The great thing about the horror genre and the fans is that you don’t have to be a huge iconic star to be remembered. Today, I’ve heard the news that we’ve lost two actors that might not have made a ton of films or starred in them, but they made such an impact, even if only in one film, that fans remembered them for decades to come. Both of these actors were like that.
While this director only worked in the horror genre a couple of times, there are many of this titles that could cross many genres. I know critics were calling his 1990 film Flatliners a medical thriller, but sorry guys, that was a horror film, woven inside a nice morality tale. And a damn fine one too. While I wasn’t that big of fan of his Batman movies, his other “thrillers” like Falling Down (1993) and Phonebooth (2002) were well done and well worth your time.
But for horror fans, it is his 1987 MTV style vampire film, The Lost Boys, that he will always be remembered by. Sure, the film plays a little dated these days, but it is still filled with some incredible sequences, creepy elements, not to mention pretty funny at times too. Kiefer Sutherland showed audiences what a young punk version of Dracula would be like and it worked.
After a year-long battle with cancer, he passed away yesterday at the age of 80. Because of his work, he will always be remembered, and for much more than giving Batman nipples.
Yesterday, we lost a incredible talent in the movie world, that of Ian Holm. He passed away at the age of 88, from complications of Parkinson’s. He appeared in so many role over the years, in all genres, that his was a face and name that as soon as you knew he was in the film, you were going to see something special. He could project more in a look than some actors could do in a 10-minute monologue! His genre appearances in films like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) and David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999) showed his range. In fact, in 1968, on a TV series called Mystery and Imagination, he played both the creator and creature in an adaptation of Frankenstein. Of course, how can anyone forget his portrayal of Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy?
But for most of us old horror fans, it was his role as the android Ash in Ridley Scott’s Alien when we became aware of this actor and his incredible talent. When his character goes off the deep end, I can remember thinking “what the hell is going on?”
A great talent like this will be missed. But as I always say, at least those wonderful characters and performances have been captured in time that we can revisit time and time again. Rest in peace, Sir Ian. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Joel M. Reed is the man responsible for the notorious grindhouse flick Bloodsucking Freaks (1976), originally titled as The Incredible Torture Show, before Troma re-titled it and released it once again. He also directed a few other titles, such as Night of the Zombies (1981), probably the second most popular of his titles. Now, while I’m not personally a fan of Bloodsucking Freaks, anybody that is able to make a movie like that, and become an icon because of it, in this huge world of cinema, that is pretty impressive. So like it or not, as horror movie fans, we have to get credit where it is due.
Sadly though, Reed recently passed away at the age of 86. But if you are a fan of him and his work, then I would recommend you picking up a copy of John Szpunar’s book on Reed, entitled Bloodsucking Freak! The Life and Films of Joel M. Reed. Szpunar is not only a great writer, he is a huge fan of Reed and is one that can put the proper spotlight on this grindhouse icon.
The horror genre lost two actresses that only made a few appearances in the genre but still made an impact.
Honor Blackman, probably best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), as well as in the Avengers TV series, she did appear in a few horror films, such as the underrated Fright (1971), starring a young Susan George, Hammer’s To the Devil a Daughter (1976), and even in the more recent Cockneys vs Zombies (2012), which I was amazed how entertaining that one actually was! Blackman passed away on April 5th at the age of 94.
Hilary (Heath) Dwyer appeared in even fewer horror films, all appearing alongside Vincent Price! Her first role was in Witchfinder General (1968), where she runs up against Price as the evil Matthew Hopkins. She then appeared with Price again in The Oblong Box (1969) and Cry of the Banshee (1970). She left acting to start a talent agency and then into producing. She passed away last week due to complications with Covid-19.
Two familiar faces that will always be kept alive and remembered because of their work in these films. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family during this difficult times.
Since the internet has been flooded with notices about this a few days ago, everyone I’m sure has heard of the passing of actor Max von Sydow. Even though he only made less than a dozen films you could consider horror, you couldn’t be a fan of the genre and not know who this man was, because of The Exorcist (1973). Granted, like a lot of us, we always assumed he was already an old man because of the incredible aged makeup he wore in that film, thanks to Dick Smith. But no matter what role he had, like a small part in Conan the Barbarian (1982), the over-the-top role of the Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon (1980), to even the humorous role of Brewmeister Smith in Strange Brew (1983), he always commanded your attention, as well as gave a very memorable performance.
From his early days with Ingmar Bergman to Dario Argento in Sleepless (2001), to even working with Martin Scorsese in Shutter Island (2010), he always had a captive audience with his talent. He is one that will definitely live on and be remembered for all of those incredible characters. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
For fans of Hammer Films, especially The Brides of Dracula (1960), you knew the stunning beauty that was Andrée Melly, who appeared as one of the brides. This was her only Hammer film, but she also appeared in another Terence Fisher film, The Horror of It All (1964), alongside Pat Boone and Dennis Price. But one couldn’t watch Brides and not be enamored with her, along with Marie Devereux as the other bride (who we also recently lost last December). Seeing them transformed from young school girls to fanged creatures of the night, they once again showed why Hammer Films are still be watched and remembered with so much fondness today.
Melly passed away on January 31st, at the age of 87. She will be missed but always remembered for her brief film career. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family.
You couldn’t have been a horror fan that grew up in the late ’60s and early ’70s and not know the music of Bob Cobert. With the amount of work that writer/director/producer Dan Curtis was kicking out during that time, Cobert was right there through almost all of it, creating some incredible and memorable scores. Sadly, we heard the news that Mr. Cobert passed away back on Feb. 19th from pneumonia. He was 95.
My personal favorite has always been the theme he did for The Night Stalker (1972), but there are also so many other great ones, such as Dark Shadows, both the series and the two films. He pretty much worked on almost all of Curtis’ productions, which earned him a Grammy nomination for his composition Quentin’s Theme from Dark Shadows series and a Emmy nomination for his work on Curtis’ epic miniseries War and Remembrance (1988-89).
For a composer to create a theme that is remembered as much a the movie or series itself is a high compliment for any musician. Cobert seemed to do it over and over again. He may have left his planet, but he has left us hours and hours of fantastic music that we can listen to over and over, bringing those images back in our brains again and again.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time. Rest in Peace, Maestro.
The genre has lost another icon with the passing of Brazilian actor, writer, director, producer, José Mojica Marins, better known to fans as Zé do Caixão, aka Coffin Joe. He was another filmmaker breaking ground, making movies that were not the most welcomed in his own home, but he continued on, making the kind that he wanted to make. While he started making films as early as 1950, it wasn’t until 1964 with the release of À Meia Noite Levarei Sua Alma (At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul) that he found the role that would stay with him until he died, that of the devious Coffin Joe. Thankfully, a good number of his films have been made available though various companies, especially Something Weird Video. Continue reading
Writer and historian Robert “Bobb” Cotter passed away due to complications from a recent stroke. He was a regular member of the Monster Bash family, which is where I first met him, back in 2015, at our first time there. We talked for a few minutes while he graciously signed the copies of his books that I brought from my own library, chatting about Mexican horror films and how much crazy fun they are. You would always seen him one of the days at the Bash wearing his Carl Kolchak costume, tape recorder and all. While he might not been someone in front of or behind the movie camera, he was one of those behind the keyboard, working hard to help educate so many of us fans of the women of Hammer Horror, the Misfits, and of course, Mexican horror and masked wrestler movies.
His book The Mexican Masked Wrestler and Monster Filmography is an essential volume for anybody interested in that sub-genre. Anytime I’ve gone to write something on one of those films, I am always checking that book for information. That goes as well as this books on the ladies of Hammer as well.
The Mexican movie nights at the Bash just won’t be the same this year without him and it will be a sad time. But I want to say thank you to him, for helping not only me, but a ton of other fans learn through your hard work and generous fandom. Our thoughts go out to him and his family, and all of the Monster Bash family. His absence will be deeply missed.