Wolfman Speaks - Oliver Reed

Retro Records: The Wolfman Speaks (1977)

Friends, I hope you are ready for a howling good time. Okay, I promise no more puns like that. For your retro listening pleasure today we have an 1977 LP entitled The Wolfman Speaks. Featuring none other than the esteemed Lon Chaney Jr. as narrator, for a nice selection of ghost stories.
Wolfman Speaks - Lon Chaney Jr

I will obviously point out the oddness of the original LP cover for The Wolfman Speaks. You notice it too, right? I was a little shocked to see not an image from 1941’s The Wolf Man but 1961’s The Curse of the Werewolf instead. I will of course admit that as cinematic lycanthropes go, Oliver Reed’s take as a wolfman is pretty amazing too.

[Via] YouTube Movies

In fact I am rather surprised that the 1961 film hasn’t been subject of a remake yet. On the other hand there are some who might claim that it has been. Or at the very least some plot points were perhaps a little similar?

[Via] Universal Pictures

The Wolfman Speaks besides being recorded in what was billed as “Non-Living Scary-O”, features the last recordings of Chaney. The actor had passed away back in 1973 with his final film role being Dracula vs. Frankenstein in 1971. So as to how this record came to be I’m not really sure. I believe that Chaney lost his ability to speak without a throat mic around 1970. I wonder if perhaps this audio was meant for another LP similar to likes that David McCallum or Roddy McDowall produced?

When it comes to Lon Chaney Jr, I will admit I have always felt a bit of sadness. As an actor I think he was always under the impression that he had to escape the shadow that was his Father’s legacy. Naturally I believe he did that in spades with some of his own films. However, much like Bela Lugosi he was typecast into certain roles and it appears that his means of escape came in a bottle. Personally it is hard to watch some of his later work, you can see how time had been unkind to him. At the very least he left a solid legacy of his own behind in his earlier films as well as radio!

Now then, grab your favorite beverage and snacks, sit back and enjoy The Wolfman Speaks!

Howard Lovecraft - Undersea Kingdom

Howard Lovecraft And The Undersea Kingdom

While I have certainly been a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft for quite some time. Thanks in fact to 1985’s Re-Animator. I do not believe the now quite famous author would ever have expected that his works would be adapted into film. Much less two CGI animated movies from Shout! Factory. Which are based on the graphic novels by Dwight L. MacPherson and Bruce Brown from 2009. But that certainly is what has happened with Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom. Which is actually a sequel to the 2016 movie entitled Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom.
Howard Lovecraft - Frozen Kingdom

In the Howard Lovecraft series we are introduced to the future author as a young boy. As well as quickly finding out that the stories we love are actually entities and people that Howard Lovecraft had met in his youth. In the first adventure our hero reads from his Father’s book. An odd tome that describes a darkly fantastic realm named R’yleh. Doing so conjures a portal that sends Lovecraft into the path of Thu Thu Hmong.
Howard Lovecraft - Frozen Kingdom Teaser

Of course Howard is a young boy and he surely can’t be expected to pronounce that properly, right? So that is how this ancient and very wise entity comes to be called by a much simpler name. Spot. The duo set out to tackle the dangers of the Frozen Kingdom and beyond.

Peppered throughout both films are not just nods to Lovecraft’s works. But actual biographical information of the author is included as well. Of course since this is a family film, some facts are softened. In particular I refer to Howard Lovecraft visiting his Father in the Butler sanitarium. While the filmmakers have altered the works of the author to entertain a younger audience. As well as of course the cosmic entities that threaten our heroes. On the whole it does deliver a tasty Lovecraftian treat.

I think you will immediately pick up on the animation of the films. This is not Pixar of course. On the other hand it is certainly serviceable. However the real draw to both movies is the voice talent. You have the likes of the legendary Christopher Plummer as Dr. West. Ron Perlman as a Shoggoth. Then we have Hellraiser‘s Doug Bradley providing the voice of Nyarlathotep. None other than Mark Hamill as Dr. Henry Armitage. And last but certainly not least we have Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame!

Speaking of Combs, he is really the only bonus feature provided for this release, beyond a trailer. It is a nice addition however nonetheless. A short segment in which the actor talks about the continuing popularity of Lovecraft’s work.

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom will be available in stores on December 5th. If you cannot wait until this upcoming Tuesday however you can of course hop on over to Shout Factory and pre-order your copy today!

Now that you know about Howard Lovecraft why not enjoy this audio treat? Roddy McDowall reading H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound

[Via] The Haunted Chair

The VINCENT Principle

It’s time that we all admitted to a universal truth: that any movie or TV show can be improved by adding VINCENT or one of the other robots from Disney’s The Black Hole. This is a scientifically proven fact that we call The VINCENT Principle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AFSb3v9oXI
[Via] Stufal69

It all came to me years ago when I realized that, with the simple presence of a floaty robot buddy aboard the Discovery, 2001: a space odyssey would have turned out completely different – the HAL-9000 would never have been able to embark upon its killing spree with an independent artificial intelligence aboard, capable of stopping it.

2001...with VINCENT

But that’s just moving a robot from one classic sci-fi movie to another. What about jumping genre boundaries? Does the VINCENT Principle still work? The answer is: absolutely.

Xanadu...with VINCENT

Roller disco is not a problem for a hovering robot. And look, just add a bow tie, and he doesn’t look one iota out of place next to Gene Kelly. Very dapper. In fact, VINCENT is adept at any kind of dance routine.

Tuesdays with Morrie...and VINCENT

A touching story of an old man, a young man, a robot from the 356th labor force, and life’s greatest lesson.

Three Men and a Baby...and VINCENT

VINCENT can rattle off pithy literary life lessons and change diapers simultaneously.

The Three Amigos...with VINCENT

The biggest challenge here? Really, just finding a sombrero that fits a hovering robot.

Say Anything...with VINCENT

One has to imagine that, with the ability to levitate, VINCENT is even lighter than a big boom box. But let’s spread the love to some other Black Hole robots too.

Forrest Gump...and Old BOB

Sadly, this pivotal scene from Forrest Gump was left on the cutting room floor. Life is like a box of chocolates and transistors.

North By Northwest...with Maximillian

Thrills, spills, chills, now with drills.

The Usual Suspects...with Maximillian

One red eye, you said? Do you think you could spot him in a lineup?

As you can see, the VINCENT Principle has a 100% success rate: add a robot from The Black Hole to your favorite movie, and see if that doesn’t make the movie better!

TeePublic’s “Good Robot” T-Shirt – Featuring The Black Hole’s V.I.N.CENT!

Lieutenant Charles Pizer: V.I.N.CENT, were you programmed to bug me?
V.I.N.CENT: No, sir, to educate you.

The Walt Disney studios were most definitely attempting to try different types of stories back in 1979 when they released The Black Hole, sort of their answer to the popularity of Star Wars, at least they hoped it would find similar success. Surprisingly it did better than most might think, in that it did make a profit although not as much as the studio had hoped I’m sure. On a budget of twenty million dollars it earned over thirty-five million at the box office when all was said and done.

disneys-black-hole

For myself I caught The Black Hole at the Razorback theater, just another one of those films I hold dear that I saw at that fabled location. My Father took me to see it the weekend that it opened and I think it’s more than fair to say that we were possibly the only people there that were quite blown away by it. It doesn’t hurt the film that it features Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Joseph Bottoms and to top it off Maximilian Schell.

But the three characters that my Father and I were most impressed with weren’t even Human. No – our favorite characters included the silent yet menacing and murderous robot of Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Schell) named Maximilian oddly enough. It’s been noted that the script called the red-hued brute Maximilian before Schell was even cast!

Maximilian

Then there was the damaged but still functioning Old B.O.B. (BiO-sanitation Battalion) who was voiced by Slim Pickens.
Old Bob

Finally there was V.I.N.Cent (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized) who was voiced by the legendary Roddy McDowall and hands down my favorite character in the entire film.

Vincent - The Black Hole

Thankfully at the time there were a solid handful of merchandise for The Black Hole, like the Mego line of action figures, a Disney Read-Along record and book, an Alan Dean Foster novelization of the film and more.

Walt Disney - Black Hole LP

But there was not to my knowledge any clothing made available, especially T-Shirts featuring the likes of V.I.N.Cent! Thankfully TeePublic has fixed that issue, courtesy of jswhittington3, with their offering entitled “Good Robot” which also acts as a parody of the production company logo of J.J. Abrams!

T-Shirt Images courtesy of TeePublic.Com

T-Shirt Images courtesy of TeePublic.Com

Hop on over to TeePublic and order your T-Shirt today, that way the next time you visit your favorite arcade you can show that local robotic bully you mean business.