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The Taxidermy Twist

by Eva Pasco


The Taxidermy Twist by Eva PascoTwo 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 Transylvanian Twist.

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 perch.

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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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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