Monday, December 6, 2010

Great Screen Monsters: Fiend Without a Face

Ah, the 1950s...

Poor misunderstood atomic power, Cold War Tensions, and monsters.

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch1958's Fiend Without a Face, you've missed one of the more original of the '50s atomic power gone wild spinoffs--original in terms of the monsters, anyway.

At first, the "fiends" are invisible, killing via two puncture holes in the back of a victim's neck through which the creature sucks out said victim's brain and spinal column. Sounds delicious. Speaking of sounds...the fiends always announce their presence with a grotesque sucking noise as they inch along.

Once we see them, wow. Each one is a brain-like slug, moving about by means of an inch-worm motion of its attached spinal column tail. Tack on eye stalks and tentacles, and these little critters become something special.

The movie is tense and noirish to start, much like the mystery at the beginning of another 1950s atomic monster-fest, Them! It packs a good amount of entertainment in 75 minutes, and works just fine if you suspend any knowledge of how nuclear power actually works (and doesn't).

(slurp, slurp, slurp...)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gifts for Monsters: Dick Briefer's Frankenstein

The first volume in Yoe Book's thrilling new series, "The Horror Comic Book Masters Library," fittingly features the first and foremost maniacal monster of all time... Frankenstein! Dick Briefer is one of the seminal artists who worked with Will Eisner on some of the very first comic books. Briefer created a bizarre, twisted version of the classic Frankenstein that is legend among comic book aficionados. If you like the comic book weirdness of cartoonists Fletcher Hanks, Basil Wolverton, and Boody Rogers, you're sure to thrill over Dick Briefer's creation of Frankenstein. The large format book lovingly reproduces a monstrous number of stories from the original 1940s and '50s comic books. Briefer did both a dark horror take and a more humorous-yet twisted-styling of Frankenstein, and both are powerfully showcased here. The stories are fascinatingly supplemented by an insightful introduction with rare photos of the artist, original art, letters from Dick Briefer, drawings by Alex Toth inspired by Briefer's Frankenstein-and much more!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIP Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt (1937 - 2010)

Thanks for all the screams, Ms. Pitt.

Obituary: Ingrid Pitt (at LA Times)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beautiful Film Stills from Frankenstein (1931)

Just to direct you to the Monster Brains blog.

Beautiful pics. Just beautiful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Boris Karloff

(23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969)

Born in England as William Henry Pratt, Karloff emigrated to Canada in the 1910s. He held several jobs in his life, but is best remembered for his roles in horror films from Universal, particularly his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sara Karloff Interviewed in 2005

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boris Karloff Man-Crush

*a special poem for Halloween

She sneers when she
talks about the rubber
Frankenstein’s Monster
I keep on the shelf next to
pictures of our trip
to Cancun.

Once, I caught her
with a plastic grocery bag
loaded and heavy with
Famous Monsters
and one old Aurora catalog
I rescued from Grandpa’s trash bin
when I was eight.

Ashes to ashes,
pulp to pulp, she said.

No, I said.

Not Boris Karloff.

Doesn’t she understand
this is Karloff?
The Karloff
who garnered enough fame under
gallons of spirit gum to simply
be known as one word.

The Creature:

Doesn’t she understand
this is about growing up with
silver-screen television late night horror show
blood thudding through my veins?

No I will not throw out
the molded plastic drinking glasses
or the bobble-head
or the fired-clay bust from ninth grade art.

Her eyes roll,
she hands me the bag,
and I stash my treasure
under the tall, Lucite-framed
original lobby card
announcing The Monster Demands a Mate,
hanging from the basement wall
of my shrine.

Doesn’t she know?
Boris Karloff is only a man-crush after all,
and not a threat?
Not much of one,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bela Lugosi

(20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956)

Born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, Lugosi was a Hungarian born actor who is most famous for his portrayal of the legendary vampire, Dracula, on stage and in Universal's Dracula (1931). He went on to co-star with Universal stalwart Boris Karloff in a few films, including the often underrated The Black Cat (1934).

(which, for the record, has very little to do with Edgar Allan Poe's tale despite advertising to the contrary)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paper Monsters Everywhere

Build your own paper Frankenstein's Monster (by Bob Canada):

Download the template.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Frankenstien, the Puppet Show?

Odd but true...

Frankenstein: the Trouble Puppet Show, an adaptation of the novel, is playing through October 3rd in Austin, TX.

Check out Trouble Puppet's website for more detail.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saving Dracula from the Twilight-Tweakers

Tired of all the squeaky, emo-teen vampires? Need your monsters to be, well, monsters?

"Well, one university is taking an academic trip down memory lane with a conference dedicated to "relat[ing] the undead in literature, art, and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption, and social change." Sub-topics for the event include "teen vampire/zombie fiction," "identity politics," and "celluloid vampires: adaptations and incarnations.""

Sounds like fun.

Read the rest of the article.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Splice the New Frankenstien? Try The Island of Dr. Moreau

From Sci Fi Wire:

"The sci-fi movie Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, is getting a lot of online buzz based on its initial trailer, and director Vincenzo Natali told reporters that the creature feature is a modern-day Frankenstein."
Right. Mixing human and animal DNA...have we forgotten a step in our evolution, Mr. Director?

That's right: H.G. Wells already told that story over 100 years ago. Now, with Guillermo del Toro as producer, I'll try to withhold final judgment. I'm just not a fan of comparisons to Frankenstein being tossed about lightly.

Monday, April 5, 2010

In the Footsteps of Dracula

From the Sacramento Bee...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Monstrous Toys for the Kids (and Parents)

Yes, the holiday gift-binge season has passed for another year, but Monsters will always be with us. The kids disappointed with Santa's deliveries?

May I suggest:

Groovy Tube - Monsters: the Hunt and the Capture

The best part? A tube full of plastic monster figures. Yes, all the classics are there...Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula. What makes this tube-o-monsters special is the inclusion of Cthulhu. Get it for less than $14.

Mudpuppy - Magnetic Monster Action Figures.

Build thousands of different monstrous combinations from three sheets of magnetic monster parts on four different backgrounds. The tin is magnetic, so the kids can take this one in the car. Of course...ours are on the refrigerator so Dad can play.

Scooby-Doo Haunted House 3-D Board Game.

Yeah, the ghost makes a ridiculous sound when you push him down. Yeah, the whole thing shakes and pops (it is designed to knock game pieces off, you know). But what makes this game's a 3-D haunted house straight out of Scooby's universe. Tentacles in the pond, a spider, a haunted suit of armor, crazy vampire eyes on a portrait, a mummy who pops out of his all adds up to spooky awesomeness. Just make sure to play on a hard surface (like a table).