22 Mar MENACING AND MONSTROUS HAUNTED VEHICLES
WHERE’S MY CAR TO THE PEABODY??!?
OK, look folks, I have to talk about the whole subject of haunted and menacing vehicles too.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve found the idea cool, and as a parent, there was a time when the kids were toddlers and I’d play with the ‘lock/unlock’ button, delighting in hearing them scream that the car was haunted. I even once had an old Datsun truck that would turn itself off whenever it wanted to! And even though some ‘smart mechanic’ told me that it was because I needed to properly set the idle time, I remain convinced it was haunted!
I still remember first seeing Duel. Man, what a scary film! And in my mind’s eye, the driver of the truck chasing Dennis Weaver was always a demon driver or the actual devil himself!
So that movie, whenever I watch it, it’s an even cooler experience to think of that driver as Satan himself. Steven Spielberg directed it, and originally it was a made for TV movie in the States which ended up getting a movie theatre release internationally. The whole concept was scary. You’re driving down the road in a relatively quiet, safe place when all of a sudden, out of the blue, there’s this menacing force which happens to be in a tractor trailer that not only spots you but starts tracking you at high speeds!
That is scary man!
Imagine it happening to you – it comes out of nowhere, the situation is impossible to gauge because you’re driving, trying to escape, you’re filled with puzzlement, fear, it’s extremely claustrophobic and…the ONLY thing you see of the driver is his boot and a kind of silhouette right at the end, because he’s in the shadow of his own big rig cab. I think Duel was the first movie of its type, and I cannot think of anything before it. Can anyone else? Let me know!
Then came Christine.
For me, it was incredibly original.
An actual entity, an actual haunted vehicle.
It was great because there was the origin story of a murder inside it, there might’ve been a sacrifice thing going on, and then that ending with the auto compactor – and hey, you have to wonder whether the haunted elements were recycled into another vehicle or entity. I love the ending because it is so dubious!
Then there was The Hearse, a late ‘70s film about (of course) a haunted hearse. Not perhaps as big an impact as the previous two films we’ve been discussing, but think about it, in terms of pure concept it’s kinda brilliant and simple because of course, hearses would be haunted! There was also Maximum Overdrive with the big rig and a green goblin face right on the front of it, and again, this one veers into the territory of ‘artificial intelligence’ and a vehicle/ machine that wants to stamp us all out because we’re not worthy. King certainly found the idea of possessed machinery exciting, I even seem to remember reading in one short story he wrote about a haunted Coca-Cola machine? And how about these two? The Car, with James Brolin and a haunted Lincoln Continental going mental, Rubber about Robert the tire who suddenly comes to life and discovers he has psychic powers!
I also must give an honorable mention here to one of my favorite films, Repo Man, and that 1964 Chevy Malibu. THAT was a car with some sort of conscious entity too, maybe not haunted but cool enough to mention as it was one of the finest movies of 1984 which deserved an Oscar!
Why hasn’t there been a movie about haunted conversion vans? Haunted campers? Haunted tour busses? Think about that one! What about electric cars, you’d never hear them coming so how about the potential for electric vehicles to cause mayhem? They could shoot lightning bolts out, they could turn into mobile electric chairs, ok I’m going to call my agent because I see a genre developing that could be pretty fun.
And that is my take on this relatively small sub-genre.
In other news, as you may or may not know, my horror movie poster collection will be going into a major exhibition at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. This is the first major exhibition of horror movie posters of its kind. I feel that I have accomplished a major feat with this collaboration. It’s been my goal all along to bring awareness to the cultural, artistic and social significance of these pieces over the course of the 20th century. Finally, it’s happening and I am more than delighted!
For the next few months I’ll be using a portion of this blog to highlight some of the pieces that are going into the exhibition. Even though there will be pieces I’ve never shown publicly anywhere else (including within my book Too Much Horror Business), I’d like to start these teasers with something I think everyone will recognize – The Mummy three-sheet poster. I’m starting with this image as Metallica fans will recognize it as the image on my guitar. To see this poster in person is quite an explosion of sensory bombardment. The graphic design, artwork, and colors all work together to ensure that you MUST acknowledge this poster! What I’m trying to say is it’s hard not to notice this piece of art in a room.
So if you can, try to make it out to the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts starting August 27th through to November 26th 2017. Even I can’t wait to see my collection in this original curated exhibition. It’ll be new and exciting for me and truth be told, I kinda feel like a proud parent J. It’s the ultimate experience if you love horror movies, and getting to see it in Salem, which is overflowing with such history, is a definite plus.
And to round things off, I wanted to get back to a couple of people who have commented on recent blogs. First off, JOHN RUSSO
said, ‘“Thanks for the shout-out! Loved your appearance on Jimmy Kimmel — great music!” Cheers John, you’re a legend in my book always.
MARC RESTIVO asked, “Strange question, but did you ever acquire any of Uncle Forry’s stuff for your collection?” Marc, indeed I did! I have a number of pieces in my collection from Forrest J Ackerman, and I acquired most of my Famous Monster paintings directly from him. ANDREW DENNING commented, “Dude! What about Christmas Evil, starring Brandon Maggart, Fiona Apple’s dad?”
Christmas Evil with Fiona Apple’s dad? HOW COULD I have missed that one? Thanks Marc, I’m gonna add it to my Xmas watch-list for 2017! TINA MCDONNELL said, “another movie that would be good to mention about these times we live in is…Idiocracy. Now it’s not a horror at all but it’s damn scary to watch it now and think this is a possible future for us.” Right on Tina. I know Mike Judge. When I asked him what he was working on several years ago, and he said a movie called Idiocracy, I knew it was destined for great things. I’ve seen it three times, and it’s scary how prophetic it is, and could be. It’s almost like a documentary!
JOHNNY SJÖSTEN was wondering, “do you have a cinema in your home or are you just watching on a TV?” Johnny, I watch on anything from a computer screen to plasma TV. I don’t have a home cinema, but I’ve been wanting one for a long time, just haven’t gotten around to it. And last but not least ANNA HOOVER said she, “…would like to know your thoughts on the old Abbott and Costello movies that had a lot of the classic monsters/actors in their movies.” Anna, I love Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein…it’s a classic no doubt about it. You get how many monsters for the price of one? And Abbott & Costello are just fun to watch. It stands right up there with all the other classics of it’s era.
See you all next time,