Can you believe that April is almost over? We’re a quarter way through 2018 already. Time flies, huh? So I guess there’s no time to waste but then to get to our latest mystery photo. BUT….as always, let’s review last week’s. It was from William Castle’s underrated classic, Strait-Jacket (1964), starring the one and only Joan Crawford. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this one, it is worth checking out. Kudos to the following that sent in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Aaron Christensen, Dave Fronto, Bill Harrison, Troy Howarth, Toni Keen, Charles Miller, Michael Shields, and William Wilson.
Now on to our latest photo. Might be easy, might be hard, but it is definitely a bloody one! Give it a peek, and see what you can come up with. As always, PLEASE remember not to post your answers here. Instead, just drop us an email at email@example.com and let us know your guess. Good Luck!
Grande Dame Guignol Cinema
Published by McFarland, 2009. 340 pages.
By Peter Shelley
Kudos to author Shelley for coming up with a great idea, highlighting some classics in horror cinema that some of them I feel tend to be left behind. Shelley writes in the preface, “for me the sign of good writing about films is that it compels one to see the movie under discussion. I hope my book does this for my readers.” Not only do I completely agree with that statement, but there are more than a few titles discussed in this book are now on my Need-to-Watch-AGAIN list.
Shelley does a great job in his introduction explaining the title of the book, and clearly defining what he means by it. This is a good way to stop people from asking “why did you leave this movie out?” … granted that will still probably happen. But at least going in, we are well aware of his point and what he is trying to accomplish with this book. With each title, he gives us a little background on the actress who is filling the role of the book’s title, and why they fit so well here. Once again, any book that sheds a little light on some horror history, I’m all for, and Shelley does an admirable job here.
Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Anita Ekberg, Gianni Medici, Diana Lorys, Rosanna Yanni, César Benet, Carlos Casaravilla, Adriana Ambesi, Julián Ugarte
There are times when you sit down with a movie and maybe you’re just not in the right mood, or frame of mind to really watch it. As the saying goes, you can never watch the same movie twice with the same eyes, and my experience with this title is a perfect example of this. I had seen this years ago, from a grainy old VHS tape, mainly because it was the same director as the Blind Dead series. But I didn’t remember that much of it at the time. When it came out on DVD, I course added it to the collection. I’m sure I watched it at some point, but just didn’t have a strong memory of it, meaning that if I had thought it was that great, I would have remembered it. Then the recent Blu-ray from Shout Factory came out and I was going upgrade to this new version when realized I remembered not caring for it that much. So I sat down with the DVD to refresh my memory and realized that I think I was okay with just this DVD version. Nothing really jumped out at me, so no reason to upgrade. But then I read that this new Blu-ray is actually the European cut which is a bit longer than the version I had. Then the “collector” part of me kicked in and decided I had to have this version now … I mean, it’s longer which means maybe I’m missing all the good parts! So I had to have it. Once it arrived, I sat down with it again, to see if this version was going to be another boring repeat viewing. Oh, how I was wrong.
Nothing beats some good old fashion Italian gore flicks from the ’80s. Back when plot, storyline, or even anything remotely coherent didn’t matter as long as we got plenty of gore. Sometimes even topping the gore was the complete insanity of the story themselves! Two names that you could always depend on for delivering the goods in those categories was Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso. And now thanks to Severin, they’ve got a triple terror treat from these two guys.
Just as a reminder, tomorrow at the DePaul University Loop Campus, they will be holding their annual Pop Culture Conference, with their Celebration of Slashers. Starting at 9am and going to 6pm, the day will be filled with movie screenings of titles like Sleepaway Camp, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Candyman, Black Christmas, Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D. There will also be a variety of panels from scholars discussing such topics as Questioning the Slasher, Gods and Monsters: Religion and Politics in the Slasher, Feminism and the Final Girl, Under the Mask: Characters in Slashers, and many more.
Yes, it is that time again … Monday morning. But at least we have a new Mystery Photo, which should make starting the day off just a little better, right? Last week, the photo was from one that usually doesn’t get a lot of credit other than being a cheap monster flick, but I happen to think its a pretty damn good one, the 1959 epic The Killer Shrews! Kudos to the following that sent in the correct answer: Aaron Christensen, Dave Fronto, James Horgan, Keena Jones, Charles Miller, Gary Miller, Richard Schellbach, and Michael Shields. Nice to see so many identifying this just from some crates and the backs of the cast!
Now onto this week’s photo. Another fun classic. Well, sort of. Take a look and see what you can come up with. As always, please do not post your answers here so that others can have a go at it. Just send me a email with your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck!
John L. Balderston
Born Oct. 22nd, 1889 – Died Mar. 8th, 1954
Ever wonder why the original ’30s film versions of Dracula and Frankenstein didn’t seem to follow the novels too much? Well, one of the men responsible for that was writer John L. Balderston. He started his career as a journalist, even before he finished school, working for different newspapers. He would even be a war correspondent during WWI. He eventually started in show business as a playwright, while continuing the journalism gigs as well.
In 1927, he was hired to re-write Hamilton Deane’s stage play of Dracula for American audiences, making more than a few changes. Because of its huge success, he was then hired to do the same for Peggy Webling’s play version of Frankenstein. He would later have his name attached to many of the early monster classics, even if his scripts were never used. But because of his work, a lot of the foundation of these early monster flicks were due to him.
In 1953, Balderston and the heirs of Webling won a lawsuit with Universal, getting paid not only $20,000 but also 1% of any of the films that resulted from their work, including any sequels!