Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Bradbury Shelf, Part 2

Here's a little closer view of the left side of the Bradbury Shelf. You can see it's pretty Universal Monsters-intensive. I love those characters, especially the Wolf Man and Frankenstein (or Frankenstein's Monster, if you're a purist). It's the Karloff version of the Monster you're seeing here, though that is Bela Lugosi on the old Super 8mm box for Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. (And, yep, I had a collection of Super 8mm monster movies as a dyed-in-the-wool monsterkid -- but this is one of the few I held on to over the years.)

While I'm at it, I'll mention that Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is one of my absolute favorites among the Universal horrors. Of course, that doesn't mean it's necessarily one of the best of 'em, but it is a whole lot of fun. For my money, FMTWM has one of the creepiest openings in any Universal chiller. Plus Chaney Jr.'s at his angstiest in this one, and it's probably his finest appearance as the Wolf Man. While a lot of people hate Lugosi as the Monster, there's something about him that works for me...though I do do admit I'd have rather seen Glenn Strange take on the role at this point. Now, if it had been old Glenn and Chaney going at it, FMTWM might have ended up being a much better movie.

Over to the left there's an old Bride of Frankenstein VHS -- man, those things took up a lot of space, and about all you can say about VHS tapes these days is that they make great monster-sized dominoes. I can't really remember if the bottle of wine next to it was any good or not, but you've gotta love a label with a red flying saucer on it. Maybe the stuff was flown in direct from Mars -- I hear the canal country is great for Merlot.

Behind the Wolf Man bust, there's a gen-u-ine New Orleans voodoo doll sent to me by writer Poppy Z. Brite. And behind that, there's a shrunken head I picked up in a Calgary magic shop while on the prowl with artist/rocker Tom Bagley. For years, the head hung from the rearview mirror of my old pickup truck. I named him Raymondo, and I used to ask him for directions when I'd get lost. Truth be told, he was never much help -- hey, it's not easy to talk through a pair of stitched rubber lips -- but Raymondo hung around long enough to make it into a novel (The Crow: Wicked Prayer), where he turned out to be a lot of help giving directions to a pair of psycho killers. Now the guy's retired, hanging out on top of a little metal vase decorated with candy corn.

Above all that, there's an old-fashioned Halloween card I gave my wife. As you can imagine, Halloween is kind of a big deal around here. More about that next time, and about the other side of the shelf.