Robert Tayman – Rest In Peace

Robert Tayman was an actor that didn’t appear in too many horror films, but a few that are worth mentioning. He appeared in Pete Walker’s House of Whipcord (1974), and even Hammer’s strange Sci-Fi / Western Moon Zero Two (1969). But it really his performance as the vampire Count Mitterhaus in Hammer’s Vampire Circus (1972) that most Hammer and horror fans remember him by. While we haven’t seen anything official announced, I’ve seen a couple of posts from reliable sources that Mr. Tayman has recently passed away, at the age of 80 years old.

His performance as Mitterhaus is a bit over-the-top, but that is one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed it, as well as the film itself. It’s a style that I’m not sure we’ll see anytime soon, but as a young horror fan, I thought the film, and the vampires throughout the story were just so damn slick and cool.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time, but know that because of his performance in Vampire Circus, along with Count Mitterhaus, his life will go on for us fan.

James Olson & Dennis Waterman – Rest in Peace

I meant to get this posted a few days ago when I heard about this but as we all know, life gets in the way. For Americans, James Olson’s name might not be too familiar, but his face was since he appeared in so many different TV shows in the ’70s. But the one thing that him and actor Waterman have in common is that they both appeared in a couple of Hammer Films, as well as a one or two other genre pictures.

James Olson passed away last April 17th, at the age of 91. For Hammer, he appeared in their space western Moon Zero Two (1969) and then one of their later day thrillers, Crescendo (1970), alongside Stefanie Powers. He would also appear in the made-for-TV movie The Spell (1977), The Mafu Cage (1978), and Amityville II: The Possession (1982).

Dennis Waterman was also known for a lot of TV work, but all in the UK. For Hammer fans though, he appeared in Scars of Dracula (1970), doing battle against Christopher Lee! Previously, he appeared in Hammer’s The Pirates of Blood River (1962). He also was in the very underrated film Fright (1970), along with Susan George and Honor Blackman.

As time goes on, and the older we become as lifelong movie fans, this is inevitable and sad. But I’ve always considered that people working in the arts that leave something behind that they can always be remembered by, whether it be acting, directing, or even painting or some other art form, leaving behind that work does make them immortal. And that is how we should remember them, by the entertainment that they have given us to continue to enjoy.

Our thoughts go out to their friends and family. Rest in Peace Mr. Olson and Mr. Waterman.

Turkey Day 2008

Now in the 6th year of holding my annual Turkey Day marathon, AC and I took another fistful of films considered to be turkeys, B-movies, MST-fodder, or just a waste of time.  But not for us.  As crazy as we might be, we find quite a bit of enjoyment out of watching these films, where the filmmakers were really trying to their best to make a good film.  Granted, most of them missed the mark when it comes to being good.  But is it entertaining?  That is the true test of a film, turkey or not.  So let’s venture forth and see what fun we got ourselves into this year.  From a couple of alien invasion films, Tiny Tim as a clown, Hammer’s sci-fi epic, or a low budget film from good old Michigan, we had our work cut out for us this year.  Let’s begin.

EyeCreatures2The Eye Creatures (1965) – Larry Buchanan was a filmmaker that makes Roger Corman look like he had bigger budgets than James Cameron.  He was making his little films in his home state of Texas, and usually turning a profit.  Sure, he may not have made high quality films, but the ones that he made, made money.  And in the film business, that is the only way to continue to making films.  He had made a deal with American International Pictures to remake their film Invasion of the Saucer Men.  Of course, with a much lower budget, and in color.  But it didn’t stop him from giving them, and us, The Eye Creatures.  This was so successful, that he went on to remake 3 more titles from the AIP catalog.

Starring John Ashley, the film pretty much follows the original, except the creatures themselves.  Where in the original, the creature designs were well-crafted and thought out by Paul Blaisdell.  But here, we have guys in suits that look like the Michelin Man’s 2nd cousin.  There are a couple of scenes where there are several of the alien creatures attacking, moving very slowing and waving their arms.  But if you look closely, you will see that only a couple of the closer aliens had full body suits on, while some others just have their head and shoulders covered, the rest of their bodies covered in black.  Pretty damn funny that nobody caught that.

But none the less, Ashley gives it his all, like he always did.  And it’s a fun movie with the definite feel of the ‘50s movies that it was based on.  There is a lot of the silly humor in here, with both some main characters, and the whole subplot of a couple of military guards that like to use the radars to spy on the kids making out in lovers lane.  Lucky for us, the film did get an actual DVD release, so many can enjoy it for years to come.

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