Thursday, March 18, 2010

Frankensteinia, Edisonia, Fournieria, Rondomania!

Over at his Frankensteinia blog today, Pierre Fournier observes the centenary of the the Thomas Edison Company's FRANKENSTEIN (1910), featuring Charles Ogle as the Creature. On a more poignant note, this means, in a broader sense, that the Frankenstein movie, as a subgenre, turns 100 today. The mystery critic known as Arbogast on Film has selflessly spearheaded a movement to encourage voters to elect Frankensteinia as Best Blog of the Year in the current Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards competition -- and, as much as I think Mr. Arbogast is similarly deserving, I think Pierre's blog cuts more to the quick of Classic Horror, not to mention Monster Kiddom. You could do worse than to vote Pierre Fournier Monster Kid of the Year.
Rondo voting ends in less than two weeks! Visit the Rondo Awards website soon to cast your ballot! And please remember VIDEO WATCHDOG (and Best Fan Event nominee INFERNO Midnight screening) as you make your selections!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Farewell to Carol Marsh

I just learned from the Classic Horror Film Boards that CAROL MARSH, the British actress best remembered as Lucy in Hammer's DRACULA (HORROR OF DRACULA, 1958), has passed away at the age of 80. Marsh, who made a wonderful Alice in the 1949 version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ironically passed away on March 6, the day after the release of Tim Burton's new version. As memorable as she was in both films, my favorite of her roles may well be her first, as the strangely feral innocent enamored of Richard Attenborough's kid gangster Pinky in BRIGHTON ROCK (1947, pictured).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Image from PRIX DE BEAUTÉ (1930)

There are many striking images of Louise Brooks in this movie -- happy, serious and tragic -- but I found the simple yet profound introspection of this one particularly striking. This movie was made on the cusp on sound (a silent version also exists), and it may be the movies' earliest attempt to depict the private relationship between an individual and their music. (The film could actually be described as a chronicle of the ironic role played by a favorite song in a woman's short life.) I was very moved by this camera composition, shot by the great Rudolph Maté, and by the actress's willingness to be this naturalistic and intimate with the camera when most other women in her profession were still striking melodramatic poses. This shot actually reminds me of certain similar moments involving Soledad Miranda in EUGENIE DE SADE and Thora Birch in GHOST WORLD. A full review is forthcoming in VIDEO WATCHDOG #156; available on Kino on Video, $29.95.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Get Rondo-ized!

"Don't hurt that Rondo, Rondo!" VW publisher Donna Lucas takes a protective stance outside the auditorium where the 6th Annual Rondo Awards were held at WonderFest in 2008.

In an effort to spread awareness of VIDEO WATCHDOG's various nominations for the the 8th Annual Rondo Awards, Donna and I (with the approval of our writers) have decided to make available -- for a limited time -- the complete texts of the four nominees for this year's Best Magazine Article award.

Stephen R. Bissette's "Let the Twilight In", an in-depth study of TWILIGHT and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, can be read here.

Eric Somer's "Down the Block from Bergman: THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and Beyond," an examination of the influence of Ingmar Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING on Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, the recent remake, and other horror films, can be read here.

Kim Newman's "DVD Spotlight: MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION, a detailed history of the 1966-70 British TV terror anthology, can be read here.

And Shaun Brady's "Weird Scenes Inside the Fun House: The Making of MALATESTA'S CARNIVAL OF BLOOD," a production history of the 1972 Pittsburgh-made surrealist horror film, can be read here.

And here is a link to a special Rondo link page now added to our website, which also features direct links to a five-part HD video of my Q&A with INFERNO star Irene Miracle and composer Keith Emerson, which has been nominated for Best Fan Event.
Also, please don't forget to consider any of our many hard-working contributors for your vote in the Best Writer and Best DVD Reviewer categories, and remember that both our cover artist Charlie Largent and our art director Donna Lucas (whose layouts make VW's feature articles soar) are eligible in the Best Artist category.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rondo Awards: 7 VIDEO WATCHDOG Nominations!

The nominations for the 8th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were announced this evening, and I'm proud to share the good news that VIDEO WATCHDOG has been nominated for seven awards this year, including Best Magazine. Also, though I've been delinquent in my duties here for most of the year, Video WatchBlog has been nominated once again for Best Blog.

I'm especially proud of VW's showing in the Best Article category, with two first-time feature contributors netting half the nominations. The VW nominees in this category are:

"Down the Block from Bergman: The Last House on the Left and Beyond" by Eric Somer, VIDEO WATCHDOG #151.

"Let the Twilight In" by Stephen R. Bissette, VIDEO WATCHDOG #150.

"Mystery and Imagination" by Kim Newman, VIDEO WATCHDOG #151.

"Weird Scenes Inside the Fun House: The Making of Malatesta's Carnival of Blood" by Shaun Brady, VIDEO WATCHDOG #153.

Also nominated for Best Magazine Cover is Charlie Largent and Donna Lucas's cover for VIDEO WATCHDOG #147. Charlie's name alone appears on the ballot but all of the text and vertical stripe material is added by Donna after Charlie turns the central graphic in.

Though it's not a VW nomination per se, I'm also (even especially) elated to see that the INFERNO midnight screening at LA's New Beverly Cinema last October -- where I hosted a screening of a beautiful 35mm print of Dario Argento's masterpiece and interviewed the film's star Irene Miracle and its composer Keith Emerson before a sold-out audience -- has been nominated for Best Fan Event.

It's not every midnight movie, even in Los Angeles, that draws a crowd that snakes around the block -- and that night, the audience was packed with celebrities like directors Ernest Dickerson, John Gulager and David Gregory, writers F. X. Feeney and Richard Heft, West Coast horror cognoscenti galore, and legendary actor Clu Gulager right there in the front row! You can see the whole Q&A on YouTube by searching for "INFERNO Q&A." It was one of those evenings when magic really was all around all of us who were there, and I am overjoyed to see that magic spreading to the Rondo nominations! Rondos for Keith Emerson and Irene Miracle... how cool would that be?

Congratulations to all the nominees! You can find your Rondo Awards ballot and a full list of nominees here. Now vote!