Thursday, March 28, 2019

Recent Viewings

Originally titled Le plus vieux métier du monde ("The Oldest Profession in the World") and subtitled "Love Through the Ages," this French/Italian/German co-production is a mixed bag anthology of shorts documenting prostitution as it developed from prehistoric to futuristic times. Kino's BD disc includes both the original French release from Gaumont (with English subtitles), and a kind of recreation of the US release, dubbed into English but using the restored French element and its screen titles.

The first two stories, Franco Indovina's "Prehistoric Era" and Mauro Bolognini's "Roman Nights," are scripted by Ennio Flaiano, Fellini's screenwriter on all of his great works from LA STRADA through JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, as well as Antonioni's LA NOTTE and Petri's THE 10TH VICTIM - and they prove that great directors were essential to his best efforts. These, which respectively feature Michèle Mercier as a cave girl and Elsa Martinelli as an Empress who must present herself as a whore to the Emperor to arouse his philandering interest, are not as compelling as they might have been. Things pick up with Phillippe de Broca's splendidly shot "Mademoiselle Mimi," scripted by Daniel Boulanger (Godard's BREATHLESS and de Broca's standard writer) and featuring Jeanne Moreau at her most bewitching.

When the film was initially released in America in 1968, it was somewhat mispresented as a starring vehicle for Raquel Welch, who does manage to eclipse all of the aforementioned femme stars in Michael Phlegar's "La Belle Epoque," co-written by Georges and André Tabet. Relieved of the responsibility of delivering finished dialogue, Welch - a lady of the evening hoping to hook a rich husband in plump, aging banker Martin Held - plays to the camera with masterful acuity, and the sketch is a delight of recaptured period atmosphere and little piquant details. This episode also features Edgar Wallace krimi-regular Siegfried Schurenberg as Held's brother and banking partner. Claude Autant-Lara's "Today," written by Jean Aurenche (FORBIDDEN GAMES), is a passably amusing story about an aging songstress (Nadia Gray, looking great regardless) and young hooker (France Anglade) who pool their resources to use an ambulance as a "hotel room on wheels" and get themselves into trouble on their first outing.

But all of this is preamble to Jean-Luc Godard's futuristic "Anticipation" (written and directed by him), which is shot in black-and-white with what we might call color accentuations. It revisits his previous feature ALPHAVILLE in that it's set in a future where love is forbidden, meted out by robotic women with erotic specialities - one is played by Marilù Tolo (who, surprisingly for a 1967 film, walks across the screen completely naked from head to shin) and the other, a specialist in literary lovemaking, is embodied by Anna Karina in her last collaboration with Godard. This 40m short - with features a cameo by Jean-Pierre Leaud as a bellboy - is nothing short of astonishing, like ALPHAVILLE conjuring up a future without artificial special effects, and telling the most elegant of stories with surprisingly minimal means. Godard's disruption of this monochromatic scheme with color is one of the great moments in his filmography.  This short is so exquisitely French that I thought it might be the sacrificial lamb for the significantly briefer English version... but the English version of "Anticipation" is not only present but even more visually arresting and experimental. Apparently, Gaumont objected to Godard's wishes to tint his black-and-white footage with various color hues, yet his wishes were respected by the US version, which tint the airport scenes a lysergic orange (perhaps inspiring the look of Fellini's TOBY DAMMIT?) and introduce other color-cues as they are stated on the soundtrack. Some nudity is obscured by solarization and the full-frontal shot of Tolo is snipped out, resulting in a delightful edit that has her now "invisibly" crossing the room.  In short, an uneven but surprisingly essential release.

Chicago-born Bill Morrison is one of the most interesting documentarians working today. His work - mostly in the short mode - returns again and again to the theme of the mortality of the filmed image, and this feature-length picture is no exception.

Unlike his early feature DECASIA (2002), an hypnotic dance of death consisting solely of badly eroded footage that has survived from silent features now lost in their entirety, DAWSON CITY has a similar basis but a more solid documentary foundation. Dawson City is a small town on the Yukon River in northwest Canada that once thrived during the time of Gold Rush fever, and during that brief blink in time, its need for entertaining its people was divided between gambling, prostitution, and cinema. It was not a big enough spot to command new films, and it became the last stop for many silent pictures that were so battered by use that theater owners were instructed by the studios to dump them, rather than return them.

This film, using documentary footage from the time, fascinatingly reconstructs the Gold Rush period in greater detail than I've ever seen, and then brings the story of Dawson City up to date with the discovery of buried silver nitrate prints of numerous recovered "lost" films found as a building there was undergoing demolition. We are treated to numerous excerpts from these works, shuffled as illustrations into the story being told, and it is a sobering reminder of innumerable talents that were once thrown away without any thought of their value to future generations. The first thought that comes to mind with something like this is, "Did they find LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT?" Well, no. However, among the generous extras included with this marvelous set are eight original reels from the Dawson City Film Find, which includes recovered reels from the Thomas Edison Studio, D.W. Griffith, and Tod Browning - Reel 2 of THE EXQUISITE THIEF (1919), and it's remarkably involving.

Second Run's set includes both BD and DVD discs, with bonus director's commentary, complete period newsreels, and other remarkable ephemera that challenge the viewer to dig deeper and deeper.

Since viewing this disc, it's come to my attention that Kino Lorber handles the film on BD and DVD in the States, with most of the other set's extras. (Exclusive to the Second Run set is a new interview with Morrison and his 2018 short film THE LETTER.) The Kino Lorber disc can be found here.

I had a hand in this box set, providing an audio commentary to Larraz' first feature, WHIRLPOOL (1969), which here enjoys its first home video presentation in a frankly stunning visual presentation. To speak candidly, it's the weakest film in this set; Larraz had a good sense of pictorial composition and knew from his years as a cartoonist how to build drama and suspense visually, but he wasn't yet familiar with where all the pieces should go. So the film ends with the stunning information that would have given the middle a potent turning point, and opts not to conclude the story under construction. However, in doing so, Larraz threw down a gauntlet that undoubtedly inspired other filmmakers - most notably, Wes Craven with his LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - to create the horror genre's most nihilistic works of the early 1970s. This seminal quality is also true concerning the film's even more emphatic eroticism, which (for a 1969 feature) exceeds most Adults Only films up to that time, and certainly other recipients of the X rating. (WHIRLPOOL was the first horror film to receive the MPAA's X.) In my commentary, I frankly discuss the film's faults and its seminal values, as well as the critical reception it received.

Larraz' best-known film, VAMPYRES (1973), is handsomely included with a new Kat Ellinger commentary. (The disc does not port over the Larraz commentary from the earlier Blue Underground DVD release, nor its other extras.) Ellinger, who is proficient in Spanish, brings to her talk a greater familiarity with Larraz himself, having read his autobiography, and brings forward many points essential to a correct reading of his work - his dislike for supernatural subjects being of particular relevance, considering the film's ambivalence about exactly who or what its "vampyres" are. In contrast with WHIRLPOOL, its sex elements remain on par but its depictions of graphic horror were quite outrageous for the time, and remain startling. Silent film actress Bessie Love, best-remembered as the heroine of 1925's THE LOST WORLD, had her last screen appearance in the film's tongue-in-cheek coda.

But, for me, the great thrill of this box set is THE COMING OF SIN (1978), a far more fundamentally Spanish film that begins as a mundane story set in the commonplace - a couple leaving on vacation ask a rich, reclusive female neighbor if she might look after their young gypsy housekeeper while they're away - that gradually coalesces and ascends to the level of a mythic entanglement between the hostess, the gypsy girl, and a satyr-like gypsy man who rides nude on horseback through the nearest countryside. The film focuses firmly on matters of money, property, and class yet the atmosphere that is conjured around these firm practicalities is slippery, erotic, and mystical. It builds to a somewhat familiar Larraz finale, but this - with SYMPTOMS (1974, not included here) - is easily his most accomplished work, ideally embodied by an unknown trio cast, and magnificently photographed by Fernando Arribas. The commentary for this one is by Kat Ellinger and her DIABOLIQUE cohort Samm Deighan, and though their talk has a lot of agreement in it, I feel they are both at their best when sharing a track, as each tends to raise the other's game. They note the value of certain painters whose work is presented in the story, and while neither is able to specifically note the fables that Larraz likely drew upon, they know they must be out there - pointing in a necessary direction for further research. They also fully explore the film's horrible past history as a hideously, mockingly dubbed English version known as (forgive me) VIOLATION OF THE BITCH and its hardcore Italian variant that goes by the name SODOMANIA. Please do Larraz and his memory a favor by ignoring this version, which is included.

Remarkably, there is very little informational crossover between the three commentaries, the excellent essays included in the color booklet, and the other supplements, which include cast/crew interviews (one the hilarious story of a WHIRLPOOL extra whose 10 seconds of screen time were parlayed into international fame), a rollicking Kim Newman ramble through Larraz' early filmography, detailed examinations of different versions of the films by Marc Morris, and much else besides. This is a fabulously meaty package and incontrovertible evidence of Larraz' value not only as an important master of Spanish horror, but as a distinctive sidebar of British '70s horror as well.

(c) 2019 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Here is your 2018 Rondo Awards Ballot

Below you will find all the different categories and nominees for the 2018 Rondo Awards, which will be presented by David Colton later this year at WonderFest in Louisville, KY. Please figure out this ballot as best you can, cast your votes, and send your choices to Mr. Colton at before April 20, 2019! 

Your humble blogger is nominated in a few welcome categories and is also eligible for some write-in categories, if you would be so kind. Enjoy the process - this is a celebration of all that is fine and enhancing about a very under-recognized field of endeavor. 

 1) BEST FILM OF 2018
-- SUMMER OF ‘84

-- Or write in another choice:

-- AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE, ‘Boy Wonder, 10.10.18, FX. Classic characters from ‘Coven’ return. Stevie Nicks, too.  ‘Have we learned nothing from Attila the Hun? Herod the Great? Mark Zuckerberg? Men make terrible leaders.’
-- ASH VS. EVIL DEAD, ‘The Mettle of Man,' 4.29.18. Starz .A heroic Ash takes on the deadites in a final battle royal. ‘Oh great! I’ve doomed humanity.’. 
-- BLACK MIRROR, ;Bandersnatch,’ 12.28.18, Netflix. Viewers get to choose crucial plot points. ‘You are just a puppet. You are not in control.’
-- CASTLE ROCK, ‘Severance,’ 7.25.18, Hulu. Shawshank is setting for series based on Stephen King’s works. ‘In my experience, the dead aren’t particular.’
-- CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK, ‘Sacrifice Zone,’ 3.15.18, SyFy. A creepy pasta led to this unnerving finale. ‘Our god has many angels. We promised her to him, but she got away.’
-- THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, ‘An Exorcism in Greendale,’ 10.26.19, Netflix. A demon inhabits Uncle Jesse. ‘Mephistopheles, save us from the dramatics of a teenage witch.’
-- DOCTOR WHO, ‘Rosa,’ 10.21.18, BBC. The 13th Doctor and her friends meet Rosa Parks. ‘She changed the world. In fact, she changed the universe.’
-- THE GOLDBERGS (Yes, the Goldbergs), ‘Mister Knifey-Hands,’ 10.24.18, ABC. Robert Englund makes rare appearance as Freddy. ‘Not anymore, Mr. Kroeger.’ ‘Krueger! It’s Krueger!’
-- THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, ‘The Bent-Neck Lady,’ 10.12.18, Netflix. A family reunion is shocked by a childhood spectre.. ‘We take care of the house. The house takes care of us.’
-- STAN AGAINST EVIL, ‘Larva My Life,’ 11.7.18, IFC. Town falls victim to 50s sci-fi and kaiju monsters. ’Your ex-husband is here and he’s turning into a caterpillar.’
-- STAR TREK DISCOVERY, ‘Despite Yourself,’ 1.7.18, CBS Access. The crew finds itself in a mirror universe. ‘Intelligence suggests we’re not the first ship from our universe to find ourselves here.’
-- THE TERROR, ‘We Are Gone,’ 5.21.18. AMC. Season finale finds death and acceptance in the Arctic. ‘Our empire is not the only empire. I see that now.’
-- THE WALKING DEAD, ‘What Comes After,’ 11.4.18, AMC. Rick confronts ghosts from the past.  ‘One could argue it’s my family you’re looking for, right?’
-- Or write in another choice:
-- LIQUID SKY (Vinegar Syndrome)
-- MATINEE (Shout)
-- THE MAZE (3-D, Kino)
-- VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960; Warners)
-- Or write in another choice:
-- THE AMICUS COLLECTION (Severin): Asylum, And Now the Screaming Starts, The Beast Must Die, Vault of Amicus (extras disc).
-- THE BLOOD ISLAND COLLECTION (Severin): Terror Is A Man; Brides of Blood; Mad Doctor of Blood Island; Beast of Blood.
-- CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: Complete Legacy Collection Blu-Ray (Universal): Creature from the Black Lagoon 3-D, Revenge of the Creature 3-D, The Creature Walks Among Us
-- HAMMER VOLUME 3: BLOOD AND TERROR: Terror of the Tongs, Stranglers of Bombay, Camp on Blood Island, Yesterday’s Enemy. (Indicator)
-- NIGHT OF THE DEMON/CURSE OF THE DEMON (Indicator). Includes four presentations of the film.
-- 100 YEARS OF HORROR. Complete TV series. (Mill Creek) 
 -- THE OUTER LIMITS, Vol. 1 and 2 (Kino) All 49 episodes on two sets, plus extras. 
-- ROGER CORMAN RUSSIAN SCI-FI COLLECTION: Battle Beyond the Sun; Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet; Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women; Planeta Bur (Planet of Storms) (Bayview)
-- UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: Complete 30-Film Collection Blu-Ray (Universal)
-- WILLIAM CASTLE AT COLUMBIA: Volume One, Two: Tingler, 13 Ghosts, Homicidal, Mr. Sardonicus; Zotz!; 13 Frightened Girls; Old Dark House; Strait-Jacket (Indicator)
-- Or write in another choice:
-- DRACULA A.D. 1972: Brighter and richer colors. (Warners)
-- THE GHOST OF SIERRA DE COBRE: Resurrection of lost TV pilot from 1965 by Outer Limits creators. (Kino)
-- LADY FRANKENSTEIN (Nucleus): Two versions of film replace poor transfers of past.
-- LUCIFER’S WOMEN/DOCTOR DRACULA: Both versions (1974/197 )f lost occult film unearthed. (Vinegar Syndrome)
-- THE MAZE: 3-D version of 1953 film. (Kino)
-- NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: Definitive 4K presentation (Criterion)
-- THE NIGHT STALKER: HD upgrade from TV prints.
-- THE PSYCHOPATH (1966): First time in widescreen (Kino)
-- REVENGE OF THE CREATURE: Long-awaited 3-D version (Universal)
-- THE TINGLER (Indicator): 35mm negative restores stereo surround, fake monochrome during bloody bathtub scene.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- THE ADDICTION (Arrow). ‘Talking with the Vampires,’ documentary by directpr Abel Ferrara.
-- BERSERK: Film critic Pamela Hutchison tracks Joan Crawford’s career. (Indicator)
-- THE BONEYARD (Deep Red): ‘The Little Ghoul Grows Up,’ interview with Sallie Middleton by associate producer Phil Smoot.
-- CANDYMAN: Director’s UK cut of the 1992 film. (Scream Factory)
-- CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE: ‘Lewton’s Muse: The Dark Eyes of Simon Simone,’ by Constantine Nasr (Shout)
-- THE FOG COLLECTOR’S EDITION: ‘Retribution: Uncovering John Carpenter’s The Fog,’ directed by Daniel Griffith. (StudioCanal; UK)

-- HAMMER VOLUME 3: ‘Women of Hammer’ profiles of Mary Merrall, Edwina Carroll, Jan Holden, Yvonne Monlaur. (Indicator)
-- INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS: ‘Sleep No More, Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited,’ including interviews not seen for decades. (Olive)
-- JACK THE GIANT KILLER: Includes full musical version. (Kino)
-- LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT: ‘The Craven Touch,’ interviews with Wes Craven collaborators. (Arrow)
-- OUTER LIMITS, Vol. 2: Two alternate episodes: ‘Please Stand By’ (alternate pilot); and ‘The Unknown,’ pilot for a spinoff. (Kino)
-- THE TINGLER: Imaginary Biology: Kim Newman’s appreciation (Indicator)
-- NIGHT OF THE DEMON: Scott MacQueen interviews Dana Andrews. (Indicator)
-- NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: ‘Night of the Anubis,’ a work print of film. (Criterion)
-- ROBERT A. HEINLEIN’S THE PUPPET MASTERS: ‘The Puppet Grand Master,’ a look at Heinlein’s influence. (Kino)
-- VAMPIRE AND THE BALLERINA: 10-minute 8mm version of the film from the 1970s. (1960; Scream Factory)
-- THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (Criterion) Interviews with director Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- Bill Ackerman, Amanda Reyes, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (Arrow)
-- Samm Deighan, Kat Ellinger, MR. SARDONICUS (Indicator)
-- David DelValle, David DeCoteau, THE KILLING KIND (Vinegar Syndrome)
-- Tony Earnshaw, NIGHT OF THE DEMON (Indicator)
-- Lee Gambin, Emma Westwood: STRAIT-JACKET (Indicator)
-- Steve Haberman, David J. Schow, Constantine Nasr, STRAIT-JACKET (Scream Factory)
-- Troy Howarth: Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE (Blue Underground)
-- Kim Newman, Stephen Jones: CANDYMAN (Scream Factory)
-- Jonathan Rigby, Kevin Lyons, THE TINGLER (Indicator)
-- David J. Schow: THE GHOST OF SIERRA DE COBRE (Kino)
-- Imogen Sara Smith, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (Kino)
-- Richard Harland Smith, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956, Olive)
-- Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S. Berger, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND (Severin)
-- Tom Weaver, Dr. Robert J. Kiss THE WASP WOMAN (Kino)
-- Or write in another choice:
-- BASKET CASE (Arrow) New commentary, new interviews, documentary and animated short.
-- CANDYMAN (Shout) Two new commentaries plus a disc of interviews, features.
-- CREEPSHOW (Shout) New commentaries, roundtable, interviews.
-- EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (Shout) Two disc-set includes three new commentaries (one by director John Boorman), two cuts of film, Linda Blair interview, more.
-- FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC (Arrow): Commentary, interviews, two versions of script.
-- HAMMER VOLUME 3: BLOOD AND TERROR (Arrow): Commentaries, new featurettes on each film, essays.
-- INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956, Olive). New interviews, commentary, essay plus archival interviews with stars never before released.

-- LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (Arrow): Three discs include different versions, CD soundtrack, new features.
-- MISADVENTURES OF BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER: (Kino) Commentary, 1962 ‘interview,’ outtakes, bloopers, ‘Vitaphone short,’ Spanish outtake.

-- NIGHT OF THE DEMON/CURSE OF THE DEMON (Indicator): Nine features on making and impact; interviews; commentaries.
-- NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Criterion): Five new features, new interviews 16 mm dailies, work print, plus archival material.
-- NIGHT STALKER/NIGHT STRANGLER (Kino): Twin releases feature new commentaries, interviews, booklets.
-- OUTER LIMITS Vol. 1 and 2 (Kino): 49 remastered episodes, two lost pilots, dozens of features, interviews, alternate cuts, 42 individual commentaries.

-- THE VAULT OF AMICUS (Severin): Trailers, commentaries, and four hours of audio interviews. 
-- WHO CAN KILL A CHILD (Mondo Macabro): documentary, interviews, alternate opening and commentary.
-- WILLIAM CASTLE AT COLUMBIA (Vols, 1 and 2): Seven commentaries, alternate versions of two films, interviews, Joan Crawford ‘axe test.’ (Indicator)
-- Or write in another choice:
10) BEST INDEPENDENT FILM (limited release, direct to video, festivals, streaming services)
-- ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, directed by David and Rebekah McKendry. A collection of grim Christmas tales. See trailer here
-- BLACK WAKE, directed by Jeremiah Kipp. Lovecraftian monsters from the sea.  See trailer here.
-- CAM, directed by Daniel Goldhaber. A cam girl finds herself with unexpected competition. See trailer here.
-- GUNS OF THE APOCALYPSE, directed by Christopher Mihm. A sci-fi spaghetti mix of a Western.   See trailer here.
-- IMITATION GIRL, directed by Natasha Kermani, An ooze from outer space morphs into a cover girl. See trailer here.
-- LIVESCREAM, directed by Michelle Iannatuono. The loneliness and dread of a gamer.  See trailer here.
-- POSSUM, directed by Matthew Holness. A puppeteer loses control of his fantasies. See trailer here.
-- THE RANGER, directed by Jenn Wexler. Punk sensibilities drive a slasher thriller. See trailer here
-- REVENGE, directed by Coralie Fargeat. A blood-soaked stalking follows the unspeakable. See trailer here.
-- SATAN’S SLAVES, directed by Joko Anwar. Ghosts haunt an Indonesian family.  See trailer here.
-- TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, directed by Don Glut. Four takes on the classic monster. See trailer here.
-- TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID, directed by Issa Lopez. Horrors stalk the drug cartels.  See trailer here.
-- THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW, directed by Andy Mitton. Terror at a house in the country. See trailer here.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- BE US, directed by Alex DiVincenzo (6 mins.). An uneasy interrogation about an alien encounter. See video here
-- BRIDE OF FRANKIE, directed by Devi Snively (19 mins.). Scientist builds a mate for her mentor’s creature.  See trailer here
-- HAIR WOLF, directed by Mariama Dialio (12 mins.). In comedy, a black hair salon is drained of culture. See trailer here
-- HELLBOUND, directed by Stephen Seiber (15 mins.). Teenage demon hunter finds more than expected. See trailer here.
-- HOP FROG, Octoberpod (19 mins.). Illustrations by Nic Calavera propel telling of Poe’s 1849 short story.  See video here.
-- THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES, directed by Ben Wickey (27 mins.). Animated version of Hawthorne classic. See trailer here
-- THE INVADERS, directed by Mateo Marquez (7 mins.). A future of Islamophobia takes a horrific turn. See trailer here.
-- LADY M, directed by Tammy Riley-Smith (12 mins.). Aging actress conjures up Shakespearian magic. See trailer here
-- THE LUCKY SOUTHERN STAR, directed by Mitchell and Steve Danyon (21 mins.). Julie Adams stars as ‘grandma’ in a retelling of her life.  See trailer here.
-- LUNCH LADIES, directed by J.M. Logan, produced by Clarissa Jacobson. Going to bloody lengths to become Johnny Depp’s chef (19 mins.).  See trailer here
-- PUPPET MASTER, directed by Hanna Bergholm (15 mins.). A woman so lonely she becomes inanimate.  See trailer here.
-- THE QUIET ROOM, directed by Sam Wineman (13 mins.). A demon stalks the psyche ward.   See trailer here.
-- SUPER 8 DAZE, directed by Rob Hampton and John Morgan (14 mins.). Documenting a childhood of making backyard monster movies. See video here.
-- VENEFICA, directed by Maria Wilson (8 mins.). A young witch must choose between good and evil. See trailer here
-- Or write in another choice:
-- ALL EYES ON LENZI: Life and Time of the Italian Exploitation Titan, directed by Calum Waddell. The career of Italy’s grindhouse maestro. (Part of 88 Films’ Eyeball Blu Ray)
-- CHESLEY BONESTELL: A BRUSH WITH THE FUTURE, directed by Douglass M. Stewart Jr. A look at the foremost astronomical artist of the 20th Century. See trailer here.
-- CLARK ASHTON SMITH: The Emperor of Dreams, directed by Darin Colho Spring. Revisiting the worlds and contemporaries of the famed fantasy writer. See trailer here.
-- FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses, directed by Rudiger Suchsland. TCM airing of seminal study of pre-war German cinema and culture. See trailer here.
-- HAMMER HORROR: The Warner Bros. Years, directed by Marcus Hearn. Inside stories of the horror team-up that helped save Hammer. See trailer here.
-- SURVIVAL OF THE FILM FREAKS, directed by Bill Fulkerson, Kyle Kutchta. The evolution of the cult film phenomenon. See trailer here 
-- TOO MACABRE: The Making of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, produced by Tony Timpone, Michael Krueger, and Sven Thomas Weber. Up front with the real story behind the 1988 cult classic.  See trailer here.
-- WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS, directed by Andre Gower. How ‘The Monster Squad’ reveals the power of a cult film.  See trailer here.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- AD NAUSEAM: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s, by Michael Gingold (1984 Publishing, hardcover, 248 pages, $34.95). 
-- ALL THE COLOURS OF SERGIO MARTINO, by Kat Ellinger (Arrow Books, softcover, 91 pages, $28.70). Introduction to the many facets of Italian filmmaker.
-- BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN HORROR FILM, by Gary Don Rhodes (Edinburgh University Press, softcover, 420 pages, $29.95). Revealing the earliest and forgotten origins of horror, from Salem to cinema of 1895-1915.
-- CANDID MONSTERS: Behind the Scenes Photos & Interviews from Your Favorite Monster Movies, Vols. 1-3, by Ted Bohus (CreateSpace, softcover, 114-122 pages, $24.95-$29.99). A lifetime of rare photos, stills and interviews.
-- THE DR. PHIBES COMPANION, by Justin Humphreys (BearManor Media, softcover, 274 pages, $24.95). Finding the horror, romance and humor of the Vincent Price films.
-- FANTASTIC WORLDS: The Art of William Stout, by Ed Leimbacher (Insight, hardcover, 304 pages, $75). The images and impact of an all-time illustrator.
-- FOUND FOOTAGE: How the Astro-Zombies Saved My Life and Other Tales of Movie Madness, by Joe Kane (CultMachine, softcover, 222 pages, $15). The Phantom of the Movies
recalls the grindhouse days on 42nd Street and beyond.
-- FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO GHOST MOVIES, by Axelle Carolyn (FAB Press, softcover, 240 pages, $24.95). Reviews of cinema’s most spectral visions.
-- GHOULISH: The Art of Gary Pullin, by Gary Pullin with commentary by April Snellings (1984 Publishing, hardcover, 228 pages, $29.95). Covers, posters, albums and more.
-- GOOD NIGHT, WHATEVER YOU ARE: My Journey with Zacherley, the Cool Ghoul, by Richard Scrivani (BearManor Media, softcover, 226 pages, $24.95). Revised and expanded edition.
-- HAMMER COMPLETE: The Films, The Personnel, The Company, by Howard Maxford (McFarland, hardcover, 992 pages, $95). Mammoth look at the studio’s entire output, musicals, too.
-- HARRYHAUSEN: The Movie Posters, by Richard Holliss (Titan Books, hardcover, 192 pages, $39.95). Posters and unseen promotional material from Joe Young to Titans.
-- THE HOWLING, by Lee Gambin (Centipede Press, softcover, 350 pages, $35). Examining Joe Dante’s werewolf classic.
-- HUMAN BEASTS: The Films of Paul Naschy, by Troy Howarth (CreateSpace, softcover, 344 pages, $49.95). Career retrospective of Spanish horror icon.

-- IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN: Scarecrows in Film and TV, edited by Lee Gambin (Cinemaniacs, softcover, 242 pages, $21.50). Essays that go far beyond Oz.
-- IN SEARCH OF MARY SHELLEY: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein, by Fiona Sampson (Pegasus, hardcover, 328 pages, $28.95). 200 years after.
-- JAWS 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel, by Michael A. Smith (BearManor Media, softcover, 530 pages, $29.95). Mammoth update and expanded edition, this time in color.
-- JOURNEY OF THE LIVING DEAD: At Tribute to Fifty Years of Flesh Eaters, by Arnold T. Blumberg (ATB, softcover, 327 pages, $19.95). Decades of media transformed. 
-- THE 1990s TEEN HORROR CYCLE: Final Girls and a New Hollywood Formula, by Alexandra West. (McFarland, softcover, 195 pages, $29.95). How cinematic vengeance became empowerment.
-- 1930s HORROR MOVIE SCRAPBOOK, VOL. 2, by Gary J. and Susan Svehla (Midnight Marquee, softcover, 300 pages, $25). A horror cycle told through pressbooks, photos, news clippings and more.

-- ONE MAN CRAZY: The Life and Times of Colin Clive, by Gregory William Mank (Midnight Marquee, softcover, 378 pages, $30). The definitive look at horror’s most tortured scientist.
-- SCREAMING FOR PLEASURE: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy, by S.A. Bradley (Coal Cracker Press, softcover, 288 pages, $19.99). The secret connections that make being terrified a balm for the soul.
-- SCRIPTS FROM THE CRYPT NO. 8: ATOMIC SUBMARINE, by Tom Weaver with Robert J. Kiss, David Schecter, Karen Latham Everson, Richard Heft (BearManor Media, softcover, 224 pages, $25). A deep dive into 1959 classic.
-- THE SONS OF GODZILLA: From Destroyer to Defender, From Ridicule to Respect (1955-1995), by Peter H. Brothers (CreateSpace, softcover, 432 pages, $19.55). The non-Honda and modern sequels examined by a kaiju expert.
-- SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (Histoires Extraordinaire), by Tim Lucas (PS Publishing, hardcover, 232 pages, $29). The European trilogy of three Poe stories reconsidered 50 years later.
-- THRILLS UNTAPPED: Neglected Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films. 1928-1936, by Michael R. Pitts (McFarland, softcover, 348 pages, $49.95). Remembering nearly 150 lost or forgotten films.

-- WE DON’T GO BACK: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror, by Howard David Ingham (Room 207 Press, softcover, 411 pages, $25). Witches, bigfoots, swamp creatures and wicker men.
-- THE WEIRDEST MOVIE EVER MADE: The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film, by Phil Hall (BearManor Media, softcover, 120 pages, $14.95). The strange but true story behind the infamous Sasquatch footage.
-- WHERE MONSTERS WALKED: California Locations of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 1925-1965, by Gail and Raymond Orwig (McFarland, softcover, $49.95). Venturing beyond Bronson’s Canyon.
-- WONDERLAND, edited by Emma McRae with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas for Senses of Cinema (Thames & Hudson, softcover, 218 pages, $46) Essays and illustrations trace the movie adventures of Lewis Carroll’s Alice.
-- YOU DON’T KNOW ME, BUT YOU LOVE ME: The Lives of Dick Miller, by Caelum Vatnsdal (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, hardcover, 344 pages, $29). Biography of the ubiquitous B-movie character actor.
-- Or write in another choice:
14) BEST MAGAZINE of 2018
— Cinema Retro
— Classic Monsters of the Movies (UK)
— The Dark Side (UK)
— Delirium
— Famous Monsters of Filmland
— Fangoria
— Filmfax
— Freaky Monsters
— G-Fan
— HorrorHound
— Little Shoppe of Horrors
— Mad Scientist
--- Midnight Marquee
— Monster!
— Monster Bash
— Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope
— Rue Morgue
— Scary Monsters
— Scream (UK)
— Screem
— Shock
— We Belong Dead (UK)
— Or write in another choice:
15) BEST ARTICLE (Please select two)
-- ‘Ape-Ocalypse Then: Excavating Beneath the Planet of the Apes,’ by John Harrison, WENG’S CHOP #11. How the ape world ended, with a bang.
-- ‘The Beauty Who Created A Beast,’ by Brian J. Robb, THE DARK SIDE #190. The unsung career of Millicent Patrick, makeup wizard behind the Creature of the Black Lagoon.
-- ‘The Birds: A HorrorHound Retrospective,’ by Jason ‘Jinx’ Jenkins, HORRORHOUND #72. The making and marketing of Hitchcock’s classic.
-- ‘The Cool Ghoul Invades Hollywood,’ by Jan Alan Henderson, FILMFAX #152. A personal account of Zacherley’s rare trips to Los Angeles. 
-- ‘The Creeper Chronicles,’ by Tom Weaver, CLASSIC IMAGES #521. Behind-the-scenes of Rondo Hatton’s five films for Universal.
-- ‘Dracula in the Seventies: Prints of Darkness,’ by Steve Vertleib, Restored version of an original article on the Christopher Lee vampire cycle.
-- ‘Fear Is Family,’ by Andrea Subissati, RUE MORGUE #182. Package of features on roots and impact of Hereditary.
-- ‘The Fly: Kurt Neumann’s Reinvention of Science Fiction,’ by Nige Burton, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #12. How a genre came of age.
-- ‘Halloweens to Remember: Creature Features Never to Forget,’ by Spence Connolly, SCARY MONSTERS #110. A personal journey through horror.
-- ‘Hammer Genesis: This Is How It All Began,’ by Denis Meikle, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #40. The influence of the Carreras and Hinds families.
-- ‘A History of Planet Film Productions,’ by Christopher Gullo, MIDNIGHT MARQUEE #80. The obscure British horror company.
-- ‘Horrors of the Holy,’ by Jess Peacock, RUE MORGUE #180. How religion propels horror films.
-- ‘Insidious Insects Invade,’ by Mark C. Glassy, PhD., SCARY MONSTERS #107. The creepy truth behind those giant bug movies.
-- 'Journey to the Lost World,' by Martin Arlt, MAD SCIENTIST #33. Revisiting the 1925 stop-motion classic.
-- ‘A Man for All Reasons: A Personal Tribute to Richard Hatch,’ by Brad Linaweaver, A remembrance of Battlestar Galactica star.
-- ‘Master of Puppets’, and ‘How to Slit Your Own Throat,’ by Preston Fassel and Tate Steinsiek, FANGORIA Vol. 2, #1. Exploring Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.
-- ‘Memories of Haruo Nakajima,’ by Tim Bean. G-FAN #118. The Godzilla suit actor in words and photos.
-- ‘Metamorphosing Monsters: Reprobates in Disguise,’ by Jamie Jones, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #13. The loss of humanity as the root of all horrors.
-- ‘Monsters in the Living Room,’ Parts 1-3, by Jim Ivers. SCARY MONSTERS #109-111. A decade-by-decade look at horror on television.
-- ‘The Mummy in Australia,’ by Daniel Best, MONSTER! #33. Real-life murder surrounded the Kharis films in the 1940s.
-- ‘The Price of Candy: The Making of Never Take Sweets from a Stranger,’ by Constantine Nasr, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #40. Examining one of Hammer’s grimmest tales.
-- ‘Ray Harryhausen: A Fan’s Remembrance,’ by L.J. Dopp, A career retold through the memories of his films.
-- ‘Second Swings: The Unseen Chainsaw Massacres,’ by William S. Wilson. FANGORIA Vol. 2, #1. Through newly-discovered story treatments, the sequel that never was.
-- ‘Suspiria: The Real Magick of Dario Argento,’ by Kat Ellinger, SCREAM #51. Why the original survives as a genre classic.
-- ‘Universal’s First Mad Scientist,’ by Kurt McCoy, SCARY MONSTERS #110. Revealing Prof. Singleton in 1915’s ‘The Eleventh Dimension.’
-- ‘Universal’s Inner Sanctum Series,’ by Pedro de Queiroz, WE BELONG DEAD #20. Tracking the Lon Chaney Jr. mysteries.
-- ‘Unleashing the Hounds of Zaroff,’ by Jon Towlson, THE DARK SIDE #196. The making, and cutting, of The Most Dangerous Game..
-- ‘Vitriolage: The Power of Facial Disfigurement in Genre Cinema,’ by Chris Herzog, SCREEM #35. The stuff of nightmares, but rarely discussed.
-- ‘We Are the Martians Now: The Making of Quatermass and the Pit,’ by Bruce G. Hallenbeck, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #40. 
-- ‘When Danforth Ruled the Earth: The Making of Hammer’s Second Dinosaur Epic,’ by Mark Wolf,’ LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #41. More than stop-motion went into When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
-- ‘Who Created Kong?’ by Neil Pettigrew, THE DARK SIDE #191. Comparing Edgar Wallace’s first draft to what ended up on screen.
-- Or write in another choice:
(Feel free to select two articles from above list)
16) BEST INTERVIEW (award goes to interviewer)
-- Sam Arkoff and James Nicholson, 1958 interview by Philip Scheuer. MONSTER BASH #33.
-- Ricou Browning by Holly Interlandi, FAMOUS MONSTERS #290.
-- Jamie Lee Curtis, by Michael Gingold, RUE MORGUE #183.
-- Eddie Deezen, by Scott Voisin, VIDEOSCOPE #107.
-- Fred Dekker (director of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS), by Josh Merritt, THE DARK SIDE #189.
-- Samantha Eggar, by Terry & Tiffany DuFoe, VIDEOSCOPE #106.
-- Harlan Ellison, expanded 1997 interview on Outer Limits, by Dana Marie Andra, MONSTER! #33.
-- John Karlen (Dark Shadows), by Rod Labbe, SCARY MONSTERS #108.
-- Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), by Sam Irvin. SCREEM #36.
-- Lance Reddick (Lost, Fringe), by Jessie
-- Marli Renfro (body double in Psycho shower scene), by Anthony Petkovich, FILMFAX #152.
-- Eli Roth (House With a Clock in its Wall), by Jessica Dwyer, HORRORHOUND #72.
-- Russell Streiner, Judith O’Dea, John Russo, Kyra Schon (NOTLD), by Dr. Gangrene, SCARY MONSTERS #110.
-- Victoria Vetri by Michael Augustine Reed. LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #41.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- Art-House Video by Nancy Naglin, VIDEOSCOPE
-- CineDump Interviews by Jessie Hobson.
-- Dr. Gangrene’s Mad Interviews, SCARY MONSTERS
-- Files from the Black Museum: A Cultural Autopsy of Classic Horror, by Paul Corupe, RUE MORGUE
-- Grey Matters, by Richard Schellbach, Mondo Cult Online
-- It Came from Bowen’s Basement, John Bowen, RUE MORGUE
-- Kaiju Korner by Mike Bogue, SCARY MONSTERS
-- Monsters! Monsters! Everywhere! Behind-the scenes photos with Al Pictori. FILMFAX.
-- Overlooked in Hollywood, by Laura Wagner, FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE
-- Ralph’s One and Only Traveling Reviews, Richard Klemensen, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS
-- Rondo Remembers, by Ron Adams, MONSTER BASH
-- Strange Days by Jason Strangis, SCARY MONSTERS
-- They Came from the Crypt, Jon Kitley, HORRORHOUND
-- TV Terrors by Felix Vasquez Jr.,
-- Or write in another choice:


Classic Monsters #10
by Daniel Horne
The Dark Side #190
by Rick Melton
Famous Monsters #290
by Sanjulian
Fangoria Vol. 2 #1
Design by Ashley Detmering 
Filmfax #152
by Drew Friedman
G-Fan 25th Anniversary
HorrorHound #71
by Sara Deck
Little Shoppe of Horrors #41
by Jeff Preston
MAD #4 
by Gary Pullin
Midnight Marquee #80
by David Robinson
Mad Scientist #33 by John Rozum
Scary Monsters Presents Monster Memories #26
by Scott Jackson
Monster! #33
Design by Michael C. Hall
Monster Bash #33
by Daniel Horne
Rue Morgue #185
by Rob Birchfield
Screem #36
by Mark Maddox
Videoscope 105
Design by Kevin Hein
We Belong Dead
by Mark Maddox
-- Or write in another choice:
-- Anatomy of a Scream  Inclusive horror views and Grim magazine.
-- Birth.Movies.Death Where movies are everything.
-- Bloody Disgusting  Tracking the latest across all of horror’s platforms.
-- CineDump  Interview, reviews and always something of interest.
-- Classic Horrors Club  Navigating the ‘Five Ages of Classic Horror.’
-- Classic Movie Monsters  One of the original castles of Frankensteins.
-- Collecting Classic Monsters  Masks, models, all things collectible.
-- Collinsport Historical Society  Keeping Barnabas Collins and friends eternal.
-- Daily Dead  Breaking news and an all-service horror site.
-- Diabolique Magazine For those who take horror seriously; also home of Daughters of Darkness..  
-- Dread Central  Horror’s front page.
-- Dr. Gangrene's Mad Blog Nashville’s multilmedia horror host.
-- Dwight Frye Appreciation Group  More than hunchbacks and madmen.
-- File 770  Long established science fiction fandom and scholarship site.
-- Final Girl Stacey Ponder’s cinema survival guide.
-- Graveyard Shift Sisters Women of color embrace horror.
-- Haunted Cinema  Articles and interviews of horror.
-- Horror and Sons From classics to modern horrors, reviews and more. 
--  Scare news from the North.
-- The Horrors of It All  Horror comics of the 50s lurk here.
-- It Came From ... Musings by David Weiner, nostalgia curator.
-- Latarnia Fantastique International Home of Euro and world horror.
-- Kindertrauma  The things that scared you as a kid, reborn.
-- Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies  A global curriculum of horrific studies.
-- Mondo Cult Horror is just part of the edgy culture here.
-- Monster Kid Clubhouse  A gathering place for classic horrors.
-- Monster Magazine World  A visual feast of a newsstand.
-- John Kenneth Muir  Musings on horror, culture and cult TV.
-- Ravenous Monster   Devouring all things monstrous.
-- Scared Silly  Paul Castiglia’s tribute to classic horror comedies.
-- SciFi Japan  Many experts at Earth’s kaiju headquarters.
-- Serial Squadron  Soon-to-be non-profit, a vital resource for chapter plays.
-- Sin Street Sleaze  John Harrison walks the backstreets of horror.
-- Terror from Beyond the Dave  A singular version of horror madness.
-- Universal Monster Army  Ultimate destination for models, toys, collectibles.
-- Video WatchBlog  Tim Lucas on the magic of cinema, music and life.
-- Women in Horror Month  Resources and links reach far beyond February.
-- Or write in another choice:
20) BEST MULTIMEDIA SITE (Podcasts, videos…)
-- BETWEEN LIGHT AND SHADOW  Twilight Zone episodes dissected.
-- BLOODBATH AND BEYOND  For everything horror.
-- BLUMHOUSE SHOCK WAVES  Podcast of Galluzzo, Kane and McKendry.
-- B-MOVIECAST  Long-running podcast still a force.
-- COUNT GORE DE VOL’S CREATURE FEATURES Weekly webcast from a horror host original.
-- THE CREATURES FEATURES SHOW  A Bay Area classic reborn.
-- CULT RADIO A GO-GO!   Pioneers of the horror-talk genre.
-- DAMN DIRTY GEEKS  Hollywood pros, fans and comics rave about horror.
-- DOCTOR OF THE DEAD  Podcast of zombies, for zombies, by zombies.
-- EERIE LATE NIGHT RADIO  Bone Jangler and Halloween Jack hold forth.
-- FLICKS THAT THE CHURCH FORGOT  The religious undertones of horror.
-- FRANKENSTEIN MINUTE  Podcast dissects 1931 film, yes, minute by minute.
-- GILBERT GOTTFRIED’S AMAZING COLOSSAL PODCAST Laughs and plenty of monster talk.
-- HELLBENT FOR HORROR  Smart podcasts with authors and talent.
-- THE HOMICIDAL HOMEMAKER  ‘Where Home Economics Meets Horror’
-- HORROR HAPPENS RADIO SHOW  Jay K, the Ghost and horrors.  
-- HORROR MOVIE PODCAST  Serious talk about horror and film.
-- HORRORNEWS.NET Reliable and timely.
-- THE HYSTERIA CONTINUES Podcast slashes away at slasher movies.
-- KAIJUCAST  Godzilla’s early warning system.
-- MADE-FOR-TV MAYHEM Amanda Reyes focuses on television horrors.
-- THE MIDNIGHT MOVIE  For 20 years, the home of midnight chillers.
-- MONSTER KID RADIO  Derek Koch hosts and interviews on classic monsters.
-- THE MONSTER CHANNEL Horror hosts galore, presented by Eerie Late Night.
-- MST3K REVIVAL LEAGUE  A fan-based podcast of parodies.
-- NASCHYCAST  Rod Barnett & Troy Guinn talk all things Naschy.
-- NIGHT OF THE LIVING PODCAST  A legacy of horrors from Cincinnati.
-- POE FOREVERMORE RADIO THEATER  Audio versions of macabre classics.
-- POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS   Interviews with filmmakers and more.
-- THE PROJECTION BOOTH  Horror and film from high above the balcony.
-- RAY HARRYHAUSEN PODCAST  Stop-motion talks from the Ray Harryhausen Foundation.
-- SCORED TO DEATH: THE PODCAST J. Blake Fichera’s interviews with composers.
-- SCRM RADIO  All things horror, pasta too.
-- SIX FOOT PLUS   Digging up spooky talk and music.
-- TRAILERS FROM HELL  Joe Dante and gang comment on vintage trailers.
-- TWILIGHT ZONE PODCAST  There’s the podcast up ahead.
-- THE VORTEXX Home of horror hosts and more.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- Arachna of the Spider People (Beware Theater)
-- The Bone Jangler (and Enchantress Nocturna)
-- Karlos Borloff (Monster Madhouse)
-- Joe Bob Briggs (The Last Drive-In)
-- Count Gore De Vol (Creature Feature: The Weekly Web Program)
-- Count Gregula’s Crypt
-- Dr. Paul Bearer (Tombstone Tales)
-- Dr. Gangrene Presents
-- Dr. Madblood’s Manor
-- Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
-- Fritz the Nite-Owl (Nite Owl Theater)
-- Bobby Gammonster (Monster Movie Night)
-- Ghoul a Go-Go (New York)
-- Gruesome Graves (Haunted Hotel)
-- Halloween Jack’s Haunted Theatre
-- Halloween Harvey (Festival of Fear)
-- Nigel Honeybone (The Schlocky Horror Picture Show, Australia)
-- Ivonna Cadaver (Macabre Theatre)
-- Lamia, Queen of the Dark (Horror Hotel)
-- Lord Blood-Rah (Nerve Wrackin’ Theatre)
-- Marlena Midnite (Midnight Mausoleum)
-- The Midnight Movie (Ohio)
-- Miss Misery (Movie Massacre)
-- Mr. Lobo (Cinema Insomnia)
-- The Mummy and the Monkey (Hairy Scary Hangout)
-- Al Omega (Creature Features, San Francisco)

-- Penny Dreadful (Shilling Shockers)
-- Son of Ghoul (Ohio)
-- Svengoolie (Berwyn)
-- Vincent Van Dahl (Creature Features, Chicago)
-- Or write in another favorite host
— BLOB FEST (Phoenixville, Pa.)
— CHILLER (Parsippany, NJ)
— CINEMA WASTELAND (Strongsville, Oh.)
— CRYPTICON (Seattle)
— CTHULHUCON (Portland, Ore.)
— DAYS OF THE DEAD (Indianapolis)
— DRAGONCON (Atlanta)
— G-FEST (Rosemont, Il.)
— HORROR REALM  (Pittsburgh)
— MAD MONSTER PARTY (Arizona, South Carolina)
— MONSTER BASH (Mars, Pa.)
— MONSTERFEST (Chesapeake, Va.)
— MONSTER-MANIA (Cherry Hill, NJ)
— MONSTERAMA (Atlanta)
— ROCK AND SHOCK (Worcester, Ma.)
— SCAREFEST (Lexington, Ky.)
— SCARES THAT CARE (Williamsburg, Va.)
— STOKERCON (Providence, R.I.)
— WONDERFEST (Louisville)
— Or write in another choice:
23) TOP EVENT OF 2018
-- Rick Baker given Frightmare Achievement Award at Monsterpalooza. Surprise guests include Slash, David Naughton and John Landis.
-- Blob Panic Re-enactment recreates panic at same theater in Pennsylvania. 
-- Dawn of the Dead celebrates 40th anniversary at Monroeville Mall where it was filmed, including placement of memorial bust.
-- Halloween 40th celebration in Pasadena draws most cast members ever.
-- Ray Harryhausen inducted into Visual Effects Society Hall of Fame.
-- Tobe Hooper online tribute organized by F This Movie Podcast.
-- Gregory Mank lectures on life of Colin Clive at Monster Bash.
-- Monsters & Merriment art show included 1910 Frankenstein and tribute to Jerry Lentz. Nashville.
-- Radio Theatre’s H.P. Lovecraft Ten tales get radio treatment live on stage.
-- Amanda Reyes’ lecture, 'Big Scares on the Small Screen: A Brief History of the Made-for-TV Horror Film,' at Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, NYC.
-- Scripts Gone Wild table reading of Gremlins. 
-- Slaughter Awards, honoring UK horror, unveiled at DarkFest in London.
-- Women in Horror Month features short films throughout February.
-- Or write in another choice:
-- THE CREEPS: Recreating the Warren magazine experience. (Warrant)
-- CULT MOVIE COMICS: A B-Movie Horror Memoir #1, by Matt Bradshaw. A life at the movies. (Gerbil with a Jetpack)
-- EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR. Parody stories from the master. (Ahoy Comics)
-- GREAT SCOTT: THE RARE IMAGINARY COMIC BOOK COVERS OF LARRY BLAMIRE. What-if artwork from a fevered mind.  (Bookaroonie Press)
-- HARROW COUNTY: Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook explore the backroad horrors of America. (Dark Horse)
-- HAUNTED HORROR, Craig Yoe, Clizia Gussoni and Steve Banes. Keeping the horror comics of the 1950s alive. (IDW)
-- INFIDEL by Pornsak Pinetshote and Aaron Campbell. Xenophobia fuels creatures in a building. (Image)
-- SACRED CREATURES: Klaus Janson, Pablo Raimondi. Archetypes of horror wage war. (Image)
-- TALES FROM THE BLACK CIRCLE, by Sam Hart and Trevor Markwart. Stories of Norwegian Heavy Metal. (Corpse Paint)
-- THE WALKING DEAD, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The undead eternal. (Image) 
-- Or write in another choice:
25) BEST CD 
-- Alien 3 expanded soundtrack (LaLa Land)
-- Bram Stoker’s Dracula expanded soundtrack (La LaLand)
-- Halloween (2018 ) John Carpenter and sons update the score.(Sacred Bones)
-- The Haunting of Mary Shelley, Victorian chamber metal music by Valentne Wolfe.
-- Mandy, by the late Johann Johannsson (Lakeshore)
-- Valley of Gwangi Complete Jerome Moross soundtrack (Intrada)
-- John Williams' Dracula: The Deluxe Edition (Varese Sarabande)
-- Thom Yorke's Suspiria 2018 soundtrack (XL).
-- You Were Never Really Here soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood.(Lakeshore)
-- Or write in another choice:

26. BEST WRITER OF 2018 (includes reviewers)

27. BEST ARTIST OF 2018 (all formats, including paint, sculpt, photo or design)

28. BEST FAN ARTIST OF 2018 (The Linda Miller Award)

Advisory categories
(Help suggest who should be selected in the following two categories)

29. MONSTER KID OF THE YEAR (Who did the most to advance the cause of classic horror scholarship, film preservation or genre fun).

   — Which fans, pros, writers, researchers, horror hosts or others should be inducted into the Rondo Awards Monster Kid Hall of Fame? 

Suggest up to six names of folks who have helped fandom grow.

Previous inductees are listed alphabetically below.
ALREADY INDUCTED ARE: Forrest J Ackerman, Julie Adams, Rick Baker, James Bama, Calvin Beck, Stephen Bissette, Paul and Jackie Blaisdell, Ron Borst, Ray Bradbury, Bob and Kathy Burns, Bill Cardille, Ben Chapman, Frederick S. Clarke, Jim and Marian Clatterbaugh, Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Jack Davis, David Del Valle, Gary Dorst, Dennis Druktenis, William K. Everson, June Foray, Mark Frank, Frank Frazetta, Bob Furmanek, Ghoulardi, Don Glut, Basil Gogos, Archie Goodwin, Alex and Richard Gordon, Count Gore De Vol, Ray Harryhausen, Mike Hill, Del and Sue Howison, Cortlandt Hull, Larry Ivie, Sara Karloff, Ken Kelly, Dick Klemensen, Verne Langdon, JD Lees, Bob Lemon, Jessie Lilley, Lux Interior, Tim and Donna Lucas, Gregory Mank, Jose Mojica Marins (Coffin Joe), Ray Meyers, Mark Miller, Morgus, Ted Newsom, Haruo Nakajima, Paul Naschy, Greg Nicotero, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett, Don Post Studio, Mark Redfield, Gary Don Rhodes, German Robles, George A. Romero, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, Vince Rotolo, David J. Skal, Richard Harland Smith, John Stanley, Michael Stein, Bhob Stewart, William Stout, George Stover, Gary and Sue Svehla, Robert Taylor, Sammy Terry, Vampira, Steve Vertlieb, Dennis Vincent, Mike Vraney, Bill Warren, James Warren, Tom Weaver, Michael Weldon,  Bob Wilkins, Bernie Wrightson, and, of course, Zacherley

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Reading, Watching and Commenting

Jean Marais as Fantômas.

My first two months of 2019 have been occupied with four different audio commentary assignments, a little online writing, additional work on the Joe Sarno manuscript, and a good deal of recreational viewing and writing. All I can tell you at the moment about the commentary assignments is that one of them was for Andre Hunebelle's 1964 film FANTÔMAS with Jean Marais and Louis de Funès. It was going to come out "bare bones," as they say, but when I learned it was on Kino Lorber's roster for April, I pursued it and - fortunately - they let me come aboard at the last minute.

Fantômas is a name I first learned in the pages of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #9, which contained a brief essay by Mike Parry about the original Feuillade silents and the Hunebelle remake. Something about it captivated my imagination and when it appeared as an upcoming late night broadcast in my local TV GUIDE in 1969-1970, I tuned in and that sealed the deal. I've been a Fantômas fanatic ever since, having collected all the books in translation and also in the original French. I wrote about the original novel by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain in HORROR: ANOTHER 100 BEST BOOKS, edited by Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, and I'm sure you've seen the name pop up on this blog many times, as well. So this assignment was a personal blessing from my perspective, but the other few I've been working on were no less so, and I'll tell you about those as soon as I'm given the signal. I'm actually committed already to doing something like 14 commentaries this year, and a number of these titles are among my passions. 

Since posting my Boston Blackie series overview, I've become enmeshed in a couple of other series - the 1960s ITC series THE SAINT with Roger Moore, and random revisitings of the Charlie Chan films of the 1940s. After rediscovering THE SAINT on Amazon Prime, I found a decent price on the UK DVDs, which included some audio commentaries, a couple of short documentaries on the B&W and color years, and also an archive of episode scripts in PDF, so I sprang for them. I belatedly discovered the series about five or six years ago and watched the first two and a half seasons or so before I diverted to some other intrigue; so I returned to complete the second season and have since gone through the third and fourth seasons, the last in B&W, and am now discovering the fourth and first color season.

Roger Moore takes fire against an unexpected opponent in the SAINT episode "The House on Dragon Rock."
One of the great surprises of this period is that Roger Moore's contract renewal gave him opportunities to direct, and the episodes he directed are among the best in the series. I think he might well have become an outstanding director if he hadn't more lucrative options to pursue. In the UK order of broadcast, one of these is the last B&W episode "The Old Treasure Story," which features a nicely intimidating performance by Frank Wolff. Another of these is an easily laughed-off episode, “The House on Dragon Rock,” which - incredibly - takes Simon Templar into Kolchak territory as he confronts a giant ant created by mad science somewhere in foggy Wales. It took LOST IN SPACE three seasons to jump the shark to this extent; THE SAINT was starting its fifth and was at the height of its run. The episode conjures its atmosphere and tension very well until the ant turns up. The show didn’t have the budget or the effects team it needed to do their best, but it’s no one’s fault. By all reason, the episode shouldn’t have been half as good as it is. The one aspect that sometimes slips through Moore's directorial fingers is his own performance. The one thing that doesn’t ring true for me in this episode is Templar’s utter lack of surprise when he sees the damn thing - and the episode’s ingenue, after encountering it, doesn’t even tell him what it was - so he should have looked astounded. But he looks at it like it’s the license plate of a getaway car.

Another surprise comes along right away, in the UK broadcast order. It’s “The Convenient Monster,” which takes Simon Templar to Scotland where he finds locals being murdered by the Loch Ness Monster. THE SAINT had hitherto been so grounded in a certain kind of realistic, if romantic, fantasy that it's outrageous to suddenly find the character battling monsters, but at least here the monster is ultimately left ambiguous. It starts out as one of those SCOOBY-DOO plots, but the final coda thankfully leaves Nessie a tantalizing possibility. 

While catching up on these episodes, I happened to watch a Charlie Chan film on Amazon Prime and was led to check the status of my collection. I discovered I had a gap in the series, owed to the fact that I'd refused to pay full price for the CHANTHOLOGY box set when it was released, and a couple of others after that got past me as well. I found some used copies and have been reacquainting myself with the Monogram years - which is really where I first discovered the character on television, so I have a special love for them. Phil Karlson's DARK ALIBI and THE SHANGHAI COBRA are especially good, as are Phil Rosen's THE SCARLET CLUE (with its supporting character, the horror actor "Horace Karlos") and Terry Morse's SHADOWS OVER CHINATOWN, which somehow eluded my notice until last night. Considering that the series during this period was often locked down to interrogations being conducted in one room of "the murder house," SHADOWS has a pleasing construction; the action involves a lot of moving from place to place, and the mystery is allowed to unfold and become more complex as different and disparate subplots introduced on an opening bus trip gradually coalesce into the main story. Lots of welcome familiar faces here, including Mary Gordon from Universal’s Sherlock Holmes series, and Mantan Moreland has a memorable set piece as that lovable kook Birmingham Brown investigates a Chinese curio shop.

First edition art by L. Bennett.
I've also been doing a lot of reading. As a result of confluence between my ongoing interest in Jules Verne and the Orientalia of the Chan films, I decided to read Verne's THE TRIBULATIONS OF A CHINESE GENTLEMAN IN CHINA. It's a marvelously wry and gentle fable about a wealthy Chinese lord whose ease of existence leads to inescapable ennui and a determination to end his own life. Finding the notion of suicide distasteful, he makes a contract with his personal philosopher to kill him when he least expects it. Then a banking error occurs that makes him lose his fortune and it almost immediately is recovered as the error is found in error - but this hiccup in his status quo is sufficient for him to begin to appreciate what he has, and he decides to call off the hit he's taken out on himself. But his philosophy teacher has unexpectedly gone - so his life becomes even more precious as he and his principal servant undertake a journey to find the assassin and terminate their agreement before he, himself, is terminated. Naturally, life becomes more precious to him with each passing hour. 

With this book, I began to discover the problem that has long plagued English and American devotees of Verne - the English translations are often incomplete and distortive of the original texts. After finishing TRIBULATIONS in its Delphi ebook edition (which used the original title of THE TRIBULATIONS OF A CHINAMAN IN CHINA) and loving it despite a certain rushed feel about its final chapters, I did some further investigating and discovered that the original French text consisted of 22 chapters, while the translation I read had only 21, while covering the same basic ground. My version also had laconic chapter titles, rather than the wryly descriptive "in which" chapter titles of the French text. Further reading revealed to me that the original text included criticisms of England's involvement in the opium trade, not present in the version I had read. Apparently if you want the best available translation of this book, you need to turn to the Arco Publishing/Fitzroy edition of the 1960s, but even it is somewhat truncated and lacking the original illustrations.  

I want to continue delving into Verne - I've been collecting the more recent, pure translations published by Wesleyan University Press and the University of Nebraska - but I'm about a year between Gaston Leroux readings, so I've made an unusual commitment. I’m using Google Translate to read the first half of Gaston Leroux’s LA REINE DU SABBAT from the original French! This is necessary because the English translation of the first half of this work, published under the title THE MIDNIGHT LADY, has turned out to be what writers of the time would call deucedly elusive. I do have the second volume, THE MISSING ARCHDUKE, which is itself almost impossible to find - but I figured the only way I'll ever be able to enjoy it is if I tackle the French text with my decoder ring. I began doing this by blocking every few sentences from my French ebook of Leroux's complete works into the Bing translator that's built into my iPad... but Donna then showed me a way to photograph and translate entire pages at a time, so now I am photographing and reading a chapter at a time. I'm making good progress. Of course it’s not a perfect translation but it is making sense and I am following the story. LA REINE DU SABBAT ("The Queen of the Sabbath") was one of Jean Rollin’s favorite novels, and I can see why! Watchmakers, street waifs, circus freaks (including a five-limbed human spider named Magnus), gypsies, orgies, gnostic invocations, returns from the dead, a golden goddess who rides a white stallion out of fire, a seaside setting... his universe is all here.

There is a sublime moment in an early chapter when Petit-Jeannot (an extremely tall and thin young man, almost what sideshows would call a human skeleton) is walking along toward their destiny on a country road with his friend Magnus (a man with three arms and two legs who ambulates like a spider), who always whistles a mournful song. Petit-Jeannot breaks their fraternal silence by noting that they have been friends for many years - “You used to be such a gay, outgoing fellow, a man irresistible to women! Why are you so sad now?” Magnus confesses that his friend probably doesn’t know this, but he is a married man for many years. True, Petit-Jeannot did not know this. Magnus continues, admitting that he and his wife are having marital problems. Petit-Jeannot persists in his inquiry. “If you must know,” Magnus confesses, “my wife fell in love with someone else. And now she has run off with the man with the calf’s head. Yes, the man with the calf’s head...”

There is a moment when Petit-Jeannot and Magnus are required to keep up with Stella, the invoked golden goddess of a gypsy gathering, who rides a powerful white stallion. In order to keep up, they have to run after her - which Magnus does by linking all of his limbs and turning himself into a human wagon wheel! When this happened, I realized that this novel from 1910 had the contemporary feel of a movie directed by Brad Bird and produced by Guillermo del Toro! I do wish it was more widely accessible in English, but the tools are available to us to get "at it," if we care enough to take the trouble. The added work, I'm finding, actually helps with my focus and concentration because I am not just reading - I'm decoding.

In other reading...

To celebrate the recent completion of my audio commentary for André Hunebelle's FANTOMAS (1964) - coming from Kino Lorber in a box set of all three Fantomas films this April! - I just read Titan Comics' translation of Olivier Bouquet and Julie Rocheleau's Joe Shuster Award-winning graphic novel THE WRATH OF FANTOMAS. It's a few years old in French but just released in English translation. It’s a firecracker. To a reader familiar with the original novels, it’s like seeing the series’ greatest hits woven into a new story, a sprawling blockbuster suite. The Dickensian sentiment of the novels is largely missing in the headlong run of the narrative, replaced with a dazzling cinematic flair; the evil is as spectacular and pitiless as ever. Imagine Fantômas given a WATCHMEN treatment and that will give you an idea of what to expect.

And finally...

RIP Jay Douglas. Though, in the strange way my business is structured, I never interacted with him directly, Jay was the president of Anchor Bay Entertainment and, in that capacity, he gave the green-light to a number of the Mario Bava audio commentary and liner notes assignments I provided in the early 2000s. I'm sure that the earlier work I'd done for Image Entertainment and the audience for VIDEO WATCHDOG helped to show him there was at least a measure of gold to be mined from Euro horror, but he was among the first to put his money where my mouth was, so to speak. He was responsible, in the most literal way, for the great influx of Euro horror that came to DVD in the early years of this century. Without the early support offered to me by Anchor Bay, I might not have been able to fall back on the career supporting me now when VW folded. And for that - and for bringing into my orbit so much I'd not previously seen or known about - I say farewell, Jay, and thank you.

(c) 2019 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.