Monday, 22 February 2010

Vintage Stuff

The writer David Surface (hello!) sends me a link to his excellent website, which is chock-full of stories, essays and much other stuff. There's a wonderful bit of nostalgia about the old black and white 'horror' films that, by modern standards, don't seem so much horrific as weirdly stylised - as if they've somehow been translated from some forgotten cinematic language. Which I suppose they have.

To this day I wonder who was the person at our local TV station who decided that 5:30 AM on Saturday was the perfect time to show every horror movie from the Universal Studios vault. The ungodly hour and the darkness contributed to my vague feeling that there was something subversive, almost indecent about these films. It did not occur to me that they’d been ghettoized, that these movies were (at the time) considered not classics, but garbage, filler between fishing shows and the morning news. But to me, the hour was holy.

Laying on that scratchy old living room rug in the pre-dawn dark, I saw for the first time not only classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman and The Mummy, but also lesser-known treasures like The Black Cat, The Raven, The Body Snatchers, The Son of Dracula, The Ghost of Frankenstein, The Haunted Strangler, White Zombie.

Ah, yes, a few familiar names there. Cheap DVDs lying around in supermarkets these days (in the UK,  anyhow) often seem to include a few of these. You can watch quite a few on YouTube, which is like an old-time TV set, only slightly worse. White Zombie is here. Bwahahahaha, and so on.

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