“Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” (1965)

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“A more exact translation would be terror. An unfortunate misnomer, for I am the mildest of men.”

– Dr. Schreck

Only fans of Horror Cinema might know Amicus Productions. Founded by Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, their first two films were “It’s Trad, Dad!” (1962) and “Just for Fun (1963), both musicals. These two weren’t the flicks that this film production company would be renowned for. I was referring to their horror anthologies.

In 1945, Ealing Studios released “Dead of Night”, starring Mervyn Johns and Michael Redgrave. Walter Craig (Johns) came to a country house party, where he had been tranced. It was the assembled guests, whom he had seen in his dream. This prompted five of the guests to talk about supernatural events that they experienced, attempting to test Craig’s foresight. This flick, directed by Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, and Robert Hamer, featured five different stories, linked by Craig’s dream. Horror films were banned in Great Britain during World War II, but these four filmmakers relied on uncanny scenarios. This would inspired Amicus to produce their own kind of horror anthology, only to refine what Ealing did.

In 1965, “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors”, which would be the first of the series, was shown. It featured Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, who became famous for playing Count Dracula and Professor Van Helsing respectively. Unlike the horror flicks of Hammer Film Productions, these flicks don’t rely on Gothic-inspired production design to elicit fear.

“Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” would mislead some moviegoers, as this was Dr. Schreck’s term for his tarot cards. He looked like the Grim Reaper upon his arrival in the train station, which his fellow rail passengers didn’t notice. They were Jim Dawson, an architect, Bill Rogers, who came from a holiday, Biff Bailey, jazz musician, Franklyn Marsh, art critic, and Bob Carroll, doctor. These fellows were curious about the cards, prompting Dr. Schreck to tell about their future – and told their stories, accurately,
based from the cards they chose.

Jim visited his former home in an unnamed Scottish isle, unaware of a secret lying underneath the house. Bill, on the other hand, find it hard to leave his house, covered by vine, which had homicidal tendencies. Biff had a gig in the West Indies, where he witnessed a local voodoo ceremony. The music inspired him, such that he copied the melody in a jazz composition he created after his return home. Franklyn’s devastating wit made him a main attraction in art galleries, until he met his match. Last but not the least, Dr. Bob Carroll returned to America with his new French bride. It must have been a whirlwind romance, as he don’t have a clue on where she came from.

Subotsky’s screenplay was no different than Hammer’s feature on vampire (or werewolf, for that matter.) A discerning viewer would overlook Alan Hume’s cinematography, which had a spellbinding effect. It made me believed that something sinister was about to take place. Cushing, in the titular role, looked like a villain from a Grimms’ fairy tale. He was sweet yet dangerous, perfect for the part.

My favourite segment was “The Disembodied Hand”, about that body part that came to life, seeking revenge for a wrongdoing. It seemed absurd whenever I thought long and hard about it, until it dawned on me that this what made Horror Cinema tick. This could be said for the other segments, as well for the succeeding flicks in the series, namely “Torture Garden” (1967), “The House That Dripped Blood” (1970), “Asylum” (1972), “Tales from the
Crypt” (1972), “The Vault of Horror” (1973), “From Beyond the Grave” (1974), and “The Monster Club” (1980). (“Tales That Witness Madness” and “The Uncanny” were part of the anthology, but both were not by Amicus.)

“Dr. Terror’s House of Terror” could have been made ambiguous, like Jack Clayton’s “The Innocents”, the result of which would have been a haunting picture. But the unsettling setting and Lee and Cushing made it up. In other words, it was frightening enough to scare anyone.

Simon Huddart studied Film and Literature, had a stint in a UK essay writing company, and did some freelance jobs in writing and proofreading. He would like to pursue a graduate degree next year. Check out his blog and Google+ account.

Signs that the people around you might be killers…

So you just moved to a new place. There are so many wonderful opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, right? Of course it is. But how do you know if the people that you’re quickly becoming friends with aren’t actually crazy axe murderers? There are so many strange people out there after all. Well, thankfully that’s what the internet is for. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to making sure that the people that you’re surrounding yourself with are for sure not psycho killers!

They Work as a Butler

Butlers are people too, after all. Spending the entire day cleaning up messes that aren’t yours and calling everyone “sir” or “madam” is bound to make even the most reasonable person snap. No one likes mopping, but crazy murderers like mopping up blood!

It’s also common knowledge that “the butler did it”. Be extra careful around people that enjoy wearing well fitted tuxedos and carry a towel draped over one arm. You never know, he could be draping your cold, lifeless body over that same arm in a few days. This is the only occupation that you really have to keep an eye on. This is especially true if they fit into any of these other categories.

They enjoy dark, stormy nights

Most people think that bad weather is lowers the murder rate because who really wants to be outside when it’s raining? Really the only people that are going to be out during dark and stormy nights are murderers.

Keep in mind that most of this data comes from horror movies that have some kind of dark or stormy night, which is all of them. So the next time your friend invites you to a secluded location in the woods during one of those stormy nights it’s best to come up with an excuse.

The joke about getting away with things

Everyone has joked about something that they later regret. But more often than not, these bad jokes can be a glimpse into the soul of the person telling them. If your friend often jokes around about breaking the law, stealing things or killing people, then there’s a pretty high chance that they’re going to go through with it one of these days.

They take forever to change light bulbs

When they eventually invite you to their house you’ll most likely notice that some of the lights seem a bit faulty. A good horror movie wouldn’t be complete without the lights working when they are needed the most. Your friend’s house is no excuse. If you notice that there are lights that don’t work then it’s always a good practice to just start running away as fast as you can.

I hope that you found this list helpful but more than that, I hope that no one you know is exhibiting any combination of the signs that are listed above. In the unfortunate event that someone you know is showing these signs I suggest that you sever all contact with the immediately and consider turning them into the police.

Erika Henrike spends way too much time watching, reading, and thinking about horror stories. She can’t wait until her nephews are old enough to share the experience with her.

Spooky & Fun Halloween Jewelry

Today we have a guest post by Claire Thomas. Claire is a lean mean crafting machine. When she’s not whipping out everything from jewelry to repurposed furniture she is gardening with her daughter.

Three of the best things about Halloween include candy (duh), costumes (double duh) and an excuse to wear strange and / or creepy jewelry. I’ll show you some of my favorites I’ve seen around Etsy, and give you the creative option to make them yourself.

The Full Halloween Moon Necklace

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©WyrdingStudios

This one will require just a few supplies. Bust out your jewelry making pliers (Wubbers makes the best set), black (half hard) wrapping wire with a chain to match it. You will also need any orange flat, circular bead. A yellow vintage button might work too. First, leave the wrapping wire uncut so as not to waste it. Continue reading

Easy DIY Costumes

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Source: FoundWalls

I’m Angela Johnson, a keen collector of craft supplies and belt buckles. I spend a lot of time tending to my huge organic garden, walking my dog and writing about my addiction to crafting for hairbowcenter.com.

Halloween is almost here! I can’t believe it! As my favorite holiday ever, I find myself at the height of my giddy excitement as we get nearer to All Hallows’ Eve. I like to go all out with decorations, parties and costumes. Here are a few simple tips for even the most craft-challenged of observers. Continue reading

Guest Post for a Great Cause: Tough Mudder for Wounded Warrior Project

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So, a friend of mine is training for the Tough Mudder race to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and he asked if I would share a link and/or a blurb about it for him. Of course, I agreed. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought he needed more than just a blurb, so I asked if he wouldn’t mind having a full post. 

We have a lot of fun talking about the darker things here. The men and women who are helped by this charity have seen horrors we can’t even begin to imagine. And they stared them right in the face, willingly, so that we can do what we do every day.

Please take a few seconds to read Collin’s story, then click the hell out of the links below. 

I became aware of the Wounded Warrior Project shortly after I made the transition from the Marine Corps back to civilian life back in 2003. As it happened, I was one of the lucky ones in that was able to return home with no physical damage and my mind relatively unaffected. I also had a family to return to and a reasonably optimistic employment outlook. Continue reading

Cool Halloween Lanterns

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By guest contributor David Collins

What springs to mind when you think of decorations for Halloween? Maybe you’re looking to decorate the front of your house to attract trick-or-treaters or spook up your lounge in preparation for a ghoulish Halloween-themed party?

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James from Survival Punk shows us how to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

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Hey Minions! Please welcome my friend James from Survival Punk! Here he tells us some real-world methods for making it through the inevitable zombie apocalypse. When you’re done with this article, go check out survivalpunk.com for more down-to-earth survival topics, gear reviews, and more!

Today I’m going to have a little fun. My goal today is to share some tactics to implore in preparing to survive a zombie apocalypse. But you say,  “James zombies aren’t real.” Well yes I know this but zombies are fun to think about. In fact zombies was a gateway drug into prepping for me. My life long affair with post apocalyptic and zombie movies. Something about them always drew me in. Other horror movies could not grab my attention. Zombies are a thinking mans monster. If you are a Tokyo pedestrian during a Godzilla rampage, well you’re screwed. Same thing with most other monsters. With zombies, though, the scenarios are always about people trying to survive. Zombies are slow moving and stupid with an all consuming desire to eat. We won’t delve into in this post but they represent many metaphors I will chat about over beers.

After years of watching the movies and thinking about what I would do I eventually stumbled onto a certain internet forum about zombie survival and went down the rabbit hole of survivalisim. I soon realized many of my “plans” were completely idiotic. Now that I know better I can revise those early plans. Today I’ll share some tips with you on how you can survive a real zombie apocalypse.

Dia De Los Meurtos: Tucson Style

From the glaring eyes of a cd skeleton blasts pop music; Halloween music- music that gets the crowd stepping in rhythm, as much as a crowd can. There are ice sculptures shaped like bones, bones shaped into full skeletons, and skeletons masquerading as people. As I look out across the crowd, my own face painted a bright bone white, I see that I (in my all-black clothes and glow-in-the-dark skeleton tights) am, if anything, under dressed. At Tucson, Arizona’s All Soul’s Processional, there is no such thing as a Halloween costume—the creations on these bodies are months in the making and worn well after the holiday.

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Unnatural Cravings: Top 5 Fictional Cannibals

Hello Minions.

Tonight we have a gruesome guest post by our friend London McGuire. Please welcome London to the Coven.

Unnatural Cravings: Top 5 Fictional Cannibals

           Looking for something to satiate your hunger for truly horrifying entertainment?  Need new characters to spice up your usual fare of axe-murderers and zombies?  From traditional horror to sci-fi and even musicals, these culinary criminals provide some of the most frightening (and disgusting) moments in television and movie history.  While there are many other fictional cannibals worthy of your attention, these five are the prime cuts based on their deliciously evil crimes, popularity and overall creepiness.

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