While all that Hubrisween stuff was going on, I suddenly felt the craving for a movie experience much less solitary. A need to inflict suffering on others. I felt the need for an all-horror Crapfest (well, Crapfests are sort of predicated on horror, but that’s a larger issue). By and large, the call was answered.
Except on the day, Paul and the Other David begged off, citing Ebola, because that will never not be hilarious. Alan had a matinee performance -O, cursed work ethic! – which left it down to me, Dave, Rick, Erik and Mark. We brought enough food for the original horde, so there were plenty of leftovers.
We began with a collection of Halloween cartoons curated by yours truly. I’ll make a perfunctory pass through YouTube, but I don’t hold much hope for finding any of them (and if I did, they’d be taken down within a month), so here’s a list:
- Bimbo’s Initiation (1931) – a sort of proto-Betty Boop short
- Scaredy Cat (1948) – Porky & Sylvester vs murder mice, and not for the last time
- The Mad Doctor (1933) – Mickey Mouse. Disney was scarring young minds way before Snow White
- Water Water Every Hare (1952) – Mad doctors again, this time with Bugs Bunny
- Snow White (1933) – but this time with Betty Boop and Cab Calloway
- Have You Got Any Castles (1938) – Musical earworm involving books, included for an appearance by Mr. Hyde, Fu Manchu, the Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein’s Monster. And dammit, because I love this cartoon.
- The Haunted House (1929) – Mickey Mouse again, and some skeletons who just want to party.
- Broomstick Bunny (1956) – Bugs Bunny, obviously, and the debut of Witch Hazel.
Okay, color me corrected (and hopefully these won’t disappear in a few weeks):
(I think I really love Have You Got Any Castles because it assumes a certain amount of cultural awareness on the part of its audience.)
This was before the switch off Daylight Savings Time, so we were still waiting for the sun to go down that the true horror could begin. It was best to go with something short, I thought, so Dwain Esper’s 1934 Maniac got the nod. Here’s the clip everyone recognizes, quoted in It Came From Hollywood:
Now here is something about Crapfest that really, I get my nose rubbed in repeatedly: subtlety is wasted, and this is the first and last time you are going to hear Maniac accused of subtlety. But so much of its charm and outrageousness is dependent on declamatory acting better suited to an 1890 stage, florid dialogue ditto, and shocking 1934 nudity excused on the flimsiest educational intertitles possible – that gets lost in the raucous atmosphere. This always happens, except for Bugs Bunny, who gets reverent silence.
It was now dark enough for the true nastiness to begin, so I trotted out Night Train to Terror. We’ve been here before, you and I, and we know that this movie is a cheapjack Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors made of cut-up versions of two previously released movies and one that was unfinished, so the usual Crapfest cry of “What’s happening?” was totally justified. But outside of the double-casting of Richard Moll giving Rick purchase for a desperate attempt to show Evilspeak again as part of a “Richard Moll Film Festival”, the best part was… well, what I did find on YouTube was an edited version that incorporates all the parts of Night Train to Terror that had Rick shrieking like a little girl:
But God is All-Merciful, except toward haters, so He resurrects the band for one more round of “Dance With Me” for the closing credits. The screams of outrage in the room were incredible.
Dave then put something up on the screen for “the break”. Speaking of lessons never learned during Crapfests, nobody ever takes a break during “the break”. The psychology of this is beyond me, except in this case: I was held spellbound by this; I had no previous idea it existed, and it is absolutely delightful. It’s Music Box With A Secret, a piece of Soviet animation heavily influenced by Yellow Submarine – itself a heavy influence on yours truly as a child – and…
…well, just hit full screen on this. You will not regret it.
Dave, you never get to look at one of my entries and sneer, “This is quality, it has no place here” again, because this is top-notch stuff.
He followed it up with Prisencolinensinainciusol, which I love. If you’ve been under a rock for the last few years (as were, apparently, many of our attendees) this was a song written by Italian performer Adriano Celentano, to demonstrate what a popular English song would sound like to a non-English speaker.
Didn’t get that? Fine. So we watched it again.
(I was nice and advanced it past the Italian introduction. I assure you Dave was not that merciful.) (Videos of this song keep being taken down and put back up. Maybe these two versions will survive more than five minutes)
Then, since no one took “the break”, Dave unspooled his entry, a movie which has as many names as Legion: Dark Eyes, Fury of the Succubus, Demon Rage, Demon Seed, but in this case, Satan’s Mistress, starring Natalie Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, and her Moonpie-sized areola.
This was a case when I was one of the people yelling “What’s going on?”, and it wasn’t because of the vodka, either. It was mainly because there is no there there. Lana is at her beach house with her husband, who does… something for a living. She moves into her own bedroom because she “needs room” and “needs time”, mainly because a dark figure keeps visiting her in the night for salacious purposes. So you’ve got your Satan, and you’ve got a lot of mistress-ing going on, and some dime store divorce drama. And Britt Ekland as a concerned friend who Satan nearly roasts in a hot tub.
Did I mention the beach house has a basement, which for some reason, contains suits of armor and a guillotine? Do beach houses even have basements? In any case, Britt’s hubby winds up afoul of the guillotine, and at his funeral John Carradine jobs in for a day as a priest who urges Britt and Lana’s husband to fight the evil in the beach house but not to “fall prey to their illusions”. Britt falls prey to their illusions and burns for it, but hubby stands strong, and apparently making your saving roll to disbelieve is all it takes to conquer Old Scratch. That’s worth remembering, write it down.
There’s not much video to be found from this flick (which sort of tells the story, right there), but leave it to Mr. Skin to post a NSFW clip of Ms. Wood in the altogether. It did pretty much sum up the production, which is probably why, like Prisencolinensinainciusol, it did not hang around long. So here’s the opening two minutes, complete with public domain scream sound effects…
So I didn’t feel at all bad about concluding the evening with a movie that had been asked for ever since its trailer showed up in a compilation: The Super Inframan. Mark complained that I was really stretching the definition of horror here, but dammit, it’s wall-to-wall monsters. What’s more Halloween than that? The fact that the monsters know kung fu just illustrates why this is known as the finest movie ever made.
“Six million light years beyond believability!” also sort of tells the tale, there.
Well. the holidays beckon. Chances that we will get in another Crapfest this year are pretty slim (even if my venerable VHS of The Magic Christmas Tree keeps trying to claw its way out of the storage box), so this may just have to carry us into the New Year. So long, fellow voyagers on the good ship Crap. It’s been fun.
Next time I’ll bring more Bugs Bunny.
Future Freex Weighs In: Turns out it wasn’t in a storage box at all. It was hiding: