Martin Landau – Rest in Peace

Martin Landau - RIPReally don’t like it when these are so close together. Really makes one feel their mortality. As I write this up, I’m listening to the soundtrack from Creepshow, still trying to get over the loss of George Romero. But Martin Landau might not have made the impact in the horror genre like Romero, he definitely made his mark in a few titles. As an actor though, he was simply just amazing to watch. Landau passed away yesterday at the age of 89, due to “unexpected complications”, and the acting world loses one of the best.

I first recall Landau from both Mission Impossible and Space 1999, but never knew him as the actor, Martin Landau. He was just “that guy from that TV show”. But in 1984, a film started at the theater I was working at that was a collection of clips from different horror movies. The film was Terror in the Aisles, and it featured a few scenes from a movie called Alone in the Dark (1982), that starred Landau, as the demented character “Preacher”. In those brief clips, he gave us one of the most frightening performances that gave me chills. So much so that it immediately made me want to find that movie to see the whole thing. Around that time, he had also appeared in terror titles like Without Warning (1980) and The Being (1983). But it was his performance as the aging Bela Lugosi that won him an Oscar in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994).

Just looking through his filmography, you can see all the different and wonderful characters that he created over the years. A real consummate actor, always making the audience believe in his character.  So no matter what role he was playing, you know it was going to be worth the watch.

Our thoughts go out to the friends and family during this difficult time. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

George Romero – Rest in Peace

George Romero RIP

My very first horror convention was in April of 1988, out in California. Up until then, I had never met anybody famous, especially any idols I had from the horror genre. But at the show, one of the first ones I met was George Romero. I had come walking out of the dealer room on my way to the auditorium for the Q&A’s, and there he stood, surrounded by fans like a scene from one of his zombie flicks. Except, instead of trying to eat him, they just wanted to get an autograph or just say hello and thanks. I didn’t take me long to join the growing mass of fans either. I had him sign my copy of Tom Savini’s Grande Illusions, which was my very first autograph as well. I still have that book to this day and is one of my most memorable.

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Michael Parks & Geoffrey Bayldon: Rest in Peace

The movie world has lost two incredible character actors this last week. While neither of them were household names, the characters they played over the years gave us many unforgettable performances.

Michael Parks - RIPMichael Parks had been acting for close to 60 years, first appearing on a TV series in 1960, and would appear in a ton of different programs over the years. In the horror genre, there were only a few titles in his long career, but like any role he took on, he was hard to forget. You can see him in films like The Evictors (1979), Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach (1989), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Planet Terror (2007), Kevin Smith’s Red State (2011) and Tusk (2014).

Parks had a way of delivering his lines that made it just so damn interesting to watch him perform. Whether it was his acting style, his delivery, or a little of both, but anytime you see him on screen, with that little sparkle in his eye, you were going to be in for a treat.

Parks passed away May on May 9th.

Geoffrey Bayldon - RIPIf you were are a fan of British horror films of studios like Hammer and Amicus, then you will probably recognize Geoffrey Bayldon. He usually was a character actor in smaller roles, but like Parks, he always shined in them. You can see his work in films like Hammer’s Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) or Amicus’ The House that Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Monster Club (1981). My personal favorite of these titles was in Asylum. So much fun there.

Bayldon actually turned down the role as the very first time traveling Doctor Who, which he regretted over the years. But he made decent career in his life, working in the theater for years, appearing on stage with the likes of actors like Sir John Gielgud, before moving on to television and movies, where he appeared in more than 200 series and movies. Bayldon excelled in character roles and was always fun to watch. And still is. He passed away on May 10th, at the age of 93.

Both of these incredible talents will be missed, but definitely not forgotten, kept alive by the countless movie fans that continue to watch their films. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family in this difficult time.

Yvonne Monlaur – Rest in Peace

Yvonne Monlaur - RIPHammer fans have lost another one of the lovely ladies from their childhood. Yvonne Monlaur passed away last week on the 18th, at the age of 77. Of course, she is probably best known to us horror fans as the young French school teacher that comes across a vampire, only to be saved by Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, in the 1960 film The Brides of Dracula. Monlaur is just stunning here and actually gives a strong performance, making this a very memorable film. She had appeared in Circus of Horrors the year earlier, and would appear in Hammer’s Terror of the Tongs, playing alongside another Hammer icon, Christopher Lee.

The one sad thing about these Hammer films is that since they were made many decades ago, we are slowly losing all of these great performers and craftsman that worked on them. But we know that because these films continue to draw in new fans, that these names and faces will always be remembered, and that they will continue to entertain fans, both old and new.

Our thoughts go out to Monlaur’s friends and family during this sad time.

Bernie Wrightson – Rest in Peace

Wrightson - RIPI know it’s been a few weeks since this happened and had planned to get something written up, but just never got to it. Then yesterday, I was watching Michael Felsher’s making of Creepshow documentary, Just Desserts, which features some interviews with Wrightson. I knew then that I needed to get this done and posted about this incredible talent that the world of horror and comic books has lost.

Now, I’m not an artist so I couldn’t even attempt to explain just how talented Wrightson was, or the impact that he had on generations of artists. I just know that looking at the below piece he did for the illustrated Frankenstein that was released in 1983 (after spending seven years working on it) just blows my mind at how this is even possible. The detail and layout is just astounding and I couldn’t even begin to understand how a talent like this could even exist.

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Jack H. Harris – Rest in Peace

Harris and BlobJack H. Harris isn’t a name that immediately comes to mind, even for most horror fans, but it is because of this particular individual that we have one of the most original alien invaders in movie history, the 1958 film The Blob! Harris started in the business at the very young age of six, working as a performer on the stage. He later became an usher at a movie theater, eventually getting into publicity and distribution, finally becoming a producer. His first film was The Blob, but later gave us titles like 4D Man (1959), Dinosaurus! (1960), Equinox (1970), Beware! The Blob (1972), Schlock (1973) giving a young John Landis his start, Dark Star (1974), and Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). He also produced the 1988 remake of The Blob, though it seems he didn’t care for it too much.

Two years ago, he published his autobiography entitled Jack H. Harris: The Father of The Blob, which we reviewed here on the site. It is a great read with a ton of fascinating stories, and one that I would recommend.

But we are sad to say that Mr. Harris has passed away at the age of 98. With being responsible for so many entertaining films in his career, he might not be as well known as some of the bigger names in Hollywood, but his films have definitely made an impact on millions of movie-goers. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Bill Paxton – Rest in Peace

bill-paxton-ripIt’s been just over a week since the world lost an amazing talent, actor Bill Paxton. I had tried to write something about it a couple of times over last week, but just couldn’t get it out. He’d been a favorite mine, as well as many genre fans, mainly since his performances as the cowardly yet heroic Hudson in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). But like his portrayal of the marine Hudson, Paxton gave so many levels of character to all his roles, and he was always such fun to watch on screen. Even his cut-throat killer Severen in Near Dark (1987) was a treat to watch. Two of my favorite lines to quote from that movie were both from Paxton. “We keep odd hours” and anytime I walk out into the sunlight, I always remember him shouting “Fucking daylight!”

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