Andrew Prine – Rest in Peace

This one just plain sucks! I saw it posted earlier this morning, but couldn’t find any confirmation, so I was hoping it wasn’t real, but unfortunately, it has now been reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Actor Andrew Prine passed away on Monday the 31st, at the age of 86. Prine had close to 200 film and TV credits over his career, appearing in westerns, war films, and more than a few titles in the cult and horror genre. I got to meet Mr. Prine a few times over the years at different shows, and even had the honor to interview him way back in April of 2005. Such a kind and funny man, with a ton of great stories. He had recently been a guest at the Monster Bash show in PA and his Q&A was just so funny and entertaining.

His portray of the title character in Simon, King of the Witches (1971), while it may not be a true horror film, is an incredible tale of someone that may or may not be a real warlock. Of course, there’s ways William Girdler’s Grizzly (1976), where Prine was the only actor to get inside the caged area where the very real and very huge bear was in! But so many other great titles, like Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), The Centerfold Girls (1974), or The Evil (1978). Hell, even Barn of the Naked Dead (1973), which was made under the title Terror Circus, is pretty fun to watch. Again, that comes down to Prine and his performance.

Thankfully, all of those films mentioned, plus plenty more, are readily available for fans to enjoy over and over again. And thanks to Rob Zombie, who cast Prine in a small role in his 2012 film The Lords of Salem, maybe that will bring in some newer fans to might want to look into his long and entertaining career. So, while we might have lost him from this realm of existence, he will continue to not only be alive to us fans, but he will continue to entertain us with his performances. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Ted White – Rest in Peace

While most horror fans know Ted White from when he played Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), which I’ll say is one of the better films and performances in that series. But it wasn’t just that film that White should be known and remembered for. Working as a stuntman since the ’50s, he worked on a ton of films and even some notable ones, even though he was usually uncredited. The life of a stuntman, right? But one of his first jobs was that on Universal’s last great classic monster flick, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), besides working on other titles like The Planet of the Apes (1968), Soylent Green (1973), King Kong (1976), The Manitou (1978), Escape from New York (1981), as well as appearing in Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), Demonoid (1981), and Starman (1984).

In his career, he doubled for names like John Wayne, Fess Parker, Clark Gable, and Rock Hudson. While he didn’t want to be credited at first for playing Jason in Friday 4, he eventually came around and realized and embraced the film and was always a great guest on the convention circuit.

White passed away on Oct. 14th, at the age of 96. He will be missed but know that we can enjoy his work (even though we might now even know it) for years to come. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Doug McKeown – Rest in Peace

Not a lot of filmmakers made a huge impact with really only one movie, but Doug McKeown did for me with his film The Deadly Spawn (1983). According to the posting from John Dodds on Facebook, it seems that McKeown has passed away. Dodds worked with McKeown on Spawn, creating the title monster. I couldn’t find any other notices about his death besides that, but since McKeown wasn’t a household name, maybe that’s why. But none the less, the horror genre has lost a man partially responsible for bringing that famous monster full of teeth alive on the screen.

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Peter Straub – Rest in Peace

I know I don’t cover too many fictional writers here, or fiction for that matter, but back in the day, I devoured horror fiction as much as I do movies and non-fiction books today. One of the writers I followed was Peter Straub. His earlier novels, such as Julia in 1975, which became a great little ghost story film The Haunting of Julia in 1977, Ghost Story, which the movie adaptation became a big hit in 1981 with an all-star cast. In 1984, he collaborated with Stephen King with The Talisman, which they revisited with a sequel in 2001 called Black House. His 1982 novel, Floating Dragon, creeped the hell out of me.

So it is with sadness that I mention that Mr. Straub has passed away, at the age of 79. I remember either reading or seeing an interview with Stephen King, where he mentioned that Straub hand wrote all of his work, and that he didn’t feel sorry for anyone more than Straub’s editor because his handwriting was damn near illegible. In the late ’80s, when I was reading a lot of fiction, I would often write to authors, many times getting a letter back. When I got one back from Straub, I realized how right King was. I’ve posted the letter below.

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Clu Gulager – Rest in Peace

There is probably not a horror fan alive that does not know Clu Gulager, and rightfully so. He is probably best known as Burt, in Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 zombie classic The Return of the Living Dead. He appeared in quite a few horror titles in his later years, but started acting back in the ’50s, appearing in quite a few westerns, both on TV and the big screen. He also appeared alongside Lee Marvin as a hitman in Don Siegel’s remake of The Killers (1964). But for me, my first memory of Mr. Gulager, believe it or not, was thanks to Disney, in a two-part movie called Mystery of Dracula’s Castle (1973). Cheesy and from Disney, but as an 8-year-old kid, I loved every minute of it. But he also appeared in horror titles like the infamous A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), From a Whisper to a Scream (1987), to the incredible entertaining Feast (2005), playing a crusty old bartender.

But as you all probably know, Gulager passed away on Aug. 5th, at the age of 93. No matter you’re a horror fan, a western fan, or just a film fan, we have all lost a great talent. But as I always say, because of their incredible body of work, we can always pop one of their titles in and remember just how good they were. And just why do we need the cinema in our lives? Mr. Gulager gives us a reason here in this quote:

“We need to laugh, we need to be scared, we need to hug our girl in the theater.
It lightens the load of this crummy life.”

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

John Steiner – Rest in Peace

John Steiner is another name that most might not know, but if you’re a fan of Italian cinema, then you will know his work. With a man close to 100 credits to his name in less than 25 years is pretty impressive. But also add the fact that he worked with many talented people and directors, including 4 iconic names in the Italian film industry. He worked with Lucio Fulci several times, in the early ’70s, such as in both of the White Fang films, Mario Bava in his last film, Shock (1977), Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (1982), and Ruggero Deodato’s Cut and Run (1984). Hell, he was even the main bad guy in Yor: Hunter from the Future (1983)!!! Needless to say, he is in a lot of our favorite films.

Unfortunately, it was reported that Steiner died in a car accident on Sunday, July 31st. As the years go by, the longer you have been a fan of cinema, we see more and more leave this part of their journey. But because we are fans, we know that because of their film legacy, they will live on and on, each time we bust out one of their titles. So now is the time to do just that. Break out Tenebrae or even Yor, sit back and enjoy Steiner’s work with a smile and remember.

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

David Warner – Rest in Peace

Wow. What an icon to not only the horror genre, but to movies in general. There wasn’t a sub-genre that he couldn’t or hadn’t worked it and always nailed it. Yes, Mr. Warner has passed away at the age of 80 years old, and I was still hoping to meet him one day at a convention. He had been in so many of my favorites. Then again, when you have 228 acting credits, you’ve obviously made a lasting impression in the industry. His look. That voice. Damn.

One of my earliest memories of Warner was that in Time After Time (1979), playing Jack the Ripper who gets arrives at modern times, thanks to the time machine invented by H.G. Wells, played by Malcolm McDowell. Then of course, playing Evil in Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981), followed the next year playing Stark in Tron (1982), really made me take notice of him. Of course, one of his earliest appearances in the horror genre was Amicus’ From Beyond the Grave (1974) in the segment about the haunted mirror. Followed by The Omen, where he has one of the most memorable deaths in cinematic history! He even played Frankenstein’s creature in a 1984 version, alongside Robert Powell and Carrie Fisher.

So yeah, the movie industry has lost a true talent, and I know I am so sad to hear this news. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Rest in Peace: James Cann, Larry Storch, & L.Q. Jones

They do say they go in threes, so let’s hope we have a break for a bit. Within the last week, we have lost three extremely talented, and some underrated talents in the world of movies and television that I thought needed mentioning here.

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Joe Turkel – Rest in Peace

The real power of an actor can be one single role, one performance, even if it is for only a minute or two onscreen that will make movie-goers remember them forever. Joe Turkel, and actor who had over a 140 acting credits to his name, did that twice in his career. They were on the later part of his career, but they are still as an effective performance now and they were some 40 years ago today.

The first and probably best known, is that of Lloyd the bartender in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). His underplayed and subdued characterization sells the roles even more. But then two years later, he appeared in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the creator of the replicants that Harrison Ford’s character is out to capture. Again, not a huge role and not a lot of screen time, but Turkel made an impact with it.

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Massimo Morante – Rest in Peace

Right as we were heading off to Monster Bash last week, we heard the sad news of the passing of musician Massimo Morante, one of the founding members of the band Goblin. I had the chance to see them back in 2013 when they were touring with a few other original band members, including Claudio Simonetti. It was one of the best concerts I had gone to, and even better that my son was there to experience it with me. And to really top it off, we were able to meet Morante and Simonetti after the show for a photo.

Morante and the rest of the band were able to create not only some incredible music, but made these amazing movie soundtracks, the likes we’d never heard before, giving a whole new take on what a soundtrack should sound like. Morante help make these scores not only work so well, but so memorable. He will be remembered each time the notes from Deep Red or Suspiria starts to blast from our home theater speaker, and definitely never forgotten for his contributions to the music field.

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