Ghosts, ZOMBIE walk Avon aisles

The long-running friendship between Avon Theatre owner Skip Huston and paranormal author Troy Taylor will manifest in yet another collaborative venture when the “Supernatural Spookshow” premieres on Friday, January 19, 10:30 p.m., at the Avon, 426 N. Water St., Decatur, IL. Along with spinning the ghost stories intertwined with the venerable movie house’s 90-year history (see item: 11/29/06), Taylor will introduce a double-bill of vintage chillers hand-picked for the event, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) and STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP (1946). Admission will be $5.

One of several low-budget, “suggestive” horror films produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur in the early Forties for RKO Radio Pictures, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE stars James Ellison, Frances Dee, and Tom Conway in what has been described as “Jane Eyre in the West Indies” with voodoo overtones. STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP is an atmospheric mystery churned out by German director Frank Wisbar and prolific “poverty row” studio Producers Releasing Corporation that features Rosemary La Planche, Robert Barrat, Blake Edwards (eventual director of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and THE PINK PANTHER), and Charles Middleton (“Ming the Merciless” in the FLASH GORDON serials).

Taylor is the founder of Decatur-based Whitechapel Productions Press, an imprint that specializes in the supernatural and lists numerous Illinois titles in its catalog, including the Avon-centric Flickering Images (2001). Many of the tales amassed by the author during his travels have also been collected for larger publishers, such as in his entry of the popular “Weird U.S.” series, Weird Illinois (Sterling Publishing Co., 2005). Beyond the printed page, Taylor conducts numerous ghost-sighting excursions throughout the Midwest, including the Haunted Decatur tour co-founded with the Head Honcho in 1994, and leads the American Ghost Society in its quest to document evidence of the hereafter on Earth.

– Jason Pankoke

Comments closed.