Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hello, everybody! A giant pumpkin-sized HAPPY HALLOWEEN to ya' all from the MYSTERIOUS MANSION! I want to take just a minute of your time and thank you for the huge support you've shown in the few short months since MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD has risen -- in the words of a certain Bobby "Boris" Pickett song -- from the slab. It has been awesome and makes this all worthwhile. And it's certainly a lot more fun sharing this stuff with other people that appreciate it as much as I do, too.

One of my earliest memories of Halloween was as a youngster in Elementary School. One day for our music portion of the school week, my great and loving teacher Mrs. Orsini (God bless, you, and thank you, Mrs. Orsini!) played a record of Halloween-themed songs. One was a man singing some pretty spooky lines in an even spookier voice. Thanks to the magic of Google, I recently found out that it was originally a poem by a children's writer. His name is Harry Behn. The title of the poem was, of course, Halloween! Well, I haven't landed the song yet after all these years, but seeing some of the words again brought it all back in a wave of that wonderful euphoria that us monsterkids like to call nostalgia. It could be that the piece was re-written for the record, because I remember the line "It's Halloween!" after each verse, whereas the poem only has it at the end. Anyway, here it is in what I call the "Remastered MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD" version:

By Harry Behn

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen ...
It's Halloween!

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green ...
It's Halloween!

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghouls and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen ...
It's Halloween!

Another fond Halloween memory is the movies that were shown on that particular evening. The local Los Angeles stations showed all manner of montser movie and fright flick. Somehow, I found enough time to go out trick or treating and watch at least part of the movie, too. The two that I remember being shown the most -- and which is probably why I resonate with them being among my favorites -- were ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN. The opening sequence of FMTWM is hard to beat, isn't it? They'll always be a part of the many things that make up my monsterkid memories!

Well, time to beat the bats to the belfry, fellow Monsterologists. I'll be taking a few days off for a little R&R here at the MYSTERIOUS MANSION, but I'll be back before you know it with a ton of monster 'zine reviews, interviews, and the occasional rare goody or two that you all have come to expect and have enjoyed at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!

Saturday, October 30, 2010



Well, here it is, almost Halloween again! And what better time to do the MONSTER MASH? This is my all-time favorite monsterkid album ever. I wore the grooves out of my original Garpax LP. My friend Doug and I and a couple other neighbor kids even put on shows in our garage, jumpin' and jivin' with our monster get-ups and makeshift musical instruments as THE MERRY MONSTERS -- all the while blasting away Bobby Pickett's immortal songs!

It doesn't take THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS to remind anyone of its iconic status among the greatest in Monsterdom. Here are a couple of clips and a clipping of mine. It's a rare look at the fan club page from DIG magazine (July 1962). As I mentioned in my OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE blog posts, notice the salmon-hued paper. Like, wild, man!

Friday, October 29, 2010



“How do you do, boys and girls. I’m delighted to find that you believe in ghosts, too. After all, they believe in you, so it is only common courtesy to return the favor.” With those few words I was transported into a new world of spirits, fantasy, and things that went -- and sometimes still do -- bump in the night. Only second to my fave, Bobby "Boris" Pickett's original MONSTER MASH, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS GHOST STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (Golden Records, 1962) was an LP that I literally wore down. The deadpan humor of Hitchcock himself introducing tales narrated by the great John Allen literally scared the hell out me (well, some of them anyway) as a monsterkid and became one of those iconic, literally "life-changing" moments that you hear about so often. In my opinion, this is about as good as it gets for a vintage "spooky" record. Have a listen. If you've never heard it before, you're in for a real treat. So, go ahead -- enjoy these "Tales of spooks, hobgoblins and spirits hauntingly introduced by the master of the unexpected"!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


In observance of Halloween week here at the MYSTERIOUS MANSION, I'm gonna go off the grid a bit. Submitted for your enjoyment is the Mercury LP, BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF THE FRIGHTENED VOL 1 (Mercury, MG 20815, 1963). While not impossible, copies of this recording are a little bit on the elusive side. As a result, I've decided to go ahead and post the whole album (yes, that's what they were called back then). The stories aren't bad, and how could they be with Boris introducing and narrating them? There is a connection between this and the theme of this blog as well, as this record showed up for sale in various monster magazines at the time. I'll be posting more monster "odd"-iology for you listening pleasure in the next couple of days. Now, it's time to "dim the lights and play this record . . . if you dare!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A couple of issues ago, MAKE-UP ARTIST magazine had a great cover depicting an awe-inspiring job CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by KNB's Greg Nicotero for the short film UNITED MONSTER TALENT AGENCY. Well MAKE-UP ARTIST is having a poll on their website for best recent cover images. While I'd like to declare otherwise, the poll results show our friend Creatch being left behind in the lagoon. If your're reading this, do your fellow monster fans a favor and take a quick trip over to their website by clicking HERE and cast your vote. Then, come right back here to the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD blog and watch UNITED MONSTER TALENT AGENCY found under the "MONSTER MOVIES" tab beneath the title header. Don't miss it -- it's fantastic! And, don't forget to vote. It's gotta at least get on top of the SEX AND THE CITY cover, fer cryin' out loud!


Coming in a couple of weeks is the annual INTERNATIONAL MAKE-UP ARTIST TRADE SHOW in Toronto. Scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker is none other than Tom "Day of the Dead" Savini, master monster make-up artist. This event is produced by the folks at MAKE-UP ARTIST magazine. And, if you think Dick Smith's work in the FAMOUS MONSTERS MAKE-UP HANDBOOK was the end all to fantastic make-ups, take a look a the following pics and clips. In the overview clip, you'll see a couple of shots of Dick Smith himself.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Here is my fourth in the Halloween "Month of Mondays" offering from the YOU'LL DIE LAUGHING series of monster trading cards. I hope you enjoyed them. As an extra-special bonus, I've added an image from the very pricey series of stickers from the first set of "Spook Stories" cards. All these images are a part of my personal collection.


Here is another asserted "rarity" found on eBay -- not a Spook Stories monster trading card, but the wax package that they came in. If you have a spare $59.95, it's yours. Oh, and the "economy shipping" is only an extra 5 bucks. Such a deal!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It's one minute to midnight and you don't have a thing to wear to the MYSTERIOUS MANSION'S Halloween Ball. Well, fret not, fellow fearmeisters -- just throw on your denim workshirt, a pair of grey slacks, and the mask provided for you below. And, don't worry about the wearing any shoes. If the moon's right, you won't be needing them.

P.S. A word of caution. Please cut along the dotted lines before you put the mask on.

Images from TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU BATS (Archie Comics, Nov. 1961). Illustrated by Orlando Busino.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Good news for all lovers of QUALITY monster 'zines. Dick Klemensen's LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #25 is now available for ordering! Head over to the sidebar at the right of this here blog called MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD and do yourself a favor by ordering up a copy or two of this terrific magazine. Here's a taste of what to expect in this issue:

“Confessions of a Lifer” (Hammer Style) – Andy MacDougall presented Hammer films in prison to a class that included several murderers.

“Fiona Subotsky – Remembering Milton Subotsky” The wife of Milton Subotsky on her husband and Amicus films. Interview conducted by John Hamilton.

 “The Godfather of British Exploitation” – Tony Tenser Remembered by John Hamilton. The man behind Tigon films, who financed THE BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW.

“Are You Afeard?” – The Making of THE BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW by Bruce G. Hallenbeck

Interviews with Malcolm Heyworth (Producer)
Piers Haggard (Director)
Robert Wynne-Simmons (Screenwriter)
Actors: Robin Davies, Simon Williams and Tamara Ustinov.

“Give Me My Skin!” – BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW and the Devil Films of the 1970s by David Del Valle.

“Terence Fisher: The Hammer Years” – part two of reviews of all of Terence Fisher’s fantasy films.¨

Letters to LSoH – Fanzine and Book Reviews – Hammer News – Hundreds of Rare Photos – 100 pages on glossy paper!

Original Artwork by: Neil Vokes, Frank Dietz, Bruce Timm, Mike Schneider, Ande Marsh, Adrian Salmon, Shana Bilbrey, Murad Gumen, Dan Gallagher, Jr and Shane Ivan Oakley.
100 pages. Front Cover by Adrian Salmon; Inside Covers by Shana Bilbrey and Kayla Free; Back Cover by Mark Maddox.

And, if you happened to miss last issue's Hammer Mummy series issue, I strongly suggest you order a copy of that one at the same time. You cannot be considered a serious Monsterologist without regularly reading LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS!

Just in case you might have overlooked some earlier postings, MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD conducted an interview with the proprietor who runs the LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS. Click here for that. And, be on the lookout for reviews right here for last issue's Hammer Mummy series and this issue's special on BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW.

With next month's scheduled release of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, the future of classic horror coverage looks fine, indeed.

Friday, October 22, 2010



The first FAMOUS MONSTERS CONVENTION in a long time came and went this summer. Of course, the biggest news was the return of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine. For those of you who could not attend (like me), here is the schedule of events from the convention program with cover art by the very talented Frank Dietz.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Certainly not rare, but falling somewhere between scarce and uncommon, THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE is one of those unique one-offs that defy any kind of reason for being other than to cash in on the subject du jour – in other words it was used exploitatively. Whatever the reason, it is, if not taken seriously, which I’m sure was also the original intent, kind of a fun read.

The first thing the reader may notice is the weird, pinkish, salmon-y hue of the paper it’s printed on. The reason is lost to me, but perhaps it was used to make it stand out amongst the other, pulp newsprint ‘zines that lined the shelves in those days. It may also be just because the printer had a deal on it. I know that some other mags of the day used different color sections occasionally, and I’ll show you an example of this closer to Halloween.

Each of The Munsters – Herman, Lily, Grandpa, and Eddie and Marilyn get their own short bio page. There’s a “Behind the Scenes” article and a story credited to Eando Binder, “The Munsters Go House Haunting”. There is also no shortage of fun stuff, like a Munsters family calendar, a join the Munsters Fan Club page, “Your Own Private Roadmap to Transylvania”, “Win a Phone Call From Herman or Lily Munster” – you get the idea – all done with a comic flair that often comes off quite well considering the absolutely dreadful rag that a funny monster mag could easily become. I suspect it is a result of the higher caliber of writers on the staff. Granted, it might be easier to write monster humor about a topic that was supposed to be humorous rather than trying to make something funny out of a monster that was originally intended to scare the bejeezus out of you.

My personal favorites in the magazine are “Herman Munster Picks His Favorite Horror Films”, in which Herman selects such classics as DRACULA, THE MUMMY, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON and chats them up for a paragraph or two. The other is “On Tour with the Munsters Koach”, the story by George Barris as told to the editor of the magazine, Roger Elwood. Barris is widely known as the “King of Kustomizers”. Among his crown jewels are the Batmobile, Fireball 500, the Monkee-Mobile, and, of course, The Munsters Koach.

There are indications that THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE was planned as more than a one-shot. For instance, there was a statement about sending manuscripts for publication consideration in the indicia. Another clue is seen in the Munsters Koach article. At the bottom reads: “PART II – NEXT ISSUE THE FURTHER TRAVELS OF THE MUNSTERS KOACH”. Alas, the second issue never saw print.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


No. 1
Editor: Roger Elwood
Publication Date: 1965
Publisher: Twin Hits, Inc.
Color cover/ B&W interior68 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: 50 cents
Estimated collector’s price: $13.00 to $112.00

Like it’s rival, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, over at ABC, CBS’ THE MUNSTERS ran for two seasons from 1964 to 1966, which was right through the beating heart of the monster craze of the 60s. Consequently, it’s hard to mention one without the other as they both turned out to be surprise TV phenoms. THE ADDAMS FAMILY’s premier broadcast aired a week earlier, effectively making it the first show out of the gate about a dysfunctional, but (sometimes) hilarious family of monsters. THE MUNSTERS ended up the better of the two business-wise, as it finished slightly higher than its competitor in the make-it or break-it Nielson ratings. Coincidently, both shows didn’t last past the two seasons. However, both shows enjoyed “life after death” and continued off and on in the following years with various cartoon shows and feature films which kept them in the pop-culture eye, all the while maintaining a strong and dedicated fan base.

During the 60s, THE MUNSTERS were so popular there were literally hundreds of sideline promotions and gimmicks based on the show. Toys, games, models, comics – there seemed no limit to what you could find with the visage of Herman, Lily, or Grandpa on it.

There was even an OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE. I can’t say if there were any “Unofficial” Munsters Magazines, but this was promoted, as its title implied, as the one and only “Official” Munsters magazine.

The one-shot was edited by Roger Elwood, a writer most remembered for his science-fiction anthologies. He also seemed to find time to edit a couple of wrestling magazines. In other words, he was a working writer. Other staff members included Otto Binder, who contributed nearly a thousand stories (about 8 a month!) to the famed golden age comic book, CAPTAIN MARVEL as well as the other Marvel family titles, and with his brother, Earle (writing as “Eando Binder”), penned the famous science fiction tale, ADAM LINK-ROBOT (seen later as a graphic adaptation written by Binder and illustrated by Joe Orlando in Warren's CREEPY #2). In addition to more work in the comics world for Timely (later known as Marvel), Quality, MLJ, Gold Key and DC, he also edited SPACE WORLD magazine.

Another notable staff member was Chris Steinbrunner. Steinbrunner was an author, broadcaster, and historian whose special field was the detective story. He was also known as a distinguished Sherlock Holmes aficionado. Of interest to Monsterologists is that Steinbrunner is credited along with science fiction and fantasy author Lin Carter for confirming Robert Bloch’s two inspirations for the Norman Bates character in PSYCHO – Ed Gein, the notorious cannibal serial killer of Wisconsin, and … hold on to your pointy hats … Calvin T. Beck, creator of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine!

(More MUNSTERS tomorrow!)