Welcome To Our Nightmare: A Terror and Wooley Horror Show

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I woke up this morning with a bad case of The Cramps.


Gotta love Psychobilly.



By the way, Cap, I think this lady is the highlight. She might be my avatar for this month:


Above-ground cemetery. A guy with a crown. Buncha "people" dancing. Lady dancing with a parasol. You gotta wonder if these two poor bastards aren't in New Orleans and wandered into a Parade... of the Dead!




Above-ground cemetery. A guy with a crown. Buncha "people" dancing. Lady dancing with a parasol. You gotta wonder if these two poor bastards aren't in New Orleans and wandered into a Parade... of the Dead!

Right?? And the clarinetist with the red sash, like he's playing a jazz funeral. Parasol lady is definitely MVP, though.





Kicked off my Horrorthon with Universal's seldom-discussed Ape-Woman trilogy. (Weird that the studio went so hard on the Jungle theme in the marketing, because literally none of this takes place in a jungle.)

Our story begins with Captive Wild Woman (1943). John Carradine is a scientist conducting research in the field of....something. That wasn't clear. I just know that he used the word "glands" a lot, and his nurse warned him that he's "tampering with things that man shouldn't..." etc. So Doc Carradine somehow finds himself at a circus where he meets Cheela the gorilla. And by "gorilla" I mean that weird generic ape that appears in Three Stooges films. (See poster #1) So JC kidnaps the ape and brings her back to the lab where he does some sort of transfusion involving a woman he's also kidnapped. The result is just as you'd expect-- the ape turns into a human woman who's astonishingly photogenic given the circumstances.


this person was literally a gorilla two days ago

Now the former gorilla, who's been given the name Paula Dupre for unexplained reasons, can't speak of course, but despite having zero training her posture is remarkable and she's surprisingly adept at walking in high heels, so they put her in the circus where she assists the lion tamer. (hence the sparkly outfit). So then some other stuff happens and then the transformation starts to reverse itself.



We get one scene of the Ape-Woman breaking into the bedroom of Evelyn Ankers (who can't seem to avoid lycanthropes can she?), until the reversal is complete and we end up with the Stooges Gorilla again for the climax, which is kind of a waste if you ask me. A storm breaks out, damaging the circus tent and freeing all of the lions and tigers. Cheela is shot while rescuing the lion tamer. The End.

Jungle Woman (1944), despite being only one hour long, spends about 15 minutes recapping the first film. We learn that J Carroll Naish attended the circus that day and was impressed with Cheela's heroic behavior. He determines that she is in fact still alive and brings her back to his sanitarium, where he intends to... I can't remember. Anyhow, Cheela wakes up and escapes. Shortly afterward, she inexplicably reverts back to the form of Paula Dupre (off camera) and returns to the sanitarium where JCN takes her in. He has no idea that Paula and Cheela are the same person of course.
This Ape-Woman film makes the bold choice of having no Ape-Women in it. Instead we just get Paula Dupre walking around in a smart outfit, occasionally murdering other women because she is jealous of a handsome male character.

I feel like now is a good time to remind you that SHE USED TO BE A GORILLA, so this attraction to human men is unexpected to say the least. Also, midway through the film, again with no training, she inexplicably masters the English language but that's neither here nor there.
At the end there's a scuffle with JC Naish during which he kills her. He is not sentenced for the crime, however, because the morgue has discovered that after death she has reverted to her Ape-Woman form.

In Jungle Captive (1945) we find Otto Kruger as a scientist successfully reanimating dead rabbits. He decides that to take his work to the next level he needs to experiment on the late Paula Dupre. So he sends his assistant Rondo Hatton to the morgue to retrieve her body, but because he's Rondo Hatton he uses extra-legal means to do so. This film is more about Kruger and Hatton abducting people to use for their experiments than it is about the Ape-Woman. Weird that they bothered to make three of these films while not really seeming interested in featuring the main attraction, but I digress. The lovely Acquanetta has been replaced by Vicky Lane, who I found to be a blander presence onscreen.


But we are rewarded with much more Ape Woman footage this time around.



Final thoughts: So these aren't great obviously, but they're short and entertaining. Watching all 3 in one sitting probably isn't the best move for everybody, but in small doses they could be enjoyable.
Of course it's always a treat to see Jack Pierce monster makeup, and especially since this is a rare case of a female monster that gets to be ugly for a change. (Let's be honest: Elsa Lanchester as the monster's mate wasn't so bad, right? ) These are titles I'd heard of before, but until this year I was unaware that they were related so I'm glad to have finally seen them.
__________________
Captain's Log
My Collection



The imagery in this thread is a 10/10. Well done.



The imagery in this thread is a 10/10. Well done.
We thank you kindly.
Here's one just for you:




We thank you kindly.
Here's one just for you:




Ghouls, vampires, werewolves... let's party.
Yeah, I've gotta agree with you about Mark of the Vampire. I watch it pretty often though, just because it's such Gothic goodness.
I'll have to put that on my watch list.




Holy ****, I had forgotten how good this movie actually is.
This happens every time. I watch it and remember how good it is, then I let years pass and in my mind the narrative transforms to "well, it's good but more for its place in history than actually holding up" and I end up not watching it for a long time. Then I watch it again and get kinda blown away again. I am documenting here, more for myself than anyone else, that this is a damned good film.
Honestly, my interest got a lot more piqued when I saw (prior to the beginning of the film) that the print on HBOMax was from the collection of The Museum Of Modern Art in New York. That says a lot and really, this film deserves to be there. It is as much an "art film" as it is a Horror film. There is so much more to this film than just being the genesis of The Living Dead and I think the film can be taken on its own, out of context, and appreciated and respected.
The sociopolitical undertones of the film are well-documented and heavily discussed so I won't belabor them here. But I would like to say that, throughout, they are approached without feeling the need to engage them directly heavy-handedly. You feel the dynamics that are going on without anyone having to shout them out at you. And there's a separate statement made by doing it that way.
I felt that the acting was often better than one might realize if they were just thinking of it as a cheap genre film. I particularly liked Barbara, who I had not liked in the past. She made me believe her.


I believed that rather than a damsel in distress, she was a person traumatized into a state of shock. The dead-weight she then begins to be and the stress it puts on the situation is meaningful to the story.
Obviously Ben is great, a decent man with a level head and the will to survive, not some hero. And the fact that he's a black man in a house full of white people in 1968 cannot be overlooked but is never addressed directly. All the characters felt like real people, including the Coopers, Harry being like a lot of weak men I've known and Helen like a lot of the stronger women who had the misfortune to hook up with weak men. The many conflicts within the group are as unnerving as the Living Dead themselves, given the danger they put everyone in.


But this movie also has some real scares in it. The body on the landing jump-scare was a good one and the movie got pretty gruesome at moments, particularly when they show one of the LD eating one of the sympathetic main characters’ severed hand. And
WARNING: "Major sperlahs" spoilers below
Karen is just the most disturbing thing in the whole film. When she kills her own mother with a trowel and eats her… man.
And then Johnny comes for Barbara.

Damn.
A lot of heartbreak served up with the danger and death.
I also felt like the camera and lighting did a great job of providing claustrophobia and a sense of realism. The music was effective but never overwhelmed the on-screen tension.
All in all, Night Of The Living Dead is a film that deserves its place in history, not just for the sub-genre it invented, not just for the social statements it made, but also, in fact, more than anything, simply for the film it is.



I'll have to put that on my watch list.
At just over an hour, you don't have that much to lose, right?





Kicked off my Horrorthon with Universal's seldom-discussed Ape-Woman trilogy. (Weird that the studio went so hard on the Jungle theme in the marketing, because literally none of this takes place in a jungle.)

Our story begins with Captive Wild Woman (1943). John Carradine is a scientist conducting research in the field of....something. That wasn't clear. I just know that he used the word "glands" a lot, and his nurse warned him that he's "tampering with things that man shouldn't..." etc. So Doc Carradine somehow finds himself at a circus where he meets Cheela the gorilla. And by "gorilla" I mean that weird generic ape that appears in Three Stooges films. (See poster #1) So JC kidnaps the ape and brings her back to the lab where he does some sort of transfusion involving a woman he's also kidnapped. The result is just as you'd expect-- the ape turns into a human woman who's astonishingly photogenic given the circumstances.


this person was literally a gorilla two days ago

Now the former gorilla, who's been given the name Paula Dupre for unexplained reasons, can't speak of course, but despite having zero training her posture is remarkable and she's surprisingly adept at walking in high heels, so they put her in the circus where she assists the lion tamer. (hence the sparkly outfit). So then some other stuff happens and then the transformation starts to reverse itself.



We get one scene of the Ape-Woman breaking into the bedroom of Evelyn Ankers (who can't seem to avoid lycanthropes can she?), until the reversal is complete and we end up with the Stooges Gorilla again for the climax, which is kind of a waste if you ask me. A storm breaks out, damaging the circus tent and freeing all of the lions and tigers. Cheela is shot while rescuing the lion tamer. The End.

Jungle Woman (1944), despite being only one hour long, spends about 15 minutes recapping the first film. We learn that J Carroll Naish attended the circus that day and was impressed with Cheela's heroic behavior. He determines that she is in fact still alive and brings her back to his sanitarium, where he intends to... I can't remember. Anyhow, Cheela wakes up and escapes. Shortly afterward, she inexplicably reverts back to the form of Paula Dupre (off camera) and returns to the sanitarium where JCN takes her in. He has no idea that Paula and Cheela are the same person of course.
This Ape-Woman film makes the bold choice of having no Ape-Women in it. Instead we just get Paula Dupre walking around in a smart outfit, occasionally murdering other women because she is jealous of a handsome male character.

I feel like now is a good time to remind you that SHE USED TO BE A GORILLA, so this attraction to human men is unexpected to say the least. Also, midway through the film, again with no training, she inexplicably masters the English language but that's neither here nor there.
At the end there's a scuffle with JC Naish during which he kills her. He is not sentenced for the crime, however, because the morgue has discovered that after death she has reverted to her Ape-Woman form.

In Jungle Captive (1945) we find Otto Kruger as a scientist successfully reanimating dead rabbits. He decides that to take his work to the next level he needs to experiment on the late Paula Dupre. So he sends his assistant Rondo Hatton to the morgue to retrieve her body, but because he's Rondo Hatton he uses extra-legal means to do so. This film is more about Kruger and Hatton abducting people to use for their experiments than it is about the Ape-Woman. Weird that they bothered to make three of these films while not really seeming interested in featuring the main attraction, but I digress. The lovely Acquanetta has been replaced by Vicky Lane, who I found to be a blander presence onscreen.


But we are rewarded with much more Ape Woman footage this time around.



Final thoughts: So these aren't great obviously, but they're short and entertaining. Watching all 3 in one sitting probably isn't the best move for everybody, but in small doses they could be enjoyable.
Of course it's always a treat to see Jack Pierce monster makeup, and especially since this is a rare case of a female monster that gets to be ugly for a change. (Let's be honest: Elsa Lanchester as the monster's mate wasn't so bad, right? ) These are titles I'd heard of before, but until this year I was unaware that they were related so I'm glad to have finally seen them.
Wow.
So I had no idea there was an Ape-Woman Universal series. None.
You have left me speechless.
I will have to come back when I am not undone.



I picked up the Criterion blu-ray a few years ago, which I think is struck from the same MoMA print. After years of seeing it in ****ty public domain prints, it was very nice to see it in the breathtakingly attractive presentation it deserves. It's funny, I've seen over the years this get compared to documentaries in terms of its style, but the nicer presentation really brings into focus who forceful Romero's direction is.



I know Romero's expressed some regrets around the Judith O'Dea character, but I do appreciate the movie showing different kinds of reactions to the situation, from her catatonic state to the family man's wrong-headed stubbornness to Duane Jones' competence and assertiveness. I appreciate that he "corrected" this with the Gaylen Ross and Lori Cardille characters in Dawn and Day, respectively (both of whom I think really hold their films together), but I don't think "weak" characterizations hurt this movie as much as he seems to think.


I don't know if I'd put this in my top 10 "favourite" horrors, but it's definitely one of the most influential.



I think I am a little biased from an experience in high school when there was a marathon of all the universal Mummy movies on the sci-fi channel, and I only got the last 5 minutes of the first one, and then went on to watch all the sequels. So when someone says I watched all the films in the x-universal horror franchise, I just assume it goes poorly a movie or two in.


Also not knowing the Ape Woman series existed does not sound like it would bode well. (weirdly, I knew the movie, Night of the Bloody Apes existed... Different time/region of film though).


Wrt to Night of the Living Dead. It's always interesting to me when people talk about their favorite Romero Living Dead movie for me, because I am squarely Night. There's something about conflicting personally cracking and the social order breaking down that Night captured that resonates with me that Dawn and Day never ring quite the same way. I actually always compare It Comes at Night to Night of the Living Dead without the zombies. And I mean that with praise for both.




Holy ****, I had forgotten how good this movie actually is.
This happens every time. I watch it and remember how good it is, then I let years pass and in my mind the narrative transforms to "well, it's good but more for its place in history than actually holding up" and I end up not watching it for a long time. Then I watch it again and get kinda blown away again. I am documenting here, more for myself than anyone else, that this is a damned good film.
Honestly, my interest got a lot more piqued when I saw (prior to the beginning of the film) that the print on HBOMax was from the collection of The Museum Of Modern Art in New York. That says a lot and really, this film deserves to be there. It is as much an "art film" as it is a Horror film. There is so much more to this film than just being the genesis of The Living Dead and I think the film can be taken on its own, out of context, and appreciated and respected.
The sociopolitical undertones of the film are well-documented and heavily discussed so I won't belabor them here. But I would like to say that, throughout, they are approached without feeling the need to engage them directly heavy-handedly. You feel the dynamics that are going on without anyone having to shout them out at you. And there's a separate statement made my doing it that way as well.
I felt that the acting was often better than one might realize if they were just thinking of it as a cheap genre film. I particularly liked Barbara, who I had not liked in the past. She made me believe her.


I believed that rather than a damsel in distress, she was a person traumatized into a state of shock. The dead-weight she then begins to be and the stress it puts on the situation is meaningful to the story.
Obviously Ben is great, a decent man with a level head and the will to survive, not some hero. And the fact that he's a black man in a house full of white people in 1968 cannot be overlooked but is never addressed directly. All the characters felt like real people, including the Coopers, Harry being like a lot of weak men I've known and Helen like a lot of the stronger women who had the misfortune to hook up with weak men. The many conflicts within the group are as unnerving as the Living Dead themselves, given the danger they put everyone in.


But this movie also has some real scares in it. The body on the landing jump-scare was a good one and the movie got pretty gruesome at moments, particularly when they show one of the LD eating one of the sympathetic main characters’ severed hand. And
WARNING: "Major sperlahs" spoilers below
Karen is just the most disturbing thing in the whole film. When she kills her own mother with a trowel and eats her… man.
And then Johnny comes for Barbara.

Damn.
A lot of heartbreak served up with the danger and death.
I also felt like the camera and lighting did a great job of providing claustrophobia and a sense of realism. The music was effective but never overwhelmed the on-screen tension.
All in all, Night Of The Living Dead is a film that deserves its place in history, not just for the sub-genre it invented, not just for the social statements it made, but also, in fact, more than anything, simply for the film it is.
I watched the Criterion version of that film a couple months ago. When I first watched it, I wasn't that big on it, but I've been slowly warming up to it over the years. I wouldn't say I love the film as of now, but another rewatch may change that.



weirdly, I knew the movie, Night of the Bloody Apes existed... Different time/region of film though
I found that one disappointing for its relative dearth of apes (only 1.5, if I recall correctly) and for having a Mexican wrestler but never having her actually wrestle with an ape. Still, there's something to be said for how it wraps its mean and ugly content in such a quaint aesthetic. I think I gave it a 6/10.



All in all, Night Of The Living Dead is a film that deserves its place in history, not just for the sub-genre it invented, not just for the social statements it made, but also, in fact, more than anything, simply for the film it is.
Romero's made lots of good ones, but Night is still my favorite. He probably made better movies but you can't replicate that lightning-in-a-bottle thing that Night has.