Joe Pilato – Rest in Peace

Joe Pilato - RIPSeriously. Enough already. Can we go a least a month without losing another one of our horror family? Actor Joe Pilato has passed away at the age of 70.

Pilato may have appeared in quite a few films over the years, and he will still probably be best known for his psychotic Capt. Rhodes in George Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985). When you can create a character that not only shines above the incredible special effects in the movie, but makes a character one of those that you love to hate, knowing the payoff of his demise will be epic (which is was), you know you’ve done something right. And it wasn’t just his roles that made him so memorable, but the way he interacted with fans at the conventions. I can’t tell you how many shows I was at where he was a guest, and at some point during the weekend, you would hear him scream “I’M RUNNING THIS MONKEY FARM!”

At least fans will be able to remember him for generations to come while watching this classic film over and over. We salute you, Capt. Rhodes. And our thoughts go out to Joe Pilato’s friends and family during this sad time.

Larry Cohen – Rest in Peace

Larry Cohen - RIPTwo weeks in a row now, the world has lost another talented person from the movie industry. And it’s really starting to suck.

Larry Cohen passed away yesterday at the age of 77. He was a writer, director, producer who made movies his way. It didn’t mean he wasn’t successful. Just the opposite since a lot of his films, whether they were ones he directed or just wrote, did well at the box office. But Cohen was one of the kings of B-Movies, and that is meant as a huge compliment to this very talented craftsmen. Or as writer/director Edgar Wright called him, “an independent freewheeling movie legend.”

The recent documentary King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (2017) is a perfect example of not only his work, but of Cohen himself. When you have someone as talented as he was, but wanting to work on the outside of Hollywood, you have to give the man credit. “You’ve gotta make the picture your way and no other way, because it can’t be made otherwise.” Because of statements like that, he was a hero to independent filmmakers.

He started writing for mainly episodic television shows before he moved into the film world. In 1972, he wrote, produced, and directed his first feature film, Bone, starring Yaphet Kotto. He then made two blaxploitation movies in 1973, Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, both starring Fred Williamson. He then moved into the horror genre with the widely successful It’s Alive (1974), which would then spawn two sequels.

Even though we have lost this incredible talent, his movies and attitude will always be there for the next generation of filmmakers to watch and realize that you don’t have to go to Hollywood to make the film you want to.

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

John Carl Buechler – Rest in Peace

JCB - RIPAt my very first horror convention, back in April of 1988, John Carl Buechler was there. He had brought two of his creations with him, Jason from Friday the 13th Part 7 (1988)and the beast from Cellar Dweller (1986), which you could see from across the room because it was so tall. I still have the black and white still of that creature on it that Buechler graciously signed for me. He was so friendly and approachable. He had worked on so many movies that I devoured in the ’80s, from Ghoulies (1984), Re-Animator (1985), Crawlspace (1986), From Beyond (1986), Dolls (1987), Bride of Re-Animator (1989), to even the more recent Hatchet (2006). I still think the look he created for Jason in the entry, that he even directed, is still the best looking ever created on film.

As everyone probably knows by now, we have lost this incredible talent. About a month ago, his wife had started a GoFundMe page because he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, to help pay for the increasing medical expenses. It was then announced on that page yesterday, that he had passed away early Monday morning. We are so saddened here at the Krypt of this news because of the hours and hours of entertainment he has given us fans over the years. The one positive thing is that because of all those great films he worked on, the memorable monsters he helped create, him and his work will always be remembered, and never forgotten.

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Julie Adams – Rest in Peace

Julie Adams - RIPThere has to be something about a person that only appeared in a few genre pictures in her career that spanned almost 70 years, but it was her first genre pic, made 65 years ago, is what she is remembered the most from. Sure, it could be because it was the last great classic monster film from Universal, but Julie Adams appearance in it had something to do with it as well. There was more than the Gill-Man watching Adams in The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), that is for sure. 

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on the internet in the last 24 hours, you’ve read the news that Adams passed away yesterday at the age of 92. I had the honor of meeting her a couple of times at different cons or movie screenings and she was always so lovely and friendly to her fans. As long as the Gill-man is remembered, Adams will be right along there with him. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family during this difficult time.

Dick Miller – Rest in Peace

dick miller - ripWow. This one stings. Whether you grew up watching the early black and white classics from Roger Corman or the Joe Dante flicks from the ’80s and ’90s, you knew who Dick Miller was. Even if he was in the smallest of parts, when he appeared on screen, it was usually followed by “Hey! It’s Dick Miller!”

Yesterday, Miller passed away at the age of 90 years old. He had close to 200 screen credits, starting way back in 1954, in Roger Corman’s Apache Woman, as an Indian named Tall Tree, even though he appeared as other characters in the film as well. This started a long time relationship with Corman. The following year, Miller appeared in his first genre picture, Corman’s It Conquered the World with Lee Van Cleef, Peter Graves, and Beverly Garland. He would stay with Corman’s company for many more productions, such as Not of this Earth (1957), Bucket of Blood (1959), The Terror (1963) and so many more. In the ’80s, he was a constant regular in pretty much anything Joe Dante directed, such as The Howling (1981).

Miller could have the smallest of roles, sometimes in just one little scene, but he would make an impact that fans would remember. And even though he has now left us, remember that he has also left us a treasure trove of wonderful memories that have been captured on film, for us to enjoy and to continue to enjoy for generations to come. Dick Miller was at the very first horror convention I ever attended, back in 1988. He was a legend then, and 30 years later, he still is one. And in another 30 years, he still will be a legend. Actually even more…he’s freakin’ Dick Miller!

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

Jorge Grau – Rest in Peace

 

Jorge Grau - RIP

There are those directors that may have only worked in the horror genre a couple of times, but still have made quite a big impact. Jorge Grau was one of them. News came out today that he has passed away at the age of 88. 

Grau only directed two genre films, Ceremonia sangrienta (1970), released over here as The Legend of Blood Castle, and his most famous one, No profanar el sueño de los Muertos (1974), most commonly known in the states as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, though it has quite a few other monikers it was released under.

Watching Corpses for the first time in my youth made me aware of a few things. This was one of the first color zombie films that featured a lot of gore. I mean a LOT of gore, courtesy of Giannetto De Rossi who would later work with Lucio Fulci on many of his famous gore/living dead films. But Grau also showed audiences the European way of not following the traditional aspect of the genre. He didn’t follow the normal conventions of the zombies, putting his own spin on them, still making them very effective.

Grau directed over 30 features over in his career that spanned almost 5 decades. For him to only direct two horror films, one of which is considered a classic in the zombie sub-genre, ranking it right up there with Romero’s best, shows that he had a strong voice and vision. One that it is still seen and heard over four decades later, as much as it will be for generations to come.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

James Karen – Rest in Peace

James Karen - RIPI’ve been going to conventions for over twenty years and have met more than a few celebrities over those two decades. Some are very cordial, while others a little standoffish. But there are few that compare to the pure joy that I felt from meeting James Karen in an elevator at Chiller convention back in the mid ’90s. As we were talking the elevator down to the show, Mr. Karen walked in and could immediately tell from the black horror t-shirts we were wearing that we were there for the show. He immediately said hello and started talking to us as the doors closed. He wasn’t embarrassed by his work in the horror genre, or that some young fans were geeking over the fact that we were in the same elevator as Frank from Return of the Living Dead! He just seemed so happy to be there and loved the fact that we were fans and knew who he was. While the ride only lasted a minute or two, it is one of the best memories from my convention memories. I met him again a few years ago and he still gave off that same vibe to his fans. So it was very sad hearing of his passing.

The funny thing is that if you look at his immense filmography, with over 200 screen appearances, he only appeared in a few horror titles. But in those, he created very memorable characters, such as the real estate developer in Poltergeist (1982) or the bumbling but loveable Frank in Return of the Living Dead (1985). His very first film appearance was in the wonderfully titled Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965), as well as appearing in so many television series and even more commercials, starting back in 1948, in a production of A Christmas Carol. But before that, he started acting on the stage. He made his Broadway debut in 1947 in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, being Karl Malden’s understudy.

Horror fans have lost a friend, as well as an extremely talented actor, who could make you love his character as easily as hate him. He was that good. He will be deeply missed. At least we still have his films to keep his memory alive. I know that each time I pop in my copy of Return of the Living Dead, no matter that I’ve seen the film countless times, James Karen will still make me smile and laugh. So he will never be forgotten.

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