There is nothing that I liked (and hated) more than a creepy horror movie poster at the movie theater. I’d see these things and they’d give me serious nightmares, although I never let on to my friends about it. Chances are, they were feeling the same exact way.
These are just a few of my favorites, there are many more I will share leading up to Halloween.
Please feel free to drop me a line in the comments box and add your own favorites.
Enjoy….and pleasant dreams! Ahhahahahahahahahahaha….
Movie Poster Art courtesy of IMDb.
Back when I was a kid in the 1960’s, I was terrified by the old Hammer and Universal Studios monsters. But like witnessing a horrendous accident on the highway, I couldn’t take my eyes off Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr., and so many others.
There is something about the atmosphere of the old black and whites. Turn out the lights, sit somewhere comfortable, and have an old favorite blanket and a bowl of popcorn and you are in a different world…a different time.
Suddenly you are in a dark room with a movie that makes you fill in a lot of the blanks in your own mind. You imagine the gruesomeness of the torture chamber, the cold boney grasp of skeletal fingers on your shoulder or neck. I have always believed that when we fill in the blanks ourselves, we create a horror felt that no color film with all the gore in the world can rival. It’s a more primal, deeper, fear that sets in. The same fear that one feels at night when you walk away from the safety of the bright burning campfire to walk back to your tent alone several feet away in the dark. Every rustle in the bushes, every small animal noise, every streak of lightening across the sky can be hiding the very thing that will make us scream and run for dear life.
The old classics have a richness and charm all their own. Look at the settings of the rooms, the costumes, the backgrounds and landscapes (ok, some of them are obviously painted, but you get the idea). There was a gallantry to the heroes, even with the villains, as so beautifully portrayed by Vincent Price time after time. The women were beautiful albeit pretty naïve. The drawing rooms were luxurious, the peasantry revolting. Not all the films on my list are black and white, but most them are.
So here is my list of the best (and let’s face it, sometimes schlocky) classic horror movies. I’ve deliberately left off the real classics (i.e. “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi, “Frankenstein” and “The Mummy” with Boris Karloff, “The Wolfman” with Lon Chaney, Jr.) because they are in a true league of their own.
Without further ado:
And now, for my all-time favorite:
#1. House on Haunted Hill – 1960 –
Directed and Produced by William Castle, Music by Von Dexter.
Cast: Vincent Price as Frederick Loren, Carol Ohmert as Annabelle Loren, Alan Marshall as Dr. David Trent, Richard Long as Lance Schroeder, Elisha Cook Jr. as Watson Pritchard, Julie Mitchum as Ruth Bridges, Leona Anderson as Mrs. Slides, Howard Hoffman as Jonas, Carol Craig as Norma Manning
Imagine you have just received an invitation to a Halloween Party…a Haunted House Halloween Party. You do not know the host, but you know that he is a Billionaire. You read the invitation again…$10,000.00 will be all yours if you stay the entire night at the mansion, not leaving it until the morning of the following day. Hmmmmmm, not bad. Sounds intriguing and besides, you need the money. So, you RSVP and say Yes.
The day of the party arrives and you are picked up in a coal black hearse. Nice touch. The house is a bizarre looking combination of a modern version of Art Deco mausoleum. Bars are on all the windows. Freaking bars!!! Upon entry to the spacious main hall you meet a few other party guests, all not knowing the host, all wondering why they have been chosen to attend the party and what the catch is.
Sound like fun?
Vincent Price begins the film by talking about the little party that is going to be held at their haunted estate. It sounds innocent enough as his voice purrs on about the festivities, but you know deep inside, he isn’t to be trusted, despite his debonair demeanor and cultured, soothing tone.
The music begins for the title and it is a treat all in itself. It couldn’t be better suited for this movie.
The movie has tons of atmosphere and plenty of creepy surprises, with none of the blatant gore and sexual tension of the remake (which in my opinion was over the top, despite my affection for Geoffrey Rush as an actor).
Throw in a creepy, witch-y looking old woman (who looks like she’s gliding on roller skates), a ceiling that is dripping blood (“It’s too late. They’ve marked you!”) and the must have late night thunderstorm and you’ve got a real Halloween Treat.
Will YOU make it until morning?
“Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.1 We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!
We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God. We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.
You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved Father presented His plan for us—that we would come to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be possible.
When we passed through the veil and entered this mortal life, we knew that we would no longer remember the life before. There would be opposition and adversity and temptation. But we also knew that gaining a physical body was of paramount importance for us. Oh, how we hoped that we would quickly learn to make the correct choices, withstand the temptations of Satan, and eventually return to our beloved Parents in Heaven.
We knew we would sin and make mistakes—perhaps even serious ones. But we also knew that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had pledged to come to earth, live a sinless life, and voluntarily lay down His life in an eternal sacrifice. We knew that if we gave our heart to Him, trusted Him, and strived with all the energy of our soul to walk in the path of discipleship, we could be washed clean and once again enter the presence of our beloved Father in Heaven.
So, with faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you and I accepted, by our free will, Heavenly Father’s plan.
That is why we are here on this beautiful planet earth—because God offered us the opportunity, and we chose to accept it. Our mortal life, however, is only temporary and will end with the death of our physical body. But the essence of who you and I are will not be destroyed. Our spirits will continue living and await the Resurrection—a free gift to all by our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.2 At the Resurrection, our spirits and bodies will be reunited, free from pain and physical imperfections.
After the Resurrection, there will be a Day of Judgment. While all will eventually be saved and inherit a kingdom of glory, those who trust in God and seek to follow His laws and ordinances will inherit lives in the eternities that are unimaginable in glory and overwhelming in majesty.
That Day of Judgment will be a day of mercy and love—a day when broken hearts are healed, when tears of grief are replaced with tears of gratitude, when all will be made right.3
Yes, there will be deep sorrow because of sin. Yes, there will be regrets and even anguish because of our mistakes, our foolishness, and our stubbornness that caused us to miss opportunities for a much greater future.
But I have confidence that we will not only be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will also be astonished and overwhelmed by His infinite grace, mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children. If our desires and works are good, if we have faith in a living God, then we can look forward to what Moroni called “the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge.”4
My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, does it not fill our hearts and minds with wonder and awe to contemplate the great plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us? Does it not fill us with unspeakable joy to know of the glorious future that is prepared for all who wait upon the Lord?
If you have never felt such wonder and joy, I invite you to seek, study, and ponder the simple yet profound truths of the restored gospel. “Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.”5 Let them bear testimony unto you of the divine plan of salvation.
If you have felt these things before, I ask you today, “Can [you] feel so now?”6
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. While there, I noticed the Belfast Coat of Arms, which includes the motto “Pro tanto quid retribuamus,” or “What shall we give in return for so much?”7
I invite each of us to consider this question. What shall we give in return for the flood of light and truth God has poured out upon us?
Our beloved Father simply asks that we live by the truth we have received and that we follow the path He has provided. Therefore, let us take courage and trust in the guidance of the Spirit. Let us in word and in deed share with our fellowmen the amazing and awe-inspiring message of God’s plan of happiness. May our motive be our love for God and for His children, for they are our brothers and sisters. This is the beginning of what we can do in return for so much.
Someday “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that God’s ways are just and His plan is perfect.8 For you and me, let that day be today. Let us proclaim, with Jacob of old, “O how great the plan of our God!”9
Of this I testify in deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father, as I leave you my blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
When the Price of the Land becomes more valuable than the original intended use:
They did it with San Francisco at the turn of the last century. The value of the land became too high to allow for cemeteries to be continued in San Francisco, so they were dug up and moved to Colma, California. But not everyone was dug up. Bodies and tombstones have tendency of popping up all over the place in those old cemetery districts during rainy weather or when a pipe bursts in Lincoln Park Golf Course. Tombstones show up where they dumped them as ballast at Ocean Beach and the Marina. Unclaimed bodies were put to rest in Colma in mass graves. There is an estimate that bodies remain in San Francisco under housing projects, the City College and Lands End area that total in the thousands.I totally understand the plight of the Native Americans and their land with the pipeline. We believe we have put our loved ones to rest in a permanent sacred ground, only to have the greedy decide that something better could be used for the land. Such a shame that we have respect for nothing or no one anymore…all in the name of “progress.”
Source: Where Nothing is Sacred
I am feeling the importance of serving others through what I learn in medicine. It’s not just about the paycheck, or the title, or the ya-ya’s of getting good grades. Those things are nice. They put food on the table and give self-esteem. But I’m in it for more than that.
My thoughts about a lot of things are changing…everything from downsizing my stuff to healing myself (I suffer from PTSD and depression after the loss of my husband). Finding joy in sorrow is a major goal for me right now. Medicine and my belief in Christ is helping me with that. I find focus in school…focus in Church (I’m LDS)…and between the two I am finding redirection in my life. When I am studying or in class, I find myself too absorbed in what I am doing to feel the pain or let my mind wander to the past. When I am in Church, I am allowing myself to release the pain and the stresses and give them up to Christ who understands and can take that burden from me and helps me find peace.
There has been a lot of introspection I’ve been unraveling myself like a ball of string examining purpose and what I have lost of myself along the line of my life…what is important, what I want to regain, and what I want to purge.
My dreams were with medicine when I was young. I was that kid that perpetually had the doctor kit. Medical books of all kinds fell into my hands, but scholastically I didn’t pursue it, settling instead for graphic arts.
Much later in life, I found myself drawn back in through different channels. Biology, chemistry, hazardous waste, studying arson and forensic science. My critical thinking began to swim up through the depths and take hold again. Even my late husband played a part in the rediscovery. He was an EMT for 25 years (of which I was only a part of it for four, but had known him and loved him in high school), but he taught me a lot…some of it subliminally. He taught me compassion, tolerance, unconditional love, but he also taught me not to be taken advantage of or become someone’s door mat. That there are limits of what one should allow themselves to put up with. That unconditional love does not mean “Hi! I’m a Doormat. Wipe Your Feet All Over ME!” Healthy relationships are important; unhealthy ones need to be let go of.
Compassion is an interesting thing. I find myself thinking of phlebotomists that had drawn my blood in the past as I am getting ready to draw blood. What did they do that made their blood draws comfortable and almost painless? How can I have that experience be pleasant (in an unpleasant situation) for someone else? Do I listen carefully enough? Am I watching reactions? I want to make them feel at ease and let them know that I truly care about them, which I do.
It is a confusing time for me, too, as I am learning to take care of myself again. Family helps with that, but only up to a point. With my upcoming extern, I am looking to push even further with my education. With a good job in my field, I want to keep expanding..RN…maybe nurse practitioner. Eventually get my own place, and learn who I was and am again.
I am going into areas that challenge me, fascinate me, and frighten me a bit. There are spiritual lessons that I am learning as well. Those are the most important to me. I am learning to re-examine myself in a different way in order to become closer to my Heavenly Father. Small, simple things that are so easily taken for granted are proving themselves to be miracles. Mistakes are becoming less of a beat yourself up experience and more of a lesson I needed to learn in order to grow, understand, and feel. They thread themselves onto that ball of string and change my perspective and view of my past and my present. They are part of the whole.
I am becoming my own experiment. With tweaking of details and care I am watching with expectation and apprehension at how I will turn out. Stay tuned. I’m not finished yet…