Affectionally known as Mr. BIG because of his earlier pictures all dealt with some sort of a larger than normal monstrosity that was threatening mankind, Bert I. Gordon made a lot of entertaining films in his career. While most critics might say they were trash, awful, terribly made, or any of the other criticisms, doesn’t matter because the fans watching them were having a blast. And, if you’re counting on how much money they made, then you have to say that he was a successful filmmaker then as well. He gave us titles like King Dinosaur (1955), which was his first feature film, made with 4 actors, shot in 7 days, and with a budget of only $15,000. But it made a good amount of money at the drive-ins! He followed that up with titles like The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), The Cyclops (1957) to the more modern ones (for the time) Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977). I know I was always entertained by his work when I was growing up and I still enjoy watching them today.
But Mr. BIG left us today, passing away at the age of 100! His reputation will also be huge, as well as his fandom, because he truly created films that capture the excitement of our youth, giving us giant monsters of all kinds, and while they may make us laugh and snicker at times now when we really shouldn’t be, it still doesn’t take away the fun. And at the end of the day, that is what it is all about.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time. Rest in Peace, Mr. BIG.
It truly is the end of a legacy. Mr. Browning was the last actor alive that had played one of the famous classic monsters from Universal, in The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), as well as playing him in both the sequels. So many things go into making a film that still has fans close to 70 years after it came out, such as the designers of the monster and those that made the costume. But it is the performer inside of it that really breathes life into it, making the viewers forget that it is simply a man in a suit but we’re really watching a creature from a lost age. Ricou Browning did that with his underwater performance as the Gill-Man. To this day, watching this film, it is amazing how well it still plays, as well as what Browning did to make it look like we were really watching some sort of fish creature following the lovely Julie Adams.
Mr. Browning passed away on Monday, Feb. 27th, at the age of 93. From monster kids, monster fans, and all the other horror fans out there, we bow our heads today as we lose the last of the icons of an era that ended more than half a century ago. But it still makes me smile in wonderment, when we bust out one of these old classics and feel like a little kid once again. Rest in Peace, Mr. Browning, and thank you for what you have given the fans then, the fans now, and those new ones that will soon discover your talent.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
The horror genre has lost a key figure in some of the films that we’ve enjoyed over the last 60 years. Stunt work is one profession in the movie world that seldom gets the credit it so richly deserves. They are the nameless, usually faceless actors and actresses that do all the amazing work with the stars of the film getting the credit. George Wilbur worked on some amazing films in his long career, in quite a few different genres. But it is the horror titles that we’re interested in. Ones like Blacula (1972) and Grizzly (1976), to Escape from New York (1981), Re-Animator (1985), to even Oscar winning films like Silence of the Lambs (1991). But it was his appearance playing Michael Myers in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1989) that really put his name in the minds of fans. He reprised that performance in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
He attended many conventions over the years, getting to meet tons of his fans and was always so gracious to them. He understood the importance of his work and what it meant to the fans. Wilbur passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 1st at the age of 81 years old. We must remember that it isn’t just the famous actors from the movies we love that make them so great, but everyone involved, some that we’re purposely not aware of, such as the stunt people. And Wilbur definitely was one of those special ones. Thanks to his involvement in the Halloween series, he will always be remembered. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Well, we almost made it through the month.
While he might not have directed a lot of films in the horror genre, the ones he did were enough to make his mark in my book. Spanish filmmaker Eugenio Martín has passed away at the age of 97. His 1972 film Pánico en el Transiberiano, or as we know it here in the states, Horror Express, is one of those films that no matter how many times you see it, it still retains the same entertainment level, if not more, than before. Martín led an amazing cast of highly talented actors and actresses to such a strange story of an alien being found in the ice and awakening after centuries of being asleep. The following year, he gave us It Happened at Nightmare Inn aka A Candle for the Devil (1973), which was another highly memorable film, though with a much smaller cast.
I know that because of these two titles along, not to mention the other films he created, working in just about every film genre, he definitely will be remembered and highly regarded. We were very sorry to hear this news and our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
The man that showed us the power of cinema, Ruggero Deodato, passed away yesterday at the age of 83. While he had directed 36 films, he worked in just about every genre out there. But it was his 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust that brought him international fame. While I am not a fan of it personally, no one could argue how powerful of a film it is. He would go on to direct other horror films such as Cut and Run (1984), Body Count (1986), and Phantom of Death (1987). In the last couple of decades, he was no stranger to the convention circuit, even here in the US, and always seemed to just love the attention. While his English wasn’t that great, he was extremely friendly and loved to meet his fans. You can tell that by the number of photos with fans that were posted on social media over the last few hours, with everybody saddened by the news.
But his fame and notoriety will continue to live on as long as people still talk Cannibal Holocaust, which they will for decades to come. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time. Rest in Peace.
Robert Tayman was an actor that didn’t appear in too many horror films, but a few that are worth mentioning. He appeared in Pete Walker’s House of Whipcord (1974), and even Hammer’s strange Sci-Fi / Western Moon Zero Two (1969). But it really his performance as the vampire Count Mitterhaus in Hammer’s Vampire Circus (1972) that most Hammer and horror fans remember him by. While we haven’t seen anything official announced, I’ve seen a couple of posts from reliable sources that Mr. Tayman has recently passed away, at the age of 80 years old.
His performance as Mitterhaus is a bit over-the-top, but that is one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed it, as well as the film itself. It’s a style that I’m not sure we’ll see anytime soon, but as a young horror fan, I thought the film, and the vampires throughout the story were just so damn slick and cool.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time, but know that because of his performance in Vampire Circus, along with Count Mitterhaus, his life will go on for us fan.
This one just plain sucks! I saw it posted earlier this morning, but couldn’t find any confirmation, so I was hoping it wasn’t real, but unfortunately, it has now been reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Actor Andrew Prine passed away on Monday the 31st, at the age of 86. Prine had close to 200 film and TV credits over his career, appearing in westerns, war films, and more than a few titles in the cult and horror genre. I got to meet Mr. Prine a few times over the years at different shows, and even had the honor to interview him way back in April of 2005. Such a kind and funny man, with a ton of great stories. He had recently been a guest at the Monster Bash show in PA and his Q&A was just so funny and entertaining.
His portray of the title character in Simon, King of the Witches (1971), while it may not be a true horror film, is an incredible tale of someone that may or may not be a real warlock. Of course, there’s ways William Girdler’s Grizzly (1976), where Prine was the only actor to get inside the caged area where the very real and very huge bear was in! But so many other great titles, like Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), The Centerfold Girls (1974), or The Evil (1978). Hell, even Barn of the Naked Dead (1973), which was made under the title Terror Circus, is pretty fun to watch. Again, that comes down to Prine and his performance.
Thankfully, all of those films mentioned, plus plenty more, are readily available for fans to enjoy over and over again. And thanks to Rob Zombie, who cast Prine in a small role in his 2012 film The Lords of Salem, maybe that will bring in some newer fans to might want to look into his long and entertaining career. So, while we might have lost him from this realm of existence, he will continue to not only be alive to us fans, but he will continue to entertain us with his performances. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
While most horror fans know Ted White from when he played Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), which I’ll say is one of the better films and performances in that series. But it wasn’t just that film that White should be known and remembered for. Working as a stuntman since the ’50s, he worked on a ton of films and even some notable ones, even though he was usually uncredited. The life of a stuntman, right? But one of his first jobs was that on Universal’s last great classic monster flick, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), besides working on other titles like The Planet of the Apes (1968), Soylent Green (1973), King Kong (1976), The Manitou (1978), Escape from New York (1981), as well as appearing in Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), Demonoid (1981), and Starman (1984).
In his career, he doubled for names like John Wayne, Fess Parker, Clark Gable, and Rock Hudson. While he didn’t want to be credited at first for playing Jason in Friday 4, he eventually came around and realized and embraced the film and was always a great guest on the convention circuit.
White passed away on Oct. 14th, at the age of 96. He will be missed but know that we can enjoy his work (even though we might now even know it) for years to come. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
Not a lot of filmmakers made a huge impact with really only one movie, but Doug McKeown did for me with his film The Deadly Spawn (1983). According to the posting from John Dodds on Facebook, it seems that McKeown has passed away. Dodds worked with McKeown on Spawn, creating the title monster. I couldn’t find any other notices about his death besides that, but since McKeown wasn’t a household name, maybe that’s why. But none the less, the horror genre has lost a man partially responsible for bringing that famous monster full of teeth alive on the screen.
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I know I don’t cover too many fictional writers here, or fiction for that matter, but back in the day, I devoured horror fiction as much as I do movies and non-fiction books today. One of the writers I followed was Peter Straub. His earlier novels, such as Julia in 1975, which became a great little ghost story film The Haunting of Julia in 1977, Ghost Story, which the movie adaptation became a big hit in 1981 with an all-star cast. In 1984, he collaborated with Stephen King with The Talisman, which they revisited with a sequel in 2001 called Black House. His 1982 novel, Floating Dragon, creeped the hell out of me.
So it is with sadness that I mention that Mr. Straub has passed away, at the age of 79. I remember either reading or seeing an interview with Stephen King, where he mentioned that Straub hand wrote all of his work, and that he didn’t feel sorry for anyone more than Straub’s editor because his handwriting was damn near illegible. In the late ’80s, when I was reading a lot of fiction, I would often write to authors, many times getting a letter back. When I got one back from Straub, I realized how right King was. I’ve posted the letter below.
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