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Subject: Dollar Store Delights for Halloween

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Date Posted: 06:39:12 10/16/06 Mon

For those of you who live where the Dollar Tree chain stores are around, each year in October they put out special Halloween DVDs for a dollar each, featuring classic or Grade-B scary films, two movies each disk.

Since I've seen most of these movies, figured I'd give you a review of them so you'd know what you're buying for a buck.

1. "King of the Zombies"(1941) and "Revolt of the Zombies" (1936) The first one is a delightful gem, in which a Nazi scientist hypnotises just about everyone on a small island, making them his "zombie" slaves. It's also one of the few B-movies of that era to receive an Academy Award nomination, this one for best musical score. The real star of the show, however, is African-American comic Mantan Moreland, a black "Bob Hope," who is best known as playing Charlie Chan's chauffer in some films. He's in just about every scene and his hilarious quips and one-liners keep the film's pace lively.

In sharp contrast, the second feature on this disk, "Revolt of the Zombies," is one of the most slow moving, badly acted horror films of the 1930s. The strange plot (zombies in Cambodia?) doesn't help matters.

2. "Vampire Bat" (1932)and "Devil Bat" (1942) The first film is genuinely scary, and carries a message against superstition and mob violence. A series of vampire-like murders strikes a small European village, and the superstitious townspeople are quick to blame the village idiot, played by "Dracula" veteran Dwight "Renfield" Fry. Exceptionally good cast includes Melvyn Douglas, Fay Wray, and Lionel Atwill.

"Devil Bat" stars Bela Lugosi as a scientist who makes bats grow to the size of dogs and sends them flying out to kill his enemies. As long as you don't expect anything gruesome, it's a fun movie. Bela is always a delight to watch. And those big flying bats are kind of cool.

3. "The Screaming Skull" (1958) and "Tormented" (1960)--Two films dealing with ghosts. "Screaming" has some chills, though its low budget really shows when the film tries to turn on the special effects, which are very crude and unconvincing. "Tormented" has superior special effects, and a more agressive plotline. Richard Carlson (most famous as the scientist in "Creature from the Black Lagoon") plays a jazz musician haunted by the ghost of his old girlfriend.

4. "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" (1966) and "The Monster Maker" (1944) The first is a film so ridiculous it's hard to believe the actors took it seriously. Accidentally funny. "Monster Maker" stars J. Carrol Naish as a scientist who injects a pianist with a disease that distorts his face. A well-made movie, but the mean scientist is such a jerk, he might turn some viewers off.

5. Casper the Ghosts and Friends--Priceless collection of color cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s, featuring Casper, Popeye and other cartoon figures in Halloween themes. Features the cartoon that introduced Casper, naturally named "The Friendly Ghost," and the best of his early cartoons. Also included are some Superman cartoons from the 1940s, though none of them have anything to do with Halloween. Still, the most famous of the early Superman cartoons, "Mechanical Monsters," is included in the selection.

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[> Subject: Just to update, Dollar Tree now has put up its Christmas DVDs for the year. I purchased one called Santa's Holiday Collection, which is a collection of 15 old time cartoons and short films. One of these was "Howdy Doody's Christmas," a ten minute film in which Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob and Clarabell the Clown rescue Santa Claus. Took me back to my youth in the fifties!

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Date Posted: 19:48:56 11/11/06 Sat

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[> [> Subject: "Buffalo Baab...Oh, Buffalo Baab...!" That's my impersonation of Howdy Doody...wow, this dates me!! i loved that show! How about Summerfallwinterspring, and Phineas T. Bluster! DillyDally! Whoo was the NA who said, Kowabunga?? They showed some old films on that, but i never liked that part; i guess they were too slapstick for me. Thanks for the memories!

Judi....not realleee that old.......
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Date Posted: 16:01:13 11/15/06 Wed

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