Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Drive-In Super Monster-Rama 2009, Part 1

Earlier this month, the Voodoo Queen and I went to the third annual DRIVE-IN SUPER MONSTER-RAMA, sponsored by the website DVD Drive-In. As with the two previous events, we had a great time, as expected. I took so many pictures, I'll have to make more than one post! (Click on each photo to see it larger.)

The event brought memorable classic horror films of the 60s and 70s and wonderfully schlocky horror films of the same period once again to the really big screen, in this case the screen at the Riverside Drive-in, located about an hour's drive from Pittsburgh. (I kinda wish that the world leaders of the recent G20 summit meeting held here had been taken out for a night of monster fun at this drive-in; if I were President, it woulda happened.)

There were trailers, cartoons, shorts, and intermission films too. And always lots of great faces from the days of classic horror; terror thespians like

and of course Vinnie

and Peter.

There were great schlock titles in the previews:

The best title was this one:

Of course, every one of the films in the trailers is

and possibly
because they feature monsters like


and even the
Besides the usual popcorn, soda, candy, hot dogs and hamburgers, there was delicious cheesecake:


In the photo just above, actress Madeline Smith is showing off her

Double your pleasure, double your fun!

By the time of the first intermission, boy, were my appetites stoked. So I had a coupla burgers and several Zombie cocktails, until every movie looked like this:

And this:
Okay, I'm kidding. I was stone sober for all the pictures--none of 'em needed artificial enhancement for them to be thoroughly enjoyable. (Well, Terror Creatures From Beyond the Grave did put me to sleep, so I guess it needed coffee served with it.) The two last photos were just "screen captures" (of the original kind!) of dissolves.

Now I really AM thirsty, so I'm taking an

More on the event later.

Color me scared

Friend of TDSH Ted Newsom sent me some photos he colorized of monsters from classic black-and-white films and from one classic television show. He had first posted them at the Classic Horror Film Board, where they made a great impression. (The impressions were made in viewers skulls when they fell over backwards in amazement.)

Here's Ted's Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man:

Chaney as a Wolf Man in Casa del Terror:

Chaney as the Wolf Man in a comedic Halloween 1962 episode of the old show Route 66:

Chaney also appeared in the guise of the Mummy and the Hunchback of Notre Dame in the show, and Boris Karloff donned the makeup of Frankenstein's Monster. The episode was an affectionate swan song for the actors to the Universal characters that made them famous.

Genre villain Peter Lorre also appeared, and he and Karloff debate in the episode whether classic horror characters had become outdated in the modern world of 1960s America. The three happily discover that they haven't. (Sadly, the makeup man doesn't do the best job in recreating the look of the characters.)

I think the show would have been so much more poignant if only Bela Lugosi had lived long enough to appear as Dracula, and argued with Karloff instead of Lorre. Without Bela, I can only watch the episode with some wistfulness, "if only..." echoing in my mind.

All colorized images copyright Ted Newsom 2009.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Same site with a great new taste!

Or is it the same taste at a great new site? Yeah, that's it.

The superlative MONSTER MAGAZINES has moved! Formerly a Geocities website well known for its info and amazing cover galleries (until Yahoo decided to shut down Geocities sites) , it's now a blog on all the movie monster magazines of the Golden and Silver Ages. Information on the classic mags is still being ported, but all the gorgeous cover images of the 50s and 60s are there. (The 70s covers are also still being moved over.) Highly, highly recommended.

Click here to go there!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The weirdness of words

Earlier today I thought of a half a dozen words and names that sound dirty but aren't. WEIRD! Here they are:



Jack 'n' the Beanstalk


Cracker Jack


UPDATE: Comments from readers have added more than 30 other "faux-filthy" words!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weird News: The itsy bitsy spider...

...crawled up the pontiff's robe:

I wondered if the spider was thinking "I'm gonna need a LOT of webbing!"

Or maybe he was the Pope's familiar! (That may sound insulting, but as I am the sort of person who keeps the Halloween spirit all year 'round, it was meant whimsically, and with a smile. No disrespect meant.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

A "die-o-rama"!

Master modeler and friend Jim Bertges sends these pics of a scene he created of a coach traveling through Borgo Pass. An attack by wolves and bats has surprised the unwary travelers!

Click on the photos to see the great detail work. Man, I wish I could see this in person! Alas, Jim lives on the other end of the country!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shane Briant's new short films

Author and former Hammer film star Shane Briant has a book out titled Worst Nightmares, a horror novel which I reviewed and recommended in this post. Recently, I watched short promo films for the novel on YouTube. I was surprised to see that instead of the usual voiceover with a picture of the book, these little films were showing characters and places depicted in the story. A very pleasant surprise was seeing that one of the actors was Briant himself, doing a very good job as "The Plastic Bag Man." All the promos can be seen here; I especially liked Worst Nightmares (Aug. 29), The Agoraphobic, The Crib, and The Plastic Bag Man.

So I talked to Mr. Briant by phone and by e-mail about the short promos; here's what he had to say about them:

Who made the promo films and how were they shot?

I shot all the videos in my attic studio with my camera (CASIO) and my computer. Then I processed the rushes through my iMovie.

Where did you find the actors, and who plays the them?

I begged some great friends to act out the roles. I couldn’t afford to pay them so I added their names in the acknowledgements page of my book. Jeffery Bloom, who appears as the "Dream Healer", wrote and directed Flowers in the Attic, among other films.

The rest of the credits are:

Alex Davies - The Mouth Maiden
Danny Adcock – The Drowner
Janneke Arent – The Scorpion Girl
Barry Langrishe – The Agoraphobic
Wendy Lycett – Wheelchair Wanda
Mary Reagan – The Superglue Lady
Barry and Katya Quin – The Stakes Couple
Holly Louise Greenstein – The Bug Girl

Where are the locations of the Dream Healer's shack seen in "The Crib"?

The Crib was an old shed used by the Sydney Water Authority. I came by it late one night and it looked mighty scary.

What was the most enjoyable part of making them?

It was fun to try and scare people as they gave their performances.

Thank you for taking time to talk with me, Mr. Briant.

Great chatting with you the other day! Best of everything!

Mr. Briant's novel has received some very good notices, such as these:

“One of the best horror and suspense novels in years.” --bookgasm

“All the danger, treachery and intrigue a reader could ask for.”-- NYTimes best selling author Steve Berry

“Shane Briant combines the psychological suspense of Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs, the creeping horror of Steven King’s Misery, and the eerie inescapable fatality of The Eyes of Laura Mars.” --Katherine Neville, NYT best selling author.

“A bloody good thriller!”--Davebrendon’s Fantasy& Sci-fi

“Definitely pick this one up! 5 out of 5.”-- Popin’s Lair

“Fireside Books first hot book for September – couldn’t put it down!”

Relevant Links:


Shane Briant's blog.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frankenstein and the Clintons

It seems Chelsea and Bill Clinton spent some time thinking about Victor Frankenstein, according to the Associated Press. (I tried calling my friend Pierre of Frankensteinia yesterday to tell him the news, but he wasn't at home. Guess I'll just have to scoop him.)

During President Clinton's terms in office, Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a long-time friend of Clinton's, spent many hours taping conversations with the President at the former Chief Executive's request, partly to record Clinton's thoughts and opinions for future reference by the President, and partly--apparently-- as an exercise in unburdening himself.

Now Branch is set to publish a book based on those recording sessions, and there's an anecdote involving Chelsea Clinton and the novel Frankenstein. According to an AP article,

"On the night of the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, the topics between Clinton and Branch included...then-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's appeal to win delivery of more F-16 fighter jets and the legislative strategy of the new GOP House speaker, Newt Gingrich.

Then Chelsea, the Clintons' daughter, hovered at the door. She was writing a paper for her sophomore English class to describe the best and worst qualities of Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's famous novel, but she couldn't make her points fit on a single page, as assigned.

"He's reading it, and then he asked me to read it and what did I think? And where could it be shortened?" Branch recalls. "I've got the tapes going and I'm wondering, 'Am I going to be able to get back to the stuff I'm supposed to be doing? And will historians of the future think I'm an idiot for getting sidetracked off of these things with the president of the United States to be critiquing this homework assignment on … Dr. Frankenstein?' "

I'm no historian, but I don't think he was an idiot. Given the sometimes horrible consequences that result when power and good intentions are combined, any politician thinking over and discussing Frankenstein's flaws and strengths seems a good thing, to me.

The image at the top of this post I found at the website Double-takemedia.com's "Movie of the Weak" feature, which tweaks old movie stills and posters to insult politicians of both parties.

A Hammer star names my snake-- IT IS...


This name, a reference to Kurt Russell's character in Escape to New York, was sent in by TDSH reader Mike Scott of Ohio, the state that's round on both ends and hi(gh) in the middle!

Paula Abdul quit unexpectedly as a judge for the naming contest, and that left me and former Hammer film star SHANE BRIANT, who I contacted last week, as judges. (Shane's seen right in a pic from Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.) Well, having a celebrity as well known as him on board made me decide that only Mr. Briant would be the arbiter of the most appropriate name in the poll results.

He chose from the top 3 vote-getters in the snake-naming poll. Said Mr. Briant in an e-mail sent this evening:

"I think this one is pretty easy.

"In THIRD place comes ‘Trouser’. [2nd place in the reader's poll.] I knew someone would come up with this and I pity any snake that is likened to a penis.

"In SECOND place come ‘Creamette the Living Noodle.’ I might have voted for ‘Noodle’ (cute) but a brand of noodle, no. And it’s too long. Can’t call out to a self-respecting snake in such a way – has to be short and pithy. Imagine if the snake were crossing a busy road and a car was coming? By the time you called out 'Look out, Creamette the Living Noodle!!!' She’d be GONE!

"So, the WINNER is....... ‘Plisskin,’ !!!!!!!. Nicely onomatopoeic and clever."

CONGRATULATIONS to Mike and THANK YOU! to Shane Briant. Mike wins five bucks and two cents, (pre-2009 Lincoln pennies) , a choice of any item on this page, and a free dvd copy of The Drunken Severed Head Show, the only 10 minute film release complete with commentaries, deleted scenes, and a stills gallery!

And some cheap horror trinket of my choice.

When contacted by phone, Mike said, "Cool! Thanks! I never thought I'd win." (I think he means he
hoped he'd never win--now he wins a prize with MY face on it.) He also said he'd likely choose the TDSH Campaign 2008 mug as a prize.

On the right is a photo of my newly-named reptile. You can see he's camera-shy.

And here's Mike Scott of Ohio:

He's not the Mike Scott who won the contest, but I can't get a picture of him; he's camera-shy too. So this is jazz guitarist Mike Scott, who was raised in Ohio. Eh, what's the diff? You've never met either one!

Being an idiot with a juvenile sense of humor I liked "Trouser"--rhymes with pet name "Bowser"--but Jane did not. She swears she did not bribe or cajole Mr. Briant in the selection process. But really I liked ALL the names, including "Serpico", which Mr. Briant had earlier told me he liked as a name for the snake.

Thanks to everyone who participated in any way in this contest!

Update, 9/23/09: This post, originally put up some days ago, disappeared from my blog for reasons unknown to me. But here it is again!

Mike Scott image source found here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Liquored-up trivia

In the 1970s, one member of the National Advisory on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholics was named Norman A. Scotch.

Apples were first grown principally for making hard cider.

A ton of potatoes will yield 28.6 gallons of absolute alcohol.

Asparagus berries make a good drink when fermented.

To keep opened cooking wine from spoiling by sitting to long on the shelves, put a few drops of olive oil in it to keep air away from the wine. (Or just drink all the rest after you opened it and used what you needed in cooking. Duh!)

Apple brandy, called "applejack", has been affectionately called "essence of lockjaw."

Amethyst, the violet or purple variety of quartz, was believed by the ancient Greeks to protect its owner from getting drunk. The name itself means "not to intoxicate." (Pffftt!)

Source: The Joy of Trivia

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'd wear one!

Comic book ad for novelty neck-wear, 1941.

Comic book ad for novelty neck-wear, 1952.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A year passes since Linda left

My friend Max the drunken severed head looks a lot like me, has a wife with the same name, and his life is remarkably like mine. But he's turning over the blog to me, Max Cheney, for today, since I want to talk about something that has no jokes, and no horror--except, that is, for the genuine horror I feel right now.

Life has the power to frighten far more than the stories and images of terror often celebrated here. Today I am forced to face the horror that my friend Linda Miller passed away exactly one year ago.

Lives are measured in years; we celebrate birthdays and usually feel joy in them. So the one year anniversary of my friend's dying is powerfully painful to me. Now, her friends and family who loved her, when thinking of her, will measure backwards from her life as it recedes in nearness. Each annual remembrance will be more poignant because each year we grow closer to old age, a season in life that was denied Linda.

Her friends and family (and she felt her friends were family) won't forget her. Sometimes, in observing someone's death, people say nice things, often in lavish terms. You can tell they are self-editing, not talking about that person's flaws, failures or sins, yet they are thinking of them.

Yet I can say with full candor that Linda was remarkable for her lack of most of the common foibles--selfishness, self-pity, keeping grudges. The friends and family she left behind were amazed at her generosity, determination in the face of tragedy and violence, and patience with others. She looked for ways to like everyone, if there were some she didn't, she kept quiet about it and focused all the more on being thoughtful to as many people as she could, keeping herself balanced with her easy sense of humor, and passion for the arts and her art.

To commemorate her loves and her talent, I am sharing for the first time some early art of Linda's, found this summer by her mother. These were all done in the early 1980's, soon after Linda left high school. The pictures are not all of the best quality, some are photos and some are scans; the scans are sometimes just of part of the art, which was larger than the scanner.

First, a drawing of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman from the film Midnight Cowboy.

Next, Laurence Olivier from Richard III.

A portrait of Rasputin.

An illustration of Carl Sandburg's poem Grass.

And last, a self-portrait, from a time when she had long hair.

I'm am pleased her art graced the latest issue of Scarlet: The Film Magazine. I know she would be.

Finally, as her friend and favorite author Ray Bradbury just celebrated his 89th birthday, I thought I'd also share a drawing she did in 2008 for a Bradbury foreword to an upcoming book on the Chandu films. Linda would be pleased with my sharing it, I think, even though she generally was fairly modest about her talent. It's a very well designed illustration, and it's interesting to see that she uncharacteristically made a stylized rendering of the fictional Chandu. It serves to better contrast with her affectionately flattering, yet photo-realistic portrait of Bradbury.

Halloween is coming, her favorite holiday, and mine, and of many who knew her. A day for celebrating the supernatural and our shared fascination with it.

I don't pretend to know anything about the supernatural, or even whether or not it exists. Linda believed, and as her friend, I believed in her. So for today at least, I have faith that Linda is out there somewhere, happy as autumn approaches. And on what otherwise I see as a horrible date on the calendar, that thought will cheer me all through the day, and through the night.

Coming this week: New pictures of Linda and the full article I wrote about her for SCARLET magazine, as well as regular posts on other subjects.


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