Friday, 15 October 2021

Cinema of Stuff Presents...Comedy Of Terrors!

 


Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff have all haunted my blog in previous years, and this Countdown is no different, as here they all are again in this 1963 American International Pictures comedy horror film, directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, Night of the Demon)....a sort of spiritual-sequel to The Raven and Tales of Terror movies!



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More Halloweeny horror happenings can be found on the other blogs taking part in the Countdown to Halloween! Click the badge below to be whisked off to the hub....







Thursday, 14 October 2021

Gruesome Games - Alone in the Dark (PC)




Alone In The Dark (PC)

As you've probably noticed, I tend to steer clear of a lot of the more well-known horror games when doing the Gruesome Games lists, preferring to draw people's attention to the more obscure hidden gems or under-appreciated titles. Having said that, I had always planned to cover everything eventually...so it's probably about time we got to one of the most influential horror games ever!!




If for some reason you've never heard of Alone In The Dark, it's perhaps more famous these days as being the original 3D 'Survival Horror' game, and heavily influencing Capcom's Resident Evil series. Originally it was intended to use real photographs of an old 1920's mansion for the backgrounds of the game, but this proved tricky for the tech available at the time, so they used hand-drawn bitmaps in their place. This 'pre-rendered backgrounds with 3D polygons on top' setup was what Shinji Mikami would discover whilst developing the first Resident Evil, changing his mind from making that game a first person adventure, and thus we have Edward Carnby and pals to thank for the tank-controlled craziness and weird-angled-camera jump scares in Capcom's classic!




Ah yes...Edward Carnby! Not your typical game hero, with his auburn hair and middle aged moustache! Picking from either him or the owner of the mansion's niece, Emily Hartwood, you set off for the mansion on the hunt for an old piano....P.I. Edward hunting it for an antiques dealer, and Emily looking for a letter hidden within it that she suspects will shed light on her uncle's sudden suicide!

After making your way to the attic and finding this piano, the doors of the mansion slam shut, locking you inside...and all manner of strange, Lovecraftian horrors start emerging from behind doors and smashing through windows to try and capture you so that some ancient evil can possess your body and wreak havoc upon the world!



To stop them, you'll need to push things around to block openings, hunt for clues, solve puzzles and use weapons you find to keep them at bay until you can find an escape from the haunted halls and creepy caves you'll find yourself running through.

Playing the game these days, it can feel a bit clunky. With its tank controls and faffy menu-driven inventory systems, you'd best be prepared for some fiddling around to get things to work...but it's still a fun adventure once you get used to its mechanics! 




If you've played later survival horror games it won't take you long to get into the swing of things, but like I say, just be prepared for a slightly slower pace than you might be used to! Edward and Emily arent the fastest of movers, although there is a run function included. But that will most likely have you stumbling around missing turns and things when you really need to be moving accurately. And be sure to search everywhere for clues and things, which you sometimes might forget to do while wrestling with the menus! Take your time, and you'll be fine though...

I picked up a copy of this from GOG which is probably your best bet for a working version that'll run well on modern PCs...and it's well worth picking up, whether its just to see where it all started for 3D survival horror, or you really want another Lovecraft inspired horror nugget to wrap your tentacles around!




There are of course many sequels to Alone in the Dark, but we'll save those for another day! Because it's about time you went exploring the other blogs taking part in the Countdown to Halloween, which you can do by clicking the badge below...





Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Oink! Issue 13

 


(From Wikipedia....)

"Oink! was a British comic book magazine for children which was published from 3 May 1986 to 22 October 1988. It set out to be deliberately anarchic, reminiscent of Viz but for children. The creators also cited Mad magazine as a major influence.

Part of its difference in the marketplace was that it attracted writers and cartoonists from a wide range of previous disciplines. It was devised, launched and edited by Patrick Gallagher, Private Eye regular contributor Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers, although within the fiction of the comic it was "edited" by a character called Uncle Pigg (similar to 2000 AD's Tharg the Mighty). The comic also followed 2000 AD's lead in crediting its contributors for their work, still a rarity in British comics at that time. Featured artists and writers included Husband's Private Eye colleague David Haldane, ex-The Fall member and future BBC Radio 1 radio host Marc "Lard" Riley, Malcolm Douglas, Brickman creator Lew Stringer, future Beano writer/artist Kev F Sutherland, future Marvel artist, writer and editor & current SpongeBob SquarePants Magazine editor David Leach, future Financial Times cartoonist Jeremy Banks, and satirical media commentator-to-be Charlie Brooker. Viz founders Davy Thorp and Chris Donald also contributed some one-off strips, as did The Beano's Tom Paterson and John Geering. Illustrator Steve McGarry was an occasional contributor, including creating front covers for two issues.."

There, that should get you up to speed with what Oink! comic was all about, a lot better than my first attempt at trying to describe it which basically amounted to 'like a British Mad Magazine'

Often controversial, but usually very funny, Oink was a big part of my childhood, and I would often try and draw comic strips that were heavily influenced by what I read in it's pages...
Anyway, something that Oink liked to do with each issue (at least at the start) was to have it themed around a certain topic...Issue 13 was the Horror issue, and so I thought it would be fun to show you a few pages from it here, instead of the usual American horror comics....

(From Oink! issue 13, dated October 18th 1986)






I hope you found some of that interesting or funny! There's certainly a lot of interesting stuff going on at the other bloggers pages, and you can check them out by clicking the badge below and heading to the Countdown To Halloween hub...I'll be back tomorrow with another post! Later, Stuffers!









Tuesday, 12 October 2021

My Halloween Decorations (Part 2)




 Hello again! Sorry for the no-show yesterday, but I was dealing with some family drama....normal service as now resumed though, and so here is another quick look at some of the stuff I'll be scattering around the place to spook it up this Halloween!

First up are these Skeleton ash trays....I'm no longer a smoker, but these things are cool to just have around as scary display pieces! A lovely 'Ashes to ashes' phrase adorns them both, as you can see....









Next is a combo piece I threw together while still a kid, many moons ago! It consists of one of my mum's old candlesticks and a mer-man type fish face creature's head that glows in the dark! 






You can see how I basically just rammed it on to the candlestick...it started to split years ago, but hasn't progressed any in about 20 years, so hopefully it'll last for quite a while yet!





Speaking of candlesticks, what's Halloween without a candle stuck in a skull!? Here's one that I've had since I was a teenager...and since then I've been trying to work out if it's a giant skull with tiny human skulls round the side, or a normal sized skull with tiny pixie skulls round the side! I need answers, dammit!







And last for today is someone a lot of you will be familiar with....it's the OG Cryptkeeper himself!
I'm not sure if this toy was ever on general sale in the UK, but my mum picked this one up for me at a Sunday market for around a tenner, years ago! My brother got one as well, but his was kitted out in a desert island outfit!







He actually talks, saying a few phrases from the show...or at least did....I tried him today and he seems to have lost his voice! I'll need to see if he is broken or just needs some new batteries. Also, I find it a bit odd that despite the toy obviously being the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt, it's actually a Tales from the Cryptkeeper branded toy...that of course being the cartoon for kids that featured a slightly less creepy looking Cryptkeeper!


Also, gotta love the attention to detail on the body....if you roll up his trouser legs you can see wounds....which are probably there because some outfits, like the one on my brother's toy, include shorts! 




But yes...there will be lots more stuff to show later in the month. But for now, lets get BACK to seeing what the other Cryptkeepers are up to by going to the Countdown to Halloween hub. Just click on the old dead head's behind to see what those boils and ghouls have been doing, and return here tomorrow for another post!





Sunday, 10 October 2021

Spook Sightings Of Yester Year - No. 21 - Some Short Spook Sightings

(From The Illustrated Police News, dated 17th February 1877)



THE HAUNTED MILL. 

(SUBJECT OF ILLUSTRATION) 

A sad instance of giving way to superstitious fears occurred on Friday last week at Newport. It would appear, from what our reporter has gathered, that a shadow has been cast on an oak fence which runs by the side of a large windmill, representing a death's head and cross-bones. This shadow was only to be seen occasionally, and a report was current that the mill was haunted, some dreadful crim having been commited within its precints. On Friday night Robert Pugh and James Owen, two working men, were so alarmed at the appearance of the ghastly shadow that, after a few moments of suspense, they both fled precipitately from the spot. The effect on Pugh was of a most serious nature.His mind has become affected, and the chances are that he will never recover his reason.

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(From the Edinburgh Evening News, dated Wednesday 11th March, 1874)


AN EDINBURGH GHOST STORY.

The Scotsman publishes the following "ghost" story :- An adventure which befel two guardians of the night in the small hours of yesterday morning has been thought worthy of some investigation, with the view of ascertaining if possible whether some one has not been playing a very improper prank. The story is that about 3 A.M. a private watchman named Clark, who was employed to look after a block of buildings in course of erection at Bell's Mills, Water of Leith, and his friend, the constable on the beat, were surprised by a tall figure, which, at leaast to their startled eyes, seemed to be in white, clearing a wall and alighting on the ground close beside them. A dog belonging to the watchman flew at the figure with a growl, but at a rate too rapid for the animal to cope with, it darted along the road towards the Dean Cemetery. As it ran the two men heard, or thought they heard, a clinking sound like that made by a horse with a loose shoe.

Too much frightened to watch the movements of their visitor, Clark and his companion took to their heels, nor thought of halting until they were a considerable distance from the locality. Pending the explanation of the affair, Clark has, it seems, refused to return to his post, and some difficulty was even experienced in getting the constable to look upon the matter in a business point of view.


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(From The Sunday Post, dated Sunday May 5th, 1935)


EDINBURGH GHOST WITH SPURS

SEEN GLIDING OVER FIELDS NEAR CASTLE

The ghost of Craigmillar Castle, an ancient and picturesque ruin in the vicinity of Niddrie Mains, one of Edinburgh's largest new housing areas, is "walking" again.

According to residents, the supernatural visitant is a man clad in old-world garb, who glides over fields adjoining the castle and vanishes within the ruins on the approach of mortals.

Last year at this time a scare was created in the district by the appearance of the spectre.

Ghost hunts were organised in an effort to "lay" the uneasy spirit. But always it vanished. Then at last it ceased to stalk abroad. Now it has reappeared. Reliable witnesses state that it is conducting itself in a similar fashion to last year.

It was last seen a night or two ago on the old side road leading from Peffermill Road to the castle.

The face of the spectre, which is attired in a long, dark-blue hooded cloak, is invisible except for a mass of tangled, black hair which falls over the forehead and through which eyes gleam menacingly on the approach of a mortal.

It wears heavy riding boots with spurs. On its last visit the alarm was raised and a number of Niddrie Mains young men instituted a ghost hunt. They found nothing.

Another man, however, who made an independent search, declared that he saw a shadowy being glide round the ruins and vanish through an old doorway.

Craigmillar Castle has been the scene of many dramatic incidents in Scottish history, but none has so far been quoted as an explanation of the attachment of the ghost to the old ruins.

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(From The Evening Telegraph, dated Friday December 21st, 1928)


GHOSTLY APPARITION ALARMS VILLAGE

The Woman In Black

The Shropshire village of Northwood, between Wem and Ellesmere, is in a state of excitement caused by a mysterious apparition.

Accounts have been given by independent witnesses of the appearance of a woman dressed in black, who vanishes in an instant when approached.

A farmer named Morris, and a workman named Peate, were returning home at night with a horse and trap when they saw the woman whom they thought they recognised as the wife of a local farmer. They stopped the horse to give her a lift, but she vanished, and they got out of the trap and searched in vain for her.

A man named Egerton, in the same district, was walking along the road at night, and saw the woman in the glare of a passing motor car.

The car passed over the spot where the woman stood, and he ran forward, expecting to find her body in the road. There was nothing to be seen.

Mr. Arthur R. Ellis of Wem, a dealer of wireless apparatus, was driving his car in the same district, and saw the woman, whom he knew well, standing in the road. He put on the brakes and swerved to avoid her, and pulled up, but there was nothing to be seen.

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That Craigmillar Castle ghost sounds awesome, doesn't he! Spurs! Great fashion sense....

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with another post, but in the meantime, be sure to check out what the other bloggers taking part in the Countdown To Halloween are up to by clicking the badge below! 



 




Friday, 8 October 2021

Cinema Of Stuff Presents…The Cat Creature (1973)

 



This 1973 TV movie is directed by Curtis Harrington and comes from a teleplay by famed horror writer Robert Bloch. Starring Meredith Baxter, David Hedison and Gale Sondergaard, it also has a nice cameo right at the start from Kent Smith, who starred in the earlier Cat People movies!



One completely random bit of supposed trivia regarding the film is that the director wanted to make Gale Sondergaard’s shopkeeper a lesbian, but was denied by the film company…so he relented, but added a midget prostitute instead as a form of protest against the stuck up higher ups!

A nicer piece of trivia is that after filming had finished, Sondergaard was called back to do reshoots and close-ups, or at least that’s what they told her. Instead, Charlton Heston snuck in with an Oscar which he presented to her to replace a plaque that she had one for an earlier movie, Anthony Adverse (1936)!

Anyway, that’s enough random trivia for now! On with the show!




If you’ve watched that and are still FELINE up for some more spooks, crawl like a KITTY over to the. Countdown hub, where we have the pick of the LITTER when it comes to Halloween horrifyingness….just CLAW at that badge below until you land on your feet!