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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Golden Age of TV Movies: Count Dracula (1977)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Count Dracula title card - BBC
  • BBC
  • Count Dracula title card

Welcome to The Golden Age of TV Movies, a monthly column about those wonderful TV movies of yesteryear.

So many versions of Draculaso little time to watch them all.

Count Dracula was produced for BBC TV in 1977. It aired stateside as part of PBS' Great Performances series. For many years afterwards Count Dracula was a Halloween staple on a number of PBS stations. From its initial airings onward, this impressively ambitious two-and-a-half hour adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel has been hailed as one of the finest and most literate translations of the book, and one of the most faithful to the source material.

In his book Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula From Novel to Stage to Screen, noted horror film historian David. J Skal had this to say about Count Dracula: "The most careful adaptation of the novel to date. And the most successful."

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Bay of the Living Dead: XXX Horrors

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Original Theatrical Poster for Through the Looking Glass - DISTRIBPIX
  • Distribpix
  • Original Theatrical Poster for Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to Bay of the Living Dead, a twice a month column about the horror genre. 

Jonas Middleton's Through the Looking Glass is a masterpiece. The somewhat-forgotten film is an intense supernatural drama about sexual repression, incest, narcissism and what may lie in store for us when we pass on. It wasn't what porn audiences were expecting when they plunked down their hard earned $5 to see the film when it opened at the World Theater in New York in 1976.

The long demolished World was, at the time, the premiere showcase for adult films in the Big Apple. It was at the World where Deep Throat had become a sensation and a free speech cause. While Throat auteur Gerard Damiano's goal had always been to work in porn, Looking Glass auteur Jonas Middleton had higher aspirations.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Bay of the Living Dead: Halloween Horrors Around Town

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • November Fire
  • DVD Box Cover
Welcome, Great Pumpkins. It's October, and Halloween will soon be upon us. All Hallow's Eve is the High Holy Day for ghouls and goblins, and there's plenty of fun things happening around town to satisfy your bloodthirsty appetite. 

Now underway at the charming Balboa Theater: a week long celebration of the life of Jack Pierce. Pierce (1889-1968) was a make-up artist extraordinaire during Hollywood's Golden Age. Though he worked within a variety of genres—Pierce was the make-up artist for TV's classic sitcom Mr. Ed—Pierce is best remembered for his groundbreaking work on the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s. Legendary creatures like Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman and The Mummy are all the handiwork of Jack Pierce.

Balboa's Jack Pierce tribute coincides not only with the commencement of this year's Halloween season, but with the DVD release of Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters,, the extraordinary new documentary by Bay Area resident Strephon Taylor. The 82 minute film screens at the Balboa at 7pm every night through Thursday October 8. Taylor's film will be sandwiched in between big screen showings of classic chillers like Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943), House of Dracula (1945) and James Whale's extraordinarily gay-centric masterpiece he Bride of Frankenstein (1935). 

Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters is an extraordinary tale in its own right. Taylor follows Pierce from his youth in Greece to his teen years right here in San Francisco—where he survived the Great Quake of 1906—to Hollywood, where his amazing talent was discovered. The documentary is strong on film clips and stills, and is partially told in Pierce's own voice. Taylor found an audio interview that Pierce granted to KHJ TV in Los Angeles in 1962. As a series of stills illustrates his words, its Pierce himself who explains the process by which he designed the terrifying face of the Frankenstein Monster. 

The film follows Pierce through his twenty year tenure at Universal to his days as a freelancer, working in B movies during the 1950s. No matter if he was working on a major studio production, a piece of drive-in shlock or a TV sitcom, Pierce was the consummate artist. Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters is an important work, required viewing for classic horror buffs and film historians of all stripes.

The Balboa Theater is at 38th Avenue and Balboa Avenue in the Outer Richmond. The week's full schedule can be seen at the Balboa's website: 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Reel Spooky: Top 10 Halloween/Horror Films

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Did your favorite films make our list?
  • Did your favorite films make our list?

It's that time of year where horror becomes all the rage, and with All Hallow's Eve quickly approaching, we at SF Weekly decided it was time to determine what are the best Halloween-themed (or horror-filled movies) to watch on October 31 — most of these films will fill your nightmares and memories long after Halloween has ended.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Video of the Day: The Silent Era's Best Horror Movie

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM

They're watching you.
  • They're watching you.

The uninitiated moviegoer might toss out a dig at silent films, and be heard speaking dismissively of black-and-white movies. It's a juvenile offense. But nobody jokes about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Weine's 1920 horror film and an early gem of German Expressionism. That influential movement sought to convey mood, emotion, and psychology through the lighting and sets, an approach that directors of film noir copied a couple decades later.

See also:

Mrs. Doubtfire (The Horror Film)

Siouxsie and the Banshees' Steven Severin Scores Horror Classic Vampyr

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top 10 "Sexy" Halloween Costumes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

We're not the type of person to harp on slutty Halloween costumes. We frankly don't give a damn about whether you think wearing a silver bikini makes you an "astronaut" because, let's be honest, Halloween is a holiday about getting laid, just like New Year's Eve, and National Feral Cat Day. If slutting up Big Bird helps you accomplish that, then, well, we can't say we applaud it, but we do understand. With that in mind, we present to you the most downright laughable "sexy" Halloween costumes this year. Because now we have uncomfortable images of Sesame Street characters in our head and we don't want to be the only ones.

See also:

Our slideshow on the sexiest (and most ridiculous) costumes

Dating advice from a zombie

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Video of the Day: A Musical Slasher Parody ... in Drag

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:30 AM

  • Jose A Guzman Colon

In his Halloween! The Ballad of Michele Myers, drag performer Raya Light brings a bunch of people to their deaths, but, more importantly, he brings the 1980s back to life. Dunn cherishes the glory decade for its music, sitcoms, slasher flicks, political incorrectness, and its San Francisco Halloween spirit, which has changed for the worse, he says, now that "so many people come in to gawk."

See also:

Video of the Day: Love in the Time of Zombies

The Sexiest (and Most Ridiculous) Halloween Costumes of 2012

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Dating Advice from a Zombie

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 7:30 AM

In the spirit of Halloween, we present to you life advice from a zombie, who may not have all the answers, but he's definitely got the brains.

I used to have the most beautiful girlfriend in the whole world. I feel like I have too high of a standard now with who I choose to date. I've been single for two years. What do I do?

Beauty is important in a relationship because it is what originally attracts us to each other. It can also help keep the flame lit during those rough times (all relationships have them). So physical appearance does have some importance. But honestly, all that really matters is a girl's brains.

See also:

The Walking Dead Returns: More Gore, Guts, and Glory

Dear Champ: Advice from a Fictitious Pro Wrestler

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Video of the Day: Love in the Time of Zombies

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Zombie mine! - CLAIRE RICE
  • Claire Rice
  • Zombie mine!

Did the season premiere of The Walking Dead leave you with a craving? Not to worry. The fine folks of San Francisco Theater Pub have your back. Over the last couple years they've done an amazing job filling the theater week's dark nights with cold pints and footlights, interpreting the works of Václav Havel, Alfred Jarry, Euripides, Sophocles, and the Bard in an atmosphere that makes all that sophistication pretty easy to swallow. And we're not just talking about the tasty victuals from their rotating pop-up kitchens.

See also:

The Walking Dead Returns: More Gore, Guts, and Glory

Shocktoberfest 13: The Bride of Death Is a Shocking, Gory Good Time

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Death Panels, Part III: Jack the Ripper in
From Hell Leads Comics Whose Stories Go Epic

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:30 PM

October calls for scares, and despite the very scary state of the world, there is still a desire for entertainment that frightens us. Here we look at the broad, deep legacy of horror comics in a series that delves into the genre's many variations and highlights from the 1940s to the present.

  • Jack Cole

The expansive visual format of comic books, along with the fact that they are published serially, encourages sprawling, epic stories with dozens of characters and webs of subplots. The possibility of epic storytelling in comics has served the horror genre particularly well. Several key horror epics have sold well, but, more importantly, stand as lasting contributions to the genre as a whole.


With the 1888 Jack the Ripper killings as its basis, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell (1991-96) firmly broke from mainstream horror such as Tales from the Crypt and The Tomb of Dracula by taking a serious, historical approach to its subject. Moore's text is tight, literate, and deeply couched in English social history. Campbell's impressionistic black-and-white art evokes the London fog, the shadowy halls of ritual and power, and the inherent creepiness of the British royal family.

From Hell ravenously chews up and reassembles facets of the Jack the Ripper story -- many true, some famous speculation, and others invented. Moore and Campbell make familiar material compelling by creating characters who feel real, as opposed to just being types. And From Hell is nothing if not a series of miniature, detailed biographies, all of which interlock in ways that will seem surprising, even to those familiar with the Ripper story.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"