Contributor Craig Reardon provides the Column’s first link of the day: a slickly produced forty minute music analysis called PSYCHO – Bernard Herrmann’s Score Explored for A-Level Music Students. Featured are The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle; the host is Rachel Leach. The orchestra wears masks, not because it’s a horror film but because the concert was filmed during Covid.
They aren’t kidding about ‘A-level music students’ — prepare for terms like ‘semi-tones,’ and references to strings played with ‘their mutes on.’
Beware Fathom Events — Joe Dante alerts us to a Facebook post by Joshua Kennedy that presents evidence of Universal Classic Horror Audio Revisions.
For their travelling revival engagements, Universal has been presenting ‘jiggered’ soundtracks on The Mummy (1932) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). We’re accustomed to the sparse music on early Universal classics — the quiet serves to make the blasts of ‘threat’ music all the more powerful.
This comparison sampling shows that for the new presentations, not only were new Foley sound effects added, but new music was layered over scenes. Not fair … Go directly to Jail, Universal, do not Pass Go and don not collect $200.
And finally, a glorious Severin Films package landed with a Charnel House of Earthly Delights — their October Halloween month horror offerings.
It’s a strange mixed package — just what we expect from Severin. The comedy My Grandpa Is a Vampire (1991) stars Al Lewis; in it an old bloodsucker teams up with his grandson to put a vampire hunter out of business. The packaging places it in a new branded line … “Severin Kids.”
Then we’re presented with a new 4K scan of Peter Medak’s The Changeling with George C. Scott, in a special edition. That’s followed by a real rarity, an Argentinian shot-on-VHS gore epic called Plaga Zombie Trilogy, reportedly filmed over a 20-year period: Plaga Zombie, Plaga Zombie: Zona Mutante and Plaga Zombie: Zona Mutante – Revolucíon Tóxica.
But wait, there’s more. Historias para no dormir (“Tales to Keep You Awake”) is a Spanish TV series (+ a couple of specials) in which director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador writes and directs stories from Bradbury, Poe, Bloch and others. This is the disc I’ll be checking out right away.
We were creeped out by David Gregory’s documentary on the film heritage and scary death of Al Adamson; now Severin brings out a special edition Blu-ray of Adamson’s ‘two greatest horror hits’ Dracula vs. Frankenstein and Brain of Blood. The features star J. Carrol Naish, Russ Tamblyn, Grant Williams, Jim Davis, etc., and are accompanied by hours of extras and a bonus soundtrack CD. Yikes.
And finally comes the boxed set House of Psychotic Women, a film collection based on Kier-La Janisse’s 2012 book of the same name. Janisse — a Trailers from Hell Guru — curates the ‘explorations of onscreen delirium and hysteria’ represented by four features: Identikit (aka The Driver’s Seat) with Elizabeth Taylor; the 1985 Polish feature I Like Bats, about a female vampire; the 1975 giallo Footprints starring Florinda Bolkan; and finally Jane Arden’s 1972 experimental English feature The Other Side of The Underneath. I can’t think of a more unusual set of horror films . . . this will need some investigating.
And Dennis Bartok tells us that Kier-La Janisse will be discussing her book in Los Angeles at the The Philosophical Research Society on October 13. Info can be found at The PRS October Calendar.
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson