Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931 Reviewed!

 

We continue our look back at Monsters and Memories!

Hello again, Groovy Ghoulies! 1931 was a great year to be a blooming horror fan as many terrors were unleashed upon the scream…I mean screen. One of them was Paramount Picture’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It was based on the 1886 novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and also incorporated elements of the 1887 stage play. Once again, Hollywood at the time was relying heavily on stage adaptions for this silver screen offerings.

Honestly, I didn’t have much knowledge of Jekyll and Hyde going into this. I knew a Mr. Hyde from Marvel comics, and that was a much different villain. The only screen Hyde I remember comes from “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. But, that’s for a different article. So, I jumped in with both feet.

For those unfamilier with the story, Dr. Heny Jekyll (what is it with doctors names Henry in these movies?) believes you can seperate the good and evil in people. He’s created a serum that will release the evil side of yourself. And like any doctor in this situation, tries the serum on himself. He goes on a rampage through London drinking, fighting, and becomed entranced by the prostitute, Ivy.

This is a problem as Henry is engaged to Muriel. Soon, The Doctor turns into Hyde without the Serum and things get worse as Mr. Hyde murders! It comes down to a confrotation in Henry’s lab and like most of these movies, it doesn’t turn out well.

I liked this movie. I loved Dr. Jekyll’s lab. If I was a mad doctor, which I am not contrary to popular belief, this is the lab I would have. It reminded me of some of Dr. Frankenstein’s labs in the Hammer Horror classics years later.

The cast is great! Frederic March plays Dr. Jekyll very conservative and Mr. Hyde with such gusto that it’s hard to believe the same person is playing both characters. When he becomes Hyde for the first time, and stretches as if he is coming to life after a long sleep, I felt the same amount of energy. The two female characters were also portrayed well. Miriam Hopkins played the Prostitute Ivy Pearson who falls under the madness of Mr. Hyde. I thought she was feisty, and a lot of fun to enjoy on the screen. She later auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara but the role ended up going to Vivian Leigh. Rose Hubart played Dr. Jekyll’s fiancee Murial Carew. She was stunning in this picture, and her eyes seemed to twinkle in every scene. No wonder the good doctor was in love with her.

The special effects for the transformation scenes were really good for their time, and I wondered how they were able to have Jekyll transform without appearing to edit anything. Well, they used a make-up process that was layed on March’s face in layers and then when different filters were removed from the camera lens, he appeared to transform before our eyes!

Frederic March tied to win the best actor role for this film, tying with Wallace Beery for “The Champ”. Great film to check out!

I was wondering what Jekyll and Hyde toys there were out there. The first thing I found I thought would be a good match for this. There was a company in the ’60s named Aurora who did models you could put together and paint yourself. Being a monster kid of the 70s, I didn’t see many growing up but I am envious of those with these models, they are gorgeous! They did a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde one in 1964 and you can find more information and pictures here:

http://members.cox.net/auroramonsters/jekyll.htm

That’s going to do it for now, my Ghoulies! If you’d like to leave me comments, questions, or just to say hi, drop me a line at: Starwarzed@hotmail.com. Looking forward to talking with you! Until next time, remember to watch the skies!

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Monsters and Memories Revisited!

 

 

Hello Insomniacs! It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to do any writing! So, while we try to get that back up and running, I thought it would be fun to revisit one of my older columns that I had written for Horror Haven and The Fright Channel. So, here is my first ever article! Enjoy!

Greetings Groovy Ghoulies! My name is Ed Davis and I love horror and sci-fi movies. Good ones, bad ones. They are a great escapism. It’s hard to believe it has been nearly 80 years since Bela Lugosi first donned the cape in the screen adaption of the play Dracula. It changed the world and set the horror genre on fire.
I grew up in upstate New York on a steady diet of Creature Double Feature, The Movie Loft, comic books, KISS, and Alice Cooper.
I remember setting an old wind-up alarm clock to watch some horror movie that would going on at 2am. And either the clock wouldn’t work right, or I would make it through the credits. But every once in awhile, I would make it through a whole picture.
As I grew older and cable television changed, we lost a lot of those films to infomercials. But, thankful with the arrival of DVDs, we can now relieve so many of those films.
With this forum, I plan to start around 1930 and work my way through as many horror and sci-fi films I can get my hands on. From Abbott and Costello to all of those zombies, no movie will be left behind! If I can find it, you’ll hear about it. We’re going to start with 1930’s “The Bat Whispers” and go from there.
The 30s were a golden time for Universal. The main creatures were introduced then. Stars were made of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and so many more.
The theater going world were introduced to the 12 part science fiction serial and new things were tried.
I hope you all enjoy the journey with me.
I had never seen “The Bat Whispers” before, and I was not disappointed. It was adapted from a 1920 stage play, and it is a great early talkie. The plot revolves around a criminal named The Bat trying to steal $500,00 hidden in a country mansion somewhere. We are introduced to a cast of colorful characters. And I thought the mansion itself was an interesting character. A secret room, winding staircases, just a great atmospheric setting.
I was impressed with the early special effects used in the film. A great use of miniatures sweeping over city streets, train tracks, and the mansion itself. I think there might have been some early animation in the opening sequence. There is also a cool sequence involving a fire playing in the distance and it seems to dance off the side of the house, as if it was really there.
One scene that really stuck out to me involved the Bat and the daughter of the spinster who owns the mansion. The young woman looks up and sees the shadow of the bat on the wall and it seems to melt away in front of us to reveal the Bat himself. He starts to crawl towards the camera and right into your lap, my heart skipped a beat!
Watching this, I couldn’t help noticing how much the Bat reminded me of Batman and I wondered how much influence this had on Bob Kane’s creation. Doing some searching around the net, I discovered “The Bat Whispers” did play a role in the development of the caped crusader.
Do yourself a favor, and hunt this one down. A nice mix of laughs and scares to get you through the night.
Speaking of Batman, I was trying to find some toy or something to tie into this movie as I hope to do with all of my reviews. And I found this awesome play set from Mego that I always wanted, The Wayne Foundation seen at this address:
Isn’t that cool? It had a working elevator for your Megos and even the giant penny from the Batcave itself! Anyone out there still have one of these? Anyone still have their Megos?
That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with another review and more monster toys! Until then, remember to watch the skies!

This week’s movies!

Hello fellow insomniacs! I was contacted this weekend by a fellow Insomniac, John J. Bossong III. And he was wondering where he can watch my movies each week?

And I was quite honored by that question. Here at the Insomniac, we try to recreate a fun, drive-in atmosphere. And I would love nothing more to have some kind of actual outlet for these movies some day. To do the actual Insomniac Drive-In, maybe even stream somewhere! But alas, right now we will continue the reviews and great trailers each week.

But, it did get me thinking! I am going to share the week’s movies on Mondays from now on, in hopes that those that would like to watch along are welcome!

So, here we go!

Tonight: A Creature Double Feature of Daimajin AKA Majin, Monster of Terror and Return of Daimajin AKA Return of Giant Majin

Friday: The first of the season! An old school Dusk till Dawn Movie Marathon!
It will feature: Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Return of Mechagodzilla, Dear God No!, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Count Yorga Vampire, Devil’s Hand (1961), Devil Times Five, Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), and City of The Dead AKA Horror Hotel

Then back around to Saturday night for another Creature Double Feature with Reptilicus and Yongary, Monster From The Deep

So, there is the list for this week! We hope to catch up with you on some reviews this week! And hope you find something on this list to enjoy as well!

And if anyone has some streaming knowledge and wants to point in the right direction, welcome aboard!

SPECIAL! A Conversation with Butch Patrick, TV’s Eddie Munster!

 

All photos courtesy of The Official Munsters Fan Group on Facebook

Hello fellow insomniacs! We have a great treat for you all this time around. I was very luck recently to talk with one of my favorite TV stars growing up. His onscreen family brought many smiles and laughs. Butch Patrick came into our homes as Eddie Munster on the Munsters! I was nervous when I found out he’d be calling me to do the interview. He called me from the road, and I was honored that he took some time from his busy schedule to talk Munsters, Lidsville, ghost hunting and more! So, grab your Woof Woof and take Spot out for a walk. Then, settle in for my conversation with Butch Patrick…

Ed Davis: First, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you for a little while tonight. I was a huge, and still am a huge Monster Kid growing up in the late 70s, early 80s. The Munsters were practically on every day back then. And me being a kid named Eddie thought it was so cool that there was another monster of TV named Eddie. I really enjoyed the show and the character, thank you for that.

Butch Patrick: You’re welcome.

ED: How did you end up getting the role of Eddie?

BP: The people had already cast someone named Happy Derman. If you get a chance to buy the DVD box set, you’ll see the color pilot. And they had a different woman as Phoebe, the name of the Mother character, not Lilly. Her name was Joan Marshall and Happy Derman was playing Eddie. At the last minute before they went into full blown production, they decided to exchange…Joan Marshall for Yvonne DeCarlo. And they thought the character being played by Happy was more of an aggressive little guy. They wanted a normal, even though Eddie Munster was a werewolf, a normal kid playing him. They flew me out from Illinois to California to do a screen test. I went to the studio to do the screen test, and got the part. So, I looked at it as just being in the cards.

ED: Wow! That’s awesome. What was the atmosphere like on the set? Did the family dynamics that played so well on screen, continue off-screen?

BP: Yeah, pretty much. Everybody had kids. They all had families of their own. It worked well. When we got together on stage to do the script reading on Monday morning, it was a good, fun gig.

ED: Just watching the show was always a trip. The house and the set, it must have been a lot of fun being on it.

BP: It really was.

ED: Do you have a favorite episode?

BP: I have several! I’ll narrow it down to three for you. Zombo, Eddie’s Nickname and Hot Rod Herman.

ED: Awesome! I tried to narrow it down myself this afternoon. I got it down to two: Grandpa’s Call of The Wild and Happy 100th Anniversary. I love that one! Such a good episode.

(Butch laughing in the background)

ED: Years later, you ended up back on TV, playing Mark on Sid and Marty Krofft’s Lidsville. This was a lot of fun also. How different was that from working on The Munsters.

BP: Well, it was totally different. The Munsters were shot on film and we did a few pages a day, like seven pages a day. Lidsville was eighteen pages a day! Shot of videotape with multiple cameras, and chroma key. A whole different dynamic, Saturday morning vs. a film style series. They were literally night and day differences.

ED: Billie Holiday (Editor’s Note: Whoops!) must have been a lot of fun to work with.

BP: Billie Hayes.

ED: Billie Hayes, I’m sorry! Witchiepoo!

BP: Witchiepoo and Weenie Genie were a lot of fun. As were the little people and Sharon Baird, the former mouseketeer who played Raunchy Rabbit. She had also done some work with the Pufnstuf crew. Everyone there had been working through the Bugaloos and Pufnstuf, as well.

ED: They had quite the imagination! Those were a lot of fun!

BP: Oh yes, they were very much into the psychedelic age.

ED: I noticed when I was looking at the Munsters website (WWW.Munsters.com), that it is the 50th anniversary of The Munsters. You’re doing the Kids and Tribute Car Tour. How did you get involved with that?

BP: I started that a few years ago. September 24th, 1964 was when the show started and we started 50 years after with Munsters cars and other appearances.

ED: Are the cars still the original ones or are you using replicas?

BP: Yeah, these are called tribute cars.

ED: I was on the official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theofficialmunstersfanpage/) last week, and one of the pictures caught my eye. You were sitting with a younger kid watching an episode of The Munsters. What do you think the appeal is still, heading back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane?

BP: I think it’s the same appeal as we had, watching it as kids for the first time. Kids will be kids, still entertained by the same things. You know, Monsters and make-up, and great sets. The same stuff that worked back then, still works now.

ED: It does! I think there’s good family values in it, as well. You don’t get to see that a lot in today’s shows.

BP: That’s one of the special things about the next generation now. Kids watching with their parents and grandparents, that’s wonderful.

ED: What can you tell me about Property Horrors and 1313 Weekends?

BP: Property Horrors is basically a show being developed and being shopped around…It’s about going to people who bought haunted property like I did, and how you come to terms and deal with you ghost tenants or your ghost roommates. Shavaun Avila is the ghost hunter that my production crew paired me up with. She’s wonderful. She lives in Bing Crosby’s haunted house, out at Toluca Lake.

ED: Oh wow.

BP: She has her own issues. She has her little dog, Tiger, who is a ghost hunting dog. A boxer, very perceptive to this kind of stuff. Her and her dog, and myself…hope to go around and visit people in the same predicament that I am in. And as far as 1313 Weekends, I wanted to have the house available for people who wanted to come spend the afternoon, do a little ghost hunting, see the town that I live in, ride around in the Munster Koach. And have a chance to have lunch or dinner with me, depending on whether you book an afternoon or evening tour.

ED: That sounds like a lot of fun.

BP: It should be!

ED: I’ve done some ghost hunting myself, not in a few years since the coming of our daughter, I went into it not believing a lot of it. But, the deeper you get into it, you think a lot of this could be paranormal activity.

BP: I am definitely a believer now. My sister told me about Miss Ruby before I got there. The people who have lived in the house in my absence are always hearing things. The professional ghost hunters who came in got all kinds of readings, I have pictures, I have videotape of the ghost that Leila (Editor’s Note: Butch’s wife) shot while I was watching TV, she went around the house very in tune with this stuff. Yeah, I am absolutely convinced there is activity going on in the house.

ED: So, where can people find you this Spring with the car tour and any other activities?

BP: The best place to go is: www.Munsters.com . You can go to the schedule on the first page and it’s all listed. From there, you can go to the store, 1313 Weekends, the Woof Woof is for sale, and anything else that is Munster related. There are also buttons for the Facebook and official Fan Group. If you get yourself to Munsters.com, you are on your way to everything else about me. The official Munsters Fan Group, my wife Leila runs that. It’s really family friendly and spam free. It’s kept to be pristine, wholesome, and we don’t let anyone in to mess with it. We give away a lot of stuff, do a lot of contests, it’s really a good group. People say it’s the greatest group on Facebook. I’m very proud of that.

ED: The page is great. I have enjoyed the pictures with Pat Priest from the previous weekend, getting the make-up back on and everything. It was a nice trip.

 

BP: We try to document everything we do. Hopefully, we will stay pretty busy! (Laughs)

ED: I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions!

BP: Thanks Ed, I appreciate it!

 

So, there you have it, Insomniacs and Munster fans! It was quite the honor to talk to Butch. Make sure you check out the pages mentioned above! Hopefully you can catch up with Butch and Leila as they continue to trek across the states!

 

 

The Monster at the Insomniac Drive-In!


Greetings fellow Insomniacs! We actually have two monsters at the drive-in this time around. One seen and the other not! Let’s delve into our two films.

First up from 1953, The Magnetic Monster. This independent film was released by United Artists. It was a tough film to watch as a monster kid and again as an adult. The monster in this film is a microscopic radioactive isotope. Yep… No actually monster to watch in this one. It is growing and is magnetized. As it grows, it will weigh down the Earth’s rotation, and that’s a bad thing. There’s some good acting from Richard Carlson, King Donovan, and Jean Byron. This movie just didn’t do much for me. The exciting parts come towards the end as they try to stop it using the Deltatron. And that footage is actually from an early German thriller from the 1930s called, Gold. It was good to watch in the context of Creature Double Feature but, may not be too rewatchable  for me.

The second feature is one of my favorite 50s monster flicks. The Monster That Challenged The World is great drive-in, popcorn fun! It was shot in just 16 days for $200,000 and released in 1957, also by United Artists. Giant mollusks are released from an underground earthquake in the Salton Sea. Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton star. We get missing swimmers, Parachuter’s, and Navy men. These mollusks are hungry! The design for these creatures were so scary! And just so cool. When they raise from the sea and smash through the lab, you would be screaming in terror! I always thought the title was a little misleading, as they really just become a nuisance for the naval base. I guess they would be the first line of defense. This movie has held up well, and in this age of remakes, I wonder where all the 50s sci-fi ones are. The pacing of the film gets into it pretty quickly and the usual cool score is in place.

Two very different movies. One trying to take the genre more serious and the other, having a lot of fun for the popcorn crowd. Definitely track down the second before the first one to watch.

No Roku channel to shared this time around. I plan to catch up with another article tomorrow, and will spotlight one there.

Thanks for taking some time to read and we’ll talk soon! 

Creature Double Feature, Prehistoric Planets, and Roku!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

Greetings fellow insomniacs! Nice to talk with you again. We are into our second year of the drive-in. We’re reaching folks on Facebook and Twitter, and having a ball in the process. It’s been  fun talking to you all about these films.

Growing up, my exposure to horror and sci-fi films owes a lot to Creature Double Feature. It aired for several years on WLVI out of Boston for several years starting in 1976. I’m sure the movie package was much like those seen in your market. Toho, Hammer, and the Universal monsters brightened up Saturday afternoons.

I recently found the list compiled by Timothy Kenyon (look it up online!) and decided for our second and third years, we would revisit the list on a weekly basis. Time to pay homage to the beginnings!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

In 1962, there was a soviet science fiction film called Planeta Blur. B movie legend Roger Corman bought the rights to the film, and in 1965 released the film as Journey. He added some new filmed scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. Incidentally, these scenes were shot at the same time Corman was making Queen of Blood, even using thee same sets! The first film is a lot of fun. Soviet astronauts crash on Venus and another group set down to find them. This truly is a prehistoric planet occupied by all kinds of dino monsters! The effects aren’t bad for the early 60s, and quite tame for the children to watch. Some of the dubbed dialogue is quite flat in it’s delivery. Some of the excitement of a Godzilla dub is missing. But, there are some really good shot scenes. And there is a robot! His name is…John? I was expecting something sci- fi and got John. I guess they were trying to humanize him some. One of the characters named Andre is haunted by a mysterious sounding siren call the whole movie. But we never see these females. This leads into the next film!

 Voyage was released about three years later, and honestly, it was tough watching it so close to the first film. It is basically the same film with a few different scenes. We get a new narrative from Andre telling the whole 90 minute story of the first film in about 70 minutes. The other 20 are filled with some new scenes of the Prehistoric Woman led by Mamie Van Doren. It seems they worship this Pterodactyl monster that is killed by our astronauts. Who or what will they worship now? And that is basically that movie!

Both are easy to track down. I believe both are in the public domain. I would recommend for curiosity viewing but not back to back! Maybe a  monster kid in 1976 would have thought differently.

And if you are reading this because you are a Creature Double Feature fan, they are going to have a convention-like event this September in Attleboro, MA. You can find more info at http://www.cdfroundup.org I know I am looking forward to it!

I recently discovered Roku and it is amazing for horror and sci-fi fans. Thought I would shine the light each week on a channel I have checked out. Roku attaches to your TV as a stick and works off your WiFi giving you so many streaming choices! This time around I want to give a shout to B-Movies TV. This channel is great! It’s a live 24 hour streaming channel featuring martial arts, horror, sci-fi, action and other great exploitation films. Zombie Robb’s Metal Music Show is something to behold, as is The Forbidden Zone with Elizabeth Ashton. It’s great watch anytime of the day for cult films! Great selection.

So, that’s all for now. Next week, we have a pair of early zombie films for review! Can’t wait. So until next time, you keep coming to the drive-in and we’ll keep spooling up the reviews!

Musings on a Tuesday Night

Hey fellow Insomniacs! I really had no intentions of getting back in touch so soon. But, sometimes events get you thinking. And since it feels good to to be talking to you again, here we are.

I had intended to just talk about the developments concerning our friend with the hockey mask and machete, but I can’t let the passing of today’s genre star go untalked about. Richard Hatch, of the original and new Battlestar Galactica fame has passed away at 71.

Sunday nights, 1978! You couldn’t tear me away from the TV my parents had in their bedroom. It was exciting times, we now had two TVs and I had the bed littered with Star Wars figures. The theme song would come on, I can still hear it! Battlestar  Galactica was on! Starbuck was cool, but I wanted to be Captain Apollo. We were treated briefly to the show, and it was gone too soon. I know Richard Hatch had a long career with many roles, but Captain Apollo will always be how he’ll be remembered to me. Sad to hear he has passed today.

The Final Chapter? The Final Friday?

In other news, apparently Paramount has pulled the plug on the upcoming Friday The 13th reboot. And though I am saddened, I am also a little relieved. We didn’t really know what we were getting into. Was it a new beginning or found footage, going to focus on growing up a mongoloid? Paramount thought it was a good idea to slit the throat on this version. I haven’t read much on the why’s, so I won’t speculate. But, it got me thinking, what do I want to see in the next Friday The 13th film? 

I asked my wife her opinion. She wants to see a prequel focusing on how the family became so screwed up. What kind of crazy was Pamela Vorhees? I thought briefly about the supposed Friday TV prequel that’s been threatened the past couple of years. Bates Motel has pulled off the origin of Norman Bates quite well. I worry that the show would have covered much of the same ground. A prequel would work, but I want Jason doing what Jason does best.

And then I realized, I want a Friday The 13th movie set back in the 1980s. To me, the first four original movies are just awesome. Everything a slasher film should be. And maybe it is my age, but set in the perfect timeframe. Jason doesn’t belong in the modern times. He belongs in a time before cell phones, WiFi, and other modern trappings. Modern camping is different comforts for today’s teens. 

So, what will paramount do? Time will tell. Maybe Netflix will woo the rights and make their own original film (that comes from my wife too and I loved the idea). The new video game should be out soon, and hopefully will garner enough buzz for Paramount to revisit it. Let’s strip the concept back down. We don’t need a whole origin story. We know who Jason is and what he does. No need to over think it.

Till next time Insomniacs…