Behold A Pale Horse

Hersh’s reply surprised Alex just a little, even though it was delivered in the old man’s usual graval tone. “Three years and not one phone call, email or letter? Not even a personal visit? And you want my help? Damn Alex your a cold bastard. Lucky for you we’re friends first partners second. Maybe it’s the other way around. Sure I’ll help you. I’m bored stupid and the wife nags something fierce.”

Alex frowned at first, then nodded and showed Hersh towards his car. “You still take cabs, or do you ride the bus these days?” Alex asked. “Well I prefer a cab yet the bus is cheaper. So the bus it is. Sure will be nice to have a driver again like the old days.”

While driving away Alex swore he saw a man spying, watching closely. This detail came to mind later on when the bullets whistled by and the smell of gunpowder filled the air. Turning away him and Hersh entered Alex’s beat up Ford Taurus and journeyed to Alex’s home in the suburbs.

Upon arrival Hersh was shown to Alex’s computer, ignoring the messy state of the entire house. “Old friend it’s time you hired a maid,” said Hersh as he chuckled at his own insult. Alex nodded and watched as Hersh examined his e-mails, scrolling down until he found the ones titled “Henry.”

“Of course whoever sent this has a bogus account. They have been threatening you for what, three months, and yet no attempt has been made to contact you? Strange..wait. New message: ‘Meet me at Chomsky Park. 9 PM. Don’t be late. No cops.’ Trap?”
“Oh yeah. Time to give Kyle a call? I know he’s not my biggest fan but let’s play it safe for now.”

Hersh signed and nodded as he walked to the kitchen. “Still got ‘em? The time has come old friend.” “But of course buddy. Even cleaned them. Both are loaded and ready for action.” Alex opened a case and handed it to Hersh, who opened it and grinned as he pulled out a twin pair of .45 semi automatics. Closing the box and tucking it under his arm, Hersh said “Well its getting late. Best head home before the wife tears my head off. Call me after the meeting. Wish I could go.”

Mixtures Playlist 2014

1.    A Comet Appears (3:49), The Shins-Wincing The Night Away
2.    War On War (3:49), Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
3.    I Don’t Even Know Myself (4:56), The Who-Who’s Next
4.    Hung Up On You (3:58), Fountains Of Wayne-Welcome Interstate Managers
5.    My Name Is Jonas (3:24), Weezer-Weezer
6.    On (4:46), Bloc Party-A Weekend In The City
7.    Little Motel (4:44), Modest Mouse-We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
8.    Flynn Lives (3:22), Daft Punk-Tron: Legacy
9.    With God On Our Side (7:08), Bob Dylan-The Times They Are A-Changin’
10.    The Girl Is Mine (3:42), Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney-Thriller
11.    Scientist Studies (5:56), Death Cab For Cutie-We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes
12.    King Of Fools (4:07), Dwight Yoakam-This Time
13.    Song For The Deaf (6:42), Queens Of The Stone Age-Songs For The Deaf
14.    Lucky Star (3:31), Madonna-Snatch
15.    Four Corners (5:44), The Sea and the Cake-One Bedroom
16.    This Is The Place (Naive Melody) (4:58), Talking Heads-Sand In The Vaseline

16 Songs, 1:14:36 total time, 316.6 MB

It’s Hammer Time Presents: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967, Terence Fisher)

One of the best things about Peter Cushing is how no matter what the movie he appeared in he always gave his all to whatever role he played. The part of Baron Frankenstein suited him rather well, and in Frankenstein Created Woman the Baron is working with an older assistant named Dr Hertz, attempting to isolate the soul of a person. In doing so he will conquer death via a new means, so long as he is able to captain a person’s soul and essence. Finally the brilliant madman is able to achieve his goal without interference from others, yet human nature becomes his new problem.

Like many of the entries in this series there is a ghoulish and cruel opener. A man is the executed, and the repercussions of this action happen years later when his son is framed for murder by a trio of upper class thugs. His beloved, Christina (the lovely and talented Susan Denberg) kills herself in response after seeing her lover brutally executed, and Frankenstein realizes this his chance to prove his metaphysical theories. Of course this leads to that classic scene featuring strange machines at work, resulting in weird science happening.

Frankenstein Created Woman is a film with two halves: one a science fiction Gothic horror tale with tragedy, the other a slasher film. The Baron does create a monster that is beautiful and lovely, and yet due to having the soul of a vengeful man it proceeds to go on a rampage. Unfortunately for Baron Frankenstein and his assistant the authorities of the village come after him per the typical realization that he is responsible, and events come to a head. Particularly after the Baron and Dr Hertz realize what is actually happening.

Despite at times being cheesy and a little slow in the middle, Frankenstein Created Woman is one of the better sequels in the Frankenstein series. The conclusion is both sad and haunting, and this film is rather entertaining and intelligently made. I continue to enjoy viewing these movies, as its amusing to me how Frankenstein continues to survive and work despite everyone being against him.

Behold A Pale Horse

Calmly driving down the stretch of freshly paved road Alex maneuvered through cars too slow to get out of his way. He always drove as if he was in a hurry, usually going 10 or even 20 over the speed limit. Pedestrians were a nuance, and he despised jaywalkers as much as he cursed those who drove slow in the fast lane. Besides he wasn’t sure how much longer Hersh was going to wait, although Alex’s old partner admitted he had discovered patience in his ancient years. Hersh was never big on virtues or social graces.

Seeing the park in sight Alex took a right and parked his car neatly and slowly into the first open parking spot he saw. “Only assholes fail to park the right way…” he grumbled to know one in particular. “Still talking angrily to yourself after all these years? That figures,” said an gravelly voiced elderly gentleman dressed in a brown trench coat and wearing a sharp gray fedora. Alex smiled and waved as he walked over, glad to see a familiar face. “Hersh you haven’t changed a bit. Hopefully that’s true because I need your help for a change.”

Hersh grinned back and replied “You? Need my help? What kinda trouble you in old man?”

“The kind that requires a private eye. A true detective. Dogged and relentless. Even if he is retired and isn’t allowed to leave the house without begging his wife first.” Alex caught Hersh off guard with a joke geared to mask his serious request. Hersh didn’t take the bait even if the last part made him laugh.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Plague of the Zombies (1966 John Gilling)

Made before George A. Romero created Night of the Living Dead Hammer Studios released their own zombie film, Plague of the Zombies. In some ways this film had zombies acting more like modern zombies, minus the eating of people. The creatures were violent, hostile, and really freaky looking, which was different in a way from the old versions of the monsters featured in films such as White Zombie and I Walked With A Zombie.

However this time they were under control, used by a voodoo master for his own twisted ends. One of the coolest parts of the movie is when two people witness a freaky zombie killing a man. Its harrowing and shocking, which are classic characteristics of many Hammer Studios films. As is also violence and gore, which are also utilized properly in many of the studios’ films. I loved the main characters, too-a professor and his young friend, who tackle the threat with typical British stiff upper lip and their refusal to shy away from great danger.

Also the famous element of class is thrown in, as the main villains are ruthless aristocracy. I like the film’s creepy sense of foreboding mixed in with pure weirdness at times. The opener is quite strange and unique, and for an entry that wasn’t directed by Terence Fisher this is a good, properly crafted movie. Oh and that ending is actually haunting and scary, a great conclusion to a quality popcorn flick. I love how English this movie is, and how Hammer Studios sets its movies in either the big cities of England or the small towns, where just underneath the surface of quiet country life something terrible is happening.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959, Terence Fisher)

Look Peter Cushing is great as Sherlock Holmes and this adaptation is true to the book. Having Christopher Lee staring with him in a non Frankenstein or Dracula movie is a bit amusing and cool. Yet this film was too dry and not interesting enough, despite a good opener that sets up the film’s atmosphere. Also André Morell who plays Watson is rather dull, not properly serving as a foil to Sherlock. Considering that other actors have better embodied Watson its a bit disappointing, although I fault the writing in this film for not properly utilizing him. I suppose after the BBC Sherlock and the 1980s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes not to mention even the Guy Ritchie Holmes films I expect more from Watson. Then again though the original source material didn’t have him being this dull, either.

There is one thing I always like about Hammer Studios films though and that is how they often insert subtitle thoughts about class. Most of their films were set in the late 1800s, yet the fact that often it was lower or middle class people against rich upper class villains is an interesting contrast. Although I admit that many of the heroes were of high standing, too.

Still not all the movie is a complete waste, as its still entertaining and watchable despite its flaws. I liked the mine scene because its suspenseful and interesting. Too bad that Hounds is not more than an okay take on a classic novel. Especially with Fisher, Lee and Cushing involved; however this does not change the fact that Fisher was the most talented director out of all the ones who worked for Hammer Studios, and he was responsible for many of their best works. Also I will admit this is not really a horror movie at all, even though there are a number of scenes that come straight out of the best of Hammer Studios style Gothic horror.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: X: The Unknown (1956, Leslie Norman)

Around the time that Hammer Studios began to venture into sci-fi and horror they released in 1957 a fairly decent gem called X: The Unknown. This movie, directed by Leslie Norman, was created in the horror/sci-fi style that was popular back in the 1950s, and it properly reflected fears of nuclear radiation. Not to mention mankind worrying about nuclear destruction and death caused by a science that many did not understand. The creature effects are entertaining although a bit cheesy, and yet the movie is well crafted and never becomes silly.

One of my favorite moments is when two kids stumble onto the blob, which ends up leading to a scene that is both horrific and tragic. The scientists of course must race against time to come up with a solution, and the film’s climax although typical of most horror/sci-fi from that era is still enjoyable to watch. X: The Unknown is a reliable introduction to Hammer Films, and it was followed up by the studio’s masterwork, The Curse of Frankenstein, released the next year.