Women in Horror Films, 1930’s
By Gregory William Mank
Published by McFarland & Co, 415 pages.
Along with Tom Weaver, Greg Mank is one of the leading writers who I think is doing amazing work keeping the memory and stories of some of our favorite actors and actresses alive, through their hard work and research. We can learn so much about our favorite horror stars because of them. And this book is a prime example of that.
Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one of the stars from the ’30’s, including names like Elsa Lanchester, Gloria Stuart, Frances Drake, and many more. In fact, there are 21 different actresses cover in this book. With each name, we are given a lot of information about the them, their early life and career. There are a lot of interesting stories within these pages, most of them told directly to the author himself from the many interviews that he conducted over the years. So kudos to him for keeping these memories alive and remembered.
While wandering through the dealer room on Saturday before the show opened, I came upon an art print that blew me away. It was a collage of all the different creatures/monsters that were created by low budget monster maker Paul Blaisdell, which even included a couple of images of Blaisdell himself. If you’re not familiar with highly underrated talent then you have some homework to do! He created a bunch of different creatures for the low budget AIP features back in the ’50s, with very little time and money. But he always came up with some interesting monsters and aliens, like we’ve never seen before. He worked on titles like It Conquered the World, Invasion of the Saucer Men, The She-Creature, and a few more. So to see him and his work highlighted in this beautiful piece of art made my heart swell. I can now proudly say that it is now framed and hanging in my office. The artist is Scott Jackson and has been doing this kind of work for quite some time. He had some other great prints for sale, including a stunning one from The Picture of Dorian Gray, with him standing in front of is decayed portrait. Definitely will be picking that one up from him in the future. You can check out his work at his site HERE.
This year’s Monster Bash, held once again in Mars, PA, was their 20th Anniversary show. I can’t express how sad I am that I had only started coming to this show a few years ago. For years, I put some serious thought into setting up as a vendor there, but I always talked myself out of it because of the distance being too far and if it would really be worth it. Now, with this show becoming one of my favorite stops on our Kryptic World Tour, I realize just how I wrong I was.
This time out, I would be making the 500 mile journey to the show on my own, since my wife Dawn is taking care of her father. It sucks having to do the show alone, but there are certain things in life that are way more important, and family is one of them. It’s only a couple of hours past where we go for Wasteland, so it should be that bad. Though, looking at the weather in the area for that Friday, it was calling for rain…all…day…long! I’ve never had to unload for a show in the rain and was not looking forward to it. I decided to leave after work on Thursday, drive to Cleveland area and then stop for a few hours of sleep, then drive the last couple of hours the next morning to be there by 8am for set up.
Vampire Films of the 1970s
By Gary A. Smith
Published by McFarland, 2017. 240 pages.
Being the ’70s is the decade I grew up in, watching more than my share of flicks on TV, I’m always up for reading more about this wonderful decade and the movies that came out. Decades before zombies would finally take over, at this particular point in time, vampires still ruled both in theaters and television. This is more than proven with the amount of titles covered here by Smith.
The book starts with a brief overview of the sub-genre, some rules of vampires, then we jump right into the Hammer Film era, where he first gives a little history about the famous British studio before jumping to their ’70s Dracula flicks, then moving on to other fang flicks. Since Hammer made quite a few of them during the ’70s, they are all covered here, lumped together in different sub-categories. There are other groups in the book, like Asian vampires, the Mexican Santo movies, even one on vampire porn! So there are plenty of titles to seek out if you are relatively new to the vampire genre, or are always looking ones you have missed.
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration By Gregory William Mank Published by McFarland, 2009. 701 pages
If you don’t want to read our whole review, then to put it as simply as we can get: Buy this book.
Originally published in 1990, under the title Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration, it was almost ten years later when Mank released a massively updated and revised version in 2009. So much time had passed since its first publication, where he had interviewed so many more people, giving him even more information and stories about Lugosi and Karloff, that he felt the need to update this book. And I’m so glad he did, since it was one of the most enjoyable, enlightening, and entertaining books that I’ve read in a long time. Really an essential volume for any monster kid.
I have to give Mank credit for not just updating this book because of new interviews and information, but to correct a few things, namely stories about Hope Lugosi, the last true “Bride of Dracula”, who in the past was not treated well by the media and journalists, including himself. But after interviewing her and getting to know her, he wanted to make sure that her side of the story was out there. So for that, I give him a lot of credit for wanting to make sure it was heard.
The Werewolf Filmography
By Bryan Senn
Published by McFarland, 2017. 408 pages.
Why a book like this has never been written before is beyond me. Yeah, there was the The Illustrated Werewolf Movie Guide by Stephen Jones, but that just quickly goes through titles with very little written about them, as well as it covering movies having ANY connection to werewolves or changing into a creature listed. A nice book to chew on, so to speak, but not one to go to for any real meat. But it can also be said that maybe the reason a book like this hasn’t been written before was, as author Senn puts it in his introduction, since the werewolf sub-genre is so huge, there are many, many titles that are far from good. So since the bad definitely outweigh the good, it would be a very tough hill to climb to watch and write about all of them. But Senn has taken on that task, and has done an admirably job!
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.