Month: August 2020

Welcome to Spookytown!

Welcome to Spookytown! A semi-regular blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more! My plan is to post weekly, but I will see how that goes!

As of the posting of this blog, it is nine weeks until Halloween! That is right NINE WEEKS! If you are doing a daily countdown, it’s 64 days! Why the excitement? It’s only the end of August you say. Because I am a Child of Halloween. The most wonderful time of the year!

How does one become a Child of Halloween? It can happen a few ways, but generally, you have either been once since childhood or you became one as an adult. The latter is usually because you’ve discovered it through a group of friends who are also Children of Halloween! I am the former. My Mother LOVED and still loves Halloween. Halloween has always been way more exciting for her than Christmas.

When we were little, my mother would sew our costumes, always making sure they were a few sizes too big. I grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario and the chances were pretty high that it was going to snow or rain on Halloween. Since she put a lot of work into our costumes, she wanted to make sure they went on the outside of our snowsuits. As we got older and started to give input or wanting to make our own costumes, she would help us put them together using whatever was available. One year I made a vampire costume out of a lace table cloth dyed black, my mother’s lipstick, eyeshadow foundation, and baby powder. I continue to make my Halloween costumes to this day. My mother has lots of photos of us dressed up and one day I need to get copies, so I can post part two.

I’ve never stopped loving Halloween. I love walking around my neighbourhood, looking at the decorations, and am always inspired by the themes that our neighbours come up with. A few blocks from us, there is a house I call Halloween/Christmas house because every year they go all out and include animatronics. Heck, the interior of our own home is Halloween all year long!

One of my concerns with COVID 19 is the fact that kids won’t be able to trick or treat this year, thus losing the spirit of Halloween, we need to keep this alive or rather undead. We need to keep the joy of the most spookiest time of the year. This year, even if you don’t normally decorate, go all out. We will be.

I also have a bunch of favourite Halloween cartoons that I will be starting to rewatch soon. Oh yes. I don’t wait until October. I have so many favourite Halloween activities I do each October, if I waited, I wouldn’t fit everything in. The ones I am posting below are from YouTube. I will be talking about some other favourite Halloween cartoons I love in another blog post.

Queen of Schlock! The Car

When I was a kid, I loved going to the drive-in movies. On hot summer nights, my parents would pile the four of us kids into the back of the old, white Pontiac station wagon and head off to Owen Sound’s Twin Drive-In Theatre (sadly, it’s no longer there). Mom would always have plenty of snacks for us, even though we would always beg to go to the snack bar. There would be a variety of Pop Shoppe soft drinks, salt and vinegar or plain potato chips, Whoppers, and sandwiches. To be honest, though tempted by the overcooked hot dogs and dry popcorn of the concession stand, we always fared better.

No matter how hot it was, we would always don our pyjamas before leaving for the twenty minute drive. Our parents would try to pick a double bill that had a kid friendly or as close to…. movie as a first feature, since most of the time we’d be sound asleep before intermission. That didn’t always work out as planned for them.

By the way, I wrote another blog about the Owen Sound Twin Drive-In Theatre a couple of years ago when I heard it was being torn down.

Now back to the story… I would have been ten years old when this happened and at this point, was generally immune to horror movies, since I had watched quite a few with my Dad already. Oh, the 1970s… such an innocent time. So… I’m not really sure why this movie bothered me as much as it did, however, The Car (1977) scared the crap out of me!!!

I’m sure by this point of the evening my parents figured the four of us were sound asleep. Little did they know, their eldest was wide awake and taking in every little bit of the movie, including the scenes where the car runs people over and the terrifying first person or maybe it was first demon view coming from inside the car. There was a point that I had to go to the washroom and was pleading with my Mom to take me. I was too afraid to go on my own. I mean, come on! We were in a drive-in theatre filled with cars! Normally, we would go on our own, again… the 1970s… Finally, my Mom relented and took me. She wasn’t pleased that she was missing all of the on-screen carnage. For quite a while after that evening, I would be occasionally startled by passing cars, especially while cycling. (You will understand when you see the opening scene) Eventually, I got over it.

Now, a little bit about the movie.

The Car is a 1977 American horror film directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack, and Lane Slate. The film stars James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, and Ronny Cox, along with real-life sisters Kim and Kyle Richards (as Brolin’s daughters). It tells the story of an unmanned, self-driving mysterious car that goes on a murderous rampage, terrorizing the residents of a small town.

The film was produced and distributed by Universal Studios and was influenced by numerous “road movies” of the 1970s including Steven Spielberg‘s thriller Duel (1971) and Roger Corman‘s Death Race 2000 (1975). {source Wikipedia}

One other movie freaked me out and that was The Amityville Horror (1979), but, all that did was help me become obsessed with haunted houses and thunderstorms. Now that I’ve come to think about it, both movies starred James Brolin. Maybe, I was scared of James Brolin? Movies like The Duel (1971 – which I saw years later) Christine (1983) or Maximum Overdrive (1986) didn’t bother me, so why did this movie? I’ve been rewatching trailers and I still feel tense. Just look at the one below.

I’ve been rewatching movies that freaked me out as a kid and in most cases, they are now laughable… except for clowns… I won’t be rewatching movies with clowns, this one though, chills! We finally rewatched The Car and after viewing it for the second time in my life, I understand why it freaked me out. This movie gets right to it in the opening scene and I mean right to it! When we were kids we cycled EVERYWHERE and that was why the first scene got to me. Also, cars are everywhere, even in the middle of nowhere, there is bound to be a car. There is literally no escape from them in the real world or in this movie! There are even children being terrorized , which was another thing that upset me. One of the kids was my age (at the time). I really, really want you to watch this movie!

If you are interested in watching other movies about murderous cars, check out this article.

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!

Queen of Schlock! The Man From Planet X

I’m a sucker for b-movies with aliens in them. Generally, they are a really good laugh. The aliens are generally entertaining and the story… well… there usually isn’t a great one. Either way, they are a lot of fun. When I found The Man From Planet X, I thought I’d found myself another bad b-movie, but to my surprise, it was actually pretty good. It held my attention for the entire movie (meaning I didn’t pick my phone up to scroll) and trust me, that fact says a lot about a movie.

The Man from Planet X is a 1951 independently made American black-and-white science fiction horror film, produced by Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, that stars Robert ClarkeMargaret Field, and William Schallert. The film was distributed by United Artists.

A scientist is monitoring a mysterious “Planet X” that has entered our solar system and is now near the Earth. A spaceship from the planet lands and a space-suited humanoid emerges who speaks in musical tones. The alien makes contact with a small pocket of humanity in an isolated, fog-shrouded Scottish moor. Meanwhile, the scientist only wants to exploit the spaceman’s specialized knowledge for his own selfish ends. (source Wikipedia)

There is action, some sciency stuff, a love story… there is always a love story and of course a groovy looking alien. Even the space ship was well designed. Don’t expect any top-notch special effects here. It’s the 1950s and they are pretty cheesy.

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie. It’s currently streaming on YouTube, but who knows for how long.

Check out this blog post with a really in-depth break down for the movie. There are spoilers so you may want to wait until after you’ve seen the movie.

Here is the movie. Enjoy!

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!

Queen of Schlock! Giant Lizards and Spiders OH MY!

I love, love, love Lizards (all reptiles and amphibians actually) and spiders! As a matter of a fact, we have a few house spiders that keep the fruit flies at bay. Thank you spiders! However, not everyone can deal with one or either of those things. That folks is why they continually show up in horror movies!

As a kid, and to my mother’s dismay, I was constantly picking up frogs and snakes. On several occasions I tried to bring them home. I was really intrigued by them. My sister, on the other hand, was terrified of snakes and being the jerk kid I was, I once threw a green grass snake at her. She STILL brings it up to this day. I can still hear her screams.

Below are my favourite killer lizard and snake b-movies. For fun I threw in a few killer snake and killer frog movies.

The Giant Gila Monster

Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

Reptilicus (1961)

Tarantula (1955)

Earth vs The Spider (1958)

Sssssss (1973)

The Snake Woman (1961)

Frogs (1972)

Venom (1981)

Oh and don’t worry, I didn’t forget the biggest lizard of all, Gojira! AKA Godzilla!

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!

Queen of Schlock! Killer Flying Stingy Things

A little bit of Lizzie trivia: I’m terrified of hornets and wasps. Yes. Yes I am. I’m not allergic to them. Bumble Bees don’t upset me, but the other ones, especially, the yellow jackets, send me running in a panic. I’m also a wee bit paranoid about killer bees. Why? When I was a kid, I had really super long hair, as in, past my butt long. One hot summer afternoon, I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to do. I decided to raid the raspberry bushes. My mother told us to stay away from them because we would pick them clean! (they were delicious, of course, we would)

Me being the rebellious child decided that nothing was keeping me away from those delightful, fresh, sweet berries and I figured, no one would see me, so… why not take a chance. As I was greedily picking away and shoving them in my mouth, I seemed to have disturbed a hornet nest. Several of them flew at me and one somehow managed to get itself stuck in the back of my neck. I panicked… it panicked, we all panicked. It wasn’t a good time. When a stingy things panic… they sting you, a lot! Because wasps and hornets don’t lose their stingers, they can do that. Needless to say, I ran screaming into the house, my father killed the hornet and then had to deal with all of my stings.

Most people will avoid the things that scare them all together, including movies about them. Not me. Well… except for clowns. NOPE. No thanks! I gotta say though, if you are afraid of something, watch a really bad b-movie about it. You will be laughing so hard, you will forget your fears. Unless… clowns.

At least we somehow avoided Murder Hornets until now.

Below are a few of my favourite movies with stingy things in them. As always, if there is a link to a full movie, it will be included below.

The Swarm (1978)

The Deadly Bees (1967)

Killer Bees (1974)

The Bees (1978)

The Savage Bees (1976)

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!