Savant Column: Boo!

Saturday October 28, 2017

Hello! — and Happy Halloween. Welcome to the CineSavant Cauldron of Horror!

It’s a bit busy around here. I’ll be avoiding the Larchmont Halloween fair on Sunday, which is a mob scene just a block away. Today I may be doing some driving and hauling to help set up an altar at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Day of the Dead celebration. That’s going to snarl up traffic both days — !

Yesterday I was more or less captive in my house for several hours while NCIS: L.A. filmed a car-motorcycle chase and gun shootout a couple of doors down the street, and racing up and down the block — you know, some neighbors get hefty fees for the rental of their front yards, and I just get told to stay off the street and out of sight. The people on the motorcycle wore furry animal masks, and the production company put Christmas decorations on various lawns, so I’m guessing that if I tune in this December I’ll have a good chance of seeing my house buzz by — for probably a half-second. Hollywood, it’s so glamorous. A cheerful A.D. let me stand in my own driveway to grab this blurry shot. The camera tricycle is on the left, filming backwards at the presumed stunt folk on the bike. They did this about thirty times, each time with a volley of five gunshots. Later in the day came a car crash, a little bit down the block.

Joe Dante has circulated a neat link to a The Public Domain Review, the newest (Volume 7, #20) issue of which has a nifty Halloween Special Section with ten neat articles about the holiday, highly recommended. One P.D. Review link is to an original color Georges Méliès movie, The Infernal Cauldron (1903)

Let me call out a new installment of The Friends of Marty Melville, a resuscitated Trailers from Hell feature that inspired today’s Halloween Horror Triple Bill features. We love those vintage newspaper movie pages, that promised all manner of strange fare, especially at drive-in theaters. The four-movie bill for the ‘Bel Air’ seen on the right was a typical item. This one may have been a package offered by United Artists, or perhaps a local distributor grouped them, or maybe the owner of the Bel-Air himself picked the titles out of a budget line-up. Diary of a Madman, the only show in color, is fairly new for 1963, but the other three are a couple of years old — ‘The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus’ is of course the dubbed and slightly cut Eyes Without a Face. The only title of the four not yet on Blu-ray is ‘The Vampire and the Ballerina,’ which is a dubbed cut of Renato Polselli’s L’amante del vampiro from three years before. I think MGM has elements for the original Italian item too, which is a real oddity. If some disc boutique snaps this one up, I hope they give us both versions.

And finally, correspondent Edward Sullivan directs us to the Film Board of Canada, which has a special selection of NFB Halloween Spook Shows all ready to go. They look good.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson