Horror History: Paul Blaisdell

Paul BlaisdellPaul Blaisdell
Born July 21st, 1927, Died July 10th, 1983

Any fans of the monster movies of the ’50s have probably seen the work of Paul Blaisdell. He was the man responsible for creating the monsters and creatures for a lot of those early AIP films, usually done with very little time and even less money. But he always came up with some unique and very memorable designs. He started his career after graduating from the New England School of Art and Design, and started to work for Douglas Aircraft as a technical illustrator. He would also send in his drawings to sci-fi fantasy publications like Spaceways and Otherwords. His work was noticed by a very important figure in the horror / sci-fi genre fandom, that of Forrest J. Ackerman. He became Blaisdell’s agent and introduced him into the world of movie making.

Blaisdell would go on to create some of the most memorable monsters from that era, in films like The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), The She-Creature (1956), It Conquered the World (1957), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), and many more. In the early ’60s, he even started his own magazine called Fantastic Monsters of the Film, with Bob Burns.  Unfortunately, the magazine was short lived.

With all of his creations being still remembered today by dedicated fans, it’s a shame that Blaisdell still does not receive the recognition that he should. So let’s change that. If you’re not familiar with him or his work, look some of his films up and take a look at the fun stuff he was coming up with, just with a few dollars and a lot of creative talent. I think you’ll enjoy what you see.

Horror History: Ronald Stein

ronaldstein.jpgRonald Stein
Born Apr. 12th, 1930 – Died Aug. 15th, 1988

He started his musical career writing scores in college, working with different opera houses and orchestras in throughout the early ’50s. It was in the mid ’50s that he started working for American International Pictures (known then as American Releasing Company). His first film was the Roger Corman directed western Apache Woman (1955). He worked for them for many years, scoring classic horror and sci-fi films like It Conquered the World (1956), The She-Creature (1956), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Dementia 13 (1963), and many more. He even composed the theme song for Jack Hill’s Spider Baby (1968) with Lon Chaney singing, as well as the rest of the score for the film.

Stein was obviously a perfect match for AIP since he worked fast and cheap. Between the years of 1956 and 1958, he scored 8 films each year. Not a lot of time when you think about the way it is done these days. Thankfully quite a few of his scores are still available today on CD and are really fun to listen to.