As horror fans, we lost some huge icons this last year. Some were older and some went way too soon. But because of their work in cinema, they will never entirely be gone from us. We can always pop in a DVD or Blu-ray and they will be just as alive as we remembered, giving us even more entertainment than before.
Being a fan of cinema for any length of time, you would think one could get used to losing some of their movie heroes and idols, but it still hurts when you ponder “what if they were to make just one more film?” Being a fan of cinema also helps keep their memory of what they did make alive and well. And by continuing to sing their praises, we can introduce them to the next generation of cinema lovers, so they can experience the same joy that we did, and still do, each and every time we bust out one of their movies.
Jack H. Harris isn’t a name that immediately comes to mind, even for most horror fans, but it is because of this particular individual that we have one of the most original alien invaders in movie history, the 1958 film The Blob! Harris started in the business at the very young age of six, working as a performer on the stage. He later became an usher at a movie theater, eventually getting into publicity and distribution, finally becoming a producer. His first film was The Blob, but later gave us titles like 4D Man (1959), Dinosaurus! (1960), Equinox (1970), Beware! The Blob (1972), Schlock (1973) giving a young John Landis his start, Dark Star (1974), and Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). He also produced the 1988 remake of The Blob, though it seems he didn’t care for it too much.
Two years ago, he published his autobiography entitled Jack H. Harris: The Father of The Blob, which we reviewed here on the site. It is a great read with a ton of fascinating stories, and one that I would recommend.
But we are sad to say that Mr. Harris has passed away at the age of 98. With being responsible for so many entertaining films in his career, he might not be as well known as some of the bigger names in Hollywood, but his films have definitely made an impact on millions of movie-goers. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
For those who might not know (meaning this must be your first time at the site since I’m always going on about it), but I have a lot of reference books on the horror genre and those that have worked in it. While I try to read as much as I can, with everything else going on, it is so easy to slip by and not get any reading done. So last year I set a goal for myself to get through at least 12 books during the year, figuring a book a month on average would be a good start. At the end of that first year, I think I was one title away from hitting that goal. But this year, I blew by that goal, actually hit a grand total of 14 different titles.
They were: Spanish Horror Film by Antonio Lazaro-Reboll, Ten Cent Plague by David Hajdu, Cult Horror Films by Welch Everman, The Unholy Three by John Hamilton, Father of The Blob by Jack H. Harris, Katzman, Nicholson, Corman: Shaping Hollywood’s Future by Mark Thomas McGee, I Cannot, Yet I Must By Anders Runestad, The Supernatural Cinema of Guillermo del Toro Edited by John W. Morehead, Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema by Nicholas G. Schlegel, Giallo Cinema and Its Folktale Roots by Michael Sevastakis, It Came from the 80s by Francesco Borseti, Little Horrors by T.S. Kord, Growing up with Manos by Jackey Neyman Jones, and When Animals Attack edited by Vanessa Morgan.
Out of all of those titles, I have picked my favorite 3 from those.
Father of The Blob: The Making of a Monster Smash and Other Hollywood Tales
By Jack H. Harris
Published by TVGuestpert Publishing, 2015. 257 pages.