Friday, October 31, 2014

A Case of the Runes

The professor might seem a bit manic
He's a mess, eyes a gleam, in a panic
He's distressed he'll be burned,  
And the lesson he's learned
Is: don't mess with a demon satanic.

Niall MacGinnis is Dr. Julian Karswell, a sophisticated villain in the Hitchcockian mold, in Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur; 1957). Title by head case David Cairns. Happy Halloween! Stay tuned for more horror in November.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Melancholy Dana

What you hold is no more than a scrap
But you're told through the lore it's a trap
And the scheme is appalling,
For a demon it's calling...
You're too old for this horror film crap.

Dana Andrews stars as a skeptic of the supernatural in the superb Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur; 1957). Title by paper-trained David Cairns.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Never Mind the Diabolics

Old Karswell's a naughty professor
A bizarre and a haughty transgressor
This diabolist mage
Passed the dabbling stage
Now the Dark One's his grotty possessor.

David Cairns

Niall MacGinnis is terrific as Professor Karswell, leader of a satanic cult in Night of the Demon aka Curse of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur; 1957). With Dana Andrews.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rime Is Gonna Get You

On a lonesome road walking in dread
You know a fiend's stalking your tread
For the runes that you're holding
Call that goon you're beholding
Once you're prone he'll start shocking you dead.

David Cairns

Maurice Denham is Professor Harrington in Night of the Demon aka Curse of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur; 1957). Coleridge quote provided in the diary of the late Professor Harrington: “Like one upon a lonesome road he walks in fear and dread, because he knows that close behind a frightful fiend doth tread.” If only the film's producer hadn't insisted on showing the demon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Forlorn Correspondent

A journalist chasing a story
Has adjourned to the place that gets gory
This young wag's fit to go
With no tag on his toe
He'll return in disgrace or in glory.

David Cairns

Investigating a series of grisly killings, reporter Lee Taylor (Lee Tracy) disguises himself as a corpse to smuggle himself into the morgue in Doctor X  (Michael Curtiz, 1932). With Lionel Atwill as the title character, "Doctor Xavier."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pan and Scandal

His hilarious nickname was "Pinky"
He played characters sicko and stinky
And his rowdy soiree
Was too loud and too gay,
An affair filled with kicks rather kinky.

Supercilious staple of horror movies Lionel Atwill in The Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942). From Brian's Drive-In Theater: Atwill's career nearly came to a halt in 1941, following a Christmas party he hosted in late 1940 that allegedly involved an orgy, a minor, naked guests, and pornographic films. Read our previous limericks on Atwill and the scandal here and here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fire Atwill

Should this pervert be kicked from the flickers?
He's deserving of brickbats and snickers
Our gorges will rise
At his orgies, outsize
He unnerves, getting wicked in knickers.

David Cairns

From David Cairns: This is somewhat imaginatively contrived from stories of "Pinky" Atwill's sex scandal. Images: Lionel Atwill and Kathleen Burke in Murders in the Zoo (1932) ; Atwill in Mad Doctor of Market Street (Joseph H.Lewis; 1942). More on Atwill and that scandal here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It Was a Dark and Stormy Rite

Raging storm, uncontrollable science
An abnormal, unholy alliance
When a monster's created
The mad doctor's elated
Though the former's a soul-torn appliance.

The Baron and Fritz (Colin Clive and Dwight Frye) charge the Monster (Boris Karloff): Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Tile by bright and sunny David Cairns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The X-Philes

No portrait in text can describe 
The horrors Doc X will prescribe
This uncanny, weird chiller
Has a cannibal killer,
And a sordidly sexual vibe.

Poster for the decidedly pre-code Doctor X (Michael Curtiz, 1932). Title by cinephile David Cairns.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Doctor Will Seize You Now

There's a pest who likes gore and wrings necks
He's ingesting each corpse he dissects
To the touch he's synthetic
And his clutch is prosthetic
Film in question? The warped Doctor X.

Lionel Atwill and Preston Foster in Doctor X (Michael Curtiz, 1932), a twisted pre-code horror gem, eerily hued in two-strip Technicolor. Title by David Cairns, who laments that his favorite line in the film, "An empty sleeve is abhorrent to most men," doesn't scan as a limerick.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Belly-Flophouse of Wax

His dastardly plans falling flat,
They at last trap the squalid old rat
And resolving the plot,
By revolver he's shot,
And the bastard will scald in a vat. 

Surly Hack and David Cairns

Mad sculptor Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill) takes a hot wax bath in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Birthday Suitor

Take a peep at this jewel at rest 
While asleep, by a ghoul she's undressed
She's adorably pink
He's a horrible fink
One more creep who's unduly obsessed.

Lionel Atwill strips Fay Wray for a waxing in the chiller shot in two-strip Technicolor, Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). Title by David Cairns, well suited to horror.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Some artists mold clay, some play sax
Some carpe the day, some are hacks
This wise guy devises
A guise that surprises
And startles his prey with hot wax.

Two-strip Technicolor Lionel Atwill (as crazed sculptor Ivan Igor), and Fay Wray in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). Title and assist by David Cairns, waxing eloquently.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Death and Waxes

He's a horrible blot of a freak
Into morgues he cannot help but sneak
There a body he'll snatch
As a model, to match
When he pours on hot wax technique.

Surly Hack with David Cairns

Lionel Atwill's scarred sculptor stalks Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). Assist by David Cairns, the man in black at Shadowplay. One more down in the Countdown to Halloween.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wax of Vengeance

Going slack, they look queer as they melt
They're facsimiles, zero is felt
But Fay, who is real
On display, sure will feel
The hot wax on her rear, oh so svelte

Surly Hack and David Cairns

There's nothing quite like a nude and nubile Fay Wray in the pink two-strip Technicolor of Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). This also started out as a comment on an earlier rhyme. The Countdown to Halloween continues.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vat's All, Folks!

He was burned, his dreams dashed, turned to rubble
But returned from the ashes for trouble
If your face does resemble
His creation, then tremble:
You've earned a hot splash and a bubble.

Lionel Atwill is that mad sculptor of wax, Ivan Igor, in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). Filmed in glorious two-strip Technicolor, Museum features superb art direction by Anton Grot.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Sight at the Museum

With Fay stripped of slacks and apparel,
He's dripping hot wax from a barrel
This fiery plight,
Sees her frying tonight--
Unless gripped by hot hack Glenda Farrell.
David Cairns

Fay Wray, Lionel Atwill (as the alliteratively named "Ivan Igor") and Glenda Farrell, wisecracking reporter in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933). This limerick was originally a comment on another post, The Wax of Life. Has Farrell (below) ever looked lovelier than in the pinks and greens of two-strip Technicolor?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Wray of All Flesh

Who'd relax at this sinister show?
There's a max of pink skin, all aglow
You can't beat Fay Wray stripping
But with heating and dripping,
Hot wax is beginning to flow.

Actress and 'scream queen' Fay Wray is in the pink in 2-strip Technicolor, in the classic pre-code chiller Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz; 1933).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Bride and Boom!

His intended is galling -- the pits             
She's no friend, so he's calling it quits
Add patrician Pretorius,
A physician notorious --
In the end they are all blown to bits.

Wave goodbye to Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935). The Monster (Boris Karloff) pulls the lever, dooming his Bride (Elsa Lanchester) and Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Theisinger). The Monster himself isn't so lucky: he returns for the sequels. Title by David "Boom-Boom" Cairns.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Connubial Holocaust

When he tugs this huge switch they go BLOOEY!
The big lug and his bitch will be gooey
What (grey) matter remains
Is some splattery brains
Plus an ugly neck, stitched-up and screwy.

David Cairns

The Monster (Boris Karloff) blows up the lab --along with himself, his Bride (Elsa Lanchester), and  Dr. Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Theisinger): Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lever to Heaven

With one yank on this lever we'll blow
When I crank it to heaven we go
Or whatever's the place
Takes our revenant race
Is the Frankenstein level below?

David Cairns

The Monster (Boris Karloff) puts an end to Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let No Man Blast Asunder

Made in hell, and not heaven, this match
Hades belle, and a heavy, no catch
Both ad-hoc, made from pieces
On a doc's mad caprices
They rebel, pull a lever, dispatch.

David Cairns

The unhappy Bride (Elsa Lanchester) and Monster (Boris Karloff) in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


With the prodding, the poking, and stitching
It's not odd when she woke she was bitching
And wrapped like a mummy
She's apt to feel crummy
Her body--no joke--must be itching.

Elsa Lanchester emerges from the bandages in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935). Title gift-wrapped by David Cairns.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bride-To-Be Or Not To Be

To and fro for a friend he will search
High and low he must wend, with a lurch
But his amorous quest
Will be damned and not blessed
And unholy, won't end in a church.

The Monster (Boris Karloff) looks for a wife in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale; 1935). Title by David Cairns, always a bridesmaid.