With morning comes breakfast and at the Monster Bash you can head on in to the screening room and grab some cereal and watch cartoons if you’d like. Make sure you’ve wiped the sleep from your eyes so you don’t bump into any of those other life sized statues in the lobby. Anyone recognize these two titans of horror cinema?
While I’ll admit to opting for bacon and eggs across the way at a local restaurant chain I did make it back to catch the end of a Bugs Bunny short while awaiting the ten a.m. showing of ………..
Ghosts on The Loose (1943)
Having passed into public domain years ago this is one of the easiest titles to come by when you’re a kid looking to collect Bela Lugosi films and here he is at Monogram for his second go around with Leo and Huntz and the rest of the boys known this time out as The East Side Kids. It’s another of those haunted house tales where comedy trumps the ghouls. Could Bela and his cohorts be Nazi Spies? With an eye towards slapstick, Leo takes command when the boys are off to decorate the home of newlyweds only to arrive at the wrong address. You bet. Bela’s house of horrors. Aside from the comedy and spooky thrills the boys exchange with Bela, it’s the appearance of a pre fame Ava Gardner that has me wishing more time and care was taken with the photography from director William “One Shot” Beaudine. Ava is absolutely stunning here at just 21 years of age and though the camera doesn’t linger, her beauty is far too obvious to conceal.
Mad Love (1935)
I never seem to think of this title when recalling horror classics of the 1930’s and that’s a shame. Probably because it isn’t from the Universal Monster Factory. It’s MGM that released this version of The Hands of Orlac. Colin Clive stars as the concert pianist married to a beautiful star of the stage, Frances Drake. In a role steeped in sexual issues far beyond my comprehension aside from the word kinky, Peter Lorre stars as the bald headed Dr. Gogos who worships Drake from afar. He has her mannequin prominently on display in his inner chambers at the hospital he runs and when he meets her, she knows he wants far more than just friendship. She puts him off until Clive is tragically injured in a train wreck. Lorre might be the one man who can save her husband’s career and Lorre will attempt to do just that by grafting the hands of a knife throwing murder (Edward Brophy) onto Clive. It’s demented and Lorre’s descent into madness is one of the genre’s great highlights from the era. Not to be lost here is the fact that it’s Clive playing the creation this time out as opposed to being the creator. A must see!
Another trip to the vendor room to pick up some movie magazines and even an insert of Raid On Rommel. A Richard Burton war flick that happened to be hidden in a stack of posters.
Back to the screening room where seats were sparse for author and festival favorite, Gregory Mank. If you study horror classics of the period than you’ll probably be familiar with Mr. Mank’s many books on the subject including one of my personal favorites, Karloff and Lugosi, the Story of a Haunting Collaboration. I can’t recommend this title enough. Mank put on a 65 minute presentation on the life of Colin Clive that didn’t disappoint. Incredible researched, I’m sure there’s plenty of details he left out but his chat served as a great teaser on an upcoming book release he has on Clive’s life titled One Man Crazy.
The Mad Magician (1954)
A Vincent Price treat previously featured here at Mike’s Take that puts Price back into that House of Wax formula in 3-D no less. To liven up the proceedings, the fire alarm went off during the final reel and in a calm, timely manor we all walked outside for a breath of fresh air and marched back in five minutes later and resumed the film. Damned if someone didn’t steal my seat forcing me to move back about 10 rows.
Following the Price film came the hottest ticket at the show and practically everyone who paid an entry fee to the Bash was crammed into the room. The lovely Victoria Price presented a look back at her father’s life and just how much he accomplished and the amount of people he touched world wide with his enthusiasm for living life to it’s fullest. It’s an inspiring presentation that reached out to everyone in the crowd using Vincent as a catalyst to do the same with your own. I was fortunate enough to see her a few years previously at the Bash and once again she left me calmly brushing a tear from my eye as her time on stage came to an end. Friendly and inviting, while I was walking past her table in the hall, no one was around and she welcomed conversation. We chatted about dogs and fan that I am, I let her know that my favorite film of her Dad’s isn’t a horror film at all. It’s the noir classic His Kind of Woman where Vincent shines the brightest alongside Jane Russell and Bob Mitchum. If you’ve dropped in here more than a few times then you’ll already know I’m a big fan of Price and of all the actors I grew up watching he and Roddy McDowall are the only two I still refer to this day as friends despite never meeting either of them.
The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)
Time for the drive in experience at the Bash and thankfully the rain let up enough to present a window to squeeze in this John Agar “classic.” Once again it’s off to Bronson Canyon where countless movies were filmed. Agar and Robert Fuller square off with ………. a floating brain! Agar finds himself a host for the floating life form with a yearning for some full on SEX with costar Joyce Meadows. She knows somethings amiss with her gentle scientist fiancé when the pawing gets a little rough. Crazy flick and plenty of laughs from the appreciative audience out on the lawn and sitting in their pickups and cars backed onto the edge of the hotel grounds. Great fun and a fine example of what one can expect at a film fest intended to take us back in time to the black and white era of monsters and 50’s science fiction thrillers.
Before calling it a night I headed back to the screening room to see some Bash Awards handed out as well as some Rondo’s as well. Nice to see the Monster Bash claim the Rondo Award for the best Classic Monster Convention for 2017. Hopefully the 2018 Award comes their way as well. Time to pay close attention as DVD’s, magazines and other bits of memorabilia get tossed out from the stage into the crowd as a show of appreciation for all the fans that made the journey to the fest. I did claim a DVD that landed at my feet of a couple Hammer titles. Works for me.
Calling it a night, I packed up in order to get an early start back towards Canada on the Sunday morning. I should point out that had I stayed there were still plenty of features to be seen on Sunday. I’m sure those that stayed had a great time watching films like Spooks Run Wild, Comin’ Round the Mountain and sitting in to hear Joyce Meadows talk about her career and fencing with Agar on Brain From Planet Arous.
There’s another Bash fest in October and next summer will see the return of Hammer starlets, Caroline Munro, Veronica Carlson and Martine Beswick coming to the show. Looks like I’ll be back. Should you be planning on attending (you should be) then look me up and say hi.