Wednesday, March 30, 2011


With almost 3,000 votes counted, the winners were announced tonight for the 2010 RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARDS. The winners for best magazines were RUE MORGUE for best pro 'zine and MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT for best fan 'zine. Congratulations, David Alexander and Jim Clatterbaugh!


Here are a few pages from Forrest J. Ackerman's MONSTERLAND, a later reincarnation of the legendary FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. It has it's moments, but generally it's a little anemic as monster 'zines go. Forry's trademark fan boy enthusiasm runs unabated throughout, however, which makes it instantly reminiscent of the halcyon days of monster magazines. I've added a couple of pages of make-up and prosthetics ads along with the interesting line of masks that have the obvious influence of the 80's.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Here's an oddity that I found a while back while trolling the 'net and I'm sorry I can't credit the source as I don't have the address or the person that posted it. Anyway, it is worthy of adding to the canon of monster mask collecting, IMHO. Anybody know about the mask that came with this box or have a pic of it? So far, it seems to be a Monsterologist's mystery.

Monday, March 28, 2011


For those of you who read the interview with The Yellow Phantom here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD just a couple of weeks ago, you will know that this year's MASK FEST was last weekend. To commemorate the event, as well as have an excuse to show some monstermaskabilia from various monster 'zines, I'll be posting a few day worth of material that I've come across that celebrate that tres cool art and hobby of mask making and collecting.

Today's entry is from the pages of MONSTER MANIA #3, published in April 1967.




Saturday, March 26, 2011


“Writing a horror film was really exciting, but then to make it with Hammer was like all my Halloweens coming at once.”
~ Brendan McCarthy, writer and producer

New Hammer Films Logo
 The village of Wake Wood in rural Ireland has preserved a tradition which enables the people to bring a person back from the dead for three days, one year after their death, in order to say a final farewell to their loved ones and before they make their final journey to the spirit world. Patrick and Louise Daly have come to Wake Wood to take over the veterinary practice. They are relocating from the city to recover from the tragic death of their daughter. The couple can’t have another child.

They discover the ritual. Unsure at first of its meaning the couple become uneasy with life in Wake Wood and decide to leave. The village elders explain the ritual and its applications and suggest that their daughter can be brought back from the dead if certain conditions exist. Patrick and Louise consider this terrifying prospect and decide to ask if the villagers might bring their child back. The villagers agree to help but remind them that they can only have her back for three days and then she must return to the world of the dead. Patrick and Louise accept the rules, but when their child returns, they decide to keep her and break their agreement.

As the final day approaches it is clear to some of the villagers hat something is wrong with the returned child. They urge Patrick and Louise to act but the parents are too absorbed in the bliss of their child, to see the change in her behaviour. Louise discovers she is pregnant when her daughter asks her when the baby is due. It is too late. The terrifying evidence of the bloody rampage is discovered.

There can only be one explanation. The child has turned evil. The villagers force Patrick and Louise to take responsibility for their actions. She must be returned to the ground. Patrick and Louise hunt down their child and subdue her. They bring her to the woods. Louise puts her back in the ground. Before Louise can leave she is dragged into the grave. Mother and daughter disappear into the world of the dead leaving Patrick devastated.

One year later Patrick brings his now pregnant wife back from the dead.

What will happen to their child?



Legendary British film studio Hammer has recently been revamped, returning to feature-film production in 2008 for the first time in decades. In its new incarnation Hammer aims not only to frighten and entertain modern cinema-goers but to thrill and challenge them. These aims are reflected in Hammer’s latest productions, LET ME IN directed by Matt Reeves and THE WOMAN IN BLACK, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

However, WAKE WOOD has also provided Hammer Films with an unmistakable opportunity to celebrate some key creative touchstones from its glory days. Hammer’s CEO Simon Oakes saw a chance, when he read WAKE WOOD’s screenplay, to be involved with a film that would celebrate some of the tropes that audiences most fondly associate with the Hammer of old. Oakes shared director David Keating’s vision to make a terrifying film that would not only engage audiences with a riveting story but also evoke some of the greatest horror films of the 1960s and 70s, in spirit and tone.

“Wake Wood is very much in the tradition of some of the great Hammer stories of old, including the Frankenstein films. A compelling and horrifying dilemma is at its heart: ordinary people must make a Faustian pact to hold onto what they hold most dear, with terrifying consequences. The fact that David Keating and team wanted to honour, in tone, some of the great horror films of the past was also immediately appealing.”
~ Simon Oakes, CEO Hammer


WAKE WOOD has three main echoes of classic Hammer. The first is the perennial narrative device of a “pact with the devil”. This idea is at the very core of WAKE WOOD’s story, although in the modern re-telling of this narrative, “the devil” tends at first to present himself as wholly benevolent. In classic genre film and TV, this story usually begins with a stranger (who always knows more about the protagonist/s than expected) offering a deal. This deal is always “too good to be true” and acceptance generally leads to the protagonist's paying a terrible price, often by supernatural means.

The modern example of this type of story is Richard Matheson’s “Button, Button”, the source both for The Twilight Zone episode segment of the same name, and for recent feature THE BOX. There are two resonant examples of this narrative idea in classic Hammer films: in both DRACULA A.D. 1972 and TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, a character (Johnny Alucard, played by Christopher Neame, and Lord Courtley, played by Ralph Bates, respectively) makes such a “deal”, but then finds it impossible to back out when they realise exactly what they’ve agreed to; and with whom. The second echo is the idea of “man playing God”.

These narratives centre on the idea of immortality – whether it’s the resurrection/reanimation of the dead or the secret of eternal life – and the creation by man of life itself. (Although zombies, vampires and werewolves are “immortal” per se, they do not fit into this story shape as the protagonist generally does not choose to join the ranks of the living dead or the undead, or to become a lycanthrope. There are, however, a handful of well known vampire narratives in which the protagonist is offered the immortality of vampirism and chooses it consciously).

The “man playing God” narrative focuses on humans making a very conscious decision to “usurp” or “deny” God, and make themselves or others either immortal or brought back to life, either beyond or outside the rule of “God’s law”. Hammer films in which characters “create” life, or are immortal, include the FRANKENSTEIN films, the four MUMMY films, THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES (in which the Squire very deliberately reanimates the dead so they can work in his tin mine), THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH, DR JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE (in Brain Clemens’ take on the story, Dr Jekyll is trying to discover the secret of immortality), SHE and THE VENGEANCE OF SHE.

Finally, WAKE WOOD finds a very particular echo in Hammer’s 1966 film THE WITCHES, which is one of only a handful of classic Hammer horror films which have a contemporary setting (while the thrillers all had contemporary settings, the horror films were mostly set in an indeterminate Gothic past). THE WITCHES prefigures horror classic THE WICKER MAN by seven years and has many similarities to that film, and indeed to WAKE WOOD itself, specifically with regard to style, tone and theme. In terms of story shape, all three films feature a closed, remote community and a community leader who is also the head of an occult or pagan sect. The protagonists come from outside and are gradually drawn in. They are shown, offered, and then experience things outside their normal reality or belief system, ultimately discovering that the community’s secret is far darker than they could ever have imagined.

A key theme shared by all three films is that the chthonic powers of paganism will always trump the spiritual powers of Christianity, because they are much older and therefore more deeply ingrained (this was one of Nigel Kneale’s key thematic concerns, and it’s no surprise that it was he who adapted THE WITCHES for Hammer from the novel by Peter Curtis aka Norah Lofts).

There are also, of course, the very well known casting connections between Hammer and THE WICKER MAN. Hammer star Ingrid Pitt, who died in November 2010, appears in THE WICKER MAN, as does Hammer veteran Sir Christopher Lee, who is also in Hammer’s THE RESIDENT, which is scheduled for a UK release in March 2011.


Friday, March 25, 2011


GORGO first menaced the world in 1961. One of the magazines commemorating this golden anniversary is a gem of a fanzine, DITKOMANIA #83. While not a monster magazine, this publication may be of interest to readers of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD who enjoy monsters in the comic books as well as on the silver screen.

DITKOMANIA is a digest-sized fanzine devoted to the work of comic book artist Steve Ditko, best known for his efforts at Marvel Comics in the 1960s, where he co-created Spider-Man and created Dr. Strange. It is edited and published by Rob Imes. The current issue is dedicated to Mr. Ditko’s work for Charlton Comics, where he drew numerous horror, mystery, and science-fiction stories, including GORGO.

In true fanzine fashion, Martin Hirchak not only writes but illustrates a brief article on the history of Gorgo at Charlton. He speculates on the timeline involved in the comic book’s creation and Ditko’s source material from the studio. Hirchak mentions that Charlton’s winning the rights to publish a major movie tie-in book was a coup d’etat in the comic industry. DC Comics would have been the logical choice. I would love to read an article that answers the question of how this happened. But, as Hirchak writes, Ditko did a great job on GORGO and it is a faithful adaptation of the movie.

The horror/science-fiction theme of DITKOMANIA 83 is carried out by an interesting speculative article, “Ditko at E.C.?” Michael Tuz points out similarities between certain stories in the fabled E.C. Comics and in Ditko’s work in STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES and THE THING. The illustrations drawn from the various comics show that artists and writers liked to “borrow” from one another! Another story details Charlton’s HAUNTED #1, published in 1971, which featured three supernatural stories by Ditko. Rob Imes also contributes a piece on supernatural themes in the artist’s new work.

The magazine also contains reviews of newly-published collections of the artist’s early work, as well as his brand-new comic books. (Although in his eighties, Mr. Ditko continues to create and publish new stories!)

Rob Imes publishes this labor of love several times a year. For those of you interested in comic books in general, or Steve Ditko in particular, I recommend this fanzine. Many issues have themes, but not all. The October issue, for example, usually focuses on horror stories. Rob is planning issues featuring Ditko’s robots and monsters, which may be of special interest to MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD readers. It is not a high-budget, glossy magazine, but it packs a lot of fun and entertainment in a small package.

If you are interested, check out Rob’s web site or email him directly at robimes[at]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A relatively new phenomenon in the monster mania universe is that of the so-called "action figure". Now, action figures as toys have been around for a long time. The 60's monster craze was not without the legendary Marx Toys orange and blue-colored series of plastic monsters. But, by and large, action figures were generally reserved for military, western and other, well, action-oriented genres. Monster Kids were pretty much limited to building the famed Aurora line of monster models for their figure collecting. Then, Sideshow Collectibles blew the dungeon doors off with their multiple series offerings of 7" articulated Universal Monsters. After that, 12" figures, busts, polystone casts, and a multitude of other media has flooded the market, all designed to sate the seemingly insatiable thirst for monster stuff.

Sideshow's line has become one of the premier suppliers of monster figures, all designed for collectors . . . at decidedly collector's prices. They have released a number of limited series figures -- so limited that nearly all vendors or distributors are allowed only one (that's a single) unit to sell. Now that's what I call a limited edition! Definitely a far cry from the merchandise that a lot of us salivated over from Warren's Captain Company, wouldn't you say?

"This collectible rendition of Lugosi's Dracula, from Tod Browning's black and white classic Dracula, is the third 1/4 scale classic horror icon from Sideshow, which already hosts the recently released 'Nosferateu' Vampyre, and the upcoming Karloff Frankenstein figure. Dracula, featuring the likeness of Bela Lugosi comes completely posed with highly detailed, theatrically accurate clothing, and a hand painted likeness that brings Lugosi's hypnotic gaze to life. The Count has been brilliantly sculpted by accomplished portrait artist Andy Bergholtz. The clothing details and fabrication were achieved by the masterful hands of large scale figure artist Greg Mowry. The entire project marks another proud creation of the Sideshow Collectibles figure team. One available at $495,95."

"Lon Chaney, Sr. from the film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT is presented here as a special "Silver Screen" edition, in full monochromatic grayscale, including all paint detail and fabric clothing. The 1:4 scale figure has a polystone body clothed in an authentic reproduction of the original costume. The arms are constructed of heavy-gauge wire sewn into plush fabric, allowing you to adjust the pose and gesture of the figure's arms. The figure is completed with realistic hair, a non-removable 'beaver' hat, and his lantern. Each figure is hand painted and hand finished, and includes the cobble-stone display base. Limited to only 250 pieces worldwide. One available at $395.95."

"Lon Chaney, "Man of a Thousand Faces," stars in the silent horror classic, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. In the film, based on Gaston Leroux's timeless novel, a disfigured, catacomb-dwelling musician (Chaney) terrorizes the Paris Opera House while attempting to turn a pretty chorus girl (Mary Philbin) into a star.

This Premium Format 1:4 scale mixed media figure of the Phantom of the Opera is beautifully rendered in polystone & high-quality fabrics. The figure is painted and costumed in grey-scale, true to his original silver screen presence - a museum-quality piece perfect for any home theatre, office, or collector's display. Each figure includes a hand-numbered display base. One available at $295.95."