Harry Blackstone and His ‘Vodvil’ Show.
Chan Loo was really Frank Chan, a Chinese-American magician who performed his Horrors of the Orient from the 1940s through the 1960s. Offering a series of five ‘sensational scenes, weird-thrilling comedy-laffs, and gorgeous girls.’ You will be actually surrounded by a horror horde of nightmare creatures. ALIVE!!! In person! The Hollywood Wolf Man, the Hunchback Igor, and the Living Zombie, all promised to be on the loose at a theater near you.
Holy crap but I do love these things. Here, we catch back up with Dr. Silkini and His Asylum of Horrors — this time from the 1954 run, where the mighty King Kong (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) replaces the Frankenstein Monster on stage and in the aisles.
Other Points of Interest:
When I first took a stab at a Stalk ‘n’ Slash retrospective on the old site a couple of years ago, I went in very excited, with high hopes, and a keen interest to dig into the fossil records of one of my favorite cinematic genres. A genre I literally grew up with and simply adore. However, I was soon to get a harsh lesson in economics, regional distribution, and the booming home video market which found most titles I was hunting for never playing here or skipping a theatrical run altogether and going straight to video. The 1980s also saw the death of the Grand Island Twin Drive In, first shoring up to one screen for a couple of seasons before closing down completely in 1983. (By then, it was a ghost of its former self anyway, rarely getting any new content, just films immediately shifted over from the hardtops with the occasional all night horrothon or a sexploitation blowout.) To make matters worse, by 1984, both the Capitol and Grand theaters had shuttered up as well, leaving the multiplexes, the Conestoga 4 and the newly birthed Island Twin, as the only game in town. And with these limited screens and seemingly infinite runs for some films, who played for months and months on end, and not just the blockbusters, either, leaving no slots open for other product, which is why you only see the Stalk ‘n’ Slashers that were either produced by the majors or picked-up and distributed by them because that’s all there was. It was really depressing. This is also why the 1980’s have been relatively ignored or neglected on this site and why the 1990s and beyond will never see the light of day here because there’s nothing to show but boring info-boxes. Yeah, as you can see by the last few posts, with the decade barely half over, we’ve already entered the dire info-box age of movie ads, where you’d get the title and showtimes only. Sure, you’d still get something splashy on Fridays for the new premieres, and two more repeaters for Saturday and Sunday, but that was it. Luckily, we won’t be dwelling on this sad state affairs. For I have come to praise the Stalk ‘n’ Slash Cinema, not bury it. (And besides, we still have nearly seven decades of product to sift and dig through for your viewing pleasure.) I hope you’ve all enjoyed this little harrowing personal trip down memory lane. We’ve got one more batch of Halloween Midnight Spook Show ads to post this month, and then we’ll be taking a couple of weeks off to recharge before posting will resume sometime in November. Until then, stay cool, Boils and Ghouls.
Wow. Didn’t realize (or, more than likely, had completely forgotten) that the Friday the 13th franchise was already up to Part V before Freddy Kreuger finally showed up in A Nightmare on Elm Street … Often vilified by franchise fans the Vth and Jason-less entry in the Friday the 13th canon has been gaining some traction in a lot of circles, lately, and is being remembered with more fondness as opposed to ‘Well, that sucked.’ Originally intended to star Corey Feldman, who couldn’t since he was shooting The Goonies, and with every intention to let Jason remain dead and replace him with Tommy Jarvis, director Danny Steinmann was charged to deliver a whodunit with a shock or death every 7 to 8 minutes. Once completed, the film was subsequently hammered by the MPAA, who really started to crack down on these Stalk ‘n’ Slashers after the much publicized outcry over the Christmas ruination of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). 16 separate scenes had to be watered down, and it took nine submission attempts before Paramount finally got their R-rating. A direct sequel was planned with Tommy taking up the mask but the fans ultimately rejected this notion and Jason Vorhees was destined to return in Part VI.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) Georgetown Productions Inc. :: Terror Inc. :: Paramount Pictures / EP: Frank Mancuso Jr., Timothy Silver / D: Danny Steinmann / W: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, Danny Steinmann / C: Stephen L. Posey / E: Bruce Green / M: Harry Manfredini / S: John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Juliette Cummins
“It was a series of articles in the LA Times; three small articles about men from South East Asia, who were from immigrant families and had died in the middle of nightmares — and the paper never correlated them, never said, ‘Hey, we’ve had another story like this.'”
— Wes Craven
Those newspaper articles in question were about Cambodian refugees, who had fled from Pol Pot’s bloody and devastating Khmer Rouge, which makes for an oddly fitting double-feature in these ads with A Nightmare on Elm Street being paired with Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields. According to the stories, several men refused to sleep, citing overwhelming nightmares — and when they finally did, they apparently died in their sleep; the victims of acute heart failure. That’s right: they were literally scared to death by their dreams. Dubbed Asian Death Syndrome, this sudden, unexplained, and lethal phenomena were also attributed to a combination of Post-Traumatic Stress and a genetic disorder known as Brugada Syndrome, the leading cause of SUDS, kinda the adult version of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Combine that notion with a haunting pop song by Gary Wright and an old high school bully named Fred Krueger, and, well, here ya go.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Smart Egg Pictures :: Media Home Entertainment :: New Line Cinema / EP: Stanley Dudelson, Joseph Wolf / P: Robert Shaye, Sara Risher / AP: John H. Burrows / D: Wes Craven / W: Wes Craven / C: Jacques Haitkin / E: Pat McMahon, Rick Shaine / M: Charles Bernstein / S: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Robert Englund
Our first feature features a trio of all-star psychos who escape from the nuthouse to terrorize their psychiatrist and his family in their secluded house, followed by some excellent Spam in a Cabin hi-jinx courtesy of Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and the Bruce, which FINALLY found its way to the Island.
Alone in the Dark (1982) Masada Productions :: New Line Cinema / EP: Benni Korzen / P: Robert Shaye / AP: Sara Risher / D: Jack Sholder / W: Jack Sholder, Robert Shaye, Michael Harrpster / C: Joseph Mangine / E: Arline Garson / M: Renato Serio / S: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Dwight Schultz, Deborah Hedwall
Final chapter? Pfft. Hah!
Friday the 13th the Final Chapter (1984) Georgetown Productions Inc. :: Paramount Pictures / P: Robert M. Barsamain, Lisa Barsamian / P: Frank Mancuso Jr., Tony Bishop / D: Joseph Zito / W: Barney Cohen, Bruce Hidemi Sakow / C: João Fernandes / E: Joel Goodman / M: Harry Manfredini / S: Kimberly Beck, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Peter Barton, Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson