Horror History: John Chambers

 john chambers 2John Chambers
Born: Sept. 12, 1923  Died: Aug. 25th, 2001

All horror fans know the names of Dick Smith, Tom Savini, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, and quite a few others that became famous in the 70’s and 80’s. But what about John Chambers?

Chambers is probably best known for his creation of the makeup effects used to turn Roddy McDowell and other actors into ape-creatures in The Planet of the Apes.  He also worked on horror films like SSSSSSS (1973), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), and even Halloween II (1981). This is the man responsible for creating Spock’s ears for the original TV pilot! He was such a talented and creative artists that he won an honorary Oscar at the Academy Awards in 1969. He was also the first makeup artist to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But if that wasn’t enough, he also did a few things that shows not only his talent, but his humanity. Even before getting into movies, he worked at the Veteran’s Hospital creating prosthetic limbs for wounded soldiers. He also created other artificial parts, like noses, ears, and some entire faces, to help those soldiers who came back scared or deformed by the horrors of combat.

Plus, there was this little thing he did when he worked with the CIA as a contractor, first helping agents develop their own “disguise kits”, but then later in 1980, he was enlisted by the CIA to help with the rescue of six American embassy personnel who were hiding in the residence of the Canadian ambassador during the Iran hostage crisis. So they set up a fake movie production, with ads in Variety, big Hollywood parties, and everything, to make a science fiction film called Argo. Starting to sound familiar? The rescue was successful and in 2012, the story was made into a film, starring and directed by Ben Affleck. In the film, Chambers is played by John Goodman.

Just goes to show you that there is much more to some of these guys that were creating monsters and creatures for the movies.

Convention Memories: The Bill Rebane Film Festival 2005

Rebane fest posterBack on our old site, there is probably close to a hundred different convention reports, or film fests, and whatnot. I used to post on those religiously, but after doing so many, it started to become tiresome because a lot of them started to sound the same. As well as some of the shows becoming more and more overpriced autograph shows, it was getting even hard to not be negative all the time. There are a ton of photos posted of many different celebrities that we’ve seen over the years. I thought about bringing them over to the new site, but haven’t completely decided on that just yet. But there are a few that I will be bringing over, such as this one, mainly because this is quite different than most of the conventions and film fests that I’ve been do over the last 20 years. Hope you enjoy!

I don’t remember the exact date, but it was early in 2005, but I remember calling my good friend Eric Ott with some exciting news. I had known Eric for maybe 10 years, and had never known anybody that was a bigger fan of the work on Wisconsin filmmaker Bill Rebane than him. Most notably for making The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), but Rebane had directed about 10 films throughout his career. Eric was always on the lookout for VHS tapes of his movies, as well as posters, and any other material from his work, even scoring some 16mm prints over the years. So when I read online that in Madison, Wisconsin, there was going to be an actual Bill Rebane Film Festival, and that Mr. Rebane himself was going to be there, I quickly called Eric to tell him that no matter what he had planned on May 7th, he was going to have to cancel it. Because we were going to make a road trip up to Madison for this.

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Movie Review: Tenebre (1982)

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Tenebre (1982)
Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Veronica Lario, John Steiner, Giuliano Gemma, Christian Borromeo

Every humiliation which stood in his way could be swept
aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder

In the early ’80s, after spending several years with the first two films in his Three Mothers Trilogy, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), something happened to Argento while in Los Angeles that gave him the idea for what would be his next picture. He started to receive some strange phone calls from a ‘fan’ who wanted to discuss his work with him. With each call, they became more and more distressing to Argento, especially when this person said he wanted to kill him. After leaving LA, Argento started to really think about that concept of murder. Shortly after, he was quoted saying  “To kill for nothing – that is the horror of today. If you kill for money or to achieve a goal, I can understand that, even if I can’t condone it. But when that gesture has no meaning then it is more repugnant than ever.”

So the genesis of Tenebre started.

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Mystery Photo 7-9

Is summer over yet? I’ll sure be glad when it is. Maybe because that means Halloween is right around the corner, or that I won’t have to deal with this sweltering heat for a few month. Either way, I’ll be happy. Our last photo was from the 1980 film Island Claws, starring Robert Lansing. While this might not be the best giant crab movie, you have to give them credit for building the giant monster! Kudos to the following for sending in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Jamie Chimino, Doug Lamoreux, Gary Miller, Michael Shields, Alan Tromp, and William Wilson. Well done, indeed.

Now for this week’s little mystery photo. One could say this is a shot of me looking out the window waiting for the sun and heat to go away, but it’s not. But do you know where this shot is from? Please remember not to post them here, but send them to me in an email to jon@kitleyskrypt.com. Good Luck!

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Greetings from Castle Rock!

castle rock

Ever since the publication of Stephen King’s 1979 novel, The Dead Zone, the fictional town of Castle Rock would become a staple in a lot of King’s later stories. Now with Hulu, King, and J.J. Abrams creating a new series based on this little strange town, it seems the perfect time to celebrate the different stories that have a connection with it. And now thanks to the Music Box Theatre and Consequence of Sound podcast, Chicago area fans will have a chance to see 8 different films based on King’s work on the big screen.

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Movie Review: Centerfold Girls

Centerfold Girls

The Centerfold Girls (1974)
Directed by John Peyser
Starring Andrew Prine, Jamie Lyn Bauer, Aldo Ray, Ray Danton, Francine York, Tiffany Bolling

Sure, this might sound a little jaded, but if you have a movie that was made in the 70’s that starred Andrew Prine, then you are going to be entertained, plain and simple. Prine is one of these actors that I grew up watching, in both movies and TV and always loved seeing this guy on screen. Sometimes he was the good guy, sometimes the bad guy. But always entertaining. His career started doing a lot of TV westerns, but it was in 1971 when he appeared in the title role of Simon, King of the Witches that started him in the genre. From there, he appeared in movies like Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), Barn of the Naked Dead (1974), Grizzly (1976), The Evil (1978), Amityville 2 (1982), and even on the TV show V, as one of the reptilian alien invaders. Prine was always giving a great performance, even if the film was lacking in other departments.

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Book Review: Biology Run Amok!

BBiology Run Amokiology Run Amok!
Published by McFarland, 2018. 255 pages

By Mark C. Glassy

I first discovered the writings of Glassy with his first book, The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema, which I stumbled across at a Half Price Books a few years ago. Within those pages, he discusses different films in the horror and sci-fi genre, looking at the science in them and seeing what could be true and what is totally off. Such an enjoyable read. This time out, Glassy does the same, but also is educating the reader with a lot of science knowledge and how it is applied in some of our favorite films. These were originally published in Scary Monsters magazine, starting back in 2009, but now are all gathered together in this one volume.

In the beginning of the book, he describes how audiences today are the “Jurassic Park Generation” since we pretty much will believe the science we see in movies as reality. But Glassy goes through these different theories and explains in more details some of the fallacies therein, but also when some of the films gets the science correct.

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