Happy Turkey Day!

While our real Turkey Day is happening tomorrow, for everyone else out there, from everyone here at the Krypt, we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. No matter how commercialized the holidays become these days, it doesn’t take long to take a few seconds and realize how thankful one should be. I know it’s hard sometimes, especially when you’re in the thick of it, but there are some bright spots out there that I think a lot of us tend to not notice. I know that is the case for me. So, when I have the chance to stop and look around and see with a little more clarity, things always do look a little better.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Karloff!

As a young horror fan, Boris Karloff was the first of my horror heroes, and all of these years later, remains my all-time favorite. He was the first one that I knew the name of the person who was behind the monsters that he played. That came from probably his most famous role as the creature in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), or possibly because he narrated the Grinch, but I would later learn and appreciate more and more of his roles.

One reason for this was due to Richard Bojarski’s book The Films of Boris Karloff, which I checked out so often from my middle school library that I was told I couldn’t check it out any longer, to apparently give others a chance to check it out. I would page through there, looking at all the different roles that he appeared in, especially the horror ones, and dream of the day when I might be able to stumble across it on TV some Saturday afternoon. Oh, how naïve we were back then, huh?

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Italian Gore . . . Way Back in 1936

A couple of things here. Italian horror cinema has always been known for its gore, especially when you consider the films that came out in the late ’70s and ’80s. From the works of Deodato, D’Amato, Lenzi, Fulci, Bava, Soavi, and the list goes on and on. So why am I surprised to see this Italian short film, called Il caso Valdemar, made way back in 1936? Directed by Gianni Hoepli & Ublado Magnaghi, it was based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, first published in 1845. What I didn’t expect was the amount of gore for that time. When Corman adapted this story in his film Tales of Terror (1962), which Vincent Price melting at the end, was pretty cool, but seeing this done 26 years before is just amazing. This is a silent film, though there is some written Italian in the form of letters or notes. But the ending, though pretty dark, is just incredible that they came up with those effects that long ago.

Secondly, it amazes me each and every time that no matter how long I’ve been a fan and student of the horror film genre, that one can still learn new things. I always like to point this out to fans that are newer to the genre and that might feel a little intimidated by what some older and more experienced fans might know or all the films they have seen. Honestly, the way you need to think of it is that we are all on the same path, just that some have been on it a little longer. I don’t see a point where someone is going to be where they’ve seen it all. There will always be new things to discover, even if they came out decades ago. The goal should be to always to continue to discover more, whether it be new films or old ones, the excitement will be the same.

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Is What We Do Important?

Not to get too philosophical on a Monday, but with the way the world is right now, where it seems to be the norm for politicians to blatantly lie over and over again without worry about being held accountable, to a dozen other world crises going on, it makes me wonder every now and then that the time I spend writing, reading, and talking about the horror genre, if it is really important. Shouldn’t I be spending that time helping to better the world in some sort of way?

My father was not a fan of movies. In fact, I know of only one time my stepmother dragged him to a theater (which he quickly fell asleep and snored through the whole thing), and I don’t think I ever saw him stay awake for a movie on TV. But if he were alive today and saw what I am doing, even more so on the convention circuit, he’d lose his mind because he would see all this as people wasting their time and money and such stupid things.

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The Rebane Exhibit Report

As I reported a few days ago, on Saturday the 22nd, myself, along with Aaron Christensen, Dave Kosanke, and Gavin Schmitt, made the trip up to Merrill, Wisconsin for the Bill Rebane’s Hollywood Midwest: A Retrospective on Wisconsin’s First Feature Film Studio, an exhibit being held at the Merrill Historical Society, put on by Brandon Johnson. Because it opened at 9am and we wanted to be there right when it opened, it meant that I had to leave at 3am, drive into Chicago to pick up Aaron, then head north to pick up Dave, and then meet Gavin at the Museum as close to 9am as we could. We got there at 8:55am. Pretty good planning if I do say so myself!

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I Do NOT Collect Toys! Well . . .

I made a choice years ago, right before Sideshow decided to make the horror toy market explode. I realized that if they started to bust out a ton of different figures, if I started collecting them, I’d have to get them all. I decided that, for the most part, I was not going to collect horror toys. They are cool and would be great to have, but that is not where I want to put my money. No judging, just a personal choice.

Granted, I have taken the plunge every now and then and picked up one or two, such as the Waldemar Daninsky figure from Night of the Werewolf from Distinctive Dummies, since, I mean, it is Paul Naschy, after all. And then there is the Emily & Dickie figure from The Beyond that Pallbearer Press & Distinctive Dummies put out, and then all those Hammer Horror figures from Mego, and a few Funko Pop figures, but that’s it!

What amazes me is the custom figure market that has developed over the last few years and has seemed to explode. These amazing and creative creations, as well as the obscure characters they decide to produce is just stunning. Which brings me to one figure I recently came across that almost had me busting into my wallet.

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Terror Tuesdays Continue at the Sulzer Regional Library in Chicago

Last Tuesday, my partner-in-crime Aaron Christensen (Horror 101 with Dr. AC), were at the Sulzer Regional Library to discuss the first part in our month-long discussion of the horror genre. Last week’s subject was vampires, where we started with Nosferatu that came out 100 years ago, through history to the modern-day bloodsuckers. If you were at the event last week and wanted the list of films that were covered, look at the bottom of this post.

But this coming Tuesday, Oct. 11th at 6:30pm, we’re going to be diving into the zombie sub-genre, from the very beginning where they were mind-controlled slaves to the more popular flesh-eating types. So, if you’re in the area, feel free to stop by. It is a free event and what better time of the year to hear about some of our favorite monsters!

The next two subjects for this series will be Giant Monsters on Oct. 18th, and Ghosts and Haunted Spaces will be on Oct. 25th. For more information about these events, just click HERE.

For those that were interested, here are the list of vampire films mentioned in our discussion last week. These are listed by release date of the films.

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More Naschy on Blu-ray and UHD!

I’ve been wanting to post something about this earlier but have been too busy or maybe just too giddy to type comprehensive sentences! But last weekend, Vinegar Syndrome announced that they would be releasing Paul Naschy’s 1971 film The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman. Anchor Bay had originally released on DVD back in 2002 under the title Werewolf Shadow, followed by another release by BCI in 2008 under the same title. But it had never been released on Blu-ray here in the states, let alone in 4K UHD! This Vinegar Syndrome release will have 3 different cuts of the film: the international export version (which has the nudity) that runs 87 min, the Spanish clothed version, which runs 94 min, and an integral “nude” version. that runs 95″ min.

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Terror Tuesdays at the Chicago Public Library

In the past, my partner-in-horror Aaron Christensen (aka Horror 101 with Dr. AC) and I have given some little seminars at the Sulzer branch of the Chicago Public Library, giving an overview of the horror genre. This year, however, not only did they ask us back, but they wanted MORE! So now, we’re taking over every Tuesday in October with TERROR TUESDAYS!

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A Colossal Release of Albert Glasser!

Dragon’s Digital Domain Records have unleashed another CD of the work of composter Albert Glasser, another entry of the work he did with director Bert I. Gordon. This time out, we get both scores for The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) and its sequel War of the Colossal Beast (1958)! The release has 23 tracks with a total running time of 67 minutes! The release was mastered by James Nelson of Digital Outland, and also contains lineal notes from film music journalist Randall D. Larson.

Glasser worked on a lot of films, starting out by doing a lot of westerns. But once he got to the ’50s, he composed the scores for a lot of sci-fi/horror films. Thanks to the folks at Dragon’s Digital Domain Records, we’re able to enjoy Glasser’s music on their own. Composers have a lot to do on how the film plays for the audiences, and Glasser’s work is a good example of that.

Priced at only $17.95, you can order your copy from Screen Archives Entertainment by clicking HERE.