Book Review: It Came From 1957

It came from 1957

It Came from 1957
By Rob Craig
Published by McFarland, 2013. 256 pages.

I’m a huge fan of the sci-fi/horror films of the ’50s. In fact, I love them. In 1957, there were  a ton of releases during that period, many of them classics. All fifty-seven titles of them are covered within the pages of the book, some in a little more detail and discussion than others, but they are all there. After an extensive introduction discussing the time period and what was going on in the world, we get to read about such films as The Brain from Planet Arous (which is featured on the book’s cover) to Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Unearthly, Invasion of the Saucer Men, to The Thing from Another World and plenty more. Craig really knows his stuff here and is very informative when it comes to discussing these pictures. But therein lies the problem.

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Horror History: Jimmy Sangster

sangster1Jimmy Sangster
Born Dec. 2nd, 1927 – Died Aug. 19th, 2011

When discussing the Hammer family, Jimmy Sangster was there at the start of their rise, not to mention having a big part of it. He started with Hammer at the bottom, working his way up through the ranks, as second unit director, assistant director, production assistant, production manager, then finally into writer, producer and director. But while he may have held many different titles in the industry, it was as a writer where he made his real mark.

By the time that Hammer was going to do their version of Frankenstein, Sangster had worked on over 30 films as either Production Manager, or Second Unit Director or Assistant Director. He had written screenplays for one short film and one feature by then, both for Hammer. The short film was A Man on the Beach and the feature was X the Unknown (1956), sort of their version of The Blob (1958) even though that came out two years later! But he was given the task to write this new version of Shelley’s tale, but told to make sure he stays away from Universal’s version, in fear of getting sued for copyright infringement. He decided to focus more on the creator than the creation, which started Hammer toward their path to being know as The House of Horror!

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Clayguy Meets Hammer!

clayguy-curseoffrankenstein1Another dealer that I’ve met years ago was Barry Crawford, aka Clayguy! Barry creates some incredible pieces of art….little figures from the movies we love out of clay, really capturing the essence of these demented characters. They almost look like they would be in a Tim Burton animated film. I have picked up a few of his pieces for my son over the years. The great thing about Barry is that he doesn’t just do what might be the obvious choices for his subjects, but does some pretty obscure characters as well. Just by browsing over his table, you’ll see Victor Crowley from Hatchet, Corbis from The Devil’s Rain, Meg Halsey from Re-Animator, and so many more. Granted, most of the horror/cult fans coming by his table recognize them right away. It also helps that Barry is a super nice guy and we’re always happy to see him setting up next to us.

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