Halloween

The Halloween Grab Bag!
Scary-Ass Trading Cards: The Complete Series 2
by: Max Burbank

Hey... did you hear a noise? It sounded like it came from the basement. Or maybe out back. We should check it out. Of course, we'll have to split up. I'll tell you what, I'll go out back, you go down the basement. Here, take this flashlight, 'cause the light down there burnt out recently and I haven't gotten around to putting in a new bulb. The batteries are really low, but if it goes out on you, just whack it a few times, that makes it come back on for a little while.

Okay, see ya when we get back together after having split up to check out the eerie noise. 'Bye! Buh-bye!'

That sure was a good idea of mine, the whole splitting up dealio, 'cause if we stuck together finding out what the noise was would take twice as long, and I sure don't have time for OH MY CHRIST, A HUGE BIG MENTALLY CHALLENGED GUY WITH A BLODDY APRON AND SHARP TOOLS! WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!

No, no. Totally kidding. Just yanking your chain. Scared you though, didn't I? Almost as bad as....

MAX BURBANK'S SCARY-ASS TRADING CARDS!!!!! AAAAAAAH!

Wow! MAN, but that was a creepy... segway...

Anyhoo, for you regular I-Mockery terror junkies, it's that time of year again. Our annual two months of Halloween festival, time to start wasting even more time here at the site reading ghoulish articles and COLLECTING HIDDEN MAX BURBANK'S SCARY-ASS TRADING CARDS SERIES III!!! oooOOOOOOOoooooo!!!

See, what we do is, we scatter these cards throughout our Halloween articles between September 1st and October 31st, and if you collect the URL's to each one, and send that list to our WEBMASTER, WEEEEEEB-MAAAASTERRRRR!!! Dang. 'Webmaster' would be a totally chilling honorific if the Internet overuse hadn't made it almost as weenie a word as 'dungeon master'. 'Web Master'? Like... you know... master of webs? Sort of like... a spider king or something?

Okay, okay. Man, you guys are no fun. So if you collect all 12 MAX BURBANK'S SCARY-ASS TRADING CARDS: SERIES III URL's of each card and send them to RoG (don't send them until you've collected all of them), he'll send you the extra deluxe super scary CARD NUMBER 13 OF DEATH!! DEEEEEEAAAAAATTTTHH!

Well. It's not really a card of death. I mean, you don't die from looking at it. If I made a card that could kill you just from looking at it, I certainly wouldn't tell you in advance. But it is a super secret collectable card, because you only get to see it if you collect the first twelve. I mean, you know, not 'collect' so much, since these are e-cards... not even e-cards, really, just JPG images... you know, these are a lot of work you bunch of ungrateful bastards.

So now, to whip you into a frothing fanboy frenzy of collector lust (yuck!) I-Mockery presents...

LAST YEARS COMPLETE SERIES II MAX BURBANK'S SCARY ASS TRADING CARDS ALL IN ONE HANDY PLACE!!! OOOOOOOOO, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH, MAAAAAANDIIIIINGOOOOOOO, KKKKAAAAAAAAMAAAAAANDIIII, DOOOOOOTHEBATUSIIIIIIIII!!!

Whatever.

Born April 22, 1894, Rondo Hatton was once voted 'Handsomest Boy' in his High School class, but that was before Acromegaly began to distort his head, face and extremities. A journalist, he was 'discovered' while covering movies for the Tampa Tribune. A string of bit parts based on his unconventional looks followed, but it was the role of Hoxton Creeper in the 1944 Sherlock Holmes film, 'The Pearl of Death' that type cast Hatton as a horror movie staple.

In the 1972 made for TV movie, "The Night Stalker", Darren McGavin played Carl Kolchak, a down on his luck, wise-ass reporter covering a series of murders that turned out to be the work of a vampire. A series followed in '74, but the premise—Reporter covers mysterious unsolved crimes which invariably turn out to be the work of monsters—turned out to be hard to sustain. Nonetheless, Kolchak left his mark on a generation of 70's kids, among them Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files, who's said Mulder, Scully and company were inspired by "The Night Stalker".

Bette Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the aged 'Baby' Jane Hudson, a former child star who'd grown up to be the caretaker of her wheelchair bound sister. Bitter, ugly, and stark raving mad, Davis made all the shit Danny Bonaduce's gotten up to look like so much Sunday School malarkey.

In 1966, CBS began airing not just the weirdest Soap Opera, but maybe the weirdest TV show ever, "Dark Shadows". The Gothic Soap had a glacially slow start, going a full 70 episodes of hinting at the supernatural before a Ghost and a Witch made brief appearances. Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins was only supposed to be around for a few months before getting staked, but he was inexplicably wildly popular and soon became the star. The show ran for about five years, and I think Barnabas actually bit somebody maybe three times. Barnabas was on the cover of Tiger Beat, on lunchboxes, games, comic books, my twelve year old girl cousin slept with a glossy of him under her pillow. Today, no one can explain his appeal. It must have been some pretty serious dark hoo-doo.

Susan Cabot's life could have been one of the movies she stared in. Raised in eight different foster homes, married at seventeen. She started out as a nightclub singer, jumped to pictures, landed a contract with Universal and had a pretty film solid career in the late 40's and 50's. But Cabot hated the endless small-time ingénue roles she was cast in and when a young Roger Corman offered her an exclusive contract, she jumped on it. He let her play everything, a Viking warrior queen, a psychotic sorority girl, even Machine Gun Kelley's Moll opposite a young Charles Bronson. But it's in her last role, Wasp Woman, that she somehow stays with you. Something about that feisty little brunette transforming into a giant wasp, stinging foes and suitors alike to death. Brrrrrr. She retired after that, went back to lounge singing. Twice married, twice divorced, she had a highly publicized fling with King Hussein of Jordan. She had a child, a dwarf, but never said who the father was. On December 10th, 1986 she was found beaten to death with a weight bar in her Encino home. Her son initially told the police he'd seen a "Latino intruder dressed as a ninja warrior", but later confessed he'd killed her himself. At the trial it was ruled that the experimental growth hormone she'd been giving her son for fifteen years had driven the poor boy quite insane.

If all John Carradine ever did was sire 'Kung' Fu star and human oddity David Carradine, that would have been spooky enough. But for a generation, Carradine was not satisfied to father an acting clan, not satisfied to be a classically trained Shakespearean actor with perfectly legitimate screen credits including "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Captains Courageous". He was Hollywood's go to Crazy Old Guy in both Westerns and over 100 horror films including the legendarily bad "Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula".

Not to be confused with the scary enough Tetsuo of "Akira", "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" is one of the weirdest Japanese Horror films ever made, which is saying a lot. Perhaps the plot is a little easier to follow if you speak Japanese, but probably not since there's precious little dialogue. Making extensive use of herky-jerky stop motion animation, the movie tells the tale of a metal fetishist who derives kinky thrills from inserting bits of shrapnel under his skin, and a man he accidentally runs over. Both become infected by a metal virus that slowly covers their bodies in heaps of mangled scrap metal. In one memorable segment, Tetsuo is horrified to find his... ahem... transformed into a power drill with a will of it's own. NOT for the squeamish!

"How... Does... Brundlefly... eat?" It's been more than twenty years since Jeff Goldblum spoke those words in the infamous 1986 remake of "The Fly" and they still chill me. The ironic parody of scientific objectivity as Goldblum documents the hideous results of his teleportation experiment, his own transformation into a human/fly hybrid, crystallized director David Cronenberg's signature emotion: Clinical revulsion.

James Steranko; illusionist, escape artist, musician and briefly a comic book artist. Though he only drew a few dozen books in the late sixties, Steranko revolutionized comic book art with his work on 'Nick Fury, Agent of Shield', 'Captain America' and 'Tower of Shadows'. Though this homage to Lovecraft would win the Alley Award in 1969, Steranko and Marvel publisher Stan Lee fought over it so much, Steranko left Marvel. Today, this often anthologized tale of a self-centered, greedy young couple who find themselves transported back in time to take the place of Louis the XVI and Marie-Antoinette on their way to the guillotine, is cited as a major influence of the modern graphic novel.

Directed by Leslie Stevens, the creator of "The Outer Limits", shot by Conrad hall, three-time academy award winning cinematographer, and starring a pre-Kirk William Shatner, this bizarre, creepy black and white horror flick has been seen by... just about no one. Why? Could be the fact that all the dialogue in Incubus is in Esperanto, a constructed international auxiliary language created by linguist created by L. L. Zamenhof in 1887 as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.

Tor Johnson, the Professional Wrestler "Super Swedish Angel" is perhaps better remembered for a slew of B-horror pictures, most notably Inspector Dan Clay in "Plan 9 From Outer Space". His massive frame and huge, bald head served to distract viewers from his acting ability, which was non-existent. He achieved a sort of immortality, in that a Halloween mask cast directly from his gargantuan mug remains popular to this day.

Robert Bloch wrote the script, William Castle Directed, but it's really Joan Crawford's picture, and she rocks as a reformed axe murderess who's having a really hard time kicking the habit. Crawford did crazy better than just about any star of her era, and in a picture like this that was never going to garner an Oscar anyway, there's nothing to hold her back.

These days he's a direct marketing guru, which is plenty creepy enough, but back in the sixties, Hershchell Gordon Lewis invented the splatter film. His 1963 low budget shocker "Blood Feast", a sordid tale of an Egyptian caterer who sacrifices people to Ishtar and uses them as the main ingredient in his cooking. A quick peak at the encyclopedia would have told Lewis that Ishtar was a Babylonian goddess, not Egyptian, but the speed at which he shot his films pretty much ruled out niceties like research, or for that matter, acting. In '64 he rolled out "2000 Maniacs", about a sort of Lorna Doone town of Hillbilly homicidal maniacs, and in '65 he completed his Blood Trilogy with "Color Me Blood Red" about an artist who paints with, you guessed it, blood. Lewis dabbled in all sort of exploitation quickies, including smut. In a particularly eerie example of art preceding reality, his now sadly lost "Linda and Abalene", a lesbian Western, was shot on the Spahn Ranch. A few months later, new tenants would move in. The Manson Family.

"They don't even know if it is a baby yet!" screams the distraught mother, Mary X, in what may possibly be the best movie ever made, David Lynch's 'Eraserhead'. It's often rumored Lynch made the hideous puppet from a cow or horse fetus, but to this day he won't tell. Forced to care for his offspring alone, the 'baby' is a visceral, fleshy embodiment of the subterranean and unspoken terrors of parenthood. Complete responsibility for a life form you in no way comprehend.

Born László Loewenstein, the 5'5" Hungarian stage actor Peter Lorre had already achieved notoriety working with Bertolt Brecht when Fritz Lang cast him as a serial killer of children in "M". He fled Europe ahead of the Nazis and in 1933 played a villain for Alfred Hitchcock in "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Moving easily between comedy, Noir and Horror, Hollywood's ultimate sleazy weasel and all-purpose wily foreigner. In attendance at Bela Lugosi's open casket funeral, he said to Vincent price, "Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?"

Also noteworthy is the fact that the voice of I-Mockery's favorite monster cereal character, Boo Berry, was inspired by Peter Lorre!

A workingman's actor, Donald Pleasance had over 500 screen credits at the time of his death. Between serious outings on stage, where he was twice nominated for a best actor Tony, and on screen where he appeared in such notable films as "A Tale of Two Cities" and "THX1138", he'd take any old grade Z-horror film that came along. Perhaps best remembered today as Dr. Sam Loomis of the "Halloween" movie franchise, his distinctive voice rendered the word 'evil' in at least seven syllables.

Penciled by comics' legend Wally Wood and painted by pulp sensation Norm Saunders, this 1962 series of collectable bubble gum Mars Attacks trading cards told the story of a Martian invasion. The brief text on the back of each card and the fact that the cards were stand-alone, not tied to any movie, book or product, gave the experience an eerie newsreel-like quality. In 1996, Tim Burton would make it into a very long, deliberately bad film.

The late Frank Silva was working as a set dresser on "Twin Peaks" in 1990 when director David Lynch caught a glimpse of him reflected in a mirror. The image of Silva crouching at the foot of Laura Palmers bed was so captivating, Lynch invented the evil spirit Bob on the spot. Leland Palmer's body may have killed his daughter, but Bob was in the driver's seat. Sadly, Frank Silva succumbed to AIDS in 1995.

"Reaper" hasn't even been on the air for a full month, but already the phenomenal Ray Wise is my hands down favorite Satan. Smooth, debonair, hilarious and chilling, when an irate driver yells "Go to hell!" at him, he jauntily shouts back, "I'll meet you there... Bruce!"

It keeps on living... and living... AND LIVING!!!

Have any questions or comments about this piece?
Max Burbank

 

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:


Scary-Ass Trading Cards: The Complete Series One

Reader Comments

Pickled Patriarch
Sep 12th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Ok, we were having some technical difficulties earlier, but comments should now be working on this article. Sorry for the delay... now you can blab away!
grants but one wish
Sep 12th, 2008, 07:06 PM
haha, nice, i never got around to collecting them all last year
pickled
Sep 12th, 2008, 08:23 PM
Mickey Rooney is the ultimate evil!
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Sep 13th, 2008, 12:30 AM
I too love Reaper's rendition of satan. He's suave yet evil. Not too wussy but not overdramatic or exaggeratedly evil either.
after enough bourbon ...
Sep 13th, 2008, 09:11 AM
Now my life is complete, except for series 3 ....
Official Punching Bag
Sep 13th, 2008, 09:22 AM
That David Lynch Eraserhead baby really takes the cake.
Member
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:56 PM
The first card is up at Dr. Boogie's article of Quint's death scene in Jaws, to give you guys the heads up.
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