Tag Archives: Mark Damon

Avoiding Covid Nightmares

I have a friend who loves movies, but was forbidden horror flicks as a child by parental decree. As an adult, he has always been a busy, busy guy; works hard (and a lot) and plays just as hard (and yes, a lot).

At least he did.

Ol’ Mr. Covid has him workin’ from home these days and nights, hidin’ his face, and checkin’ the TV guide.

Now, his age having earned him his Most-At-Risk achievement badge, and having burned through most of Netflix, he was thinking of finally dipping his toe into the horror movie pool (provided he be assured of getting his toe back).

He knew of my fascination with awful films (content and competence) and asked if I might suggest a sampler of gruesome cinema.

Oh…I might…I very well might……and I did.

I suggested a double feature with a lagniappe.

I would start by queuing up Manos, Hand of Fate (1966) and setting a timer for two minutes. That’s all you need. It’s kinda like most of the songs in “Phantom of the Opera” – the same six words rolled around forever in various permutations. Don’t get me wrong, Manos is a truly, deeply, greatly, lousy film and well deserving of every ugly thing that’s been said about it. However, even loving it as I do, two minutes is plenty. It justifies all the parental decrees against horror films and validates the reverence you feel for your folks.

Then I suggested The House of Usher (1960). It’s a Roger Corman effort; safe, distant, costumed from another time, featuring moonlit seas and a castle, dark and looming. In short, a solid horror film vocabulary, but nothing too close to home to keep you up at night. However, the Richard Matheson script is scary. The performers? Well, Mark Damon is a total cypher, but Vincent Price’s hair is to die for, and someone may.

My main feature for the evening would be a Hammer Dracula flick; The Scars of Dracula (1970). It’s not my favorite Hammer Drac but it contains all the basic food groups; bright crimson blood, buxom babe, blood, strange dental work, blood, foolish old man, blood, Michael Ripper, blood, Chris Lee, blood, and blood. Yum-m-m-m-m! Even if you hate it, you’ll be able to go through life saying you’ve seen a Hammer Dracula. And again, nothing too close to home to disturb your sheltering-at-home slumber.

Now, that’s an awful night.

Thanks fer askin’.

It’s The Angry Red Planet for me tonight. It’ll be a great escape from the angry blue planet I’m currently on.

“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”

Hey pal, lemme give ya a coupla tips.

  1. On a cool spring afternoon at Keeneland, eat the burgoo. You can’t lose.
  2. If you ever find yourself in a horror movie and someone says to you; “Everything’s gonna be alright”, rest assured…it won’t be.

Yes, boys and girls, it’s Movie Night!

Tonight’s 1973 delight might be known to you as Crypt of the Living Dead…but probably not. Or you might know it as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires…but probably not. In fact, if you know this film at all I have to assume your parents did NOT know where you were at night.

Understand, I’m not qualified to judge the fine points of film production but;

  • I know when I can’t decipher half the words spoken, the sound is poor.
  • I know when half the scenes are 90% totally dark, the lighting is poor.
  • I know when half the cast (male and female) are wearing turtleneck sweaters, a bit more thought could have been put into the costuming…or some re-e-e-ally intriguing tattoos are being denied examination.

You get my gist; this film’s not good.

However, it does feature a cast of interest (interest, not quality, mind you).

  • Teresa Gimpera, fresh off her triumph in Love Brides of the Blood Mummy, is deadly, silent, and pretty. These acting choices seem to work for her.
  • Mark Damon reminds me of the lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. This acting choice…not so good, but the hair looks great.
  • Patty Shepard, fresh off her triumph in the title role of The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman (also silent and deadly), is actually not bad. She’s sort of a cross between Barbara Steele and Barbara Bach; not a bad scream queen pedigree.
  • As for Andrew Prine; imagine, if you will, Roddy McDowell playing a role written for Steve McQueen. McFoolishness!

No, the film’s not good, but just keep telling yourself; “Everything’s gonna be alright.”

Besides, I loved it.