Movie Review: Spider Baby

(1968)
Directed by Jack Hill
Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner, Sid Haig, Mary Mitchel, Karl Schanzer, Mantan Moreland

The first time I saw this film was on a shitty VHS bootleg that was barely watchable. This was still years away before it would released on laserdisc and VHS, and eventually DVD and Blu-ray. But even watching the grainy print on video, you could see something special in this strange movie. Thankfully we don’t need to worry about bootlegs anymore since there have been a couple of different special edition Blu-ray releases by now. How great to be a movie fan these days. Continue reading

Horror History: Vic Diaz

vicdiazVic Diaz
Born in 1932

If you have watched any movies from the Philippines, especially in the exploitation genre, then you’ve most likely seen Vic Diaz’s face somewhere. He has been a staple of the Philippine film industry since the late ’50s and had continued to work quite a bit through the ’90s. Whether he was just a bit player or given a bigger role, he was always recognizable and memorable.

He made 12 movies alone with director Eddie Romero, titles like Beast of the Yellow Night (1971), Black Mama, White Mama (1973) with Pam Grier, Beyond Atlantis and Savage Sisters (1974), both with Sid Haig and John Ashley. Not to mention other cult titles like Blood Thirst (1971), The Big Bird Cage (1972) which was directed by Jack Hill, Superbeast (1972), Daughter of Satan (1972), co-starring Tom Selleck, Vampire Hookers (1978), and many other delightful titles.

So the next time you’re watching a movie from the Philippines, keep your eye out for our pudgy little friend, Mr. Diaz. I’m pretty sure he will be in there somewhere.

Sid Haig – Rest in Peace

sid 6

I know as horror fans, we like to throw around the word “icon” when one of our horror heroes passes away, but this time, with this guy, the word icon definitely fits. And I know the internet has been flooded with everyone’s memories of meeting him, but dammit…that is the way it should be!

sid 4The strange thing for me is that my first introduction to Mr. Haig wasn’t any of his appearances in the horror or exploitation films, but a Saturday morning kids show in the late ’70s called Jason of Star Command, as the villainous Dragos. Of course, later I would come to know him from the countless appearances he did in a ton of television and films. Even before Jack Hill’s Spider Baby saw a legitimate release, I had a shabby looking bootleg on VHS, watching this classic film, with a young Sid playing the simple minded Ralph, and just loving it. That was the amazing thing about Sid. No matter what role, no matter how big or small, Sid Haig always made an impression with the viewer. With this height, bald head, and those glaring  eyes, he could stop you dead in your tracks. Continue reading

Operation Track of the Blood Bath Vampire!

Blood-Bath-PosterSometimes I am just amazed at not only some of the titles that get released on blu-ray, but in the huge special editions that they come out with. Case in point, a title that Arrow Video just announced. At the end of May, they will be releasing a special edition of the 1966 film Blood Bath. But this isn’t just any ordinary film that was made under the Roger Corman umbrella. In fact, it started as a film being made in Yugoslavia by someone named Rados Novakovic and called Operation Titan. But it didn’t really fit Corman’s approval, so he hired Jack Hill to take the film and see if he could make something out of it, which he did, and would be later called Blood Bath. But for various reasons, such as the film stock from the original footage and what Hill shot didn’t match up that too well. So because Hill went on to make Spider Baby, the film was set aside. Then Corman came back to the picture and hired Stephanie Rothman to see what she could do with it. She changed the title to Track of the Vampire and made it more of a vampire film! According to Hill, about 80 % of the film is what he shot, but I have to say that it is kind of a mess of a picture, even though it has one of the best posters from that era!

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Interview: Jack Hill

hillinterviewbannerThis interview was conducted on June 27th, 1999, and was my very first interview for the Krypt. I was nervous as hell, but I have to say I couldn’t have picked a nicer guy for my first one. I’d been a fan of Hill’s work, especially Spider Baby, so this really was a thrill for me. This was done back right before the first DVD release of Spider Baby was coming out. Hope you enjoy it.

Kitley’s Krypt: How did the idea or concept of Spider Baby come about?

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