Friday, October 5, 2012


One fine Southern California day in 1962, a certain 8-year-old was treated to the movies. THE MAGIC SWORD was playing at the local Strand and my excitement grew with the prospect of watching a movie dealing with my then favorite topic (other than monsters, of course) -- knights!

What I got was more than I'd bargained for. Yes, there were knights in armor atop their steeds and swordplay a' plenty. But, unexpectedly, there was also a parade of nightmarish horrors that were shown -- one after the other -- as I watched St. George's legendary "7 curses" come to life on the fabled silver screen.

Along with the noble knights, here were really bad guys: an evil sorceror (in the personage of Basil Rathbone, who unfortunately sounded like he needed a fresh application of Sea Bond on his clashing clackers), a hairy ogre, "real" pinheads, a menacing midget, and, of course, the dragon.

One of the so-called "curses" was a weird, suspended in air hypnodisc in a cave that a couple of the knights had the misfortune to happen upon. Well, this disc spun around, creating an unbearable heat -- so hot that it stopped the knights in their tracks and toasted them alive!

Let me tell you, when they turned around on screen and revealed to the audience their fried, peeling skin, I was absolutely horrified! So much for a nice "children's" film. Yikes!

"Go back! It's death up here!"

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