

That’s what I love about actors. They do my pick up lines with such conviction. Me, however ... well, I couldn’t say any pick up line, let alone that one, without cracking up.

Max TDSH: While talking with you, you mentioned several film directors you like, all of whom tend to take their subjects seriously. But when I read "Playing Karen Devere", I thought of John Waters directing it. How do you react to his films? Or perhaps the Coen brothers would be a good match for a screenplay by you. (I'm not sure any of them would want to direct someone else's script though.)

Polly Frost: What a great idea to have John Waters direct that story! Waters’ approach to filming the bizarre gives his movies a sci fi or horror feel. And the Coen Brothers are incredible. Yeah, it’s too bad for me that those guys write their own stuff so well, because I’d love to see waht they’d do with that story!

Max TDSH: Does your upcoming film "The Fold" have any satirical or darkly comic elements in it? Tell us more about it. ["The Fold" can be seen here: ]

Polly Frost: “The Fold” is a satire about sex and time travel. Need I say more? OK, there’s a cum blanket scene in it, a chastity belt exchange, tasteless jokes about people with Asperger’s Syndrome and a seventies hot tub porn homage.

My husband, Ray Sawhill, and I co-wrote it with the director, Matt Lambert. “The Fold” stars some of NYC’s best young actors, including Jake Thomas, Karen Grenke, Stephanie Sellars, Francesco Paladino and Josh Matthews. Plus we were incredibly lucky to have the award winning stage actor, Jeremy Lawrence, in it. It’s also got burlesque superstar Julie Atlas Muz in it -- she plays Joan of Arc.

It’s a web series, but unlike any web series you’ve seen!

That’s all thanks to the incredible talent of Matt Lambert. He’s like a cross between Takashi Miike and Trey Parker. Matt has this completely insane sense of humor, while somehow managing to also be completely sane at the same time. Everyone loves working with him. Even when it was freezing weather, he kept the actors and crew in good spirits on "The Fold". He’s so together at 27 it’d be only natural to hate him but that’s impossible -- he’s too much fun to work with.

We’re now working on a horror movie together that’s a satire. Kind of like “Juno” meets “Hostel.”

Max TDSH: Optional, nosy question: Can you relate a time when you made love--or had sex-- and were frightened, and why? (I don't mean the first time, when you might have been nervous, unless you were REALLY frightened.) I understand this is a question that might touch too deeply; and I don't want to seem insensitive. But you may be open to answering the question, and it might be fascinating to read your response, whether it be candidly sobering or humorous. But I don't expect an answer.

Polly Frost: I wish more interviewers would ask me questions like that. I just wish I could come up with a good answer for it. I’ve never had a really frightening moment with anyone during sex. Maybe it’s because I’m six feet tall. People are very respectful of you if you’re a six feet tall woman. If anything, it’s more like they look to me to be a scary dominatrix, or dungeon leader. After a recent reading I did, for instance, a very nice man in the audience came up to me shyly and told me he’d love it if I dominated him. He seemed very interested in being walked on by high heels. I had to turn him down, of course, but it was really very sweet. I was flattered he saw me that way.

Despite this, I’m drawn over and over again to the theme of fear and arousal. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I return to the theme -- I like imagining what it would be to experience terror during sex.

You’ve opened up a whole new thing for me to think about!

In any case, I sure do like to create strong female characters who are driven to put themselves in risky situations. I love inhabiting those characters when I write.

I think that the best horror movies have that combination of eroticism and terror. It’s why I love Argento and Fulci, Polanski, Cronenberg and Jess Franco. It’s what drives me crazy about the current PG-13 plague on horror movies. But don’t get me started on that. Rant alert!

Max TDSH: Hmmm. I take it that something like "The Others" from 2001 was not your cuppa tea.

Polly Frost: I’m not just a gore junkie! I liked “The Others”! I love psychological horror, and when it’s done right, it’s as effective as any hardcore screen carnage. Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” remains one of the creepiest, best horror movies I’ve ever seen and it works on a psychological, not a gore level.

David Fincher’s “Se7en,” which I consider a horror masterpiece, is effective because of the gloomy urban atmosphere, non-stop tension, the psychological games playing and that brilliantly cruel twist at the end.

Still, I’m a girl who does enjoy splatter movies! Peter Jackson’s blood bash, “Dead Alive,” is about as blissful a horror movie watching experience as I can imagine.

Max TDSH: My wife and I watch horror movies together all the time. (I'm lucky that way.) She tends more to later and current films, where I tend to the classics. As a kid I watched horror and monster movies with my mother, and later with my older brother. So a fairly gore-less monster flick is fine with me, although I appreciate any film that frightens me. Are there any older horror, science fiction or fantasy films that appeal to you?

Polly Frost: I’ve watched -- make that studied -- the classic horror movies. I don’t think you can call yourself a true horror movie fan if you haven’t studied F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” or James Whale’s “Frankenstein.”

I’m also very fond of fifties and sixties horror and sci fi films. To name but a few of my favorite: Don Siegel’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and “Vertigo,” “The Thing,” “The Fly.” And how can anyone not enjoy the Japanese horror and sci fi movies from the fifties? “Godzilla,” “Mothra” and “Monster Zero” -- those movies are profoundly silly. And I do have a weakness for Ed Wood’s films.

I’m not the first person to say this, but it’s absolutely true: the thing about horror movies is they need to be made with utter conviction. So even if they go wrong and become camp hootfests, they still endure. The only horror movies I have contempt for are the ones made by meek committees, trying not to really offend anyone while cashing in on the appeal of the genre.

Speaking of camp horror classics, I’m particularly fond of the Palm Springs weekend horror movie genre of the sixties. Have you ever seen the movie “Eegah!” directed by Arch Hall, Sr.? It stars Richard Kiel as a caveman who’s somehow been living unnoticed in the Palm Springs desert and becomes obsessed with the girlfriend of guitar strumming, dune buggy driving hero, played by the director’s son.

Max TDSH: Sometimes our past terrors set our later tastes. Anything odd or atypical thing that frightened you as a kid? (Santa, clowns, pets, etc.)

Polly Frost: Tsunamis used to frighten me, not that I ever experienced one. But I grew up not far from the Pacific and as I’d go to sleep I could hear the waves, and my imagination would take off as I fell asleep. But not just tsunamis. I was terrified of many off-the-wall things as a child, god knows. But I think the weirdest was the locker that my school assigned me one year in eighth grade. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t bring myself to open it. And I mean ever. During that whole year I never opened it once. I used to hide out when they’d have locker inspections so I wouldn’t have to confront it. I had no idea then why I was scared of it, and I still have no idea what I was thinking. But isn’t that the way irrational fears are?

Max TDSH: And do you have any horror film or weird memorabilia in your house? (Posters, autographs, stills, collectables, shrunken heads, etc. Us, we got all the above.)

Polly Frost: That’s so cool you do. Nah, unfortunately if you live in NYC, you gotta keep it simple. There just isn’t the space.

Max TDSH: Do you enjoy "dark rides" or "haunted house" attractions?

Polly Frost: I would love to go on a dark ride. I haven’t been on one for years! Got any suggestions? There’s nothing I like better than being scared. I’m always trying to get my husband to watch more horror DVDs with me, but he’s just not the horror junkie I am. I’m still working on him, though.

Max TDSH: Tell me a memorable Halloween experience.

Polly Frost: When I was a kid, my mother would dress up as a witch for Halloween. She’d have me dress up like a corpse, and together we’d make a coffin for me to rise from. That was our Halloween thing -- we’d scare the kids who came to our front door that way.

And I guess we were a pretty effective act. I remember one Halloween one of the fathers was trying to calm his kid and said to my mom, “Please take off your mask so my son can see it’s all make-believe.”

My mother laughed and explained that she wasn’t wearing a mask, she’d just been contorting her face. They were amazed -- they knew her as this beautiful woman. Me, I thought it was a wonderful moment. It made me realize the power of suggestion and atmosphere when it comes to horror. As an aside, I should say that my mom always had a lot of acting talent.

Max TDSH: As a drunken severed head, I have to ask you what your favorite drink is.

Polly Frost: My friends would all say that my drink of choice is pinot grigio because that’s what they usually see me drinking. I love to cook for friends, and you know how cooks are with white wine. “Where’d that bottle go? I just opened it.” And then you realize you drank the bottle while sautéing the chicken and there’s none left to pour into the mustard cream sauce. Can you be a Drunken Severed Head and drink pinot grigio? Please say you can!

But, as much as I love my white wine, I have to say that my really favorite drink is a margarita. I make my own at home following a recipe by Tyler Florence here:,,FOOD_9936_25192,00.html.

Put me together with a margarita, some chips, and a bowl of homemade guacamole and I couldn’t be happier. Why anyone would eat store-bought guac when you can make it so easily is beyond me. Just mash avocados, lime juice, jalapenos, red onion, chopped garlic, cilantro and olive oil. There’s nothing better. Can you tell I’m a serious foodie? Now, can somebody please put a good gory horror movie in the DVD player?

Max TDSH: Now you're making me want to plop down in front of the tv with some serious snacks. But I've had a great time talking with you by phone and e-mail. Thanks for the wonderful, thoughtful and fun answers!

Polly Frost: Thank you for your wonderful questions!
Ms. Frost has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

25th Annual 24 Hour Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon: Part Two

[Previous entry: 25th Annual 24 Hour Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon: Part One]

So back to talkin' about the events of the Marathon. There were some fantastic trailers for classic and not-so-classic science fiction films, as well as snack bar promo films and 1960s sci-fi shorts. (Man, do I miss that aspect of the '60s and early '70s-- the short films created to fill time slots in theaters and television!) Here are some snapshots of some of what was shown:

The screening of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL came early Saturday evening, and was followed by the Q & A with Patricia Neal.

Near the end of TDTESS, where Ms. Neal's Helen is inside the saucer with Gort, Ms. Neal was apparently wheeled in quietly to the back of the theater. (That's what it appeared to me as I craned my head around to see what was going on, but it was pretty dark.) Then, some doofus shouted out, "Gort! Fuse box!" because the interior saucer is dimly lit in that scene. I wondered whether Ms. Neal heard it, and what she thought. I'm sure she wasn't thinking, "That's just what that scene needed! Thanks, sonny!" as she slapped her knee in hi-larity. Damn Moron.

It was amazing that Ms. Neal came at all. She'd had the flu on Monday, then appeared at an event on Thursday and another on Friday. She told the crowd she didn't feel her best, but seemed genuinely happy to be there. What a trouper!

At times, she struggled to answer questions, and completing sentences occasionally required more than one attempt. Obviously self-conscious, she made several apologies, embarrassed by the fact that she often had to have her daughter supply names, titles and dates. She said her difficulties was partly due the effects of the strokes she'd had in the early 1960s, (three in a row while she pregnant, leaving her in a coma for three weeks), and partly due to her lingering bout with the flu. But she was game to reminisce, and was charmingly enthusiastic. Later she proclaimed, "I'm still a little ill, but I'm still HERE, baby!"

I took pictures, but most of 'em turned out grainy. Here they are, flaws and all:

On the topic of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, she said she enjoyed working with Hugh Marlowe, and liked 13-year-old child actor Billy Gray "very much." She said he wasn't a typical actor his age, where typically "they don't know what they're doing at that age-- they're cocky."

She was asked if people on the set were aware of the Christian allegory present in the story of TDTESS. (A godlike man comes from the heavens to offer a chance at peace for Earth, is killed, and later revives to warn humankind to change its ways.) Ms. Neal said they were, but added, "I was just having fun; I didn't take it seriously. But I was wrong-- it's very good." She said that, for her, playing some of the scenes with Gort were "hysterical" at the time. She recalled the actor in the Gort suit, Lock Martin, as being tall and thin and frail, and had to be "held up" when he had to "hold me up." ( The IMDB reports that Ms. Neal was supported by wires when Gort picked her up.)

She recalled her days as a Tinsel Town star with affection and pride. She said "Hollywood was fantastic, you know," and said in those days she would wear a suit and gloves-- "I was gorgeous."

Ms. Neal recalled hating be made to take horse riding lessons for a movie, ("I did noooooooot like it!"), but that was the only complaint she mentioned. She didn't try to be independent-- regarding Hollywood's studios in their heyday, she said, "I did what they told me." She credited Olivia DeHavilland for breaking the power studios had over actors' career choices.

Her first role came at age 19, she said, as an understudy (later replacement) to Vivian Vance in the play Voice of the Turtle. "I was magnificent," Ms. Neal said, "and they adored me." Later, she told how she won the first "Best Supporting Actress" Tony Award for her work in Another Part of the Forest.

She related a funny anecdote about her Oscar for Best Actress for the movie HUD. She said the base made noise when you shook it, like it had pebbles or something in it, and she liked making it rattle. She kept it in her living room. But, following a party she gave some time after receiving the award, she noticed it didn't rattle anymore-- some guest had apparently damaged it and the 'ballast' had run out. As Ms. Neal described it, some "bastards" had poked a hole in the bottom!

Her thoughts on other actors she worked with:

Ms. Neal didn’t like John Wayne at all the first time she worked with him, and implied he was a bit of a rake. The Duke was single when she first met him, but said that by the time he and she worked together in IN HARM'S WAY, he was married and more mellow-- but the marriages didn’t keep him happy. IN HARM'S WAY co- star Kirk Douglas was a “beautiful man”.

Ronald Reagan, who lived next door, "always talked politics", but she once saw him "crying on the shoulder of an old woman" at a party, because he was going through a divorce from Jane Wyman. "He did not want to divorce Jane."

She said her favorite actor was Gary Cooper, and she loved him. (Lots of oohs and aahs came from the crowd, who obviously knew of their affair). Ultimately, "Coop" would not divorce his wife, and she later married author Roald Dahl. The man she named as her favorite director was one not widely known today: Ulu Grosbard, her director for the film THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES. (Ms. Neal was nominated for an Oscar for performance.)

Andy Griffith, her co-star in A FACE IN THE CROWD, she recalled as a good friend. She said, in her lovely Southern-inflected accent, that she loved "Aaaaandy", and said when she won an Oscar for HUD, that she was not at the ceremony because she was pregnant, and didn't expect to win anyway. But Griffith called her at home after the ceremony and told her, "You won, Patsy!"

At the Q&A portion of her appearance, I asked Ms. Neal what qualities of Roald Dahl attracted her to him. Her answer was, "He wanted to make babies, and I wanted to make babies, and he said 'Let's get married and see what happens."

She mentioned that Dahl once wrote a script (never produced) based on an idea by then-TV director Robert Altman titled something like "O Death, Where is Thy Sting-a-ling-a-ling?"

When the organizers of the event mentioned that THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL was being remade, she asked, "They're really gonna do that?"

She was given an award shaped like Gort the robot by the event organizers, and seemed delighted by it. She closed her appearance by exclaiming, "Klaatu barada nikto!"

Much of the audience of around 250 responded with a standing ovation, rising suddenly and simultaneously. Sadly, I can only say "much of the crowd," because she was dissed by a large chunk of the crowd, who remained in their seats! (Approximately a little more than a third of the audience of around 250.) Although she'd had good, warm reactions to her anecdotes and many people asked her questions, getting up off one's butt was apparently too much to ask for some folks. (Guess they react to everything as if it's on tv.) If ever some theater seats needed to be wired with the "Tingler gimmick", it was at this event! I was mortified.

(I'm sure Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon forum members "Hypno-Toad" and "Josh Roxx" were sitting on their hands, as indicated by this thread.)

But I was charmed by Patricia Neal, and will never forget her smile, or her cheerful good humor and determination in the face of illness. Bravo!

(Update 2010: A clear photo of Ms. Neal's appearance in 2008 can be seen here.)


"25th Annual 24 Hour Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon: Part Three" coming soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A message from Verne Langdon



I am proud to call your attention to Edgar Arce's "Carnival Of Souls Photo Montage" waiting for you on You Tube!

Consider this your invitation to check out stills captured from the short film Carnival of Souls that was produced by One Degree in association with Heidi Hannah Productions: .

The short film Carnival Of Souls was written and directed by Edgar Arce and produced by One Degree's Robert E. Clyde, and stars Luis Amechazurra, Lidia Pires, Jonathan Dane, and Liss Pallo, with Richard C. Hawke (and Verne Langdon in a cameo as the bartender - how apt!)

I have the pleasure of singing my "Carnival Of Souls" words and music for the film's title song, with orchestra arranged and conducted by Skip Edwards, which you will hear right now on You Tube! 

Sooner or later you'll have a chance to catch "Carnival Of Souls" the short film - be sure you don't miss it! It's coming to a festival near you soon.

Meanwhile, please check out the Carnival Of Souls Photo Montage and leave a rating and a comment!

- Verne

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Birthday of the Drunken Severed Head!

Yep, today's my birthday. And this week, the blog got a gift that makes me giddy!

This blog has now had hits from over fifty different nations. (The world IS mad!) Here is the list of countries which have at least one resident stumble into the weird world of TDSH:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Moldava, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), and Venuzuela.

Three other, more specific locations stood out: a hit from the central bureaucratic office of the European Union, (????) another from someone at the Office of the President of UCLA (looking for an image of Mary Shelley!), and most quaintly, a resident of an English burg named "Leighton Buzzard", in Bedfordshire, England.

Let the drinking commence around the globe! Woo hoo!

Monday, June 9, 2008

25th Annual 24 Hour Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon: Part One

...0r, "How I Was Transformed by Aliens into a Giant Crab."

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

(That's a dickens of an opening!)

But it fits the subject of this post, a review of the 25th Ohio Science Fiction Marathon held in Columbus, Ohio. A post that might have been titled "A Tale of Two Audiences".

WARNING: RANTING AHEAD! (or, a head ranting!)

Back in April, the Voodoo Queen and I went to this classic sci-fi movie extravaganza, excited at the prospect of seeing movie star Patricia Neal speaking after a screening of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. (No italics or quotation marks when naming that film, no sirree-- only all caps will do.) Well, we enjoyed the film (natch), and we enjoyed seeing and listening to Ms. Neal-- more on that later-- and those factors alone made it one of the best events of the year for us. There was a fun costume contest! And all kindsa free goodies!

Yet I doubt we'll go back in the future. Why? Because an invasion by strange beings nearly ruined it!

You see, maybe 25% of the crowd were aliens themselves. Now, despite the science fiction theme of the 24 hour film fest, I don't mean beings from another world. No, I mean aliens in the sense of foreigners, because maybe a quarter of the audience were expatriates from the country of Moronica.

That's right: Morons. You've heard of The Ugly American? Well, Moronica was founded by them. Throughout the entire film fest, these obnoxious, oblivious Morons spewed and yapped and snorted and made it hard for the majority of the audience to lose themselves in the stories on the screen. And if one out of a dozen or more of their comments got a laugh, (and the odds favored them that a few would be funny, since they never shut up), then that just encouraged them to practice their uninvited commentary. ("I'm as good as MST3K!")

Which was a shame. We had our hopes up for a great time when we got there. The marathon noon-to-noon event was housed in a renovated vintage neighborhood theater, the Drexel, a pretty reminder of what theaters once were. Part of the the theater had been made into a small cafe, which offered more foods choices than the usual snacks for sale in the beautiful, old-fashioned snack bar off the lobby. The poster frames had all been filled with pictures of Ms. Neal, a classy touch in honor of their special guest.

The entire lineup of films was a well-chosen mix of new and old, serious and schlocky, domestic and foreign. (Even a documentary!) Supplemented with drive-in snack bar films, cartoons, trailers, and even some sci-fi-oriented nudie films, it was feast for one's head.

This was the lineup of fantastic flickers:

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (the real strain was hearing the films through the gabby geeks)

The marathon was hosted by a genial and cheerful man named Bruce, and he got complaints early on about the chattering anthropoids who were inserting themselves into the film soundtrack. He gamely tried, after the first film, to get the rude dudes and dudettes to resist being socially oblivious. It helped some, for a while, but after the next film he suggested that people only "snark" instead of "snork" (or make clever cracks instead of stupid ones.) Of course, that just encouraged the doltish Joe Blowhards, because everyone who shouts at a movie thinks they're funny. (They just don't get it that other people might not want want supplementary "entertainment", even if it is funny once in a while.) It may be politically incorrect to say so, but Morons should have their own theaters to go to. And give 'em their own fountains, too-- they tend to drool a lot! Eewwwww!

They were two groups of people nattering and braying behind me and Jane (one group being that subspecies of Moron who constantly asks questions about the movie to their friends).
One Moronic couple behind us, Mike Rocephalic and Anna Cephalic, would sometimes shout "HAW HAW" at the top of their lungs to show how cleverly they could put down the campy old movies they were superior to. Clearly, these folks were half-delegates to the Wit Convention.

During an intermission, I saw Mr. Rocephalic in the lobby and begged him to quiet down, and he said, in a whine, "What about [here he named other nitwits on the other side of the theater]-- they're doin' it too?!"

I knew then all hope was lost. Seems the crew of crudely crowing creeps knew each other and were competing for the distinction of "Top Moron".

RELATED LINKS: The Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon has a forum, and in this thread, originally titled "Jerk-a-thon 2008" until altered (apparently) by a moderator, other people complain about the Morons.

In this thread at The Classic Horror Film Board, a "Misterbeaumont" relates that Morons have haunted the Drexel theater in the past. Do they have a large community of Morons in Columbus?

Coming in Part Two: Seeing Patricia Neal,
how the Morons dissed her, and lots more photos!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pittsburgh event for those who like poi made from people!

From my pal Brian Horrorwitz comes this fantastic announcement:

This Friday, Friday June 13th to be exact, yer everlovin' cave stompers THE UBANGIS will be returning to Pittsburgh, PA, aka Zombie Central! Yes, t
he Library of the Living Dead's Dr. Pus presents the "Luau of the Living Dead" at Howler's Coyote Cafe! Featuring the Psychotronic Pstylings of P-Burgh's finest punk schlocksters The Forbidden 5 and creepabilly coolsters The Devilz in Detailz! PLUS: Pittsburgh's dancing undead The Zombie Girlz will scare you stiff! ALSO: special ghast appearances by "The It's Alive Show"'s Professor Emcee Square, and Stiffy The Clown doin' his thang! Howlers roller derby girls will be roaming the crowds selling shots of the alcoholic variety! BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Tonsa' rare and cool zombie items will be raffled off! Alla' this for only 5 BUCKS admish! (21 and over.) For Bub's sake, how can you go wrong? Come dressed as a walking corpse and get free junk too! The show digs it's way out of the ground at 9 pm (we go on second)! Tickets may be purchased in advance from Dr. Pus by emailing him at or they can be bought at the door. They are seriously going fast and the show will probably sell out so don't dilly-dally! This one's gonna be a SCREAM! THE UBANGIS WILL SEIZE YOU THERE!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pringle person passes and is packed!

From the Associated Press comes the story that the inventor of "Pringles" has died:

"CINCINNATI — The man who designed the Pringles potato crisp packaging system was so proud of his accomplishment that a portion of his ashes has been buried in one of the iconic cans.

Fredric J. Baur, of Cincinnati, died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati, his family said. He was 89.

Baur's children said they honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township. The rest of his remains were placed in an urn buried along with the can, with some placed in another urn and given to a grandson, said Baur's daughter, Linda Baur of Diamondhead, Miss."

The rest of the news story can be read here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


IT'S BACK! What great news! Last year I covered the first of these drive-in monster movie marathons, and I had a fantastic time! Glad to see it will return in September.

Living in western PA, I'm glad I have an event like this so near to drive to.

Link to the official website

RIP to a really funny man

One of the grandest, funniest moments of screen villainy can be seen at the link below:

Hedley administers a pledge

Thank you for all the laughs, Mr. Korman.


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