HIDDEN HORROR-The Old Dark House

The Old Dark House Poster-001Legendary director James Whale and horror legend Boris Karloff were responsible for some of horror cinemas most famous films such as Universal Studios’ “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.”James Whale also directed “Invisible Man.” But little do people know that Boris Karloff and James Whale collaborated on another Universal Studios film known as “The Old Dark House.” The film is very old, it is from 1932, but don’t let its age scare you away, it is one of horror cinemas best kept secrets.

The film tells the tale of three travelers. They are caught in a rainstorm and a mudslide blocks the road they are traveling. They see an old creepy mansion and proceed to take shelter there. They knock on the door and a mute almost animal like butler (played by legendary Boris Karloff) answers the door! He lets them in to stay the night and they soon find out that a family inhabitants the mansion, but they are anything but normal. The family includes an odd elderly skeletal man, his religious nut of a sister, their one hundred and two year old father, and their brother that is obsessed with fire, and he is so dangerous that he has been locked away. However as the night progresses, the animal like butler becomes drunk and goes mad, letting the fire obsessed lunatic out!

This film is criminally unknown, and that is a shame because it’s an amazing film, and features Boris Karloff and is directed by James Whale, and any film with those legends deserves recognition. This film does not depend on monsters like other films that had anything to do with Karloff or Whale. Instead it relies on the mysterious dark stormy night atmosphere. If you are a fan of gore look elsewhere because this film has none of it. Another factor this film depends on is character development and each member of the family is given plenty of screen time and dialogue, and that makes the characters more real and convincing. This film has very memorable characters as well such as the religious nut who gives the guests warnings and prophesies from the bible, and who can forget the crazy arsonist brother of the family hell bent on destruction? The one hundred and two year old father is creepy as well, as a matter of fact he was played by an elderly woman.

When this film came out it was a box office bomb and forgotten about. However, it has become a cult classic over the years and is a well respected film now. The film was remade in 1962, but the remake pales in compassion to this film and the presence that Karloff had on screen. This film has also been restored and released on DVD by Kino Video. If you like Gothic horror films, a film that features memorable characters, or if you like Karloff or Whale in general, then this is a film for you.

1264844438_superjoint-ritualBonus Music Review: Superjoint Ritual’s Use Once and Destroy

Perhaps one of the greatest and unknown hardcore/heavy metal releases is Superjoint Ritual’s debut 2002 album ”Use Once and Destroy”. Superjoint Ritual was formed by legendary Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo, and he was the vocalist for this band. But don’t think that this is a Pantera knock off, Superjoint Ritual is the REAL DEAL. It sounds nothing like Pantera.

What makes ”Use Once and Destroy” such a special album is its brutality. The drums, guitars and Phil Anselmo’s vocals are extreme. Some say that Phil Anselmo destroyed his voice in this band because he screamed so much. The album opens up with the instrumental track ”Oblivious Maximus” and really sets the stage for this brutal masterpiece.  Some of the best tracks on this album are ”The Introvert”, ”The Alchoholik”, ”Fuck Your Enemy” ”4 Songs”, ”Anti-Faith”, ”Ozena”, and the self tilted track ”Superjoint Ritual” is an unforgettable track that is brutal but still manages to be psychedelic.The production on this album is excellent but still has the dirty/underground vibe the band strived for. The guitar work on this album is bad ass and nasty and this album has several memorable riffs in it, particularly in ”Ozena”. The guitar work is heavy but it still manages to have some punk sound to it. The whole album has an underground vibe and has a total of 18 songs!

Superjoint Ritual started way back in 1993. Phil Anselmo would get bored in his home city of New Orleans when Pantera was not on tour so him and underground legend/ guitarist Jimmy Bower of Eyehatgod started this group. Their idea was to create a band that fused hardcore punk with heavy metal. Their influences were Agnostic Front, Venom, Celtic Frost, Righteous Pigs, Slayer, Black Flag, Discharge ,Darkthrone and more. The name of the band comes from the lyrics of black metal band Darkthrone’s song ”The Pagan Winter”.

However Pantera was always busy touring so Anselmo had this band on hold a long time, but would still record demo songs. Anselmo wanted to be the guitar player in this band but he was the only vocalist that had the extremeness Superjoint needed. In the early 2000’s Anselmo decided to that Pantera needed to take a break and he finally recorded and released ”Use Once and Destroy”. The band featured Anselmo on vocals, Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond on guitars, Joe Fazzio on drums, and Hank Williams III on the bass guitar.

The band toured a lot  and released one more album. Unfortunately for some reason the band disbanded in late 2004. Not much information can be found out why, however Hank Williams III said that it was over an issue involving drummer Joe Fazio and Phil Anselmo, and he also said that the band is no more. Anselmo has not given much details either but he has said that there is 100% NO way of Superjoint ever reuniting. He also said something along the lines that drummer Joe Fazzio sued him. It is a shame, because no recent mainstream metal act can compare to any Superjoint album or concert.

This band is bad ass and one of the most extreme bands ever. That may be a bold statement but it is true.Just watch one of their live videos on You-Tube and you will see what I mean. Another thing that made Superjoint stand out is that they were a self proclaimed ”anti-image” band, and they depend on music, not their looks and their goal was to use their extreme music to kill rap metal. So listen to ”Use Once and Destroy” and hear one of heavy metals best kept secrets.

-Dakota Bailey

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