If you are a fan of Claudia Jennings, you will undoubtedly enjoy this well-researched, fascinating portrait by Eric Karell. I first spoke to Mr. Karell almost two years ago and immediately perceived his remarkable passion for horror and cult movies. His knowledge of Claudia Jennings and her place in the cinematic universe is unrivaled.

-Roger Corman, from his forward for Claudia Jennings, the Authorized Biography.

Now available for purchase on Amazon.com or www.midmar.com
 

The Story Behind the Writing of Claudia's Bio

Almost 5 years of research and interviews went into my preparation for Claudia's story. It involved some detective work, a bit of luck and unfortunately, some painful and deflating rejections. Although I prefer to discuss the fine people who were willing to share their memories, in some case, those that refused left me with some interest tales.

To this day I have no definitive answer as to why some of Claudia's contemporaries declined my invitation to be interviewed. Perhaps it was lack of "street cred" i.e. the fact I was not a known author or journalist. I did have some references by way of Claudia's family and friends but those facts didn't sway most of those who either declined to be be questioned or ignored me completely.

If there is one major disappointment, not hearing Hugh Hefner's opinions on Claudia was at the top of the list. I approached their Publicity Director with the utmost respect and assured them Mr. Hefner would have the final say over what was printed in the book concerning Claudia's relationship with Playboy. It was sad and disheartening to receive a message that Playboy would not cooperate with my project, but they wished me well. The organization did not give me any concrete reasons and they also encourage some others in the corporation not to cooperate with me as well. 

The project of telling Claudia's story was so important to me that I attempted some back channel communication with some friends of Mr. Hefner. Again, these attempts bore no fruit, as I was assured that most likely Mr. Hefner was too ill to conduct an interview. Indeed, he passed away shortly before publication.

One of the more shocking incidents was the manner in which renowned film critic Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter ghosted me when I tried to contact him. He had been a high school classmate of Mimi Chesterton and knew her as Claudia Jennings when both moved out West. 

After email after email, even in  one I offered him a partnership as co-authors, and the sending of  several snail mails, all I received back was silence. Not even a no thank you, sorry I'm not interested, etc...Nothing. I asked a friend of his, who in contrast was quite helpful, what the deal was, and his only explanation was "Todd can be a strange bird, sometimes."

Likewise, some of Claudia's inner circle such as Maureen McCormick (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia from The Brady Bunch), and Marilyn  Grabowski (Playboy's West Coast Director of Photography) rejected my requests . This was after both ladies had discussed their experiences with Claudia in other media.  

Disappointed but not deterred I went forward, tracking down anyone that knew Claudia even peripherally. By the time the work was finished I felt I had enough information to publish the book. Would I have preferred  Hugh Hefner and the other's recollections included? Of course. Sometimes, though, matters work out the way they are intended. I could do nothing about their decisions but they left their words  about Claudia for me to quote.

3The 

HA Review of the International Horror Film

Putting it simply, if not for the influence of German filmmakers, Hollywood  would have been far behind in the production of horror films. This week will begin a series of essays on the pioneers of international horror and some of the landmark movies which had an influence on cinema in their native countries but in America as well. 

I will begin with one of the genre's most intriguing characters. His films are in a class by themselves, literally and he has crossed the line from director to actor and eventually to a popular phenomenon in his home country. I am speaking of course about Jose Mojica Marins, better known as  Ze  do Caixao or Coffin Joe. 

Marins is Brazil's most famous auteur, having made almost every type of genre in his long career. He began directing Westerns, adventures, dabbled in Pornochanchandos but found his niche in horror.

He said in an interview that Coffin Joe was created after he had a nightmare about a gravedigger, with unnaturally long fingernails, a black cape and a black top hat. Thus  do Caixão was  born and Marins hit a chord with audiences with the character and his cinematic adventures.

The basic motivation of Coffin Joe is to find a perfect woman to have his child and thus create a form of immortality. Naturally, this means subjecting a series of beautiful women to despicable torture and torment in order to prove their worthiness. 

Part of every Coffin Joe film is devoted to Nietzschean ramblings about  the uselessness of monotheistic religion and blasphemic tauntings of God and  Jesus. Each film can be divided by scenes of barbaric cruelty with Coffin Joe's soliloquies about God, man, religion and the Devil. At first glance, Marins gives the impression of an out of control, possibly deranged megalomaniac. However, the fact that his films are low-low budget (apparently Marins never took a dime from any Government agency or wealthy Producer) show a rather noble approach to filmmaking. He hired only amateur actors, frequently using family members and friends in the casts, and his sets showed, how should I put this, a marvelous sense of economy. One film in particular, This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (Esta Noite Encarnarai no Teu Cadáver) has a 13 minute segment that shows Coffin Joe's brief trip to Hell , photographed in beautiful color. The scene is quite striking and quite amusing because the budget was so meager Marins could not afford to shoot the remainder of the film in color. 

1964's At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul was Brazil's first official horror film. Marin was a trailblazer, even if his influence didn't expand much further than Latin America. He was also a merchandising genius with Coffin Joe appearing on TV commercials, as host of a TV show, the subject of a comic book series and the focus of an award winning documentary. A great introduction to his films would be the aforementioned At Midnight etc...

One of the most unique personalities and a great introduction to American  audiences, Jose Mojica Marins is truly one of a kind for domestic audiences.

ReeA Review of International Horroreading 1

       Movie Review

The Undertaker The Undertaker and His Pals

1966

Written by: T.L.P Swicegood 

Directed by: T.L.P Swicegood 

Starring: Who Cares?

There is really only one sin a grade Z, cheapo horror film can commit. And that is to be boring, so boring that you'll want to pour bleach in your eyes or jump off the top of a building that has more than ten floors. 

The Undertaker and His Pals might have been a tad more engaging if the censors had let it alone. Word on the street has it that nearly 30 minutes was cut, bringing it down to barely an hour of running time. Which of course, was a virtue in this movie's case. The offending footage was real autopsy film substituted for the nefarious deeds portrayed on-screen. 

I will summarize the plot. The owners of a pretty seedy greasy spoon conspire with the undertaker of a nearby mortuary to the benefit of each enterprise. The restaurant owners stalk and kill people (mainly nubile young women) to procure fresh meat for their establishment. The undertaker then benefits by providing burial for the victims at widely inflated prices. That's it. 

I don't want to speak ill of any film but this movie is so cheaply made (how cheap is it?) It's so cheaply made that any HG Lewis film looks like a Cecil B. DeMille spectacular. The sets appear to have come from a poorly endowed high school drama class, the photography is uninspired, the actors make table legs look like academy award nominees and what have I missed? 

Perhaps I'm being too harsh. I'm used to a better class of trash, I suppose. There are some redeeming moments of tongue-in-cheek humor, and what violence that remained in the final cut is pretty graphic. Unfortunately, just not enough to sustain any tension or keep me amused. As a period piece example of grindhouse cinema The Undertaker and His Pals is worth a viewing. Or not.

sovie 

     A Look Back at the Decade in Horror

The years 2010 to 2019 gave horror fans a little bit of everything of the genre. The continuing trend

 

of endless remakes, re-imaginings and franchise extensions ad nauseam was in some cases invigorating

 

and in others stifling. 

 

The increasing participation of women in all levels of film production was a welcome development, as they

 

proved equally adept in front of or behind the camera.

Foreign horror continued to flourish as Spain, Mexico, France, and notably South Korea

 

contributed some memorable movies.

 

As in every  decade some films went for mainstream audiences with big commercial fanfare such as It,

 

parts 1 and 2.

 

Horror as a genre is not any different than any other segment of the cinematic universe. In every given year

 

there will be the innovators, the duplicators, the turkeys and the masterpieces. The most important trend is

 

the number of younger fans that horror now attracts. A new generation is now enthralled with remakes of

films we boomers watched in the theater. Hopefully, the younger audiences will share the same curiosity

 

we did in seeking out the films our parents watched .

I found that familiar horror tropes still had new places to journey this decade. The Vampire film was

 

revitalized by several amazing efforts, most significant of them What We Do In the Shadows, a near perfect

 

blend of comedy and Gothic horror. Films like Train to Busan, Warm Bodies and many others showed that

 

the modern Zombie film still had teeth.

 

Many horror offerings defied easy classification such as Green Room, The Babadook and It

 

Follows. Another constant was the tremendous well of talent in Independent filmmaking. What would we

 

do without them and their producers?

So here's a toast to this decade in horror and one to the next! These are the films that fill us with awe, fear

 

and thrills!

A few of my favorites from 2010-2019

Krampus

Autopsy of Jane Doe

Trollhunter

Oculus

Hagazussa

Baskin

The Blackcoat's Daughter

Terrifier

Hereditary

Cabin in the Woods

I Saw the Devil

Apostle

The Witch

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

                                 Interview with Fred Olen Ray

If you are not familiar with Fred Olen Ray then your cinematic education is in need of a good lesson.

Fred is one of the last great auteurs in cinema today, having come full circle from making cheapie horror flics to making Christmas movies for network television.

I had the great honor and pleasure to interview him last Fall. I originally wanted to interview him for my biography of Claudia Jennings, since he was close with one of her former boyfriends, Gary Graver. That meeting never happened due to his busy schedule, but I later caught up with him.

Mr. Ray has made every type of genre film and worked with a startling number of awesome actors from Barbara Steele, Cameron Mitchell, Martine Bestwick, Dick Miller, Jeffrey Combs, Sid Haig, Martin Landau, Robert Quarry, Paul Naschy, Lee Van Cleef, David Carradine, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Gunnar Hansen and scores of others. 

Among his achievements are Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, The Tomb, Evil Toons, Deep Space, Armed Response and Attack of the 60-foot Centerfold.

These days Mr. Ray concentrates his efforts on Christmas holiday films such as the popular One Fine Christmas, A Baking Christmas, A Wedding for Christmas and A Christmas in Vermont.

A kind and gracious gentleman, it was an honor and pleasure to interview him.

Eric: Thank you again for agreeing to the interview, Mr. Ray. I suppose my first question is the one I would have asked when I writing Claudia’s biography. How did you meet Gary Graver?

FOR: I met Gary when we were working on Commando Squad. And Gary was so easy to work with. If I wanted a shot with a certain amount of sunlight or a particular angle, he would instinctively deliver it. And if the sun was going down or something else was happening Gary would always deliver the shot. I watched the documentary on Orson Welles’ last film the other week and you know he did almost all the cinematography for it.

Eric: Gary was multitalented, wasn’t he?

FOR: Yes, he was an actor, a director, obviously a fine cinematographer, but he was also a great writer. And there’s no way to know how many films and projects he was involved with because he used different names and was sometimes uncredited. He was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met in Hollywood. And he and Orson were long time associates and friends. Gary did everything for Welles from go-fer, to cinematographer.

Eric: Weren’t you and he going to make a film with Oja Kodar?

ROR: Yes, and I was very excited to be a part of the project. Oja was Orson’s mistress and when he passed away, she wanted Gary to shoot the film. It was called Jaded and was going to feature footage from Orson’s unfinished movie of The Merchant of Venice. Somewhere, somehow the film disappeared which was a shame. I believe Gary also shot some scenes with her in Croatia as part of another film. I am also a distant relative of Orson’s. But Gary did a lot of second unit work for films such as The Howling, Enter the Dragon and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Eric: Did you ever get a chance to meet Claudia Jennings?

FOR: No, she died about three years before I moved to L.A. But Gary was a player. Besides Claudia, he dated Erica Gavin, Barbara Luna and then dated Jillian Kestner. Sad to say he didn’t marry Jillian until the day before he died. And she tragically died almost a year to the day after Gary passed away. It was stunning to all of us. They were such a sweet couple. All of our families were close,

Eric: Can you tell me about your influences growing that made you want to be a director?

FOR: Well I grew up in the era of the monster renaissance, with the Munsters, Famous Monsters of Filmland and those movies by Roger Corman and others. When I was a kid you were either into surfing, hot rods or monsters. I was into monsters. And kids were into making their own movies because of the availability of the 8mm cameras. So, I got one, around 1967 and started making my own movies. I never wanted to make short movies. I always wanted to make features. Because I wanted to make money, there’s no money in shorts. I did one a few years ago and it won a shitload of awards. But I lost every dollar I put into it.

Eric: Please tell me about the first movie I saw of yours, Scalps. I felt it had the quality look of more ballyhooed films like The Hills Have Eyes.

FOR: Well we had no budget for that film. The budget was $15,000 and we came in under. One note on Scalps, it never appeared anywhere in the world in its entirety uncut, except for the original US theatrical release.

Eric: Which actors do you remember the most?

FOR: Well a lot of it depended on the budget we had. The bigger the picture the bigger names we could attract. Actors like Lee Van Cleef, Martin Landau, Shelley Long, Dennis Weaver, Telly Savalas, Cliff Robertson and so on. For a film fan like me it was heaven. In fact, I used to try and drive as many of them to the set each day just to have that one-on-one time. People like Barbara Steele, Van Cleef and John Carradine. Because there’s no time once you get to the set. It’s a 12-hour day and all business. But in the drive over I could ask them about their life and careers and get to know them a bit.

Eric: Michelle Bauer seems to have been your muse, appearing in a number of features. When did you meet her?

FOR: It was on the set of The Tomb. She was very talented and very beautiful. She also had a great sense of humor. She appeared in that film and then a few others I directed and we gradually became friends. I still see her a couple times a month out here.

Eric: Could you tell me about your experience with Robert Quarry?

FOR: Well Bob was retired when I convinced him to do a movie for me. Same with Sid Haig who I had to convince to shave his head for a role, But next time I saw him he had his full “Sid Haig” beard grown out. But Robert came in and became a part of the family. He was living in a small apartment, hadn’t worked for a while and existed on social security and a modest pension. So, we immediately hit off to the point where he house sat for my son when I was out of town. We would have breakfast every Sunday. He did great work for me. And he even did the voice work for the monster in Evil Toons. He became the Uncle I never had.

Eric: Tell about your relationship with Quentin Tarantino

FOR: You know that’s funny. A guy named Clifton and Tarantino came to the set where I was filming Bad Girls from Mars. They wanted to borrow a synchronized 16 mm movie camera that actually plugged into a wall socket. I had lent this camera out to several directors who ended up becoming pretty famous. Anyway, Tarantino comes back and returns the camera saying it didn’t synchronize properly. Well it had for everyone else. So, it came as bit of a surprise when I saw an interview with him, where he said I was instrumental in getting him started in the film business. Which was nice, even if it wasn’t very true.

Eric: Mr. Ray, please tell me a little about the Retromedia Entertainment Group you started.

FOR: It’s a hobby, just a lark. It started when someone wanted to license Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers for DVD and I said wait a minute…I’ve got all these other titles, why should I let someone cherry-pick my films. We started converting many of the films to DVD, which was a great learning experience, since I knew very little about DVD’s at the time. We did the cover art and found enough distributors to make the Group a worthwhile project. And I only license films that I would like to watch personally. But I’m enjoying it, I’ve had a good time, and it's making money.

Eric: Is there any chance of finding some of your lost films through Retromedia?

FOR: I don’t know maybe. There’s a company in Florida that specializes in finding lost works. I grew up near Sarasota and my parents were totally opposed to my career choice- a middle class kid with smarts wanting to make monster movies. And they were half-right. There’s a big difference between shooting a film with your own camera, in your backyard to making big budget movies on network TV, in theaters or on HBO and Cinemax. It’s a different kind of person who can do that. Some people have it, some people don’t. There were also a ton of Florida made films that were tax dodges. Producers could write off twice the amount of money the film lost and still make a profit. It was like the film The Producers, Mel Brooks' first movie. There was a movie made in Ft. Lauderdale called The Great Balloon Race with a huge, all-star cast, I don’t know if it ever got released. When I read about it, I immediately thought this was a tax dodge.

Eric: Just a few more questions before we run out of time. I read an interview where you were less than sanguine about the current state of the horror genre and didn’t think much of the new wave of directors. Was that accurate?

FOR: Well horror will always be an enduring genre, no doubt. But my answers in that interview were strictly personal. There aren’t any current films that interest me as an individual. Besides going to the movies today is an iffy proposition. Why should I pay exorbitant prices for what probably be a disappointment? I can stay home, sit in a comfortable chair and watch Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein or The Fall of the House of Usher and have a great time. To me its better than going to a theater and wasting a couple hours of my life that I will never get back (laughing). But I’ve always lived my life as I wanted. I raised two kids as a single parent, don’t owe anybody child support or alimony. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do with my family life and professional life. A lot of actresses used to come up to me and tell me they were scream queens. I told them, unless they were half-dressed, in waist high swamp water in a Roger Corman film, freezing to death at night, they weren’t scream queens. We made a few of so-called Scream Queen movies, which were good, then we made one more called Little Devils, but the timing was wrong and it didn’t do very well at the box office. But today, a lot of films call themselves Scream Queen movies, but I don’t feel they qualify. And so many times the contemporary actresses who are self-styled scream queens are just standing on the shoulders of the ladies who pioneered the trope in the Corman films. These girls want to latch onto the fame without doing the work or busting their ass like the real scream queens did.

Eric: I suppose the modern version of the scream queen is now “final girl”?

FOR: I’m not sure what that is.

Eric: It’s the name given in horror films to the last female character left alive.

FOR: Well I’m a bit unfamiliar with the modern horror genre. I don’t visit any horror webzine sites and things like that. These days I’m a director, that’s my job, just like someone going to work at K-Mart. I get up at 5 AM and it’s a job. Don’t get me wrong it’s a job but a well paying one and I only have to work 2-3 times a year. It’s a profession. It would be a hobby if I wasn’t working so much. They say no one’s happy with their job unless they would do it for free. That’s the way I feel about film-making- I’d do it for free if I could afford to.

Eric: Last question. Are their any circumstances under which you’d return to the horror and adventure genres?

FOR: Well I go where the money is and right now, TV movies like women’s thrillers and Christmas films are in demand. But I’m a director for hire, I’ll go where the budget dictates. At this moment, though, the TV movies are where the interest is. But there are things I won’t film. I won’t film drug abuse or women being abused. I’m not a person who would direct a film with a lot of rapes- it turns my stomach. Oh, one last thing. Gary shot a film with Claudia for Roger Corman called Deathsport.

Eric: Yes, they’d actually met before on the set of Moonshine County Express

FOR: I had worked with David Carradine (one of the starts of Deathsport) and he told me the director of Deathsport had gotten upset with Claudia and slapped her. David told me he “roughed him up”. Apparently, the next day the director showed with a pistol on his hip. Carradine called Corman and said I can’t work like this. One thing I was always good about was keeping my temper on the set. It never made anything better, in fact it would make things worse.

Eric: Eventually Corman fired the original director and brought in another to finish the film. Mr. Ray I want to thank you so much for your time and recollections. I wish we had more time to explore your wrestling career and talk more in-depth about some of your films. Your reputation as a stand-up guy and gentleman is well deserved. Best of luck to you on your future projects.

FOR: No problem, my pleasure.

                                      SEED- 2007
                                 directed by Uwe Boll, starring Michael Pare, and Will Anderson
                                                  " Bolled Over"
I've spent a great amount of time and effort watching and studying extreme cinema. Much of it is amateurish, such as the August Underground films. Uwe Boll represents a select group of European directors and auteurs that specialize in body destruction, extreme cruelty and a sense of perversity not often found in mainstream cinema. These gentleman include Lars von Trier, Tom Six, Alexandre Aja and Olaf Ittenbach, who worked with Boll on a few projects.
Boll is considered one of the most controversial, because of his films and his outrageous comments to the media, calling some of his contemporaries and critics "retards".
I found Seed one of the most offensive films I've ever watched. The first few minutes of running time consist of a PETA documentary that shows graphic mutilations and murders of live dogs. Where PETA's use of the footage may have to been to raise sympathy for their cause ( a dubious proposition) Boll's use of it is strictly for exploitation and the subversive nature of his film. He also cynically disclosed he was going to donate some of the profits for the film to various charities, a transparent and disingenuous move.
The movie is of the slasher/serial killer genre. It is especially heartless as animals, women, children and men are all tortured and murdered by the main character Max Seed. As a boy he was disfigured when his schoolbus caught fire, so naturally he turned out to be a psychotic killer. After accumulating 666 murders he is caught. The authorities try to execute him, but after two attempts to fry him on old sparky, the warden, executioner, the police detective who caught him and prison doctor are afraid a third attempt would not put him down, triggering an old law stipulating he can go free. They decide, unwisely, to bury him alive in a sealed coffin, where they hope the maniac will just quietly into the night. Fat fucking chance.
Max digs himself out and goes on a rampage. In one loathsome scene he ties a woman to a chair and chops at her head with a small axe until the walls of the room are drenched in blood . After 30 or so whacks, her head is considerably diminished.
Then Max goes after everyone who had anything to do with his almost electrocution and premature burial. They are dispatched in various gory ways until no one is left but the police detective. He puts four cops to guard his family and tries to track down Max. Well, I guess he doesn't watch too many horror movies. He gets a note from the killer and speeds over to his house, only to find the four cops chopped into pieces and carefully stacked in the bathtub. The detective (played by Pare-oh Michael, we mourn for the days of Streets of Fire) is lured to the house where Seed is holding his family hostage. A predictable downbeat ending concludes this outrage before the final credits roll.
So let's add up the positives of the film. The SFX are good. Other than that, the dialogue is perfunctory and lame, the direction aimless, the tension is limp and even the music is lame. The camera work is middling and the set design looks like it came from an infomercial. Boll who did make some laudable films such as Rampage, missed the boat on this one. Boll is also able to convince high quality actors to appear in his films and then makes them into bad ones. No easy thing to do.
All of things could be excused except for the animal atrocities in the beginning of the movie. We've seen critters being killed before-Cannibal Holocaust is an notorious example. The art in film however derives from transcending a "documentary" experience into something hyper-natural. Other than a few genuine weirdos, would we want to watch actual concentration camp horrors and snuff films? Watching a gory, visceral horror film should be a transcendent experience.  The characters should make us care about them, the movie should have a much larger vision and it should be fun, even if its of the roller-coaster variety. I often compare extreme films to those of Herschell Gordon Lewis' sadistic romps. Lewis at least had a tongue in cheek sensibility so the audience didn't have to take his films too seriously. Unfortunately, Boll made a bad movie worse with his careless use of sadistic dog killing footage. I understand he no longer makes films, but owns some successful restaurants in Vancouver. Next time I'm there I must visit one.  Hopefully, the images of the poor dogs being butchered will have been erased from my memory.

                                    Movie Review- The Reflecting Skin- 1990

Imagine walking into any of the fine Metropolitan Museums of Art in our country, say San Francisco, Chicago or New York. Then imagine a gallery with just one painting, a work so vast that it takes two hours to see all of it. Every part of the painting bears careful examination because it would be a shame to miss any nuance, symbol or emotion the masterpiece elicits.

The Reflecting Skin, directed by Phillip Ridley, is not so much a horror film but an art film that explores the horrors, and fears of childhood depicted as a nightmarish descent into adolescent hell. As I see it, if Ingmar Bergman was born and raised in the Midwest, this would be his contribution to the horror genre. It is one of the finest American Gothic horrors to be filmed, all the more miraculous since its director is British.

The story is viewed through the eyes of young Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper, in a bravura performance), who lives on remote farm, in the middle of a bucolic paradise, somewhere in the Midwest. He and his friends delight in tormenting a young English widow, Dolphin Blue (Lindsey Duncan) for no apparent reason except childish cruelty. The opening scene is one you will never forget.

 

Seth lives with a domineering mother and detached, withdrawn father, who run a gas station. One day a group of black leather clad punks drive up in a black Cadillac needing some petrol. These are no singing, dancing hoods from Grease as we will discover. They make Seth a promise that someday soon, they will return for him.

Forced to go Dolphin Blue's home to apologize for a vicious prank, Seth is fascinated by her family's whaling artifacts. He also learns her backstory, how her husband committed suicide a week after their marriage. Dolphin Blue then mentions her depression and how she feels "two hundred years old.". Because Seth had heard his father discussing vampires because of a novel he's reading, so the lad starts to believe Dolphin is a real vampire.

When one of Seth's friends goes missing, he and another friend ransack Dolphin's house, but run in terror when they spy her masturbating. Seth later finds his friend dead in an isolated cistern. The police suspect Seth's dad, owing to a previous homosexual incident in his past. The father, overcome with despair and believing the police will not leave him in peace, pours gas over himself and becomes a human s'mores.

Cameron (Viggo Mortensen), Seth's brother, comes home to look after the boy, as the mother has become comatose. While visiting their father's grave site, Cameron meets Dolphin and find they have a mutual attraction. To Seth's horror the two begin a passionate affair. Cameron confesses to Dolphin he was part of the government's atomic bomb experiments. Seth and his friend then witness the two making love which repels them.

As the boys run away, the black Cadillac appears and the leather gang kidnaps Seth's friend, who is found dead the next day.

Cameron we discover is dying from radiation sickness. Seth interpret this as a sign of Dolphin's vampirism as she is slowly sucking the life out of him. He decides not to warn her of the black Cadillac and Dolphin happily accepts a ride from the men. Later on, when Dolphin's body is found, Cameron melts down in front of his brother. Seth, finally realizing what he has done, screams into the setting sun, a cry that is simultaneously filled with anger, shame, despair and sorrow.

One can describe this film in many ways. A work of great beauty, it is reminiscent of the films of David Lynch (Blue Velvet in particular) that even a sunny, All-American setting se can hide real decay and terror. Sometimes the horrors happen in broad daylight. The use of shadow in nighttime and interior shots are striking, especially when Seth's father erupts in a ball of flame in the middle of the night.

There is no doubt The Reflecting Skin is a morbid, over-the-top and disturbing work. It takes time to unfold so if you're looking for a roller coaster type horror romp, this is not that film. Instead it is a door few of us want to enter; a world of nightmares, unspeakable acts, unknown antagonists and a downbeat ending so profound that it's controlled and visionary qualities cut through the heart like a broadsword. Ridley is one of the most talented individuals in the world. He is a distinguished writer, lyricist, and director. A man for all seasons, it seems. Between the acting, photography, story and a general sense of uneasiness, I feel this is his Magnum Opus.

 
 

My Favorite 103 Films of All-time

2019 Edition

 

1.Casablance (1942)

2. The Godfather (1972)

3. Vertigo (1958)

4. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

5. Raging Bull (1980)

6. Citizen Kane (1941)

7. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

8. Singing in the Rain (1952)

9. La Jete'e (1962)

10. Fargo ( 1976)

11. City Lights (1931)

12. Schindler's List (1993)

13. The Searchers (1956)

14. Unforgiven (1992)

15. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

16. Potempkin ( 1925)

17. The General (1927)

18. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

19. Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948)

20. Lawrence of Arabia ( 1962)

21.Miller's Crossing (1990)

22. On the Waterfront (1954)

23. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

24. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

25. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

26. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

27. The Battles of Algiers (1966)

28. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

29. The Godfather Part 2 (1974)

30. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

31. The Grapes of Wrath ( 1940)

32. Double Indemnity (1944)

33. Intolerance (1916)

34. West Side Story (1961)

35. Taxi Driver ( 1976)

36.Duck Soup (1933)

37. Cabaret (1972)

38. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

39. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

40. Chinatown (1974)

41. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

42. Gone with the Wind (1939)

43. Come and See (1985)

44. Dr. Strangelove ( 1962)

45. The Sound of Music (1965)

46. Mary Poppins (1964)

47. The Thing (1954)

48. Goodfellas (1990)

49. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

50. Rashamon (1950)

51. Michael Clayton (2007)

52. The Exterminating Angel (1962)

53. No Country for Old Men (2007)

54. The Tree of Life (2011)

55. Performance (1970)

56. Ran (1985)

57. Breathless (1960)

58. Annie Hall (1977)

59. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

60. Rear Window (1954)

61. King of Hearts (1966)

62. Jaws (1975)

63. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

64. The Third Man (1949)

65.The Long Good Friday (1979)

66. La Strada (1954)

67. Haxan (1922)

68. Solaris (1972)

69. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

70. Stalker ( 1979)

71. Little Big Man (1970)

72. L'Avventura (1960)

73. Casino (1995)

74. The Dark Knight (2008)

75. Orphee (1950)

76. The Vanishing (1988)

77. Un Chien Andalou (1929)

78. The Wild Bunch (1969)

79. 12 Angry Men (1957)

80. Wings of Desire ( 1987)

81. Spartacus ( 1960)

82. Blade Runner (1982)

83. Knife in the Water (1962)

84.Psycho (1960)

85. Star Wars (1977)

86. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

87. Closely Watched Trains (1966)

88. Grande Illusion (1937)

89. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

90. The Seventh Seal (1957)

91. Taxi Driver (1976)

92. Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1966)

93. Metropolis (1927)

94. The French Connection (1971)

95. Aguirre Wrath of God (1972)

96. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

97. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001)

98. Before the Devil Knows Your Dead (2007)

99. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

100. Fail Safe (1964)

Unlike many GOAT lists, mine spans all genres and directing philosophies.

101. Anatomy of a Murder
102. Reservoir Dogs
103. King Kong

   Why Should Halloween have all of the fun?

My most recommended Christmas Horror films-

Sorry, no Gremlins or The Nightmare Before Christmas on my list! And remember, Santa is an anagram for SATAN!

1.Black Christmas-1984. First slasher film or not a great movie

2. Christmas Evil-1980

3. Krampus-2015- excellent cast, good SFX, nice story. 

4. Rare Exports-2010-highly recommended Finnish horror.

5. Santa Claws-1996-not your average horror film starring Debbie Rochon

6. Silent Night, Deadly Night-1984- If you like your Xmas movies bloody, titillating and outrageous this baby's for you

7.Don't Open Til Christmas-1984- A British made Xmas horror that is quite nice.

8. Sint-2010- The Netherlands's contribution to the dark Christmas genre.  

 

Butterscotch-Apple Cobbler

What could be better than two Fall flavors combined in one classic dessert?

Ingredients

Filling:

5 Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped

1 (11-ounce) bag butterscotch chips

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing

Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup quick oats

Pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Butter pecan ice cream, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

  2. For the filling: Toss the apples, butterscotch chips, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add to the buttered baking dish and dot with butter.

  3. For the topping: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats, and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in the pecans and sprinkle over the filling.

  4. Bake until the apples are tender and butterscotch is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Plate with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top.

My Magner's Autumn Bomb

The season always needs a beverage to bring on the spirit and the weather of the time of year. The following is a simple and refreshing way to celebrate the Fall. Whether enjoying an al fresco drink on the patio or trying to numb the pain of your football team's ignominious defeat, this treat combing a trans-Atlantic taste of cider and bourbon will do the trick. Happy Halloween!!

Pour 1 pint well chilled Magners Cider into a large glass. Pour a measure of your favorite bourbon in a clean shot glass. Carefully ease the shot glass into the Magners and drink quickly. Take a deep breath to enjoy the flavors and repeat.

 

For any inquiries, please email us @ericjonathan@claudiajenningsbyerickarell.com

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