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Tag Archives: mad scientist

Karloff Works his Magic on Me

There were several posters, but this was the one I downloaded first.

I am in the midst of watching The Sorcerers (1967) with Boris Karloff, but I really, really want to make my blog post before it gets any later.  I will attempt to watch and type.  Ooh, stopped typing for a few minutes. The movie just got quite horrifying.

OK, that scary moment is over and I will type a few more words, insert another picture, till I just have to watch again.

He does not appear to be a harmless old man, even before things get creepy.

This is one of the many movies where Karloff gets to use his real voice.  As I always say, I will never get over my delight at those deep, mellifluous tones.  And yes, with every sentence, I can hear, “Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot…”   In this movie… well, I don’t want to give away any plot points, as I do with the cheesy horror movies I love to write about.

Here is a creepier shot of him.

Karloff and his wife are mad scientists.  At least, he says he’s a kind of a hypnotist, but I never saw a hypnotist with all this creepy equipment.

I kind of wish they had done more in the laboratory (pronounced la-BORE-a-tory).

This is actually a gripping tale of horror, control and power with a surprising strong moral center.  But more I shall not say.  Watch the movie when you get a chance.

And we’ll call this a Slacker Saturday post.



Musings on the MRI

Have you ever had an MRI?  They’re freaky!  I felt like I was being operated on by a mad scientist, and that was the fun part of the experience.

Am I really going to write a blog post about getting an MRI?  Well, nothing else presents itself, and it is Middle-aged Musings Monday (or Mental Meanderings Monday, take your choice).  I did not get a post written on breaks at work, because I was writing something else (yay me, at least I wrote), and I am home late and want to get this post published so I might have a little time to relax before bed.

I’ve often remarked that it is tiresome to go on about one’s health problems, but I have often observed that that does not stop most of us (don’t pretend you’re the exception to the rule; I won’t believe you).  Well, I won’t go on and on, because I like to keep these off the cuff posts short.

What I liked best about the MRI was that I got to lie down with my eyes closed.  I didn’t have to close my eyes, but they told me not to move my head, and I believe blinking counts as movement.  Best just to keep them shut.  Then too, when your eyes are closed you can’t see the cage-looking thing they put over your face and you don’t see the low ceiling they roll you under.

You don’t have to do anything but lie as still as you can and listen to all the noise.  Boy, is there a lot of noise!  I thought lying still like that I might fall asleep.  I’m sure snoring would count as movement in addition to being pretty embarrassing, so I guess I should have been happy for the noise to keep me awake.

The other good thing about this MRI was when they injected some stuff into my arm, I didn’t even feel the needle go in.  That’s some skill by the medical professional involved, that is.  In turn, they appreciated my prominent veins.

Probably the worst part of my medical ordeal was driving home in the dark afterward.  I took a wrong turn and ended up following an extremely dark road back to the highway.  At least by the time I was on that road, I was pretty sure I knew where I was.

And that is my story about my MRI.  I’ll see what I can do about not having a Tired Tuesday post.  As always, I hope you’ll tune in.


Vampire? What Vampire?

I was not sure if I could write effectively about Atomic Age Vampire (1961),but when I realized the title made it a perfect candidate for Non-Sequitur Thursday, I thought I would give it a try.

Spoiler Alert!  I’ve probably already spoiled it for some people by giving away the lack of truth in advertising.  Then again, you might like to be forewarned about that.  At least I’m not going to give away the ending, because I don’t exactly remember it.

The movie is one of our “50 Horror Classics,” the DVD set I purchased for a very moderate amount, considering how much entertainment we’ve derived from it.  I had a craving for some Halloween cheese, and this movie fit the bill nicely.

The movie opens cheesily enough in a strip club.  To add to the ambiance, it is rather obviously dubbed.  A sailor (I think) is about to go on deployment (I guess) and is breaking up with his beautiful blond girlfriend because she would not quit her sleazy job.  I must confess to some feminist indignation on Blondie’s behalf.  Sailor Boy must have know she had a career when he started dating her.

And isn’t that typical of either gender?  They fall in love with somebody and the first thing they want to do is change them. It gives me that little frisson on virtue, because I love my husband just the way he is.  But I digress.

I may digress further in a bit, because this is also another one of those movies that centers around a mad scientist using nefarious means to restore and maintain a woman’s beauty.  What does this say about our superficial society?  In mad scientist’s defense, other than restoring her beauty (which, to be fair, she wants too), he does not desire to change Blondie but loves her (albeit in an obsessive, mad scientist kind of way) just the way she is.

Ah, I see I’ve left out the part where she loses her beauty.  In her grief over Sailor Boy’s defection, Blondie crashes her car.  That she survives at all is quite the miracle, but the only thing to sustain much damage seems to be her face.  Really, shouldn’t she at least have been in a wheelchair?  Maybe one arm in a sling?  But no, just her face all bandaged up like the Invisible Man.  Go figure.

Mad Scientist naturally has a female assistant who is in love with him and will do his bidding.  And, just as naturally, he is just not that into her (I love that expression).  Personally, I thought she was pretty good-looking, but I suppose she lacked Blondie’s glamorous appeal.  I mean, once Blondie gets her face back.  Maybe it was all about the bodies, which, I confess, I did not particularly notice.

Anyways, Lovelorn Assistant convinces Blondie that Mad Scientist can help her.  Do I need to tell you that restoring Blondie’s beauty requires the murders of numerous other young, nubile females?  Lovelorn Assistant does most of the killing.  Oh, these people who will do anything for love!

Now that I think about it, they could have done a lot more with the two adjoining love triangles:  Mad Scientist/Assistant/Blondie and Blondie/Sailor Boy/Scientist.  But then I suppose that would have left less time for nefarious scientific doings.

I bet some of you have noticed that I have not yet mentioned any vampire, let alone an atomic age one.  That’s because I didn’t see any.  I suppose one could make the argument that the killing of young ladies to feed Blondie’s beauty is vampiric activity.  And there may have been some atomic stuff in the laboratory that I failed to notice.  The killing of young ladies is, of course, a time-honored mad scientist technique, not an atomic age innovation.  I am inclined to believe that they just slapped on a title that they thought would get people to watch the damned movie.  After all, it worked on me.

I Can’t Phantom It

I believe I mentioned watching a cheesy movie last weekend while I was suffering from a sinus problem. I was too fuzzy-headed to pay even my usual desultory attention to it, but I think I can come up with a paragraph or two.

Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms (1956) starts right out by showing you the monster, which looks a little like a low-rent Creature of the Black Lagoon. I don’t particularly mind low rent; it adds to the cheese quotient. Ah, but here’s the point: the title says “phantom” but, to me, that’s a monster. Perhaps the writers considered a phantom a kind of a monster. Or maybe they just like alliteration as much as I do. No matter.

A lone fisherman in a boat apparently does not see the monster, although we can look down into the water and see it perfectly well. I suppose it’s a little petty to carp about a thing like that in a movie like this. After all, we WANT to see the monster, and the writers of the movie wanted the fisherman to NOT see it. Call it dramatic license. After dispatching the poor fisherman, the monster disappears for what seems like a long time (ooh, could that be why they call it a phantom?).

I found the plot a little hard to follow. Nobody is what they seem, except maybe the mad scientist’s beautiful daughter (all your better mad scientists have one). Well, I guess he’s not really a mad scientist. He is an oceanographer. But he is working on something he is being awfully secretive about. His assistant, his secretary and his janitor are all trying to find out what it is.

The assistant is the most sinister of the bunch. He keeps sneaking around carrying a harpoon gun. I wasn’t clear on what exactly he does as an assistant, since it seems he’s not privy to the doctor’s actual work. Then again, I was not clear on a lot during this movie, most notably my sinuses (for once I have an excuse other than my usual “just not paying attention”).

I didn’t mind the assistant being sneaky; at least his motives were made clear later. I’m still puzzling over what the main guy is even doing there. He shows up when this federal (I think) guy is investigating the sailor we saw get whacked in the first scene. He says his name is Ted Baxter (did you all just flash on The Mary Tyler Moore Show? I did). We later find out he’s really Ted Stevens, a prominent oceanographer who wrote a book on which his picture is prominently displayed. Didn’t he think the guy he is going to see — the mad scientist/oceanographer — might possibly have a copy of his book? Perhaps modesty overcame him.

I got a little chuckle thinking that Ted’s fake name sounded more real than his real name. I read somewhere that when people come up with aliases, they often use their own first name for a last name. For example, in Tootsie, Michael Dorsey becomes Dorothy Michaels. It would not have surprised me to find out that Ted Stevens’ real name was Steven Tedford. But I digress.

As I was saying, I never did find out why Ted was masquerading as Ted Knight, but in any case, both Federal Guy and Mad Oceanographer find him out quite soon and with very little difficulty.

Every so often the Phantom Monster shows up again. We find out what Sneaky Assistant is up to, we watch Mad Oceanographer at work, and of course Ted romances Beautiful Daughter. I never really figured out the whole plot (blame my sinus infection), but I think it boiled down to the beware-of-science-there-are-things-we-aren’t-supposed-to-know paranoia that became so popular at the dawn of the atomic age.

I will have to watch this silly movie again when my head is less fuzzy.

A Not Indestructible Movie

Spoiler Alert! I don’t know why I bother with these, really. Yes, I’m going to give away the ending, but quite frankly, I think you can see this one coming.

I had high hopes when I DVR’d Indestructible Man (1956) with Lon Chaney. After all, Lon Chaney as a man who is brought back from the dead, what’s not to like?

The short answer is, this movie, although I’m not sure that’s strictly accurate. I didn’t hate the movie, but I was disappointed. I guess I don’t know what I expect out of these things.

The movie opens with Chaney in a jail cell, talking to his lawyer prior to execution. Apparently his lawyer set him up then talked his partners into turning him in. The lawyer says, “You know that’s not true,” largely, I think, because people are listening (not just us). Chaney is apparently having the last laugh, because he knows where the loot is. The lawyer promises to take care of Chaney’s girlfriend if only he’ll reveal the location of the dough. Chaney, however, promises to take care of his own girl and to kill his betrayers, by means unspecified at that time.

“Remember what I said,” he rumbles. I did.

My question is, how does he know? As it turns out, a mad scientist’s assistant bribes some prison guys for Chaney’s body, but this has not been planned in advance with Chaney’s collusion.

Oh, about the mad scientist, the character is really, I guess, just a dedicated researcher seeking a cure for cancer. I added the description “mad,” because, come on, experimenting on dead felons’ bodies? Is that the sort of thing they teach in regular scientist school?

So you know what’s going to happen, and they happily don’t take too long getting there. After being zapped with apparently more juice than they used in the electric chair, Chaney comes back to life with his cells reproducing madly, rending him indestructible but not visibly any different. Oh, he can’t talk, but I believe that is the result of the original execution, not the mad science.

And off he goes on his rampage, killing everybody in his path, except of course his girlfriend. Oh, yeah, she isn’t really his girlfriend (don’t they all say that once he’s indestructible and on a rampage?). She’s a burlesque dancer. To me the most striking feature of the movie is that she doesn’t do anything stupid, unless you count marrying the cop at the end (yeah, this is why I added the spoiler alert).

I watched this picture the afternoon of closing night of Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play I was in at Ilion Little Theatre. Perhaps I was distracted by that and did not give the movie sufficient attention to appreciate it. As I write this post, I am still convalescent from the heinous stomach ailment that has been plaguing me, so perhaps I am still not paying sufficient attention. Then again, if the movie was as indestructible as the title character, I don’t think these things would have mattered. I say it was neither cheesy enough to horror enough to be worth your time.