Random Film of the Week: Doctor X (DVD)

Doctor X_02

For all that trouble setting their private and expensive game show up, no one could guess what was behind Curtain #1.

Dr. XLet’s just say that as a kid of, oh, seven or eight years old back in the 70’s, I had no idea (not a clue!) what I was watching when the local public TV station ran Doctor X so very many years ago. I do recall not knowing what was going on for a bit and some parts were wacky, but yes indeed, I did perk up when the “Synthetic Flesh” scene kicked in. Hell, I was a Frankenstein fan by then, even if my exposure was courtesy Universal Pictures and James Whale and not Mary Shelley until I read the book years later.

When I revisited the good Dr. Jerry Xavier (Lionel Atwill), and the film as I got older into my teens, elements started to click and it was all “Oh, that’s what that means!” on more elements I didn’t understand previouslyWhich of course means that as a grumpier and older old man these days, I’m all over this freak-fest like I’ve run into an old friend I haven’t seen in a while. This one’s pretty funny, pretty grim and completely bonkers. Oh, by the way, Doctor X sounds better and scarier than Doctor Jerry. That and if it were called Dr. J, there’s that slim chance a slimmer handful of folks might get fooled into thinking it’s a sports biopic (heh).

Doctor X_01

Jacket jealousy here, as Fay’s got the stripes. but Tracy’s got the tweed and they both win the fashion lottery.

It’s also a great pre-code film, what with its discussion of a few hot topics those who think “well, those old movies were DULL!” might find they’re a bit incorrect about if they ever get off that dead horse they always jump on and see a few of these films. Now a little murder? Hey, that’s fine and dandy in a film about a mysterious killer. Toss in elements like that mysterious killer who happens to cannibalize corpses, a bit of prostitution and rape as story elements, plus a few old guys sitting around talking about their fetishes (hey, that may be the most creepy thing about this to some!), and more atmosphere that you can shake a few sticks at, and you get a true classic.

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Keeping Casualties To A Minimum Next Black Friday May Become A “Thing” If This Takes Off…

Yikes. While I’m NOT a mall person at all and generally dislike large crowds, I’d never, ever consider suicide as an option to too much mall trawling. Sadly, some poor guy in Jiangsu Province (in Eastern China) decided to end it all after five hours with his girlfriend this past Christmas, leaping from a balcony after she wanted to go to one more shop. Wow. Now, the kind of amusing thing here is this seems to be such a huge problem in China (men hating to shop with their wives and/or girlfriends, not men throwing themselves off balconies when they do too much shopping with their wives and/or girlfriends) that some areas actually have what amount to “husband check-in” stations that keep the king of beasts there pacified and sane, although probably still worrying about their bank balances after all that purchasing power happening below.

I think we should have these sorts of things here as well, but it seems that Hollywood already thought of that little problem way back in 1932, as you can see above in that fun old MGM short. Then again, maybe over-shopping was a bad thing for Depression-era America, but these days, man and women alike will run over each other just to spend five hours or more snapping up two dollar toasters and half-price sweat socks. Perhaps there can be both ladies and mens check-in areas just so staggered shopping becomes a new habit people pick up. Heck, they’ll certainly be staggering after a few free glasses of watered-down booze. Still, I’d be fully into some of this pre-Hays Code era relaxation if this were actually existing today at a retail paradise near me. Heck, the floor show would even get me out for a stroll even if I was already well stocked with tomatoes and peaches…

Monday Madness, Too: Couples Retail Therapy, 1932 Style!

(thanks again, Good Old Days Returns!) 

Wait, What? “CHECK YOUR HUSBAND??” OK, right! Yeah, you WISH that mall near you or five states away offered this particular service. You’d be dragging that battle-axe out every other day to peruse some shoes just so you could pay a dollar to get tagged, shuffled into the back and woman-handled for a bit while your wifey-poo gets her Blahnik fetish taken care of. And if there’s an artist side of your better half, a trip out for some Secs in the city with a little baggage room squeezin’ on the side? Certeza, porque não? (Você só vai entender essa piada se você falar mal traduzido Português, pela maneira… Obrigado, bing!). I don’t know what film this is from, but I can see this taking off fast in some states where a handful of wealthy fatcats make more than the entire middle class in their area and feel entitled to do endure such treatment on a regular basis. That’s one sure way to make an economy boom – make everyone giddy because those who have the money are making it rain down on those who don’t…

Yeah, right – that trickle down stuff only happens when some drunk bazillionaire “accidentally” pees on his chauffeur who’s trying to extract him from the back seat of that hideous stretch Bentley or has done so, but is trying to keep him away from the koi pond…

Monday Madness: It’s A Jungle Out There! Dancing is Permitted.

(thanks GoodOldDaysReturns!) 

Yeah, so… how’s that well-chilled cubicle treating you to-day? Same ol’ same ol’, right? Gals yammering away around the water cooler or microwave about their weekend and hair, hair, hair in this humidity, guys doing the same but skipping the hair talk save for sharing man-scaping tips (eww and yikes, that hair can save your life one day!), and yeah, there’s that room-shaking sound again. That’s right, kids – It’s the big boss bellowing out of his cave every so often like a really hungry but even more lazy bear. Yeah, yeah, yeah- that’s a proper classic Monday for you. “Illegitimum non carborundum” and all that stuff. Just don’t start the drinking until AFTER work, chief. Nothing like coming back from that one hangover lunch and still have three or four hours to grind away. OK then – I’ll let you get back to your boulder, Sisyphus -hope you enjoyed the strange sights above…

Random Art: For Freaks’ Sake, This One’s for The Birds…

 

broken wingAs much of a horror classic as Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks is, that bizarre ending has always rankled me a teeny-tiny bit. Spoiler: that bird lady thing at the end was actually more amusing than shocking to me, especially when stacked up to the real life cast and their assorted actual conditions. Anyway, completely on a lark (ha ha) I did this MS Paint sketch last year as an alternate makeup just for fun. Yeah, yeah, this film will (thankfully) NEVER be remade, but if someone want so try it (and thus be stalked by a few people armed with assorted home-made portable torture devices), here you go. Have fun for as long as it lasts, but sleep with one eye open. I actually overheard a conversation about a “remake” idea in a Starbucks a few months back, but it was a bunch of hipster types hoping someone would take advantage of the fact that reality show is now using “freaks” as a happy entertainment option for us “normals” out in tee vee land. Let’s hope this doesn’t take off, I say…

On a side note, I and many other fans keep hoping against hope that someone tracks down the 26 or so minutes of footage that was chopped out by MGM back in 1932 and restores the film to its original glory.