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Why, TCM? Why Mario Cantone?


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Every October, I look forward to TCM's horror film offerings.  In the past, they've selected horror legends Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee as their Stars of the Month, and have also featured Monsters of the Month, spotlighting the many screen appearances of such classic characters as Dracula and Frankenstein.

This year, we're getting guest host Mario Cantone, who will comment on the "(often unintentional) humor and campiness" (a direct quote from the TCM website) of classic horror films.

I love classic horror movies, and love them without irony and without apology, and the last thing I want is someone introducing these films and reducing them to jokes.  (I've seen Cantone do this in clips from the one-man show he somehow managed to take to Broadway.)

Now, there's always the chance that he'll bring real insights and good-natured humor to his introductions -- John Waters did that in his excellent commentary track for the MOMMIE DEAREST DVD and Blu-ray, and in his pitch-perfect tribute to Vincent Price for TCM -- but I suspect Cantone will deliver more of his usual shtick.  

I think I'll stick with my Blu-ray discs this year...

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28 minutes ago, PhillyCinephile said:

I love classic horror movies, and love them without irony and without apology, and the last thing I want is someone introducing these films and reducing them to jokes.  (I've seen Cantone do this in clips from the one-man show he somehow managed to take to Broadway.)

 

I love classic horror movies too and I hope they are treated respectfully.  Some of the great classic horror movies are based on great works of literature such as Frankenstein that examines the morality of the experiment and the experimenter.  Karlof is amazing as the monster.  There was some humor written into some horror movies but to make fun of them would not be okay.

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45 minutes ago, PhillyCinephile said:

Every October, I look forward to TCM's horror film offerings.  In the past, they've selected horror legends Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee as their Stars of the Month, and have also featured Monsters of the Month, spotlighting the many screen appearances of such classic characters as Dracula and Frankenstein.

This year, we're getting guest host Mario Cantone, who will comment on the "(often unintentional) humor and campiness" (a direct quote from the TCM website) of classic horror films.

I love classic horror movies, and love them without irony and without apology, and the last thing I want is someone introducing these films and reducing them to jokes.  (I've seen Cantone do this in clips from the one-man show he somehow managed to take to Broadway.)

Now, there's always the chance that he'll bring real insights and good-natured humor to his introductions -- John Waters did that in his excellent commentary track for the MOMMIE DEAREST DVD and Blu-ray, and in his pitch-perfect tribute to Vincent Price for TCM -- but I suspect Cantone will deliver more of his usual shtick.  

I think I'll stick with my Blu-ray discs this year...

 

5 minutes ago, Toto said:

I love classic horror movies too and I hope they are treated respectfully.  Some of the great classic horror movies are based on great works of literature such as Frankenstein that examines the morality of the experiment and the experimenter.  Karlof is amazing as the monster.  There was some humor written into some horror movies but to make fun of them would not be okay.

I agree with you both. I'm not familiar with Cantone, but I hope he is respectful. The horror film genre represents modern man's myths and folktales.

 

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I've never heard of MARIO CANTONE. 

I think TCM should resurrect BROTHER THEODORE (he's only been dead for 20 years so there's still time!) and have him do the 'Intro's.  He always projected a proper sense of the macabre. 

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TCM could have booked Robert Englund, Tony Todd (Candyman in 3 films), Doug Bradley, Hellraiser), Barbara Steele, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Campbell,  Ken Foree or any number of writers or directors in horror. Cantone? MASSIVE FAIL.

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4 hours ago, jameselliot said:

TCM could have booked Robert Englund, Tony Todd (Candyman in 3 films), Doug Bradley, Hellraiser), Barbara Steele, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Campbell,  Ken Foree or any number of writers or directors in horror. Cantone? MASSIVE FAIL.

Spot on!  Many people who ACTUALLY might have a story to tell and have insider knowledge, but NO...

This is one more thing that *someone* thinks is funny, but won't be.  I truly don't want to hear this guy's impressions of classic stars.  Impressions weren't funny when Rich Little did them and they are less so today.  But the folks at TCM are laughing themselves silly over that I'm sure they think will make "great TV." 

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21 hours ago, Swithin said:

 

I agree with you both. I'm not familiar with Cantone, but I hope he is respectful. The horror film genre represents modern man's myths and folktales.

 

Mario Cantone's latest claim to fame is that he frequently shows up on the new Match Game, I guess because it films in New York and he lives there. He seems to be trying to fill the niche carved out by Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares back in the day. His humor is pretty hit or miss, but I've watched it to catch Alec Baldwin's great deconstruction of "the game show host".

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If I may tiptoe back on here again, hoping I don't get my head cut off, I watched the intro to The Birds, and I don't think it was the horrible disaster many people on the message boards seemed to assume it was or would be before it aired. There were some camp-oriented references to Joan Crawford movies and to the genre of musicals and to gender, but generally I  feel like Cantone is a classic movie buff who knows his people and his history. I thought there were some interesting insights into the movie itself and to the creepiness of Hitchcock and his relationships with all the stauesque blonde actresses he cast. Ben seemed to agree he was a director who would have gotten Weinsteined if he worked in modern tmies. Anyway, I don't know that it was the most insightful intro TCM has ever presented, but it wasn't Rip Taylor running around throwing confetti all over the set, either. I had no problem with it overall.

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I didn't catch the intro to The Birds, but I caught the closing remarks.  I agree with Cantone about the birds' intention behind attacking the schoolchildren--that god awful song! The "oh mow mow mow" song that the kids sing is so freaking irritating, I don't blame the birds for attacking them.  They just wanted that incredibly irritating, repetitive song to end.  This song is my least favorite song sung by children in any film.  My second least favorite is that irritating song that the children sing in An Affair to Remember.

I also agreed with Ben and Cantone wondering why Tippi Hedren goes into the attic.  I have always wondered why she went in there, she just survived a horrific bird attack, not to mention the previous attacks she survived and she wants to investigate?? What is she doing?  Regardless, I love The Birds.  It's such a creepy and fun movie.  My parrot however, doesn't seem to be a fan.

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Just watched Cantone's remarks with Mankiewicz before and after Hitchcock's "The Birds".  Cantone made a couple of jokes but clearly admires this movie.  He made fun of the song the kids are singing before they leave the Bodega Bay school.  Actually, I thought the song with it's innocence and repetition (as so many children's songs have) was great for adding to the suspense (and contrast) as the silent masses of birds are gathering outside the school.  Mankiewicz and Cantone questioned why the Tippi Hedren character opens the door upstairs and ends up getting attacked.  To me, it made sense because Mitch was wounded and sleeping and so was his mother and sister.  Tippi heard a sound upstairs (a small sound) and just went to check it out deciding not to bother the others.  It worked for me although I know that this is debatable.   I agree with others that someone with an expertise in horror films would be a more interesting co-host than Cantone.

image.jpeg.a414fb377825d9eccb0a1c660a0eb48c.jpeg    image.jpeg.c6517e94bc5b8cedeb67ade21d28806b.jpeg

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39 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

If I may tiptoe back on here again, hoping I don't get my head cut off, I watched the intro to The Birds, and I don't think it was the horrible disaster many people on the message boards seemed to assume it was or would be before it aired. There were some camp-oriented references to Joan Crawford movies and to the genre of musicals and to gender, but generally I  feel like Cantone is a classic movie buff who knows his people and his history. I thought there were some interesting insights into the movie itself and to the creepiness of Hitchcock and his relationships with all the stauesque blonde actresses he cast. Ben seemed to agree he was a director who would have gotten Weinsteined if he worked in modern tmies. Anyway, I don't know that it was the most insightful intro TCM has ever presented, but it wasn't Rip Taylor running around throwing confetti all over the set, either. I had no problem with it overall.

Well stated.  i agree.

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12 hours ago, unwatchable said:

You some kinda Francophile or somethin'? 😛

On occasion. Since some previous posts were removed, the connection to Robespierre  was lost.

 

Nadar-paul-tournachon-1856-193-honore-de

 

The provinces are the provinces; they are only ridiculous when they mimic Paris.

 

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14 hours ago, DougieB said:

Mario Cantone's latest claim to fame is that he frequently shows up on the new Match Game, I guess because it films in New York and he lives there. He seems to be trying to fill the niche carved out by Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares back in the day. His humor is pretty hit or miss, but I've watched it to catch Alec Baldwin's great deconstruction of "the game show host".

 

10 hours ago, Toto said:

Just watched Cantone's remarks with Mankiewicz before and after Hitchcock's "The Birds".  Cantone made a couple of jokes but clearly admires this movie.  He made fun of the song the kids are singing before they leave the Bodega Bay school. 

I'm surprised that I'm not familiar with Cantone. I guess the name sounds vaguely familiar. I actually record most of the movies I watch on TCM and generally scroll past the intros, so the comments and the way the camera moves tend not to affect me.

Cantone probably should not have made fun of the song used in The Birds. Hitchcock's use of music is always well thought out. He had the lyrics changed a bit, as he did in that brilliant scene in Ambrose Chapel in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). In The Birds, Suzanne Pleshette's collection contains a prominently displayed recording of Tristan and Isolde.

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