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.
The Sadist (1963)
Directed by James Landis
Starring Arch Hall Jr., Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning, Don Russell, Helen Hovey
One of the things that always set low budget filmmakers apart from the big studios is that they were always willing to take risks and tackle subjects the bigwigs wouldn’t touch. In 1958, Charles Starkweather went on a killing spree, taking his 15-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate along for the fun. When it was over, they had murdered 11 people, including Fugate’s own 2-year-old step-sister. At that time, Hollywood wouldn’t dare touch a subject like this one. It wouldn’t be until 1973, when Terrence Malick would direct the film Badlands. But in 1963, only after 5 years since those tragic crimes, James Landis wrote and directed a film inspired by this murderous rampage. The film was called The Sadist.
One of great things about the yesteryear of movies was the ballyhoo. It would start with outlandish claims about their productions (that I don’t think anybody actually believed…or did they?) and continue through until the film was unleashed. One of the great things that was part of that was promotional items. It might be something as simple as issuing official barf bags to the patrons when they came in since the movie would most likely upset their stomachs! They issued cheap wedding rings to people that came to see Brides of Blood at the drive-ins. Or any number of things if you were going to see a William Castle film, from ghost viewers to punishment polls, it was all part of the fun and making the movie going experience even more fun and memorable. These were just for the theaters and drive-ins either, but when the VHS market hit, video companies were continuing this trend, with box cutters to promote the film Blood Cult, a shovel shaped pen and notepad for Burial Ground, and so much more. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Or at least I thought.
Some companies are working hard to keep that spirit alive and one of them is Severin Films. Lately, they have been knocking it out of the park and taking promo items to a new level. When they released The Changeling (1980), one of the best ghost stories ever committed to film, they put out a replica of the little rubber ball from the movie, which was used during one of the creepiest parts of the film. When they release The Horror of Party Beach (1964), they put out an inflatable beach ball, of course! Nothing over the top, but just cool little promo items. It is these little items like this that just add another little nice touch to the already incredible job they are doing by putting out a spectacular edition of the movies on Blu-ray!
One more thing we can look forward to in 2019 is the continuing proof that print is definitely not dead. Sorry folks, but not even close. Granted, my bank account very well could be, but there are more than a few books coming out this year that I know will be must additions to my library. Not sure where I’m going to be putting them when they do arrive, or when I’ll get around to reading them…
FAB Press announced that they will be publishing the English language edition of Dario Argento’s autobiography, simply called Fear. That is the only details FAB released but since I hadn’t even heard that he was even writing an autobiography (that was actually published in 2014…thanks Troy!), I am more than a little excited about hearing his stories, right from him. I can only imagine the insights and stories we’re going to hear right from the man responsible for so many incredible pieces of cinema.
Add this to the fact that Troy Howarth’s new book, Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento, will be out in 2020, that means we’ll have a few more Argento books for the library shelves. Maybe we’ll even get to see Volume 3 in Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse giallo series. Positive thoughts, my fellow book fiends.
Because this is the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s famous tale, before the end of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to post this, just in case there might be a few out there that hasn’t seen it. This is the first filmed version of Shelley’s tale, that was thought lost for many decades, but a print was finally discovered. It is only about 13 minutes long, but if you haven’t seen it, please take the time to do so. Seeing the special effects used here might seem a bit crude, but just imagine the folks seeing this over 100 years ago.
The film was directed by J. Searle Dawley, and stars Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein, Mary Fuller as his Elizabeth, and Charles Ogle playing the “Monster” for the first time in cinematic history. So please, take a few minutes now and watch a very important piece of our horror history, and be thankful that this was even discovered.
We haven’t had an update in a while with the holidays and trying to get ready for our 2018 Year Review, but we’ll be back with our regular updates starting tomorrow.
I hope everyone out there got a bunch of goodies, like Blu-rays and horror reference books, left under the tree by Cthulhu-Claws. But also that you made those connections with your friends and family, because those relations are more important and can last longer than anything bought at a store.
So from everyone here at the Krypt, we wish you a Very Scary Christmas!
Over a decade before Peter Jackson would be known across the world of the director that brought Tolkien’s famous books to the big screen, he was very well known to us horror fans for his early films. I can still remember reading about this wacky and gory new film from some chap down in New Zealand who made an alien invasion film called Bad Taste (1987), which not only had Jackson directing, but starring in the film in two main roles, no less! His next feature was Meet the Feebles (1989), which was a twisted take-off of the Muppet Show, but if their world was filled with sex, violence, drugs, and everything else that made the world go round! Then of course, his next feature, Braindead (1992), also known as Dead Alive, became probably the goriest and bloodiest zombie film ever made. And all blood and guts aside, it was also a damn good movie! His fourth feature, Heavenly Creatures (1994) was a huge departure from those first three, but still a film to grab your attention, not by comedy and gore, but by an entrancing tale of murder. I can still remember when Jackson won the Oscar for the last Lord of the Rings feature, and during his acceptance speech, mentions Bad Taste and Feebles. I can only imagine some critic who didn’t know Jackson’s earlier work before the Rings trilogy and would seek them out, only to probably be shocked and appalled at them!