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Tag Archives: Bela Lugosi

When in Distress, Vampires Often Help

Earlier today, a friend at work gave me some icy-hot (it was Equate brand) to rub on my knees.  It seemed to help.  I have spent most of the rest of the day wishing I had something similar to rub on my attitude.  It’s not even Bad Attituesday!

It is, in fact, one of those days when I disprove one of my own rules: that writing begets more writing.  I just finished and emailed out two articles for Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  Shouldn’t I be all raring to go and write my blog post now?  It turns out, not so much.  I was just futzing around Facebook, looking for pictures, because that always seems to be a good fallback post.  Of course nothing appeals.  Maybe I should look again.

When in doubt, look for monsters.  Here are a couple of pictures from Mark of the Vampire.  I found them on a page I Like called Murder, Madness and the Macabre, Our Favorite Nightmares.

Bela and friend.

I gotta get me a dress with sleeves like that.

I’ve seen Mark of the Vampire a couple of times.  I can’t believe I don’t have it on one of my horror collections.  Maybe my husband will buy it for me for my birthday (he usually reads this blog, teehee).

I’ll throw in another picture of Bela Lugosi to round things out (you know how I like to include three photos).  Here he is from Dracula in 1931.

“I bid you welcome.”

He was fine, yes.  I haven’t seen an old horror movie in a long time.  Perhaps that is the ice-hot for my attitude I seek.  At any rate, it couldn’t hurt.  We’ll call today a Non-Sequitur Thursday post (although the title I have in mind is more of a sequitur) and drive on. Thank you for tuning in, and I hope to see you all on Lame Post Friday.

 

 

Halloween Pictures on Tired Tuesday

My hair is actually a little shorter than this.

This is my new profile picture on Facebook.  I open today’s Tired Tuesday post with it, because, what a surprise:  I got nuthin’ else.  Of course I like having the Bride of Frankenstein as my profile pic, I’ve had it before, but I really liked this one for the saying.  I like to embrace my own imperfections.  They are what make me, me.

I don’t suppose it is October yet.

This picture has nothing to do with the preceding paragraph, but it is Halloween-ish and I have not used it before.  Also, it is Bela Lugosi.  There could be no possible objection.

My hair is more grey than this kid’s.

This must be a picture Steven downloaded at some point.  He finds the coolest stuff.  This is an appropriate picture to include here, because as soon as I hit “Publish,” I am going upstairs to read in bed before going to sleep.  I am actually not reading a ghost story.  I am quite absorbed in a biography of John Barrymore.  I am a huge fan of his brother, Lionel, and I also admire their sister, Ethel.   However, John was pretty cool too.  The next time I run in place on the mini-tramp, I may watch the silent movie, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” starring John.

At last I am over 200 words.  I’ll call that respectable for a Tired Tuesday.  I hope to see you all on Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

Favorite Ghouls on Wuss-out Wednesday

I am so tired right now, I think all I can manage is a Wuss-out Wednesday post.  It is Wednesday, right?  Earlier today, I was wishing it was Thursday.  Then I reminded myself of a morning I got out of my car and thought, “Why can’t it be Thursday instead of Wednesday?”  then I thought, “You idiot, it’s Tuesday.”  I may have shared that memory before, but I still think it is funny.

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Two of my all-time favorite ghouls.

This is what I immediately thought of at the time.   This is Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.  I never knew which movie the shot is from but I believe that is not the original dialog.  I used it as my Facebook cover photo for a while. Now I realize I should not have put it in a Wuss-out Wednesday post but in a Tired Tuesday post.  Which just goes to show you how often I do the wrong thing.  But now that I’ve put in a photo, I’d kind of like to put in a couple more.  I wonder what I can find.

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She’s really not that into him.

Speaking of favorite ghouls, who doesn’t love Vincent Price?  This is from House of Wax, one of my go-to horror movies.  Price is in love with his Marie Antoinette.  How Pygmalion of him.  Before the film can really explore the creepiness of that infatuation, the place goes up in flames and Price becomes a villain, deformed in body and spirit.  I don’t know where I’m going with that.  Perhaps the next time I watch the movie, I’ll write a scholarly essay on Hollywood’s missed opportunities.

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Aren’t they cool?

Just to finish out the theme of favorite ghouls, here is a photo Steven has shared on Facebook so it was in our downloads.  Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and John Carradine.  At least, Steven says it is John Carradine.  I had thought it was Peter Cushing.  How classless is that, that I’m going to publish this without making sure of my information.  That’s how I roll on Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

Vampires and a Big Reveal

BIG Spoiler Alert! Seriously, if you’re going to watch Mark of the Vampire (1935), PLEASE do it before reading my silly write-up.

I will, in fact, try to write about this movie without giving away the big reveal, but I don’t know how successful I will be. In fact, already I’ve said too much.

In pre-movie commentary, Robert Osborne says Mark of the Vampire is a murder mystery as well as a vampire movie. I think that gives away a lot right there, and he didn’t even give a spoiler alert. Anyways, I think it is mostly a vampire movie.

The movie begins, as these things often do, with travelers being warned to go nowhere after dark. This is all we see of the travelers, so I guess those actors did not have very good agents. The vampire(s) (I don’t think people know at this point how many there are), it seems, is (are) after folks that have lived in the area for some time.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s very good scripting. Of course we don’t want characters reiterating to each other stuff they darn well already know. That would be like me saying to Steven, “As you know, we’re married and have a cute little dog.” However, I think there are better ways to set up background than sticking in extraneous characters we are never going to see again, just so they can get warned.

Perhaps I am too demanding. Anyways, that was an easy way to fill up a paragraph without giving away any major plot points (except to let you know you aren’t going to see those travelers again).

Bela Lugosi is the main vampire, and I wished he would have gotten more screen time. He is very mysterious and scary when he shows up, though, so that’s good. There is another, younger, girl vampire. She is spooky, but the actress does not have Lugosi’s gifts. She doesn’t act so much as walk around slowly with a completely blank look on her face. I suppose that is what the part called for and what the director told her to do, but I didn’t think she had the presence to carry if off properly. Oh well, she was young. I daresay she improved if she went on (didn’t make a note of the actress’ name).

Lionel Barrymore is a vampire expert. I just adore Lionel Barrymore. I don’t care if he puts the beautiful girl in danger to catch the vampires. That’s what a movie vampire expert is supposed to do.

Osborne warns us that nothing is as it seems, and that is pretty much the case. It is one of those movies where, after you find out the big secret, you kind of want to watch it again, to see if they were really playing fair. I’m actually pretty sure they did not play fair (I know some of you are saying, “Whatever that means”), because in post-movie commentary, Osborne tells us the actors did not know the big reveal till they actually filmed those scenes.

Since this is a personal blog, I feel free to interject here that I would be majorly ticked off at a director that played that kind of a game with me. If it is something my character knows, I certainly want to know it. If it is something my character doesn’t know, I would still prefer to know it and ACT. But that’s just me; I’m not all method like some people.

I enjoyed Mark of the Vampire. I may watch it again (perhaps when TCM shows it next October) and write another blog post from the point of view of somebody who already knows the big reveal. If I remember it.

Why This is Not a Movie Post

I’m not giving up Wrist to Forehead Sunday, you can’t make me.

That previous sentence should have a semi-colon instead of a comma, but sometimes I regard punctuation as much art as science. The Punctuation Police and the Grammar Guardians can ding me all they like, because I am usually quite correct about these things.

Regular readers will realize I was too ill yesterday to partake in any Mohawk Valley adventures. Today I feel slightly less crappy but not yet un-crappy. Anyways, Sunday is almost always an off day for me.

Yesterday I watched a Hammer Studios film and today a Bela Lugosi movie. I could write about either one, only it also seems that I can’t. You know how I always put a Spoiler Alert. Well, the things I would be apt to talk about for these movies goes beyond spoiler and into “Well, why don’t you just tell us the whole damn movie while you’re at it!” These are things astute movie viewers may see coming (I did), but there is still an element of, “Wait a minute, it could be that…” The satisfaction is in saying, “I thought so!” and not “I read about that in a blog!”

You know, I’ve said too much already. Now I am afraid viewers will say, “What did she see coming… ah yes! Of course!” Instead of letting it unfold in front of them.

Or am I being silly? That, of course, is always a possibility. In any case, I see my word count is over 250 words. Quite respectable for typing with one wrist on my forehead (oh, OK, that’s only figuratively)(metaphorically?). I hope to see you on Middle-aged Musings Monday.

The Zombie Eyes Have It

Spoiler Alert! If you think you might want to see White Zombie (1932) with Bela Lugosi, I would advise you watch it before reading this. I think it is better enjoyed if you’re not thinking, “Oh, this is that part she was telling us about.”

According to Robert Osborne’s pre-movie commentary, White Zombie is believed to be the first movie ever made about zombies. I find it hard to believe there are no silent movies featuring zombies, but I’m not that knowledgeable about silent movies (it’s difficult to crochet or knit during a silent movie, because you have to keep your eyes glued to the screen or you’ll miss something).

First or not, it’s an atmospheric, eerie movie. The zombies are the old-timey slow moving creatures with staring eyes. They don’t eat flesh, but some of them do kill a guy and try to kill a couple of others (I did include a spoiler alert, didn’t I?) (I think it’s a bigger spoiler to let you know they only try to kill someone, don’t you?).

The movie takes place in the West Indies, home of voodoo, zombies and assorted other creepy weirdness, it seems. A Beautiful Girl and a Handsome Young Man (side note: why don’t I just refer to him as a Boy and be symmetrical?) are in a horse drawn carriage (to give you an idea of period) on their way to some rich guy’s house.

At least, I think he’s rich. Yes, my famous lack of attention is once again my undoing. Rich Guy has gotten Handsome Young Man a job back in the states and wants the couple to be married from his house. It soon transpires that he is in love with the girl and is willing to use fair means or foul to make her his.

Enter Bela Lugosi. Ah, but before he does, Rich Guy’s butler warns him to have nothing to do with that sort of person. Well, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if the characters listened to sensible advice, would it?

First Rich Guy tries fair means, by propositioning Beautiful Girl as he escorts her to her marriage ceremony. Anybody still wondering why this guy is alone? Of course it doesn’t work, although she tries to let him down easily in the limited amount of time available to her. So it is on to foul means and the zombie meat of the movie.

The nefarious plot perpetrated by Lugosi involves turning Beautiful Girl into a zombie. It is not clear to me how he does it. Something to do with carving some wax and sticking it into the flame of a streetlight. She falls dead into her new husband’s arms.

Soon she is the glassy-eyed possession of Rich Guy. Well, that’s not the chick he fell in love with. He demands Lugosi turn her back into a person even if it means losing her. I guess he’s not such a bad guy for someone who resorted to foul means to win the girl. But Lugosi will have none of this and is soon tormenting Rich Guy in ways that ought to make anybody sorry for him, even viewers who still consider him a lousy beautiful girl stealer.

Lugosi, as usual, utilizes his scary eyes to good effect. The things that especially struck me in this movie were his wild and wooly eyebrows. I think Count Dracula must have tweezed.

Eventually Handsome Young Man finds help and hurries to the rescue, as you probably figured. But can he rescue her? I guess I can’t spoil everything. This movie is recommended. I’ll look for something cheesier next time.

Bela and the Baboon

I seem to remember mentioning a cheesy horror flick involving Bela Lugosi and a baboon. Having no other topic at hand, I thought I’d try to write about it: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932).

Full disclosure: I did not watch the whole movie. I didn’t even pay a whole lot of attention to the parts I did watch. For a horror movie based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, starring Bela Lugosi and featuring a killer ape, I found it to be a pretty dull movie.

According to the Guide on digital cable, the movie concerns Lugosi murdering women for his experiments with apes. They had me at Bela Lugosi, but mad scientist and murders (after all, they go together) sounded good too.

The picture opens during Carnival in Paris. Many revelers are having a wonderful time, including a beautiful girl, a handsome man and his not so handsome friend. They go into a side show where they meet Lugosi and the killer ape, although of course they don’t know it’s a killer at the time.

“It’s only a baboon,” comforts Handsome Man when Beautiful Girl is frightened. I don’t know if it was a baboon, a gorilla or an overgrown chimpanzee. I can’t even be sure whether it was an authentic animal or a guy in a suit. These days I suppose they would have faked something up with CGI, quite possibly having first indulged in a little research. I made him a baboon in the headline for alliterative purposes, but you probably guessed that.

I’d like to just say a word about Bela’s hair (I know it’s more proper to refer to him by his last name, but I just feel I want to call him Bela). It’s not the elegant, slicked back Dracula look we are used to. It’s wild, shaggy and almost curly. Like he used volumizing mousse instead of maximum hold gel, although I have no idea what hair products were available at the time this movie was made (I did not indulge in any research while writing this post. Sorry). As a theatre person myself, I have no problem with an actor mixing it up a little, changing appearance to serve the character. It was just a little disconcerting is all. He still has the scariest eyes in show business.

Do I really need to tell anybody that he meets Beautiful Girl and is immediately taken with her? When she gets too close to the cage and the baboon snatches her bonnet, Bela smoothly promises to send her a new one, what’s you address, my dear? Handsome Man blocks that gambit, but not to worry. Bela has at least one henchman who can follow Beautiful Girl home. Just in case anybody was worried that the mad scientist would not get her into his evil clutches eventually.

Apparently he has already had other women in his evil clutches. We only see him actually abduct one, but when the authorities find her dead body (did I need to include a spoiler alert that somebody dies in a movie with “Murders” in the title?), we learn that she is not the first. Soon Handsome Man is investigating the murders, something to do with something in their blood, while letting his Not So Handsome Roommate eat all the lunch.

I stopped paying attention about the time Beautiful Girl gets the new bonnet from Bela and doesn’t worry too much about how he found her, because it’s such a fetching piece of headgear. So I don’t really know how she gets into his evil clutches or even what his evil plan is (although I know it has something to do with blood). Naturally there is a dramatic climax involving the baboon getting loose and climbing all over the city, but like I said, not really watching by that time. I may yet go back and watch it again, paying more attention this time. Which may or may not be worth another blog post.

I never read the story the movie is based on. The next time I go to the library I’ll look for it. Not that I expect it to inform any subsequent viewings of the movie. Hollywood is famous for taking liberties with adaptations and never more so than when they attempt Poe. In their defense, Poe is a very literary writer. Perhaps I should watch a series of movies based on Poe stories, read the stories and write a doctoral thesis (I bet you thought I was going to say blog post). Do you suppose I could find a university that would give me a degree for that?