DR. ANTON PHIBES’ ABOMINABLY ERUDITE, MUSICALLY MALIGNANT, CURSEDLY CLEVER HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE QUIZ
If there were a holiday devoted to breaking traditions (violently and with malice and glee), it seems that Halloween would be a likely candidate. So it is in that spirit that we here at SLIFR University have stepped away from the usual school schedule of midterms and semester breaks to offer you this unique opportunity to shrug off the expectations surrounding this most terrifying of annual occasions. While others are out begging for candy, egging passing cars, bobbing for rotten apples or dressing like porn star versions of their favorite movie monsters and/or generic public servants and professionals, you could be inside, safely tucked away from the chilling gusts of wind that carry with them the unsettled spirits of the dead, hard at work on this first-ever Halloween-themed SLIFR quiz. And who better to inaugurate our Halloween fun than SLIFR U’s own renowned professor of musicology, the talented and rather single-minded Dr. Anton Phibes? Phibes joins our academic staff here after two rather successful seasons wreaking revenge upon the surgeons who caused his wife’s death (that’s his version of the story anyway) and those who would prevent him from obtaining the Egyptian scrolls of life necessary to secure her resurrection. Those grueling seasons were a good 90 years or so in the past, so after a long embalmed rest the stars have aligned in just the proper fashion to kick his clockwork resuscitation chamber into gear. The old tunesmith has had all the blood pumped back into his surprisingly resilient shell, which has allowed for his heralded arrival here on the SLIFR campus, where he’s ready for another great year of opening students’ eyes to the wonders of musical expression and concocting elaborate scenarios of vengeance and murder to visit upon those who slight him by daydreaming, snoozing in class or scoring less than 75% on his quarterly exams.
Asked to introduce his edition of the SLIFR quiz, Dr. Phibes was quick to sternly remind us that speech is still somewhat of an elaborate endeavor for him—even with the advances in audio technology that have occurred whilst he indulged in his truncated version of the Big Sleep, Phibes quaintly insists on using the same neck-connected Victrola he’s always employed for the occasional audible, halting expression of his most desperate desires and evil plots. (Ought to make his lectures a real hoot to listen to as well, wouldn’t you say?) Still, Phibes did offer a brief explanation to potential test-takers of his expectations as to their performance and what the test might hold in store for them. His terse statement, in its entirety, went a little something like this:
“You have only until the acid flows down to the end of this tube to complete this quiz! Do not dawdle or otherwise waste these precious moments, for if time runs out and the quiz goes incomplete, the acid, flowing surely, inexorably downward, will drip out onto your keyboard, and then your computer will have a face… like mine!”
It is, of course, up to you, Dear Student, to take or leave Dr. Phibes and his warnings with as much salt as you care to apply, while remembering, of course, his expert abilities in the handling of bloodthirsty bats, angry bees, swarming locusts, mean-spirited scorpions and the occasional brass unicorn launched from a great distance with pinpoint accuracy in order to fatally pin his adversaries to the wall like helpless butterflies. The staff at large will insist only upon the usual suggestions while taking the test here. We ask that you copy and paste your answers in the comments thread below, and to please make sure to copy the questions as well as the answers so readers might more easily determine to what questions you are referring with your answers. We also encourage lengthy or detailed answers in all instances—the longer the answer, the more entertaining and illuminating it (usually) is.
One last thing: in honor of Vincent Price, who once so vigorously and brilliantly portrayed the good doctor in two extremely amusing and creepy pictures in the early ‘70s, we’d like to call attention to a big event coming up here in Los Angeles the Sunday after next, October 30, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. New film curator Elvis Mitchell is making a splash with his many new programs and series at the Bing Theater, none of which has me more excited than the Halloween Eve All-Day Vincent Price-a-Thon 100, in honor of the actor’s 100th birthday this year. LACMA will run six Price classics, starting with The Pit and the Pendulum and moving straight through The Masque of the Red Death, House of Wax, The Tingler and The Fly and culminating with a rare theatrical screening of The Witchfinder General, known here in the U.S. by the title The Conqueror Worm. Best of all, admission to the entire festival is free, so get there early!
Also, if seeing the actor on screen piques your interest in his second career as an art collector, you might be interested in being reminded of the recent reopening, also in commemoration of Price’s 100th birthday, of the Vincent Price Art Museum on the campus of East Los Angeles College. So do yourself a favor-- broaden your mind and slake your thirst for all things Vincent Price here in Los Angeles this Halloween at two of the city’s finest locations for the absorption of art. Your mind (or what will be left of it after six great horror movies) will thank you.
But now, we’ve got a test to take. Pick up your #2s and open up your Blue Books. Let the quizzing commence!
1) Favorite Vincent Price/American International Pictures release.
2) What horror classic (or non-classic) that has not yet been remade would you like to see upgraded for modern audiences?
3) Jonathan Frid or Thayer David?
4) Name the one horror movie you need to see that has so far eluded you.
5) Favorite film director most closely associated with the horror genre.
6) Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Steele?
7) Favorite 50’s sci-fi/horror creature.
8) Favorite/best sequel to an established horror classic.
9) Name a sequel in a horror series which clearly signaled that the once-vital franchise had run out of gas.
10) John Carradine or Lon Chaney Jr.?
11) What was the last horror movie you saw in a theater? On DVD or Blu-ray?
12) Best foreign-language fiend/monster.
13) Favorite Mario Bava movie.
14) Favorite horror actor and actress.
15) Name a great horror director’s least effective movie.
16) Grayson Hall or Joan Bennett?
17) When did you realize that you were a fan of the horror genre? And if you’re not, when did you realize you weren’t?
18) Favorite Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.) movie.
19) Name an obscure horror favorite that you wish more people knew about.
20) The Human Centipede-- yes or no?
21) And while we’re in the neighborhood, is there a horror film you can think of that you felt “went too far”?
22) Name a film that is technically outside the horror genre that you might still feel comfortable describing as a horror film.
23) Lara Parker or Kathryn Leigh Scott?
24) If you’re a horror fan, at some point in your past your dad, grandmother, teacher or some other disgusted figure of authority probably wagged her/his finger at you and said, “Why do you insist on reading/watching all this morbid monster/horror junk?” How did you reply? And if that reply fell short somehow, how would you have liked to have replied?
25) Name the critic or Web site you most enjoy reading on the subject of the horror genre.
26) Most frightening image you’ve ever taken away from a horror movie.
27) Your favorite memory associated with watching a horror movie.
28) What would you say is the most important/significant horror movie of the past 20 years (1992-2012)? Why?
29) Favorite Dr. Phibes curse (from either film).
30) You are programming an all-night Halloween horror-thon for your favorite old movie palace. What five movies make up your schedule?