Twice Told Tales from 1963

 Cabot & Price

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s mid-nineteenth century short stories were collected by him into a book, with more than a dozen philosophical mysteries. It was titled Twice Told Tales. He was not into the psychological terror as his fellow writer, Edgar Allen Poe.

There is an almost pre-science fiction quality to his literary themes, and yet when they were adapted for the big screen in 1963, the star and narrator of the film would be Vincent Price, already a big name in bad literary adaptations.

Price found steady work doing high-end schlock for more than a few decades. He brought dignity and style to what might normally pass for low-budget pot-boilers. Twice Told Tales zeroes in on three stories (two are famous in their own rights:  “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “Rappuccini’s Daughter”). The third story in the trilogy-anthology is House of SevenGables, which was a novel, his usualmetier.

Two center on scientists who play God, trying to control human nature and life over death. In the first, Dr. Heidegger’s tale is altered seriously. It becomes a small cast melodrama, now set in a dark and stormy night. Sebastian Cabot and Price are aging in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth.

 In “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” he is a reclusive scientist who has filled his daughter with poison from a plant to make her separate from the normal business of social life. These are changed enough to be slick color TV specials of the era: about forty minutes each.

House of Seven Gablesis another known title, but hardly within the themes of the first two. Here, a house holds a mysterious presence of evil, rather than the people which include an heir played by Price again.  Richard Denning and Beverly Garland join him in this ghostly tale of hidden treasure.

They are not horrific much, slow-moving, and quite literary, hardly up to contemporary standards of horror and special effects. That may be their charm. If you want something that is neither the original Hawthorne story, nor a modern flashy horror, this is your movie.

Monster Cats

DATELINE: Monsterquest After Tweety Pie’s Nemesis!

  Not a Puddy Tat.

What’s new, Pussycat? We hate to be catty, but the latest episode of the monster search series is purrfect.

Monsterquest  had a bad Bigfoot problem, but is back on the winning track with its study of mysterious big cats in areas where they have been eradicated for over 100 years.  These are not your average puddy tats, Tweety Bird.

Yet, 25 miles north of New York City, a variety of black cat sightings leads the Monsterquest investigation to look for evidence. It does not take long to find claw marks and footprints. With abundant deer to hunt, the experts believe that a black leopard is likely there.

Many witnesses have reported seeing black cats, leopards or jaguars, not native to the area, cavorting the woods. Attacks are growing more frequent with people keeping even 400-pounds cats in their apartments!

Armed with a DNA gun to extract a sample, they plan to use nightfall and infra-red cameras to locate the feline beasts. Good luck with that.

Other initiatives include revealing that six states in the US allow dangerous cats as pets. These monsters often can escape or are let loose when too big. They are particularly dangerous because of in-breeding.

The series reveals that DNA of caged cats indicate that these animals are more dangerous than those raised in the wild.

There is a passing reference to koo-koo bird people as seen in Tiger King, who keep these tigers and lions as pets. Roy and Siegfried learned their lesson in 2004 when one of their Las Vegas cats turned on them and paralyzed, nearly killing Roy.

With an investigation outside a major urban area, this show certainly could be called unnerving.

 

 

 

 

 Fright Night Revisited

DATELINE:  Vampire Classic from ’80s

Sarandon & Jeffreys

Has it really been 35 years since Fright Night rejuvenated modern vampires?

It was Tom Holland who wrote and directed it, looking like a B-movie for TV show of the week, apart from the nudity now and then. By today’s cable movie standards, this is rough, however still holds up as entertainment with a modern twist.

Two points of amusement remain unflappable: Roddy MacDowell and Stephen Jeffreys. They survive in name for sheer wacky performances. MacDowell plays an aging movie star who used to play vampire hunters in his heyday, and Jeffreys plays a teenage Jack Nicholson on uppers. He later reneged Hollywood to do gay adult films for a while, though that is now denied with a half-baked story that it was his evil twin brother.

The vampire is demure and stately Chris Sarandon, looking like he wandered into the wrong California suburb. Yes, the vampire has taken a house in a Leave It to Beaverpart of town where you can peer into the next-door windows. It seems like he’s asking for teenage trouble.

Stephen Jeffreys steals the big scenes: he becomes clearly the gay victim of Sarandon’s vampire. His two delicious scenes are with Roddy as they battle.

For MacDowell with his hair fake-frosted, this was a last grand role, and he makes the most of it. Director Holland was lucky to have the veteran star in his movie.

There is no scrimping on special effects at the finish, and you have a sunny California vampire tale.

The film was originally set to star Vincent Price, not McDowall, and Anthony Michael Hall, not Jeffreys. And, we still haven’t figured out what Sarandon’s boyfriend is supposed to be.

In the whatever happened mode, William Ragsdale is the star juvenile lead. He’s cookie-cutter good enough. Yet, he is thrown up against two scene-stealing actors who rob him of the movie. The film is considered a classic nowadays.

Monster Quest Returns

DATELINE: Favorite Back After Hiatus

“Serpentine Creatures,”  is the new special from the old classic series Monsterquest  that concluded its four-year run a few seasons ago. You can’t keep a good monster down, unless he is hiding under water.

Since Loch Ness has been done to death and debunk, the show moves on to other copycat sea creatures that have become landlocked in lakes since the dawn of prehistory.

We always liked the old series that took a serious attempt to uncover the stories behind some outlandish reports. And, now it has returned for a limited time on History Channel. Catch it for a mesmerizing few shows.

To investigate newer phenomena, the show does a ping-pong between the two coasts of Canada, ignorning Nessie and Champie entirely. We are given relatively new information about Ogopogo in British Columbia and Cressie in Newfoundland.

The theory espoused by more reputable scientists, not those who call themselves crypto-scientists, is that these are giant eels about twenty or thirty feet in length—and still ferocious.

Ogopogo is highly active with a half-dozen sightings every year still—and the show’s producers think their best chance to catch something is here. At least one expert wants to extract a tissue sample for DNA. Good luck, there.

Perhaps the best expert is author Arlene Gaal who has written three books on the subject and sounds down-to-earth and reputable.

The Monsterquest teams seem highly inept. They know what they are supposed to do, but helicopters do not arrive when called—and divers mysteriously go silent in the deep. Perhaps it is part of fake suspense for the audience, but the real result is sheer contempt for the half-baked efforts.

Oh, nothing is found—but they promise to return because you know there is a creature hiding there in the underwater caves and sinkholes. And, yes, we will likely return to watch again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earthquakes on Apocalypse Earth

DATELINE: Movers & Shakers

 1994, California.

The apocalyptic hits just keep coming. This week we find ourselves horrified and terrified by the notion that if volcanoes and tornadoes don’t get us, we will sink into the Earth during a quake on the doomsday series from History called Apocalypse Earth.

In fact, this is the best episode so far of the series, featuring only earthquakes in the United States. It is a catalogue of rare photos and film, going back to the earliest recorded damages. California is the main hotspot, with documented deaths and damage from the 1850s. The more famous events in San Francisco, are actually secondary to the continuing quakes in Los Angeles.

The 1933 event and 1971 event are compared to the 1994 Northridge shaker that brought down famously overpasses, crushing occupants in their basement garages or highways.

With about 100 quakes every day, most unfelt, the dangers of living along the California coast may be a warning from this program. However, like those millions living in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, the Los Angelenos are impervious and likely believe it will hold off for another generation.

Scientists intersperse the scenes with basic explanations of why buildings collapse and the underground topography.

We expected to see massive destruction at the old ball game in 1989, but when the reports came to New York and Boston, we took personal notice. In 1757 even Boston had a major earthquake.

After leading viewers to believe the special was about the US, you had scenes (horrific) of Haiti in 2010 and Mexico where primitive building codes never considered plate tectonics.

The climax is the New Madrid earthquake of 1811, the longest running, largest quake ever in the United States, lasting over a month with at least three major shocks and a thousand minor ones. With no cameras, only a few handwritten accounts survived. However, Memphis and St. Louis may be the heirs to a future bleak shock.

Staggering stuff, but there was no discussion of Alaskan quakes, and that was a great omission.

Trump’s New Doctor Expert

DATELINE: Demons & Dr. Stella

Dr. Stella Immanuel.

Before you can say that it proves he isn’t misogynist, you should look more deeply at the female pediatrician that holds a  license for medicine—and is now the expert Trump most trusts.

It seems that Dr. Stella Immanuel is going along with the hare-brained ideas of Trump. That’s enough for him. You know, he likes women if they are insane or child molesters. Just ask Ghislaine Maxwell, buddy and crony of Jeffrey Epstein.

When pressed at a news conference about her claims that there is a secret cure for COVID-19 and not to wear masks, Trump said he knew nothing about her personally, but she is an important voice.

He then walked away from the media, refusing to answer any more questions. It sounded a great deal like his support for Ghislaine, a woman he met hundreds of times, but of whom he knew nothing about her crimes.

In case you missed it, Dr. Immanuel has been re-tweeted by the Tweeter Bird in Chief without much concern for her other medical ideas. That’s demon sperm you must avoid. The incubus is among us.

Quackery is not merely consigned to the White House. Dr. Immanuel believes that warts are caused by dreams of having sex with the devil or demons.

More to the point, Trump’s expert on cornonavirus thinks that space aliens are directly responsible for many of the ills that are besetting humans. All this from a man who appeared on Ancient Aliens and Unidentified to dismiss the idea of UFOs invading our world.

There appears to be a disconnect in Trump’s world. Well, there is a disconnect in Trump’s brain. So, we should not be surprised that the stable genius is having stability problems.

Next time you hear a voice crying out, “Stella! Stella!,” it will not be Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire, but a president in an Election named Catastrophe.

 

 

Dubious Tribute to Olivia De Havilland

DATELINE: Worst Movie of Her Career

Caged Lady!

Leave it to Amazon Prime to honor the memory and career of Olivia De Havilland with the worst movie she ever made.  Long forgotten, Lady in a Cage,  is one of those 1960s hag horror movies made after Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

This features Miss De Havilland who recently passed as age 104 in her attractive, dignified middle-age as a poet trapped in her million-dollar mansion in a private elevator. She is beset upon by a gaggle of horror creatures called in the trailer: the psycho, the wino, the hustler, the weirdo and the wildo.  No kidding. These low-lifes do not rescue Miss DeHavilland, but torment, torture, and drive her to the edge of insanity.

This passed for entertainment.

The following year De Havilland replaced Joan Crawford in the Bette Davis murder horror called Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte,a truly dignified and marvelous murder horror. This warm-up is a cold turkey.

In Ryan Murphy’s miniseries, Feud,about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, there is a scene where Miss De Havilland tosses the script for Lady in a Cage into her trash. Apparently, she changed her mind and agreed to contractual terms. Did she need the money? Was the limelight as star so great that she tossed away all semblance of taste?

All we know is that she chose to make this horror, which horrified us.

The supporting cast is equally shocking: there is Ann Sothern, who had just come off ten years as a TV comedy sit-com star. She apparently had no scruples and appears as a fat, middle-aged prostitute. Another wasted actor was Rafael Campos whose career was playing Puerto Rican slimeballs in movie after movie. His talent was never treated properly, and in his movie debut, there is James Caan as the head monster, looking and acting like Marlon Brando. He is a young lookalike here, and ten years later ended up playing Brando’s son in The Godfather.

We do not recommend this travesty of movie shocks. If you are curious, watch the preview in which demure, attractive De Havilland as herself, talks about the message of the movie: apparently under the surface we are all animals.

Yikes.

Trump Wins Pedophile Voters

DATELINE: Well wishes for child molester!

 Trump & Dear Friend.

If he’s not encouraging assassins to shoot Obama appointees to the judiciary, President Donald Trump is sending his best wishes to accused pedophile procurers. His old friend Ghislaine is rotting in jail for procuring hundreds of girls for a sex ring with Jeffrey Epstein.

Yes, you heard him on national TV as he offered jailed Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator his fondest (frankly) wishes for a bright future. You may wonder why. But Trump told us that too: he knew “them” in Palm Beach. They all lived there in cozy proximity.

Trump admitted he met “them” many times. So much for Clinton meeting them four times. Them, in case you are curious, usually refers to a couple or a married couple. Whatever Trump knows about their private lives, he knows Epstein and Ghislaine were a team.

He professed to know nothing about the pedophilia case involving hundreds of teenage girls. Yet, his Secretary of Labor was the prosecutor who let Epstein off the hook in Florida and was later rewarded by Trump with an appointment in the Cabinet.

When Azar resigned, he did so because of Jeffrey Epstein and mentioned it at a press conference with Trump standing next to him. Apparently, your POTUS has memory or mental acuity troubles.

A few fake investigative journalists like Mother Jonessaw nothing odd about this. We beg to differ (of course).

What dog whistle tune is he sending to Ghislaine Maxwell?  She is about to blow the whistle on Prince Andrew (Trump is like Sgt. Schultz, he knows nothing), and President Clinton. The third member of the jeopardized triangle is Trump.

He is sending best wishes to let Ghislaine know that a commutation is in the works if she keeps his name out of the shenanigans and felonies.

Oh, please, Trump has already commuted one felon (Roger Stone) and Ghislaine would sit pretty if she kept her mouth shut about certain famous, powerful people.

So, best wishes to child molesters from Trump. He needs their votes in the upcoming election. From Trump’s lips to every 14-year old victim.

 

 

 

Another Trump Supporter & Assassin!

DATELINE: Den Hollander

In case you missed it, another killer (Roy Den Hollander) is a trump supporter. The man who tried to kill an appointed Obama judge Esther Salas, but only managed to kill her teenage son and shoot her husband, was a Trump fanatic.

How many of these killers in the past two years seem to be working under the aegis of Preisdent Trump’s agenda. This anti-feminist shooter (the polite way of avoiding to say he was for Trump’s agenda) probably has a MAGA hat somewhere in his closet, but police won’ discuss his motives.

He killed himself, which may be the best solution for failed Trump fanatics. Usually they try to kill themselves by refusing to wear a face mask and trying to spread the corona virus.

You can expect Trump apologists will say he is not responsible for deranged followers. Yet, he sends storm troopers into Portland, Oregon, and incites racist rhetoric for Confederate causes. Well, that is hardly the work of independent followers. They are responding to the dog whistle, as apologists like to say.

How many more killers will attempt to subvert the Constitution, undercut the judiciary, and stop the next presidential election? You can bet your bottom dollar more is coming.

Oh, yes, the judge target, Salas, was also involved in Trump’s bank case (Deutsche Bank) where she found connections to the Jeffrey Epstein money laundering situation. They are all related, folks.

 

 

 

Racist? Not According to Hoyle or Trump!

DATELINE: A Rose by the Name of Racist?

 aka Karen?

Yes, you can be a virulent Nazi-styled genocidal racist, but just don’t let it slip out. For years, these closet racial purists have kept mum. Now they are emboldened to strike out at coronavirus masks and the old ladies who wear them.

We don’t share Harvard birder Chris Cooper’s charitable view that Amy aka Karen, the racist, has suffered enough.

These so-called “Karens,” (what an oddly almost-innocent sounding term) are ready to call the police on their smartphones and accuse any black birdwatcher of attacking and threatening.

You have these people filmed by witnesses, which is fairly damning, but they immediately issue an apology (through legal advice we suspect) and pronounce this aberration is not proof they are racist.

But they are!

We seem to be in a world where self-knowledge is about as far-fetched as Trump’s SAT scores. Deny, deny, deny, and then claim the Nazis are those who don’t want to die of coronavirus and want people to show some humanity.

In America in the 21stcentury there is no educated redneck. They are illiterate slobs only interested in the next beer and football game. These are all civil libertarians ready to defend their freedom against science, medicine, and common sense.

You may have a sense that the Black Death was perpetuated by the same idiocy—but the world of the United States is a special location in history that may self-destruct owing to its own hubris.

So, next time a Karen or Ken mouths off some vile race-baiting hate, you know they are part of the effort to destroy the greatest experiment in liberty and freedom in the history of the world. And, their fearless leader is the one who thinks he belongs on Mt. Rushmore with a couple of other slave-holders, a monument created by a KKK sympathizer (sort of like Trump’s father).

 

 

 

Trump’s Heart of Darkness

Behind Trump’s Hitler persona, there lurks the heart of Josef Stalin.

The POTUS called governors of the states “weak.”  He wants to crack down on protestors by putting them in jail for ten years so “we never see this stuff again.”

Now we know why he wanted to buy Greenland, he was planning on turning it into a gulag where all political dissidents would be housed.

It isn’t enough to round up illegal immigrants and throw them into prison without due process, he now wants to either shoot American citizens or lock them up. Oh, where have we heard that mantra before?

If anyone needs to be locked up in a looney bin, it is Trump.

Never mind the Constitutional guarantees of free assembly or speech. The only right he believes in is having a gun to shoot people on Fifth Avenue.

If the sociopathic nature of Trump were located in the heart of Jack the Ripper we would not be surprised. He is nothing short of a billionaire twin of Robert Durst. He is the emotional twin of Jeffrey Epstein. If it does not please him, he plucks it out.

He loves to quote racist rants of the 1950s and 1960s that is music to the ears of his racist supporters. We have never met a racist who knew what it was or thought it was all that important. Self-knowledge is impossible to an idiot.

He hunkers down in his bunker like Hitler during his last ten days. And he calls out to his vicious dogs and deadly weapons to smite his enemies.

Can it be that Trump’s insanity has grown worse? Those who defend racism as a minor infraction are quick to join the genocidal gang that want to unmask oldsters and give them coronavirus. The rest of the unwanted ranks can be killed in the streets.

Trump values the heart of the dollar more than the human heart.

Trump Has Malaria?

 DATELINE: Whatever Ails You?

 Happy Halloween!

Trump has boasted this week that he is taking an anti-malaria drug, using it as a preventative for coronavirus. He now takes one pill of  hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin every day.

He also admitted that the White House doctor did not “recommend” the treatment. Indeed, the FDA warns about its dangers. Yet, Trump is not most people—and he has a little button in his brain not known to science that compels him to act however he wants. Has someone pushed that button again?

We are amused that the White House doctor would take a chance in prescribing a pill for the president that could cause him to have rapid heartbeats or a heart attack. Thus, if Trump died, the doctor could be called an assassin.

Trump actually may be the first president to assassinate himself.

 Under the circumstances, we wondered if the doctor was giving Trump a placebo of aspirin, unbeknownst to the world leader.

Blithely used in a blind study, Trump then goes on his merry way.

His insistence on using a malaria drug comes out of some Fox News story he must have heard. In any respect, he started taking  hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin right after a number of people in the White House started coming down with positive tests for novel coronavirus. It inspired Trump to try anything. His COVID came COD via his Veep.

Of course, there is a chance that Trump tested positive, and the White House lied to the press about the result. We are still not entirely satisfied he is healthy. He looks putrid lately.

Does SD Governor Advocate Genocide?

 Not Quite Eva Braun.

DATELINE: Coronavirus as Genocide

Hitler would have loved COVID-19.  It would have solved all his problems the natural way: through survival of the fittest.

By the same token, a group of American neo-crypto-Nazis have embraced the idea of opening the economy and letting the chips fall where they may. Even Trump admits there could be some deaths, but the greater good is money.

In South Dakota, the governor, a Trump Republican wants to wipe out those pesky Native Americans on their tribal grounds who have ordered quarantines. She has not and will take them to court to make them face the virus. Apparently, the woman governor believes the only good Indian is….well, we thought that went out in the 19th century.

By far, the people most susceptible to dying from coronavirus are blacks, Latinos, and immigrants. If that means your urban centers are thinned out, let the double death rate run its course.

A few intrepid protestors have insisted that the only people who should be in lockdown are those worthless oldsters over 60 whose usefulness to society is over. They now drain Social Security and medical benefits.

Lock them up. Next step will be to send in infected health aides to make sure they are housebound, bed-bound, and finally death-bound.

Why wait? Heaven is around the corner for all you breathless old-timers.

Yes, we can thin out the population and decrease the drain on society’s resources with a good pandemic. If you are gay and out of work, too bad: starve to death.

Food banks are bankrupt and you need to lose weight anyhow. Let coronavirus be the new fad diet.

 

 

 Travis Walton Story

DATELINE: Kidnapped by Aliens. 

 Two Famous UFO figures.

Apart from flashy Hollywood rendering or re-enactments on Ancient Aliens, it is refreshing to find a low-budget documentary that tries to explain what happened when the young Arizona logger was abducted by space aliens in the 1970s. This extraordinary film is called Travis.

With many newsreel footage, archival photos, and then interviews with aging witnesses, you have a real picture of the people who were frightened and terrorized by the events way back when.

As a bonus, there is Travis Walton himself, now explaining rationally the incredible experience he underwent. As his brother tells, Travis never pulled a practical joke in his life. Yet, many in Snowflake, his hometown, disbelieved him, thought he faked it all.

The young men were too blue-collar, too un-educated to have any credibility. They must have been on drugs or drunk out in the woods, after a day of clearing the Ponderosa pines. Their polygraphs were so honest that it would have been a million to one odds that their story was false.

Polygraphs, government intimidators, and the like, dog the men. The police cannot be blamed for trying to be objective and discover if there was a fraud. However, it was clear that no one wanted that kind of fame, or trouble.

The film is refreshing to say the least—and devoid of the usual “experts” pontificating (Richard Dolan excepted). Young Travis in 1975 came to the attention of two important people in UFO research: Dr. J. Allen Hyneck and Dr. Stanton Friedman.

 Going back to the area in 2014, researchers discovered that the trees exposed to radiation had grown in the direction of the source, jutting out weirdly. The other place this occurred was Chernobyl.

For most of his life Travis was vilified by hired guns of secret government agencies, so called debunkers like Phillip Klass, a paid character assassin. Walton is an articulate, intelligent, sensitive man who has suffered like Betty Hill, as the two most famous abductees in history of space aliens.

Most people who know, met, or dealt with Travis Walton consider him intelligent, fair, honest, and courageous. He is a man to whom a horrid experience was involuntarily put upon him. Few could have handled it with such grace under pressure.

 This is a sober, outstanding film that needed to be made for posterity.

Jim Jordan: Man without Country Pants

DATELINE: Sieg Heil!

 Man in White!

If you like your political theories salacious and unpleasant, please read on:

We have learned that Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan, defender of Trump to the death (and he’s not even from New Hampshire where “Live Free or Die,” are the new coronavirus watchwords.

You may recall Here Comes Mr. Jordan,a dead man walking movie, and you may recall Jim Jordan, a dead man defending Trump on impeachment. Racists deny their racism may be his motto.

During that high time, Jordan refused to wear a suitcoat. He wanted to flaunt protocol and fashion shense. It made him look like a white-shirted KKK agent in Congress. He lacked on the hood. He is no knight in shining armor, but more like a night rider.

Now we hear that he is refusing to wear a protective mask in Congress. Since he is always a danger to infect other people with whatever virus he carries, this is blatant disregard for humanity. His disrespect knows only the bounds of genocide. He would kill you in a heartbeat if you are a Democrat, an oldster, a black person, or of any color he despises.

Now we hear speculation that he refuses to wear undies. Yes, beneath the surface is a naked ugly truth about Jim Jordan. He has no panties, women’s or otherwise.

Should we be alarmed that the emperor has no clothes or underclothes? It’s to be expected when you wear white robes and matching hood every night.