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Trick or Treat with your headless--but not mindless!--horror host, C-Dawg Fangston!

More recs for Halloween seasonal fun.

Today is Bela Lugosi's birthday. (And Mickey Mantle's, another guy who knew something about October.) Lugosi had starring roles in a fairly limited number of more or less great movies. That list would compromise: Dracula (1931), White Zombie (1932), The Black Cat (1934), Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Raven (1935), and this 1932 bizarro-jolt--it was pre-code--Murders in the Rue Morgue, based upon the Poe story. Not that Poe would really recognize it. If you like humping animals--whoa. Pull up there. My bad. But there's certainly a bestiality element. Striking what you could get away with for a time. Note how those tufts of hair on the sides of Lugosi's heads have a horn-like aspect. He's quite Mephistian in this.

One of the most valuable things written by H.P. Lovecraft was a monograph called Supernatural Horror in Literature. Essentially, it's one hell of a list of reading recommendations from a subject-expert with a passion beyond a fan's. Even if you don't like Lovecraft's fiction--it usually doesn't move the needle with me--his taste approaches the impeccable.

Continuing on with Lovecraft: in 1966, actor Roddy McDowell released an album of Lovecraft readings. The voice humanizes some of Lovecraft's stiffness.

And to take it back to vintage radio: This is from the program Suspense, airing the day after Halloween 1945. Ronald Colman does a nice job with The Dunwich Horror. Certainly had a voice fit for such an undertaking.

Basil Rathbone was another English actor with a near-ideal radio voice, and of course he played Sherlock Holmes many times on the air, with Nigel Bruce as Watson, just as the duo made their memorable series of Holmes/Watson films, updated to be contemporaneous. That is, set in mid-century, rather than the Victorian era. One of the scariest installments in the series shifted the action to Canada, where someone with a claw for a hand is raking said hand across unguarded throats and soaking the Canadian topsoil with that corpuscules-based elixir all horror fans know so well.

And keeping to the theme of Holmes and blood, here's Sherlock, on BBC air in 1981, duking it out with that most famous of fanged ones. Campy, but only, perhaps, in concept rather than realization. Comes off as keeping in spirit with the actual canon, which is how I think you need to do this kind of thing.


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