The Terrifying Subliminal Image Hidden in “The Exorcist”

If you’ve ever seen The Exorcist, then you’ve seen the face above even if you don’t remember it.

Director William Friedkin flashed the image on the screen for 1/8 of a second.  Your subconscious would recognize the frightening image even if you didn’t fully process it.

If you click over to The Terrifying Subliminal Image Hidden in The Exorcist by Jake Rossen at Mental_Floss you’ll get the full lowdown on the image and where you can find it.

12 Howling Facts About “The Wolfman”

Marck Mancini and Mental_Floss present 12 Howling Facts About The Wolfman.  Here are three of my favorites…

Lugosi lost the role to Lon Chaney Jr, whose performance in The Wolf Man propelled him into stardom. Nevertheless, the former Count Dracula didn’t get left out. Universal cast Lugosi as a mustachioed Gypsy fortuneteller named “Bela.” This character is later revealed to be a werewolf who gets the plot rolling by biting our friend, Mr. Talbot.

“Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Over the course of the film, this spooky verse is recited on several occasions—usually by a character who claims that it’s some sort of ancient rhyme. But the poem was really authored by Siodmak himself. In 1989, he told journalist Tom Weaver “nowadays, film historians think it’s from German folklore. It isn’t. I made it up.” Authentic or not, the poem was repeated verbatim in 2004’s Van Helsing.

The film’s success secured Chaney’s place alongside Lugosi, Karloff, and Rains on the Mount Rushmore of horror icons. Over the next few years, he’d more or less become Universal’s go-to guy whenever a new monster role became available. Between 1941 and 1949, the rising star played a mummy, the vampiric son of Dracula, and Frankenstein’s monster. Still, the role of the Wolf Man always held a special place in his heart. Later in life, Chaney wrote “Of all the character’s I’ve been, I liked Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man, the best.” Like Siodmak, Chaney regarded him as a tragic figure. “He never wanted to hurt anyone,” noted the actor. “During his period of sanity, in between full moons, he begged to be confined, chained, even killed to avoid the horrible consequences of his curse. He was a classic product of misunderstanding.”

25 Things We Learned from Kathryn Bigelow’s “Near Dark” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 25 Things We Learned from Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. The realization that they were going to film a real mosquito interacting with an actor meant they had to grow it from scratch “so that there were no contaminants that he would be exposed to.” It became a six-month process.

8. Each member of the vampire family has “their own quandary, their own private hell that they’re living with.” The exception is Severen (Bill Paxton) who’s “the prototypical vampire, he’s the one without remorse, without guilt, without regret. He’s the perfect vampire.”

15. Paxton ad-libbed both the theft of the sunglasses and the line “I hate it when they ain’t been shaved!”

7 Real-Life Horror Stories Behind “American Horror Story”

Kristin Hunt and Mental_Floss present 7 Real-Life Horror Stories Behind American Horror Story.  Here are three of my favorites…

Also during season one, American Horror Story revealed that one of the past guests at the “Murder House” was Elizabeth Short, better known as The Black Dahlia. While AHS suggested a creepy dentist raped the aspiring actress and then let a ghost mutilate her, Short’s real-life killer remains a mystery. A mother and her child stumbled upon her body, which was sliced in half and drained of blood, on the morning of January 15, 1947. Her death became a media sensation, and newspapers quickly dubbed her “The Black Dahlia.” This was supposedly both a play on the 1946 film noir The Blue Dahlia and a reference to Short’s love of sheer black dresses.

Because the cuts on her body pointed to a murderer with surgical skills, the police began searching for doctors. They never identified the culprit, but people are still naming suspects to this day. In 2014, retired homicide detective Steve Hodel produced evidence that his own father was the killer.

Another NOLA murderer appeared in American Horror Story’s witchy third season. That would be the so-called Axeman of New Orleans. The anonymous killer terrorized the city between 1918 and 1919 by breaking into houses and slaying residents with an axe. In March of 1919, he reportedly wrote to The Times-Picayune, threatening a fresh attack but promising to spare any home that was playing jazz, his favorite music.

Jazz was blared across the city that night, so no one was killed. But sporadic attacks continued until October, when a grocer got the final blow. Although some speculated that the deaths were spurred by Mafia feuds, the Axeman’s motive and identity were never determined. He remains famous for his peculiar letter to the editor, which was recreated on American Horror Story.

John Wayne Gacy’s crimes filled out two separate seasons of American Horror Story. In AHS: Freak Show, his spirit is channeled through Twisty the Clown, a disfigured children’s entertainer who kidnaps and kills. Later, in AHS: Hotel, the same actor who played Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) returned to play Gacy for “Devil’s Night,” a special Halloween episode featuring other notorious serial killers, including Aileen Wuornos and Jeffrey Dahmer.

It’s easy to see why AHS used Gacy twice, given his backstory. From 1972 through 1978, Gacy sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 teenage boys. When he wasn’t luring those young men into his suburban home, he was dressing up as Pogo the Clown for kids’ birthday parties. After the police uncovered mass graves in his crawlspace and throughout his property, Gacy was put on trial and sentenced to die by lethal injection. He spent 14 years on death row before he was executed in 1994.

14 Reanimated Facts About “The Bride of Frankenstein”

Mark Mancini and Mental_Floss present 14 Reanimated Facts About The Bride of Frankenstein.  Here are three of my favorites…

In the original Frankenstein’s thrilling climax, the monster seems to meet its demise inside of a windmill that’s caught fire. So when we first see the creature in Bride, the big brute is riddled with obvious burns. Also, a lot of his hair has obviously been singed off. For subsequent scenes, however, makeup artist Jack Pierce incrementally toned down the burns and replaced some of the hair. This created the illusion that the monster was slowly recovering from its injuries over the course of the film.

Although the creature had been a mute in the first movie, Whale decided that the reanimated corpse ought to pick up some basic language skills during the sequel. Both Karloff and the studio disagreed quite strongly, but in the end, Whale got his way. Sara Karloff—the actor’s daughter—explained her father’s reservations in the DVD documentary She’s Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein. “He felt it would take away from [his performance in the original film] and I think he was wrong,” she said. “History, cinema history, has proven him wrong.”

“It’s a lot of people’s favorite horror film,” said bestselling author Neil Gaiman of The Bride of Frankenstein. “Dammit, it’s my favorite horror film.” In the above clip, Gaiman recalls staying up late as a boy to catch both Frankenstein and its 1935 sequel in a televised double-feature. What did he think? “Frankenstein was a huge disappointment to me,” Gaiman admitted, but he fell in love with the atmospheric Bride and remains a fan to this day. He is especially fond of the climax, which he cites as his favorite “two to three minutes of film, ever.” Another celebrity admirer is Guillermo del Toro, who, in a 2008 conversation with Rotten Tomatoes, ranked The Bride of Frankenstein as one of his top five films.

The Walking Dead 100 Project

The Ken Lashley cover is my favorite from the Heroes Initiative Walking Dead 100 Project.

The Heroes Initiative is an organization that…

…creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. Since inception, the Hero Initiative has been fortunate enough to benefit more than 50 creators and their families with over $950,000 worth of much-needed aid, fueled by your contributions! It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

One of the cool fundraising ideas that the Heroes Initiative came up with was the Walking Dead 100 Project.  Heroes Initiative in collaboration with Image Comics got over 100 artists to create an original Walking Dead cover on specially printed blank Walking Dead #100 covers.  The original art was then auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Hero Initiative.  In additional the 100+ pieces were collected in special edition hard and trade paperback books again with the proceeds going to support the Hero Initiative.

You can see all 100+ pieces of Walking Dead art here.  The Walking Dead 100 Project books are sold out but you can see a larger version of Ken Lashley’s cover here.

Tony Todd Plays Dracula!

Bleak December Inc. has teamed with Fangoria Musik with the plan to release a series of audio adaptations of classic horror stories including Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein.

First up is Tony Todd (what a great audio choice!) as Dracula.  Click over to to listen to a trailer as Tony Todd Plays Dracula.

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