Monday, October 26, 2009

Monster Squad article

"Monster Squad" finally came out on DVD not too long ago, after a wait of many long years by affectionate fans of the movie. Enjoy this writeup about the film from a couple of years ago, back when having it available for home viewing was only an option for those that still had the old videotape release.

The artwork and article come from issue #6 of Horrorhound magazine, which you can buy here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Burial Ground

(click image for hi-rez version)

You know you'd buy a ticket to see this movie.

(Note: Since not all visitors to "My Monster Memories" are aware of another, earlier blog i did called "Sweet Skulls," I will occasionally be importing some of the more suitable entries into this one. If you have read this already on "Sweet Skulls," I apologize, but if you haven't, you might enjoy it here!)

The poster for 1981's "Burial Ground" is a classic bit of zombie movie artwork where once again the promotional effort is better than the movie... in this case, a whole lot better. That is one cool poster!

"Wa-wa-wait! I'll shave it off if you don't like it!"

But that's not to say the movie is completely worthless... not by a long shot. It has it's merits and I still enjoy putting it on occasionally, which is more than can be said for some others. I'd put it slightly below "Hell of the Living Dead" and above "Nightmare City." The proximity it shares with these other titles should give you some inkling of the quality; it resides firmly in that murky swamp of "so bad it's good" territory. In fact, the things that make this movie bad are the very things that make it fun to watch.

"WHAT is that I'm feeling in my underwear?"

A professor researching a burial ground of the ancient Etruscans in Italy makes a discovery of some kind that amazes him. But the ascot-wearing Etruscans buried there want to keep their secrets, so they arise and begin killing and eating all they encounter. Luckily for them, several vacationing couples have come to the Professor's castle-like mansion (apparently he needed some extra money to keep up his research) and they are more interested in getting down than getting out alive. Below are some screen captures I made to share with you. The living characters aren't interesting enough for you to care when they die; their main function is to become zombie chow, so the zombies are my main focus. Oh, and "little" Michael... we certainly can't forget Michael. Who could, having seen him? He's creepier than the zombies, and all he wears is a bad wig.

"Mother, may I have some warm milk before going to bed?"

Michael, a strange man-child, has a thing for his mother, which is understandable; lots of young boys have lusted after their hottie mothers. But she encourages it; when he shows up in the room where she and her boyfriend are giving the bedsprings a workout, she leaps up out of the bed naked, sauntering across the room to grab a sheet and halfway drape herself with it. When all she had to do was cover up a little more while in bed! Yep, the stunted kid is messed up physically, but his emotional problems stem from her unwillingness to let him grow up. Her own neediness and insecurity cause him to be confused about his budding sexuality.

Or, he could just be a horny midget with a slutty mother.

"Oh, man, a maggot just crawled in my mouth! Yuuuk!"

The ease with which the dead are accidentally raised by the hirsute, hapless professor studying the Etruscan tombs seems to indicate that some cemeteries should display "Quiet: Do Not Disturb The Dead!" signs. At least in most of these films some explanation is attempted; Trioxin gas, space radiation, black-magic voodoo, Egyptian curses, biological viruses, etc., but here they just seem to come out because he was being a little too noisy... or nosy, perhaps.

"Boo-gah boo-gah boo-gah!"

The "make-up" of the zombies seems to be composed of slathered-on plaster, into which assorted teeth, hair, eyeballs and live worms are implanted. Then as the "actor" goes through his paces, the dried mud-like layers crack, to reveal red stuff below. Although the effect could work to portray dried-up corpses to good effect, the overdone, hand-molded result hardly resembles human skeletal anatomy at all. Blackened noses poke through the caked mud and blackened lips show plainly behind "teeth," all too obvious in the lingering close-ups. Other zombies are fresh-faced youth with only a little make-up, though, belying the idea that they have all been dead for centuries. However, the makeup is certainly better then the oatmeal-wearing things in "Nightmare City," which seems to indicate that they all died while eating breakfast and keeled over face first into their bowl of Quaker Oats.

His mother warned him that sunbathing without enough tanning lotion would make his skin peel.

The director makes an attempt to mimic Lucio Fulci's Zombie, both with the inclusion of live maggots and nightcrawlers on the makeup, and even the wood-in-the-eyeball gag, only this time it's a glass shard. But the silliness of the living, and the intelligence of the dead, take away any tension and replace it with amusement. The tool-using zombies are so smart that one expects them to soon figure out how to hotwire one of the cars and ram the door with it. The only reason they don't have to is the idiocy of the people inside, who all too soon put themselves on the menu.

Somehow I don't think this fellow looked much better when he was alive.

"Miss! Can you get me out of this mudpack? It's drying out and hurting my skin."

These Etruscans really knew the secret to fertilizing their flowers!

Refreshed from his little dirt nap in a planter, this zombie has an appetite for mayhem.

"Should we get in the car and drive away?"
"No, they'll be expecting us to do that!"

"What... is there something on my face?"

"I'm too sexy for my ascot."

"By the power of the pitchfork, I command you!"

"Oh, no, you did not just pull a rake on me!"

"Aw, come on, you're making it so easy it's not even fun any more!"

Considering the amount of live worms these guys carry around, they'd be very handy to take fishing.

One death that will have you chuckling rather than upchucking is when a maid sticks her head out of a window. One of the zombies below nails her hand to the window sill with a thrown spike, while another slowly reaches up with a scythe. Putting it above her head behind her neck, he very slo-o-o-wly brings it down and severs her head as smoothly and easily as if her neck were made of warm liverwurst. Yes, super-strong and intelligent. The people never had a chance.

This fan completely lost her head over Episode 3: "The Revenge of the Scythe."

"Is this bugging you? Is this bugging you?"

Near the end one of the female characters is surounded by the zombies who advance slowly with hands outstreached. Apparently the are just trying to freak her out, as once they are inches away they all just hold the position while she screams. Must have been waiting for the director to yell "cut!" but he probably was off behind the set wall quaffing down a pint or feeling up the script-girl.

Whoever this mysterious "Black Spider" is, I wouldn't trust the prophetic writings of someone so bad at spelling.

Here's a good review of the film from someone better at that sort of thing that I am... AllThings Zombie.

"Did they just call for lunch? I can't hear a thing through all this junk!"

I'm not convinced this kid ever actually became a zombie. He was just acting normally.

Who these hooded guys are in the church next door is never explained. Sheesh, this late in the movie and you want explanations? They're just zombies, okay?

Friday, October 16, 2009

French "Brides of Dracula" poster

(Click to view larger.)
This is one of my favorite Hammer films, even though there is no Dracula or Lee in it. I put it on just the other night and watched it, as I do every October, and other times as well.
As an aside, I have had a personal project that I had to finish recently, which kept me from blogging. But, it's done now, and I hope to get back to the monsters at hand!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frankenstein: 1973

Back in August of 2008 I scanned and posted a story from a 1974 edition of Skywald Publishing's "Scream" magazine titled "2073: The Death of the Monster" under the post title of "The Death of Frankenstein." In it I wondered about the abrupt start of the story with no explanation of how the Monster suddenly came to be there in 2073. Well, as I was looking through this issue of Nightmare, published in June of 1973 for something to scan for this blog, I came across this earlier chapter in the story that explained how the Monster came to be there.

Strange that the story here continues what was in another magazine a year earlier. I inadvertantly am posting them in reverse order, and even this one is in the middle of the series, as there is at least another one before it. But, each one is interesting, so here you go. Maybe someday we'll have them all here!

First, the awesomely incredible cover to the issue, put out in June of 1973. Truly nightmarish!

And now, we jump directly into the story, just as it was published in the magazine....

Next, proceed to the earlier post to read the final chapter, if you haven't already, titled "2073: The Death of The Monster."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Christopher Lee: Dracula" article from 1974

(Click on images to enlarge.)

From the first issue of Movie Monsters, published in December of 1974, comes an indepth look at Christopher Lee's Dracula films for Hammer. I was 16 when I bought this, and it figures in my good memories of the time as I picked it up at the drugstore down the street from my Grandma's house in Macon, Ga.

The Dracula films are among my favorites to come out of the Hammer studio, and Lee was, in my opinion, the best actor to ever portray the Count. Hope you enjoy this article!

I wonder if they ever noticed that they misspelled his name in the article title! That was a "d'oh!" moment, I'm sure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Fright Flicks" Trading Cards Post #2

(Click on images to view larger.)

Some more of the cards in the "Fright Flicks" series from the '80's for your enjoyment, posted in random order since I don't have the whole set.