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Category Archives: cheese

Shopping with Corman

As I mentioned yesterday, due to a bad back all I was good for was watching cheesy movies — uh, I mean horror classics. I continued my viewing with Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors (1960).

The movie later became an off-Broadway musical, which was also made into a movie with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. I never saw the play, and I did not like the movie (although in general I like both Moranis and Martin). However, I saw a trailer for the original movie on the Extra Features of Horror Hotel, and I was intrigued. I found it in Steven’s Collection of 50 Horror Classics.

In case you’ve never heard of the movie or play, it is about a man-eating plant. The plant is raised by a nebbishy loser who is on the verge of getting fired from a Skid Row florist at which he works. He doesn’t exactly know what he’s raising and discovers quite by accident that the plant craves blood and eats people. Complications ensue.

I have to say I liked it. Corman throws in a lot of comedy, some of which is heavy handed. For example, at every opportunity, the nebbish sticks his foot in a bucket and trips. It takes some finesse to pull off a bit like that and not have your audience say, “Where do all these empty mop buckets keep coming from?” Roger Corman films are not known for use of finesse. However, that is part of their charm, and I did get enjoy a chuckle or two.

I especially liked the florist’s one regular customer, a lady with an apparently infinite supply of relatives who died and needed flowers sent to the funeral. I also like the florist, the struggling businessman who is alternately ready to fire the nebbish or adopt him as a son and is reasonably torn between doing the right thing and making money.

The big name in the cast is Jack Nicholson. I had known he was in the movie, but I was under the impression he played the sadistic dentist later portrayed by Steve Martin. Not so: Nicholson is hilarious and a little scary as a masochistic patient. It is not a large part. At Nicholson’s stature now it would be a cameo. At his stage of career then, it is a memorable bit.

Leonard Maltin in his 2007 Movie Guide (Penguin Group, New York, 2006) says the movie is now seen as one of Corman’s best. I can see why. The plot moves right along, there are some good scares, and the dramatic conclusion is fitting. An enjoyable interlude on a Saturday afternoon. I may try it again sometime without the backache.

Cheese Before Wine

Steven and I began our Friday Mohawk Valley adventures with a trip to Vintage Spirits in Herkimer, NY for a wine and cheese tasting. I was delighted to see that Three Village Cheeses was providing the cheese.

The wine tasting table seemed a little crowded, so I started with the cheese. Tom remembered me from last June. He had read my blog post from that tasting, so that established cordial relations right away.

I tried the feta first and immediately declared it my favorite. So smooth, so deep. I don’t know how people usually describe cheeses (notes of… what? I never taste the notes in wine either, so what does that tell you), but I thought the feta was substantial. The other heavy one was the tomme, which I think I declared my favorite last time. I like the ones that are more complex.

I happily nibbled the mild ones, too, and when I got to the Habanero Havarti (I think habanero should have a tilda over the n, don’t know how to do it on my computer) (point and laugh if you must), I knew I had found my cheese of the day.

I recently bought some store brand pepper jack at Hannaford and found I liked the bite. Well, this was a glorification of that taste. The cheese was cheesier! The pepper was peppier! It was better than yummy!

Having made up my mind on the cheese, I turned my attention to the wine. Of course, as I sipped I returned to nibble. Must experiment with wine/cheese pairings after all.

I believe I can purchase Three Village Cheeses at Ilion Farmer’s Market. If not, I will surely make my way to the cheese factory and retail store at 2608 Newport Rd., Poland, NY. I can get directions via their Facebook page. I think it is time to upgrade from store brand cheese. Sorry, Hannaford!

The Whistler Once Again

I was very happy on Saturday morning to see another Whistler movie listed for TCM. I naturally DVR’d it for Steven’s and my enjoyment on Sunday. By the way, Spoiler Alert! Although I do not intend to give away the ending.

The Secret of the Whistler opens with the usual shadow of a man and sound of whistling followed by voice-over narration.

I have not mentioned that all the Whistler movies have starred Richard Dix. So far we’ve seen him as a businessman who changes his mind about suicide by hit man, a mysterious stranger who enlists the help of a beautiful blond, and a rich guy who turns to murder after supposedly learning how to live. This time out he plays an apparently not very talented artist who nobody particularly likes living off his ailing wife.

The description of the movie in the Guide said an artist’s second wife suspects he killed the first wife. This is a plot that has worked very well in any number of gothic romance novels (these are the paperback books with a full moon, a castle and a beautiful girl running, not the teenagers with lots of black make-up) (I suppose I have just dated myself). It took me a while to realize they were going to spend most of the picture getting him married to Wife No. 2.

The movie starts out creepily enough with a woman ordering her own tombstone. At least, the movie clearly means for us to find it creepy or at least surprising. Haven’t these people every heard of pre-planning one’s funeral? The lady says, “You will be notified,” when asked date of death. Well, duh! I think it would have been a good deal more creepy if she had known the date. On the other hand, that may have meant she planned to commit suicide. Oh, hey, what if she would have put as her epitaph: “Murdered.” Just a thought.

Where was I? Ah yes, soon we have the set-up: unsuccessful artist husband sponging off dying wife while making up to beautiful blond gold-digger model. The other characters include a female artist, apparently successful, and her reporter boyfriend and another male artist who is friend and sometime employer of Blondie.

Richard Dix plays all sad-eyes my-wife-is-dying while Blondie plays all wide-eyed sympathy till we’re not really sure who is playing who. Actually, I wish they had played up Blondie as cold-hearted gold-digger a little more. For one thing, when she starts to suspect her new husband of murder she could have had blackmail on her mind. For all I know she did. I don’t think the actress was quite clear on the character’s motivations.

The movie takes an awfully long time to get going. A few times the Whistler addresses Richard Dix, asking him is he getting paranoid, is he getting desperate? I don’t think he did that in the other pictures. Once things do start moving, they move quickly enough gloss over a couple of “Wait a minute!” points.

For example, the loyal (to the first wife) maid is still around, per provision in the will (really, you would think first wife would have left the poor woman a pension, not just a crappy job). The maid says she’s staying to prove the husband a murderer. All she has to do is find the diary. Hello! They were on a three month honeymoon, during which time all the dead wife’s things were moved to the attic and the house redecorated. Even if the maid was locked out for the three months, are her duties so onerous she couldn’t find ten minutes to look in the attic since? It certainly doesn’t take Blondie very long to find said diary when she goes up there.

Things wrap up pretty quickly, as Whistler movies tend to do. Not a bad movie in spite of the slow start. I wish they had done a little more with the tombstone and given the minor characters more scenes, but what do I want in an hour and fifteen minutes? For a cheesy interlude on a Sunday, I enjoyed it.

Cheese from Beyond Space

After enjoying our Whistler movie on Sunday, Steven and I arrowed down on the DVR list to It! The Terror from Beyond. It was not until we actually started watching that we discovered the full title is It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958). It is a misleading title. The terror in question is not from beyond space; it is from Mars, which is right in space (that’s not really a spoiler; we find that out early on).

This time we got to hear some commentary from Ben Mankiewicz, and I knew my instinct for cheese had not misled me.

“Campy? Yes. Cheesy special effects? Yes,” Mankiewicz says. What could be better? He goes on to praise the plot, which has been credited with inspiring Ridley Scott’s Alien. I remember being pretty scared at Alien, and a little grossed out. I also remember that I ultimately did not like that movie, because I don’t like movies where everybody dies — or everybody but one (sorry, Sigourney Weaver). I hoped everybody wouldn’t die this time out.

The movie opens with the sole survivor of a mission to Mars which came to grief. A second mission is going to pick up the survivor and bring him back to earth to face court martial charges of murdering the other eight (or is it nine?). We see a press conference where a guy announces this and all the reporters rush out of the room. I don’t know why they didn’t stay and ask any questions. For example, why would you thing such a thing?

Cut to the ship. Having picked up the prisoner, they are about to take off.

“Hey! Why is that hatch open?” The guy sees on a monitor that it is open; we don’t actually see it.

“Oh, sorry, I was dumping out some crates.”

Gee, I hope nothing got in, don’t you?

At this point I said to Steven, “Oh, I see what the plot’s going to be. The monster’s going to start killing people off and they’re going to think that guy did it.” The plot is actually nothing of the kind. Maybe it was a silly thing to think. After all, what could the guy gain by killing his rescuers/jailers? They’re on a space ship, for heavens’ sake! It’s not like a bus or car he can hijack and drive somewhere else.

Still, I think that would have made a pretty good plot, especially if at first even the audience isn’t sure there’s a monster. In fact, we see the monster right away and there is no doubt in the minds of the crew that someTHING is doing the killing. First we see the monster’s feet. Then his three-fingered, claw-like hand. Then his ugly head.

This is not as suspenseful as it sounds. I mean, we’re seeing the monster; he is not merely hinted at. Then again, the lessons of Jaws were over ten years away. I suppose, too, that guys in suits are never as scary as CGI or whatever it was they used in Alien. Still, they tried.

I bet the guy that was going to the court martial feels just a little bit glad when people start getting killed by the monster. Well, maybe not glad, exactly, but inclined to say, “I told you so!” Sometimes it takes drastic measures to fight murder charges.

There is a bit of a love triangle among one of the women, court martial guy and one of the wounded crew members. She does a lot of hand holding, and, as usual in these situations, I don’t know what she sees in either one of them.

I thought it was very progressive of them to have women on the ship. Of course, they were the medical personnel not real astronauts, but still. They were on the ship, and they did stuff other than scream and be rescued. In fact, I don’t think they did scream, be rescued or do any of the stupid movie female things I like to complain about. You go, girls!

I enjoyed the movie. Ben Mankiewicz was right: the plot is good. The one thing that cracked me up was that every so often they cut to a shot of the space ship moving through space. Like they need to remind us.

It is a long, tall ship, looking a lot like whatever number Apollo was going to the moon when I was in first grade (roughly 100 years ago). I remember at that time being amazed that most of that big ship was fuel needed for take off. In this case, it’s all ship. The interior has a kind of a town house design. Each floor is accessed from the one below via a steep stairway and a center hatch which closes very slowly. There were a couple of times I would have been jumping on that hatch trying to make it close quicker.

I probably would have broken it and then the monster would have gotten us all. Maybe leaving one survivor. Just like in those movies I don’t like.

Cheese from the DVR

Spoiler Alert! I may ruin not one but two cheesy thriller movies with today’s and tomorrow’s posts. Then again, I think most reviewers give away too much, and theatrical trailers sometimes give it ALL away. People are still watching movies. I can’t destroy too much.

Every Saturday morning I scan the listings for TCM for the weekend. Perhaps I will subscribe to their program guide and do this by the month including weekdays. Then again, how many movies do I have time to watch? Not enough, I tell you! (With a wrist to my forehead, of course.) (But I digress.)

Two Saturdays ago I DVR’d a promising entry called The Whistler. Something about some guy hiring a hit man then wanting to call if off. It was when I saw that it was directed by William Castle that I reached for the remote. As cheesy as Ed Wood and more prolific. I suppose personally Castle was less colorful, or maybe Tim Burton would have made a movie about him, too. (As a side note: I just remembered that the sadly overlooked 1992 movie Matinee, starring John Goodman and Cathy Moriarty was inspired by William Castle. So there, Burton; you missed a bet.)

I had not had a chance to watch The Whistler before the following Saturday, when I noticed a listing for The Power of the Whistler. It must be a sequel, I thought. The description when I hit “info” did not say so, nor could I find it in Steve’s Leonard Maltin book (which is almost a cheesy bonafide in itself). But really, what else could it be?

Steven and I watched both movies last Sunday. The Whistler opens eerily with the mysterious shadow of a man and the sound of whistling. Voiceover narration introduces the story. I am not a fan of voiceover narration, but sometimes we must live with these things.

The main guy hires a hit man using an intermediary and only gives the guy a name and address. Then we find out that the name and address are HIS OWN (see, that’s why I needed the Spoiler Alert). It seems he has been having dreadful mental problems which have been effecting his unnamed business (movie people are often employed in Business the nature of which is never fully explained; I think that is because movie writers have never had a real job, don’t quite know how the rest of the world works, and can’t be bothered doing research) (I would have loved have been a movie writer during the studio era) (although it didn’t do William Holden much good in Sunset Boulevard) (but, once again, I digress).

Where was I? Ah yes, main guy’s mental problems stem from the unvoiced belief of his friends that he was responsible for his wife’s death. It’s a complicated backstory, and I don’t know as the details are all that important. When he finds our via telegram (it’s a OLD movie!) that his wife isn’t dead after all, he wants to live again (all you husbands out there just be quiet; I know what joke you were about to make). Unfortunately, the middle man has been killed and the actual hit man is elusive. What do do? What to do?

Cut to the hired murderer, who is the most interesting character in the picture. He’s reading a psychology book (I stupidly did not write down the title and I already deleted the movie from my DVR) and decides he is going to try to scare the guy to death.

And then a bunch of other stuff happens. Hey, alert notwithstanding, I don’t what to spoil EVERYTHING!

Where is the Whistler during all this? Around, apparently. We occasionally hear whistling and see a shadow. At least one guy is opportunely killed, and the hit man says he is not responsible. The Whistler also has a final voiceover at the end.

The convoluted plot made for some interest, but I was not sorry to pause the movie some twenty minutes before the end and take the dog for a walk. In other words, the suspense wasn’t killing me. I did go back and watch the end, though, so it didn’t completely lose me. It was a short movie (it had that going for it), so we continued the movie watching portion of our evening with The Power of the Whistler, which provides the subject for tomorrow’s blog post. Stay tuned.

I Do Love a Mad Scientist

Spoiler Alert! In my defense, I don’t think I give away anything that is not on the blurb from the DVD box.

Saturday afternoon I popped in a cheesy horror flick — uh, I mean one of 50 Horror Classics — just to make sure I would have something to blog about in the coming week. I watched Maniac (1934). Steven was at work, but I figured if it was any good I could always watch it again with him and if it was really bad I had spared him.

The movie begins with a long section of text on the screen (no, not a text message! This is in the olden days when “text” just meant words not pictures) supposedly from some psychology book or learned article. This device was used periodically throughout the film, and it was pretty annoying, because the sides, top and bottom were cut off. I think it was meant to add resonance to the story or to clue us in on what was happening psychologically. Or maybe they originally meant it for a silent movie. I couldn’t tell.

In the first scene a mad scientist wants his assistant to steal him a dead body for his experiments. So far so good: mad scientist, dead bodies, experiments. What’s not to like? The assistant protests. Of course, he says, he is grateful to Mad Scientist, but room and board is not adequate compensation for this chore. The argument goes on for a bit till Mad Scientist says the police would probably like to know where the Assistant is.

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it.”

I laughed. It was so much like, “I have no gate key.” “Fezzig, tear his arms off.” “Oh, you mean this gate key.”

The best way to steal the body, it turns out, is for the Assistant to impersonate the coroner. It seems the Assistant is an ex-vaudeville type who used to do impressions. If he’s that good an actor, one would think he would be the toast of Broadway by now. At the very least I would think he could use his skills to score a better hideout than Mad Scientist’s pad. But I daresay I’m reading too much into things, as usual.

So Mad Scientist and Assistant successfully filch the body of the (of course) beautiful young woman (not that she sticks around that long, even as window dressing). The morgue attendants are completely fooled by the impersonation of the coroner. Later on a brilliant cop immediately begins calling vaudeville houses trying to track down the criminal.

Meanwhile, back at Mad Scientist’s laboratory, the experiments continue. Mad Scientist has this heart which he has revived from the dead. It’s in a jar, beating rather expressively. Seriously, that thing looked as if it was watching what was going on and offering commentary, if only it was hooked up to some vocal chords so we could hear it.

Mad Scientist wants the assistant to kill himself so that he, Mad Scientist, can bring him back to life with the heart in the jar. Suddenly stealing dead bodies doesn’t seem like that bad of a chore, does it? Mad Scientist hands Assistant a gun to use. Hmmm… what do you suppose is going to happen?

Things get complicated after that. It’s actually a pretty fun movie. I kind of wish I had paused it when I went out to the kitchen to make popcorn (with oil on the stove and melting real butter for it, of course). Then again, I think it is one Steven would like to see. Perhaps I’ll write a second review when he does. Stay tuned.

More Cheese, Please

No, this is not a post about the cheesy horror movies I adore. It is about actual cheese. But I guess I do need to get onto watching more silly movies…

Be that as it may, on Friday I went to a Wine and Cheese Tasting at Vintage Spirits in Herkimer, NY. The cheese was provided by Three Village Cheese of Poland, NY. I did take notes on the wine I tasted, but today I want to talk about the cheese. Yum!

The flier I picked up refers to it as Farmstead and Artisan Cheese. It is made on the farm from pasteurized and raw cow’s milk. I tasted Tomme, Feta, Havarti, Swedish Farmer’s Cheese, and Dill Havarti. The Tomme was the most unusual to me. It was the hardest cheese; in fact, I think Tom, the guy from Three Village Cheese, said “tomme” means hard. It was substantial. Tom said it would be good with a robust, red wine. He was quite right. I liked it a lot by itself, too.

The other cheese that was new to me was the Swedish Farmers’ Cheese. This was a softer, friendlier cheese. The flier says it can be used for breakfast, sandwiches, grilling or sauces. How about a breakfast sandwich fixed on the grill covered with cheese sauce? Or am I being silly (how unusual of me)?

The problem was, Vintage Spirits could not sell me the cheese. In fact, to purchase it I would have to go out to Tom’s truck and pay him cash. Everybody was making silly jokes about deals in the parking lot. I had no cash. Tom said I could just come out to the farm; there is a handy map on the flier. I said I would if I could not get my husband to come back with me later. He has all the cash this week for some reason.

When I got home I looked at Thursday’s paper and saw that Ilion Wine and Spirits was also having a wine tasting. Imagine my delight when Steven returned home and expressed his willingness to accompany me to both places.

Tom was happy to see me return. Steven tried all the cheeses and liked the Dill Havarti best. Steven does like dill. So do I. We went out to the parking lot to make our purchase.

Three Village Cheese is located at 2608 Newport Rd., Poland, NY. Phone number is 315-794-9545. You can also find them on Facebook.

Not a Sleeper Hit

I mentioned yesterday that I fell asleep during the cheesy horror movie meant for a blog post this week. Let’s see if I can write a post’s worth based on what I stayed awake for.

We picked Atom Age Vampire (1960) merely because it was on the first disc in our set of 50 Horror Classics. I had suggested we watch the first movie, but it turned out to be one we have on another set (that set also includes The Brain That Wouldn’t Die — my favorite!). The vampire movie was number two. In more ways than one, as it turns out, if you know what I mean (that joke was stolen from another favorite movie, Murder By Death)(I’ll explain it later; it’s disgusting).

Atomic stuff was very big in the ’50s and ’60s. A studio executive in the wonderful movie Ed Wood expresses interest in Bride of the Atom for that reason. Combine it with vampires and what’s not to like?

Well, I didn’t see any vampires as I know them. A guy starts killing beautiful girls to take… something from their bodies (a gland, I think, so you dirty-minded readers can stop snickering). I guess that’s kind of like sucking their blood. Nobody is feeding on what he takes; he’s using it to restore beauty to a blonde deformed in a car wreck. She was ready to kill herself, so I guess you could say her beauty was her life’s blood. To be even more metaphorical, I suppose you could say the killer is feeding his obsession with the girl. I am unlikely to say any such thing.

It takes a long time to get to the killing of beautiful girls part. First we have to meet the deformed blonde, before she gets deformed. She is an exotic dancer (I think; they never show her actually working) in love with a sailor who objects to her profession (how unreasonable considering that is probably how he met her). He leaves and that’s why she wrecks the car, which deforms her face.

Then we meet the killer before he is a killer. I guess you could call him a mad scientist, but I refer to him as the Bad Doctor in my notes in the TV Journal. He’s developing this serum to restore blah blah. Who pays attention to the technical stuff in these movies? (Oh, you probably do.) I was more interested in the assistant so in love with the Bad Doctor that she deforms herself (only her arm; she’s not entirely stupid) so he can test the serum on her. This does not make him fall in love with her (some of us girls never learn), so she goes to recruit the now deformed blond as a guinea pig (because she is somewhat stupid).

In a scene that was probably tacked on after they decided to add “Atom Age” to the title, we learn that Bad Doctor was in Hiroshima, where he learned blah blah. I told you I didn’t pay attention to the technical details.

The killings start because the serum, like a magic spell in a fairy tale, works but does not last. Soon the Bad Doctor starts turning into a hideous beast before he kills. I never saw a vampire that looked like that, not even Nosferatu, and he was pretty gruesome. I bet they added “Vampire” to the title, too.

Actually, Steven learned from one of his movie books, Video Movie Guide 2002 (Ballantine Books, New York, 2001), that the movie is a “badly dubbed Italian” film. We didn’t need them to tell us the film was badly dubbed, but I thought it was French, because the names include Jeanette and Pierre. I bet the original title was something quite different that translated oddly.

I fell asleep before the dramatic conclusion, so I couldn’t spoil the ending for you even if I wanted to (and of course I don’t). One other point of interest is that I could swear the staircase in one scene is the same one used in the Vincent Price/Agnes Moorehead movie we watched a few weeks ago (and reviewed in this space).

As a final note, I will share the joke I referenced earlier from Murder By Death.

Lionel Twain: I’m Number One!

Sam Diamond: To me you look more like number two, know what I mean?

Nora Charles: What does he mean, Miss Skeffington?

Tess Skeffington: I’ll tell you later. It’s disgusting.

A Shriek on the Screen

Here is another post on a Horror Classic which turned out to be less cheesy than anticipated. To recapitulate for readers who just tuned in: 50 Horror Classics is a DVD set I gave my husband Steven, and we have been enjoying some pretty cheesy old movies. So naturally I’ve been blogging about them. Yesterday I did a post on one that was less cheesy than others. Likewise the one I’m going to talk about today.

A Shriek in the Night (1933) stars Ginger Rogers, who famously did everything Fred Astaire did only backwards and in high heels (just had to throw that in). This is apparently one of her first movies, and, alas, she does not dance.

The movie starts right out with a shriek. I was a little worried the movie was over already. I mean, hello, there’s the shriek, now what? But there are more shrieks as we go along. Not too many, though. After all, it’s not a ’70s slasher flick.

A man has jumped or been thrown from a penthouse balcony (hmmm… which do you suppose it is?). When we meet Ginger Rogers, she is being questioned by a cop, because she is secretary to the dead guy. Such an attractive live-in secretary raises some officers’ eyebrows, but she assures them there is a dumb, utterly respectable maid to chaperone. The maid, the cop decides, may be respectable but is certainly dumb. She was my favorite character. She added some comic relief and a few shrieks, but they came later. My other favorite character was a hapless cop who couldn’t seem to do anything right.

We soon discover that Ginger is really an intrepid girl reporter. I was glad to hear that. I love intrepid girl reporters, like Fay Wray in The Mystery of the Wax Museum (see post back in, I think January). Ginger is perhaps not as intrepid as Fay and she doesn’t crack as wise, but she helps unravel the mystery. Ginger butts heads with a brash boy reporter, who seems to want to both scoop and marry her. The plot thickens with another shriek and another murder.

It seems the victims all receive a card with a snake and the words, “You will hear it.” What they will hear is the hissing of the steam pipe. I bet the writers rubbed their palms together when they came up with that one. Imagine watching a scary movie where the steam pipe hisses before the murderer strikes, then going home and hearing your steam heat whistle. Do people still heat their houses with whistley steam pipes? I’ve never heard it, with or without a murder.

The movie is fairly scary and suspenseful. And the solution to the mystery holds up. At least, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night saying, “Wait a minute!” Well, maybe one thing. I’m not clear on how Ginger Rogers escaped the deadly peril she inevitably found herself in. Oh, I saw the cops and boyfriend rush in, but the bad guy had already lit the incinerator. Where was she that she didn’t burn up or die of smoke inhalation?

Oh dear, now I’ve gone and revealed the climax. At least I didn’t say who the bad guy was or how Ginger ended up in the incinerator. And I’m sure nobody really thought the main girl would succumb to the deadly peril, so you can’t really ding me on revealing that she was rescued.

It was a fun watch. It held my interest, which some of the cheesier movies in the collection have not. I’ll let you know how I enjoy the next one. After all, the weekend’s coming.

Batty Movie

Spoiler Alert: I may give away too many plot points, so if you thought you might like to see The Bat from 1959 and you like to be surprised, you might want to skip this post till after you see the movie (that’s probably a run-on sentence).

I’ve had so much fun writing about cheesy horror movies that I asked Steven could we watch some more last weekend. He graciously agreed. I was a little disappointed in the cheese quality of our selections. I mean, they weren’t bad (although I do enjoy the irony of being disappointed that a movie is good). However, looking back at the truck sized plot holes in our first movie, I thought it was worth a post.

The Bat stars Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead. Now, Price has done some majorly cheesy movies, but I think the lowest Moorehead ever stooped was television (and who didn’t love Endora?). Although I may be wrong about that. I’ll have to look in Video Hound for a list of her movies. They used to make a lot more movies than they do these days, so the potential for cheese was greater.

But getting on to the movie. Moorehead plays a crime writer who has rented a mansion which may or may not be haunted. Right away you know you’re in for some excitement, because what fictional crime writer doesn’t encounter an actual murder? None that I know of.

Agnes’ lady maid and constant companion (I know it’s more proper to refer to her as Moorehead, but I feel it is friendlier to call her Agnes). Where was I? Oh yes, the companion right away warns Agnes about this mysterious killer known as The Bat. The Bat apparently rips people’s throats out with a claw. I did not know that was how a bat could kill somebody. I thought movie bats sucked people’s blood, but I guess that’s just vampire movies.

Anyways, this is plot hole number one, which I did not realize till much later when I started pondering What Really Happened (and that’s what makes a good movie plot hole: it’s not till much later on when you go, “Wait a minute!”). Here we have the murderer mentioned early on (as you should have in a murder mystery), but with no motive ascribed. Later on, when we get to the murders this movie is concerned with, there is a very definite motive, namely a million dollars (or is it two?) embezzled from the bank (actually the thief says he “embezzled” the money, but I think it was stolen and he was stepping way up in class). So when the Bat supposedly started killing, his motive for the later killings (the ones we see) hadn’t even happened yet.

But this actually might not be a plot hole. I don’t quite understand what went on. It’s quite possible that The Bat did not do all the killings, or even that The Bat wasn’t The Bat, or that there was no Bat, or maybe the Bat even randomly killed some people earlier in case he needed to establish a cover story. There are actual bats, by the way. The lady maid is threatened by one slipped through the transom, and Vincent Price, who is a doctor, is seen messing around with some in a scientific fashion.

We also encounter some typical old movie female behavior. There’s a mysterious stranger in the house the police can’t find him. We’re in the bedroom with the door locked and the transom kind of sort of blocked. Let’s try to get some sleep! Oh and the perennial, I just heard a noise! I’ll go investigate, you wait here. Never mind that my friend in the other room has a gun and I only have a flashlight (why didn’t that bitch give me the gun? is a question never asked).

The movie is pretty absorbing. It is definitely suspenseful and even scary in parts. It isn’t till afterwards that you realize that it does not make a whole lot of sense.

Looking back over this write up, I don’t think I’ve really done justice to how much the movie really doesn’t make sense. On the brighter side, it hasn’t been nearly the spoiler I alerted you about in the first paragraph. So go ahead and watch the movie. Tell me what you think.

And if anybody really does not want to watch the movie and really would like a plot summary, let me know that too. It’ll give me a subject for a whole nother blog post (oh, I know “whole nother” is not proper English. I can be cheesy too, can’t I?).