Friday, October 24, 2014


Coming up at auction from Heritage is an extremely rare one-sheet poster from London After Midnight in very fine condition. It is the only one of its kind known to have become available to the public in the 87 years since the now-lost film was released. It is expected to be sold for an unprecedented price.

Here is the description from the auctioneers:

"Now, for the first time in modern history, the stone litho original U.S. release one sheet can be seen! The film was released with two different one sheet posters, this one and the Rotogravure style, done in a sepia tone photographic process, which MGM did frequently during this period in time. This gorgeous poster is the only copy to have surfaced after 87 years that we are aware of and we believe it may be a very long time before it will ever be seen again. With only the most minimal wear and never used, the poster was folded into eighths and then folded again, making for a few more centerpoint separations. It remains in lovely condition and assuredly one of the most sought after posters of the twentieth century! Folded, Very Fine+."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Every once in a while, horror fans are reminded of the glory days of Jim Warren's monster publishing empire. And why not? After all, it was he, along with his editor, a grown up fanboy from a time before the term existed by the name of Forrest J Ackerman, that created the sensation known as Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

It's been a number of years now, since the last Warren publication rolled off the presses, leaving memories of monsters that will not soon fade. In the meantime, there have been a few attempts at recreating or capturing the essence of the Warren mystique. The latest is a full-sized magazine going by the title of The Creeps. Gathered around the hue and cry of editor Richard Sala are a number of venerable veterans from the Warren years (Ken Kelly, Rich Buckler, Frank Brunner, Joe Rubenstein), including some fresh blood, that have created an homage, if not an outright pastiche, of Creepy.

I have my copy ordered, so I'll be reviewing it later. For now, here are a few glimpses of the new 'zine, published this time not by Warren, but by Warrant, from their website. Makes one wonder ... will there be a "Capstan" Company, too?

No, not Uncle Creepy, but the "Old Creep".

Monday, October 20, 2014


Another eBay auction is offering 2 extremely rare issues from the early days of monster fan magazines. Most of these types of 'zines had very low "print runs" and sparse distribution. Miraculously, some of them managed to survive the ravages of time.

Terror was a magazine edited by Larry Byrd. The copy for sale is #5, the last issue, published in 1962 (according to Price and Ballentine's Monster Magazine & Fanzine Collector's Guide #2). It includes an article by Ron (Fantastic Monsters of the Films) Haydock and artwork by Paul Blaisdell. According to the seller, Byrd wrote copy for Famous Monster's "Graveyard Examiner" and Fantastic Monsters of the Films' "Tombstone Times". I can't substantiate his writing for FM using David Horne's Gathering Horror as a resource, but he is listed in FMOF's "Credits & Acknowledgements" on the contents page.

Gruesome Creatures was another early monster fanzine edited by Eugene Aiello. The issue for sale is #1, also from 1962.

Collectors interested in obtaining early and rare monster fanzines would be wise to look these two auctions up on eBay before bidding closes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Currently listed on eBay as an "extremely rare fanzine from the early 1960's", Fright was the Official Publication of the Fantastic Monsters Club. It was edited by Ron Haydock, cult rock and roll star and editor of Paul Blaisdell's, Bob Burn's and Jim Harmon's short-lived but excellent magazine, Fantastic Monsters of the Films.

An ad for the Fantastic Monsters Club from FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS #1.

Fright was intended to be an "exclusive member's bulletin" to members of the club. This issue was a slim 4 pages, but professionally printed. It contains the article, "The Christopher Lee Story", and includes photos. This eBay auction offers a very rare glimpse into a part of early monster magazine history. Interested collectors should head on over to eBay while there's still time to bid.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The cover image for issue #277 of Famous Monsters of Filmland is a painting by Bill Selby of the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth. Along with a retrospective of this famous science fiction film, included in the upcoming issue are interviews with writer and Tumblr-er, Steve Niles, and perennial Playboy cartoonist, Gahan Wilson.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


A regular feature of movie fan magazine Screenland was "The Most Beautiful Still of the Month". In the July 1936 issue the honor went to a Roman Freulich-lensed photograph from Dracula's Daughter. The still depicts Marguerite Churchill and Otto Kruger in a pensive moment from the film.

Freulich was a staff photograher for Universal. He was the brother of the head of Universal's photography department, Jack Freulich. In 1944 he became head of the stills department at Republic.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Another pre-code perversity was Universal's very loose adaptation of Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue". Bela Lugosi and director Robert Florey had both been ushered (no pun intended) from the production of Frankenstein and Murders in the Rue Morgue was their consolation prize. Even with the advantage of hindsight, it is hard to imagine that a Florey-directed Frankenstein would have eclipsed Jame Whale's, Arthur Edeson's, and Jack Pierce's creation of monsterdom's most iconic imagery.

Presented here is a two-page spread of an on-the-set photo from the filming of Murders in the Rue Morgue (Universal, 1932) from the February 1932 issue of Photoplay. Also seen in the shot is the Rue Morgue's murderous ape. Although Charlie Gemora designed and created the ape makeup, it appears in the photo to be more likely stuntman Joe Bonomo, who doubled for Gemora. Nearly a decade earlier, Bonomo had also doubled for Lon Chaney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Included here are full-page ads from the February and March issues.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Universal's odd and perverse thriller, The Black Cat, had premiered just a couple of months earlier when this on-set shot of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi appeared in the July, 1934 issue of Modern Screen magazine.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Just a month after its world premiere at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, Universal was puffing the latest Lon Chaney picture, Phantom of the Opera, with a two-page ad in the May 23. 1925 issue of the trade magazine, Motion Picture News.

Friday, August 22, 2014


"You cannot feel horror without imagination." - Lionel Atwill 
Early movie fan magazines were notorious for their writer's "embellishing" when it came to describing people and events. For example, it was said in one magazine that when Boris Karloff's daughter, Sara, was born, he rushed directly from the Son of Frankenstein movie set to the hospital, still wearing Jack Pierce's  Frankenstein Monster makeup! Although he did rush to see her as quick as he could, according to Sara herself, he did so sans makeup.

Boris Karloff and his new-born daughter, Sara.
 In the January, 1940 issue of Modern Screen, Martha Kerr's article, "Horror Men Talk About Horror", asks four actors who played in horror films of the day, what horror meant to them. Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lionel Atwill all gave somewhat surprising answers, but considering the context of "monster movies" during the period, they're not entirely outside the realm of reason.

Basil Rathbone, for instance, replied to the question with a single word: "War!" Most likely chosen because of his country's recent entry into the Second World War, he went on to explain that war, to him, was a "monstrous, gigantic, inconceivably barbarous trap. And there you have it. A trap is the most horrible thing in the world."

Karloff again eschews the term horror when talking about the roles that he plays. He tells the author: "Living with the macabre, as I do -- I prefer to call it the macabre, not 'horror' -- does not induce me into the morbidities (sic) you may suppose." He credits his makeup men as the "unsung heroes" of creating horror -- or, rather -- the macabre on the screen.

Lugosi waxes the most introspective, and in his short narrative, only reinforces what draws fans to his tragic but noble nature. "Horror, to me," he says, "comes not from the other world but from this one." He tells the author that he had not worked for two years, and in that time had a son. His fear was of not having the things necessary to raise his own child. "Fear is horror," he concludes. "Not fear for one's self -- fear for those you love better than yourself."

And finally, Lionel (The Maddest Doctor) Atwill admits that "paralysis, would be the real horror to me." Perhaps alluding to his role as Inspector Krogh in the recently released Son of Frankenstein, he goes on to say: "It would be pretty horrible to have an arm or leg torn off. But you cannot feel horror without imagination and at the time of such a fatality, the imagination is paralyzed, ceases to function."

Upon scrutiny of this article, it's hard to say if everything related by each of the actors is what they actually said at the time. But one cannot suppose that there are embellishments here just because some statements in other articles were later dis-proven.

However, there are inaccuracies in the text itself. Karloff is said to have been on the set of the film, Enemy Agent, at the time of his interview. Unless his part ended up on the cutting room floor, he was not in Enemy Agent, but either working on or finishing up a film titled British Intelligence. Also, in his always gracious words about his makeup men, he names a "Gordon Barr" (and surprisingly not his friend, Jack Pierce).  Perc Westmore was his makeup man in British Intelligence. Perhaps either Karloff misspoke or the author was incorrect. However, there was a Gordon Bau who did the (uncredited) makeup for Karloff's latest Mr. Wong mystery, The Fatal Hour. Coincidentally, it was released in January, 1940 as well.

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