Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SCREEM NO. 20/21

'Tis been a while since we last heard from my pal and fellow Monster Kid, Doug. He is a distinguished Monsterologist as well, although he probably disagrees with me on that. Truth is, Doug has had his bloody finger on the pulse of the monster scene for quite a while, albeit in the background, Erik-style, if you know what I mean. You may recall me mentioning that Doug was a monster magazine-makin' kid along with me way back when. His mag was called HALL OF FLAME, hence the title of his (hopefully) ongoing column named in his honor. Let's hear a scream and welcome back Doug to MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!

Until a couple of months ago, I had never read an issue of SCREEM, which is my misfortune. But, after reading the two most recent issues, I am hooked on it!

Like an over-eager student frantically waving his arm in the air to persuade the teacher to call on him, the neon Day-Glo cover of SCREEM #20 fairly cries out “buy me, buy me!” What monster kid, aging or otherwise, could resist the amazing painting by Daniel Horne of the Phantom of the Opera assembling the Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemare model? It is an amazing depiction of the Phantom, his face almost 3-D. The spider by his ear and Aurora model boxes in the foreground make an impressive cover. (It has been nominated for a Rondo, by the way.)

Horne’s cover illustrates a two-page interview with Cortlandt Hull, creator of a DVD about the cherished Aurora models. The article certainly whetted this fan’s appetite to buy the video, but I couldn’t help but wish for an accompanying article about the models themselves.

It is hard to believe how long it has been since Logan’s Run burst on the scene. SCREEM 20 celebrates the classic story with interviews with authors George Clayton Johnson and William F. Nolan, and actor Michael York. The two writers were interviewed separately and their views of the original collaboration are a bit different from each other. Johnson’s answers are much more detailed and expansive than Nolan’s . It is interesting to note that the two men had widely varying ideas for the sequel and continuing story line of Logan and Jessica. I was struck by Johnson’s comment on page 19, “[W]e have become roboticized, and we’re treated statistically, we respond like parrots.” A very 1960s view, which may be even truer now than then. I have a quibble about the lay-out of the articles, however. The introductory comments followed the interviews when they should have preceded them. A minor point, to be sure, but I think it would help readers unfamiliar with Logan’s Run to understand the interviews.

Not being from Philadelphia, I had only a vague notion of who Dr. Shock was, but after reading “The Strange Case of Dr. Shock” by John Skerchock, I want to know more! The article could have contained some more detail to flesh it out, and the timeline is a bit hard to follow in spots. The pictures were marvelous, really capturing the essence of TV horror hosts!

Mary Woronov is a wonderful actress and Greg Goodsell’s “Quite Contrary…” does an excellent job of revealing the woman behind Miss Togar and Mary Bland. It’s a “must read” item if you are an Andy Warhol fan.

Another great Daniel Horne cover kicks off SCREEM 21. Norman Bates as Norman Rockwell is absolutely inspired! The companion article, Greg Goodsell’s “The Psycho Legacy,” is an excellent piece about a new documentary concerning the Norman Bates films. I admit that I have avoided the sequels, thinking that they could not possibly add to the original story, but after reading Goodsell’s article, I will seek them out.

Arguably the most important event in fantasy filmdom over the past few years was the discovery of missing footage from Metropolis. SCREEM 21 presents a different viewpoint of the restoration of the movie classic through the eyes of composer Gabriel Thibaudeau. The story contains great information, which appealed to me, even though I am not a musician.

For us red-blooded males, monster movies are not complete without pretty women for the monsters to menace. I always had a few copies of Playboy mixed in the boxes with FAMOUS MONSTERS when I was growing up—I am sure many of you did, too. “Playboy Playmates in Horror Films” by Joe Wawrzyniak was written just for us! This issue’s installment lists playmates from the 50’s and 60’s who went from centerfold to celluloid. Joe lists their Playboy appearance, horror film credits, DVDs, and current whereabouts. Dolly Read, Susan Denberg, and Claudia Jennings are three of the ladies listed this month. I am looking forward to the 70’s and 80’s installment next issue!

Speaking of beautiful women, Ingrid Pitt graces the pages of this magazine in the form of an article “The Queen of Horror” by Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter. It is a two page “appetizer” about the late actress, with Cotter’s book of the same name being the main course.

The extensive DVD reviews in SCREEM are outstanding. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge regarding the film industry demonstrated by the reviewers (six different people, I think). In particular, Shane Dallmann’s review of Thriller: The Complete Series was great. He highlights best and overlooked episodes of the classic show, and gives some interesting background material. Overall, the breadth of DVDs reviewed is remarkable. No film is too obscure, gross, or wild to be discussed in these pages!

I imagine that most of you reading MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD will already be intimately familiar with SCREEM. But if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it highly. Just because we are a bit late to the party doesn’t mean we can’t join in the fun!

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