First off, just want to give fair warning that this is going to be a bit of a rant. And something that you’ve heard me mention many times before. And again, this isn’t about any convention specifically out there, just in general, so don’t anybody get their panties in a bunch. But being at this last convention, I noticed something that I feel I need to mention. Another one of the reasons that I had finally made the decision to head east to Monster Bash this time was because of books. Followers of this site know my affection towards horror reference books and my ever increasing library, so the fact that several authors were going to be at this show, made the trip even more attractive.
On the guest list for this show was Gregory William Mank, who is a film historian and author of many great books. One of the things I love and admire about Mank’s work is that he isn’t just writing about the bigger names like Karloff and Lugosi, but also about the smaller and lesser known names from the genre that we love, such as Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Dwight Frye, and many others. I had brought along several of his books from my collection, such as the wonderful book Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration and a few others, to get signed. While at his table, we had a really nice conversation about his work and how much I enjoy as well as appreciate it. He mentioned that his upcoming book will be on actor Laird Cregar, best known for his roles in The Lodger (1944) and Hangover Square (1945). The book is entitled Hollywood Ripper: The Rise and Fall of Laird Cregar, and according to Mank’s website, “explores the true story of Cregar and examines his film performances, the blessings and curses of the Hollywood contract system of the 1940s and the legacy of an actor who might have become one of the cinema’s greatest horror stars – and character actors.” It will be published by McFarland & Company.
For the 6 books that I got signed, the cost was….nothing.
We made it home safe and sound from our first trip out to The Monster Bash Conference in Mars, PA. It was a bit of a drive out there, but I have to say it was just a great time and well worth the trip. Ron Adams from Creepy Classics, and his Monster Bash crew, really knows how to put on a show. Sure, it is aimed more for the older classic monster fans and those movies, but none the less, we had a blast.
Ron has events planned from early in the AM until the wee hours of the morning, during every second of the weekend. There is no way anybody could be bored at this show. Hell, he even had films screening on Thursday because he knew quite a few people were arriving early for the show! But something that was different that I liked (even though I didn’t get to spend too much time in there) was that besides the Q&A’s and the movie screenings, there were also presentations given, such as one on films being banned by Britain in the ’30s and ’40s. Not only does it give the attending fans something to do during the weekend, but they can actually learn something too!
Film fans have lost a great composer this week. James Horner died in a single-engine plane that crash while he was flying, yesterday morning. He was only 61 years old. I’ve been a fan of Horner’s work long before I knew who he was. He started out working on low budget and films that are now considered cult films, but are ones that I still hold dear to my heart. Films like Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Wolfen (1981), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), and especially Aliens (1986), which he received his first of many Oscar nominations for best score. He would be nominated a total of nine times, winning twice.
His music always helped infuse a real feeling into the film. While the film Braveheart isn’t a film I would normally talk about on this site, Horner’s score is just incredible. I can’t listen to the ending of that without having my heart slowly ripped from my chest. It immediately brings back the images and feeling from the film and it is as if I’m watching it all over again, just by hearing his beautiful score. This shows the power that Horner and his music could create. He was quoted as saying this about his music: “I’m different from some other composers because I don’t look at this as just a job. I see music as art.”
Thankfully we will be able to remember this incredible talent and the passion that he gave millions of film and film music fans around the world. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
It’s Mystery Photo Monday folks! Not going to forget this time. Our last photo was our little tribute to Richard Johnson who we recently lost. The movie is from The Haunting. Not going to say the “original” because as far as I’m concerned it is the only version ever made. Congrats to the following who sent in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Gregory Avery, Cate Cameron, Gavin Schmitt, & Scott Stephens. Well done.
Now our new photo is another black and white film, but probably isn’t on the same classic level as The Haunting. No…not even close. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still entertaining, right? So here is our latest photo. Take a look and see what you can come up with.
Another Monday, another Mystery Photo. Our pic from last week was from Paul Naschy’s La Venganza de la Momia aka The Mummy’s Revenge. Nothing like squeezing the head like a melon, right? Kudos to Elena Anele and Mike Tutino for sending in the correct answer.
Now on to this week’s photo. Sure…might just be a picture of a wall. Or maybe it is something else? Who knows…if you stare at it long enough…you just might see something. Or not.
Anyway…take a look and then send me an email at email@example.com with your guest. Good luck.
Scream Factory announced that they would be putting out the Larry Fessenden Collection later this year. The films include No Telling, Wendigo, The Last Winter, and lastly, his film Habit, which I personally think is one of the best low budget and realistic modern-day vampire films out there. This was the first film I had seen of Fessenden and have become a fan of his work ever since. I’m also excited about getting to see No Telling, which is the only one of these titles that I haven’t seen yet.
There’s no release date yet, or what extras are going to be on here, other than the promise of a lot of them. No matter what they are, I know I’ll be picking this up when it hits the streets. Fessenden is an extremely talented man and I’ve pretty much loved most of the stuff he is involved with, whether as an actor, director, or producer.
My good friend Aaron Christensen not only is responsible for pointing this film in my direction, but also chose to write about it in the book Hidden Horror.
I urge everyone out there to check these out…especially Habit, and even more so if you’re one of these that is tired of the vampire genre. This one just might change your mind.
Most people will not know or recognize Joanna Pettet’s face or name, but if you grew up in the ’70s and watched a lot of TV, such as I did, then you might at least recognize her face. She had a promising career in the ’60s & ’70s in both film and TV, and even appeared in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967). She didn’t do a lot of work in the horror genre, but enough to once again, make her very memorable to younger fans like myself. She appeared in the 1974 film Welcome to Arrow Beach, a very strange film starring Meg Foster and Laurence Harvey. She also was in The Evil (1978), alongside Andrew Prine and Richard Crenna.
But it really was because of her appearances in Rod Searling’s Night Gallery in the early ’70s where I’ve always remember her from. Pettet had such a unique and beautiful look to her that I immediately became entranced by her. The first episode she appeared in was called The House and was directed by actor John Astin, making his television directorial debut. On working with Pettet, Astin said directing her “was a lovely experience.” In her second appearance on the show, he co-starred with her husband Alex Cord, in the episode Keep in Touch – We’ll Think of Something, which is a story about the woman of your dreams…and murder.