Horror History: Richard Johnson

Richard JohnsonRichard Johnson
Born July 30th, 1927 – Died June 5th, 2015

Two of my all time favorite films: Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979), which are about as two different films that you could get. And this man, Richard Johnson, stars in both of them. I think I actually saw The Haunting on television one night at my future wife’s house, watching it with her and her mom, amazed at how creepy this old black and white film was. Then finding out that this suave and distinguished gentleman was also the same actor who played Dr. Menard in one of the greatest zombie films ever committed to film! Boggles the mind. 

While Johnson had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, performing with John Gielgud’s company before joining the navy in 1945. After the war, he was back to acting before making his film debut in the early ’50s. He was actually offered the role of James Bond in Dr. No, before Sean Connery, but turned it down because he didn’t want to be stuck in a 7-year contract! While he really didn’t appear in a ton of horror films, half-dozen or so that he did appear in, he was always memorable and entertaining. Besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, some of my favorites of his work are Beyond the Door (1974) and Island of the Fishmen (1979), but there are a few more gems in there for you to do a little research on if you’re not entirely sure of Johnson’s other work.

End of an Era


No…the show is not stopping. Let’s get that straight right off the top. I don’t want Ken to be emailing me about misleading people! The show will go on, just not with Kitley’s Krypt there vending.

Back in September of 2000, we set up at the very first Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo, in Strongsville, Ohio. 19 years later, after 34 shows, it is still going strong. We were a dealer at that very first show and have continued to set up there since, never once missing one. In my years of going to shows, both as a fan and as a dealer, which is three decades worth, I’ve never known a show like Cinema Wasteland.

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Interview: Juliet Mills


While most people might know Juliet Mills from the many TV shows that she’s been on, us horror fans remember her from Ovidio G. Assonitis’ 1974 film Beyond the Door. I know that’s where I remember her, because as a 9-year old kid, this movie scared the crap out of me!

We met up with Mills at a small movie memorabilia show in the Chicagoland area, in November of 2005, where she was gracious enough to spend few minutes with us to talk about her memories about her work on Beyond the Door.

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Rest in Peace – Richard Johnson

richardjohnson-ripThe horror genre has lost an iconic figure today. Sure, this man might not have been as prolific as actors like Peter Cushing or Vincent Price, but the horror few roles that he did appear in, he made quite an impact. At least for me, he did. We are saddened to announce the passing of actor Richard Johnson, at the age of 87. Starting his career as a stage actor, touring with John Gielgud’s repertory once he got out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he made quite a name for himself on the stage.

But of course, for us horror fans, he will always be remembered for two characters that he played, both being doctors, but each investigating a very different malady. In 1963, Robert Wise adapted Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House for the film version simple entitled The Haunting. Richard Johnson starred as Dr. Markway, a budding parapsychologist who is tryinig to investigate the dreaded Hill House, where the living don’t seem to be welcomed there. Appearing along side other theater greats like Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn, this 50+ year old film is still one of the most effective and scariest haunted house films ever made. Of course the 2nd film is appearing as Dr. Menard, who is frantically trying to discover the cause of the zombie outbreak on the small island of Matul, in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. Even with the outrageousness of the film, Johnson still gave a serious and compelling performance.

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