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.

Fred Ward – Rest in Peace

There are those actors that may not be your biggest heroes on screen, but know when you see their names in the credits, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you know the film just got a little better because you know they are going to help entertain you. Fred Ward was one of those actors.

The first film that I remember seeing him in, or at least that made an impact, was Uncommon Valor (1983), which I had only seen because it was playing at the theater I worked at. But with a great cast like Gene Hackman, Tim Thomerson, Reb Brown, and a young Patrick Swayze, it was a lot of fun. But two years later, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) came out and I just loved that one. I knew of the Destroyer book series but had never read them. But I just enjoyed the hell out of Remo and thought that Ward did a great job in the role. A few more years later, and Ward appeared in one of the best monster films of the ’90s, Tremors (1990). Once again, Ward was able to make audiences relate to an everyday person, even though they lived out in the middle of nowhere.

So, hearing of his passing a few days ago really bummed me out. Such a top-notch actor who always gave a believable performance, no matter what kind of character he played. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

James Olson & Dennis Waterman – Rest in Peace

I meant to get this posted a few days ago when I heard about this but as we all know, life gets in the way. For Americans, James Olson’s name might not be too familiar, but his face was since he appeared in so many different TV shows in the ’70s. But the one thing that him and actor Waterman have in common is that they both appeared in a couple of Hammer Films, as well as a one or two other genre pictures.

James Olson passed away last April 17th, at the age of 91. For Hammer, he appeared in their space western Moon Zero Two (1969) and then one of their later day thrillers, Crescendo (1970), alongside Stefanie Powers. He would also appear in the made-for-TV movie The Spell (1977), The Mafu Cage (1978), and Amityville II: The Possession (1982).

Dennis Waterman was also known for a lot of TV work, but all in the UK. For Hammer fans though, he appeared in Scars of Dracula (1970), doing battle against Christopher Lee! Previously, he appeared in Hammer’s The Pirates of Blood River (1962). He also was in the very underrated film Fright (1970), along with Susan George and Honor Blackman.

As time goes on, and the older we become as lifelong movie fans, this is inevitable and sad. But I’ve always considered that people working in the arts that leave something behind that they can always be remembered by, whether it be acting, directing, or even painting or some other art form, leaving behind that work does make them immortal. And that is how we should remember them, by the entertainment that they have given us to continue to enjoy.

Our thoughts go out to their friends and family. Rest in Peace Mr. Olson and Mr. Waterman.

Denis Meikle – Rest in Peace

Meikle’s book A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer was a very important step in my early days when I was digging deeper into the history of the famous studio. I can still remember first getting a copy in my hands and diving into it. It is one that I even still go back to when doing any kind of research on Hammer, or the countless people involved there. But the books didn’t stop there, with titles covering Vincent Price, the Jack Ripper films, and even Tod Slaughter with Mr. Murder: The Life and Times of Tod Slaughter, which I was thrilled to hear he did this since there isn’t a lot written about this early horror icon.

So it is with great sadness that I am reporting that Mr. Meikle has passed away. His contributions to the horror genre journalism were not only amazing, but very impactful to a lot of us fans. Longtime friend and collaborator, Dick Klemensen, posted the below comment on his Facebook page, and I think it really sums up Meikle perfectly.

“Denis was a scholar. Fans would get irritated if he didn’t seem to like the films as much as they did.
But if that is the worst thing he ever did…he always made one think.”

As a journalist, making someone think about a film, whether you agree or not, does make it possible to see something you might have missed otherwise. Not always, but you have to be open to new ideas and opinions. That is how we learn more about what we love.

Thank you, Mr. Meikle, for those very important lessons in film and being a better fan. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Nick Zedd – Rest in Peace

Not a name to many film fans know unless you really dug deep into the underground. Zedd was an American filmmaker, author, writers, and much more. He coined the term Cinema of Transgression, that encompassed a group of filmmakers and artists who used shock value and dark humor in their work. The budget of his films made Corman look like a billionaire, with titles like They Eat Scum (1979), Geek Maggot Bingo or The Freak from Suckweasel Mountain (1983), War in Menstrual Envy (1992), and many more like that.

No matter what you thought of his work, you have to give him credit for creating his own path and feeding his own passion. He passed away on Feb. 27th at the age of 63.

Alfred Sole – Rest in Peace

This is a trend that I’m not enjoying whatsoever. We heard the news yesterday that Alfred Sole passed away. He is best known for directing the 1976 film Communion aka Alice, Sweet Alice. I had the pleasure to meet him back in 2018 at a film fest in Chicago where they screened Communion, which really still holds up today.

Sole didn’t direct a lot of pictures, mainly because he got fed up with Hollywood. It really is a shame that there are a bunch of talented individuals that are more than willing to create some amazing cinema but just get tired of dealing with the idiots that are calling the shots, not letting them create the art they could. Very sad that Sole wasn’t given the opportunity to continue to show us what he was capable of. We will always have what he has left us to remind us of this loss of talent. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time.

Here is a great quote from Sole that I found on IMDB that sums up his thoughts on Hollywood quite nicely!

“I was not good for Hollywood and Hollywood was not good for me. I didn’t understand the politics. I was just this guy from Jersey who made movies. You go to these meetings with these hotshot executives for hours and nothing gets done! It was just constant frustration. What I really should’ve done is stayed in Paterson and made movies with friends in my hometown, the way I started out, like John Waters or George A. Romero.” – Alfred Sole. Rest in Peace.

Ivan Reitman – Rest in Peace

Another amazing talent might has left us, but he also left us plenty of amazing memories. Sure, Ghostbusters (1984) isn’t exactly a horror film, but it did have enough horror elements to count, not to mention that it was damn entertaining then, and I still say today. Writer, director, producer, Ivan Reitman passed away on Saturday at the age of 75.

While he is mainly known for comedies, one of his first films that he directed was the 1973 epic Cannibal Girls, where the posters art stated, “These girls do exactly what you think they do!” How could you go wrong there? But he also helped David Cronenberg on a few of his early films, Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), so he definitely had some street cred when it came to the horror genre.

But no matter what genre he worked in, he created some entertaining films that will definitely last for generations to come. Our thoughts go out to him and his family during this difficult time.

Paul Kelman – Rest in Peace

With all the slasher films that came out in the late ’70s and early ’80s, one of my favorites has always been My Bloody Valentine (1981). Not sure if it was because the location where the killer was stalking was different than all the summer camp ones, or that the killer looked so damn scary in all that miner getup, but either way, I think the film worked, and still works, even today. But we recently lost a cast member from that memorable film, Paul Kelman, who played T.J., one of the minors stuck down deep in the earth with a killer with a pitchfork!

While he only played in one other horror title, Black Roses (1988), he will still be remembered from fans, not only because of that role, but also his relationship with his fans. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Yvette Mimieux & Carol Speed – Rest in Peace

I meant to get this posted yesterday about the passing of Carol Speed but before I could get to it, news of Yvette Mimieux came through today.

Carol Speed passed away last Friday, Jan. 14th, at the age of 76. Best known for her roles in some ’70s exploitation films, which is a shame because she was a treat to watch on screen. She worked for a few of the low budget directors, like Jack Hill’s The Big Birdcage (1972) and Al Adamson’s Dynamite Brothers (1974), but it was her title role in William Girdler’s 1974 film Abby that probably drew most of the attention.

But Speed was also an author, singer and songwriter as well. In fact, the soundtrack for the film Abby has a song that she wrote and performed called My Soul is a Witness. Fans of those early exploitation films will definitely be keeping memory alive. I got to meet her at a Cinema Wasteland convention back in, I believe, 2010. Such a nice person.

We also just lost Yvette Mimieux today. While she did appear in a couple of TV movies in the ’70s, Snowbeast (1977) with Bo Svenson, and Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978) with Richard Crenna, most wouldn’t consider those great films. But I’ve always been highly entertained by them, so there. But she also appeared in a couple of films from my youth that always made me remember her. As a kid, watching the original George Pal version of The Time Machine (1960) not only hooked me into the story, but I definitely found my horror element with the Morlocks that used the Eloi as food! When that little bit of storyline hit my young brain, it through me for a loop! Years later, she appeared in The Black Hole (1979), which while wasn’t a great film, as a teenager, I really enjoyed it.

Mimieux, who was also an anthropologist, passed away today at the age of 80.

Thankfully, we still have their movies to still bring us entertainment and joy while watching them work. Gone, but not forgotten.