Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

H.P. LOVECRAFT (MINI) FILM FESTIVAL

To top off LOVECRAFTIANA week I thought presenting a few Lovecraftian-inspired short films might be in order. Included are stop motion and animated films that, in many ways, capture the atmosphere of a Lovecraft story better than live action. What do you think?









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Friday, August 26, 2011

LOVECRAFTIANA (PORTAL FIVE)

Hollywod special effects man Paul Blaisdell and his pal, Bob Burns, are revered by the legions of monster movie fans out there. Bob, of course, is still alive and possesses one of the largest collections of monster movie memorabilia imaginable. Entire books have been published on his collection that, in my estimation, is second only to Forry's Horde. Blaisdell was the "man in the rubber suit", as well as prop guy for numerous Atom Age B-Movies like THE SHE CREATURE and IT CONQUERED THE WORLD.

Beginning in 1962, they produced seven issues of FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS, a popular collectible for monster magazine fans. Intended as a showcase and "how-to" of Paul's special effects work, it evolved into a monster movie 'zine like others on the newsstands of the day. What was distinctive about FMOTF was its use of color and large, two-page spreads of photos that were not seen in the competition. Unfortunately, they had teamed up with an unscrupulous publisher who eventually ran off with not only their money, but a lot of their collectible film stills as well.

Coverage of the Poe-titled and Lovecraft-inspired THE HAUNTED PALACE was in Issue #6.






Thursday, August 25, 2011

LOVECRAFTIANA (FOURTH PORTAL)




I mentioned that H.P. Lovecraft's influence reaches far and wide. While not necessarily ubiquitous, he generally ends up sooner or later with a nod in many monster magazines. This article is from DEEP RED #3.

Author Dennis Daniel's frame of reference for Lovecraft begins rather late in the game with the film RE-ANIMATOR. However, he does the best thing someone who is interested in H.P. Lovecraft for the first time can do . . . pick up three Arkham House editions of his fictional works.

Daniel writes conversationally and enthusiastically about Lovecraft in this article. He also gets it right when he states that the oft-referred term "Cthulhu Mythos" was coined after his death. All-in-all a nice little introduction to Grandpa.







Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LOVECRAFTIANA (THIRD PORTAL)




Occasionlly one could see Lovecraft-derived film photos in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. This one for DIE! MONSTER, DIE!, starring Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, is from Issue #36 (Dec. 1965). Looks like a denizen of Matango Island, doesn't he?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LOVECRAFTIANA (SECOND PORTAL)



In CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #18 (Gothic Castle, 1972), H.P. Norton offers a "caco-daemoniacal" essay on Lovecraft and his films. And, to those of you who still hold on to the belief that Editor Calvin Beck was "above" using Forryisms, I direct your attention to the intro at the top of the first page.






Monday, August 22, 2011

LOVECRAFTIANA (FIRST PORTAL)


Having been an active member of the H.P. LOVECRAFT AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION for a few years, as well as participating in the dialogue with its varied and distinguished 35-plus membership affectionately known as THE ESOTERIC ORDER OF DAGON, I have to say that the Olde Gentleman has a lot going for him these days. I don't believe there is, at present, a greater group of people at the genius loci of Lovecraftian scholarship. Moderated by prolific horror historian S.T. Joshi, his leadership has spurred on the continuing reasearch of this most interesting of literary personalities.

Lovecraft did not leave much in the way of his fiction writing. It is nearly all found in fan 'zines and pulp magazines of the 1920's and 1930's. However, he wrote thousands of pages of letters to such correspondents as Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert Bloch. His letters are where one can find a little of what made this "Rhode Island Recluse" tick. Still, his legacy of horror -- or weird fiction as he called it -- is not only timeless, but dynamic. At the present time, it is safe to say that Lovecraft is today singularly influential from that group of "classic era" horror authors, surpassing even that of Poe.

Lovecraftian influence can be seen everywhere in literature and pop culture. Oddly enough, despite attempts at cannonizing him along with other literary greats, he remains largely a cult figure. Everybody seems to recognize the name, but not everyone can say they've actually read his writing.

When it comes to films, it's even a greater stretch. Who can say they realize that a film such as THE HAUNTED PALACE, while an obvious Poe title, was based more on a Lovecraft story (with a superb Charles Beaumont script)? The running and only half-joking phrase that's used by critics and fans is "Lovecraft, The Unfilmable" -- partly due to the fact that the true impact of his writing lends more towards the cerebral than visual.

Nevertheless, a handful of feature films and numerous short films have managed to capture the general essence of Lovecraft's "cosmic horror". In Issue #43 (Sept. 1975) of THE MONSTER TIMES, this theme is expounded upon.



Welcome to the First Portal of LOVECRAFTIANA WEEK here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. I'll be posting various articles about movies based on Lovecraft's works, along with one or two biographical articles that include discussion of his influence on horror cinema. Enjoy!

MONSTER CARD MONDAY



Sunday, August 21, 2011

ASIAN/WORLD CULT CINEMA SLASHING PRICES

One of my favorite places to shop for Asian and European cult, horror, and other exotic cinema has been Thomas Weisser's ASIAN CULT CINEMA and WORLD CULT CINEMA websites. You may remember Weisser as the publisher of ASIAN CULT CINEMA, that digest-sized mini-tome that was the Asian film genre's answer to VIDEO WATCHDOG.

Thomas sent out a newsletter just a couple of days ago to his customers explaining that the crunch in the economy is affecting sales. With Amazon, Best Buy and other discount giants grabbing up the online DVD market like King Kong taking a swipe at a New York passenger train, Weisser has to make a move to keep his company alive.

As a result, he has announced that he will be reducing prices on his new titles, effective immediately. He also mentioned that he will be redoubling his efforts to seek out and offer obscure and harder-to-find titles that nobody else is selling.  Here is the message from the newsletter:

"You've probably noticed it's been a tough year for movie retailers. Lots of DVD stores - mailorder and otherwise - have closed their doors, a decision based on both a sluggish economy (there's not a lot of recreational money floating around these days) and changes within the industry itself (ranging from format to venue options).

In order for Asian Cult Cinema / World Cult Cinema to continue moving forward in these trying times, I've made a few major changes. The first, and probably the most obvious decision, has to do with pricing. We've taken all new releases [both Asian and World Cult product] and slashed the price, not just a few cents but dollars. Right now, all new arrivals are now available at 20% to 30% discounts. With your help, we hope to continue this policy into the future.

Secondly, I'd like to talk about the product itself. The domestic industry is floundering. There are decidedly fewer and fewer interesting titles being released today and much of the older product is being dropped from catalogs. This is probably caused by the flux, the uncertainty, in the U.S. market. But - whatever the reason - we've found that we can no longer depend on standard domestic distribution for product. I've given our store manager, Archie Cole, full reign to beat the (International) bushes and come up with stuff you're not going to find anywhere else, titles you certainly can't get at Best Buy or Netflix."


If you are even mildly interested in Asian and other international genre films, I urge you to check out Tom Weisser's site. Archie Cole manages the business and does a damn fine job of it. He ships out product lightning fast, answers emails quickly, and makes the order right if it's not. I have been a customer for a few years now and have never been disappointed. After all, where else can you find flicks like PSYCHO SHARK, BIG TITS ZOMBIES, and SEX AND ZEN, alongside A SERBIAN FILM, TROLL HUNTER and TORSO?

To visit the websites, go to the sidebar on the right of this blog roll and find the hyperlinked images to ASIAN CULT CINEMA and WORLD CULT CINEMA. Tell Archie that MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD sent you!

SUNDAY MORNING MACABRE


Saturday, August 20, 2011

"APES" BOX OFFICE NO MONKEY BUSINESS


Last week was a good week for apes. This weekend will probably see less viewers, but overall, it looks like there's enough interest to spur on the next in the prequel series.

"RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES fended off an onslaught of four new nationwide releases to top the weekend box office again. The Help won the debut dust-up, blind-siding a tepid Final Destination 5, while 30 Minutes or Less and Glee The 3D Concert Movie floundered.

Descending 49 percent, Rise of the Planet of the Apes packed $27.8 million. Though steep, the sci-fi thriller's second weekend slide was less severe than Planet of the Apes (2001), I, Robot, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and X-Men: First Class, among comparable titles. With a $105.2 million haul in ten days, Rise is tracking ahead of fellow 20th Century Fox prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class ($98 million) and has out-grossed most of its key comps through the same point, aside from the last Planet remake's $123.7 million (or $174.2 million normalized for ticket-price inflation)." [SOURCE: Box Office Mojo]

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HAPPY 121ST BIRTHDAY, HPL!


Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)

Friday, August 19, 2011

THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR GIALLO


"Violence is a means of communication; a way of expressing myself." - Dario Argento

Largely overlooked by the classic monster magazines, and even by many of today's horror film 'zines, is the genre affectionately called giallo -- which means "yellow" according to my lovely Italian wife. Further research reveals that the term originated from the line of inexpensive 1960's Italian paperback mysteries easily identified by their yellow covers.

Giallo was the term that was eventually adopted to describe European crime and mystery films, and in particular, Italian thrillers. These gialli are characterized by sadism, cruelty and extremely bloody murder scenes. They are recognized as the precursors to the American "slasher" films of the 1980's.

Mario Bava, who is also famous for his horror films such as BLACK SUNDAY, could be called the Italian "Godfather of Gore", and is considered to have directed the first giallo film, La ragazza che sapeva troppo, or, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (A.K.A. EVIL EYE) (1963).

Dario Argento entered the gory world of giallo with his film L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo, or THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970). As the reigning Crown Prince of Giallo, Argento's body of work (no pun intended) is widely revered among horror film fans and critics alike.

In Chas Balun's DEEP RED #7 is an interview with Dario Argento. The Italian Director offers an introspective and thoughtful insight on his work.


















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