Saturday, November 22, 2008

1969 Reader's Digest Night of the Living Dead article

Don't gaze at the cover too long, it might give you nightmares...
after it puts you to sleep.

When I recently posted scans of a 1971 Newsweek article on "Night of the Living Dead," some readers shared their memories of a Reader's Digest article from back in the late 60's that described the movie's horror so vividly that it alone gave them nightmares.

My curiosity was piqued, so I looked up the article online and found a copy of the June 1969 issue of Reader's Digest on eBay. Now I have it in my sweaty hands, and am sharing it with you. If you remember it, this will bring all the details back in crystal clarity. If you have never read it, it will not only amuse you, but educate you to some history; both about the movie, and the reviewer, a then little-known critic by the name of Roger Ebert.

Apparently, the article, entitled "Just Another Horror Movie - Or Is It?" did both the movie and critic a world of good; the movie became more of a legend that simply had to be seen; and the critic won notice by reviewing it and went on to more fame. It's an interesting read; as one has to wonder what happened to the "poor traumatized tykes," and also to read Roger's take on the film. Referring to Ben only as "the Negro," he was a bit racially insensitive, even considering the times. He watched the movie; couldn't he have remembered that his name was Ben? Even a simple line at the beginning that said "a young Negro, named Ben..." and then referred to him by name; but as it is he reduces the character to a racial type, and in the process, demeans him.

Ebert was also insensitive to the idea of "spoilers," since he reveals the whole plot and even the shocking ending. At least, it would have been shocking to the readers that saw it later if he hadn't told them about it in advance. Thanks, Roger... when you reviewed "Planet of the Apes" did you tell everyone "and they were on ***** the whole time"?

The whole article is less of a review than it is a righteous rant on parental and film-maker carelessness in protecting children from stuff too strong for them. He's right, as far as the responsibility of the parents. If I had seen it at that age, it would have terrified me beyond my ability to deal with it also. The same warning should go to parents today who let their young children view "R" rated horror films too soon.

Anyway, here it is as promised, along with some extra tasty treats from the digest in the form of nostalgic ads. Eat it up!

"See this sandwich? It's actually made from my old pal 'Trigger.' M-m-m-m!"

"Fried chicken! Mom, can I invite my friend "the Negro" over to eat with us?"

Update: Thanks to reader Mike V. who supplied the link to the entire article as it is found on Roger Ebert's site. Much more gruesome in it's description, this is probably the one that people remember most. Also, Ebert explains a little more about his position on the film and the reason the review focuses more on the audience than the film.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day of the Dead video release poster

Today's Monster Memories are of:
The video release ad for "Day of the Dead"

Oh, you're gonna love me for this one. When you click on the image you'll get a bloodshot eyefull of zombiedom's main man, Bub, in a cool painting to tout the movie's 1986 release to VHS. This was a full-page ad slick, 8 1/2 by 11, sent out to video dealers, one of which kindly passed his tossed-off promotional materials to me. And now I'm posting a hi-rez scan just for you.

And, for no particular reason other than I like you, below are some pictures I took while in Savannah, GA recently. That town has the most photogenic cemeteries in the country, I think. That's where the graveyard scenes in "City of the Living Dead" were filmed. Why more movies aren't made in these historic cemeteries, I don't know, but they are awesome, and huge. You could film in any direction and never view anything but old tombstones and moss-covered trees as far as the eye can see.

Heads up!

Usually if I were to add a post about a monster magazine, it would be right here... but this monster magazine has a Star Trek cover story, so I'm featuring it on my other blog, "My Star Trek Scrapbook." Beam on over and check it out! I even gleaned something from it for my Held Over! movie ad blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

1971 Newsweek "Night of the Living Dead" article

First, an apology to my regular readers; I haven't been able to post for a few weeks, as "real" life caught up to me lately and I had very little extra time for awhile. Hopefully now I can get back in the swing of things and post at least once a week. Thanks for sticking around! -Fred

Today's Monster Memories are of:
November 7th, 1971 Newsweek "Night of the Living Dead" article

Whenever I was visiting older relatives in the family when I was a kid, I was always on the lookout for old magazines and newspapers that had items of interest to me. The newspapers sometimes yielded old movie ads which I now share on one of my other blogs, Held Over! which features vintage newspaper movie adverts. And the magazines sometimes held articles that, as I refind them in my collection, I decide would fit better here.

Such is this article from the November 7th, 1971 edition of Newsweek. The article is a look back at how NOTLD was viewed as it began to make the midnight movies circuit long after it's initial theater run, which was unusual. I had never seen the movie, and articles like this only whetted my appetite. I wouldn't get the chance to see it until 1982, when I brought it home from the local library along with their 16 mm projector, and watched it on a sheet on the wall. I was 23 at the time and it was still terrifying to me!

For weeks later, when I would take the trash out at night, I would glance around nervously in the dark. It gave me the willies that much!