Norman J. Warren – Rest in Peace

Norman J. Warren is a perfect example of a filmmaker that does not have a huge filmography but the few films he made are more than enough to be remembered. Warren grew up loving film and started working in the industry before he was 20, and directing his first short film, Fragments in 1965. Three years later, he directed two successful softcore exploitation films, Her Private Hell and Loving Feeling, both in 1968. But it is his horror films that he is best remembered for. In the late 70s, he directed Satan’s Slave (1976), Prey (1977), Terror (1978), and the early 80s, took advantage of the Alien phenomena and directed Inseminoid (1981), and then a nod to the nightmarish slasher sub-genre, gave us Bloody New Year in 1987.

My personal favorite of Warren’s work is Prey, which I can still remember seeing the big box VHS tape of this, under the title Alien Prey that had blood and nudity right on the front cover! But it was more than just the cheap red stuff, he showed that with very little money, but with a good story and a very small but talented cast, you could create a very memorable film.

So it was very sad to hear of his passing. But we know, as horror fans, his films and his memory will be kept alive for along as there are fans of these pictures. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.  

John “Bud” Cardos – Rest in Peace

We lost a great hero of independent cinema today, which unfortunately most fans don’t know. John “Bud” Cardos started his career in the film business back in the ’40s with Hal Roach’s Our Gang, and continued on from there, working in just about every part of the industry. He worked in the stunt department, acting, directing, and so much more. As an actor, he worked a lot with Al Adamson, appearing in films like Blood on Dracula’s Castle and Satan’s Sadist (both in 1969), Five Bloody Graves and Horror of the Blood Monsters (both in 1970), and as a director, he gave us Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), The Dark (1979), and Mutant (1984).

In April of 2005, Cardos was a guest at Cinema Wasteland, and along with Gary Kent, Greydon Clark, and William Smith, had some of the best stories of the industry. Cardos told the captive audience about the day he worked on a western film one day, falling off a horse about a dozen different times for different parts of the film, as different characters. Never got hurt. Then when he gets home, all he wants to do is just soak in the tub and relax, and end up slipping in the tub and breaking his arm!

Being a fan of some of the lower budgeted films and the people behind it, like Al Adamson, it really shows you how talented and creative some of these people were, that really don’t get the credit. If you’re not familiar with Cardos or his work, do yourself a favor check out some of his work.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. Gone, but never to be forgotten.

Christopher Plummer – Rest in Peace

This Oscar and Tony winning actor is one of those few talents that not only played some very serious roles, but also could warm your heart with a great performance. Usually known for playing the villain, such as in the 1984 film Dreamscape, he could also be the hero, like when he battled the vampire Klaus Kinski in Vampire in Venice (1988). No matter what production, be brought class. He did appear in quite a few other genre titles, such as Wolf (1994) and even Dracula 2000 (2000), and of course the sci-fi epic Starcrash (1978). 

Of course, he is probably best remembered (at least by the critics) as the head of the family in Sound of Music (1965). Reading up on him a bit before writing this, I found it somewhat humorous that he felt somehow cursed by that role, much like Christopher Lee always complained about with this performance as Dracula. On his role in “S&M” (as he called it), he said “To do a lousy part like von Trapp, you have to use every trick you know to fill the empty carcass of the role. That damn movie follows me around like an albatross.” So it just shows that no matter what film genre you’re known for, a defining role could always be your “albatross”. Then again, if people are still talking about it, watching it, and still being entertained by it, can’t be all bad, right?

We lost Mr. Plummer on Friday, at the age of 91, who was still going strong. Got to give that man some respect for that. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time. Gone, but never forgotten.

Hal Holbrook – Rest in Peace

In my favorite segment, of one of my all time favorite films, Hal Holbrook played one of my favorite characters, brow-beated Henry Northrup, married to the one and only Wilma aka “just call me Billie”, played wonderfully by Adrienne Barbeau. Of course the movie is Creepshow (1982). I knew of Holbrook before that, from John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980), another top favorite of mine, but also from a lot of appearances on television and movies. He was an actor that no matter what he was in, or the role he was portraying, his presence would up the quality of the production. He was always just a treat to watch perform, being one of those actors who could give you that warm smile but with a glare that could chill you to the bone.

He had passed away back on January 23rd at the age of 95. With all the amazing characters he appeared as, he is probably known for his stage play of playing Mark Twain, that he did for well over a half a century! Years ago, he actually was in our home town on tour with his Mark Twain play and I really thought about waiting outside the theater in hopes of getting him to sign my Creepshow poster. Never did, but now my regret is even stronger.

You had a great run, Mr. Holbrook. Your work will definitely you alive for as long as there are film fans. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Barbara Shelley – Rest in Peace

Okay 2021… not a good way to start out. Not even a week in and now this? This one stings.

The news came out early yesterday that actress Barbara Shelley passed away. So many great roles. So many incredible performances. Where does one start? Obviously the work she did for Hammer are incredible, especially in Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), giving duel performances going from an uptight wife to a seductive vampiress, to her role as Barbara in Quatermass and the Pit (1967), when she puts on the apparatus that lets her see visions of the past through these long (no-so) dead aliens. But no matter what film or the size of her role, she was always so memorable and such a joy to watch. She brought an elegance to whatever role she was playing, making her characters seem lifelike, relatable, and more importantly, believable. From her early genre appearances in Cat Girl (1957) and Blood of the Vampire (1958) to Village of the Damned (1960), to even her appearance on Doctor Who in the ’80s, it was also great to see her on screen. Continue reading

2020 Year End Review: Part 2 – Those We Have Lost… But Not Forgotten

Each year, we lose more and more of our movie heroes, and this year was brutal. We lost directors, actors, composers, journalists, and so many more people that were responsible for creating amazing memories for us, and those that wrote about them, hoping to inspire people to seek them out. But as I always say each year, it is because of our love of the genre that these names and the work they have given us will never die. We will continue to keep their memory and their work alive for years to come, even introducing their work to more people. So from us at the Krypt, we thank you and you can rest knowing you will never be forgotten. Continue reading

Mike “McBeardo” McPadden – Rest in Peace

You don’t need to be a filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, or even makeup artist to have an effect on the film industry. When you’re a writer that is constantly waving the flag of cult and obscure, and just plain fun and crazy cinema, you are doing wonders for the genre. And this week, we lost one of those people.

Mike McPadden was an author and true champion of the weird and strange film titles that went across many different genres. His two books, Heavy Metal Movies and Teen Movie Hell, were proof of that. I had only met McPadden a couple of times over the years, seeing him at a few local Chicagoland events, but you couldn’t help but see his crazy enthusiasm. Mike passed away in his sleep earlier this week.

Our condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time. A friend has started a GoFundMe page (click HERE) to help funeral and living expenses for his wife and newly foster child they had just recently opened their door to. Mike’s voice was a strong one and one that I hope keeps going through his written word. Rest in peace, McBeardo.

David Prowse – Rest in Peace

And we lose yet another movie icon. Yesterday, we lost the actor to give physical life to one of cinema’s greatest villains, Darth Vader from the original Star Wars trilogy, David Prowse. Being a huge fan of that series, I had learned all of the main actors’ names, so I knew who Prowse was at the time. But it wasn’t until years later, when I started down my path of the horror genre, that I realized his connection to Hammer Films, as well as the many other things he had worked on.

But as I delved more into the works of Hammer, I discovered that Prowse played the creature in not one, but two different titles in their Frankenstein series. The first with Ralph Bates as the scientist in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and second with Cushing back in the role of the mad baron Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), as well as playing the strongman / vampire familiar in Vampire Circus (1972). He made dozens of other appearances in genre titles, even appearing in a couple of Doctor Who episodes. Continue reading

Daria Nicolodi – Rest in Peace

These posts are always tough to do. It is with great sadness that we have found out that Daria Nicolodi has passed away today, age the age of 70. One cannot be a fan of Italian cinema and not know of her work, both in front of and behind the camera. From her appearance in Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975), Tenebre (1982), to Opera (1987), as well as co-writing Suspiria (1977), one of the best horror films ever committed to film, she has definitely made her mark.

Thankfully, we know that her memory will not fade away, because she will still remain alive in our minds and hearts, every time we break out one of these movies. Her talent and beauty will be alive on screen every time we push play, and we can continue to be grateful that she has left us such gifts.

Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends in this most difficult time. Riposa in pace, Daria. 

Phantom of the Movies – Rest In Peace

Writer and columnist Joe Kane, more known under his long time pseudonym The Phantom of the Movies, passed away on November 1st, at the age of 73. Being a lifelong movie fan, he was one of those that strived to inform other movie fans of all the wonderful titles out there waiting to be discovered. One of his favorite quotes was “Keep Watching the Screens!”

He was an editor for The Monster Times in the early to mid ’70s, before working as a columnist for The New York Daily Times, under the moniker The Phantom of the Movies, where he wrote about the strange and cult films that he loved, amongst other film titles. In 1993, he started a fanzine/newsletter called The Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope, which later evolved into an actual magazine. In 2000, he published a massive volume of reviews in a book under the same name as the magazine. Continue reading