Universal Horrors at the Music Box Theatre

Invisible Man

Because our September and October wasn’t filling up already, the Music Box has decided to screen some of the Universal classics in their Universal Horror: A Matinee Series, starting at 11:30am on each weekend listed below. Plus the fact that these are all being screened from 35mm prints! Now is your chance to see some of these essential titles from our horror history but on the big screen like they were meant to be seen! Here’s the schedule for this series:

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Book Review: Biology Run Amok!

BBiology Run Amokiology Run Amok!
Published by McFarland, 2018. 255 pages

By Mark C. Glassy

I first discovered the writings of Glassy with his first book, The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema, which I stumbled across at a Half Price Books a few years ago. Within those pages, he discusses different films in the horror and sci-fi genre, looking at the science in them and seeing what could be true and what is totally off. Such an enjoyable read. This time out, Glassy does the same, but also is educating the reader with a lot of science knowledge and how it is applied in some of our favorite films. These were originally published in Scary Monsters magazine, starting back in 2009, but now are all gathered together in this one volume.

In the beginning of the book, he describes how audiences today are the “Jurassic Park Generation” since we pretty much will believe the science we see in movies as reality. But Glassy goes through these different theories and explains in more details some of the fallacies therein, but also when some of the films gets the science correct.

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Book Review: Frankenstein – How a Monster Became an Icon

Frankenstein How a Monster Became an IconFrankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon
Published by Pegasus Books, 2018. 254 pages

Edited by Sidney Perkowitz & Eddy Von Mueller

Being a sucker for any books on Frankenstein, the movies, the novel, and/or anything in between, it was a no-brainer to add this one to my library when it came out. At first glance, I figured it would be another one of those psycho-babble titles, filled with such ludicrous ideas and theories. But as I started to dig into it, not only were my initial fears were wrong, I found this a very intriguing and interesting read, with plenty of ideas, theories, and information that really got my brain working.

Editors Perkowitz and Von Mueller have gathered a collection of authors that really know this subject and have quite a few interesting things to say about it, as well as giving the reader a variety of subjects relating to Shelley and her famous creation. The book covers a variety of topics, from Shelley’s original novel, to the many adaptations of it, to the science and the morals and ethics behind it. There is even an interview with filmmaker Mel Brooks, talking about Young Frankenstein (1974)! There are chapters that discuss different aspects of Shelley’s story, such as the creature and how it is looked upon, perceived, and treated, and why? These are the parts that I found most fascinating since it really gave you some ideas to think about, if Shelley really had these in mind when she wrote it.  We get to hear about how Frankenstein’s creature has invaded the media over the last 200 years and how it is used, which again, I found very interesting to see how far this character has come these last two centuries.

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Horror History: John L. Balderston

johnlbalderstonJohn L. Balderston
Born Oct. 22nd, 1889 – Died Mar. 8th, 1954

Ever wonder why the original ’30s film versions of Dracula and Frankenstein didn’t seem to follow the novels too much? Well, one of the men responsible for that was writer John L. Balderston. He started his career as a journalist, even before he finished school, working for different newspapers. He would even be a war correspondent during WWI. He eventually started in show business as a playwright, while continuing the journalism gigs as well.

In 1927, he was hired to re-write Hamilton Deane’s stage play of Dracula for American audiences, making more than a few changes. Because of its huge success, he was then hired to do the same for Peggy Webling’s play version of Frankenstein. He would later have his name attached to many of the early monster classics, even if his scripts were never used. But because of his work, a lot of the foundation of these early monster flicks were due to him.

In 1953, Balderston and the heirs of Webling won a lawsuit with Universal, getting paid not only $20,000 but also 1% of any of the films that resulted from their work, including any sequels!

Fessenden Creates Frankenstein

DEPRAVEDLarry Fessenden is one of my favorite filmmakers, because not only does he create entertaining films, but they are smart, well made, and highly effective. Ever since my first experience with his early film Habit, it still remains what I would consider one of the best of modern day vampire films. So when I read the news that he was set to direct his version of Shelley’s Frankenstein, a personal favorite classic monster of mine, I was more than excited.

The will be called Depraved and should start filming this month. It will be a modern day re-imagining of Shelley’s tale. Now, I know we all hate the phrase “re-imagining”, but in the hands of Fessenden, I am more than hopeful that it will be something highly effective and memorable. Fessenden says “I’ve been moved by the iconic character since childhood and it is a great thrill to try and put my version on screen.”

It deals with a combat field surgeon that is dealing with his PTSD once he comes back from the Middle East. While back home in Brooklyn, he creates a man out of body parts in his homemade lab. The film will star David Call, Joshua Leonard, and Alex Breaux as the monster.

I try not to get too excited or look forward to films before they are even close to coming out, but I have to say, this one is one that I’ll be counting the days until its release.

Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years

Frankenstein First Two Hundred YearsWith year being the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s immortal tale, Frankenstein, I was hoping that there would be some sort of celebrating going on during the year. And it didn’t take long for author Christopher Fraying to appease that desire.

Published at the end of last year, this book “traces the journey of Shelley’s Frankenstein from limited-edition literature into the bloodstream of contemporary culture.” Since I’m not only a sucker for reference books, when they are one of my favorite subjects of the genre, then you got me right away. This volume is just over 200 pages, and a nice 9.5″ x 11″ sixe, so it will make a nice coffee table book. Plus, it looks to be filled with a wonderful array of images, photos, artwork, from the beginning to modern day adaptations. According to the description on the publisher’s website, the book also features “new research on the novel’s origins, and a facsimile reprint of the earliest-known manuscript version of the creation scene; visual material on adaptations for the stage, in magazines, on playbills, in prints and in book publications of the nineteenth century; series of visual essays on many of the film versions – and their inspirations in the history of art; and Frankenstein in popular culture – on posters, advertisements, packaging, in comics and graphic novels.”

How could any Frankenstein fan not want to immediately order their copy of this book? The retail price is $39.95, but you can get it on Amazon right now for considerably lower. In fact, the book has 4 reviews on Amazon already, and all of them give the book 5 stars. I know once we receive our copy, we’ll get our review posted as well.

Flea Market & Toy Show Finds

Usually in October, a free weekend is non-existent for my wife and I. But somehow this year, we had one. So we took advantage of it, doing something we’ve been wanting to do for a while, but just never had the time. Which was heading out to the Haunted Halloween Flea Market in Wheaton, IL. We have several friends of ours that go to this every year, and even had some friends setting up there too. So the wife and I headed out early on Saturday afternoon, with a beautiful day for it too! No rain in the forecast and a nice cool evening.

Haunted Halloween Flea Market 1

The thing about flea markets, or really any kind of show that has vendors, you really need to know your market to know if the prices you’re seeing are fair or way over priced. I’m sure there are plenty of fair vendors out there, but there are also that are there trying to make a living, so their prices might be on the high “collector” side. You can find some great deals there, don’t get me wrong. You just need to know your stuff before hand, otherwise you can end up spending more than you should.

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