Monday, April 30, 2018


Get down on the Hexentanzplatz!


SFX Collection #52
Autumn 2011
Publisher: Future Publishing Ltd.
Editor: Ian Berriman
Pages: 132
Cover price: £7.99; $10.99 USD

Everybody likes zombies! What's not like about a horde of decayed, flesh-eating creatures that shamble across a blasted and apocalyptic landscape tirelessly searching for human food? As a matter of fact, zombies have never before enjoyed such notoriety in the hallowed halls of pop culture.

The folks at SFX magazine thought so, anyway, when they published this massive tome about zombies in mass media. Today is the first of the week-long postings of this hunka-hunka burning love devoted to the other undead. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2018


Numerous visual elements are used to set the scene and mood in monster movies and other supernatural horror films. The most successful of these are those that are less noticeable and natural, sometimes even subliminal. That's why art direction, set design and lighting are oftentimes taken for granted -- especially when they are done well -- because they have done their job by creating the atmosphere, that visual space where the actors make their characters come to life, in such a way as to help make the scene come alive without detracting from the action. I like to call this art form as it applies to horror movies, "atmos-fear".

And, what better way to introduce the subject of atmos-fear than with images of a beautiful woman in a nightgown and a fog-drenched graveyard? Pretty Nina Foch, playing Nicki Saunders, has been sinisterly ensorceled by the vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) in RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (Columbia Pictures, 1944). Art Direction was by Lionel Banks and Victor Greene. Banks also contributed art direction to two other genre films for Columbia in 1944, CRY OF THE WEREWOLF (also starring Foch), and THE SOUL OF A MONSTER. Set decorations were handled by Lous Diage, who later went on to work on many well-known TV shows of the sixties, including THE MONKEES, THE FLYING NUN, and I DREAM OF JEANNIE. The person with the fog machine was no doubt special effects man Aaron Nibley or an assistant.


Saturday, April 28, 2018


Back in the seventies, I worked at my friend's father's office machines store just a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, CA. "Office machines" in those days meant typewriters and calculators. It was my first sales job and I was eager to please.

My very first customer was on one fine Saturday, when in walked a gentlemen whom I instantly recognized. I spent the next hour or so trying my best to sell this man a portable typewriter that he wanted to take with him "on safari". It was well past lunchtime, my blood sugar was dropping, and I was trying desperately to maintain my poise.

I finally closed the deal, when my customer decided on a Royal portable. I believe the bill came to $100 and change, and he walked away a (I'd hoped) a satisfied customer. The customer's name? Patrick McGoohan!

One of the quirkiest, but engaging television series of all time remains THE PRISONER. The brainchild of actor the aforementioned Patrick McGoohan, each episode of the 17-episode series, shot in the quaint little resort town of Portmeirion Village, Wales, built upon the other to create, by the end, a head-spinning, psychedelic narrative that served up more questions than answers.

In the October 2017 issue of FORTEAN TIMES, author Brian J. Robb "opens up the secret world" that was under the surface of the series. Mr. Robb explores the occult elements of the show that were ever-present but not always recognizable.