Wednesday, July 31, 2013


ONE OF THE TOP HORROR 'ZINES on the stands today is the always erudite, always entertaining DIABOLIQUE. Each issue besides being filled filled to the coffin lid with good articles to read, is always reliable for presenting everything in a very appealing design with eye-popping, full-color graphics.

Here's the 4-1-1 from their hot-off-the-wire newsletter: 

"In the same way the intersection between horror and rock n’roll explored in our 15th issue is much like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, so are horror and comedy – two great tastes that go great together. In that spirit, Diabolique # 17 tickles your funny bone and cracks it too, exploring all that’s irreverent, wonky and weird from the horror community’s most alternately playful and sadistic minds. We’ll walk you through horror-comedy hybrids new and old, featuring exclusive interviews with Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Joe Dante and more, while delving into the inner workings of extreme and erotic cinema with a tribute to the late, great exploitation helmer Jess Franco. Diabolique 17: you’re all gonna die laughing!" 

I am particularly looking forward to the horror comedy feature. I've always been a fan of the mix between fun and fear. When you get done reading this, click on over to my YOU'LL DIE LAUGHING blog show I can show you what I mean.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The master mask craftsman known on his blog as The Yellow Phantom has announced that he has acquired the urethane master to the original Topstone Female Vampire mask and will be putting it back into production for a limited time.

This Topstone mask was first advertised in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #94 (Nov 1972) and was the later version of the "vampire girl" style to see production by the now-legendary mask maker. There will be two color schemes available Those of you who want to own a piece (and a fine looking one at that) of classic horror history can see more details HERE.

The Devil's Workshop is known for producing quality monster masks at reasonable prices. MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD gives this line of hand-crafted monster art our highest recommendation.

Monday, July 29, 2013


NOTE: After many weeks (88 to be exact), this concludes the run of the "Creature Features" trading card set. Next week we'll start something new!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


The 14" x 36" movie poster insert for the 1931 FRANKENSTEIN sold yesterday for well over twice as much as forecast. The Heritage Auctions event was a milestone in that an insert for this movie is extremely rare to show up for sale or in any manner.

When the gavel dropped, the anonymous phone bidder won the item but will have to pay the $262,900.00 price tag. There were over 8,500 page views for this auction lot, and only 8 bidders vied for the prize. A monstrously momentous occasion!


Saturday, July 27, 2013


Although I had been reading monster magazines (well, looking at the pictures mostly) since the "teen" years of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, it wasn't until the late twenties and early thirties numbers that I was actually allowed by my parents to have one of the "awful things" in the house. My Dad was the first to realize that my zeal for monster 'zines would not likely subside any time soon, so he finally acquiesced to me buying my first issue of FM -- but that is a story for another time.

FAMOUS MONSTERS #28 (May 1964) was a memorable issue for many reasons (and that's another part of the story for another time), but one article in it not only filled me with the usual wonderment like many of them did -- but it actually, for some unknown and fear-buried reason . . . disturbed me.

Now, I was used to seeing all sorts of critters and creatures in previous issues of FM, including those in other monster mags like Charlton's HORROR MONSTERS and MAD MONSTERS and Blaisdell and Burns' FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS. I was used to melting faces, contorted limbs and burned bodies, all that could just as easily come from the local morgue as from a monster movie magazine. But is was a 6-page article on, of all things, a Frankenstein movie, that really creeped me out.

It retrospect, it was probably the pure incongruity that threw me off in the feature entitled, The Most Horrible Frankenstein. Here was an article and pictures from a film, a French film at that, showing yet another version of the Frankenstein story, and depicting a monster that was both goofy looking and a little terrifying. Maybe something got lost in the proverbial translation?

Shot in black and white in Bretagne, France, TORTICOLA CONTRE FRANKENSBERG (Torticola vs Frankensberg was the international title) is a short film (35 min.) directed by Paul Paviot and released in 1952 by Le Films Marceau/Pavox films. It was actually intended as a parody of the Frankenstein films, possibly inspired or influenced by the ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN horror comedy released a few years earlier (1948) in the states. Torticola is translated as "Twisted Neck" and probably refers to the hanging victim that was used to put the creature together on the operating table.

The square-domed creature's head, complete with hair that could have come out of of Barbara Steele's dressing room was the creation of one, Hagop Arakelian, who went uncredited in the film. The makeup was completed with a pair of driving gloves and a burlap sack.

At the time I didn't even have the slightest thought that I would ever see this film. But, almost 50 years later, there I was, watching it on my computer screen after stumbling across someone's video upload at an archive site.

Here is the article from FM #28:

And here is the video of Torticola contre Frankensberg:

Friday, July 26, 2013


Not your average bear for obvious reasons.

MONSTERS CAN TURN UP IN the least likely of places. They can also turn up in the least likely of magazines, too.

Take a now-obscure side project of PENTHOUSE magazine mogul Bob Guccione, for instance. Long-dead VIVA: The International Magazine for Women, premiered in 1973 and saw its last issue published in 1980. Marketed for "adult women", it focused on female's fantasies and other groovy and sexy topics that came gushing out of the publishing world's coke-addled brains (and noses) when the 70s were full of swingers . . . er, full swing.

But here's where the monsters come in. The August 1977 issue included a pictorial travelogue of sorts that covered the -- at the time -- almost-released AIP-produced, MGM-distributed THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. This, the second of 3 film versions (so far) from H.G. Wells' classic novel, was cast heavy with stars such as Michael York, Nigel Davenport and Richard Basehart. Burt Lancaster played Dr. Moreau (a tidge better than the gawd-awful Brando version -- but both not even close to the Charles Laughton portrayal).

(Pictured above left: There oughta be a law! Some lucky Humanimal(TM) has the pleasure of posing in an intimate embrace with the cook-an-egg-on-the-sidwalk hot Barbara Carrera.)

The movie's not too bad, but despite all the publicity and hype it fairly flopped at the box office (it cost $6,000,000 to make), mostly, I think, because of a lousy script. It wasn't because of the high-quality special makeup effects designed and created by Messrs. John Chambers and Tom Burman, either. And it definitely wasn't because of the onscreen prescence of the scorching hot Nicaraguan beauty, Barbara Carrera, in a role made especially for her in only her fourth film.

The article was written and photographed for obvious publicity reasons. The location was not on Dr. Moreau's island, however. Davis Bay on St. Croix, Virgin Islands is still pretty remote and exotic, though. While the monsters are impressive, I'd have to say that Miss Carrera steals the show, however.

In a move that was one part pride of ownership, one-part corporate exclusivity, and a dash of Hollywood ego, Dr. Moreau's creatures, known as "manimals" to us Monster Kids raised on Forry's formula bottle filled with FAMOUS MONSTERS, the appliance-laden actors were trademarked with the term, Humanimals(TM)!

BONUS! Included here are a trio of test shots from the development phase of "Humanimals(TM)" Michael York (color shot) and Sayer of the Law Richard Basehart (B&W shots). They were up for bid at a recent iCollector online auction.

EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS! The MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD "Horror Hotties" page is now officially open. All red-blooded males and other hearty sorts are welcome to view it HERE. However, if you are even remotely offended by gratuitous images of Scream Queens sans their costumes, then DO NOT click on the link and you'll stay right here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Slated to be unveiled at this September's FantaCon is author John Szpunar's Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine. Szpunar's Facebook page shows examples of what will presumably be content included in the book. Titles such as MIDNIGHT MARQUEE and THE LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS will be represented, along with newsletter format 'zines and others.

While the title (Ferox means "fierce" in Latin, and is a nod to the ferocity of the self-publisher, I would surmise) mentions "fanzines", some pre-press promotional copy implies that it covers commercial magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND as well. Outside of the sporadic release of monster magazine price guides over the years, this book could very well end up being the holy grail  of monster magazine research to date.

Xerox Ferox wraparound cover art by Stephen Bissett.

Here is the information seen at Barnes & Noble's web page:

Xerox Ferox Overview

From Famous Monsters of Filmland to Fangoria… and everything in between, Xerox Ferox is much more than a book about monster magazines. It is the first book of its kind to examine the home-grown DIY fanzines that dared to dig deeper than the slick and shiny newsstand mags ever would... or indeed even could.

The titles were as lurid as the films that they covered. Gore Gazette. Deep Red. Sleazoid Express. Before message boards, before blogs, before the Internet itself, the fanzine reigned as the chief source of news and information for horror fans worldwide. Often printed on the cheap and sold for the price of postage, madcap mags like Slimetime, The Splatter Times, and Subhuman traveled the globe, creating a thriving network of fans and professionals alike.

Xerox Ferox traces the rise of the horror film fanzine, from the Famous Monster-starved kids of the 1960s to the splatter-crazed gorehounds of the Fangoria generation. Featuring in-depth interviews with over fifty writers, editors, and industry pros, Xerox Ferox is the final word on an era that changed the world of fandom forever.

Xerox Ferox is the first title to cover the horror film fanzine phenomenon and culture in encyclopedic depth. The book also contains lengthy chapters that deal with the New York zine scene and the hub of its grindhouse activity, Times Square. In many ways, the book works as time capsule of that era-writers and filmmakers including Jimmy McDonough, Bill Landis, Mike McPadden, Steve Puchalski, Roy Frumkes, and Buddy Giovinazzo share their memories of the movie houses of Forty Second Street-and the dangers that were encountered while visiting them. Not limited to New York City, Xerox Ferox also concentrates on the drive-in theaters of the south. Other topics discussed include commercial Super-8 horror films of the 1960s and 1970s, the home video revolution of the 1980s, regional exploitation films, low budget filmmaking, and of course, self publishing, networking, and distribution.

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781909394100
  • Publisher: Headpress
  • Publication date: 9/14/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)
Meet the Author
John Szpunar is a freelance writer living in Detroit, Michigan. From 1998 to 2008, he co-ran Barrel Entertainment, a DVD company specializing in arthouse, gore, and sleaze films from around the world. Xerox Ferox is his first book of interviews.

Read an Excerpt
How I came to write this book (from the Introduction):
I started thinking about this book back in 2006. I had recently interviewed Deep Red editor Chas. Balun and fanzine veteran Steve Bissette. My idea at the time was to conduct and assemble a collection of interviews with some of the key people involved in the old fanzine scene. Not just any zine scene-I wanted to talk to the guys behind the horror film rags. Dirty little things like Subhuman, Slimetime, and Sleazoid Express.

I began working on things in earnest, but I quickly realized that I had started to spread myself way too thin. I started shelving a lot of the projects that I was involved with, and Xerox Ferox was one of them.

In 2011, quite by happenstance, I stumbled upon some ancient floppy discs and cassette tapes that had been patiently waiting in a box that I thought was long gone. The dust covered thing was labeled (in rather crude printing) "Xerox Ferox”. I decided to give the contents a once over, if only to relive a little of my past.

Before I knew it, the past became a big part of my present. I started making plans with myself to begin climbing the mountain that would eventually become Xerox Ferox.

I started out by transcribing the tapes. Shit, this stuff was good. Really good. But would anyone else be interested in a book about old fanzines? Would I be able to track down the people that I wanted to interview? And if I did manage to track them down, would they even care about the old boxes in their closets? Only one way to find out. I started making some phone calls.

One of the first people that I talked to was Jim Morton, the editor of Trashola. Jim was great-thoughtful, funny, and full of wonderful stories. I quickly transcribed the interview and made some more calls. Before long, I was talking to a lot of the old gang, and they were actually talking back. If I didn't have the contact information for a potential interview, it was almost guaranteed that somebody within my newfound circle would. Before long, I was looking at twenty, thirty, forty interviews. And that was only the beginning…

Xerox Ferox front cover.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Returning to publication after a multiple year hiatus is the British monster 'zine, THE DARK SIDE. Noted for its dense content and lurid graphics, a handful of issues have been thus far released, albeit a little quietly. I have seen no copies on magazine stands here thus far. I do not know as yet who is running the show or if they even have plans to distribute in the U.S. like they did before. Judging by the excellent covers, however, it looks like THE DARK SIDE is back, and hasn't missed a beat.

Visit the DARK SIDE web page by clicking on the cover on the sidebar to the right of this blogroll. You can read sample articles and order up copies. They also offer bonus content via a digital magazine, perhaps in an effort to see if they can sustain a print-free readership.


A postcard of London during Vincent Price's 1928 visit.

Through the use of the blog format, Mr. Peter Fuller is sequentially reprinting the authentic travel diary and postcards from actor Vincent Price to create a very unique travelogue. The end result is as if Mr. Price is writing his own blog.

In 1928, when Price was 17 years old, he set out on his first voyage to Europe. He wrote about his adventures every day in his diary, entitled My Journey Abroad. Purchased from Price's estate in 2007. Fuller realized the treasure he had in his possession and felt compelled to share it with fans all over the world. Presenting it in a blog format is a bit of genius, as the "journal style" of blogging is a perfect fit for the material.

"My First Trip Abroad | Vincent Price" has the full endorsement of Victoria Price, Vincent Price's daughter. It is well worth a look and can be viewed HERE.

A sample of Vincent Price's travel journal, My Journey Abroad.