Thursday, May 20, 2010
SCARY MONSTERS 74
Editor: Dennis Druktenis
Publication Date: April 2010
Publisher: Dennis Druktenis Publishing & Mail Order, Inc.
Color cover/B&W interior
134 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $8.95
If there ever was a monster magazine that closely follows the spirit of the original FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, it's SCARY MONSTERS. SM also holds the distinction of being the first (new) monster movie mag to be reviewed here on the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD BlogSpot.
Dennis Druktenis and host, Sam Scare, create an accurate, respectful tribute to the legacy of the vintage monster 'zines of the past with each and every issue. He has even devoted a series of special annual issues of "monster memories", where writers submit reminisces and remembrances of those good times that us "older" monster kids are so fond of.
The surprise of this issue, and no small feat I might add, is how writers Paul and Donna Parla made a twenty-five page article on the Herschell G. Lewis produced concoction MONSTER A GO-GO, so dad-burned . . . entertaining! This movie, like a number of others of the era, had a strange history of money problems, production issues and other assorted conundrums that leaves you scratching your head as to how the thing ever got released (and after watching it, why it ever got released)! Well, the Parla's serve up an absorbing account, and before I knew it, I was into the long interview with writer and director, Bill Rebane.
Another lengthy article by Joseph Winters entitled, "Witchcraft Through the Cinema", attempts to describe the history of witchcraft alongside a timeline of movies that were inspired or influenced by the subject. This is a tall order, even for 18 pages. I would rather have seen it run longer for several installments. Even so, Mr. Winters covers a lot of ground and, as a result, the overall intent does not suffer greatly. I could even see this idea expanded into a book-length format.
We get yet another short tour through Bob Burns' basment from Mark C. Glassey, Ph.D. I nearly skipped reading this because what could easily have turned out to be a run-of-the-mill account actually turned out to be quite entertaining. Glassey's descriptive writing had me almost there in my mind's eye.
"Kount Kurta's Kreepy Kollectible Korner!!!" is a regular series penned by Jeff Kurta. This issue he regales us with his experiences in collecting the lurid lore of Eerie Publications. These mostly recycled, doctored-up and partially re-mastered pre-code horror comic magazines were the black sheep of the family to the other, far superior Warren black and whites (although I suppose some would argue that point . . . never convincingly enough for me, though). Like a crow, I am attracted to bright and shiny things, and one can't help but to be drawn in by the downright gaudy and perverted covers that these schlockmeisters without shame slopped on with a brush and a pen. God help me, I love 'em! There's not a lot of historical or informative data here to chew on, but it was fun reading Kurta's strange addiction (wink-wind, nod-nod!) to these most reviled of mainstream horror tomes. Now I know I am not the only one waiting with bated breath for Mike Howlett's THE WEIRD WORLD OF EERIE PUBLICATIONS to be published.
One other article worthy of mention is Tom Triman's "The Doctor Is In! A Tribute to John P. Fulton", in which he discusses Fulton's monumental work in a historical context which only serves to amplify the absolute essential nature of his genius. Many stills and screen grabs enhance the text, and rightly so since Fulton's greatest contributions to cinema were of the purely visual kind.
Closing out the issue is another reason to remember why SCARY MONSTERS is, in many ways, not necessarily a throw-back but rather a tribute to the great FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND: Mr. Druktenis has put himself together a mail-order business that is the present day equivalent to Warren's Captain Company. I'm not kidding! He offers everything from magazines to recordings to models, and everything in between. In some cases, it's the same products that were being sold way back in the day -- which only proves the monster magazines are timeless. Of course, we all knew that already, didn't we?