I know as horror fans, we like to throw around the word “icon” when one of our horror heroes passes away, but this time, with this guy, the word icon definitely fits. And I know the internet has been flooded with everyone’s memories of meeting him, but dammit…that is the way it should be!
The strange thing for me is that my first introduction to Mr. Haig wasn’t any of his appearances in the horror or exploitation films, but a Saturday morning kids show in the late ’70s called Jason of Star Command, as the villainous Dragos. Of course, later I would come to know him from the countless appearances he did in a ton of television and films. Even before Jack Hill’s Spider Baby saw a legitimate release, I had a shabby looking bootleg on VHS, watching this classic film, with a young Sid playing the simple minded Ralph, and just loving it. That was the amazing thing about Sid. No matter what role, no matter how big or small, Sid Haig always made an impression with the viewer. With this height, bald head, and those glaring eyes, he could stop you dead in your tracks. Continue reading
Carol Lynley is another one of those actors that didn’t make a ton of appearances in the horror genre, but when she did, she was always memorable. I think my first memory of her was playing Darren McGavin’s girlfriend in The Night Stalker movie. She made other horror titles like Beware! The Blob (1972), the remake of The Cat and the Canary (1978), and even showing up in Howling VI: The Freaks (1991). Years later, I would discover her in the much sought after The Shuttered Room (1967) as well as Bunny Lake is Missing (1965). She passed away on Sept. 3rd from a heart attack.
Lynley started acting on Broadway when she was only 15 and went on from there. She had such a recognizable face and was always fun to see on screen. She will be missed but not forgotten.
While Mark McConnaughey might not have been some famous actor or director, or anything in the movie business other than a fan, for a lot of us though, he made just as much of an impact as any movie ever did. At least I know he did with me. Monster Mark, as we always referred to him as, recently passed away, after battling multiple sclerosis for many, many years. It is a hard loss for me, even though I had only really seen Mark in person a half a dozen times over the last two decades, but we somehow connected through movies that gave us a strong bond.
I first met Mark back in 1995. I had sold him some movies around that time and was planning on going to the Chiller Theatre show in New Jersey. Mark wrote me and said he would be attending too and we should hook up in the evening, which is just what we did. Hanging out in the bar with him, along with my friend Jon Stone, we talked for hours about all sorts of movies. In fact, Mark and Stone were throwing back title after title, each one more outrageous than the last, interrupted with bouts of laughter. Continue reading
Fans of Italian westerns and the giallo film have lost one of their own. George Hilton passed away yesterday at the age of 85. He started in films back in 1956, appearing in more than just a few westerns. But he also made a few giallo films, which when he did, they were pretty amazing, such as The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1970), which is one of my favorites in that sub-genre. Granted, it might have something more to do with Edwige Fenech… He also appeared in films like The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971) and All the Colors of the Dark (1972), another very important film in the giallo sub-genre. You can also see him in Lamberto Bava’s Dinner with a Vampire (1989) playing the century old vampire who just wants to die.
While he stopped appearing in films a decade ago, you could always see him show up in interviews on the latest giallo documentary or new Blu-ray release, speaking so fondly of his experiences in the industry. But as always, when the fans lose a great talent like this, we know that his memory will live on as long as there are fans of these films. And I have a strong feeling that will go on for quite some time.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
I had been meaning to post about David Hedison’s passing, but now the news of Rutger Hauer has hit and it is a double dose of sadness.
David Hedison is one of those actors that only made a handful of genre appearances, but the ones that he did, definitely made an impact. Growing up watching a lot of TV, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was basically Star Trek but underwater, so it had my attention. Of course, then seeing The Fly (1958) would forever make me know who David Hedison is. Even though his face is covered through a good part of the film, he was still able to make you feel for his character. That is the power of a good actor, that they can only appear in a few things you’ve seen, but it still makes a lasting impression.
My all time favorite of Hammer’s Frankenstein series has always been Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Cushing’s performance as the deviant doctor is unparalleled. It is almost a shame that since Cushing is so good in this, that it takes away from some of the other performances, like that of Freddie Jones in the role of the Professor Richter, who is the unwilling recipient of a brain transplant. His tragic performance is heart breaking, especially has he goes to see his wife in the body of another man.
So it was sad news when heard of his passing yesterday. He had appeared in so many films and TV series, not to mention his work on the stage. He definitely made his mark in the horror genre, such as in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), Hammer’s Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), and Old Dracula (1974). He also appeared in another favorite from my teenage years, Krull (1983). We had this at the theater I worked so I watched it more than a few times. Sure, might be cheesy today, but I still love it and Jones, once again, gives the audience a very emotional performance, especially when he meets his long lost love. Probably one of his most famous, was that in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980).
He may be gone but I know us fans will keep his memory alive and well thanks to all the wonderful roles he brought to life for us over the years. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
If ever there was a film that would be at the top of a cult and/or exploitation genre, or especially a Turkey Day festival, it would have to be the 1972 film Blood Freak. I mean, where else could you find a movie about a Turkey-Headed, blood-drinking, religious-backed horror film, than in this must-be-seen-to-believed film. Unfortunately, Steve Hawkes (real name Steve Sipek), co-writer, co-director, co-producer, and star of this film has passed away.
He starred in a couple of Spanish made Tarzan films back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the last of which he was severely burned on the set. After his film career ended in the mid-’70s, he would later start an animal refuge. In July of 2004, he was in the news when one of his Bengal tigers was shot and killed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after it had escaped. He was seen on the news openly weeping, blaming the officers for “murdering” his pet.
While he never had a huge career in film, it is because of Blood Freak that most fans of the cult, exploitation, and horror genre will remember him for. And because of this film, he WILL always be remembered. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.