Every so often I run across someone who think that movies were really tame in the old days and that movies only became gruesome and violent in more recent years. They clearly haven't watched enough movies. From mayhem to murder, from cannibalism to rape, this movie has it all. This classic Pre-Code movie (from 1929-1934 movies were pretty much unrated until the big crack down in 1934) was also shot in 2 strip Technicolor, making it one of the earliest colour movies.
The Moon Killer attacks on every full moon. Six women have been found so far, all of them strangled, scalpeled (a scalpel was inserted into the back of their heads) and partial eaten. Cannibalism is the name of the game and the brilliant Doctor Xavier (Lionel Atwill) is called in for his expertise and a little more. It seems that most of the murders have happened around his college and the good doctor and his colleagues have fallen under police suspicion. His colleagues include Dr. Wells (Preston Foster), an amputee who has made a study of cannibalism, Dr. Haines (John Wray), Dr. Duke (Harry Beresford) and Dr. Rowitz (Arthur Edmund Carewe). It is later learned that Haines and Rowitz were stranded in a boat with another man, and that while they claimed he had died and they had thrown him overboard, it was suspected that they had, in fact, cannibalized him. Mmmm good eating.
Meanwhile ace reporter Lee Tailor (Lee Tracy) has been snooping around and manages to sneak into Doctor Xavier's place and makes time with Xavier's daughter Fay Wray. Xavier is going to try and solve the murders by using his new invention - a truth detector that monitor's peoples heart rates so they can figure out who's lying.
The early Technicolor adds a creepy element to the film. Being only a 2 strip film - it's not like the more colourful 3 strip films that came at the end of the 1930's. The colours seem to be mostly green and red and it gives the movie a moody grim feeling. Oscar winning director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Captain Blood, Angels With Dirty Faces) directs this horror film with the right amount of tension. The only real draw back is the more slapsitck antics of the reporter, but they can be overlooked. Then there's the revealation of the Moon Killer. It's not just the who - it's the why - brilliant and creepy is all I can say.
Thanks once again to our good friends at the Regina Folk Festival for the tix!
1 HOT DOG, WE HAVE A WIENER … OH SNAP … The feed from CNN when Chicago was taken off the ballot. Jingoism much?
2 ON THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS … Dave Zirin (Edge of Sports) is one of a rare breed – a sportswriter with a sense of social justice. Which is why I, originally, was surprised that he didn't care for Chicago's bid for the Olympics. (The Nation). Then again, his reasons were based in experience and the impact games such as these have on the economy – benefitting the rich at the expense of the poor. But opposing Chicago's bid lumps him, on the surface, with these bunch (Huffington Post) of numbskulls (Washington Monthly) let loose in public (Talking Points Memo) … who Rachel Maddow (Crooks and Liars) and Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman (New York Times) call out.
3 JACK BAUER SAID 'SHUT UP, I'M WATCHING BEACH VOLLEYBALL …' One reason why Chicago's bid went south is because of the United States' hostility to visitors. During the review process, a Pakistani IOC official asked Obama why he should vote to hold the Olympics in a country where the athletes, coaches, officials, and fans would be treated like criminals for coming into the country. Obama couldn't give him a straight answer. (New York Times). The problems with getting into the United States – some of it in the wake of 9/11, but mostly caused by a Border Patrol mentality that's more akin to the mindset of correction officers at San Quentin – has meant there's been no major scientific conferences Stateside since that ugly day, and it also spells trouble for the U.S. bid to host the World Cup of Soccer in 2018 or 2022. (Wikipedia) It's also impacted tourism. Not that Americans care much – apart from the Grey Lady, no other media outlet has touched that issue with a ten foot pole.
4 DICK CHENEY WOULD HAVE SAID THERE WERE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION HIDDEN IN THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA'S BIKINI … Yeah, with this guy's help, what could have gone wrong with Chicago's bid? (The White House).
5 SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The propensity for IOC members for self-aggrandizement (not to mention bribery) aside, it's clear that the United States – and to a lesser extent Europe – doesn't hold sway over the Olympic movement the way it once did. Rio was a pretty good compromise – it's in the all-important Eastern time zone, so most of the 2016 games can be seen during prime time. And South America has never hosted the Olympics before. There's a few other places where the Olympics have never been, either – Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and in the Moslem world. Dubai has entered the 2020 sweepstakes (GamesBids.com), Istanbul has made a few bids (BBC), Durban, South Africa is contemplating a bid for 2020 (insidethegames.com), and Mumbai organizer of the 2012 Commonwealth Games want to do the same thing that Rio did with the 2007 Pan American Games – use it as a springboard to bigger and better things. (GamesBids.com)If I were a betting man, I wouldn't put money on a summer Olympics being held in North America within the next 30 years. So these guys (GamesBids.com) may as well give up now.
6 OBLIGATORY MONTY PYTHON VIDEOS ... In honor of the Olympics ...
and the Paralympics ....
What if superheroes teamed up according to religious affiliation? What if there was a website that figured this all out and had collages of these newly formed superteams? (By the way, did you know that Captain Canuck was a Mormon?)
Mid-way through a national tour that will see them travel east from here to the Maritimes by the end of October, Library Voices stop by the Exchange tonight. To whet your appetite, here's video of them doing "Step Off the Map and Float" at a fundraiser in Vancouver this spring after their gear got ripped off when their trailer was stolen. (YouTube)
Backing them up on the tour is the Halifax band In-Flight Safety. Here's the video for their song "Surround". (YouTube)