Spookytown! The Most Haunted House?

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

Everyone has a ghost story and everyone, even if you don’t want to admit it, knows at least one house that they think is haunted. Maybe you haven’t told anyone. Maybe you just pass that house every day and say it in your own head. Many won’t admit it, because they’ve been conditioned to believe that ghosts aren’t real, yet… that rundown house on the corner creeps you out, every, single, time, you pass it and you have questions.

I recently talked about houses in the hometown I grew up in, and in the future, I’m going to talk about the houses in the neighbourhood I live in. For now, I’m want to talk about the most haunted houses in Toronto and I have to tell you, trying to find information on them is impossible! When you Google “Most haunted house in Toronto”, you get the same list over and over again. McKenzie House, Spadina House, Colbourne Lodge, Christie House etc… etc… etc… which is all fine and good, but I want to know about an actual residence. I want to hear ghost stories from those who live in them. In the 1990’s, I had a lot of books about haunted Toronto and haunted Ontario. They had a wealth of information and you would think in the world of tomorrow… search engines would at least give something up for us, but no… I’ve gone back to books.

As I mentioned, even to this day, books can be your best resource and the Toronto Public Library, your best friend. One of my favourtie authors is still John Robert Columbo. If you want to learn more about haunted Toronto/Ontario/Canada, pick up or borrow one of his many books. Danielle Urquhart was also an incredible source, as well as her ghost walks I went on back in the 1990s. Another good source is Terry Boyle. Oh boy… now I’m getting nostalgic for a good old fashioned ghost walk. Richard Fiennes Clinton I’m looking at you! As soon as Covid is over, I will be back to participating in the many ghost walks Toronto has to offer!

In the 90’s I lived on a street here in Toronto called Huntley Street. On the corner of Huntley and Shelby is a row of beautiful, Victorian townhouses. There was always something about one of them that creeped me out and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was deep into my haunted Toronto research and came across this entry at torontoghosts.org (thankful this website is still up). This one post sent me down a long and deep rabbit hole. There have been other stories of odd experiences in the house, including a few different fires that occurred over the years. Is this the most haunted house in Toronto. Absolutely not! I want to find that house! I want to learn about the history of that house and I want to write about that house.

I’m sure you are asking me, how am I going to do that? A combination of research and help from you! I want to hear your Toronto ghost stories. I want you to share this article. I want you to send other people with Toronto ghost stories my way. I want to write about the most haunted residence in Toronto. I do ask that you don’t send me stories about already well known places like The Keg, McKenzie House, Casa Loma etc. I want to only know about residences.

Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada!

Oh Canada! How we forget about the amazing and amazingly bad movies you’ve made! The thing is, we shouldn’t be forgetting about the movie industry of our truly wonderful country. Some of my all time favourite movies have been made here and I think I need to talk more about them. I’ve decided to add a new series to Queens of Schlock called Oh Canada. For this post I am going to give an overview of some of my favourites and then upcoming, I will talk about specific movies, actors or directors.

What sparked this? We recently watched Frankenstein On Campus. A gem from 1970 that was shot in Toronto. It stars Robin Ward. Robin Ward was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. I will have an upcoming post about him as well. The thing is, we live in a country with so, so many talented film makers and actors. We need to be watching way more Canadian content than we actually do. I remember watching a lot of Canadian horror in the 1970s and 1980s and being so much more creeped out by it than our American counterparts. One of my all-time favourite Christmas horror movies to watch is Black Christmas. I watch it every single year!

As someone who tried her hand at acting and who has many friends in the film industry, it is high time we start talking a lot more about Canadian film. The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly.

Click here for a list of a few dozen movies you should be checking out!

Currently, these are some of my top Canadian made films. Much of it is low budget, but all if it is awesome! What are your favourite Canadian made movies? What classic Canadian films do you suggest I watch?

Frankenstein On Campus (1969) This movie stars one of my all-time favourite Canadian actors, Robin Ward.

Blood & Donuts (1995)  is a 1995 Canadian super natural comedy horror film directed by Holly Dale, written by Andrew Rai Berzins, and starring Gordon Currie and Helene Clarkson. David Cronenberg plays a cameo role as the local crime boss.

Black Xmas (1974) This is part of my yearly Yule tradition. I watch this movie, every single year!!!

Cannibal Girls (1973) There are lots of recognizable faces in this movie, especially if you are a fan of SCTV and the Hilarious House of Frightenstein. Anyone recognize Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy and Fishka Rais. 

The 1970s and 1980s were also huge for Canadian horror movies, especially those made by David Cronenberg. Below is a list of a few of my favourites. (no all are by Cronenberg)

Scanners (1981)

Rabid (1977) This movie freaked me out as a kid.

Dead Ringers (1988)

Videodrome (1983)

The Brood (1979)

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976) Raise your hand if you recognize a young Jody Foster.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Spookytown! Haunted Ontario

As we creep up to the most spooktacular time of the year, we are all likely itching to get out to Fall events. In the before times, I would usually be seeing invites or posts about all of the spooky haunted houses and Halloween events that would be happening in October. One of my favourite things to do in October is go to as many of them as I can… this year… well. We all know what 2020 has brought us. I will be sticking close to home and keeping an eye out for Social Distancing events. Each year High Park puts on a wonderful Ghost Walk and tour of Colbourne Lodge. I’m hoping it still happens. We will also be doing a tour of the front lawn decorations and of course our annual walk over to Halloween House!

It makes my black heart sad that Halloween for the most part won’t be quite the same. There is a huge possibility that Trick or Treating might be cancelled as well. My favourite part of Halloween, as a kid was dressing up and going door to door in my neighbourhood. I feel for all of the kids who may miss out this year.

Once we are out of the pandemic, I want to take ghost walks a little further. I want to actually figure out my own ghost adventure in other parts of Ontario. It’s a great way to see my own province and even take it on the road to other provinces.

Though, they aren’t quite the same, I’m hoping a few virtual ghost tours also happen during the month of October. I’d be more than happy to go on a few of those. If you want to go on your own, I am going to write a bit below on places for you to read about. Mostly, there will be a bunch of links to follow or books I suggest, heck, I will even throw in a few podcasts and YouTube videos.

Ghost Towns and Lost Villages Ontario boasts that it has many ghost towns. There is even a website dedicated to them. Click here to see the list. I have also provided a few other websites below.

https://www.blogto.com/city/2016/04/5_ghost_towns_to_explore_near_toronto/

https://www.narcity.com/travel/ca/on/toronto/10-creepy-but-beautiful-ghost-towns-you-can-visit-in-ontario

This one is an extensive list. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ghost_towns_in_Ontario

This link also includes great resources.
https://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/local-history-genealogy/2019/10/ghost-towns-of-ontario.html

https://www.ghosttowns.com/canada/ontario/ontario.html

https://www.ontarioabandonedplaces.com/

Podcasts

https://hauntedwalk.com/podcasts/

Videos

Websites To Explore

https://southeasternontario.ca/haunted-waterway-12-locations-ghost-hunting-paranormal-intrigue/

https://www.toronto.com/things-to-do/haunted-places-in-ontario/

https://www.narcity.com/travel/ca/on/toronto/these-are-the-most-haunted-spots-in-ontario-that-you-must-road-trip-to-this-fall

https://www.insauga.com/5-most-haunted-houses-in-mississauga

Books I Suggest

https://www.biblio.com/ghost-towns-of-ontario-by-brown-ron/work/153391

https://www.dundurn.com/books/Haunted-Hamilton

Ghost Walks of Southern Ontario These are only a few ghost walks. There are many, many more. Please post others in the comments section.

https://ghostwalks.com/

https://hauntedwalk.com/

https://muddyyorktours.com/

https://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/2981098-walk-with-ghosts-in-bronte-park/

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g154999-d1119850-Reviews-Ghost_Walks-Niagara_on_the_Lake_Ontario.html

Queen of Schlock! Bad Ass Women: Tura Satana

Tura Satana. Oh how I love thee. Let me name the ways. I love your badassery in Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, your martial arts prowess in The Doll Squad and your careless whimsy as you off your enemies in Astro Zombies (though… sadly not my favourite of your movies), not to mention that amazing pink cutout dress! Your style, your flare, your sass.

For those who don’t know who this badass woman is (how dare you), here is a little blurb from Wikipedia.

Satana was born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaidō, Japan. Her father was a Japanese silent movie actor of Filipino descent, and her mother was a circus performer of Native American (Cheyenne) and Scots-Irish background. After the end of World War II and a stint in the Manzanar internment camp in Lone Pine, California, Tura and her family moved to Chicago.

Tura Satana studied martial arts since she was a child (sadly, due to being sexually assaulted as a child – she later sought out all of her attackers and got revenge), as a teenager she formed a girl gang and as a result was sent to reform school, at the age of 13 she was forced into a marriage to a 17 year-old boy by her parents, at the age of 15 she moved to Los Angeles and using a fake I.D. she became a burlesque dancer, was romantically linked to Elvis and was convinced by Harold Lloyd (yes that Harold Lloyd – silent screen star) to become an actress. Tura was an incredible and fascinating woman. I would have loved to have met her.

In my own opinion, I always hoped that Tura Satana had a longer career. Her screen presence was undeniable. After the movie The Doll Squad, she lived through the tragedy of a former lover shooting her. She stopped acting for a few decades because of it, returning in 2004 to make a couple more Astro Zombie movies. Thankfully, she did the comicon circuit, allowing new generations to appreciate her! There is a documentary being made about her and I hope it gets released one day.

A few of her other roles were in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., Irma La Douche, and the sequels to Astro Zombie.

My two all time favourite movies are Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and The Doll Squad. She is beyond a total badass in both of those movies. We recently had a movie night in our backyard, a way to get our Killer B Cinema fix, while socially distancing with our neighbours. It was a first time viewing of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for everyone else who joined us. If you haven’t seen either of these movies, go do it now! I’m posting either trailers or full movies below.

The Astro Zombies (1969)

The Doll Squad (1973)

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Spookytown! My Halloween Traditions

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

Ever since I was a kid, there were several things that would happen as part of the lead up to Halloween. Figure out our costumes, go with our Mom to buy the Halloween candy, figure out where Mom hid the Halloween candy (which we never found, she was really good at hiding it. I’m sure she still has to), help Mom bag the candy while trying to steal some of the candy and watch lots and lots of Halloween cartoons. Of course my Dad had a tradition of raiding our candy as soon as we went to bed after Trick or Treating. “Reeses Peanut Butter Cups… no kids, you didn’t have any of those in your Halloween candy…” Anyone else’s parents do that? I’m sure all families have one parent that does.

That feeling I had as a kid has never left me… ever. Each year I do a bunch of things starting October 1st. I already mentioned that I still watch cartoons (in this post), especially, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I also like to watch several movies leading up to the night, but for a really, really long time viewing Carrie the Halloween Eve tradition, along with The Exorcist, and Halloween.

A few other cartoons/animation I didn’t mention in my previous post are Mad Monster Party (I highly recommend this one), The Nightmare Before Halloween and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I also love to read gothic horror throughout the month October, starting with my all time favourite Edgar Allan Poe. I still read The Raven, every single year!

I also still love to plan my costume and dress up, even if we aren’t going to a party. Heck, one of my all time favourite things to STILL do, is walk around my neighbourhood to see all of the decorations and check out what the kiddies are dressed up as. I’ve lived in apartments for such a long time, that I haven’t given out candy for decades. Maybe one day we will finally be able to afford our dream house, a spooky Victorian, then I can dress it up and give out bags of sugary loot! A ghoul can dream!

Another tradition growing up, was to carve a pumpkin! (then leave it out for the local critters to munch on afterwards) Another down fall from living in an apartment is I had no where to put our orange art piece. I’m considering carving a few this year and leaving them out front anyway. Considering the year we’ve been having, I need to ramp up a bit this year for my favourite day.

Another tradition, has been to take a stroll or two in a cemetery. I haven’t been able to do it for the last few years and I really miss it. Two years ago, we got married in October, so we were a bit busy, then last year we were in Japan for the month of October. I’m hoping this year we can squeeze a walk in. I’ve mentioned it in a few other posts, but our good friend runs the Toronto Cemetery Tours and she will be doing a few walks over the next month.

I’m looking forward to our Halloween traditions and to adding a few new ones. What are your Halloween traditions?

Queen of Schlock! The Movies I Just Can’t Get Through

We all have them. Books we couldn’t read to the end, television series we quit watching partway through a season and movies we just can’t watch to the end. I watch a lot of movies and I make every effort, no matter how bad the movie is, to watch it all the way through. No. Matter. How. Bad. It. Is! I love bad movies. I especially love really bad movies. However, there are a few I cannot, no matter how hard I try, finish watching.

I also want to make it clear that I’m not slagging the makers of these movies. I’m sure when they were making the movie, that they had a hit on their hands. I love movie makers who are so incredibly dedicated to their craft that they see it through to the end. It’s why I love Ed Wood Jr. so much. I find movie makers like this inspiring. It’s just… some movies are just not watchable. At least the ones I talk about below, are not watchable for me. If you loved them, kudos. We all have different tastes.

Chai Lai is a 2006 Thai action film about five female top-secret crimefighters. The movie is a Thai knock off of Charlie’s Angels. I love knock off movies made by other countries. I love seeing their take on the movie. It’s why we show so many Turkish knock-off movies at Killer B Cinema. This one though…. oh boy. It was not good. At one point I asked my husband how much time was left, I thought we must be getting towards the end, and when he said 43 minutes, I told him, I was out. I was so hopeful for this one. It had action and cheese. I love cheese. The biggest issue was it was impossible to follow. Even if it’s a horrible movie, there needs to be something that helps you follow along. Anything! I can make it through a Neil Breen movie and those never make sense, so it says a lot that I couldn’t make it through this one!

The trailer to the movie honestly makes it look like an awesome movie… don’t be fooled by the trailer.

The Wild Women of Wongo (1958) Someone… actually recommended this one to me. They thought since it was so bad, I’d enjoy it. Well, they were right, it’s bad. So bad I was twenty minutes in and stopped watching it. The other night my husband saw it on YouTube and thought it looked fun and as soon as he started watching it, I picked up my phone and started scrolling through Instagram and explained why I wasn’t going to watch it again. That’s usually the sign that I’ve checked out of a movie. He lasted maybe ten minutes. In case you want to give it a try yourself, I’ve posted the full movie below.

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968) I really, really wanted to like this movie! It stars Mamie Van Doren. I love Mamie Van Doren. It’s also a Roger Corman Production and Roger is another of my favourite filmmakers. Sadly, it was another movie that I lasted about twenty minutes. To be completely honest though, I may not have been in the right frame of mind the day I tried to watch it and I am willing to give this one another try. If I do, I will report back.

Those are three of the recent movies that I couldn’t get through. What movie have you watched that you couldn’t watch to the end?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Spookytown! Freaks & Grimm {an excerpt or two}

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

For this week’s blog, I’m going to post a few excerpts for my finished novel Freaks & Grimm. This is the mini blurb for it. Carrie thought grade 9 was going to be different. That she would finally fit it. Then Grimm moved to town and her world completely changed. Both obsessed with the paranormal, they are about to go on a ghost hunting adventure they would never forget.

I had a lot of fun writing this novel and definitely was inspired by the many ghost stories told to me as a kid. Here are a few excerpts.

***

That morning Carrie didn’t join her family for breakfast. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes she just wanted to sleep in, other times, she just wanted to stay in her bed and read. At first her mother would try to force Carrie to come to the table for breakfast, eventually deciding it was easier to let her eat when she was ready. 

After eating a bowl of Cap’n Crunch with soy milk, Carrie decided she wanted to go for a walk, one that would take her right past the MacTavish Bed & Breakfast, as a sort of scouting mission to see if she could catch a glimpse of the new kid. She walked to the end of the block and sat on her neighbours rail fence. She was partially hidden by a large maple tree, but the house was completely visible to her. The house was an old Victorian mansion that was once owned by a shipping magnate. The town she grew up in was a shipping port in the early 1900s for the grain companies. Over time the house went from being a single-family home to a rooming house, then on two separate occasions a bed and breakfast. Maybe the new family would be using it that way as well. After twenty minutes of staring at the house, listening to squirrels fight, and waiting to be kicked off the fence, Carrie was about to give up and walk downtown when she saw him. He was tall and lanky and dressed head to toe in black. He had a haircut, just like the lead singer of The Cure.  He looked like he had just walked out of a Sandman comic. She looked away. At first, she didn’t want to look directly at him. She was afraid if she did, he would turn out to be an apparition, just like one of the ghosts in her beloved ghost stories. 

***

The movers unloaded the truck quickly, placing boxes and furniture in their designated spots.  Once Grimm’s father confirmed that everything was there, the movers tidied up, rolled up their rubber mats, were paid and left. Grimm’s father looked around at the boxed up contents and shook his head.  

“Guess we have more stuff than I thought we did”. Said Stewart.  

“Maybe the boxes multiplied like Gremlins in the truck.” Said Grimm.

“I think you’re right. Ok. I have no idea where anything is and don’t dare unpack the kitchen till your mother gets here. Let’s go find a place to eat and get some groceries.”

As they made their way to the car, Grimm caught a glimpse of someone across the street. He had to move away from the car to get a full view as a very large tree blocked out most of it. Perched on a rail fence that wrapped around the house across the street, sat a girl. She had dark, long hair, very pale skin and was all dressed in black. At first Grimm wasn’t sure she was even real. When she quickly got up and hurried away down the street, he knew she must be. He continued watching to see where she went, but was interrupted by his father.

“Are you getting in the car?”

“What? Ya Dad.”

“What were you looking at?” Inquired Stewart.

“A neighbour kid I think.”

“Did you wave hi?”

“No. They ran away.”

“Well maybe you will meet them on Monday when you go to school.”

Grimm hoped so as well. Suddenly, he was looking forward to his first day at his new high school.

***

The book was partially hidden under a pile of notebooks and loose papers. As Freaks grabbed hold of the book, the pile on top of it tumbled to the floor. She gasped, trying to grab the falling items, causing it to scatter all over the floor. She couldn’t believe how clumsy she had been. Freaks placed the book on the chair so it wouldn’t get lost amongst the mess. Bending down to pick up the pile that had fallen, Freaks noticed that a book, possibly a journal, was amongst the papers. The book itself looked old, worn. As if it had been read over and over again. She picked it up and quickly looked over her shoulder to make sure her father wasn’t nearby. She knew she shouldn’t have been snooping through Mr. Archer’s things but she had a lack of self control when curiosity took hold of her. She knew there had to be a reason why he’d been acting so strange the day that he had his panic attack.

“What’s taking you so long down there? You should have found that book by now.” Yelled down her father.

“I found it. I just need to tidy up a mess I accidently made. I knocked over some papers. I’ll be there in a minute.” Freaks responded.

“Take your time. I’m still having a heck of a time finding the clothes he has on this list. This guy seriously needs a housekeeper. This place is an absolute mess.”

“No kidding.” Said Freaks, as she looked around at the heaps of books and papers. Until now, she hadn’t noticed how messy the place really was. His office had stacks of newspapers on the floor and chairs. Along the floor and near the overstuffed bookshelves, there were stacks upon stacks of books in a variety of sizes and covers. Even the kitchen was a mess. Though there wasn’t any dirty dishes to be seen, the countertops were covered with a large number of canisters and more piles of books. On one section of the counter, there were dozens of boxes of tea. Every kind you could think of. Some boxes still had the cellophane on them. 

Freaks stood beside the desk holding the worn book in her hand. She didn’t know what to do. Should she just put it back on the desk where it originally was or should she open it up and look inside. Just like the garden she knew that this book likely held many secrets. Secrets she probably shouldn’t be allowing herself to know.  If she did, would she regret it?

“Hey Kiddo!  I think I found everything.” 

Freaks jumped. She had been so entranced by the book, she didn’t hear her father enter the room. 

“Geez Dad. You scared the cra….”

“What is that?”

“What?”

“That. The book you are holding.”

“Oh. Uh. I’m not sure. It fell on the floor.”

“Have you looked at it?”

“No.” 

“Looks like a diary.”

“Yes. Maybe.” 

“Were you going to look at it?”

“Maybe. Ya. I dunno.”

“Can I ask why?”

“Mr. Archer has been acting strange. I thought, maybe it would explain why.”

“Can I see it?”

Hesitating, Freaks handed her father the book. When he grabbed onto it, he stared at it momentarily, flipped it back and forth, inspecting the outside of it. Absentmindedly, Freaks continued to look around her, when she noticed a small box beside the desk. Wondering if they had also knocked it over, she grabbed the box, noticing that it was an old, yellow stained shoebox.

“It really does look like a diary doesn’t it. It looks old though. Don’t you think?” Said Robert.

“Ya. Maybe he’s had it for a while. Maybe we shouldn’t look at it.”

“Maybe.”

“Dad, what do you think this is?”

Robert looked up at Freaks and his eyes moved to the box. “Was the lid off?”

“Um. It kinda shifted when I picked it up.”

“Uh. Huh.” Retorted Robert. “Those look like letters.”

“Old letters.”

Freaks and her father stood in silence. Both wanting to open the book and the letters, neither taking the leap.  Taking a long breath and sighing Robert walked over to the desk with the intent on placing the book and the box back on the desk. 

“Where exactly did you find it?”

“It was under the pile of papers.”

“Which pile? The whole desk if a pile of papers.” 

“The pile on the left side.”

As Robert was shifting the papers, to stick the book underneath the pile, the book slipped from his hand and when it landed on the desk, it opened to the front page of the book. On the top right corner of the book was a name. Hester McGregor.

Almost in unison, Freaks and her Dad sang out, “Who’s Hester McGregor?”

Freaks looked down at the letters. “These are from a Joy Matherly.”

“McGregor? The McGregor’s owned the house on the corner. The one Grimm lives in.”

“Joy Matherly?”

Picking the book back up, Robert motioned to Freaks saying, “I’m not sure. Pull up a chair. We have some reading to do.”

***

Anne was four when she realized what she was seeing was otherworldly. None of it scared her. In fact they were playmates to her. Most of her days were filled with long, lonely hours. She had to be within sight of her mother, yet out of the way. Her mother ignored her constant chattering with persons who were not there. Well, not to her mother’s eyes. Anne had the constant companionship of three individuals. An older woman. Likely the first patriarch of the house, who passed away during a flu epidemic, an elderly gentleman, who was once the grounds keeper and a young boy. Anne never did figure out who he was. The young boy was only there for a short time, then stopped visiting Anne. At the time, she felt sad, as if she had been abandoned. Later in life she came to discover that sometimes spirits stick around, waiting for someone they loved or were attached to, to pass on. She figured he was waiting for his mother. The elderly man and woman stuck around, until Mr. McGregor died. They too, then disappeared. Something felt different that time. There was no peace to replace them. After that point, Anne felt uneasy in the house. The empty spaces felt as if they had been replaced with something malevolent. Something very wrong. 

Mr. McGregor, an awful, angry old man lived in a house filled with staff and no family. Mrs. McGregor had by then been forgotten in a home, no one even sure if she had passed on or still lingered amongst the beige walls of the institution. Her name was almost never mentioned. Especially after Hester vanished. 

Mr. McGregor’s business lost, he stewed in the darkness of his final days. No family, no friends and many enemies. Especially those who he’d not given a second thought when the doors to his shipping yard slammed shut on them. Left high and dry, they spit out his name in rage. They no longer cared to search for an innocent young girl who offended no one. They no longer cared about his implications of the young handsome man, who’d long vacated the town. No one believed Mr. McGregor and like those before him, he faded away. His negative anger however, stuck around. 

Anne could feel Hester everywhere she went, but only outside of the house. The sensation is the strongest, in a curving path, between the backyards of the carefully manicured Victorian homes. Anne was pulled to follow, but her worry of upsetting her mother stronger. She was still a child and her mother’s concern. A mother who returned to the madman’s employment when all others had completely abandoned him, she felt she had to keep an eye on her child at all times.

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Caroline Munro

Everyone’s favourite b-movie bombshell is one of my all-time favourite b-movie actresses. I’ve loved her since seeing her guest role in the Christmas Horror movie classic Don’t Open Until Christmas and fell even more in love when I saw her in movies such as Starcrash and the Hammer sensation Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. If I ever see her name billed for a movie, I’m watching it! Oh yes, I am!

Who, oh who am I talking about? The illustrious b-movie queen herself, Caroline Munro! I like so many others swoon when we see her grace the screen. Recently, we rewatched her in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and will soon be rewatching her in another Hammer classic Dracula A.D. 1972. Yes, her role is small in this one, and there are bigger stars such as Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, however, I come for the vampires, but always stay for the Caroline Munro!

And let’s not forget the fact that she was a Bond Girl! She played Naomi, Stromberg’s personal pilot, and a would-be assassin in the movie. Her voice was once again dubbed (as in many of the movies she was in), which I never understood. I get it, this happens a lot. They did it to Barbara Steele as well. Both have lovely voices and British accents. Why you would dub over that is beyond me!

Some Caroline Munro Trivia:

*Caroline is a trustee of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.
*In 1977, Munro turned down the opportunity to play villainess Ursa in Superman in favour of Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me.
*Caroline, that’s Ms. Munro to you, continued to work in numerous British and European horror and science fiction films through the 1970s and 1980s.
*Munro’s career commenced in 1966 when her mother and a photographer friend entered some headshots of her in The Evening News‘s “Face of the Year” contest.

Yes, this was mostly me fangirling, but… if you haven’t heard of Caroline Munro. You. Are. Welcome!

For those of you who also love her as much as I do, what is your favourite Caroline Munro movie?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Spookytown! It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

As I mentioned in my last Spookytown post, I like to get warmed up for Halloween by watching classic spooky cartoons. My ALL TIME favourite and a tradition I follow every single year is to watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Every single year, since I was a child, no matter how many times I’ve watched it, I still keep hoping…. oh… no… in case you haven’t watched it, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Why haven’t you watched this yet? I grew up with three, THREE television channels and I even managed to watch it every single year. Go watch it!

Who is The Great Pumpkin for those who still haven’t watched it? Linus explains it best!

A ways back we got a projector (thank you Heather Babcock) and we have been planning on projecting the movie from our front window on Halloween night (same with A Charlie Brown Christmas). We just bought ourselves a proper screen, so…. if all goes as planned (I’m talking to you weather), we may attempt to do it out in the front yard! We were inspired by others in our neighbourhood who project Halloween cartoons from their own front windows. We may also throw in a few of our other favourite Halloween cartoons.

If Linus and The Great Pumpkin had their way they would make sure Halloween happens, but sometimes it’s even out of their control.

Because of the plague, I’m pretty sure trick or treating won’t be happening this year, but we all need a bit of joy. Halloween is such a special time for so many people, children and adults alike. Even if you can’t give out candy this year, plan on decorating like you never have before, do fun events for your own kids so they don’t feel like they are missing out. Don’t let 2020 be a rock in your candy bag! Maybe this will be the year that Linus gets his wish!

{The below clip is a spoiler, if you haven’t watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and why haven’t you, don’t watch below.}

Queen of Schlock! Wasp Woman of the 1950s and Today.

During COVID we’ve been watching a lot of television shows and movies from the 1950s, especially horror and sci-fi. Though entertaining and revisiting a simpler time of no computers or cell phones is nice, there is a certain way of life that is a consistent thread/trend throughout each of these shows/movies and one that is very, very apparent in The Wasp Woman. Now don’t be silly, I’m not going to give it all away in the first paragraph. Read on dear human. Read on!

The Wasp Woman (a.k.a. The Bee Girl and Insect Woman) is a 1959, independently made, American black-and-white science fiction-horror film, produced and directed by Roger Corman, that stars Susan CabotAnthony EisleyMichael Mark, and Barboura Morris. The film was originally released by Filmgroup as a double feature with Beast from Haunted Cave.[1][2] To pad out the film’s running time when it was released to television two years later, a new prologue was added by director Jack Hill.

The founder and owner of a large cosmetics company, Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), is disturbed when her firm’s sales begin to drop after it becomes apparent to her customer base that she is aging. Zinthrop has been able to extract enzymes from the royal jelly of the queen wasp that can reverse the aging process. Janice agrees to fund further research, at great cost, provided she can serve as his human subject. Displeased with the slowness of the results, she breaks into the scientist’s laboratory after hours and injects herself with extra doses of the formula. {source Wikipedia} This is where the true horror begins!

I love this movie for so many reasons. My number one reason usually isn’t the script, it’s the monster and in this case the Wasp Woman. The make-up department did an amazing job making her look horrifying (head and hands of a wasp). I, myself have a phobia with wasps and hornets and was uncomfortable not only watching the scenes where they showed real wasps but by the actual wasp woman costuming. The things that scare you the most, right?

What audience was this movie meant for? According to Tim Dirks, The Wasp Woman was one of a wave of “cheap teen movies” released for the drive-in market. They consisted of “exploitative, cheap fare created especially for them [teens] in a newly-established teen/drive-in genre”. {source Wikipedia} Now that drive-in theatres have become popular again due to COVID, I’m hoping one of them does 1950s b-movies and the original double bill of The Wasp Woman and Beast From the Haunted Cave.

I think one of my favourite things about Roger Corman is many of his movies touch on the dark side of humanity. The Wasp Woman is definitely one of them. Another of my favourite things is he is able to make a movie for as little money as possible. The film was made for an estimated budget of $50,000. We are considering making our own b-movies and Roger Corman continues to inspire us. You will also notice that musical score from this movie was used in several other Corman movies including Little Shop of Horrors. The Wasp Woman‘s musical score, written by Fred Katz.

Star Susan Cabot, who I loved in this movie and many others, had a tragic end to her life. In the 1980s, she was suffering from severe mental illness, including depression and suicidal thoughts. On December 10, 1986, Cabot’s only child, 22-year-old Timothy Roman, bludgeoned her to death in their Los Angeles home after Cabot awoke in a panicked state and attacked him. It was a heart-breaking end to Susan’s life.

Someone did an amazing job cleaning up the quality of this version. Give it a watch before it vanishes from YouTube!

Oh yes, the trend I was speaking of. The one where women aren’t allowed to age gracefully, get old and definitely shouldn’t get gray hair or wrinkles. Ya that one. Sadly, not much has changed over the decades. Society still hasn’t learned to stop bullying women about their appearance and continue to set ridiculous standards. Many women still inject themselves with poison and unknown substances just to appear thin and youthful. When it comes to that part of the movie, 2020 is no different than in 1959.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!