Because there has to be something more edifying to look at than the campaign. Thanks to Stuart Kurtz for lending his Canon f2.8 70-200mm lens.
The idea that a possession or even more creepily a body part of a dead person can take over the life of its living owner has appeared in fairy tales and ghost stories for centuries. In cinema, the touchstone story of this sort is Maurice Renard’s 1920 novel Les Mains d’Orlac, which has been adapted to the screen many times, including in both films I am recommending this week as part of our scary Halloween month tradition here at RBC: The 1924 Austrian and 1935 US version of The Hands of Orlac (The latter is sometimes titled Mad Love).
The story concerns gifted pianist and composer Paul Orlac, whose hands are severely damaged in an accident. He survives his injuries, but his hands are replaced with those of a recently executed murderer by a talented surgeon. As Orlac and his devoted lady love Yvonne attempt to put their lives back together, the murders start again, and Orlac begins to suspect that his new hands are driving him to commit horrible crimes.
The 1924 version is a silent film directed by Robert Wiene and starring Conrad Veidt, who will be familiar as principals of the all-time cinema classic Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which I recommended four years ago this week. Like that famous film, the Hands of Orlac is skillfully made in the expressionist style and is anchored by striking visuals and Veidt’s ability to movingly convey emotion without dialogue. The film was recently restored with a newly composed soundtrack and became deservedly popular on the classic film festival circuit:
The 1935 version is a talkie that changes the story substantially in an effective way. Here, the doctor is the central character and is driven by his lust for Orlac’s wife rather than any desire to help the composer. This was Peter Lorre’s first American film and he’s magnetic as a villain who is loathsome in some ways and pitiable in others. I like this version even better than the original because of Lorre’s strong performance, director Karl Freund’s visual sensibilities and the somewhat tighter pacing than the original.
Here is a short promotional film made for the US release of the 1935 version. It’s more than a traditional trailer because while Lorre was a big star in Germany (See Johann’s recommendation of Fritz Lang’s M), Hollywood had to introduce him to American audiences.
It’s long past demonstrated that Donald Trump is not in the normal range of aspiring political leaders, or even in the 95% interval. He’s a black swan, cruising around in unexplored regions of the possible, the part of the map that used to be marked with “here be dragons”. Still, it’s worth reviewing in order of importance why it’s unthinkable that he should be president; I’m surprised that his most despicable personal qualities end up at the bottom of the list.
(1) If nothing else in this list applied, he would be disqualified by his tin-pot dictator aspirations to subvert the most fundamental American principles, thinking he can just “not accept” the results of an election [yes, after recounts and appropriate procedural actions] and even toying with the idea that he would get to imprison his political opponents if he were to win. Trump is as close as we’ve ever seen to the candidate running to be the last elected president.
(2) He is embedded in a uniquely opaque cloud of combined ignorance and insouciance. I can’t be sure which of his whoppers are just lying to hear himself talk, and which are genuine misinformation, because he believes nothing beyond his own ego, and knows nothing about anything; not economics, not defense, not the law, nothing…and I bet he’s never read a whole book. What may be most important here is that he doesn’t care and won’t do anything about it: his ignorance is practiced and purposeful.
(3) There should be an entry about here to the effect that the policies he would try to enact are bad ones, but because of (2), he doesn’t really have policies, just ideas that pop into his head when facing a crowd or a Twitter window.
(4) He surrounds himself with vicious, cynical, unmoored opportunists and haters, and he takes their advice (except advice to emulate a serious person) because he’s too lazy (or perhaps too stupid) to do his own thinking, and completely, supinely, at the mercy of flattery. Good leaders try to accrete people better than they are; he goes around picking up parasites and barnacles.
(4) He’s cowardly, hateful, spiteful, racist, and just mean. He’s all these things especially toward anyone who exposes his deficiencies, either directly or by comparison, and to the weak and unfortunate. The rogues’ gallery he would bring into government have binders and briefcases of nightmares to unleash.
(5) He’s personally corrupt, a con man and grifter whose entire business “success” has been built on stiffing and cheating everyone he deals with: investors, lenders, suppliers, the government; everyone.
(6) Special case of (4): he’s a lecherous, misogynistic swine about women, and totally OK being so. Never mind the policies he would enact, what would it be like to be on the White House staff? and imagine the endless opportunities for blackmail he will unreel. In a sane world, this personal quality would itself be disqualifying, and it has certainly taken up most of the air in the room as it has come to light. But on reflection, considering the risks he poses to everything that stands between us and a Mussoliniesque (or Putinesque) national ruin, I have to put this at the end of the list, which says something about what precedes it.
Update: Pleased to see that the media chatter is dominated by Trump’s refusal to commit accepting the election results.
Insta-polls are in:
YouGov: Clinton 49 Trump 39
CNN: Clinton 52 Trump 39
Conclusion: I don’t think tonight changed many minds. Trump didn’t melt down, but I don’t think he gained any ground. No one who didn’t want to like him came away impressed. “Such a nasty woman,” “bad hombres,” didn’t help. He held it together for about the first hour, then slowly fell apart.
10:25 Idiotic debt question, even-handedly distributed.
Trump: We’re going to grow at 4%. That will solve the debt problem. We use political hacks as trade negotiators.
Clinton: Trump always talks down our government. Did so under Reagan. “I alone can fix it.” Says (lamentably) she wan’t add a penny to the debt. Middle-out growth. Rebuild the middle class.
Even more idiotic entitlement question, source to the same right-wing think tank. Trust funds are going to run out of money.
Would President Trump make a deal to save Social Security and Medicare that includes tax increases and benefit cuts?
Trump: Obamacare is a disaster. I’m going to grow the economy. Next year Obamacare premiums will go up at least 100%.
Clinton: I’m on record that we need to increase inflows to the Social Security Trust Fund. Raise the cap. I’ll have to pay more and “so will Donald, unless she can figure out a way to get out of it.” [Trump interrupts: “Such a nasty woman.”] Don’t cut benefits. Raise benefits, especially for the poor and for women who have been disadvantaged by program design.
Obamacare extended the life expectancy of the Medicare Trust Fund.
Trump getting uglier uglier. I don’t think it will sell.
Candidates didn’t agree on closing statements, Wallace asks for them anyway.
Clinton goes positive. Children and families. Good jobs rising incomes good educations.
Trump: She just wants to control people. Make American Great Again. Help veterans not illegal aliens. Military. Law and order. Inner cities are a disaster. Can’t stand four more years of Barack Obama, and that’s what you get with Hillary.
I’m not sure that was a smart way to end when Obama has a +10 job performance.
10:11 Battle for Mosul. Will you put American troops in place to make sure ISIS doesn’t come back?
Clinton: Putting Americans in as an occupying force would not be a good idea. Mosul first, then Raqqa. Go after ISIS “in the air, on the ground, on line.” Domestically, if you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.”
Trump: “We had Mosul. But when she pulled out, they took Mosul.” “What happened to the element of surprise?” MacArthur and Patton (again) spinning in their graves. Accuses the military of launching the attack on Mosul only because of the U.S. election. Brags that the operation is harder than expected. “Iran should write us a letter of thank-you.” Back to the Iran deal. Iran is taking over Iraq.
Clinton tries to explain the problem.
Trump pivots to Podesta and Sanders. Clinton responds that Sanders thinks that Trump is the most dangerous person ever to run for President.
Wallace on Aleppo: Points out that much of what Trump said about it is not so. It hasn’t fallen. Trump said Syria and Russia were fighting ISIS, when they were in fact bombing Aleppo.
Trump: Assad is tougher and smarter than Clinton and Obama. Has allied with Russia and Iran. We’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. If they overthrew Assad, you may end up with worse. “She’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.” Many ISIS-aligned. Great Trojan Horse. Thanks a lot.
Q to Clinton: You want to impose a no-fly zone. Obama has refused. Generals are worried about potential war with Syria and Russia.
Clinton: Can’t be done the first day. Provide safe zones for Syrians. Need to be worked out with the Russians and the Syrians.
We have to vet. But we can’t exclude refugees. Some of the terrorist threat is native-born.
Trump: We got outplayed in the Syrian cease-fire. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.
10:10 Q to Trump: You’ve been warning that the election is rigged. Pence says you’ll accept the election results. A: “I’ll look at it at the time.” The media is so corrupt. They’ve poisoned the minds of the voters.” Million of people are registered to vote who shouldn’t be. “She shouldn’t be allowed to run.” “Just in that respect, it’s rigged.”
Wallace presses on the tradition of coming together. Trump: “I’ll keep you in suspense.”
Clinton: Whenever Trump is losing, he says it’s rigged. Gives examples, concluding with Trump University and the Emmys. “This is not the way our democracy works.” Quotes Obama: “When you’re whining before the contest is even over, you’re not fit for the job.” Trump moves back the damned emails.
10 pm Q to Clinton: Conflict of interest. Clinton Foundation. “Emails show that donors got special access.” Wasn’t that pay-to-play?
Clinton talks about the good work of the Clinton Foundation. 11 million people getting HIV treatment. Trump interrupts, and Wallace allows it. “Criminal enterprise.” Saudis mistreat gays. “Why don’t you give back the money?” Hatians hate you.
Clinton: 90% of CF money goes to programs. I’d be happy to compare our record to the record of the Trump Foundation. Portrait of Donald.
Trump defends his record. Clinton points out that you can’t believe any of that because he hasn’t released his tax returns. Trump says “We’re entitled.” Buffet and Soros. “You should have changed the law when you were a Senator.”
9:40 Clinton is scoring, but Trump isn’t melting down.
Next Q: on the economy.
To Clinton: Middle class. Free tuition. Taxes on the rich. 10 million new jobs.
Trump’s plan would cost 3 million jobs. Giveaways to rich, piling on the debt. Trickle-down economics on steroids. Could lead to another Great Recession.
Trump: Her plan is going to double your taxes. “We’re going to do a lot for college tuition, but the rest of us are going to be paying for it.
Pivots back to whether our allies are paying up. Credits himself. We’ve doubled our national debt under Obama. We’re going to have more free trade than we have now, but get our jobs back. (??) Renegotiate NAFTA. Make great trade deals. Cut taxes massively. Businesses hiring people. Bring $2.5 trillion back.
Clinton: (Getting interrupted by Trump.) Repeats her pledge not to add taxes on people under $250k/yr., not to add to the debt. [Presumably that means some fancy bookkeeping for infrastructure spending.] We’ve tried cutting taxes on the rich, and that hasn’t worked.
Wallace still playing on Trump’s team: isn’t Clinton’s plan just like Obama’s stimulus, which failed? Clinton: “When you inherit the level of disaster that Obama inherited …” Obama doesn’t get the credit deserves. Middle-out, bottom-up, not to down. We’re beginning to see an increase in income.
Wallace to Trump: Even conservative economists say your plan doesn’t add up.
Ans: India and China are growing fast, we’re not. Anemic jobs report. [Ducking question.] We’re not making things anymore. Stuff pouring in from China and Vietnam. Again calls Clinton a liar over TPP.
Trump says Clinton has bad experience. Manages to pivot to $6 billion dollars missing for the State Department.
Clinton riffs on experience. Compares her bio to his.
Trump: “If we could run the country the way I run my company, we’d be proud of it.” Clinton gave us ISIS.
Q to Trump: Nine women have come forward to say you groped them since two weeks ago when you said you hadn’t done it?
Trump: Those stories have been largely debunked. Must have been planted by the Clinton campaign. “Or they want their ten minutes of fame.” Accuses Clinton of causing violence at his rallies.
Clinton points out that Trump denied he could have attacked those women because they weren’t pretty enough. Trump interrupts to deny it; Clinton reads out the quotes. “That’s who Donald is. Now it’s up to us to demonstrate who we are.” Switches to encomium on America. We’re great because we’re good.
Trump: Debunked. All fiction. Pivots to Clinton’s emails. “What happened to the FBI? I don’t know.” A four-star general is going to jail for lying to the FBI. “She” has lied “hundreds of time.”
Clinton came loaded: Not just women. It’s a pattern. Judge Curiel. The Khan family. McCain. The disabled NYT reporter.
9pm Chris Wallace, who for twenty years has worked for a branch of the Republican Party, is reading out the ground rules. The speculation is that, like some other Fox News folks, he will decide to follow the rats off the sinking ship, and play a relatively even-handed role. But let’s recall that this is a professional (pseudo) conservative.
As advertised, the two candidates don’t shake hands, a reminder of how thoroughly Donald Trump has debased this year’s political process.
First question: The Supreme Court. Asked (of course) from an originalist viewpoint.
Clinton: What kind of country do we want to be? Court should stand with the people, not the powerful, the wealthy, and the corporations. Women’s rights, LGBT rights, labor rights. Against Citizens United.
No pretense that the Court is not one of the political branches. That’s accurate, but not healthy in a constitutional republic.
Trump: “The Supreme Court is what it’s all about.” Bashes Justice Ginsburg. Second Amendment is under siege. (He’s speaking in something resembling complete sentences. Not noticeably sniffling.) Pro-life. Second Amendment again. “The Constitution the way it was meant to be.”
Wallace goes after Clinton on the Second Amendment. “I respect the tradition of gun ownership.” “Because I support the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that I think that people who shouldn’t have guns should be able to kill you.” Can have reasonable gun control without undoing the Second Amendment. Defends her criticism of Heller in detail: gun safety for toddlers.
Trump thinks Heller was “well-crafted.” Hillary was angry.
To Clinton: Dozens of toddlers kill people with guns, because not every gun owner is careful. An individual right to bear arms isn’t in conflict with sensible gun control. Bashes NRA. Saving some of those 33,000 lives per year.
Trump: Chicago has tough gun laws and lots of violence.
Abortion. To Trump. “Do you want the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade?” Ans: If they do, it will go back to the states. Trump bobs and weaves, but confirms that his justices would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Clinton: States are undoing the right affirmed in Roe with a variety of restrictions. Defending Planned Parenthood. Trump says there should be punishment for women who obtain abortions.
Q to Clinton: Partial-birth abortion. A: In order to defend maternal life and health. Bill I voted against didn’t protect those adequately. The U.S. government shouldn’t be making personal medical decisions.
Trump: Hillary wants to “rip nine-month babies out of the womb of the mother.” Hillary points out gently that he’s a liar, talks about her encounters with women who have had late-term abortions. Says she’s been in countries where governments order abortions or require babies to be brought to term. We don’t want to live in that country.
[Trump did not respond to Clinton’s point about punishing women.]
Trump: Clinton wants amnesty. I have victims of immigrant crime in the audience. If we don’t have a border, we don’t have a country. ICE union endorsed me. Heroin pours across the borders, “poisoning the blood of the youth.” Strong borders. Build a wall. (Now he’s sniffling.) Expel the “bad hombres.” Once we’ve build the wall, “We’ll make a determination” about the others.
Clinton: I don’t want to rip families apart. 11 million undocumented have 4 million citizen children. Don’t want to see a deportation force going “school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding people up.” I voted for border security. Use resources to get rid of violent people. On the wall, Trump choked facing Mexican president. Path to citizenship.
Trump: Had a nice meeting with Mexico. NAFTA bad. Hillary supported the wall, but since “nothing she says ever gets done, it didn’t get built.”
Hillary: “There are some limited places where a wall is appropriate.” Bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows is good because employers can’t exploit them. Trump used undocumented workers on his buildings.
Trump: Obama has deported lots of people. (??) Hillary supports open borders. Need to be fair to people who have waited in line.
Wallace shows his Fox News roots: quotes from Wikileaks about globalism, mentions speaking fees. Clinton points out quote was out of context, then goes after Russian role. Most important question of this evening is will Trump admit and condemn the Russians for doing this and reject Russian help?
Trump repeats that Clinton wants open borders. We’re going to stop Radical Islamic Terrorism. I don’t know Putin. If we got along well, that would be good. Putin has no respect for Clinton or Obama. Russia has 1800 nuclear warheads, and she’s playing chicken.
Clinton to Trump: You encouraged Russian espionage against our people and signed up for his wish list. We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our elections.
Trump: You have no idea. We have no idea.
Clinton: You’d rather believe Putin than the military and intelligence agencies sworn to defend us.
Wallace follows up. Intelligence agencies say it’s the Russians. Do you condemn their intervention. Trump “Of course I condemn.” Clinton and Obama have been outsmarted by Putin.
Clinton points out that Trump has been casual about nuclear weapons: encouraging others to get them, saying they have to be used if we have them. People who were part of the launch process say they don’t trust Trump.
Trump: Have military endorsements. We’re being ripped off. “She’s been proven to be a liar.”
90 minutes from H-hour.
Trump has already announced his opening stunt: inviting the President’s estranged half-brother (a polygamous Hamas supporter who regarded Muammar Gaddafi as a friend) to be in the audience. This immediately led someone to remark that, of the two Obama brothers, the one with one wife supports Clinton while the one with three wives naturally supports Trump.
Stay classy, Donald.
Lots of beard-stroking among the pundit class about how this is Clinton’s chance to make herself seem more personally appealing to voters who might dislike Trump but are hesitant about voting for her. There’s an element of truth in that, and no doubt she will try, but her main job, for the third time in a row, is to quietly bait Trump into a complete meltdown. I admit that bear-baiting isn’t a very edifying spectacle, but it’s fair to point out that the smart money isn’t generally on the bear.
Carl Sagan loved to talk about “billions and billions”
This scale of reference matters significantly for understanding cannabis, a drug which Americans use billions and billions of times a year. The implications are in my latest piece at Washington Post’s Wonkblog.
No, it’s not really worth parsing every detail of the multiple, apparently credible, charges of illegal sexual conduct by Donald Trump, made by a variety of women and covering a variety of incidents, all consistent with the behavior he bragged of on tape to Billy Bush. But his reaction – and especially today’s release of what the campaign said would be exonerating evidence – repays inspection.
Trump on the stump has now lurched into fantasy-land, arguing that the charges are a result of a vast conspiracy encompassing not only the Clinton campaign but all of the mass media, in the service of “international bankers” with whom Clinton is plotting to betray American sovereignty. It’s full-on Father Coughlin/Elders of Zion material, apparently courtesy of Steve Bannon. Today the plot enlarged to include Carlos Slim, the Mexican telephone multi-billionaire and part-owner of the New York Times.
But apparently lunatic raving alone, along with the campaign’s mechanical denials of each new charge as it comes in, its media servants’ suggestion that we should “question the timing,” empty threats of lawsuits, and of course Trump’s follow-up that his accusers weren’t hot enough to rate being groped by him, weren’t doing the job, so this morning Mike Pence, after asserting that he believed his running mate without offering any argument for that belief, promised that the campaign would release evidence “frankly, within a matter of hours” to disprove the charges. Trump made the same promise later in the day.
When that alleged evidence appeared – in the Murdoch-owned New York Post, doubtless for lack of any even slightly respectable outlet willing to go with it– it didn’t pass the giggle test.
The “evidence” concerned the charge of Jessica Leeds that Trump had groped her – putting his hand up her skirt – on a flight from Dallas to New York in 1980. Trump has denied even knowing her. The Trump campaign put forward an Englishman named Anthony Gilberthorpe, now 54, to say that he was on the same flight, sitting nearby, saw the whole transaction, remembers it with “photographic memory,” and observed Leeds flirting with Trump rather than Trump assaulting Leeds. Pretty convincing, right?
- If Gilberthorpe is now 54, he must have been 18 in 1980. I suppose it’s possible that an English eighteen-year-old was flying first class from Dallas to New York, but it’s not especially plausible, and he doesn’t seem to have provided any explanation.
- Trump flatly denied that he’d ever met Leeds. So if Gilberthorpe is telling the truth, Trump isn’t. He also contradicts the narrative of Trump surrogates that the incident couldn’t have happened because Trump is and always has been too precious to fly commercial.
- Gilberthorpe appears to be quite a piece of work, without much respect for the truth. (a) He has claimed, among other things, to have pimped underage male sex workers to prominent Tory politicians, with the knowledge of Margaret Thatcher (!). (b) He won a defamation suit and then had the verdict reversed on evidence that testimony on his behalf had been faked by a friend who was then a Member of Parliament. (c) He then turned on the friendly perjurer and ruined his life by setting him up to be videotaped in bed with a young call girl. (d) One of the issues in the libel suit was Gilberthorpe’s sexual orientation. In order to convince the world that he was straight, he arranged for the publication of an engagement notice about himself and Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. However, it later emerged that he had invented not only the engagement, but Miss Bergdorf-Hunt herself. No such person ever existed.
So that’s the witness who is supposed to convince everyone that Jessica Leeds chose to expose herself and her family to the sort of abuse the Trump campaign and its Alt-Right buddies are so skilled at meting out, by making a completely false allegation. As I said, this doesn’t pass the giggle test, especially for anyone who has watched the video of Leeds with Anderson Cooper.
And that seems to me more significant than the underlying story, which, after all, is merely additive to several other such stories. The greater point is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence and everyone working for the Trump campaign has total contempt, not merely for the truth, but for the intelligence of the people it’s trying to fool and the professional skill and seriousness of the reporters he needs to help fool them. An organization that refuses to acknowledge any limits to what it can get away from has the makings of a totalitarian cult.
Footnote For my money, the most explosive substantive charge – both because the same incident is vouched for by five women, and because the victims were minors at the time, obviating any question of consent and vastly increasing the potential criminal liability had the statute of limitations not run – involves his walking in on the dressing room of the contestants at the Miss Teen USA pageant in 1997, gazing his fill at girls as young as fourteen as they were naked or half-naked, and cheerfully telling them not to worry because he’d “seen it all already.” (Again, Trump is on tape with Howard Stern boasting of such behavior at the beauty pageants he owned, though not specifically with minors.) When one of them complained to the then-seventeen-year-old Ivanka, who was hosting the pageant, Ivanka reportedly said “Yes, he does that.” If that happened – and there seems to be no reason to doubt it – it was and is covered by statutes on Child Sexual Abuse, which carry draconian penalties; after all, if he’d merely looked at photos of undressed fourteen-year-olds on his computer he would have faced hard Federal time under the kiddie-porn statutes. Even Trumpites would have a hard time swallowing that, if it were being brought to their attention, but instead the media focus has been on the drumroll of adult accusers.
Donald Trump, who has assured us of his upstanding character and enormous wealth, believe me, has had his feet nailed to the floor throughout the campaign because the evidence he needs to make this case is locked up in his tax forms, binders of non-disclosure agreements, and his friend Mark Burnett’s safe. This is so unfair, it must be part of the international conspiracy to keep America subgreat coming to light this week.
Trump is nothing but canny and strategic, though, so I know he will explode his opponents’ heads, and the Clinton campaign, any minute by (obviously) releasing his taxes, and also demanding of Burnett that all the Apprentice outtake tapes be released forthwith, and by releasing all his employees and associates from those NDAs.
He must be saving it for a slow news day.
In Ohio tonight, the President called out Republicans leaders who knew better, but who didn’t stand up for civility and restraint in response to vicious or crazy currents in GOP politics exemplified by Jade Helm, Alex Jones, birtherism and related matters:
Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do…didn’t build that building. He just slapped his name on it.
Following Johann’s recommendation of Bone Tomahawk last week, Halloween month continues with another horror film, this one by producer/director William Castle. Castle was part film maker and part carnival barker, being famous for gimmicks such as placing nurses in theater lobbies ostensibly to aid any viewers who were overcome with fright, wiring seats to give mild shocks when a monstrous “Tingler” came on the screen, and, for this week’s film, pioneering “Emergo” technology which released a skeleton on a wire to sail over the audience. In 1959, he made what I consider his best film as a director: House on Haunted Hill.
Set at the historic Ennis House in Los Angeles, the film’s agreeably silly plot features menacing millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) who has offered a disparate cast of characters $10,000 to spend one night surrounded by ghosties and ghoulies. The event is allegedly a party for his current, faithless, wife Annabelle (Carol Ohlmart), who herself fears sharing the fate of her mysteriously deceased predecessors. The guests are a mousy secretary in Loren’s company (Carolyn Craig), a handsome test pilot (Richard Long), a stuffy psychiatrist (Alan Marshal), a money-hungry newspaper columnist (Ruth Bridgers) and the alcoholic survivor of some of the people who have been murdered in the house (Elisha Cook Jr.). The closing credits also include another cast member, in typical Castle tongue-in-cheek style: a skeleton appearing as “himself”.
I first saw this film on television when I was about 5 years old, and it gave me nightmares for months. I could not appreciate then what I can now, namely that Castle always served his horror with side dishes of corn and ham. There are certainly creepy moments and shocks in the film, but there is also campy fun, much of it courtesy of old hands Price and Cook. It’s also progressively amusing over the course of the film that the majority of Carolyn Craig’s dialogue becomes “Eeeeeeeekkkk!!!!!!!”.
House on Haunted Hill is spooky fun in the best Castle tradition. It makes for perfect Halloween month viewing.
p.s. Not long before he died, Castle got to be associated with one all-time great movie with a real budget behind it. He purchased the rights to Rosemary’s Baby and brought the project to Robert Evans at Paramount. Evans wisely agreed to let Castle produce the film only if a different director (Roman Polanski) helmed the project, and a classic horror film was born.
p.p.s. In case you are wondering, here is the fun-loving Castle’s “Emergo” gimmick in action.