A Tribute to Monster Mark

While Mark McConnaughey might not have been some famous actor or director, or anything in the movie business other than a fan, for a lot of us though, he made just as much of an impact as any movie ever did. At least I know he did with me. Monster Mark, as we always referred to him as, recently passed away, after battling multiple sclerosis for many, many years. It is a hard loss for me, even though I had only really seen Mark in person a half a dozen times over the last two decades, but we somehow connected through movies that gave us a strong bond.

Jon Stone and Mark McConnaughey

I first met Mark back in 1995. I had sold him some movies around that time and was planning on going to the Chiller Theatre show in New Jersey. Mark wrote me and said he would be attending too and we should hook up in the evening, which is just what we did. Hanging out in the bar with him, along with my friend Jon Stone, we talked for hours about all sorts of movies. In fact, Mark and Stone were throwing back title after title, each one more outrageous than the last, interrupted with bouts of laughter. Continue reading

George Hilton – Rest in Peace

George Hilton - RIPFans of Italian westerns and the giallo film have lost one of their own. George Hilton passed away yesterday at the age of 85. He started in films back in 1956, appearing in more than just a few westerns. But he also made a few giallo films, which when he did, they were pretty amazing, such as The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1970), which is one of my favorites in that sub-genre. Granted, it might have something more to do with Edwige Fenech… He also appeared in films like The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971) and All the Colors of the Dark (1972), another very important film in the giallo sub-genre. You can also see him in Lamberto Bava’s Dinner with a Vampire (1989) playing the century old vampire who just wants to die.

While he stopped appearing in films a decade ago, you could always see him show up in interviews on the latest giallo documentary or new Blu-ray release, speaking so fondly of his experiences in the industry. But as always, when the fans lose a great talent like this, we know that his memory will live on as long as there are fans of these films. And I have a strong feeling that will go on for quite some time.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

 

David Hedison & Rutger Hauer – Rest in Peace

I had been meaning to post about David Hedison’s passing, but now the news of Rutger Hauer has hit and it is a double dose of sadness.

David Hedison is one of those actors that only made a handful of genre appearances, but the ones that he did, definitely made an impact. Growing up watching a lot of TV, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was basically Star Trek but underwater, so it had my attention. Of course, then seeing The Fly (1958) would forever make me know who David Hedison is. Even though his face is covered through a good part of the film, he was still able to make you feel for his character. That is the power of a good actor, that they can only appear in a few things you’ve seen, but it still makes a lasting impression.

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Freddie Jones – Rest In Peace

Freddie Jones - RIPMy all time favorite of Hammer’s Frankenstein series has always been Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Cushing’s performance as the deviant doctor is unparalleled. It is almost a shame that since Cushing is so good in this, that it takes away from some of the other performances, like that of Freddie Jones in the role of the Professor Richter, who is the unwilling recipient of a brain transplant. His tragic performance is heart breaking, especially has he goes to see his wife in the body of another man.

So it was sad news when heard of his passing yesterday. He had appeared in so many films and TV series, not to mention his work on the stage. He definitely made his mark in the horror genre, such as in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), Hammer’s Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), and Old Dracula (1974). He also appeared in another favorite from my teenage years, Krull (1983). We had this at the theater I worked so I watched it more than a few times. Sure, might be cheesy today, but I still love it and Jones, once again, gives the audience a very emotional performance, especially when he meets his long lost love. Probably one of his most famous, was that in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980).

He may be gone but I know us fans will keep his memory alive and well thanks to all the wonderful roles he brought to life for us over the years. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Steve Hawkes – Rest in Peace

Steve Hawkes - RIPIf ever there was a film that would be at the top of a cult and/or exploitation genre, or especially a Turkey Day festival, it would have to be the 1972 film Blood Freak. I mean, where else could you find a movie about a Turkey-Headed, blood-drinking, religious-backed horror film, than in this must-be-seen-to-believed film. Unfortunately, Steve Hawkes (real name Steve Sipek), co-writer, co-director, co-producer, and star of this film has passed away.

He starred in a couple of Spanish made Tarzan films back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the last of which he was severely burned on the set. After his film career ended in the mid-’70s, he would later start an animal refuge. In July of 2004, he was in the news when one of his Bengal tigers was shot and killed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after it had escaped. He was seen on the news openly weeping, blaming the officers for “murdering” his pet.

While he never had a huge career in film, it is because of Blood Freak that most fans of the cult, exploitation, and horror genre will remember him for. And because of this film, he WILL always be remembered. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Eddie Garcia – Rest in Peace

Eddie Garcia - RIPIf you’re a fan of Filipino horror films, then you were familiar with Eddie Garcia. Actually, if you were a fan of ANY Filipino movies, then you most likely knew who Eddie Garcia was. The man is credited with 653 acting credits on IMDB! There were years that he was appearing in over a dozen titles in one year alone. In 1975, he appeared in 33 feature films! Needless to say, the man was busy. He was also the most credited man in the Filipino film business as well, taking home more awards in the FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) than any other person, with 6 Supporting Actor awards, 5 for Best Actor, 5 for Best Director, 3 different Hall of Fame and 1 Lifetime Achievement award. Yeah…just wow.

But of course, this is the Krypt and the ones that we remember him from are the wonderful horror pictures that he made, usually in the ’60s and ’70s, such as Ibulong mo sa hangin (1966), which has multiple different titles, such as Blood of the Vampires, or Creatures of Evil, or even Curse of the Vampires (1966). Then there is Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) or The Twilight People (1972), but it will always be his performance as Dr. Lorca, in the infamous 1970 film Beast of Blood, that I will remember him most fondly from.

Garcia passed away on June 20th, from a fall that happened on the set of his latest TV series. That’s right, Garcia was 90 years old and still working! He spent 12 days in a coma after the fall and never recovered. Our heart goes out to his friends and family, and all of his fans during this difficult time. While the films that we horror fans love might not be his best or most popular, I know that we’ll keep his memory alive because of them.

Narciso Ibáñez Serrador – Rest in Peace

narcisoibanezserradorOn June 7th, the horror genre lost someone very important to the it, although most fans here in the states probably know very little of him. Narciso Ibáñez Serrador might not be a name most fans are familiar with, mainly because he didn’t produce a lot of work in the film genre, but what he did before that laid the grounds for the genre in Spain. According to author Antonio Lázaro-Reboll in his book Spanish Horror Film, “Narciso Ibáñez Serrador was the most culturally prominent image of horror in Spain in the late 1960s due to his horror-suspense TV series Historias para no dormir (Stories to Keep You Awake, 1966-67).” 

He grew up in the theater where both his parents were involved in, where his father Ibáñez Menta adapted horror classics for the stage. His parents divorced when he only 12, he would eventually work with his father in the late ’50s creating a TV show for Argentina’s only TV channel, adapting the works of Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson, with his father acting in them while he wrote the episodes. This was called Obras maestras del terror (Masterworks of Horror).  When he eventually came to Spain, he continued the work for television, cementing his reputation with the genre, even before making his first film. Continue reading