Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Tales of Terror (1962)

Tales of Terror marked the fourth film in American International Pictures’ Edgar Allen Poe cycle, directed by Roger Corman, written by Richard Matheson, and starring Vincent Price. As the fourth, it plays a bit with the format, opting to anthologize three Poe stories. It also introduces a new element that would later produce one of the best films of the series: comedy.

Originally, Tales of Terror was set to be as ominous, lurid, and gloomy as the three preceding films: House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Premature Burial. Matheson, however, felt that they needed to inject a bit of levity to raise the spirits, so to speak, and do something a little different. Thus we get the terrifying “Morella” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” between which is sandwiched the darkly comic “The Black Cat” (which also takes liberally from The Cask of Amontillado). We also see AIP’s rich cast of actors start to gel together. Vincent Price has returned after an absence on The Premature Burial to star in all three segments, and he shares the screen with Basil Rathbone in “M. Valdemar” and Peter Lorre in “The Black Cat.” All three would return, joined by Boris Karloff, in A Comedy of Terrors the following year. Price, Lorre, and Karloff, as well as a young Jack Nicholson, would also star in a comedic adaptation of The Raven in 1963 as well.

The effect works quite well, as evidenced by the comedies that “The Black Cat” would spawn. Vincent Price is a charismatic actor whose presence leaps off the screen, a true icon of horror. He is at his absolute best, however, when he is the sardonic and witty deliveryman of black humour. He is an excellent murdering maniac, but he is even better when he is poisoning someone behind a smirk and a joke. That said, he’s not actually the one doing the murdering in “The Black Cat.” That honour falls to Peter Lorre, who also exhibits wonderful comedic timing. Price and Lorre have wonderful chemistry that certainly echoes the tall man/fat man dialectic of famous comedy teams even if it doesn’t quite reach the same level. They are still a great pairing and it is easy to see why AIP would chose to sustain it for three films.

The first short  in the anthology, "Morella," is very true to form. Following the same outline established by the previous Poe films, it has all the quintessential spooky stuff: a decayed mansion, cobwebs and tarantulas, Vincent Price and the unquiet dead. A young lady returns to the home she was forced out of 26 years ago by her grieving father. After giving birth, his wife Morella blamed their new baby for stealing the life force from her. "It's the baby's fault" were the last words on her lips as she collapsed. The father, played by Price, sent his daughter away to boarding schools and left his wife to decay on the bed in which she died. Now the daughter has returned home for reconciliation, but others have a design on revenge.

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" nearly flies off in the other direction of examining science gone awry. The incomparable Basil Rathbone plays a mesmerist who convinces Vincent Price's M. Valdemar to allow himself to be mesmerized at the point of death, as an experiment into the margins of life. This is done, naturally, over the objections of Valdemar's doctor and comely young wife, who share a great deal of affection for one another. Valedemar, to the mesmerist's chagrin, has given his blessing to his soon-to-be widow and the doctor's marital union. The doctor, I should note here, is played with the usual insufferable naïve nobility that David Frankham brings to his roles. He is playing virtually the same character he did in Master of the World, where he played opposite Price as an obnoxious gentleman's gentleman.

This episode hews closer to a period piece, lacking for the spooky Gothic stuff as much as possible for a film set in the early 1800's and starring both Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone. It still elicits squeals in the closing moments when trapping a living soul inside a dead body and then trying to rape it's wife goes about as well as one might expect. In this respect, however, the film comes about as close as AIP's Poe films ever do to the original spirit of the Universal Studios monster franchise. Whereas these Poe films tended to revolve around the theme of things (and people) refusing to stay quietly buried, Universal's films fixated on the theme of transgressing cosmic moral boundaries. Dr. Frankenstein transgresses the boundary between life and death, as did Imhotep the Mummy, while Larry Talbot did not heed the ageless wisdom of ancient tribes and the Harkers bring peril on themselves by not believing the aged professor's knowledge of vampires. In "M. Valedmar," Rathbone's mesmerist is the diabolical figure who refuses to quit when it's really in his own best interests to.  

AIP's Poe films hit such a stride by this point that Richard Matheson was keen to shake things up a bit. He admitted to tiring of always burying people alive, so when he did it again he added comedy, or at least broke it up across three short films. The series would return to purer form after this, with some comedies but also some of the best Poe films ever made. In the mean time, this format would give itself over to an excellent and a very AIP-like film that wasn't even made by AIP: United Artists' Tales of Terror.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Our First Ever Live Chat!

Getting current with modern telecommunications, I've decided to give a chance to this whole idea of live-streaming an interactive chat. On Tuesday, October 21st at 7:00pm Mountain Time (6:00pm Pacific, 9:00pm Eastern), join me at I'll be on audio, and you can interact via text chat window, ask me questions, call me names, and all sorts of things! This will be a shared event between Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age and my Disney-inspired blog Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy, so hopefully we'll get an interesting cross-section of people and discussion! See you then!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Premature Burial (1962)

The two Edgar Allen Poe films directed by Roger Corman for American International Pictures – House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum – were smash successes, and Corman was gearing up for a third when a dispute with AIP led him to take up his ball and go to another company. He found a suitable producer in Europe’s Pathé, though it led to a number of alterations in the formula he had now established. For one, he could not employ the talents of Vincent Price, who was under contract to AIP. As filming on this new film, The Premature Burial, was getting underway, Price was off making Master of the World, AIP’s entry into the wave of films adapting the works of Jules Verne. That same film was written by Richard Matheson, who Corman was also deprived of by going to Pathé. Consequently, Corman brought on Charles Beaumont as a writer and Ray Milland as lead actor on an outing that otherwise had all the same, quintessentially Corman-Poeish stuff.

AIP wasn’t about to let a cash cow go without a fight. When he found out about this arrangement, AIP president Samuel Z. Arkoff flew to Europe and had a meeting with the president of Pathé. Among the topics of discussion was how AIP was one of Pathé Labs’ biggest customers and that if Pathé’s filmmaking arm was prepared to go into competition with them, they would have to find another lab. Suffice it to say that Pathé relented and sold the production to AIP just as principle photography began. Once more, Corman was under an AIP contract and adding another official entry into the series of Poe movies.

The film opens with a young lady (Hazel Court) tracking down her ex-fiancee (Millard), looking for answers as to why he broke off their engagement. It turns out that he is deathly afraid of being buried alive, so much so that this morbid obsession as wholly taken over his mind and he fears he cannot function as a proper husband. The only way he sees to overcome this malady is to build himself a tomb with failsafe after failsafe to ensure that he can escape in the event his worst fears come true. Complicating matters is his sister Kate, who does not look too kindly on the prospect of this marriage. Get married they do, but even that is not enough to cure his illness before a climax of death, betrayal, and murder.

It took getting rid of Price and Matheson that shows how the series has hit its stride and figured out what it does well. Milland excels in the Vincent Price role, bringing a dignity to it that Price himself would not have been able to bring. It is easy enough to imagine how he would have acted out the role, and it would have been great in its own right. Nevertheless, Milland is very well cast as the quiet aristocrat trying desperately to restrain his emotions. Sometimes he does it too well, and it is hard to pick up the sense of horror and revulsion that he must be feeling when we need to see him do it. Whether a positive or a negative, he does not manage to overshadow his costars, which Price regularly does. They all stand on more or less equal footing, and while no one is offering Oscar class performances, it works quite well.

The spooky stuff is all there and all in order. The movie begins with an exhumation in an eerie, fog-enshrouded cemetery, and there are ample crypts and cobwebbed corridors and a stunning nightmare sequence. Some of it pulls from better movies than it, such as a scene cribbed from Frankenstein towards the end and the "buried alive" scene in my favourite horror movie, Vampyr. This works to The Premature Burial's benefit. The lurid gloom and the thematic material would almost lead me to say that this could have been the perfect AIP Poe movie if it had Price in it (with Basil Rathbone and Peter Lorre in supporting roles). It is emblematic of the series, even without him.

Given that Corman's Poe movies dwell morbidly on the theme of premature burial and the unquiet dead, of secrets and spirits that refuse to stay hidden, The Premature Burial is its purest distillation. Not only does it borrow from horror films from the Thirties, but even from The Pit and the Pendulum. It is also easy to see why the regular crew would try to branch out a bit after it. They never drift too far from the theme, but it's hard to do the same thing again after The Premature Burial. It is the definitive statement. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

American International Pictures' House of Usher was a surprise hit for the company. Director Roger Corman knew it would be a success, but not to the extent that it. Word came down from on high that another movie adapting Edgar Allen Poe was required, preferably starring Vincent Price and written by Richard Matheson. There was no concept of a series of Poe films yet, but The Pit and the Pendulum became the model for what would come.

Whereas House of Usher followed the original story relatively closely, The Pit and the Pendulum deviates wildly. According to Corman, our "method... was to use the Poe short story as the climax for a third act to the motion picture, because a two-page short story is not about to give you a ninety-minute motion picture." So here we have the titular torture device reserved for the dramatic climax, with a wholly original lead up drafted by Matheson. To concoct this script, Matheson and Corman collaborated on what they felt were some of the common underlying ideas and themes of Poe. Consequently, they created a standard template for their Poe films.

The main plot thread they touch on is the idea of premature burial. In fact, that would be the next story they did in 1962: The Premature Burial. Usually it involves a victim who was not dead, whether they were buried unwittingly or as a deliberate part of a nefarious scheme. If the victim is actually dead when they are buried, then at the very least they are the unquiet dead. Either way, be it a not-quiet dead wife or a dead-but-back-for-revenge wife or an ancient family ghost or whathaveyou, the dominate theme is things that are buried which refuse to stay buried.

This directly symbolizes the main conceptual theme Corman lit on, which was Poe as an excavation of dark subconscious forces. It is also reflected in the main living characters that come along with the unquiet dead, namely the person with something to hide that does not remain hidden. Perhaps they are mentally ill and fighting off some morbid fascination, or perhaps they are a lying conspirator out to get someone killed, and generally what they are trying to hide is the body in the cellar. Eventually, what is lying in their subconscious will become exposed.

In The Pit and the Pendulum, a young Englishman arrives at the castle of the Medinas in 16th century Spain, looking to learn the truth behind the death of his sister, who married the head of the household. Don Medina is the son of one the most sadistic of the Spanish Inquisitors, who once murdered his brother and tortured his adulterous wife nearly to death before bricking her up in the family crypt. Don Medina witnessed the whole thing as a boy, leading to an adulthood marked by morbid fear of having buried his own wife alive after she died of fright after finding the household torture chamber. The fact that he can hear her voice calling to him and the harpsichord playing mysteriously in the night isn't helping matters much.

So is it Don Medina that has something to hide, some dark secret to be uncovered? Or is something else going on in that malodorous manor? Just remember that in these sorts of movies, everyone tends to get more than they bargained for. Will the Englishman find out more than he wanted to? Is there even something deeper and more horrific in Don Medina's subconscious? Do the dead stay buried?

Vincent Price, as usual, acts circles around his stiffer costars as he swings from violently tormented to just plain violent. Once more Corman applies lurid colours and sets, though uniquely decides on using real outdoor exterior shots, which bizarrely undermine the surreal atmospheres he is trying to create inside the castle. The Pit and the Pendulum is an amiable enough effort, forgivable in its inadequacies (at least relative to other films in the series) for only being the second such film and a template for what follows. The formula is much perfected in later Poe-Corman-Price films.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

House of Usher (1960)

By the early 1950's, Universal Studios had largely given up on its tradition of Gothic horror films. Arguably the last of the line was 1948's Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, the greatest of the horror-comedies but nevertheless a farce on the petrified iconography of their classic monsters. Universal's immediate future belonged to Atomic Age Sci-Fi, including the last great monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954. The following year, Universal went to colour with This Island Earth, but by 1960 these sorts of "genre" offerings were naught but schlocky drive-in movie fare.

Yet at just that same time, hideous things were brewing in England. Hammer Films began production of their own line of horror films that were widely seen as inheriting Universal's mantle. Produced in colour and staring legendary actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, films like The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula and The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), and The Brides of Dracula (1960) proved that there was still interest in well-made, well-acted, well-scripted Gothic horror films. At the time, American International Pictures was a low-grade B-movie house that was known for giving miniscule shooting schedules and shoestring budgets to films like I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Teenage Cave Man (1958), High School Hellcats (1958), and Reform School Girl (1957). However, when one of their most prolific and reliable directors, Roger Corman, approached them to make their own series of Hammer-style horror films, they gave him the green light. Not only that, but they upped his budget and gave him a whole 15 days to shoot his first, on the gamble that this was just the sort of thing that would raise AIP's standing, not to mention their profit margins.

As source material, Corman deviated from the tradition of European writers to go with an American original: Edgar Allen Poe. Richard Matheson, arguably one of the greatest horror writers that ever lived, supplied the script based on Poe's 1839 story The Fall of the House of Usher. Then came the inspired choice to cast Vincent Price as Roderick Usher. To this point, Price was already an established actor with 20 years experience and over 80 roles in his filmography. He originally entered the craft as a dramatic character actor who took on a number of historical dramas, then transitioning into Noir thrillers for a while. In the Fifties he really began his career in horror, in such films as House of Wax (1953), The Fly (1958) and Return of the Fly (1959), The House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler (both 1959). Over the course of his career, less than a third of Price's films were horror, but they were the ones that had the most enduring popularity and public notoriety. This was due in no small part to AIP's "Poe Cycle."

When it comes to Gothic horror, one could very easily make the argument that it needs to be in black-and-white or it's not worth doing. The lack of colour strengthens the sense of the Sublime, deepening shadow and invigorating light, and today adding an implicit patina of age. By the Sixties, however, black-and-white didn't give an elegant sense of vintage maturity as it was just old. If you wanted to show that you were tapped in to the day, you had to make a film in splashy Technicolor. To compensate, Corman decided to go overboard. If one were to pick a single word to describe the colours and sets in his Poe films, it would be "lurid"... The outside of a high Gothic manor on a hill may be dark and brooding, but it is under a lurid sky or, in the case of House of Usher surrounded by a lurid green mist. The house is filled with quintessential spooky stuff - cobwebs and stone corridors and the like - but otherwise overindulges colour by painting walls in vividly lurid tones. Corman's Poe films are all purples and reds and greens with smatterings of blues and orange.

Lurid is not only an appropriate adjective for the sets, but also for the script. House of Usher is a rarity in the Poe cycle for actually baring some strong resemblance to the story upon which it is based. Some, like The Raven (1963) and War-Gods of the Deep (1965), merely used a Poe poem as a jumping-off point for some fever dream. Some, like The Haunted Palace (1963), only attached the profitable Poe name to a movie adapting work by an entirely different author (in that case, H.P. Lovecraft). As the first of these films, House of Usher manages to hew closely to the outline of The Fall of the House of Usher. Poe's brand of melancholy, madness, and oppressive gloom didn't necessarily fit with the formula adhered to by AIP's studio head Samuel Z. Arkoff: Action, Revolution, Killing, Oratory, Fantasy, and Fornication (the, yes, ARKOFF formula). This House of Usher requires less careful studies of man's descent into madness and more yelling and punching and running and fighting and things exploding in fire and whatnot. The anonymous narrator isn't just a compassionate observer of his friend Roderick, but the red-blooded fiancée of Madeline running on adrenaline. Vincent Price is reserved in his role, and one almost feels his full sardonic wit and gleeful evil wanting to break lose. Or at least, one might want it to. His charisma leaps off the screen no matter what role he is in, and he still has that voice to die for. Soon, Corman will just let him off the leash.

Corman and Price's Poe films, starting at House of Usher, are lurid, gaudy, brash, drive-in movie fare. They aren't to the same level as the early Universal Monster films, but what is? They are nonetheless very enjoyable low-budget flicks good for giving your partner a protective squeeze. They also get better at doing that after House of Usher. It was a good, and relatively successful, first kick at the can, which pays off later in the levels of dark comedy and outright insanity of succeeding films in the series.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Wedding in Banff and a Honeymoon in Florida

On the lovely, late summer morning of Friday, August 29th, the beautiful Ashley and I were married in Banff, Alberta, Canada. At 8:00am the weather looked like it wasn't keen to cooperate: the stunning view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains that we scouted out was completely obscured by morning fog. By ceremony time, however, it cleared up for ourselves and our 100 guests to enjoy. I admit that it was hard for me to fixate on, with the loveliness of my bride occupying every thought. The unsurpassable surroundings also lent themselves to some incredible photographs by K&E Imaging. Our thanks also go out to Ashley’s choir, Harmony through Harmony, and our good friends, Calgary’s Steampunkish folk duo Hazel Grey, for providing beautiful music befitting the occasion.

While we are both great Disney fans, neither of us are big on just throwing Disney stuff around everywhere. Even the Disney-inspired blog that we share is dedicated to the original stories and source materials of Disney’s films and attractions. Therefore we opted for more subtle nuances, exemplified in the centrepieces of our reception. Each table was dedicated to a different fairy tale or story, most which had a Disney adaptation (I even lobbied for, and got, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!), and the guests had to listen keenly for their table’s song (i.e.: “Whale of a Tale”) to know when to head up for the buffet. 

A sampling of some of our test photos.
Beauty and the Beast.
Winnie the Pooh.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Alice in Wonderland.
I managed to sneak some Disney Haunted Mansion cards in there.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

That said, our honeymoon was to Walt Disney World, the last on my list of Disney resorts not in Communist dictatorships where my religion is illegal. It was the first time for both of us, and provided an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast it with the resorts in California, Paris, and Tokyo. The nature of Walt Disney World as a self-contained property in central Florida certainly lends itself to complaints about the ungodly heat and excessive prices, but I’ll let that slide for the present. Suffice it to say that those reasons unto themselves make us reluctant to go back now that we've checked Walt Disney World off our list.

After having visited other Disney resorts with relative regularity, there wasn't much that Walt Disney World had to show us in the way of rides. I do grade its version of the Haunted Mansion as my favourite, and its version of Space Mountain as a particularly inventive form of physical torture. The rides aren't really what makes Walt Disney World what it is. What really stood out what its variety of different attractions, parades, restaurants, and games. Ashley’s favourite Disney film is Beauty and the Beast (reflected in our costumes for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party), so we were a common sight around New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, whereupon one could find the Enchanted Tales With Belle character experience, the Be Our Guest Restaurant, and Gaston’s Tavern. The irony is not lost on me that this area replaced what was once the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage, but I’m glad it was supplanted by something my new wife loved. The next time I feature a month of Disney content, I’ll post photos of the various references in New Fantasyland to what used to be.


We were also entranced by Epcot’s World Showcase, leading to several instances of disorientation as to which continent we were actually on, and Animal Kingdom. What I particularly liked about Animal Kingdom was its integration of human culture and natural history, linking animal exhibits and human entertainers together in stunning pastiche of the regions from which they hailed. I won’t soon forget seeing tigers prowl simulated Indian temple ruins while live sounds of sitar and tabla wafted through the air, or eating a delightful light lunch from a boma in the midst of their African savannah, surrounded by giraffes and springboks, at the close of the Wild Africa Trek tour. My favourite thing at Magic Kingdom ended up being the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. In it, you try to help Merlin protect the Magic Kingdom from being taken over by Hades and his army of villains. To do so, you can pick up a free pack of collectable cards each day, each of which activates different character-based spells at interactive “portals.” For example, our final battle was against Chernabog, the demon god from my favourite Disney film, Fantasia. To beat him, we flashed a combo of the Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip cards, taking care of Chernabog in a flurry of roses, swords, and what we joked as being “the power of love.” Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom hit all the right notes in being interactive, collectable, entertaining, and neatly integrating the characters of Disney’s oeuvre. I certainly hope they consider bringing the game over to Disneyland in California, which is a little easier and affordable for us to get to.

Scenes from our Wild Africa Trek.
We stayed at the delightful Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, which has spurred in me an increased interest in visiting the actual French Quarter of New Orleans, and made sure to tour the other resorts Walt Disney World had to offer. Strangest was the Wilderness Lodge, which was inspired by the National Parks lodges that are only a stone’s throw from where we live. Both of us being museum educators, we immediately slipped into work mode, closely examining the Blackfoot First Nations artifacts on display. Then we got into the spirit (and spirits… phew!) of the South Pacific at the Polynesian Village Resort, where we took in the Spirit of Aloha dinner show. Tasting the food and watching the dancing is almost enough to make me want to visit Hawaii, Tahiti, and Samoa, if not for contemplating how it would be even hotter than Florida. I just can’t get over how hot it was. While we were gone, there was a freak September snowstorm back home, and I was a bit jealous when I found out.

Scenes from the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort,
including the view from out our window.
Outside of Walt Disney World, we paid a visit to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. Originally colonized by Ponce de León in 1513, St. Augustine’s life-giving aquifer sustained Florida’s first Spanish settlement and fuelled reports of a Fountain of Youth. That first settlement, the springs, and the Native American settlement that preceded the Europeans by thousands of years, are all enshrined at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. I question whether the sulfurous spring water actually added life or took it away, but afterwards we carried on to the Castillo de San Marcos. This stone fort built between 1672 and 1695 was a key player in the defense of the Spanish Main, even after it passed from the Spanish to the English, and from the English to the Americans, and from the Americans to the Confederates, and from the Confederates to the National Parks Service. Just across from the Castillo de San Marcos is the Pirate and Treasure Museum, a beautifully designed museum jam packed with atmosphere and interesting artifacts, like the only known pirate treasure chest, one of three remaining pirate flags, and the treasure of multiple sunken vessels, including the infamous Queen Anne’s Revenge. Unfortunately our daytrip didn't furnish enough time to visit the other attractions hearkening back to St. Augustine’s development as a Victorian vacation destination – including two magnificent hotels now serving as the Lightner Museum and Flagler College – but seeing as much as we did was remarkable.

Castillo de San Marcos, exterior and interior.
The old city gates and St. George Sreet, St. Augustine.

Inside the Pirate and Treasure Museum.
Another half-day tour took us out to Wild Florida Airboats and Wildlife Park. There we took to the Everglades by airboat to see alligators, gator nests, egrets and great blue heron in the wild. Included in the premises is a boardwalk through Hawk Swamp, a pleasant boardwalk through a cypress swamp. Walt Disney World also preserved a great deal of swamp, but still in very controlled conditions. Here was the wild thing, towering cypress dripping in Spanish Moss, swampy understory obscured by a floating mat of green water plants. It was a truly iconic experience.

Of course we did spend a day at Universal Studios to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. What I can say for it is that it was exquisitely themed but a limited experience. What Universal really did well was recognize that the biggest appeal of Harry Potter is wanting to be a student of Hogwarts and be a part of that world. Therefore they built a pair of shopping areas for you to buy the means to make believe, each focused on a single ride (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Orlando). The rides are well done as quasi-thrill ride simulator attractions that give you a good shaking down, but the real brilliance was in turning the shopping into an attraction. For example, at Ollivanders you may be selected (as Ashley was) to participate in the magic wand selection process. That wand ($45) can then be used to activate the various interactive elements around the two lands… At least, the ones that weren’t “hexed.” Ashley observed that half of the interactives not working was “very Universal.” You could also go into Honeydukes and buy Chocolate Frogs or Everyflavour Beans in movie-accurate packaging ($10), or to the various clothing stores to get your robes ($110), scarves ($35), Quidditch jerseys ($35) and so forth, or to the pub for your cup of butterbeer in a souvenir mug ($15). In short, if you like shopping, Wizarding World is a feast for the senses. Our pace is more Enchanted Tiki Room and Haunted Mansion, so Universal as a whole was nice to visit but left us calling the shuttle for an early pick-up.

You're cut off!!

With the monumental planning of a wedding and a honeymoon now over with (and how weird is it to suddenly find yourselves not having to do that anymore after a year of work?), we’re ready to forge ahead on new content for this blog. Stay tuned next month as we take a Halloween look Roger Corman and Vincent Price’s famous cycle of films based on Edgar Allen Poe! Thank you once again and always for continuing to support Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Honeymoon Not in Space

Time has come for our annual month-long break. This time, it coincides with the honeymoon of Ashley and myself, who were married on August 29th and departed for Walt Disney World this morning. As of this moment, we're flying through the sky on a jet aeroplane, and afterwards fighting the contrary impulses to ride all the rides or sleep off a hectic and exciting week.

If you want to follow along on our adventures, be sure to check out the Facebook site for our Disney-inspired blog Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy at We'll try to post some photos as we're going along.

In the mean time, we might have a trip report towards the end of September (and maybe our wedding photos will even be in). But definitely come back in October, when we'll spend a Halloween month enjoying the Edgar Allen Poe films of Vincent Price and Roger Corman! As always, thank you all for your continued support for Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age!