Tuesday, November 30, 2010

INGRID PITT - IN MEMORIAM













Horror film fans and Hammer Horror fans in particular were saddened last week by the sudden death of Ingrid Pitt. And me? I was stunned. After seeing her obituary in this morning's (Sunday) SEATTLE TIMES I still can't believe it. Miss Pitt was only 73 when she died, apparently collapsing on the way to her birthday party. She died in a London hospital of heart failure. She had been ill off and on for some time.

Born Ingoushka Petrov in Poland on November 21, 1937, she was the daughter of a Polish mother and a German father. During World War II she was interned in a concentration camp as a result of her mother's Jewish ancestry. In the 1950s she lived in Berlin and married an American soldier. The marriage didn't last. She lived in California for a while then moved back to Europe. Her film career began with a bit part in SOUND OF HORROR.

Miss Pitt will be remembered most in her roles as a vampire seductress in Hammer Film's THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and COUNTESS DRACULA. I, for one, will never forget the (obvious) impact she had on me as a teenager watching this strangely exotic, European beauty prey on her hapless victims in a way more overtly sexual than I had ever seen before. She will always hold a hallowed place in cinema history as the Hammer Queen of Horror.

In honor of Ingrid Pitt's passing, MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD will devote the rest of the week to her with magazine reprints from various sources. In addition, I have posted the complete film of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS behind the "Watch Movies" tab near the top of this blog.

Countess Karnstein has passed. I could say more, much more, but I will leave this memorial with the thought that, along with other luminaries whose mortal lights have winked out of late, her memory will live on in the legacy that she left behind here on earth. Long live Ingrid Pitt, Queen of Hammer Horror!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LESLIE NEILSEN (FEBRUARY 11, 1926 - NOVEMBER 28, 2010)























Leslie Neilsen, the Canadian-born actor who launched a very successful second career in comedic roles, has died at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia. Mr. Nielsen starred in a number of genre roles, including FORBIDDEN PLANET, PROM NIGHT, and CREEPSHOW. He also played in many TV shows, including TALES OF TOMORROW, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, and TWILIGHT ZONE. He is, of course, best known for his roles in comedy pictures like THE NAKED GUN and AIRPLANE! Mr. Nielsen also starred in genre send-ups such as DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT, REPOSSESSED, and SCARY MOVIE 3 and 4. Leslie Neilsen is survived by his wife and two daughters.

LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS NO. 24

LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS
No. 24
Editor: Richard Klemensen
Publication Date: May 2010
Publisher: Elmer Valo Appreciation Society
Color covers/B&W interior
100 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $8.95
Subscription rates: None (back issues only)

Richard Klemensen continues to overwhelm me with his bi-annual equivalent to a novel-length monster ‘zine. Jam packed into the 100 pages that makes up LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #24 is a full pot of Tana leaf tea’s worth of Hammer’s Mummy movies. What you get for your money’s worth here is the full, in-depth lowdown on the making of THE MUMMY, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, THE MUMMY’S SHROUD, and BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB. There is Susan Cowie’s “Hammer’s Historical Mummy” a fascinating article on the set design and decorations used in THE MUMMY wherein we learn that attention to historical detail was a purposeful goal during the film’s production. There are excerpts from “Peter Cushing’s Hollywood Diary”, that provide an intimate look at Cushing’s first trip to Hollywood from England and how he landed on his feet and found friends among some of Hollywood’s most prominent personalities of the day. Dennis Meikle’s “Remembering 1959” uses conversations with Hammer front man Michael Carreras to put into perspective the studio’s activity during this pivotal production year.

Then there’s the material on the Hammer Mummy movies. Each one is filled with absorbing information and packed with production stills, illustrations and more. And, not lost on Mr. Klemensen is one of Hammer’s trademark features, as he offers up plenty of “Hammer Glamour” as well. "Filling out" the issue are numerous pics of the ladies, including a number of great shots of the lovely Valerie Leon. But wait, there's more! Included are a few pages of letters (which are worth reading in their own right) and a couple pages of magazine, book, and DVD reviews to top it all off.

If I had any criticism it would be the microscopic font size and some of the stills deserve larger space, too. But that would mean that Dick would have to probably double the magazine’s size and most likely charge twice the price as well. I, for one, wouldn’t have a bit of a problem paying for such a magazine considering it only comes out about twice a year. But I fully understand the realities of private publishing and am just damn happy that LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS continues on its lengthy run. In closing, I might add that issue #25, the special BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW issue, has recently become available -- so get thee hence to the website and order both!

No matter how you “slice” it, MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD gives LSOH its highest recommendation!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

HARRYHAUSEN'S KING KONG
















"Crap to you is film history to others" - Tony Dalton to Ray Harryhausen about his early efforts at model-making

Ray Harryhausen will tell you that it was the 1933 RKO Pictures giant monster flick, KING KONG, that sparked his interest in making monsters, and, in particular, bringing them to life. His first attempt was to make his own version of King Kong . . . as a marionette puppet! The 13-year old Harryhausen made the King of Skull Island's head out of papier-mache, his mom made the fur body, and voila! a genius of monster making was born!

An image of the finished product (as it looks 77 years later) is shown below as a part of a fanatastic article in CINEMA RETRO #17 about Ray Harryhausen's "crap" that was resurrected by Tony Dalton, author of several books about Harryhausen.


Friday, November 26, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY AT MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD


















That's right. MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD has its own BLACK FRIDAY and two of Horrorwood's finest actors run the show at this gore store. Need a brain transplant? They've got 'em cheap!  Check out the action in the "Vid Clips" tab under this blog's main title.

ASIAN/WORLD CULT CINEMA HOLIDAY SALE









The folks over at ASIAN CULT CINEMA and WORLD CULT CINEMA are offering a holiday sale on all products at their
website. Click HERE to go to the special discount page, or visit the websites from the links on the sidebar to the right of this blog roll. ASIAN CULT CINEMA was the premiere (and for a while the only) magazine that exclusively covered asian horror, nikkatsu, category III, and other cinema feasts from the east. WORLD CULT CINEMA is the place to go for rare cult DVDs from all over the rest of the world. Thomas Weisser is back with an occasional newsletter. We can only hope that he decides to resume publication of the magazine (hint! hint!). Below is a sample clipping from the current newsletter. If you want to subscribe, go to the ASIAN CULT CINEMA website and tell them MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD sent you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HAPPY (94TH) BIRTHDAY, FORRY!

R.I.P. INGRID PITT (NOV. 21, 1937 - NOV. 23 2010)

MEXICAN FILM BULLETIN



Not really a 'zine, per se, and not always monster-themed, but there's enough going on here to bring out the hombre lobo in me, especially with the annual Halloween issue shown here. If you're interested at all in Mexi-horror or Mexican films in general, then I suggest you prisa en mas to Mirek Lipinski's Vampires y Monstruos blog where I found out about these fantastic, FREE "bulletins".

And, while we're on the subject of Mexi-horror movies, why not check out the "Watch Movies" tab just under the title of this blog where you'll find featured a brand new, full-length movie. Remember that "What Scared Me Post" from a while back where I showed you the picture from FM that scared the heck out of me back in the day? Well, this is the movie that it was taken from: LADRON DE CADAVERES (aka THE BODY SNATCHER). Salud, amigos y amigas!














Monday, November 22, 2010

MONSTER CARD MONDAY


EYE ON EBAY

Recently spotted was an unopened box of 36 packs of SPOOK STORIES monster trading cards selling for around 15 grand. That seems to be gone (and it's doubtful the bids met the minimum). How about a single pack for only $999.95? That's only $36,000 a box! Put on your glasses and push the "Commit" button now!



Saturday, November 20, 2010

FILMFAX NO. 7

FILMFAX
No. 7
Editor: Michael Stein
Publication Date: June/July 1987
Publisher: FILMFAX
Color cover/ B&W interior
68 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95
Estimated collector’s price: $9.00 to $30.00

I have FILMFAX to thank for rekindling my interest in reading monster magazines. The day of the "classic" monster magazine had faded. The King of the Monster Magazines, the seemingly indestructable, but towards the end increasingly unbearable to read FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND was fast becoming a distant memory. STARLOG, a science-fiction magazine at heart, would have the few odd article on monster movies, but it was basically a publication for Trekkies. FANGORIA was cruising along, but its focus was on contemporary horror.

FILMFAX, on the other hand, seemed to capture the feel of the classic monster 'zine, but with a decidely more sophisticated editorial style. One could speculate that this might have been CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine all grown up. Indeed, it's very content screamed "literary" and could almost be looked upon as a "horror film magazine" rather than a "monster magazine". One look at the editorial and contributing staff reveals a list of talent that are now generally known as being among the leading voices in the conservation of horror film history. Up and comers like John Brunas, Tom Weaver, and Jim Knusch were right there alongside such venerable Monsterologists as Don Glut, Bill Warren and Bob Burns. And, what self-respecting monster mag would consider itself worthy without at least a little help from FJA himself? Yes, even Forrest J. Ackerman was in the mix as "Golden Age Editor"!

It was the summer of 1987. My new wife and I were traveling up north from Los Angeles on our first trip since our January honeymoon in Cambria (near Cayucos, where MONSTER FROM PIEDRAS BLANCAS was filmed!) on the central California Coast. I believe we were headed back to Cambria but decided to stay at a less expensive Bed and Breakfast inland this time instead of on the beach. Well, it was a rainy drive up and by the time we got to the place, I had what I thought was a pretty good case of the flu. Chills and headache sent me right to the sack, but, outside of my lovely wife, I had along something that brought me a few hours of comfort . . . I had stopped at a newsstand before we left and picked up a copy of FILMFAX #7. I think I was drawn to the striking cover with Karloff from one of my all-time favorite horror movies Universal's THE BLACK CAT. I spent a couple of hours pouring through the magazine before dozing off, but before that I had once more recaptured the magic and imagination, and yes, the pure thrill of once again reading a monster 'zine like it was the first time!

The contents of the this issue are nothing short of marvelous. From articles on the aforementioned THE BLACK CAT, CURSE OF THE DEMON, THE HAUNTING, THE VAMPIRE BAT, even 7 FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN, every piece was a thrill to read. This was something new . . . this was monster movies being discussed, not as some psycho/sexually repression phenomena, not in some condescending kiddie lit with corny jokes, but as film history -- with the fan in mind. What a concept! Perhaps the most exciting thing in the issue was the announcement of a restored version of Universal's FRANKENSTEIN -- on laser disc, with a videocassette "planned for the future" (see below)! How far we've come in just over 20 years!

Oh, and by the way, the trip turned out fine. The next day I woke up feeling a lot better and we ended up having a great trip. I hate those 24 bugs -- but it was foruitous this time. Or was it cosmic destiny?








Friday, November 19, 2010

MONSTER MAKE-UP MEMORIES



I mentioned in an earlier post that I at one time had aspirations of becoming a Hollywood make-up artist. I was already living in Los Angeles, so how hard could it have been?

One of the places that I frequented for my make-up stuff was a store called "Dickson's Theatrical Supplies". I'm not sure if they're still in business but they had -- or they could get -- anything I needed in the way of goop and gravy to make myself up just like the young men in the Dick Smith-created, Jim Warren-published FAMOUS MONSTERS MAKE-UP HANDBOOK. As I recall, the proprieter was pretty nice. He noticed my budding interest and offered me a stack of literature to help me along. Among them was this first in a series of booklets published by cosmetics giant Max Factor. The publication date is 1971, but I believe they were originally printed much earlier, judging from the very retro art deco style cover and the way the illustrations are drawn.






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