Thursday, March 25, 2010

100 Years of Monster Movies Web Cast

I can't believe we never posted anything about this. You'd think Ormsby would have noticed that we forgot it, but he's been busy in the lab.

As most of you might know, Horror Hound Weekend is March 26-28 in Indianapolis, IN. During the weekend they're also having Mask-Fest, and an all star Tribute to Vampira with some of the biggest names in horror hosting. I have to say that's a lot under one roof, it sounds like it's going to be a scar-tastic weekend.

What? Can't make it to the convention? Yeah, I'm with you, neither can I (thank you day job). For us poor souls stuck at home, 100 Years of Monster Movies (presented by Fear Werx) will be streaming 50 hours of monster movies introduced live (or undead) by some of the biggest names in horror hosting! will also be simulcasting it too. All this starts at 5:00pm eastern time. Below are the links and the line up for Friday. (Please note, they are saying this is a LIVE broadcast, and they warn things might go differently than planned).

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!


5:00 PM: MOVIE: "BACTERIUM" (from Alternative Cinema)
Hosted LIVE by Atomic Age Cinema

6:30 PM: MOVIE: "ATTACK OF THE MONSTERS" (classic Gamera flick)
Hosted LIVE by Master Ron Fitzgerald

8:00 PM: MOVIE: "NECROVILLE" (from Alternative Cinema)
Hosted LIVE by Midnite Mausoleum

9:45 PM: MOVIE: "CHAINSAW SALLY" (from Alternative Cinema)
Hosted LIVE by Count Victor Von Scary

11:15 PM: MOVIE: "WHITE ZOMBIE" (Classic Lugosi creeper)
Featuring a special encore recorded intro by Mss. Misery/The Last Doorway

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Island of Lost Souls Petition Update for 3/23/2010

As you know, we started a petition to let Universal Studios know there are fans who want "Island of Lost Souls" (1932) released on DVD(
). Since launching the effort on February 23rd, we've talked about it on Cinema Insane's episode two, posted it to forums and on our Myspace and Facebook pages.

As of today, one month later, we have a grand total of 18 signatures.

I want to personally thank each and every person that signed the petition so far.

Come on, monster kids, we can do better than that!

Please sign today so we can get this classic the respect it deserves.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

Sometimes you hear of a film that "reproduces the look of classic horror films" and your heart will sink. Sink because you know you'll get some badly shot on video fan film, that is only black and white because they took out the color in Adobe Premiere. It will have bad production values, none of the shadow and light contrast a real B&W movie has, and devoid of any entertainment value.

"The Call of Cthulhu" is not that type of film. THIS IS GOOD!

I went in with little enthusiasm, even though I did hear good thing from the 100 Years of Monster Movies Facebook page. It was on Netflix's "Watch It Now" feature, so it wasn't costing me anything extra. What a nice surprise this film was.

First off, this was made by fans of H.P. Lovecraft at The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society(, but it was made not only with a love of Lovecraft's work, but with a keen creative eye. Done like a 1920s silent movie, it is shot in a surreal manner that reminds me of the German expressionist films that inspired the Universal classics. The cinematography is beautiful and eerie.

People today would take short cuts and use computer effects, this group tried to do things as they would in the 1920s as much as possible. Props and clothing, cars, and sets all looked authentic. And instead of a C.G.I. Cthulhu, we get a stop motion creature that's 100 times better than any computer generated dino critter on a made for cable SyFy crap-fest.

If you're a Lovecraft fan, a horror fan or just a film fan you should see this.

You can see it rent it or "Watch It Now" at Netflix, or buy it from The H.P. Lovecraft Histrorical Society's web site at .

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

The Hunchback of the Morgue a.k.a. El jorobado de la Morgue(1973)

The Hunchback of the Morgue a.k.a. El jorobado de la Morgue(1973)
Staring: Paul Naschy, Rossana Yanni, Víctor Alcázar (as Vic Winner)
Written by Javier Aguirre, Alberto S. Insúa (as Alberto S. Insua)
Paul Naschy story and screenplay (as Jacinto Molina)
Directed by Javier Aguirre

How can you pass up a movie with a name like that! I saw it on Netflix and had to put it in my queue. I've heard of the movie but never got a chance to see it before. Last night I popped some corn and sat down in the dark to watch it.

Paul Naschy plays Gotho, an outcast hunchback who works in the morgue cutting up corpses for medical students. He loves Marie, a childhood friend who is dying in the hospital. When she dies, he takes her body to the catacombs under the town to keep her. Wanting her to live again, he asks a research scientist (who turns out to be mad, who knew) to bring her back to life. That's the basic premise.

This isn't a movie that has a big social message that makes you think, this is down and dirty just a fun horror film. You got a hunchback, a mad scientist, a hot blond who like her men deformed, flaming rats, acid baths, a walking corpse-with another corpse strapped to it's back, and a primordial ooze monster to boot!

Did I mention this was a FUN movie?

Paul Naschy, who past away last year, was a true master of 1970s horror. I wish more of his films were available for U.S. viewing (I never see them on Cable, which is a shame). If you have a chance to see this please do, as I said it's available through Netflix or you can get it from Amazon.

The DVD extras consist of:
The U.S., German and Italian opening credits
Image gallery of posters and promotional material
Two versions of the love scene between the Gotho and Elke

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ormsby's Cinema Insane Facebook Fan Page

Special message directly from Ormsby at the Haunted Lighthouse of Mastic:

Happy Friday Cinemaniacs,

Some of you have asked about a Facebook Fan Page for our show. Originally I thought a "Facebook" was a book made from a person's face skin, like the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from the "Evil Dead" films. You can imagine my disappointment at finding out it was a web site.

If you'd like join our fan page, point your Internet to:

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Universal Monster Army- Join Today!!!

It's no secret that we here at Ormsby's Cinema Insane blog enjoy classic movies, especially the ones from Universal. From "Dracula" (1931) to "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" (1954), these magnificent monsters bring us much joy and thrills.

About three months ago I discovered other like minded people (I'm assuming most of them are people) at, home of the Universal Monster Army or UMA. It's a great forum for fans to gather and discuss the Universal classics, and more. Besides Universal monsters, discussions range from classic monster toys and masks to upcoming events and showings of movies. If not for UMA I would have missed the recent TCM showing of "Shanks" (1974), something I would have regretted. They also have a cool gallery of monster collectibles that you have to see.

There is a real friendly vibe to the UMA, and everyone is welcomed. It's become a daily Internet destination for me.

So what are you waiting for, Join The Universal Monster Army Today!

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shanks (1974)- Part Three

Shanks - 1974
Starring Marcel Marceau, Cindy Eilbacher
Written by Ranald Graham
Directed by William Castle
Released by Paramount Pictures

"Come .... let us shut up the box and the puppets = for our play is played out."-Thackeray quote as it appears at the end of 'Shanks'

I've given you a history of my futile attempts to uncover information about 'Shanks' in Part One, and in Part Two I broke the movie's plot down for you. Now I have to dissect this little oddity and pull it apart for you.

And yes, beware of SPOILERS.

As a whole I thought it was an interesting little movie. Not quite a horror/comedy as the poster would lead you to believe, the film is hard to define and categorize. Which explains it's bad box office and near extinction in the minds of movie fans today.

Castle, although known best for his 1950's horror films, was a well rounded director who made westerns, crime dramas and comedies. So it didn't surprise me that he took on this strange little story. He gave his film a surreal fairy tale like feel (the first title card even says "William Castle Presents A Grim Fairy Tale"), with strange dissolves and sepia tone frame freezes that removes it from the real world. This was Castle's last directorial effort, and he gives himself a nice cameo as a grocer.

I thought Marcel Marceau's silent performance through out the film would be detriment, but it's not. There are whole sections of the film where not one word is uttered, but Marceau's performance transcends dialogue. I loved the parts where he's learning to use the corpse of Old Walker (also played by Marceau) as a puppet, you get the sense that Old Walker's body really is a limp corpse being manipulated by outside forces. The film plays to Marceau's strengths, and it helps that Marceau choreographed the pantomime sequences.

The film makers had a great premise, mute man is able to use the dead like puppets, but they didn't know where to go with it in the end. The biker gang comes out of left field in the third act and feels tact on. Yes, Old Walker rising from the grave to exact revenge on the gang for what they did to Celia was cool, but the rest of the ending doesn't fit with the movie. .

I need to digress for a moment and bring up the relationship between Shanks and Celia. To me it was a little off putting to have a man in his (I'm assuming to be) late forties hanging out with a girl who couldn't be more that sixteen. I'm assuming they were trying to show Shanks' innocent nature, but today it comes off as a little perverted today. Especially when they go to an isolated mansion to play dress up and have a private little birthday party.

Ending the movie back at the puppet show with Celia alive and helping to put away the puppets enforces the surreal quality of the the story, as does Thackeray's quote before the credits. The problem is all fairy tales need to have a moral which I think got lost here. The closest I came up with is "Don't use dead people as puppets", but if that's a lesson you have to teach your child I'd give up on reading them fairy tales and invest in a good psychiatric help.

But did I like it? Yes, I have to say I did. I'm glad after all these years I finally got a chance to see it. In preparing for these blog posts I re watched it two more times and I find it grows on me more and more. I know it won't be everyone's taste, but give it a chance if you can see it. Now that it aired on TCM I don't know when it will be ever showed again. No DVD release is on the horizon, which is a shame. It's the sort of film for a niche audience of movie lovers. If it was more readily available on TV or DVD I'm sure it would garner a small cult following.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shanks (1974)- Part Two (Contains Movie Spoilers)

Shanks - 1974
Starring Marcel Marceau, Cindy Eilbacher
Written by Ranald Graham
Directed by William Castle
Released by Paramount Pictures

In part one we explored the little information I was able to gather before sitting down to finally watch the 'Shanks'. So with popcorn and diet Mountain Dew I prepared to see what had eluded me all these years. For those of you who have not seen the film, here is a synopsis of the plot.





We start outside a small town grocery store where Shanks (played by Marcel Marceau), a mute puppeteer, is giving a show for the town children with his puppets. He lives with his mean sister in law and her drunken second husband, Mr. Baron (it's alluded to that Shanks' brother may have met a foul end at the hands of the sister in law and new husband). His best friend is a teen (not sure of her age) girl named Celia who loves his puppet plays and asks him to do a show at her birthday party. Old Walker, a rich old scientist (also played by Marcel) enlists Shanks to work for him at his big mansion. The old man has created a way to animate the dead and control them like puppets. Starting with a frog, then a rooster, they get the process to the point it can be done wirelessly with pins inserted into specific points on the body.

One day Shanks goes to the mansion one day and finds Old Walker dead in his lab, apparently having past away in the night. Shanks does what anyone would do, and inserts the pins into the old man's corpse and starts to make it walk around. Mr. Baron, wanting money, comes to the mansion and attacks Shanks. Shanks uses the dead rooster to defend himself, killing Barton. With another fresh body, Shanks reanimates him and takes him for a little walk. Using Baron, he lures the mean sister in law out to the road to be struck and killed by a car. Guess what he does with her body.

He meets up with Celia and puts on a puppet show with the dead Barton and sister in law. Celia thinks it's a little play, until she looks into their eyes and realizes their deceased nature. Scared and crying, she asks Shanks what happened and he mines what happened to them. He shows her how he made them animated, and takes her back to the mansion for a private birthday party. With Barton and sister in law as butler and maid, they are served a dinner and cake (hang on, it's going to get strange now...okay, stranger).

A motorcycle gang ride to the mansion (why I don't know) and invade the private party. Finding the puppet dead people, they take the controls from Shanks and knock him out. Celia is attacked. When Shanks awakens he finds Celia's molested dead body outside as the gang play games with the dead puppet bodies.

Shanks takes control of Old Walker's body and makes him rise from the grave to attack and kill the gang members before having a final confrontation with the gang's lead mano-a-mano at the top of the mansion. The gang leader falls to his death. Shanks then puts the pins in Celia's body and reanimates her, dancing a waltz with her when we freeze on that image and fade to...

...Shanks giving a puppet show for the town kids outside the grocery store. An alive Celia (was the whole movie a macabre puppet show for the little kiddies? ) helping to put puppets away.

I'm going to let you digest that, and in Part Three I'm going to give you my feelings on the film.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Shanks (1974) -Part One

Shanks - 1974
Starring Marcel Marceau, Cindy Eilbacher
Written by Ranald Graham
Directed by William Castle
Released by Paramount Pictures

William Castle ('The House on Haunted Hill', '13 Ghosts') is best known for his black and white horror efforts in the 1950's-early 1960's. His later works like 'Project X' and 'Let's Kill Uncle' are not as well known, and his last directorial effort is really obscure, 'Shanks'.

Growing up I never heard of this film, either in the horror books or monster magazines I devoured as a youngster. In the late eighties while researching an fanzine article for a friend about William Castle I stumbled upon the name of the film but no information. We couldn't find it on video and no one we knew had a print. Finally I found a piece of information about it in a book on Marcel Marceau, but it only said he made a film by that name and nothing else. Time went by and I forgot all about this little mystery of a film.

This past March 12th, TCM showed a night of mutant monster movies (which I wouldn' have known about if not for a posting in the Universal Monster Army forums) and capped the evening off with two William Castle films, 'Mr. Sardonicus' and the elusive 'Shanks'. I actually had to double check the listing to make sure it was the same film since I didn't' believe it could be the same film. Before that night I did a little research on the movie.

It has never been released on video or DVD, has no Wikipedia entry, and as far as I could find was never shown on TV (I may be wrong on that point, please correct me if I am). I found several reviews from the time (like Roger Ebert's from January of 1975), but decided to forgo reading them so I could watch the movie with an open mind. There were no Youtube trailers either.

The IMDB had move information than anyone, which isn't much. The most unusual fact about the movie I discovered was that Alex North's score for the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score in 1975, which it didn't win. This was screenwriter Ranald Graham's first credit, and he was active in writing and producing in England until about 1990.

Armed with that little information I sat down to watch the film, which we will talk about in Part Two...

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tim Burton's Short Films (Part 1, 1971-1982)

I think this is a nice curiosity for everyone out there. Paste Magazine has a neat article with videos of the early shorts Tim Burton made. I think it's interesting to watch how he developed his talent and artistic eye over time, from making super-8 movies with his friends to Vincent (1982).

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TCM Friday Night Marathon for 3/12/2010

I wanted to make sure everyone knew that TCM (Turner Classic Movie) is having a marathon of mutant monsters followed by two William Castle films. The line up starts at 8:00pm and is:
8:00pm-The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
9:30pm-It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)
11:00pm-The Monster That Challenged The World (1957)
2:30am-Shanks (1974)
4:15am-Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Get the popcorn, grab the soda pop and be prepared to stay up late.
(the list is towards the bottom of the page)

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ormsby on Twitter

Special message directly from Ormsby at the Haunted Lighthouse of Mastic:

Join me on Twitter,

We don't have Twitter in Transylvania. The closest we got is a homicidal maniac who yells random stuff at passerbys in Vasaria, don't you know. He's a national treasure.

End of message.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Poor Bela-The Black Sleep (1956)

Bela Lugosi's last real role in a film was The Black Sleep (1956). I don't count Plan Nine From Outer Space as his last role because his contribution to the...let's call it a movie for the sake of argument...consisted of a few short minutes of footage Ed Wood shot for another project.

The Black Sleep stars Basil Rathbone as a surgeon who uses the 'Black Sleep' drug to experiment on live subject in order to save his wife. Bela plays the bit part of Rathbone's butler, who was a test subject and is now mute because of it.

It always makes me sad to see this movie because of Bela. He was such a fine actor with a distinctive voice that having him play a tiny role of a mute seems like a waste of his talent. Don't get me wrong, he does a great job with the little he's given. Still, it's a sad statement about his career, and of how badly Hollywood treated him.

If you wish to see it, it's available through (

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ormsby's Cinema Insane March Episode!

Ormsby's Cinema Insane Episode 2 for March 2010 is here. This month Ormsby has a problem with clones, reviews The Monster Squad (1987) and introduces this month's Fearsome Feature White Zombie (1932 Starring Starring Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy & Joseph Cawthorn. Directed by Victor Halperin).

Go to to view the episode and watch White Zombie courtesy of

Our review of White Zombie will be coming up here on the blog in a few days.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Horror Host Graveyard Promo

Everyone here at Ormsby's Cinema Insane loves The Horror Host Graveyard at Corpse S. Chris has a great site about horror hosts new and old, from the famous to those that only lasted a few episodes. I'm amazed by some of the rare stuff he finds, like the Zacherley article from a 1959 People Today magazine to a German female horror host on Hilde's Wilde Horror Show. It's one of our daily destinations on the Internet.

Here is the promo we shot for his site. Enjoy.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane!