Tag Archives: James Arness

Listeria – To Be Afraid or To Not Be Afraid

8 Sep

I like scary movies, but I do not see them that often. Why? Because no one else around me likes scary movies. Heck, my wife and my stepdaughter watch shows like Criminal Minds and cover their eyes during the crime scenes. How do you watch a crime show and not watch the crime? On top of that, my wife is always getting scared. If I walk into the room, then she screams. Never mind that we are the only people in the house, and she should suspect that I might walk in.

It does not stop there. The last “scary” movie I saw was The Woman in Black. My nephew went with me, but he did not like it. He likes all kinds of gross stuff, but he is not a fan of scary movies.

Honestly, I cannot see how people can get scared by a movie. It is happening on screen and is being performed by actors. Those are not real people, and they are not in the room. Getting scared in a dark alley? That is one thing. Getting scared in a dark theater? That is completely different.Horror

The other day, I saw a magazine about the “50 Scariest Movies’ that, I assume, was put out for Halloween. After all, Halloween is only two months away. To me, retailers putting out decorations two months before a celebration is scarier than any movie. Anyway, I picked it up to see how many of them I have seen and to write a blog post. I will list the ones that I have seen and write a short commentary about each one.

Cat People (1942) – I am cheating on this one. I watched the 1982 version on late night cable. It starred the beautiful Natassja Kinski, and I was not watching it for the chills. As an impressionable young man, I was watching it for her thrills.

The Thing From Another World (1951) – I saw this one a couple of months ago. It stars James Arness as the marshal of Dodge City. Wait, that is something else. It stars James Arness as an alien plant kind of creature.

The Fly (1958 and 1986) – Yep, the original and the remake made the list. The first one is best because it has Vincent Price, and it is creepy to see the fly guy caught in a spiderweb.

Psycho (1960) – Has a scene about a naked woman covered in chocolate ever been this scary? Only Alfred Hitchcock could pull that off.

The Birds (1963) – The other day, I tried to Tweet about The Birds, but autocorrect turned Tippi Hedren into Tipping Hedren. They should make a movie about someone killing autocorrect.

The Exorcist (1973) – The theme song used to be my ringtone. Every time someone called, I was hoping it was Max von Sydow.

The Wicker Man (1973) – This movie is not scary. How can a movie about people dancing in the woods and becoming one with nature be scary? In the end, Edward Woodward needed to call The Equalizer. The odds were against him, and he needed help.

Jaws (1975) – After watching this, I really see no need to venture into the domain of sharks. We have legs and do not have gills.

The Omen (1976) – Damien used to live in my neighborhood. At least, that kid should have been named Damien. There is no doubt that a 666 was carved into his head.

Halloween (1978) – You think William Shatner overacts in Star Trek and those online travel commercials. You should see his mask overact on the face of Michael Myers.

Friday the 13th (1980) – This got the decade off to a rousing start and made hockey goalies that much more menacing. I must admit that the old hockey masks looked a lot cooler than the new ones. I cannot imagine Jason wearing one.

An American Werewolf in London (1981) – The lesson of this one? Do not go hiking down foggy roads in the United Kingdom. If you do, then spend the evening in the local pub.

Poltergeist (1982) – You cannot trust real estate developers. Wait, I am a real estate developer. I just know not to build on a burial ground.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – I have to admit that I always cheered for Freddy Krueger. My good friend Robert and I had an interesting meeting with Freddy at a Halloween haunted house. I should write about that when Halloween gets closer.

Misery (1990) – I only have one thing to say. It has the worst use of a sledge-hammer in movie history. I could not get that out of my mind.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Cool movie. Cool characters. A big scene is supposed to happen in Tennessee. However, it took a few viewings before I realized what the lamb part was all about.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – A good friend of mine thought the footage was real. How could anyone be fooled like that. It is like those television shows that hunt for Bigfoot. I they had found it, then we would have already known it. The same goes for this movie.

The Sixth Sense (1999) – I figured this one out when Dr. Crowe was having dinner with his wife. When I told the people I was with, they got mad.

The Others (2001) – This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I figured it out pretty quickly, as well. However, I did not tell anyone. I learned my lesson from two years earlier.

There you have it. Those are the movies on the list that I have seen. Interestingly, one scene in one movie freaked me out, and that movie is not on the list. I will give you a warning. If you ever watch The Ring, then you should turn it off before the final scene.

 

 

Watching the Blob – A True Learning Experience

25 Jan

The other night, I was skimming through the television guide and came across The Blob, the 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror movie. I have never seen a 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror movie that I did not like, so I tuned in to see what this one was all about. I had heard of it but, honestly, had gotten it mixed up with The Thing, which starred James Arness in the title role.

The movie was almost over when I turned it on. A group of people were trapped in a diner as the Blob engulfed it. Police and a group of teenagers were watching helplessly. It was typical 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror fare. That is when I started noticing some things that I did not anticipate.

The young man trapped in the diner was taking charge of the situation and seemed to be a major character in the movie. Then, the realization hit that he looked familiar. He looked like a young Steve McQueen. Hitting the Info button, I found out that it was Steven McQueen. I never knew that he was in The Blob or that he ever went by Steven.

With that information out of the way, I settled in to see what was going to happen to Steven and the rest of the group. There was a little kid; the owner of the diner; a woman who looked like the owner’s wife; and Steven’s girlfriend. At some point, the girlfriend said something, and I thought, “I have heard that voice before.”

It was Aneta Corsaut, who played Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show.

Here is the cute couple.The Blob

For those who do not know, The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite show of all time. I own a model of Mayberry and was a member of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club. Heck, I even shook hands with Don Knotts. As you can probably tell, seeing Helen Crump in The Blob was pretty cool.

That is when I started thinking. Helen Crump went from being Steve McQueen’s girlfriend in high school to being Opie’s teacher in Mayberry, North Carolina. She also went from being Steve McQueen’s girlfriend to Andy Taylor’s wife.

Getting back to the movie, the people trapped in the diner are saved when Steven figures out that the Blob is afraid of the cold. He sprays it with a fire extinguisher and yells to the guys outside that they need to get more extinguishers. the high school principal hops into a hot rod with some juvenile delinquent looking dudes and heads to the school. This brings us to the most dramatic scene that I saw.

As they rush to the schoolhouse door, the principal cannot find his keys. Everyone looks at each other trying to figure out what to do. Nevermind that a cop is standing there with a gun and could shoot the lock open. Instead, the principal picks up and rock and stares at it. With lives at stake, should he dare break the glass to open the door? After a dramatic pause, he does, and the schoolhouse gang comes to the rescue.

The people trapped in the diner are saved, and the Blob is completely frozen. Steve realizes it is not dead, and the police officer tells him that the military is going to take it to the Arctic.

Police Officer: At least we’ve got it stopped.

Steve: Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.

I am sure this movie had some deep, underlying meaning from the time period. Probably something about how authority figures should listen to young people and not view them as a bunch of troublemakers. However, I learned a few more things.

1. You never know where life is going to lead. One day you are dating Steve McQueen, and the next day you are marrying Andy Taylor.

2. For many reasons, 1950s diners do not last forever. We have a great one in my town that could be on its way out. I promise that there will be a future post about that.

3. In the 1950s, juvenile delinquents drove some nice cars. These hot rods were top of the line.

4. Like them or not, principals have to make tough decisions – like saving lives instead of saving a pane of glass.

5. If Al Gore is right about global warming, then we are screwed. Stop worrying about a heat wave and start worrying about the return of the Blob!The Blob Ending

That dot landing behind the big question mark could thaw out at any time.