Sci-Fi Rod Lott
As a huge Vincent Price fan, I’ve literally been waiting more than a
decade for 1961’s “Master of the World” to hit DVD. At one time, it was
slated to be released under MGM’s “Midnite Movies” line — I remember
reading in a magazine that screenwriter Richard Matheson either
completed interviews or commentary for it — before the studio abandoned
Being a horror nut, October is my favorite month of the year. I can think of no better way for America to get in the macabre mood than catching, "A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King." The brand-new special premieres Oct. 3 on Turner Classic Movies.
As the title suggests, it's an hour-long sit-down with our modern-day Edgar Allan Poe as he talks about his lifelong love affairs with scary movies, supplemented with clips and stills. The first one to freak him out? "Bambi." The one he was too frightened to finish upon an initial viewing? "The Blair Witch Project." His desert-island disc? Well, I'll leave that for you to discover.
Other shared memories include — but are in no way limited to — "Dementia 13," "Night of the Living Dead," "Freaks," "Cat People," "The Tingler," "The Changeling," "The Amityville Horror," "Near Dark," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Omen," "The Fly," "Jaws," "The Haunting" and the trio he calls the real "demon coasters" of fear: "Psycho," "The Exorcist" and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
The most interesting segment has him discussing some of the movies made from his novels and short stories. He loves "Carrie" and "Cujo," but famously finds Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" to be "extremely cold." He's also quite enamored of "The Dead Zone," calling David Cronenberg "the best horror director of modern times." Too bad time doesn't allow him to run through them all.
Along the way, he makes some interesting, surprising comments, such as not caring for werewolf movies ("too literal"), Bela Lugosi's Dracula ("he looks like a whacked-out concert pianist") and the slasher genre ("misogynist"). If you're a fan of King or celluloid terror in general, do set your TiVo. If you care to turn it into a pre-Halloween party, here's your drinking game: Take a shot every time he says "absolutely terrifying." Your liver will hate you and let you know it. —Rod Lott
With today marking the 162nd anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, the trailer debuted for next March’s “The Raven,” a mystery-thriller that stars John Cusack as Poe.
My take: Perhaps the third time will the charm for director James
McTeigue (“V for Vendetta,” “Ninja Assassin”). Being a longtime reader
of Poe, this one looks packed with elements straight from his stories,
including “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Premature Burial,” “The Cask
of Amontillado,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Murders in the Rue
Morgue” and, duh, the poem from which the flick takes its title.
Plus, I’m also a fan of Alice Eve’s curves.
But March 9, 2012, is a long way away. Until then, Relativity Media offers these 20 “unusual facts about Poe, the ‘Enigmatic Master of Darkness’”:
• Poe wrote a fabricated news story of a balloon trip across the ocean to garner attention and publicity in New York City.
• Poe was a champion for higher wages for writers and international copyright law, as his writings were continuously published without him getting credit or compensation.
• Prior to becoming Poe’s wife at the age of 13, his female cousin Virginia acted as a courier, delivering letters to Poe’s lady loves.
• From 1949 to 2009, a mysterious figure has left a half-empty bottle of cognac and 3 roses on Poe’s grave every day on his birthday.
• Poe formulated rules for the short story, including that it should relate a complete action and take place within one day in one place.
• Poe was deeply interested by cryptography, the creation and translation of secret codes, and was very proud of his ability to translate them. He would challenge readers of various publications where he worked to send him codes to decipher and, by all accounts, he seemed able to unlock the secrets to any he received.
• Poe’s lifelong dream of owning and operating his own publication never came to fruition.
• Poe met with Charles Dickens while Dickens was in the U.S. on a lecture tour, and solicited his help with getting published in England — nothing ever came of it. • Poe’s grandfather was an important figure in the American Revolution, contributing a large sum of his own money to outfit local branches of the Continental Army.
• Poe’s grandmother, personally sewed over 500 soldiers’ uniforms for Lafayette’s troops as they passed through Baltimore.
• Poe joined the Army in 1827, lying to recruiters about his age and name. He also published his first collection of poetry during this time. He achieved the rank of Sergeant Major.
• Poe experienced periods of extreme destitution, often having to burn his furniture to keep warm during the winter.
• Poe successfully sought expulsion from West Point. That being said, he was one of the top students in his class.
• Wrote poetic tributes to all the pivotal women in his life.
• Poe had two biological siblings, but all were raised in separate foster homes.
• Poe’s childhood hero was Lord Byron.
• The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore is in jeopardy of being closed in mid-2012 due to Baltimore City budget cuts. The city eliminated the Museum’s funding in 2010.
• Edgar Allan Poe was buried in Westminster Burying Ground and had no headstone for years after his death. In 1860, Poe’s relatives commissioned a small headstone that erroneously listed Poe’s birth date as January 20 instead of January 19 and was destroyed in a train accident before it made it to the gravesite.
• In 1875 Poe’s remains were dug up and moved to a memorial site to be near his family and a gravestone was placed in the wrong spot and was moved around several times.
• This lead people to wonder not only where Poe’s original burial spot was but also if the man who was moved to the spot by the memorial is even Edgar Allan Poe. —Rod Lott