Back in 2015, Ronnie Angel published his first book, Slashed Dreams, which is so much more than just a film guide. There are reviews, but also interviews, tons of different lists, and just a lot of fun. Sure, you might not agree with some of his opinions, but that’s one of the fun things about being a horror fan. For a book to be over 500 pages and still only retail for $25, that is just amazing. Same more publishers can’t make some of their titles as affordable as this one!
But now, he has volume 2 coming out. This one will be a little different though, which will be more focused on interviews and behind the scenes stories. It will have over 40 new reviews, including some obscure titles missed in the first book, but mainly will concentrate on the interviews, which Angel talked to over 50 actors and directors from a variety of different slasher films over the years. You’ll hear from the likes of actors like Linnea Quigley, Kane Hodder, Dean Cameron, Jordan Ladd, Kelli Maroney, Russell Todd, PJ Soles, and directors like Jack Sholder, Tom DeSimone, Adam Marcus, Tommy Lee Wallace, and quite a few more.
These are the people working in the trenches that have so many great, unusual, and entertaining stories about being in the business and working on these classic slasher films.
Hammer fans have lost another one of the lovely ladies from their childhood. Yvonne Monlaur passed away last week on the 18th, at the age of 77. Of course, she is probably best known to us horror fans as the young French school teacher that comes across a vampire, only to be saved by Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, in the 1960 film The Brides of Dracula. Monlaur is just stunning here and actually gives a strong performance, making this a very memorable film. She had appeared in Circus of Horrors the year earlier, and would appear in Hammer’s Terror of the Tongs, playing alongside another Hammer icon, Christopher Lee.
The one sad thing about these Hammer films is that since they were made many decades ago, we are slowly losing all of these great performers and craftsman that worked on them. But we know that because these films continue to draw in new fans, that these names and faces will always be remembered, and that they will continue to entertain fans, both old and new.
Our thoughts go out to Monlaur’s friends and family during this sad time.
Mondo Macabro: Weird & Wonderful Cinema Around the World
By Pete Tombs
Published St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998. 192 pages.
Any fan of horror or just strange cinema has heard of the DVD/Blu-ray label Mondo Macbro and most likely has a few of their titles in their own collection. Well, this is where it all started from.
In 1995, Pete Tombs and Cathal Tohill wrote the book Immoral Tales: European Sex and Horror Movies 1956-1984. It talked about different European styles of cinema, like from German, French, Spanish, and Italian. They also covered directors like Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, Jose Larrez, and a few others. Well, four years later, Tomb follows it up with this title, Mondo Macabro, which goes even farther in his quest for bizarre cinema.
Roy Ward Baker
Born Dec. 19th, 1916 – Died Oct. 5th, 2010
Fans of British horror films of the ’70s will probably know this man, since between working with Hammer and Amicus, he was cranking out some entertaining films in a very short time. Starting his career at the bottom and working his way up, even as an assistant director on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938), he eventually became a director. He hit some critical fame with A Night to Remember (1958), a film about the Titanic, which is still regarded as one of the best films on that subject. His first film for Hammer was the 3rd of their Quatermass series, Quatermass and the Pit (1967). Then in 1970, he made a huge hit with horror fans with The Vampire Lovers (1970), starring the lovely Ingrid Pitt. After that, he continued working with both Hammer and Amicus turning out great films, like Scars of Dracula (1970), Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), And Now the Screaming Starts (1973), and even The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).
Baker’s films were simple. They had all the elements to make a great movie, which is what he continually turned out. He has quite a few films in his filmography that some critics might consider cheesy or even bad, but I think horror fans might just call classics, or at the very least, pretty damn entertaining. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Dark Waters (1993)
Directed by Mariano Baino
Starring Louise Salter, Venera Simmons, Mariya Kapnist, Lubov Snegur, Albina Skarga, Pavel Kokolov
On the audio commentary for Dark Waters, director Baino mentions something that Alfred Hitchcock had said about how the invention of sound would destroy cinema. I am paraphrasing this, but his point was that after movies had sound, more time will be spent listening to the story than watching what is happening on screen. One could listen to a film and pretty much get the idea of what is going on, instead of letting the visuals tell the story, which I think is especially true with today’s features. Well, Dark Waters is a perfect example of the opposite of that theory. In fact, when it starts, there is almost 18 minutes before any real dialogue is heard. And in that short time, unforgettable images appear on screen, such as shots of nuns with large crosses on a hill, or more nuns in a darkened field at night with burning crosses, we see the murder of a young girl, with her blood flowing into the water that is leaking through the catacombs in the convent, to even something simple like an old woman on a bus playing with a couple of spiders. Thse are just but a few visual to start off the film. But it continues through the rest of the running time. If modern day Hollywood made their films look half as good and striking as this one, the cinematic world would be a much better place.
Splatter Movies: Breaking the Last Taboo of the Screen
By John McCarty
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 1984. 197 Pages.
Any collector of horror reference books knows the name of John McCarty, since he has written several books on the genre over the years. From Psychos, The Modern Horror Film, to Movie Psychos and Madmen, he’s definitely spent his time watching and learning about the genre. Now maybe its because he’s watched so many that a factual error might slip by. Also, sometimes ones opinion of a title might not be the same as everyone else’s. Which is fine as well, but maybe you should state that it is your opinion.
Born April 16th, 1909 – Died Jan. 10th, 1995
You cannot be even the slightest fan of Hammer Films and not have seen the work of Roy Ashton. He started as an assistant makeup artist back in the ’30s, before starting to work with Hammer Studios, where he created some of their most memorable monsters. But Ashton wasn’t just a makeup man, he almost had a career as a musician and opera singer. But the hours of devotion needed to learn the makeup craft pulled him away from his true love of music. He was the assistant makeup man to Phil Leaky for Hammer, who was the man behind the Quatermass films and Curse of Frankenstein. After Leaky and Hammer had a falling out, Ashton became their head makeup man. He created the look for their films like Curse of the Werewolf, The Reptile, Plague of the Zombies, as well as doing Peter Cushing’s zombie makeup for Amicus’ Tales from the Crypt.
It is a real shame that his name is not as common as Rick Baker or Tom Savini, since his work is still watched and enjoyed today by countless horror fans. But hopefully we can do our little part and hopefully change that. For more information on Ashton, there is an excellent book on him called Greasepaint and Gore, which is filled with great stories and plenty of artwork and photos of his work.