Monday, September 29, 2008

"Cramped Quarters" Halloween book

Today's Monster Memories are of:
The "Cramped Quarters" children's book
(Click on any images to view full size.)

Although "The Crowded Coffin" would have made a better title, it might not have sold as many copies to the overprotective parents.

I bought this for my daughter in 1995 for Halloween of that year. She was 11 at the time, and enjoyed the Halloween-related things we did all during October. This coffin-shaped book was fun because of the monster artwork, and the lights and sounds that accompanied it. Two LED's went through the eyeholes in each monster's face, and blinked when you turned the page, while a banshee-like scream sounded. I thought you might enjoy seeing it, so I took photos of each page on a seasonally-appropriate background to spice things up a bit.

The Monster's new Nikes made him a little more approachable for the children. Throwing them in lakes was much easier now!

The Count breathed in the fresh air as he shoved the Monster out. It was a little known fact the Frankenstein's farts were real killers!

The Teenage Werewolf's case of claustrophobia made it get a little hairy when he found himself in such tight places.

The Mummy, never wrapped too tightly in the first place, was freaking out over the rats burrowing in his bandages.

The Swamp Thing, ticked over being confused with that idiot Man-Thing once again, was itching to get out and call DC about copyright infringement.

Glad to be rid of the smelly compost heap, the skeletal pirate swore he'd never be first into the coffin again.

The major Universal monsters are present, in the usual order as they are mentioned; Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, Mummy... but where you would logically expect to find the Creature from the Black Lagoon next, they substitute Swamp Thing. Strange! But at least they saved the best for last; the always dependable Pirate Skeleton. I look forward to reading it with my three-year-old grandson this Halloween season!

Here's a photo of this year's indoor Halloween village I set up. It's one part of the living room decorations, but not all of it. More pictures to come!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thrills & Chills Issue #2

Today's Monster Memories are of:
Scholastic's "Thrills and Chills" magazine #2

Published in 1994, the "Thrills and Chills" magazine by Scholastic was made available for ordering to schoolchildren. My daughter was in the second grade when she got three issues second hand from a friend who was through with them. We put them with the Halloween books that we saved and put out each year with the inside decorations. I thought I'd scan some pages in of those three issues we have for your enjoyment. The pages scanned this time are from Issue #2. The riff on "American Gothic" with the Monster and the Bride is genius!

A note here about my posts; I have just about become paralyzed lately when it comes to posting. You want to know why? Well, I'll tell you. I would go through my stuff and think 'here's a neat item to share" and scan it in, or write a blog on a certain subject, and then I'd find out that someone else in the circle of blogs I regularly visit had already done a post on it! They would either have posted the exact same item, or written about the same topic, and usually better. And I'd end up deleting the post I had prepared, or in some cases already posted. It got discouraging. I felt I'd come too late to the party, and someone else had already given the same present I brought to the birthday kid. It happened again with this post, and I said, "another blog entry down the toilet!" I had my hand on the handle ready to flush, via the "delete" button.

But then I realised that if I kept on doing that, I'd never post again, because it's almost impossible to post something completely unique. Someone, somewhere has already done it. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't. Perhaps I could bring some slightly unique perspective or memory to the table, and maybe my readers simply hadn't seen the other already.

So, I'm not going to avoid a subject or item because another blogger has already done it. I'm not going to worry about it or become paranoid. If they did it, well, I'm doing it too. Hope that's alright with you.

Halloweephemera:To the right is a candy bag I saved from a party I went to as a kid.

A Halloween card I got some years ago. I save them all and display them each year. I'll share more with you over the month of Halloween... I mean, October. And I'll also share many of the books in our Halloween bookshelf, as well as photos of our decorations. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

1980 "Zombie" article from FM #169

Today's Monster memory is of:
The "Zombie" article from FM #169
"Climb every mountain, ford every stream. Follow every rainbow, till.... you... find... your... dre-e-e-eam!"

I've been going through my magazine collection and organizing them better... well, really just organizing them, they were in the shelves with no regard to what they were. It's a slow process, because you know I have to stop and look through them, after having not seen them for awhile. When I find something interesting to share on one of my blogs (I have four) I set it aside for scanning later. Well, all that to say, I recently rediscovered this article on Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" in an issue of "Famous Monsters." Here it is, for your consumption, from Issue 169 published in October of 1980.
For another "Zombie" article, this time from "Fangoria," (where you would expect it to be found) check out the earlier blog entry.
And if the gory grue of "Zombie" left a bad taste in your mouth, here's a delectable morsal to tantalize you with a taste of what might have been... *sigh...*

"How do you like my bat ring?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

1986 Time "Aliens" article

Today's Monster Memories are of:
The July 1986 Time article on "Aliens"
(Click on images to view full size.)

In the summer of 1986, a new kind of big-budget sci-fi/horror/action film was unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. "Aliens" amped up the budget, scope and action in a sequel that many feel surpassed the original. In the day when most sequels were of a lesser budget each time, "Aliens" increased it and it showed. Here is the complete article that I saved from Time magazine on the movie that would blow so many horror fans away.

Below is the "Mad" magazine cover of the issue that lampooned the movie, depicting a truly horrifying scene!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mad Monster Cartoons

Today's Monster Memories are of:
Those "Mad" Monsters
(click on images to view full size.)

When younger, I was always on the lookout for magazines of any kind that contained items of interest. No, I didn't have tunnel-vision toward the monster mag section only; I knew that often other kinds of publications would occasionally feature those things I loved; monsters, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, etc. I would also scan over the teen magazines; movie star mags, tabloids, and the comic satire mags like "Crazy," "Cracked" and of course, the first and best, "Mad."

"Mad" very often lampooned the movies and TV shows I liked, and I have quite a few issues from the early 70's that spoofed my favorites. The earliest I have is one from 1965 that did a terrific take-off on "Lost In Space." Among many others there were a lot of monster comics and gags. Here are a few "Mad" monster laughs for you, and more will be coming in the future! As Criswell says so eloquently; "Remember... future events such as these will affect you... in the future."

Check out the recent posts on a couple of my other blogs: on "My Star Trek Scrapbook" get a good look at some 33-year-old newspaper articles on the then-young fan phenomenon; and on "Held Over!" take a peek at the original TV Guide ads for the legendarily-bad "Star Wars Holiday Special."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 1974 Nightmare Yearbook

Today's Monster Memories are of:
The 1974 Nightmare Yearbook
(Click on images to view full size.)

Inside cover of the mag.

In the summer of 1974, I was 15 years old. During one of my weekend stays at my Grandma's, I picked up this copy of Nightmare at the drugstore, and one story in it really did give me nightmares. Called "Hag of the Blood Basket," it was an epic tale of fierce determination and refusal to accept fate in the face of hopeless circumstances. The artwork is excellent, and the story compelling (the letterer could have paid more attention to the spelling, though). The heroine, an ugly old hag, goes through hell and back to gain her freedom.

Defiantly, she shakes her fist in Satan's face and demands her rights. A stand-out role model for human rights and a feminist's inspiration, her poverty and ugliness didn't hinder her fight for justice. Hag, we salute you!

Now, that's what you call a raw deal. I read once about a chicken that survived having it's head cut off. The farmer fed it food and water with an eye dropper down it's neck. The farmer and the chicken made the rounds, showing the chicken and making money. But one day he let it get choked on it's mucus and it died, along with his business. True story. Oh, and the dog ate his head too, like in the story. UPDATE NOTE: Headless Mike fans; check out a special post devoted to this amazing avian!

Mike the Headless Chicken lost his head but not his cool. Doing the "Chicken Dance" wowed the crowds.

Here's a short story to conclude with from the same issue, that makes the same point as the first one; once in, there ain't no gettin' out... alive, anyway.

You just can't find good help nowadays.

In a neat coincidence, Karswell also posted today a story about a hag, similar in appearance, who also gets a dirty deal. Great minds and all that? Nah, that would be presumptuous of me, and insulting to him. Chalk it up to synchronicity. Check it on at The Horrors Of It All!