Monday, August 30, 2010

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed 1969 article

From issue #14 of Castle of Frankenstein, (see the cover here, from a previous post on another blog) published in 1969, comes this short preview of the next Hammer sequel "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed."
(Click on images to enlarge.)
In the publicity still above, we see a good example of the sneaky "Cushing Grope," a maneuver he often makes with his bosomy co-stars. Watch for it every time he "assists" a female costar... he subtly moves his thumb into direct contact with the starlet's breast! Peter, you sly old dog you. I wonder how many of them noticed it? If you look for it in his films, you will see it as a signature move.

Below, another page from the same issue, on a previous entry in the Frankenstein series of films.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Young Frankenstein article from 1975

This time we look into Issue #25 of the awesome Castle of Frankenstein magazine, published in June of 1975. I bought this when I was 16 from a tobacco/magazine store, when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale. I can still smell the fragrant pipe tobacco scent of these kinds of stores, and associate it with my magazine treasures that I found there, like this one.

The beautiful wrap-around cover from "The Time Machine" was a sight to behold, and made my fingers almost tremble with excitement as I snatched it from the stand. That movie has always been one of my favorites, and seeing it featured on the cover was too exciting to me. I'll feature the article on the movie soon in a future post over on my other blog "Fantastic Flashbacks;" this time, we're looking at the "Young Frankenstein" article. A classic comedy that honors the movie is it spoofing so well that it really fits in as a sequel to them!
(Click on images to enlarge.)

Great art but innocent Weena is painted just a bit on the slutty side.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The Corpse" story from Nightmare #13

Another post imported from my first blog "Sweet Skulls," that spotlights The "Nightmare" issue #13 cover and story. If you missed it there, enjoy it now, here!

(Click on images to enlarge)
In the summer of 1973, my skinny, bookish young 14-year-old self saw this issue of Skywald's Nightmare on the magazine rack at Chichesters Pharmacy on Vineville Avenue in Macon, GA. A cold thrill coursed down my spine, not only because I knew the Skywald mags to be the good stuff, but because the cover art was truly the fabric of nightmares. The beautifully rotting face of the living corpse on the cover was riveting. I quickly snatched it up, had it paid for and out of the store within 30 seconds flat.

Driven mad by high gas prices, he just had to let off a little steam.
Now, most all of the items that I would pick up at the drugstore during the weekend stay's at my Grandma's house, I would read as I walked back from the drugstore. Be it the latest Star Trek novelization, comic book, Monster Times, Famous Monsters, Castle of Frankenstein, Planet of the Apes, Dracula Lives, etc., they would all be perused as I walked the four blocks back home. But the rare issues of Skywald's Nightmare or Scream I lucked upon were saved til the night-time hours. It wouldn't be right to read them in the bright light of the daytime... no. That would be missing some of the special thrill.
After chowing down on the bagful of cheese Krystals I brought home for our supper, watching Kung Fu and the Saturday Night Movie on TV with Grandma, and finishing all the other magazines or comics I had bought, then... and only then...when it was after midnight, came the time for Nightmare. I retreated to my room, with a bedside lamp and a candle lit on the dresser. With a bottle of blue cream soda and some snacks on the table, I would almost reverantly take out the issue and open it. The horrors inside were devoured and absorbed into my young monster-hungry mind, filling it with delicious chills.
This is the first time I've presented an entire story in the Sweet Skulls blog. Usually I only feature the skull-centric cover art. But as I took out my old copy of this issue and scanned in the cover, I re-read the story and decided it would be a shame not to share the whole thing with you. So I spent about an hour scanning in the pages, then another hour cropping and formatting the images for posting. It took another hour to upload them to the blog page. The time required for all this is another reason I don't do it much; how Karswell does it on a daily basis is a mystery to me. I also don't want to encroach on territory already excellently covered by his blog "The Horrors Of It All," but since he mostly features pre-Code comics, and this is from a B&W horror magazine, I thought it was worth doing. As I have time, and if the story is good enough, I may do it again occasionally.
In the page details posted above you can see some of the panels that I really liked. Now, here for your enjoyment (I hope), is the complete story of "The Corpse," scanned in high-resolution. The ending really went differently from the expectations one usually has in these "revenge of the living dead" stories, another reason I liked it so much as a teen.
There you go... bet ya didn't see that one coming, did ya? Well, maybe you did, being so smart and all, but 14-year-old Fred didn't, and that's the standard I judge these old stories by.
Here's a bonus scan of a splash page about H. P. Lovecraft that I thought was well done. It looked like I did after I fell asleep reading the magazine and dreamed about all that weird stuff! Unlike most, I actually enjoyed my nightmares... they were like a realistic movie, and the scarier the better.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1974 Article on Hammer's Mummy

From the first issue of "Movie Monsters," published in December of 1974, comes this review of Hammer studios 1959 version of "The Mummy." This is a movie I like, and watch at least once a year (during October, when I watch one horror movie an evening). The writer of the article has a somewhat lower opinion of the film, but it's still interesting reading. I enjoyed Christopher Lee's version, which was much scarier and dangerous than the old Universal mummy, where the intended victim could avoid it easily unless they froze in terror or it snuck up on them. I loved Hammer's re-interpretation of the classic monsters, and this film was no exception. Lee's towering form and great makeup, combined with his dynamic intensity made an unstoppable engine of death.

First, the cover of the mag... nice painting of the Cyclops!
(Click on images to enlarge.)

And, the article itself...

Bonus: Click the picture for a hi-rez image of another one of the Mummy posters!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Return Of The Living Dead" article

Note: this entry on "The Return of the Living Dead" was originally posted on my old blog "Sweet Skulls," but I am reposting it here since many might have missed it.
(Click on images to enlarge.)

Click to get a nice big image of this poster art.

The French poster for ROTLD, arguably better than the American.

Back from the dead and ready to party with a few friends.

The first issue of Forry Ackerman's new publication "Monster Land" which came out in February of 1985, contained an article on the then-upcoming movie "Return of the Living Dead." Poor old Forry, you remember, had been ousted from his position as editor of FM by the Warren company and this led to their parting. Forry was able to start up another virtual FM called Monster Land, with the "Monster" in the same familiar type and size as Famous Monsters, and this along with a painting of the Ackermonster, let fans know he was back in business... at least for a little while.

Below is the inside cover text which trumpeted the story of his return to publishing. Although not the focus of today's entry, I thought it still might be interesting to some that never saw it. Interesting phrasing of the copy, both for what it said in between the lines about the restrictions placed on him by Warren, as well as the "classic monsters" magazines versus the modern Fangoria-type mags. It was a sad reality that as his FM audience grew up, the younger readers coming to the magazine stands were looking for exactly what Fangoria was offering. And the older classic-monster fans who were still buying such publications were growing fewer. Even I fell into that category. What amused and amazed me as a kid no longer held the attraction, when Freddy Kruger and others were dripping blood and grue from the covers of Fango.

Another hi-rez artwork image for ya.
And now, for our feature presention... the ROTLD article. I remember that Zombie Summer... when so many classic Zombie and horror flicks came out. Aging fans still talk about it in hushed tones... it was like dying and going to zombie heaven... which I guess for a zombie is finding a schoolbus full of teens. And like they would have chowed down on such a gut-filled feast, we chowed down on the moist and meaty movies of 1985.

Tarman was happy to see the fresh-faced, "with-it" teens arrive to bring some life to the party.

Seeing ROTLD for the first time was an electrifying experience. Totally different than what was expected, it crackled with energy, humor and atmosphere. All we could do was sit back and be smacked in the face with one surprise after another, with the gore effects bringing screams to the audience in between the laughs. If zombie films are exciting today you can thank this movie for setting the tone for hyper-active undead action mixed with dark humor.

Enjoy the article below from 23 years ago, and relive the excitement of reading this before you saw the movie in the theater... or, for you young whippersnappers, try to imagine it. The article got me excited for it, but no-one was prepared for it when they saw it. I first watched it with a group of friends at a midnight showing, and I took my fabric pullover skull mask in my pocket. During the scene of the zombies coming out of the graves, I put it on and sat there watching the movie. In front of us were three already-scared teenage African-American girls, and when one looked back and saw me, she screamed, then the other two screamed, and they freaked. By the time the summoned usher came around with his flashlight, I had pocketed the mask and was wearing my best innocent face. Mean? Possibly. Fun? Oh, yeah...

Frank indulges in a bit of humorous foreshadowing.

It's interesting how designer Bill Stout refers to a "spore" being responsible for the return of the rotten ones, when the script revolves around the 2-4-5-Trioxin. So this interview must have been conducted early in the short production process. Also some of the designs and efforts he made to show various time periods were never seen in the film. Although a few make-ups of decaying zombies made it onto film, the majority of corpses in the crowd scenes just are regular people, albeit muddy, with very few make-up effects or even masks in view. The sudden change in make-up artists before the job was finished probably accounts for some of that, as time was running out to finish what was a big job. But the individuals we saw, such as Tarman, the woman half-corpse, and a few others, carried the film in terms of startling creations, the likes of which we had never seen before.