Random Film of the Week(end) Quickie: The Pit and the Pendulum (Or: That Funky Cold Medina)

The Pit and the Pendulum 1961So, here’s how MY Saturday night went. I’m sitting in the living room watching “The Price of Fear” marathon on This TV (which seems to be an offshoot of WPIX here in NYC that shows better movies, albeit edited for network standards) and during a commercial break in The Pit and the Pendulum (I know, I know – but I can’t pass up those Vincent Price/Roger Corman films anywhere they’re aired), I heard some loud music booming outside from someone going deaf in his or her car.

A few seconds later I end up nearly falling off the couch laughing because the song playing with its bumpy bass hanging out the window is none other than Tone Loc’s ode to lousy overpriced wine, Funky Cold Medina. Bwah and ha. Suddenly, my Saturday night got a great deal more interesting…

(thanks, Behind the Science Fiction!)

Babara SteeleEven funnier was that car rolled by just after yet another scene where Price’s Nicholas Medina is terrified out of his wits by what he believes to be the ghost of his dead wife, Elizabeth (Barbara Steele). After hearing that Deus Ex Musical interlude outside, it popped into my noggin to write this flick up rather than tackle the entire marathon (which would have seriously cut into my writing time on other articles), I toyed with the idea of rewriting the lyrics to that song as a mini-review. Yeah, the best laid last-minute plans and all that jazz.

Off topic, but related: Isn’t that a lovely photo on the right? Yes, it is. Looking at it reminded me I had a classmate back in high school who was so head over heels crazy (and not in a good way) for Ms. Steele that I recall him saying he’d love to give him his address and a knife so she could come over, wake him up and kill him so that the last thing he saw was her face. Y-i-k-e-s. Let’s just say I avoided that guy for as long as I was in that class after that point. See what happens when you try to be ignored by sitting in the back of the classroom? Almost all the freaks hung out there back in the day, folks. Wait, where was I again? Oh, right…

Meanwhile, back at the makeshift lyric factory:

Well, that idea got no further than looking up the lyrics and scratching out the first few lines before killing the idea (for the time being). It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, mind you. It’s just that I realized that I’d need to screen the film more than once to take notes, then poke around online and compare the original two-page Edgar Allan Poe story to what Richard Matheson turned it into, all while hoping what I wrote worked on a few levels.

But I won’t leave you hanging (well, just a little). Here’s the first verse of what that rappy “review” would have been:

Cold coolin’ in the castle, still lookin’ for some action
But like the raven said, “Nevermore’s” the big reaction
The girl may be around, but she’s dead and wanna get with me
My fear, it’s fresh with the face of death, (I’m played by Vincent P.)
That ghost is all rappin’ at the other side of the door
Havin’ fun at my sanity’s expense when she knows that I’m the star
The doc came over to check me out, asking why I was a weiner
He called me out, “Why you scared to die?” I said, Funky Cold Medina

Yeah, that’s really awful, isn’t it? That’s the other reason I stopped. Hey, it took me about fifteen minutes of work to come up with that, so be nice. Anyway, as for the film itself? it’s a horror classic that’s held up quite well despite the low budget (and some modern opinions disliking it that aren’t worth the non-ink wasted to type them out) and you should see it if you haven’t. Off topic once again: Hmmmm… based on this marathon, some other films I’ve noted in the past and the weekly reruns of The Outer Limits, I wonder if This TV will ever reboot Chiller Theater at some point, as they seem to run a lot of older “B” movies that are often better than what the newer cable channel called Chiller shows. At least I think so after hanging out there on and off for a month or so…

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