Month: December 2020

Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada! Robin Ward

As a kid I was obsessed with a Canadian television show called The Starlost. It originally ran from 1972 to 1973 and the reruns ran for many years on one of the three channels we received when I was a kid. Oh yes, small town life.

Being the oddball child, I didn’t have a crush of Keir Dullea’s character, rather on Garth, played by Robin Ward. His broodishness seemed to be the more appealing character of Cypress Corners.

After Starlost, Robin Ward did guest appearances in several movies and television series, most notably as the narrator for the 1988-1989 Twilight Zone. You will also recognize him from roles in The Littlest Hobo, Night Heat, The King of Kensington and most recently, Murdock Mysteries.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Robin Ward graced your television screen as a weatherman for Toronto televisions stations and The Weather Network. It was a welcome and familiar face to see him giving the weather report each morning.

Recently, we saw Robin Ward in a Canadian horror classic Frankenstein on Campus. I wrote about it and you can read all about it here.

If you watched Starlost, were you a fan of Devon or Garth?

I have posted either full movies or trailers below.

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 B Movies Queens: Beverly Garland

When you hear the name Beverly Garland, what movies or television shows come to mind? My Three Sons is usually the first thing that pops up. Am I wrong? The thing is, this incredibly talented actress is know for more than that. So much more. Anyone who is a fan of 1950s sci-fi b-movies will be nodding their head in agreement right now.

My introduction to Beverly Garland was not My Three Sons. As I’ve mentioned in many posts, I grew up watching horror and sci-fi movies with my Dad. Many of them on late night television, especially 1950s b-movies. Midnight seemed to be the prime time for them. The perfect way to end your broadcast before the station went off the air for the evening. Yes, I was watching late movies with my dad or at least part of them. I usually fell asleep.

The very first movie I remember seeing Beverly Garland in was It Conquered The World. This is a 1956 black and white Roger Corman movie and possibly one of my favourite 1950s sci-fi movies. The movie also starred  Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef. I’ve seen this movie several times and never tire of it.

As with many directors Roger Corman loved using actors in a number of his movies and Beverly was no exception, the following year (1957) she appeared in Not of This Earth. This movie is another sci-fi featuring an alien. If you are looking for the perfect Beverly Garland double bill, I strongly suggest watching Not of This Earth and It Conquered the World.

In 1959 Beverly starred in The Alligator People with Lon Chaney Jr.. This is a science-fiction horror film directed by Roy Del Ruth. It’s one of my favourite bad costume movies.

Eventually, Beverly Garland would become known for her television work, starring in many film noiresque and action themed shows. A few to check out if you can find them are The Asphalt Jungle, Danger Man, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive and Gunsmoke.

Over the years, Beverly Garland would have guest appearances in many televisions shows, but would have a reoccurring role in both My Three Sons and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Having a long and illustrious career, there are many different genres to chose from, but I highly recommend you check out her 1950s sci-fi movies first.

I’ve posted either the full movies or trailers below.

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 Christmas Playlist

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

I’m not usually a nostalgic Christmas person… or so I keep telling myself, though I love reading books about seasonal hauntings and watching horror themed Christmas movies. As I started to write this playlist I started to wonder if I actually am, but in a Lizziefied, vintage goth style way. It seems that 2020 has me rethinking about being a less of a Grinch when it comes to celebrating certain holidays. Especially, Christmas. Maybe my heart has grown a few sizes.

My dream Christmas is really an extension of Halloween. I would decorate my gothic Victorian home in black and red decorations, with added spookiness all around, an homage to The Addams Family. Every time I think of Christmas, the below image always comes to mind.

Growing up, I loved reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, followed up by watching the Alistar Sims version of the movie. I loved the ghosts and the creepiness that came with the entire story. For me that is what the ‘spirit’ of Christmas means. We all need to remember that everyone has their own way of celebrating.

Over the years I have made my own traditions and those include watching/listening to a variety of movies, TV shows, and music. They are mostly (yes there are a few exceptions) horror or ghost themed. Starting December 1st we will begin our month long viewing/listening of my playlist. If you’d like to join in, I have noted it below, however, to keep things from getting boring, I don’t have them in any kind of order. I like to watch as the mood hits me. I will also be posting on my Instagram (@lizzieviolet13) and who knows, I might discover something new this year!

Movies: The 1970s and 1980s were amazing decades for Christmas horror. Especially, 1984. These were the days were slasher movies had suspense leading up to the bloodfest, rather than the entire movie being about the gore. This is the reason I keep going back to them. When I can, I have posted a link to the entire more, otherwise, it will be a trailer.

Black Christmas (1974)

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

Don’t Open Before Christmas (1984)

Gremlins (1984)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Carol (1951)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Television and Cartoons:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Here are a few play lists of classic Christmas cartoons:

Music: If you need to get a music fix, that isn’t the annoying store muzaq, there are quite a few rockabilly and surf Christmas albums out there. Heck, I even love me some Dolly Parton Christmas music. {how can you not love this woman} I have included the album covers of a few of my favourites as well as links to places you can stream Rockabilly and Surf Christmas music.

What are some of your favourite Christmas traditions?

Rockabilly and Surf music streaming links:

Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada! Black Christmas

One of my all time favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Christmas themed horror movies. In the times before Gomez and when I was single, I would do this every Christmas day. I would wake up, drink too much coffee, eat waffles and have an all day movie marathon. It was my spooky, happy place. Now that I’m married, I no longer have the one day marathon, instead, I spread the movies out over the month of December. The one tradition I’ve held onto is I always kick it off with Black Christmas!

If you are unfamiliar with this Canadian horror gem, first off what? Second, you are welcome. You need to go watch the movie and then come back to this blog post. I’ll wait.

Good. Now that you have all watched it, let’s get to it. And for those in the back who still haven’t watched it, here is what this movie is about. {an aside: I’m talking about the 1974 version, you will rarely see me post remakes} This absolute masterpiece is a 1974 Canadian movie that was  produced and directed by Bob Clark. Yes, that Bob Clark (A Christmas Story, Porky’s). It stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin and John Saxon. The story takes place in a sorority house and on the University of Toronto campus and is about a group of sorority sisters who receive heavy breather, creep phone calls from a deranged killer. Oh, and it takes place right around Christmas!

Trivia: The movie is titled Silent Night, Evil Night in the United States.

Black Christmas not only has some of the best twist and turns, it has one of the creepiest endings in any horror movie! It’s an absolutely delight to watch. It was also one of the first movies to use the point of view of the killer. Scenes in the film involving the point of view shots of the killer scaling the house was accomplished through the use of a rig designed by camera operator Bert Dunk, it was attached to Dunk’s head as he climbed up the side of the house. Over time other’s have perfected the technique. AND was the precursor to slasher movies such as Halloween!

Trivia: If you are someone who likes to check out filming locations, the interior shots of the sorority house was filmed at 6 Clarendon Crescent, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Other filming locations information can be found here. (Please remember that this is a private home and respect the privacy of the owners.)

If you want to add a few others to your Xmas Horror and b-movie viewing, also check out Silent Night, Bloody Night, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Don’t Open Until Christmas, Santa Clause vs The Martian’s and of course Gremlins!

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! I Grew Up In A Haunted House

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

Ghosts have always been part of my life and have definitely been present in much of my childhood. I was fortunate to grow up with many storytellers, whether they be tall-tales or stories of the beyond. One of my favourites was my Great-Grandpa Bill who was always willing and ready with a tale.

Great-Grandpa Bill came to live with us after a devastating fire burned the farm house he had built with his own hands, many, many years ago, to the ground. Not only did he inspire me to write my own ghost stories, he was my best friend. I was an odd, incredibly shy kid, who preferred the company of the old farmer with the green Volkswagon Beetle. His eventual passing would effect me on many levels, including strengthening my belief in spirts.

My transition into the house on top of the hill, started out rocky. Not only was I not aware that we were moving, imagine the shock of returning to the home I had grew up in, until that point, to discover it empty except for the broom, mop and pail leaning against the kitchen counter. I walked through the house yelling for my mother, with the sounds of my voice echoing off of the walls. Thankfully, our landlord, who lived in the basement and heard my desperate calls. When he found me standing in the middle of the living room, he asked me why I was there. I told him I’d come home from school. As he wiped my tears he explained that we had moved to another house. He drove me to my new home, while I still tried to process it all. Though I’m sure my mother had told me we were moving, and likely several times, being a kid and all, I somehow forgot.

When I finally crossed the threshold to the red brick Victorian, I immediately felt that there was something strange about that house. From that very first day, I always felt like something was watching me. Especially, when I was in the living room or the basement. Years later, I would discover that I wasn’t the only one who did.

The house on top of the hill had some history before we moved into it. One of the most fascinating stories, was the fact that famous bank robber Edward Alonso Boyd’s parents lived in our house for a few years after Glover Boyd retired. (my parents hoped some of the missing money would show up as they renovated the house — it never did) Being a Victorian built home and located in a small town, I’m certain some must have also passed away within it’s walls. It wouldn’t be until a few years later when I saw my first ghost.

As I mentioned earlier, when my Great-Grandpa Bill passed away, I was devastated. It took me a long time to process his loss. A few months after his passing my parents had finally found the strength to clean out his bedroom, as his death was equally as hard for my Mom. She was also very close to him. Once they had completed his room, they decided that they needed to move one of their children into that room. Being the eldest of four children and the fact that it was my Great-Grandpa Bill’s room, I insisted that I move into that room. I also really loved that it was on the main floor, off of the kitchen and away from everyone else. It didn’t hurt that it had its own washroom and walk in closet. Being in that room, also helped me process my Great-Grandfather’s passing.

I know some of you may already be making predictions about what should happen next. I may or may not disappoint you. It was a few years after my Great-Grandfather passed away before I saw my first actual ghost.

I was awoken in the middle of the night when I felt a person standing beside my bed. I was on my side, facing away from it. The presence was so strong that I rolled over to see who it was. Standing beside my bed was a very tall man, however, I could only see their plaid flannel, long-sleeved shirt. This didn’t frighten me. For what ever reason, I didn’t feel any threat from that person as I knew it was my Great-Grandpa Bill.

That morning when I made may way to the table for breakfast I saw that both my father and uncle where incredibly hungover (That evening my Uncle Danny stayed over. He and my Dad had been drinking and they didn’t want him driving home.) That happens when you drink into the early hours of a hot summer eve. Before I sat down I asked my Dad if he had come into my room the evening before to use my washroom. I wanted to eliminate this as a possibility. My mother piped up that it was unlikely that my father or my uncle could have, as they were both passed out all night long. This confirmed that I had seen a ghost. I told them about the man in the plaid shirt and they both laughed at me, saying I was seeing things. It was upsetting that no one believed me. I refused to talk about it after that.

Fast forward several years. By this point of the story, I have moved to Toronto.

One of my nephew’s also had an experience in the house I grew up in and once again, this happened during the summer. My nephew was a toddler at this point.

One afternoon my sister was visiting my parents with her young boys. Her youngest at the time, my nephew, was quietly playing in the basement. Suddenly, he started screaming and my Dad ran to the basement to see what was wrong. My nephew was in hysterics and kept yelling over and over that there was a man in the basement. Holding my nephew, my father checked the back door to the basement and it was locked. Occasionally, that door would be open, as it was also an exit to the back yard. After thoroughly checking the basement my father determined that no one was there. He carried my nephew upstairs and around the rooms trying to calm him down. As he walked around the living room, my nephew began screaming again as he pointed at a picture (see below) and kept repeating “That’s the man! That’s the man.” There was no way that my nephew would have seen that photo on his own, as it was really high up on the wall.

Many years after I was laughed at for saying I saw Great-Grandpa Bill, I was given an apology. To this day, no one in our family is laughed at when they tell a ghost story.

I also recalled my youngest brother talking about some strange occurrences in the house. He talked about seeing reflections in windows that were not him, and the door on our mother’s buffet cabinet slowly open on its own a few different times. I’m sure there were other incidents with my other siblings, but those will be for another time.

If anyone ever tells you a ghost story, please don’t laugh at them. I know that over time some stories can be embellished, but there is a reason that story began.