Monday, October 28, 2013

Boris Karloff was a well-dressed Hollywood hunk.

In this post: Insomnia, dense fog, horror movies.

I tried to go to bed at a couple of hours ago — around 1:30, I think — but when I couldn’t fall asleep I decided to get up and horse around with the Howdygram. So here I am again, annoying you in the middle of the night. Try to move on, okay?

Please be careful if you’re out driving around in north Texas right now. There’s a dense fog alert and visibility is expected to be less than ¼-mile until mid-morning. I have no problem with this whatsoever because I love fog. It’s quiet and spooky and it makes you squint.

And here’s the perfect segue from spooky fog! Sam and I watched a couple of classic horror movies yesterday that included The Mummy (1932) starring Boris Karloff and White Zombie (1932) starring Bela Lugosi. Both were terrific, but The Mummy is technically in a class by itself due to Boris Karloff’s incredible makeup job, and his character (Im-Ho-Tep) never fails to scare the living crap out of me. Boris’ co-stars are David Manners as a dopey archaeologist named Frank Whemple who’s in Egypt digging up tombs and Zita Johann as the girl Im-Ho-Tep wants to embalm and lure into the afterlife because she’s actually his ancient girlfriend reincarnated from 1800 B.C. (Zita gets to wear great clothes.)
For your possible interest I thought you might get a kick out of this shot of Boris Karloff off-screen, where he was obviously a well-dressed and studly Hollywood hunk. Love the tennis sweater!
And now for White Zombie, an atmospheric and frightening parade of undead goons set in Haiti. Bela Lugosi plays Murder Legendre (no kidding), owner of a sugar mill that’s operated by a crew of zombies. Enter Madeline (Madge Bellamy) and her hapless boyfriend Neil (John Harron), a young couple fresh off the boat from New York who plan to wed on rich Mr. Beaumont’s plantation as soon as they arrive in Haiti. This makes no sense whatsoever, particularly since Beaumont (played by Robert Frazer) is apparently in love with Madeline, too, and makes a total ass of himself trying to get her to fall in love with him and ditch Neil. When this doesn’t work out he hires Murder Legendre to turn the poor girl into a zombie so she’ll be his forever. Unfortunately, Madeline winds up with bug eyes, weird little Lillian Gish lips and no soul (see below). Joseph Cawthorn is on hand as Dr. Bruner, a screwball with a semi-Yiddish accent who’s a friend of Neil’s. Bruner tries to bring Madeline back from the undead, which works well after everybody pushes Bela off a cliff. 
Holy crap. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I haven’t been to bed yet, so this might be an ideal time to stop typing and keep Sam company for a few hours. However, first I have to peek out the front window and check on the fog. (I love fog.)

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