Sunday, June 30, 2013

SHOCK CINEMA NO. 44


Frankly I'm a bit shocked . . . and at myself, no less. Too long omitted from the blogroll of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD has been a magazine that has remained one of the stalwarts of genre publications. While others have come and gone, SHOCK CINEMA has stood the test of time. From the first issue in 1990 until today, readers have been treated to what can truthfully be called an "alternative cult movie magazine". While not teeming with monsters like we expect from titles such as FANGORIA, RUE MORGUE, and FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, SHOCK CINEMA nevertheless delivers the kind of content that is typically not seen in other 'zines of this type. For that reason, it is, I believe, wholly unique.

The latest issue is #44, and it follows the familiar and consistent pattern of interviews as the main course, served up with enough reviews for dessert to satiate the most hungry of  cinemaphiles. The lead interview is with Stuart Whitman. Others are with the superb and well-known actors John Polito and Shirley Knight. But, the main reason I decided to buy this magazine off the rack at the local Barnes & Noble was for the interview with Barbara Bouchet, who has been a secret "scream queen" fave of mine ever since I saw her as Moneypenny in CASINO ROYAL (1967) as a young teenager (along with Ursula Andress, Joanna Petet, Daliah Lavi, and Jacqueline Bisset I was in hormone heaven!).

The lovely Barbara Bouchet in The Hook ((1977).

The interviews are all informative and entertaining to read, and the questions elicit passages of insight that would be lost with other interviewers. The back part of the magazine is packed with DVD reviews and I defy anyone to come up with an assortment of genre goodies like the ones that are presented here.

Editor and Publisher Steven Puchalski has assembled one helluva publication here, and SHOCK CINEMA is one damn fine magazine. The mag sports color covers and slick paper throughout. The typeface is at a size compatible for us "mature Monster Kids" and the photo reproductions are of very good quality. At a cover price of only $5.00, you'd be foolish not to try a copy. Clink on the link on the sidebar to go to their webpage.

SHOCK CINEMA is not kidding when they state on the cover that it's "Your Guide to Cult Movies, Arthouse Oddities, Drive-In Swill and Underground Obscurities". I highly recommend it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ERIC MCNAUGHTON'S MONSTER 'ZINE DOES NOT BELONG DEAD


The first issue of WBD and the "new" first issue (#9).

In case you missed the news, Eric McNaughton, Editor and Publisher of the late lamented monster fanzine WE BELONG DEAD, has just resurrected it from printer's purgatory.

In this exclusive MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD Q&A, Mr. McNaughton discusses the reasons behind the end of the previous run of his classic horror film magazine and why it took so long for him to give it a new start.

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Why resurrect WBD now? Did you see a market opportunity, or are you doing it “for the love”?

ERIC McNAUGHTON: Mainly for the love of it. I was living in Paris for ten years and during all that time I thought about reviving the mag. I think the deciding factor was starting the We Belong Dead Facebook group and seeing the enthusiasm there still was for classic horror.

MMW: How many issues did you publish of the previous incarnation, and what was the reason for its demise?

EM: There were 8 issues over a 5 year period. It mainly ended due to the fact I stopped working for a printing company, so no more discounted rates for publishing the mag! You have to remember this was in the days before digital printing, so costs were pretty high. Also I guess it was to do with a change in circumstances. I went travelling for 6 months in South America, so producing a mag from the Amazon wasn't that viable!!!!

MMW: What does WBD offer that other ‘zines don’t?

EM: I think the biggest difference with WBD is that the love of the contributors for the genre shines through. It is very much a mag BY fans and FOR fans.

MMW: Will you be focusing on any particular themes or periods of horror history, or will you cover it all?

EM: Our general remit is classic (and not so classic!) films from the silents to the 70s. Not saying there hasn't been good genre cinema since then, but for me this is the classic age.

MMW: Are you planning a website, blog, or other interface with your readers?

EM: I would love to have a WBD website or blog, but have to admit I am not the most IT minded of people!! So if anyone out there would like to offer a hand, please do get in touch :)

MMW: What are your plans for distribution – online, newsstand, etc.?

EM: Most of the sales come through word of mouth and via the internet, especially the many wonderful groups on Facebook. It's pretty hard getting the mag into shops, though I've had some success with shops in Australia, Paris and London taking copies and also Hemlock Books have been a wonderful source of support. I'd love to hear of any other outlets which would be interested in carrying the mag!

MMW: Will you have a core staff of writers or rely on freelance authors?

EM: All our writers and artists are freelance, though we do have a core group. Some have been with us since the very beginning, others since our resurrection. My friend Dave Brooks has been there from the start and supplied some awesome artwork, including the  paintings for the two latest covers. But any contributors are very welcome, the more the merrier!

MMW: As a magazine publisher, can you explain how you produce an issue – software, layout design, pre-press, etc.?

EM: Back in the day I used to have all the articles sent to me by post, then would type everything out and do the paste up and layout, mainly manually. Nowadays it's a lot simpler as writers just email their stuff to me, I do the necessary corrections and spell check then email everything to our fantastic and talented designer Steve Kirkham. After Steve has worked his magic he sends me a pdf to proof read and after that it is simply downloaded to our printers and a week later…viola! A new issue.

MMW: Where can people who are interested contact you and buy your product?

EM: They can buy it direct from myself at wbdmagazine@yahoo.co.uk via payola. The mag is 5 pounds plus shipping (2 pounds UK/3 pounds Europe/4.50 rest of the world) or it can be bought at the Cinema Store in London or via Hemlock Books mail order.

MMW: Anything else you’d like to share with new readers and old readers coming back?
EM: Just that for me it is a LOT of fun putting WBD together. It is a real labour of love. My aim was to produce a mag reminiscent of the mags I used to read in the 70s like World of Horror and House of Hammer.

Thank you, Eric!

Next week: MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD reviews the two latest issues of the new WE BELONG DEAD. Y'all come back, now, ya heah?

Friday, June 28, 2013

ANOTHER LOST FRANKENSTEIN FILM?


MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD has unearthed evidence of a version of FRANKENSTEIN that was filmed in 1940 and perhaps lost in the annals of monster movie history. The amateur film predates the "monster kid memories" group of filmmakers such as Don Glut by over 20 years.

Lensed by a group of high school students in San Antonio, Texas, they produced two feature-length monster movies for their "Double Horror Show", FRANKENSTEIN and DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE. They formed their own production company, Pixelated Pictures, in 1937 and sold shares of stock for 10 cents a share (!). Their first production, JEKYLL & HYDE, returned enough from the box office to pay off the film, pay out a 100% dividend to shareholders, and boost the stock to 20 cents a share.



The August 1940 issue of POPULAR SCIENCE covered this amazing story of young filmmakers who, by all accounts, produced professional products, albeit to a limited audience. It is not known if any prints of the two films remain in existence.

The POPULAR SCIENCE article is shown, along with reconstructed exploded views.










Thursday, June 27, 2013

THIS FEATURES THE CREATURE


To mangle a phrase, "The Creature's worth a thousand pictures". The Universal denizen of the fabled Black Lagoon is side-by-side in popularity with Godzilla for monsters of the atom age.

A favorite subject in the pages of many monster magazines, the original Goonie enjoys a cult popularity like few others. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say he's my favorite monster from the 1950's. Few monster designs can be considered downright "cool" and The Creature From the Black Lagoon is one of them. The simple, but unique story of the Creature comes complete with its own mythology, and when you add one of the hottest of the classic horror hotties, Julie Adams, in her striking one-piece white bathing suit to the mix, who can complain?

While I don't have a thousand pictures (maybe hundreds) in my collection, I do have a few to share. This gallery has been compiled from a few auction sources. Creature collectibles can be an expensive hobby. For instance, the group of lobby cards shown below collectively sold for over $2,000.
























Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JACK PIERCE AND THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: WHAT IS AND WHAT SHOULD BE


A sight monster fans may never see (Hollywood Star art by John Navroth).

JACK PIERCE DENIED STAR ON HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

By Doug Brown

The news, while not unexpected, was very disappointing.  I read my friend’s email several times to let to let it sink in:

“Because I am a member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, I was at a meeting where the 2014 Stars for the Walk of Fame were announced.  Unfortunately, Jack’s name was not announced.”

“Jack” is Jack Pierce, creator of some of the greatest make-up jobs ever seen in cinema:  the Mummy, Wolf-Man, Frankenstein’s monster, and many others.  Pierce is well-known among horror film fans and professional make-up and special effects artists, but not among the average film or TV viewer, let alone the general public.

The next day, I read the list of people who were awarded Stars on the Walk:  a rapper, a talk-show host, several well-known actors, a faded rock star, several “hot, young” entertainers.  Not one person on the list has a body of work to compare with Jack Pierce’s in importance, duration, or influence.  Admittedly, I may be on the wrong side of age 40 to judge the artistic merits or influence of Tupac Shakur and Katy Perry, but I do think the Walk of Fame should honor more than those who will surely become just passing fads of the day.  I cannot argue with the choice of Sally Field, Jessica Lange (KING KONG), or even Liam Neeson.  I think Matthew McConaughey’s output is a bit thin to be recognized this way.

It has been said that the Hollywood Chamber limits the number of posthumous honorees, preferring to have ceremonies with living stars to ensure crowds of adoring fans and tourists will attend.  As Scott Essman told me at the recent Cinema Makeup School Jack Pierce Gallery dedication, a Walk of Fame ceremony with actors dressed in Universal Studios monster costumes with people like Rick Baker in attendance wouldn’t be too shabby.  I would be willing to bet that monster film fandom, and perhaps film fandom in general, would show up in force for such an event.

Scott Essman deserves our thanks for his valiant effort in circulating the petitions, securing the funding, and submitting the application for Jack Pierce to be awarded a star.

VARIETY is one of the original entertainment industry news publications.  I checked its web site this morning to monitor the comments on the Chamber’s announcement.  The vast majority of the 59 posted comments dealt with Rick Springfield “finally” receiving a star.  One person questioned why Busby Berkeley, creator of great musical films, is not represented on the Walk.  I cannot argue with that, but I added a comment regarding Mr. Pierce and his contributions to cinema history.

We should all keep fighting for Jack Pierce to be awarded a Star on the Walk of Fame.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

R.I.P. RICHARD MATHESON


Richard Matheson, one of the Southern California group of writers known sometimes as the "California Sorcerers", died on Sunday of an undisclosed cause. He was 87 years old.

Mr. Matheson, along with other literary luminaries such as Charles Beaumont, Ray Russell, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, and William F. Nolan were a loosely-knit group of writers who each went on to fame in their own "write". Matheson was probably most famous for his story, I Am Legend, which was filmed no less than three times. He started his successful Hollywood career by writing scripts for the original TWILIGHT ZONE and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS TV series. He also penned the very popular story that also became a film, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME.

What dreams, indeed, Mr. Matheson. Rest well. You will be remembered.

[Photo credit:  Beatrice de Gea/Los Angeles Times]

SMOKIN' MONSTERS: BORIS KARLOFF AND UNION LEADER


Well, if you ever wondered what brand of pipe tobacco Boris Karloff smoked, here's the answer . . . at least in the early days. If you believe the ad in this May 1935 issue of POPULAR SCIENCE as words coming directly from Karloff himself, then you would have found that he had smoked Union Leader since 1930. Appearing just a month after the release of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Karloff looks every bit the English gentleman . . . with one catch -- Union Leader was an American product!



For those interested, Union Leader was a blend of Burley and Virginia tobaccos manufactured by P. Lorillard, "America's Finest Tobacco Company", established in 1760. It was cut for use as both a cigarette and pipe tobacco. It's last incarnation before disappearing off the drug store shelf was as a House of Windsor product, where it retained its Burley base accompanied by a top note that was described alternately as maple and honey. Some online tobacconists are currently selling a "Union Leader match" blend.




Sunday, June 23, 2013

EARLY MOVIE MAKEUP RUBBER APPLIANCES


Heralded in the March 1938 issue of POPULAR SCIENCE as a "new development for make-up on stage and screen", a rubber plastic material by DuPont was utilized in the making of molded pieces to be applied for character makeup. The unnamed material had already been used in 1930's industry to make such varied products as gas pump hose, printing rollers, and protective covering for electric cables, when an actor by the name of Lucien Littlefield came up with the idea to form the rubber material into different shapes on plaster face casts and to then apply them to the face for the desired special effect.

Lucien Littlefield (1895 - 1960) was an actor that played roles both in the silent and sound eras, including appearing in a number of TV shows as a character actor (including an eccentric inventor in an episode in The Adventures of Superman). He is most noted for his role as "The Doctor" in the 1927 silent film THE CAT AND THE CANARY. He played another eccentric professor/inventor with Laurel and Hardy in DIRTY WORK. He also appeared as Gaston beside Rudolph Valentino in THE SHEIK (1921).

As a character actor, Littlefield no doubt was looking for ways to avoid, as the article describes, "the painful skin-stretching, padding, and other uncomfortable expedients of the type used by the late Lon Chaney when he made himself up for his character parts." The article goes on to show in detail the steps he employed to produce his rubber makeup pieces, beginning with the plaster cast of his face to the application of the finished molded part with the addition of grease paint and hair.

It is unclear exactly what product is being described in the article. It is alternately characterized by "plastic", "rubber", and "plastic rubber". DuPont invented neoprene in 1930 and marketed it in 1931 as DuPrene. It has been used for everything from waders, to drum pads, training knives and swords, and laptop sleeves. It is also cited for its flexibility and strength. However, in Step 5 of the article, the caption states that "artificial latex" is poured into the cotton-lined mold.

It is cited in the article that this process was invented by Littlefield himself, so it is likely that his technique was expanded upon by other makeup artists after the information became available. While other synthetic and polymerized materials are available and more popular for use by today's makeup and special effects artists, latex rubber is still around for low-cost makeup effects and mask-making.

It is ironic to note that Littlefield discovered and employed this process as early as 1938, when the article was published. It probably wasn't very long after that it was utilized across the industry. Could this have been the beginning of the end for makeup legend Jack Pierce, who insisted on his method of "building up" makeup instead of using formed appliances, and in effect, eventually putting himself out of a job?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

LANGDON AFTER MIDNIGHT


I wrote about famous makeup and special effects artist Rick Baker a few days ago here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. Another makeup man whose specialty was monster masks was a fellow by the name of Verne Langdon. Mr. Langdon was responsible for the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND "Zombie Mask" that has become the stuff of legend.

Forry Ackerman included an article by Bud Philips (who writes very much in the style of FJA) on Langon in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #102 (October 1973). In it, he talked about Langon's fabulous career and his work on the Zombie Mask, that is actually a she-zombie originally named Creepy Suzette!










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