Saturday, October 31, 2009
Our annual Halloween film festival concluded in its second half with Vincent Price in THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961), THE HAUNTING (1963; adaptation of "blog" "fave" novel THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE), and SWAMP THING (1982). The scariest thing about SWAMP THING was the enormity of Louis Jordan's glasses (pictured). Louis Jordan is not to be confused with the great Louis Jordan, pioneer of R&B, but I think the movie would have been fantastic with that Louis Jordan in it, even though the Louis Jordan who IS in it seemed to be turning into what Theresa called "a giant baked potato" after drinking a magic potion at one point, which was fine. There was this kid who helped Adrienne Barbeau navigate around the swamp, and though he was a little kid, his glasses were as big as Louis Jordan's, so that was exciting. Sometimes it was hard for me to understand what the Swamp Thing was doing. Like, I'd say, "Did the Swamp Thing just tear that guy's head off?" and Theresa would explain, "No, I think he squeezed his brains out." I guess it was mildly interesting that THE HAUNTING featured Russ Tamblyn and SWAMP THING featured Ray Wise, and they were both later in the cast of TWIN PEAKS, or maybe that was not interesting, what do you think? For me, the crowning glory of this year's festival was THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. It has almost nothing to do with Poe's story, but a lot to do with Poe's fascinated terror of being buried alive. Vincent Price as Don Medina is afraid that his wife Mrs. Medina may have been interred prematurely, giving rise to many witticisms on my part revolving around the song "Funky Cold Medina." Oh what joyous laughter rang through our little home on such occasions! But mostly we were scared, because THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM is scary! And all my humorous witticisms came to an end and I just shut up and watched the movie, flinching frequently. Speaking of Poe, you know how I am skimming a book flap every day for a year? Today I skimmed the flap of POE: A LIFE CUT SHORT by Peter Ackroyd. The book looks good, but the flap is anemic. So why does the book look good? I'm not sure, because that's the job the flap should be doing. It said we were going to learn about Poe's "bumpy academic career" and I was like, "Ooh! Scary!" That's what I was like.