The Taxidermy Twist
Two owl hoots as I drop the hammer on low-budget "Hammer Horror"
films with cleverly designed sets and quality British actors spilling their blood from the mid-1950s until the
1970s in what could be termed a Bloody British invasion. A Sixties sampling of six sequels
to The Curse of Frankenstein from the celluloid laboratory cloned: The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Frankenstein Created
Woman (1967), and
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969). One, two, three, look at Mr.
Lee--Christopher Lee, down for the Count Dracula, thirsted
for blood in eight films with Sixties notables: The Brides of
Dracula (1960), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen from the
Grave (1968), and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969). Three, four,
five, look at him jive—presumably dancing the
My own childhood twist of the macabre did not involve scary hay rides or stepping
inside the likes of the Munster Mansion on 1313 Mockingbird Lane, but rather
a Taxidermy Twist into a shop where animals are skinned, tanned, and placed over a polyurethane form.
Back in the day when mink-wearing divas weren't pelted with paint balls by animal activists and it was deemed
acceptable to feed your dog table scraps, my father fished and hunted for sport. Occasionally, some of his
field and stream kill ended up as house trophies. I accompanied him to the taxidermist's and while my dad
talked "shop," I roamed the premises, mesmerized by the "mounted" bounty on the showroom floor. I remember
running my fingers through the plush fur of a wolf, awed by its preserved magnificence. Our own takeouts
included a pheasant affixed to a driftwood lamp, and the wall mountings of a hawk, bass, and
As the fervor for avocado and harvest gold appliances in the Sixties died down, so
did my family's pendulum swing from tacky to tasteful home decor, relegating the hawk and pheasant to the barn loft
where extremes in temperature took their toll on two stuffed birds of prey, once majestic in their habitat. As for
the fish tale--my sister took custody of the perch, and I adopted the bass—two cherished trophies which have
outlasted the ill-fated Frankenstein and Dracula.
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