I don't know that I really have a favorite. They're all the same, you know.
I'm a fan of all the old classics - Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney. And of course Vincent Price. I love everything Vincent Price ever did. (Even that Discover Card commercial where his wife talks about how they spent their 'reward' rebates on "a little something for Vincent". Anyone else remember what they bought?) (I love his voice too. If you have a chance, check him out as The Saint in old time radio programs. Pure silk, I'm tellin' ya.)
The best of the crappy horror flicks were made in the fifties and early sixties. That was when the genre was really into morality plays and such. I guess they were hoping to save those over-heated souls in the backseat of the cars at the drive-in.
The horror movies rules really take hold in these years, too. You know the rules - the first couple to have sex seal their fate and die spectacularly early in the film. There's always one dark-skinned dude and he always outlives the sleazy light-skinned chick. The virginal blonde may work as a logger or a rescue diver or something, but she will twist her ankle towards the end of the film and will not be able to recover in time. The stoners survive longer than the sluts, but not a lot longer.
Usually I just rent these cinematic gems when I'm in the mood to watch them. However, I do own a few; one of which is Carnival of Souls (got it for .49 cents on clearance at the video store - imagine that!). It's a great story told in black and white and makes absolutely no sense. It starts with a classic scene...
Three young ladies in the front seat of a car. They are laughing and talking animatedly - probably about, gasp!, boys. The car careens down the road, being driven too fast - obviously by a loose woman. The other girls are putting on - grimace - lipstick. And all three of them demonstrate their preference for damnation by listening to 'rock-n-roll' music on the radio.
The heavy black sedan crosses on to a bridge. It swerves unexpectedly and plnges nose-first into the judgmental river below.
Cut to a scene of solemn-faced officials watching as the mechanical carcass is pulled ashore and divers dredge the river bottom for bodies. It has been hours since the accident. The general feeling amoung the men appears to be that it was a terrible, if not wholly undeserved, tragedy.
Suddenly the crowd becomes even more hushed as the heroine - a platinum blonde with straight seems in her nylons - emerges pretty much unscathed from the depths of the river.
Following her freakishly miraculous escape, she decides to leave home and move to another town to take a job as church organist. I kid you not. Church organist.
The city is not unlike the one she left, yet she is haunted by nightmares and images of the suspiciously abandonded carnival on the edge of town and the zombies that inhabit it. The ghost carnival somehow summons her spirit, drawing her into a twilight world that dangles on a thread between life and death.
Well, not really.I don't really know what the carnival does. The movie stops making sense at this point. It is gleefully misedited and just sort of ends for no apparent reason. Sort of like this post.
Well, not really.
There is a fairly new remake of Carnival of Souls out there. It's a remake in name only. No mention of a church organist anywhere in it. The remake tries too hard to make sense and relies on such nonsensical devices as plot and narrative. It fails miserably. Don't waste your time on it. Stick to the 1962 version.
I wrote this in between innings at the softball game. (Katie hit a home run.) As I sat there making marks in my little black notebook, I kept hearing some guy back behind me calling to someone. He was repeating a name over and over. Poor man. I wondered why he was being ignored. He kept calling - "Miz Fairly-Common-Name! Miz Name-That-Rings-A-Bell!"
After several shouts,I finally realized why the name was so familiar. He was talking to me! He was calling for "Miz Married-Name"! Hell, I've been married for nearly nine years and I think this is the first time anyone ever actually called me that. (Neither Jackson nor I changed our names when we got married.) Poor little guy now thinks I'm either stupid or a complete snob.
There is yet another game tonight. Maybe Ichabod and I will have time to work on another question.