Wednesday, October 31, 2018


In honor of the late Preston B. Nichols (1946-2018), without whom the hit television show STRANGER THINGS would not exist, I recommend buying a copy of Nichols' 1992 classic cryptoscatological nonfiction book THE MONTAUK PROJECT:  EXPERIMENTS IN TIME (written in collaboration with Peter Moon).  To purchase the book directly from the publisher, click HERE


The Imp of the Perverse and Other Tales

Listen to Vincent Price reading Edgar Allan Poe's short stories "BERENICE" (1835), "MORELLA" (1835), and "THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE" (1845).  These recordings were originally released as an LP in 1975 entitled THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE AND OTHER TALES.

"BERENICE" (1835)

"MORELLA" (1835)


The Lectures of Ray Bradbury

Since Halloween was always Ray Bradbury's favorite holiday, perhaps it's only appropriate that we take this opportunity to listen to several of Bradbury's lectures throughout the decades, from as early as 1964 to as late as 2001.  Any neophyte writers out there will find more than just a few useful lessons and choice offerings of wisdom woven throughout these presentations....

Ray Bradbury Speaking at UCLA 10/23/1964


Ray Bradbury Speaking at UCLA 1/17/1968

Ray Bradbury Speaking at UCLA 6/1/1972



Ray Bradbury Speaking at UCLA 4/8/1998


An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001



And let's not overlook Rachel Bloom's 2010 song--nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation (Short)," though it sadly lost to Doctor Who--entitled "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury":


The Skeleton Dance

Silver Shamrock (Redux)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shunned House"

H.P. Lovecraft's short story "THE SHUNNED HOUSE" (originally published in the October 1937 issue of WEIRD TALES) read by Wayne June....

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear"

Listen to David Healy's 1989 reading of H.P. Lovecraft's short story "THE LURKING FEAR" (1923), originally serialized in the January through April issues of HOME BREW....



Monday, October 29, 2018

Basil Rathbone Reads Edgar Allan Poe

Basil Rathbone reads Edgar Allan Poe's short stories "THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER" (1839), "THE BLACK CAT" (1845), "THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO" (1846), "THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH" (1850), "THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM" (1850), and "THE TELL-TALE HEART" (1850):








Sunday, October 28, 2018

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff's Unholy 13


I originally posted this last year, but I thought it would be worth a second visit, particularly if you want to find a film worthy of your time on Halloween.  What follows is a list of the essential entries in Bela Lugosi's five-decade-long filmography.

A few years ago a friend of mine saw Rowland V. Lee's SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) for the first time at The Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles.  At the end of the film his first comment was, “Why does everybody say Bela Lugosi was such a bad actor?  He’s great in this!  He steals the whole movie—and that’s not easy when you’re sparring with Lionel Atwill, Boris Rathbone, and Boris Karloff!”  He then asked me to recommend other Lugosi films, so I took the opportunity to compile my personal “Top 13 Lugosi” list.  Your forthcoming Halloween viewing experience can be vastly improved by the addition of any one of the following films from the Golden Age of Hollywood....




If any of these films whet your appetite for more information regarding the careeer of Bela Lugosi, I suggest listening to the following podcast:  YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS:  BELA AND BORIS EPISODE ONE:  WHERE THE MONSTERS CAME FROM (OCTOBER 16, 2017).

Also, the following books by Gary D. Rhodes (and friends) represent the most comprehensive biographies of Lugosi's life:

And the best documentary film about Lugosi remains Gary D. Rhodes' LUGOSI:  HOLLYWOOD'S DRACULA (Spinning Our Wheels Productions, 2000).

And if you want even more Lugosi, here's a 1951 interview with the actor upon his return from London where he had just completed filming John Gilling's very peculiar transvestite comedy MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE (AKA VAMPIRE OVER LONDON) (1952):


Of course, it's only appropriate that we give equal time to Lugosi's most frequent collaborator and rival, Boris Karloff.  What follows is my personal "Top 13 Karloff" list.  Each of these films (some acknowledged classics, others relatively obscure) represents a high watermark in the history of cinematic horror....

THE BLACK CAT (Edgar Ulmer, 1934)

FRANKENSTEIN (James Whale, 1931)


THE MUMMY (Karl Freund, 1932)

THE BODY SNATCHER (Robert Wise, 1945)

BEDLAM (Mark Robson, 1946)

CORRIDORS OF BLOOD (Robert Day, 1958)

THE WALKING DEAD (Michael Curtiz, 1936)

THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (Charles Brabin, 1932)

THE BLACK ROOM (Roy William Neill, 1935)

ISLE OF THE DEAD (Mark Robson, 1945)

BLACK SABBATH (Mario Bava, 1963)

TARGETS (Peter Bogdanovich, 1968)

If you're interested in reading about Karloff's life and career, you would be hard pressed to do any better than the books of Gregory William Mank such as BELA LUGOSI AND BORIS KARLOFF:  THE EXPANDED STORY OF A HAUNTING COLLABORATION and IT'S ALIVE:  THE CLASSIC CINEMA SAGA OF FRANKENSTEIN.

And as an added Halloween treat, here's Karloff performing in an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Telltale Heart" on a 1941 episode of the radio show INNER SANCTUM....

Edgar Allan Poe's "Ligeia"

Vincent Price reads Edgar Allan Poe's short story "LIGEIA" (1838):

Saturday, October 27, 2018

William Mortensen, the Antichrist of Hollywood

Recommended reading:  Francky Knapp's 10-23-18 Messy Nessy Chic article entitled "Uncovering Hollywood's 1920s 'Antichrist' Photo Shoots":

"Somewhere in a dark room almost a century ago, an image emerges of a woman with her skeleton lover. Beside it, another of a gyrating goblin, a pin-up worthy witch, or some other creature from the wonderfully twisted mind of photographer William Mortensen. Today, Mortensen is praised as a pioneer of his profession, a Tim Burton type with a talent for letting the eerie and erotic mingle in his work. But for his contemporaries, he was a threat, a man whose vision made him (in the words of Ansel Adams) 'the Antichrist' of Hollywood…

"Like so many of Hollywood’s golden era icons, Mortensen was originally of country stock. He left Utah for a bout in North Africa and the Mediterranean, and finally moved to Los Angeles with his fiancé Willow in 1921, accompanied by her younger sister, Fay. And this is where things already get complicated, particularly regarding how one ought to look back on Mortensen’s work…

"At this point in his career, Mortensen had made a name for himself taking portraits of Hollywood actors and providing film stills for the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, the founding father of American cinema himself, who gave William his first break. The idea, some historians say, was that he’d be a kind of mentor and chaperone to 14 year-old aspiring actress Fay Wray, while setting up his own photography studio in Los Angeles. But the risquée nude photos he took of Fay in the coming years were enough to make her mother high-tale it out to Hollywood and rescue her daughter from Mortensen’s advances and the tarnishing of her image.

"Mortensen denied any such advances, as did Fay, but the rupture between the two parties was brutal and scandalous. Needless to say, his marriage to Fay’s sister didn’t work out, but Fay later said, 'William Mortensen had never tried to embrace me. Perhaps if he had, as my mother imagined, I would have been compelled to walk out of the house and go to him. It was numbing to think that in her eyes, all the time I had been in California, I had been a very wicked person.'
"Fay went on to become one of Hollywood’s first real 'Scream Queens' in King Kong and Mystery of the Wax Museum, the original House of Wax horror flick, while Mortensen continued on with his photography, finding a wife and muse in a woman named Courtney Crawford.

"It was one thing for Mortensen to perfect his ghoulish vision on Hollywood sets like 1928’s West of Zanzibar by director Tod Browning, whose film Freaks would become one of history’s greatest (and scariest) horror films– the masks he crafted were inspired by his travels, and better than anyone else’s in the business– but off-set, Mortensen’s taste for the macabre was just beginning, and the eerie manipulation of his own photographs provoked disgust, jealousy and above all confusion amongst his contemporaries."
To read the rest of Knapp's article, click HERE.

To learn more about the work of William Mortensen, check out American Grotesque:  The Life and Art of William Mortensen edited by Larry Lytle and Michael Moynihan and The Command To Look:  A Master Photographer's Method for Controlling the Human Gaze by William Mortensen and George Dunham (both published by Feral House).

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Recommended Halloween Viewing:  Frank H. Woodward's 2008 feature-length documentary...


Friday, October 26, 2018

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Outsider" and "The Hound"

The nearness of All Hallows' Eve means that it's time to listen to Roddy McDowall reading H.P. Lovecraft's classic short stories "The Outsider" (1926) and "The Hound" (1924):


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Robert O. Dean, R.I.P. (1929-2018)

Command Sergeant Major Robert O. Dean, a prominent UFO investigator, passed away on the evening of October 11 at the age of 89.  Sgt. Dean claimed to have studied in-depth a Top Secret document entitled "UFO Assessment:  An Evaluation of a Possible Threat" while working for NATO at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Headquarters in Mons, Belgium.  According to Sgt. Dean, this classified document contained numerous details regarding close encounters with extraterrestrials, crashed UFOs, and autopsies of beings retrieved from these craft.  If you're not familiar with Sgt. Dean's claims, you might want to watch his 1993 lecture entitled "The S.H.A.P.E. Assessment:  UFO Cover-up":


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Preston B. Nichols, R.I.P. (1946-2018)

Yesterday afternoon, author Peter Moon posted the following message on Facebook:

"I just received news from Preston's friend, Clark, that Preston Nichols passed away this morning at 4am (today) October 5, 2018. He had suffered a heart attack in July followed by a stroke in September. The news of Preston's passage was also confirmed by another phone call. It is not known if there will be a conventional funeral. His body has reportedly been taken to a mortician, but I have no further information at this time.

"Preston is thanked for all the work he did to investigate the Montauk Project and bring issues to light that other would not look at. He always said his purpose was to get humanity through to a certain point.

"It is my hope that Preston will be able to do more from his new place in the universe."

Preston B. Nichols, of course, was the co-author (with Peter Moon) of such classic cryptoscatological books as THE MONTAUK PROJECT:  EXPERIMENTS IN TIME, MONTAUK REVISITED:  ADVENTURES IN SYNCHRONICITY, and PYRAMIDS OF MONTAUK:  EXPLORATIONS IN CONSCIOUSNESS.  As many others have noted, these three books are without a doubt the main source material for the hit television show STRANGER THINGS.  I mentioned the connections between Nichols and Moon's work and the STRANGER THINGS Netflix series in my 11-8-17 post, "Stranger Things and The Montauk Project."  If you want to read that post, click HERE.

To hear Preston Nichols discuss his unorthodox experiences in his own words, I suggest listening to his May 27, 1994 appearance on COAST TO COAST AM WITH ART BELL....