Higbee's was a department store founded 1860 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Public Square flagship store was known for its tenth-floor Silver Grille restaurant and was prominently featured in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. The store closed in 1992. This is a TV commercial for found of YouTube for Higbee's, that was first shown in 1967. A surreal, psychedelic trip, full of subliminal style flashing images. Just very strange and a bit creepy, the last thing you'd think they'd use to advertise a department store.
Christmas is only a week away, and it's time to settle down in front of the TV and watch some good old Christmas movies. So far we've offered you the delights of the Top Ten: Christmas Slasher Movies and The Best Of The Worst Weird Christmas Movies lists. So if reading isn't your thing, and you'd rather sit back relax and watch a video... Weird Retro presents it Christmas Countdown from December 2012.
All the movies featured have appeared in one of our other lists this year. But just to summarize here's the top ten list from the video.
10) The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (1966)
9) Santa Claus (1959)
8) Silent Night, Evil Night (A.K.A. Black Christmas) (1974)
7) Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
6) Evil Christmas (A.K.A. You Better Watch Out & Terror In Toyland) (1980)
5) Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)
4) Elves (1989)
3) Jack Frost (1996)
2) Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
1) The Magic Christmas Tree (1964)
Xmas Xtra Bonus Movie: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).
The original 1966 footage was filmed at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York. However during the filming, a spark from the fire damaged an antique fireplace rug, causing $4000 worth of damage. Only 17 seconds of footage was recorded on 16mm film, which looked a bit jerky and artificial. So in 1970, it was decided to re-record the footage. However, due to the damage caused during the original filming, the Mayor of New York wouldn't let them use the Gracie Mansion fireplace. A very similar fireplace was found in California, and a 6 minute loop was recorded on 35mm film in the height of the summer, on a roasting hot August day.
There is a full version playlist, with original music of the WPIX Yule Log from Christmas 1983, that can be viewed in all its glory on YouTube here.
Going back through the movie, I managed to spot at least 12 movies used in the 6 minute piece. So here is a list of the strange, obscure and often very weird movies featured. Black Sabbath (1963), an Italian/American horror movie directed by the legendary Mario Bava. A movie of three stories, introduced and concluded by Boris Karloff. One of the bands that invented Heavy Metal music Black Sabbath took their name from the movie. The Plague of the Zombies (1966) is a classic British Hammer Horror film. Filmed at the famous Bray Studios, the movie was shot back-to-back with The Reptile using the same sets to save time and money on production.
Doctor Butcher MD (also known as Zombie Holocaust) was a 1979 Italian Zombie movie. The original movie was re-edited, new footage added and the musical score changed, for its US release as Doctor Butcher MD. The Diabolical Dr. Z (1955) a French/Spanish horror film, directed by Jesús Franco who was later famous for the cult classic Vampyros Lesbos (1971).
The Sinister Urge (1960), an Ed Wood movie. In typical Wood style a rehash of previous footage, with new footage added to roll with the sexploitation genre of "roughies" that was popular at the time. Another Wood movie featured in the mix is Bride of the Monster (1955), a sci-fi horror movie that starred Bela Lugosi and wrestler Tor Johnson, both of who would make an appearance in the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959).
See Captain's Blog post: Bizarre Profiles: Ed Wood (1924 - 1978)
Anthropophagous: The Beast (1980) as it was released in the UK, and in the USA as The Grim Reaper (also known as Zombie 7), is an Italian horror. It reached infamy in the UK for being one of the movies to be banned and put on the Video Nasty list in the early 80s. I Drink Your Blood (1970) and I Eat Your Skin (1964), feature in a double-billed trailer, as they were often shown together. The former loosely based on the exploits of The Manson Family, I Drink Your Blood was one the first movies to get the new X-Rating when it came out. The latter, was made under the name Zombies, but wasn't released until 6 years after it was made, and renamed I Eat Your Skin so it could be double-billed with I Drink Your Blood.
Invasion Of The Bee Girls (1973), was released on video in the UK as Graveyard Tramps. An all out sci-fi sexploitation flick, involving a mad scientist and her seductive man killing creations. Werewolves On Wheels (1971), a road accident of an exploitation movie. Slamming together the two sub-genres of biker movies and horror, to produce the horrifically bad movie. Drive-In Massacre (1977), a low-budget flick designed and aimed not surprisingly at drive-in movie audiences.
There you go the 12 (that I could remember), plus a few more references thrown in for good measure. Now grab the popcorn, and settle in for a whole 6 minutes of horror film fun. Enjoy!