It never ceases to amaze how each holiday season becomes it own unique entity via the small additions and subtractions that occur during its run. No Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Easter for that matter is ever really the same. For a few days I was beginning to worry about this Halloween as the weather turned into a disgusting heatwave. It's difficult for one to focus on the delights of apple cider and jack-o-lanterns when it's ninety-two damn degrees in the shade. Thankfully the heat broke, crisp and windy nights have returned, and I found something that fully recharged my spooky outlook on life.
Thursday evening after yet another round of basement cleaning we headed out to a local thrift store to donate a few boxes worth of oddities. My attempts to not restock the house with assorted junk was immediately thwarted by a display of free VHS tapes. Tape collecting may be one of my lesser hobbies but there was no way I could resist checking out this spread. Much of what was on display failed to garner any interest though I was lucky enough to add a couple of nifty titles. Easily the pick of the litter was a little half-hour Hallmark special called Creepy Classics hosted by the master himself, Vincent Price.
In case I've never made this known before, I am a huge fan of Vincent Price. Truth be told I love pretty much all classics horror stars be it Karloff or Cushing but by far Price has always been my top choice. The dude was such a perfect storm of talent, taste, and above all class. He's been an icon of mine for as long as I can recall so picking up some random special with him was already a no-brainier, the free part was just gravy.
So what is Creepy Classics all about? Well it's basically just Vincent sitting in an empty theater, talking about the wonders of viewing classic horror movies while introducing clips and trailers from assorted flicks like The Blob, Invasions of the Body Snatchers, or even some of his own work like The Raven, and The Pit and the Pendulum. Think of it as a blend of a mixtape and vlog only decently produced. These sort of videos were very much a product of their time, back when a wide assortment of viewing options was the exception rather than the norm. An average kid couldn't simply look up old movie trailers online which means this video could have simply been a collection of old clips with nothing else to back it up. The fact that someone hired a good actor to lend it a little weight shows a level of care that's downright charming.
As for Vincent himself, he's honestly not putting in a ton of effort here. Of course he doesn't really have too. Anyone whose ever seen his old PBS intros of his movies knows he can easily proforma a good six minute speech without missing a beat. Here he only needs to deliver ten to thirty seconds of dialogue at a time, which even at his age couldn't have been a challenge. Even though he's not providing a grand performance here it's still fun to watch him at work, tossing out nostalgia and puns with equal grace,
Most of the old clips won't be a surprise for hardened horror fans. Of course many of us have seen Night of the Living Dead and the old Roger Corman flicks plenty of times. One trailer however came out of nowhere, the 1960 creature feature Dinosaurus! I honestly can't say as I've ever seen this one before which is doubly shocking as I was a kid with a massive hard on for both monsters and dinosaurs. Most likely this particular monster flick will serve as a holy grail this October.
The real beauty of this video isn't Price's hosting segments, or all the goofy clips. No, the big perk of this video was just how much of a mood setter it is. From the corny music to the frequent sounds of scream queens this is nearly the Halloween equivalent of a lava lamp. In a scant amount of time this tape got me jazzed up to transform the house into something out of a Scooby-Doo caper. And that's just what I plan to do over the next couple of days. In case I'm incapable of posting the video directly to this page, the whole thing can be easily found on youtube for any of you needing a similar boost.
And with that, I'm ready for October. There's already a plan for every article coming in the next month, and for anyone waiting on new installments of our regular recurring features, they'll be back in November. Right now I've got about twenty things on my to do list and a cat who believes he owns my bed. See you all back here soon.