Day #100

Another bloody cold day here in Igloo Land. A bit like the last 99 days now that I think about it. But! It's sooo goddamn cold today that when I tried urinating outside earlier this morning, it froze in mid-air. I kid you not. It's still there actually, suspended about 2 foot off the ground. Quite pretty. For a lump of gravity-defying frozen piss.

But I digress.


I found myself smiling and saying “Ahhh, Beautiful.” at the end of this film. The fact that it’s about a family of apparent serial killers might have you thinking, “Hang on, has The Igloo Keeper gone mad?”... but bear with me. I'll explain.

First of all, I am indeed mad. Certified insane by five doctors in fact. All tragically dead now of course.

However, I must repeat - The Hamiltons is a beautiful film. Strangely moving and touching. And best of all, it doesn’t make you feel stupid after you’ve watched it like, oh, every single modern horror film.

And so to the plot. The Hamiltons are a young family who are struggling to cope with the recent loss of their parents.

We have David, the ‘responsible’ one, twins Darlene & Wendell, the ‘bad ones’, and young Francis, the ‘good guy’.

And one other who shall remain nameless for the time being.

A dysfunctional family like many others then. But one with dark, bloody secrets lurking in the basement… like the two hitch-hikers bound and gagged. Like the other bodies strewn all around like... like cattle.

The Hamiltons takes this promising scenario and skillfully avoids becoming a) a dumb gorefest or b) a dumb comedy-horror. Instead it becomes, well, like I said - a strangely moving, beautifully shot and acted piece of film-making. But that’s just my opinion… you really should see for this yourself.

Hmmm, still can’t stop thinking that I’ve forgotten to mention someone…?



Day #26

On my daily trek I notice a polar bear and a penguin sitting together – surely they’re from completely different continents?

In my excitement I forgot about the fact that a polar bear would probably tear me limb for limb, and rush to meet them.

The mystery is solved. The Polar Bear and penguin are but mere drawings on a large white canvas. On the back is written these cryptic words, “On the outside grows the furside, on the inside grows the skinside.”

Someone is toying with me. Someone is watching me. In the name of God, what can it all mean???


Mystery of the Wax Museum was remade in 1953 with exactly the same story but a different title, ‘House of Wax’.
‘House of Wax’ was remade in 2005 with exactly the same title but a completely different story.

Go figure… can a film be a remake if it’s a completely different story? And if it has Paris Hilton in it? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please…

In the meantime we’re in London, where Lionel Atwill is a wonderful sculptor of wax figures. When his employer sets fire to his museum for the insurance money, he’s understandably a bit miffed. The two have a fight amongst the flames. It’s a rather wonderful fight - real knockabout stuff as the wax figures melt and the sculptor and his dreams disappear…

A few short years later and we’re in modern day 1930’s Noo Yoik! A brand new Wax Museum is being opened by Lionel Atwill, now in a wheelchair with horribly burned and useless hands. The waxworks look as good as ever though. Maybe too good, as some of them are uncannily similar to the visages of recently dead people. Recently dead people whose bodies have been stolen from the City Morgue (or ‘Da City Moig’ as they say in the film).

I’ve read praise being heaped on Atwill’s subtle and nuanced performance in this movie but I’m afraid I much prefer Mr Vincent Price's later portrayal in House of Wax. Atwill is so subtle that he doesn’t actually do much until the gripping finale when he kicks off big time. Vinny is much more memorable. More theatrical and dynamic. I like my bad guys theatrical and dynamic.

And Fay Wray is gorgeous, but not an especially amazing actress on this showing - although she gives good scream as ever, especially when she cracks the mask of Atwill (I should probably try and remember his charcter's name)and discovers the horrifying sight that lurks underneath!

Thank God for Glenda Farrell then, playing feisty blonde bombshell reporter Florence Dempsey.

She MAKES the movie she does, playing her part with such joyous energy that she almost single-handedly gives the movie its sense of drama, urgency and fun. If the scene's got her in it, then we're instantly caught up in the story. Without her, we're suddenly reminded that we're watching a very old movie...

She can talk. Boy, the girl can talk! It’s one of those 100 mile per hour voices that they just don’t do any more. Apparently she was renowned for it, and could speak 400 words a minute. It’s a joy to watch. The scenes with her and her editor Joe, an almost-but-not-quite-as fast-talking Noo Yoiker are great, as they both prattle on to each other about… well about stuff that makes no apparent sense:

Florence: As I live and breathe and wear spats - the prince!
Jim: You been doing experiments with scotch and soda again?
Florence: Where'd you get that news item, from a little bird?
Jim: Yeah, have a pleasant vacation?
Florence: Charming, more delightful people crippled.

I mean, like huh???

Here’s another wonderful Florence quote that had me scratching my head:

Florence: [describing the disfigured man’s appearance] And that face , it was like an African war mask.
Detective: You mean he was coloured?
Florence: I don't know what he was , but he made Frankenstein look like a lily.

Bearing in mind that Mystery of the Wax Museum came out only a couple of short years after Frankenstein, I suppose this line may have been received as a topical, witty gag by audiences. If you can remember, drop me a line...

Mystery of the Wax Museum is definitely a classic, and it was considered lost until the 1960’s, we should be extremely grateful for the chance to watch it.

You’ll find Mystery of the Wax Museum as an extremely generous extra on the House of Wax (1953) DVD. You’ll enjoy both. Add ‘Carry on Screaming’ for a triple bill and you'll be 'frying tonight'!



Day #16

Clear weather again today, so I venture west and attempt to map my surroundings...

I had been walking for several uneventful hours when it hit me!

I looked around – nothing. So I attempted to carry on walking and it hit me again! Some sort of invisible force field!

I walked as far as I could to the left, and to the right. No way through. Am I trapped? Trapped like an animal? Like an animal in… an arctic force-field?

I find myself pondering upon this question back in the igloo, as the TV flickers on and offers up a melancholy tale of people trapped on an island – is this another message aimed at me? Must… write. Must… record…


Isle of the Dead - a beautifully subtle and understated horror movie - is one of famed producer Val Lewton’s 9 seminal horror films he made for RKO in the 1940’s. Val Lewton's horrors have a unique style all of their own, as he favours atmosphere and trepidation over shocks and monsters. Brain over brawn, if you will, which makes for a type of film-making that has stood the test of time rather well.

To my mind (semi-frozen in the arctic wasteland as it is), Isle of the Dead has an awful lot in common with Lewton’s 1942 masterpiece ‘Cat People’. In both, superstition plays a central part. In both, a young lady is under suspicion of being some sort of supernatural being. In both, superstition and madness become intertwined…

Several people find themselves quarantined on a Greek Island during The Balkans War. Among them we have a stern General played with magnificent restraint by Boris Karloff. Others present include a British consul and his invalid wife, a military doctor, an attractive young lady, and an incredibly annoying old Greek peasant women.

And so the group find themselves stuck on this island together, as the plague takes hold and they start to die off. And as if this wasn’t enough, the old Greek woman starts ranting about a Vorvolaka (some sort of Greek vampire sort of thing) being in their midst – and she’s pointing her crooked old arthritic Greek finger straight at the attractive young lady!

What follows is 90 minutes of a beautifully shot and wonderfully acted (especially Karloff) meditation on superstition, science, mortality, war, disease and madness.

It’s a truly haunting movie (no pun intended) with a foreboding atmosphere throughout, a chilling ending that gets right under your skin, and a premature burial thrown in for good measure. Essential viewing for the Horror connoisseur!



Day #424

Another trek due north. And the same impossible thing happens as yesterday. I end up BACK at MY igloo - The Igloo of the Uncanny (in case you haven’t been paying attention).

The mystery deepens when I discover someone has paid a visit! Written on a fresh page of my notebook is an unintelligible phrase, “KOM DERE VEKK IDIOTER!!!”.

What can it mean???

Today's movie appears to be the first one from the 90's... surely another clue...


Has it really been 12 years? I remember watching this and loving it way back when it first came out – as I'm sure you did – but for some shameful reason I haven’t watched it from start to finish since. I’m delighted I have now though, because I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. Which reminds me of how I met my ex-fiancee again after a long absence. My ex-fiancee who I ended up killing. But that’s another story.

There are so many wonderful moments in From Dusk Till Dawn. Only an idiot would attempt to whittle them down into one of those dumb, lazy ‘Top 5 moments’ lists. Anyway, here are my top 5 moments from From Dusk Till Dawn:

1. The start. The hold-up in the convenience store.

Wonderful Tarantino dialogue which George Clooney is absolutely made for. The scene ends with Clooney and Tarantino walking away from the building as it explodes. I’m a sucker for any scene where someone walks away from an exploding building without flinching.

2. The many faces of Cheech Marin. He’s the border guard. Then he’s the fabulously monickered Chet Pussy.
And Carlos at the end. I fucking love the guy.

3. Vampire Quentin. Wonderful make-up. Loved the large forehead. Vamp Harvey Kietel wasn’t too shabby either.

4. Salma Hayek.

No explanation required.

5. The ending. The farewell between Cloonie and Juliette Lewis is kind of touching. And so he goes of to El Rey. Which is a place name from The Getaway , obviously, but I remember reading somewhere else that it’s supposed to be Hell. THE Hell. With a capital ‘H’. Which explains Clooney’s reluctance to allow Juliette to tag along. As he says, he "may be a bastard, but not a fucking bastard." Which is more or less what Bogart said to Bergmann at the end of Casablanca.


TEETH (2007)

Day #323

A clear day! A chance to venture out and take stock of my new surroundings.
And so I travel due north until - ye gods!
A sign of life! Another igloo!But why this sense of creeping dread?
I soon discover why. Upon further inspection it becomes clear.
It's MY igloo! Igloo of the Uncanny!
I could have sworn I travelled due north. I must have become disoriented. That must be the answer. It MUST be!
Tomorrow if the weather permits, I shall try once again. But until then, another message on the TV to decipher...

TEETH (2007)

Dammit, I had a whole lot of lame puns lined up for this one, but I loved it so much I've decided to spare you. Teeth has a ridiculous premise, of course. But the story is told with such skill we believe it without difficulty. And that, in a nutshell, is the essence of any good Horror story.

Carrie is probably the closest reference point to Teeth If I'm being lazy (and I am). Carrie, with a heavy dose of Cronenbergian body mutation. Mix together with a touch of Braindead style comedy and there you have it - a fine addition to last year's sparse Horror pickings. Deeply funny, and with a wonderful central performance by Jess Wiexler.

Ok, so I've agreed not to laugh at Teeth. So let's laugh at these responses to a request on IMDB for alternate taglines to the movie. Be warned - this is juvenile humour of the worst kind.

Needless to say, if you're easily offended, these may offend you.

And I guess they contain spoilers.

Here goes then. I'm building these up too much, I just know I am:

1. The box that takes cocks. Forever!
2. Eat Pussy! Or I'll eat you!
3. You thought she was on her period and then she realised... it was your blood!
4. This box chomps back!
5. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the vagina!

The best thing about the last one was that it sparked a debate about whether you're legally allowed to use the word vagina on a tagline. Marvellous stuff. IMDB is one of my guilty pleasures but a word of warning - use it sparingly!


THE FOG (1980)

Day #44.
Rations dwindling.
One packet of stale water biscuits and a few cans of Bully Beef dated November '10.

Which doesn't sound too bad until you notice the "By Royal Appointment of His Majesty King Edward VII" printed next to it.

So - I decide to brave the outdoors on a foraging expedition. Curse my luck! Within minutes I'm stuck in fog of unholy thickness. And to my sphincter-loosening horror I discover I've lost sight of the igloo!

Eventually, praise be to God - I manage to stumble back upon it. I enter, somewhat chastened by my ordeal - for I was perilously close to having been lost forever to that accursed fog!

No sooner had I settled down however, when once again the TV crackles into life! I ready myself to note any clues. Doing so may even help take my mind off my narrow escape in that damned fog...

THE FOG (1980)

The Fog is an absolute masterclass in creating tension and suspense. A feeling of creeping dread is palpable throughout. And it's all because of these 5 SCARY THINGS ABOUT THE FOG:


That throaty, smoky, croaky drawl is an integral and unforgettable part of the movie. Yes, I know she’s on our side but that voice kinda creeps me out. It’s sexy, but sinister as well, in the way that… Madonna showing off her biceps is. I reckon that if The Fog itself had a voice, it would sound exactly like Stevie Wayne. Come to think of it, has Stevie Wayne and The Fog ever been seen in the same room together?? It’s worth investigating. No doubt the ratings on her radio show shot up after the 'fog' show, so would it be stretching the bounds of credibility for them to be in league together?


Once again, I know he’s on our side, but Tom Atkins' unfeasibly large head has always freaked me out. It’s enormous. Like an orange on a tooth-pick. It’s like he’s wearing a paper mache mask of his own face. Why would anyone want to do that? What possible motives could he have? That’s what freaks me out about him.

John Carpenter is – or was at least – the absolute master in creating these sinister synth soundtracks signalling impending doom. A wonderful way of racking up tension throughout the movie. Da-da-da… da-da-da… da-da-da…da-da-da… you know how it goes like...


What horror lurks in the shadows of our mind? What fresh madness awaits those who unlock doors where the unknown lurks? What our imagination can conjure up will always be more effective than anything shown on screen, so Carpenter's decision to leave Blake and co. in the shadows makes them more sinister than anything today’s CGI computer boffins could conceive. Would The Fog have been as effective if Blake was made up like that tentacle-faced fuckwit from Pirates of the Caribbean? No, of course it wouldn’t. Stop asking such stupid questions.

Carrie was made only a few short years earlier so I’m guessing that shock(!) endings were still very much in vogue when The Fog rolled in. And as much as I love it, the rationale behind it worries me. Because it means that the ghostly Blake must have changed his mind. He must have been walking back to his ship and then thought, “ Nah bollocks, I'm not going to let the priest away with it after all, hold up lads - I’ll go back and kill him.” Frankly, I can’t imagine an unworldy entity being so indecisive…



Day #22.
Temperature: Freezing.
Weather: Blizzard.
Visibility: Don't know - can't see for the blizzard.

Confined to my igloo with nothing but the endless static on the battered old transistor radio for company. Then - a miracle! An ancient portable TV in the corner (yes, this igloo does have a corner) crackles into life! A message starts to appear! Perhaps this could be a clue as to why I'm here? And how I can get out? I'll fetch a pen and paper. Must write this down. Must record what happens...


Roy Castle, Kenny Lynch and Alan 'Fluff' Freeman???

Why, it can only be a classic British horror anthology from Amicus!

It's a great title for a horror movie, but I have issues with it. We meet Dr. Terror on a train. We never see his house. So why not call it Dr. Terror's Train of something or other... Horror, Trauma, Doom, whatever... why house???

Anyway, we're on the train. The 7:55 express to Bradley. It's one of those wonderful old fashioned carriages where 6 people could sit together. One of them is the mysterious, bushily eyebrowed Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing). Schreck means 'terror' in German apparently. Hence the title. Although unless 'house' means 'train' in German, I still have issues with it.

Dr. Schreck whips out a pack of Tarot cards and, what with this being the days before iPods and Nintendo's, he manages to interest the other guys enough to tell each his future... future... future... future...

First up is a promising but disappointing tale called 'Werewolf' in which an architect travels home to a Scottish island to renovate an old house of his, now owned by an odd old lady. It's a bit of a plodder. Next.

The second story is a bit silly. And not in a good way, as Alan 'Fluff' 'Not 'arf' 'Howdy Pop-pickers'Freeman get terrorised by a killer plant. Not as much fun as you'd think.

The third story's a belter! Now we're talking! Biff Bailey (Roy Castle) steals music from an ancient voodoo ritual during a visit to the West Indies. When he performs his new song back in blighty all HELL breaks loose (as a disapproving Kenny Lynch looks on). Marvellous stuff, despite being borderline racist.

Then we come to the fourth and finest installment, the unforgettable 'Disembodied Hand'. Step forward Christopher Lee...

... a harsh, pompous, twat of an art critic who constantly lets everyone know how awful he thinks artist Eric Landor's (Michael Gough) work is. Eric gets his revenge when he fools Lee into praising a work by an unknown artist, who is then revealed to be a chimpanzee! Much hilarity ensues, and Eric should have left it at that really, but he proceeds to rub it in by constantly following Lee to important functions and reminding him of his lapse of judgement. Making monkey sounds at him. Throwing bananas at him, that sort of thing. Eventually Lee snaps and takes his revenge by running the artist down in cold blood. The artist loses his hand. But not for long, as the hand proceeds to stalk poor Christopher Lee!
As an eight year old, this was terrifying stuff indeed. As The Igloo Keeper, perhaps not quite as terrifying. But still fabulous fun!

The final part 'Vampire' features a young Donald Sutherland...

...who suspects his wife is a vampire. I liked it. Very nice twist.

And then we're back in the train carriage as it reaches its destination... where can they be?

I have a bit of a problem with the ending(as well as the title, now that I come to think about it) in as much as - I just don't get. Oh, I realise that it's about not being able to cheat death or something but... why all the palaver? Why all the tales about vampires and werewolves if... ? If you've seen it, and you're not as dumb as me, please explain... you know my address: The Igloo Keeper, Igloo of the Uncanny, Desolate Arctic Wasteland.



“Enjoy your exile, murderer!” shouted the pilot and co-pilot in unison as they threw me out the plane. “Don’t I get a parachute?” I replied, not unreasonably. But it was too late, and I was already plummeting to the icy wastes below...

Luckily I landed on some soft snow and some talking penguins sheltered and fed me. Until I realised I was hallucinating, and they left on a magic carpet.

And so I found myself wandering. Lost, half-mad and half-dead, all hope gone. Then I saw the igloo.

Something uncanny about it, I remember thinking. Maybe it was the supernatural glow that seemed to emanate deep from within it. Maybe it was the sense of destiny that I felt as I stumbled towards it. Maybe it was the large wooden sign saying ‘Igloo of the Uncanny’ nailed above the door…

It was warm inside. The old man said nothing as he handed me a hot drink. I gulped it down greedily and fell into a deep sleep. Such strange dreams… of falling down a long flight of stairs… standing on a black beach looking at a red sea… and when I awoke the old man had gone. But when my eyes fell upon his dirty old shaving mirror, I saw his face staring back at me.

Maybe I’ve always been him.

Maybe I’ve always been here.