Suzanna Leigh – Rest in Peace

Suzanna Leigh - RIPHammer fans have lost another name from the studio we love so much. Suzanna Leigh, who appeared in The Lost Continent (1968) and Lust for a Vampire (1971), passed away yesterday at the age of 72.

The Lost Continent is a favorite of mine since it is just so damn crazy, but so much fun. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet her at a couple of conventions over the years and she was always such a sweet person to talk to. She had plenty of great stories to tell as well. Other genre titles she appeared in are The Deadly Bees (1966) and the cult film Son of Dracula (1974) with Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson. But probably even scarier than any of those films was probably working with Klaus Kinski in the 1965 film The Pleasure Girls.

Oh yeah…and she worked with some guy named Elvis.

That is one of the real shames of being a fan of a studio that (realistically) stopped making films almost 30 years ago, that the stars that we loved to watch and follow are sadly slowly leaving us. But as I always say, we will always have their movies to remind us of their talent, and their work will continue to give audiences both old and new, entertainment for years to come.  Gone, but never forgotten.

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

Umberto Lenzi – Rest in Peace

Umberto Lenzi - RIPIf you were a fan of Giallo films, or just Italian horror cinema, especially their cannibal sub-genre, then you definitely knew who Umberto Lenzi was. While he started off studying law, he turned to his real passion…cinema. At first working as a critic and writer, he soon moved into film production. His first film was Queen of the Seas (1958). But starting in the late ’60s, he made several well made giallos, such as So Sweet…So Perverse (1969), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), Spasmo (1974), and Eyeball (1975).

But in 1972, he made the film Sacrifice (aka Man from Deep River), which was a slight take off on the 1970 film A Man Called Horse, except Lenzi’s was a little darker. With this film, some say that he started the Italian cannibal sub-genre, even before Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980). In fact, a year after that film came out, Lenzi did his best to top even that one, with Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) which one might think would be hard to do. Whether he did or not is up to the viewers, but either way, it’s a pretty tough film to watch. He would continue to make films into the ’90s, but never with any real success, usually due to budgetary reasons.

While he is usually remembered because of the later day films he made, his early giallo titles are well worth seeking out. None the less, no matter your tastes in his films, he was one filmmaker that made a permanent impact on the horror genre. And that is something to be said.

Lenzi recently passed away on Oct. 19th, at the age of 86. He will be missed, but his films will help him and his memory live on.

Suzan Farmer – Rest in Peace

Susan Farmer - RIPThis is a name that might not be too familiar, but if you’re a Hammer fan, then you’ll know the face. Farmer appeared in several titles from Hammer, including two of their swashbuckling  movies, The Crimson Blade (1963) and The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964). But it was mainly for her role in Dracula, Prince of Darkness when horror fans took note. She followed that film up immediately with Rasputin: The Mad Monk, once again coming up against the sizeable Christopher Lee. Another non-Hammer picture that she made that I remember fondly is Die, Monster, Die! (1965), starring alongside Boris Karloff. This was one that I saw in my youth and really made an impact with me. While she might not have been as glamorous or as known as some of the other Hammer starlets, her performances always stood out and are very memorable.

She passed away on Sept. 17th. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. Thankfully, like all of our movie heroes and heroines, they will live on for fans of their films, especially for Hammer fans!

Basil Gogos – Rest in Peace

Basil-Gogos-Artwork

If you grew up with Famous Monsters of Filmland, or even collected them later on in life, then you are more than aware of the work of Basil Gogos. His stunning portraits of such monstrous and darkened characters but done with such amazing colors, always made an impact with the fans. And that still rings true today just as much as it did when those magazines first hit the newsstands. In fact, probably even more so.

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Tobe Hooper – Rest in Peace

Tobe Hooper RIPThere are certain names in the horror genre that are known as icons, or one of the Masters of Horrors. And yesterday, the genre and the fans lost another one of them, Tobe Hooper. Regardless of the ups and downs of his filmography, he will always be remembered for directing the infamous 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which still is as gritty, scary, and damn entertaining as it was when it first assaulted movie audiences over forty years ago. His adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1979) still remains as one of the best made-for-TV movies of that decade, not to mention other entertaining titles in his filmography, such as The Funhouse (1981), Lifeforce (1985), and of course, the bat-shit-crazy sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).

Hooper passed away yesterday at the age of 74. For as long as there are horror movie fans, there will be screenings of TCM. And with each of those viewings, there will be some watching it for the first time that will be amazed and entranced at what they see on screen, possibly even inspiring them to try and do what Hooper and company did all those years ago in the dead heat of a Texas summer all those years ago.

You definitely will never be forgotten, Mr. Hooper. Thank you for the scares. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Martin Landau – Rest in Peace

Martin Landau - RIPReally don’t like it when these are so close together. Really makes one feel their mortality. As I write this up, I’m listening to the soundtrack from Creepshow, still trying to get over the loss of George Romero. But Martin Landau might not have made the impact in the horror genre like Romero, he definitely made his mark in a few titles. As an actor though, he was simply just amazing to watch. Landau passed away yesterday at the age of 89, due to “unexpected complications”, and the acting world loses one of the best.

I first recall Landau from both Mission Impossible and Space 1999, but never knew him as the actor, Martin Landau. He was just “that guy from that TV show”. But in 1984, a film started at the theater I was working at that was a collection of clips from different horror movies. The film was Terror in the Aisles, and it featured a few scenes from a movie called Alone in the Dark (1982), that starred Landau, as the demented character “Preacher”. In those brief clips, he gave us one of the most frightening performances that gave me chills. So much so that it immediately made me want to find that movie to see the whole thing. Around that time, he had also appeared in terror titles like Without Warning (1980) and The Being (1983). But it was his performance as the aging Bela Lugosi that won him an Oscar in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994).

Just looking through his filmography, you can see all the different and wonderful characters that he created over the years. A real consummate actor, always making the audience believe in his character.  So no matter what role he was playing, you know it was going to be worth the watch.

Our thoughts go out to the friends and family during this difficult time. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

George Romero – Rest in Peace

George Romero RIP

My very first horror convention was in April of 1988, out in California. Up until then, I had never met anybody famous, especially any idols I had from the horror genre. But at the show, one of the first ones I met was George Romero. I had come walking out of the dealer room on my way to the auditorium for the Q&A’s, and there he stood, surrounded by fans like a scene from one of his zombie flicks. Except, instead of trying to eat him, they just wanted to get an autograph or just say hello and thanks. I didn’t take me long to join the growing mass of fans either. I had him sign my copy of Tom Savini’s Grande Illusions, which was my very first autograph as well. I still have that book to this day and is one of my most memorable.

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