Monday, October 16, 2006

VIEWING HABITS PART DEUX: THE MASK OF FU MANCHU is another delirious 30's horror movie starring Boris Karloff (in his first speaking horror role) as the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu and Myrna Loy as his sado-masochistic nymphomaniacal daughter. This movie has it all: torture, sexual perversion, torture, some more sex and torture. Cowboy actor Charles Starrett is at one point strapped down to a slab clad in nothing but a loincloth and injected with tarantula poison while a snake is compelled to bite him in the neck. This, of course, is only after he has been strung up by Myrna Loy and whipped while she screams "Faster! Faster!" Oh yes, and if the sight of Lewis Stone (the venerable white-haired Judge Hardy of Mickey Rooney's Andy Hardy pictures) hung head downwards over a pit of crocodiles entices you then this is your film! SIN CITY is breathtaking in its ability to actually pull off it's mission statement. They wanted to make a movie of a comic book and damned if Sin City doesn't look EXACTLY like Frank Miller's graphic novel. The casting is pretty damn near perfect with Mickey Rourke particularly memorable as Marv. I hear there's gonna be a sequel. I'd sure like to know how they are gonna pull that one off. BLACK BOOKS is once again in my DVD player because Bernard L. Black (Shaun of the Dead's Dylan Moran) is my hero. One day I hope to grow up to be just like him: a nasty, surly, drunken, chain-smoking, moody, customer-hating owner of a book shop. I'm practicing my Belly Savalas and Cobumbo impressions even as we speak! I am also changing my middle name to Ludwig. If any of my friends own a wicker chair, I give you fair warning that I fully intend to go to the bathroom through it! THE SCARLET CLAW and THE PEARL OF DEATH are two Universal Sherlock Holmes pictures starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. These are the closest things to horror movies that Sherlock Holmes movies could pull off. The Scarlet Claw opens exactly like a Universal 40's monster movie with panicked villagers muttering about ghosts and monsters as a "werewolf" killer claws the jugulars outta them. And The Pearl of Death features classic monster movie stars (and Universal contract players) Evelyn (The Wolf Man) Ankers and Rondo (The Creeper) Hatton. Moody, foggy and atmospheric; these Sherlock Holmes movies make perfect October viewing!

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