Saturday, June 27, 2009

1979 "Cracked" spoof of Alien

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This time, the collection cabinet opens to my copy of Cracked #164, published in November of 1979. As usual with Severin, the art is crisp and clean with an eye toward set and costume accuracy, and the actor likenesses are impeccable; except for the alien, which resembles his "talking blob" character with an extra set of teeth. Enjoy!

You may know about my new blog, "Fantastic Flashbacks," focused on science fiction, as opposed to monsters like this one. Of course there is sometimes a crossover between the genres and it's hard to make a distinction between whether a film item goes in one or the other. This movie is a good example; "Alien" may be science fiction, set in space with ships and such; but it's more about a monster than scientific or speculative fiction. So, I made the decision to put it on My Monster Memories. But both blogs are sheer nostalgic fun, so visit both, okay?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The She Beast/The Embalmer double-bill poster

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The poster for a 1966 double-feature that I would have loved to have been able to see at a drive-in. I was too young, though... only 8 years old. But wouldn't it have been awesome?

Monday, June 22, 2009

1972 Gargoyles TV Movie

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He may be smiling on the outside, but on the inside, his heart is breaking.
In 1972, I was 13 years old, and spending the weekend at Grandma's house in Macon, Ga.  Fortunately, the made-for-TV movie"Gargoyles" was airing for the first time that night, and I when I saw the previews I knew I was in for a treat! Earlier in the evening we had enjoyed our usual supper, Krystal cheeseburgers that I had walked down the road to pick up, and after I spent awhile looking over my newest comic book and magazine acquisitions, we settled down to watch the movie. Looking back, those summer afternoons and evenings spent there were some of the best of my young life as I grew up.

"We paid a lot for this makeup, and we dang sure want to make sure you appreciate it."
The movie tells the story of a small group of Gargoyles, hidden in the Navada desert, who are on the verge of another 600 year hatching cycle. The struggle between man and lizard-like creatures flares up whenever this happens, but then the event is fogotten in history or relegated to myth. A couple of years back I was thrilled to find out that VCI had released the movie on DVD, and I immediately ordered it. The day I got it in the mail was a happy one, and I sat down to relive an experience from nearly 35 years before, Krystal cheeseburgers included. And did it ever take me back! The photos below are screen captures I made from the DVD that I think you will enjoy if you remember seeing the movie, and if not, it will give you an idea of why I enjoyed it so much back then, and even now when I take it out and watch it... as I did last night again.

"Watch out for those scary floating letters on the runway!"
There's no doubt but that this film was a TV movie from the early 70's, and it's because of that I enjoy it so. The whole look and feel return me to that time, the same as watching "Kung Fu", Kolchack: The Night Stalker," and the "Planet of the Apes" TV series. They all came out during that period of time that I was a young teen and any of them are able to take me back.

"Dang, my little girl's growing up! Look at those... careful there, Mercer."
Before the credits we hear the "Outer Limits" control voice, Vic Perrin, as he tells us the history over images of medievel art of devils and photos of gargoyle statues. (Perrin also does the voice of the lead gargoyle, dubbed in over Bernie Casey's acting, with a scratchy sound effect laid in.) We even get a glimpse of the main creature, as though they couldn't wait to reveal it. Obviously, they are proud of the makeup job and monster suits they paid for, as they take every opportunity to show them as prominently as possible, even in bright zipper-revealing close-ups in sunlight. Stan Winston's first break in the movies netted him an Emmy for the makeup effects, and little did I know as I watched the movie how often his work would later figure in so many of my favorite horror and sci-fi movies. (Spoiler alert: from here on out, if you don't want to know the details, just look at the pretty pictures and skim over the text.)

"I calls it "Nicatakachinko" which is injun fer "Makum Me Heap Big Wapum."
As the appropriately goopy-fonted credits play over a scene of a plane landing, we meet our hero, Dr. Mercer Boley, (played by Cornell Wilde) an anthropologist who specializes in the occult and demonology. His teen-age daughter Diana (hotly played by Jennifer Salt) arrives on the plane, and together they drive off into the Nevada desert to meet with an old man named Willie, who claims to have something of interest to show him. The item turns out to be a skeleton of what he claims was from a living creature, which Boley laughs off. But they still stay to interview him about his knowledge of local Indian exorcism rites, and after nightfall the shack is attacked by something that rips into the roof with claws. Willie is killed by a falling timber, knocking over the kerosene lamp and setting the shack ablaze. Unable to help poor old Uncle Willie, Boley and his daughter escape with the skull of the creature, fighting off a something big that leaps onto the roof of their car as they speed away.

Not a sight you want to see at the foot of your bed at night.
Later, after leaving their damaged car at a garage, they rent a motel room from Mrs. Parks (Grayson Hall, of "House of Dark Shadows" fame) and turn in. The next day they report Willie's death as an accident to the local police, who upon investigating find a group of dirt-bike riders at the scene and assume they are responsible. Feeling the police won't believe him, Boley doesn't tell them about the creature attack on the shack or their car, and the bikers are arrested.
During the night, two gargoyles break in to retrieve the skull, but as they escape one of them is hit and killed by a semi (which keeps going). Anxious to have proof of his new discovery, Boley wants to keep the body a secret from the police, even though it might prove the biker's innocence.

"Did anybody get that trucker's license number? Oh, man!"

"Pardon me, may I have the key to the restroom?"
However, the matter (and the body) is taken out of his hands as the gargoyles return in greater numbers that night to get the body of their fallen comrade, and in the process the winged leader (Bernie Casey) becomes turned on by Diane (like much of the teenage male viewing audience, including me) and takes her along with them as they return to their cave nest.

"Smells like Teen Spirit!"

Now, we'll get a good look at those costumes!
Mama Gorgoyle, picking up on her mate's infatuation with Diane, is unhappy, even though Daddy reassures her when she goes on the attack. She may be mollified for the moment, but she keeps an eye on her, and we know that's not the end of it.

"She don't mean nothin' to me, momma! I swear."

As a 13 year old boy, that little halter top and tight jeans Jennifer Salt wore stirred things in me that I had only begun to be aware of. She's still pretty hot to watch now, even 30 years later... in a 70's kind of way.

"Ah, I don't know... I'm finding this Stephen King a little dull."

The leader acts as if he wants Diana to teach him from the books they also grabbed, but he's really interested in getting closer to her, which doesn't go unnoticed by Mama. Meanwhile, Boley has alerted the police to his daughter's abduction, and they, along with the newly-freed bikers, take off in to the desert with hunting dogs to find her. Inside the cave, the latest brood of hatchlings is emerging from their eggs, the size and maturity of 7 or 8 year olds. As the posse near the cave, the gargoyles come out and attack them, killing several and running off the rest.

"Awww, just look at him... isn't he the most precious?"
The head gargoyle confronts Boley and tells him to follow him back to the cave if he wants to see his daughter. When they get there, he is informed that they will never leave. However, Mama has had enough of that little slut trying to steal her man, so she helps him to escape, no doubt hoping he'll take along the girl also. He's unable to rescue her, but he brings back the biker Reeger played by Scott Glenn, who brings with him two cans of gasoline. As they shoot their way into the cave, Boley rescues his daugher, but Reeger is overcome by gargoyles as he douses the egg chamber with gas. His last act is to flick his Bic and blow up the eggs before more can hatch.

"All we wanted was to live in peace... after the extinction of mankind. Was that too much to ask?"
At the mouth of the cave, the leader starts to fly off with Diana with Mama bringing up the rear, but Boley breaks her wing with a rock. Now the leader must fly her out, leaving Diana, if his kind is to survive. Why Boley let them go, knowing it might mean the end of mankind in the next 600 year breeding cycle, is a mystery. Perhaps he just felt sorry for them, and after all, he figured, mankind can take care of itself in 600 years when they have flying cars and all.

Amazing how he can fly them both with those little wings!

"After all that I need a shower. Want to join me, Diana?"

Nobody played the needy, lonesome alchoholic like Grayson Hall.
Of course, there's more that happens than in my quick run-down; you'll have to watch it for yourself if you can find it. All in all, this little made-for-tv movie was memorable, and well done. Sure, the efforts to show off the monster makeup and suits was a bit overdone, and the mood and effect would have been better served by a more shadowy, slower reveal. But, it is what it is, and we get to appreciate Stan Winton's first movie job in all it's rubbery glory. It sits right on my DVD shelf beside it's 70's companions "Colossus: The Forbin Project," "Kingdom of the Spiders," "The Devil's Rain" and "Frogs." All good 70's era fun that brings back the memories!

"I know, pride is my downfall, but don't I cut a striking figure?"

"No, I am not Lance Henrickson. Why does everyone always confuse me with that guy?"

Would you buy a stuffed Jackelope from this guy?
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this monster memory as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blood Island posters

(Click on images to view full-size.)
Feast your eyes on some awesome artwork for two of the "Blood Island"trilogy of movies; 1969's "Mad Doctor of Blood Island," and below, 1970's "Beast of Blood." It was posters like this that brought people into the drive-ins with high expectations, and although the films didn't live up to them, they were successful enough to make three of them. I mean, look at these posters, especially the one below... how could you possibly not want to see that movie?

That is just too wacked.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Announcing (another) New Blog!

No, Monster Memories couldn't contain everything I collected when I was a kid and teen, even though I've squeezed in posts on "The Time Machine" and "Forbidden Planet" several times. As I went through my collections, I realised I was going to need to start a blog devoted just to the movies, TV shows, magazines, comics, books, cards, etc., that were more science fiction than horror. So, I have created "Fantastic Flashbacks" for that other fun area of interest I've always had. You'll see of course the three "R's" of sci-fi... Rockets, Robots and Rayguns; but much more from the many SF TV shows and movies I've loved over the decades. You never know what you'll find there... intelligent apes, superheroes, the women of sci-fi, or UFOs.

Hope you join me soon over at and add it to your list of favorites!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Death Race 2000 poster

(Click on images to view biggie-size.)
To commemorate the untimely loss of David Carradine, whom I was first introduced to watching "Kung Fu" as a kid, here is the poster for one of his more memorable movie roles. I was a big "Kung Fu" fan, and watched it whenever I spent the weekend at Grandma's house in the mid 70's, along with "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and "Planet of the Apes."

Below, the newspaper movie ad I clipped from the Macon (GA) Herald in June of 1975. I previously posted this on my other blog, "Held Over!" devoted to newspaper movie ad clippings I have made over the years.

Below, a newspaper review of the movie, also clipped by me in June of 1975.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Horror of Dracula poster

(Click on image to view in horror-scopic enormity!)
Equal parts awesome and awful: the blood-drenched poster art for the best Dracula movie ever made by Hammer, or anyone else for that matter. Lee was born to play the Prince of Vampires, even if the poster looks very little like him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Frankenstein: The True Story 1973 article

(Click on article to read.)

Clipped from the Ft. Lauderdale, FL News on Nov. 30, 1973.

I had posted a smaller clipping on this before, here.

Few realised that the Monster's disposition was due to the hemorrhoids that came with the pre-used body he had been given.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Thirty-Three

And, here we are at the last entry on "My Monster Memories" of our thirty-three day retrospective on the little-known 1998 card set "Dinosaurs Attack" by Topps. I hope you've enjoyed seeing them in large-size scans, something not done anywhere else on the web (so far) that I'm aware of. We wrap up the look at the Eclipse graphic novel with this two-page article about the card series...

(Click on images to view larger scans.)

And below is the two-page title and credits. A number of artists contributed, as you can see from the names listed. This under-appreciated card set and comic can be had pretty cheaply online, if you want to own them for yourself. And as mentioned, I have some duplicates in case you need to complete a set; email me and let me know what numbers you need and we'll talk about it!

As with all posts on this topic, all of the copyrights are owned by Topps Cards and/or Eclipse Comics.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dinosaurs Attack: Day Thirty-Two

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"I just knew this would happen to me someday!"

And, here we are with the last two bonus cards from the graphic novel, as card C, painted by fan-fave Earl Norem, depicts a scenario that many air travelers fear; midflight ejection by an attacking Pteranodon the size and disposition of Rodan.

Below, card D, a humorous (till it happens to you) scene that shows a light-on-his-feet dinosaur absconding with an infant, much to the horror of his babysitter and pals. I think they can safely rule out the mother asking them to watch the baby again.

Below, as we look at the last of the Earl Norem paintings done for the graphic novel adaptation, we see the final panel of the attack on the bridge, and begin another short but violent vignette.

In an homage to the famous scene from "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," the next page shows a heroic policemen wolfed down by a dinosaur irritated by his ineffective gunfire.

And below we get a Pterodactyl's-eye view of the nation's capitol as the flying terrors gather for a feast, on the last page of this issue. Too bad that the other books in the series were never published. I would love to see the artwork that might have been done for them but never released.

One of the preview panels from the back of the book gives us a glimpse at the promised fun which never materialized. Wouldn't you like to see an animated film, even direct-to-DVD, released that adapted the story in the Earl Norem-style artwork? Dream on, Fred....

Next: the final entry from the graphic novel, an article that reveals some facts about the art.