Wow. This one stings. Whether you grew up watching the early black and white classics from Roger Corman or the Joe Dante flicks from the ’80s and ’90s, you knew who Dick Miller was. Even if he was in the smallest of parts, when he appeared on screen, it was usually followed by “Hey! It’s Dick Miller!”
Yesterday, Miller passed away at the age of 90 years old. He had close to 200 screen credits, starting way back in 1954, in Roger Corman’s Apache Woman, as an Indian named Tall Tree, even though he appeared as other characters in the film as well. This started a long time relationship with Corman. The following year, Miller appeared in his first genre picture, Corman’s It Conquered the World with Lee Van Cleef, Peter Graves, and Beverly Garland. He would stay with Corman’s company for many more productions, such as Not of this Earth (1957), Bucket of Blood (1959), The Terror (1963) and so many more. In the ’80s, he was a constant regular in pretty much anything Joe Dante directed, such as The Howling (1981).
Miller could have the smallest of roles, sometimes in just one little scene, but he would make an impact that fans would remember. And even though he has now left us, remember that he has also left us a treasure trove of wonderful memories that have been captured on film, for us to enjoy and to continue to enjoy for generations to come. Dick Miller was at the very first horror convention I ever attended, back in 1988. He was a legend then, and 30 years later, he still is one. And in another 30 years, he still will be a legend. Actually even more…he’s freakin’ Dick Miller!
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980
Published by McFarland, 2011. 346 pages.
By Danny Shipka
“To all those who have received grief for their entertainment choices and who see the study of weird and wacky films as important to understanding popular culture.”
That is the little dedication in the beginning of the book, which I immediately felt a kindred spirit with the author, since, like many fans of cult cinema, have had to try and explain and/or defend their love of this genre. For someone who is new to this type of films, especially from the three countries covered here, this would be a great introduction. This is not an in-depth or critical study or college thesis where the author is trying to come up with some outrageous theory, but an general overview of the films, filmmakers, and what was going on in those countries during this time. As a newcomer to this, you will find quite a few titles to add to your “To-Watch” list, which honestly, is the best thing a reference book can do for the reader, making them want to seek out and watch the films that are discussed. And with that, author Shipka does a great job.
Sorry for the lack of updates this last week, but it is our yearly sinus infection that seems to hit every January. Yeah me! Anyway, now that I’m on some good (and legal) drugs, let’s get to our Mystery Photo. Last week’s pic was from Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994). Only got one correct answer for this one and that came from Erik Martin! Well done!
For this week’s photo, even though we in the middle of a snowpocalypse (if you ask the ones that didn’t grow up in the Midwest), I figured I’d throw something in a little creepy and atmospheric. Sounds good, right? Well, take a peek and see what you can come up with. Please remember not to post your answers here so others can have a chance at guessing. Just send your answer to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck.
Seeding of a Ghost (1983)
Directed by Yang Chuan
Starring Man Biu Baak, Jaime Mei Chun Chik, Norman Chu, San Nam Hung, Maria Jo, Philip Ko, Sha-fei Ouyang, Mat Tin
Back in the late 90’s, Hong Kong films started to make their way into the American cult market, while it would be a few more years before Hollywood took notice of the likes of Jackie Chan and John Woo. At that time, while I was diving head first into the action stuff, I was also discovering the horror flicks coming from there as well. Just like they did with their action titles, some of their horror titles were like nothing we’d seen here in the states. For those who might not be familiar with Hong Kong horror, some may be more fantasy based, and even had some strange humor about, there were more than a few titles that you better have a strong stomach! When you get to hear about a sub-sub-genre of films referred simply as “bug-barfing movies”, you kind of know what you’re getting into.
Still Monday, so it still counts! Busy day but we still got the Mystery Photo posted. Before we get to the new one, let’s review last week’s. It was from the 1960 version of The Hand of Orlac. While I may not think it is nearly as good as Mad Love (1935), it is more than worth your time. Kudos to the following for sending in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Aaron Christensen, Troy Howarth, and Michael Shields! Well done!
Okay, so this week’s might be easy, or not. But the way I’ve been feeling at work these last few months, I can relate to this photo quite a bit. Anyway, take a look and see what you think. Just remember, please do not post your answers here so others can have a chance. Just send them to us in an email to email@example.com. Good Luck!
Born Nov. 10th, 1913 – Died Jan. 1979
Bowie was one of the men responsible for making Hammer Films, as well as plenty of other films, look as good as they did. While he did work on a varying type of special effects, he was mainly known for working on matte paintings and models. A lot of the shots in the films where you see a mountainous landscape was due to Bowie. The first film he worked on for Hammer was The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), where he created the title monster. But he also worked on some of their classics like Horror of Dracula (1958), Plague of the Zombies (1966), and many more films.
He also worked on the original Superman (1978) movie, where he would eventually win both an Oscar and a BAFTA for his work. Unfortunately, he passed away on the same night that the rest of the team that worked on the special effects for that movie had won. So he never knew.
Bowie’s work was one of those little things in the movie that might only be shown on screen for a few seconds, but really made an impact on the look of the movie. So that is the reason that he needs to be remembered for the hard work that he would go through, for very little money, for something that is only glimpsed at.
For those not in the know, Dark Delicacies is a book store in Burbank, CA, that has been open for over 20 years. But due to the raising rent, they are being forced to relocate. While I have never been (YET!) to this magical store, I have bought many items from them online over the years. The fact that not only is it a bookstore, but one that specializes in horror, fantasy, and sci-fi makes it even better. They are always having signings and other special events.