Copyright © Kitley's Krypt 1998-2015
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AND WHAT GOOD IS A LIFE
THAT LEAVES NOTHING BEHIND
NOT A THOUGHT OR A DREAM
THAT MIGHT ECHO IN TIME
- from the song What
Is Eternal, from Beethoven's Last Night, by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
OFFICIAL! WE'RE GOING TO
After many years of wanting to make the trip out to
Pennsylvania for the Monster Bash convention, this year we are going to finally
do it. While I've never been to one before, I understand this is more of a show
for older and die hard fans, more in vein of the classic stuff, than some of the
other bigger shows. I don't see that as a negative thing, either. In fact, I'm
really looking forward to checking this one out.
This year's Monster Bash takes place on June 19th-21st in
Mars, Pennsylvania. They have a few guests announced but the main draw for me is
the lovely Valeria Leon, star of Hammer's BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB. Of
course, having authors there like Tom Weaver and Gregory Mank, I know I'll be
getting a few books from my personal collections signed.
For all the details and information, head over to the Monster
REST IN PEACE: ROD TAYLOR, ANITA EKBERG & BRIAN
This year is not starting off too well, losing 3 figures
known (to us horror fans anyway) for some classic and fun work in the genre. But
I still think that because of our love and passion for the genre, their memories
and their work will live on for future genre fans that will discover the great
films they appeared in or worked on. Such as stated in the quote at the top of
our page, these people have left us something that will be remembered for
generations to come.
On January 7th, actor Rod Taylor passed away at the age of
84. This Australian born actor worked quite a bit during his career, but it was
because of two genre pictures that he is probably most known for. In 1960, he
appeared as H.G. Wells in George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE. Sure, some might call
it sci-fi or fantasy, but from what I recall, you had creatures living
underground that were eating the people on the surface. Sure sounds like some
scary stuff to me! But either way, it is an incredible film and a fine job by
Taylor. Then a few years later, he was in another classic, this time battling a
flying menace in Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. Of course, there was the early sci-fi
flick that he appeared in called THE WORLD WITHOUT END in 1956, as well as one
of his last roles, called KAW, which was another one about killer birds.
Then on January 11th, Anita Ekberg passed away at the age of
83. While she didn't work a lot in the horror genre, and was usually known for
her work in Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA (1960), it is her work with Amando de
Ossorio in his 1969 film MALENKA (aka FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD). Born in Sweden,
she became Miss Sweden in 1950, which lead to a modeling contract here in the
states. From there, she started to appear in films, where she would work with
such names like Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and even Bob Hope. She
did appear in a few Italian giallos, such as THE KILLER NUN (1979) and THE
FRENCH SEX MURDERS (1972). One of her first roles was in a bit part in ABBOTT &
COSTELLO GO TO MARS (1953).
And then last Saturday the 10th, we lost producer and
screenwriter Brian Clemens, who also passed away at the age of 83. While all the
news sites mention that he wrote more episodes of the TV series THE AVENGERS
than anybody else, writing over 30 episodes, not to mention working on and
creating a few other titles. But it is his work in the horror genre that a lot
of us will remember him by. Hammer fans thank him for creating such an original
vampire tale in CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER, which was a damn shame it didn't
become a series. But he also wrote DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE for Hammer, not to
mention writing the 1970's thriller AND SOON THE DARKNESS. He also created a
horror anthology series called THRILLER in the '70s, not to be confused with the
one that Boris Karloff hosted in the early '60s.
Once again, as horror fans...students of the genre, it is our
duty to the memories alive of these people that help create films and TV series
that have given us hours upon hours of entertainment over the years and will
continue to do so, for us, as well as the countless other horror fans that have
yet to discover these great gems. Our thoughts go out to their friends and
family. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
BOOK REVIEW: BEYOND BALLYHOO
As I mentioned in our last update, I've set myself a goal to
read at least one of my horror reference books each month. This review is for
the first one Beyond Ballyhoo: Motion Picture Promotions and Gimmicks. My next title is going to be a doozy. This is sort of a college
film book, 600 pages of it, with most of the authors having a bunch of letters
behind their names or Prof. or Dr. in front of it. It is called A
Companion to the Horror Film. This could take a while.
In the mean time, here's our review for the one that we did
finish. This is another fun history trip to the days of studio promotions and
gimmicks, by someone who is becoming one of my favorite writers, Mark Thomas
McGee. Click on the link to get to our Reference Book
DETAILS ON NEW FULCI BOOK
Author Troy Howarth will be unleashing his latest book this
fall, which just so happens to be on Lucio Fulci, one of my favorite directors.
The book, Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, is due out in October.
But if you are interested in getting a limited edition hardcover edition, you
need to act fast. They are only going to produce this special edition hardcover
if they get at least 100 paid orders by April 1st. Yes, this version will be
more expensive. In fact, the cost will be $125, plus shipping. But while that
might seem high, this will be the only time a hardcover version of this book
will be produced so it will be a very limited edition. Plus, this edition will
have 30-40 additional pages of color photo reproductions that won't fit into the
soft-cover edition. Each of the hardcover editions will also be signed by
Howarth, along with Mike Baronas. If you are one of the first 100 to order it,
you will also get an exclusive 8x10 image from ZOMBIE, signed by stuntman/actor
Ottaviano Dell'Acqua who played the famous zombie that appears the American
one-sheet poster. The first 100 orders will also get a copy of Paura: Lucio
Fulci Remembered, created and produced by Baronas (which is a must see for Fulci
fans). And lastly, if you are one of the first 100 to order it, you will also
have your name included in the book, in a special list of patrons who helped
make this special edition possible.
Of course, how could I not be extremely excited about this
book coming out. Not only it is on one of my favorite directors, but it will
make a great edition to my collection. Not sure if I'm going to be able to swing
the hardcover edition though. Would love to, and it is well worth the cost, and
I know this will be the cheapest you'll ever see it, but just not sure if I have
Howarth had published a great book on Mario Bava from FAB
Press called The Haunted World of Mario Bava, which was recently reprinted by
Midnight Marquee. This is another edition that is a must for fans of Italian
For all the details about the book, head over to the Facebook
page for the book by clicking
KRYPTIC ARMY WINNERS FOR 2014
Well soldiers...we've made it through our 5th year of
service. I know some of you have been there right from the beginning while
others have been with us for a couple of years. But I can't thank you for the
constant support and those that keep coming back each and every month, trying to
come up with a couple of flicks to meet that month's mission.
With another year gone, with another 12 missions completed,
that means it is time to give out the prizes to some of those out there that
have fought through, clawed through, been dragged through the mud, and some even
taken to hell and back, but have survived it all. Granted, even if you are not
listed here, you are a winner for participating because that means you have
sought out some films that you have seen before, keeping that passion for the
genre alive and well! And for that, I thank you! For those listed below, please
remember to email your mailing address so I can get these little items mailed
off to you.
For those of you out there that might not know what the
Kryptic Army is, you can get all the details on our Army page
HERE. But basically it is a way to watch a couple of movies a month that you
have seen before, and that can set you up to possibly win prizes like the ones
listed below. You can see some of the other past winners and prizes from
previous years at the Army page. All you have to do to join in on the fun is
sign up for our mailing list (which you can do at the bottom of this page).
Don't worry...we don't give out your email address to ANYONE, so no worries
there. But what you will get is a lot of fun, some interactions from other Army
members, some fun movie experiences, and maybe even a nice prize at the end of
it all. What do you have to lose? Check out the Army page for all the info, or
feel free to email me with any questions about it. Hope to see you on the front
Okay...let's get to the the
winners of the 2014 Kryptic Army Challenge!
Thomas Brennen - Mini-poster for PAN'S
LABYRINTH, signed by Doug Jones
Cate Cameron - 8x10 custom still from
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, signed by creators Charles and Stephen Chiodo
Craig Clark - Night of the Living Dead
book by Joe Kane, signed by Kyra Schon
Dahlia Daniels - Mini-poster for TRICK 'r
TREAT, signed by director Michael Dougherty
Lance Ford - Spanish mini-poster for DEAD
& BURIED, signed by director Gary Sherman
Damien Glonek - An original art print for
DEADLY SPAWN by Chicago artist Putrid, signed by him and SPAWN director Doug
Erik Martin - 8 x 10 still from NIGHT OF
THE CREEPS, signed by director Fred Dekker.
Dustin Moravich - Reproduction poster of
BRAIN DAMAGE, signed by director Frank Henenlotter
Ashley Polnow - Soundtrack CD for
Erich Polnow - EVILSPEAK 8 x 10, signed by
star Clint Howard
Gavin Schmitt - Reproduction of THE STUFF
container signed by director Larry Cohen
Wayne Teeter - Still from MY BLOODY
VALENTINE, signed by director George Mihalka and actor Peter Cowper (the
SOUL COMING TO AMERICA!
Director David Gregory's documentary LOST SOUL - THE DOOMED
JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY'S THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU is coming to the
states. Being a huge fan of Stanley's HARDWARE and DUST DEVIL, I was very
excited to see what his version of DOCTOR MOREAU was going to be like. But it
never happened due to rumors of him getting fired, screwed over, and many other
tales. But now we'll get to see the Stanley's side of truth behind it all.
Right now they have only announced dates in San Francisco (at
the Roxie on Sat. the 7th and Wed. the 11th), but will have more dates in Los
Angeles and Phoenix, and hopefully more, that will have both director Gregory
and Stanley in attendance. I'm really hoping they come to Chicago, because not
only would I love to see this documentary, I would also love to meet Stanley to
let him know how much I enjoyed his films. It is just a damn shame that a man
with this much visionary talent, that he is not given a blank check to create
more incredible cinematic experiences. Like I said, I really like his work.
THE BEYOND IN THEATERS
We all know that Grindhouse Releasing is putting out Lucio
Fulci's THE BEYOND, one of my all time favorite flicks, out on Blu-Ray this year in an
awesome 3-disc set. But to help celebrate this momentous occasion, Grindhouse is
letting loose THE BEYOND in theaters once again. I know at the end of March, I
will be heading into Chicago to the Music Box Theatre to see this on the big
screen once again! If you haven't had the chance to see this film on the big
screen, you owe it to yourself to see it. For all the city and dates, head over to Grindhouse
Releasing's site HERE.
Our lesson for this update is about an actor who died way too
young and only a few screen appearances. But two films that he did appear in are
classics. Head over to the classroom to learn
I mentioned that our photo from last week might seem familiar, even if you
haven't seen the movie. That was because that shot that I used was pretty much
the same shot that was used for the box art on one of video releases. The title
is BLOOD STALKERS and is a low budget film made in Florida in 1978. If you can
find a copy of this, I would check it out. Not the most action packed, but still
a good flick. Here's the list of those that sent in the correct answer: Craig
Clark, Brian Fukala, Billy Norcera, Eric Ott, Gavin Schmitt, and William Wilson.
Now on to our latest photo quiz. You might recognize this
actor, but do you know what movie it is from? Good luck. As always, click
HERE to send us
1-4-15 WELCOME TO 2015
Here's hoping that this year will have all the great things
that happened last year, but leaving behind all the crap. Since 2015 will be the
year that I turn 50, I'm hoping it is something special. Even if it is just me
getting a new chair I can sit out in front of my house to yell at kids to stay
off my lawn. Only time will tell.
With the new year here, it only means less than 3 months
before we start our Kryptic World Tour 2015! Our first official show will be the
HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati at the end of March. Then a couple of weeks
after that, we head to Strongsville, Ohio for another epic weekend called
Wasteland. We might be changing up our convention circuit
this year, and checking out a new show. We'll announce it once it is confirmed.
But it will be a new show that we've been wanting to make it out to for a while
but just never made it.
Fingers crossed. Of course, we will be heading up to Oshkosh, WI at the end of
this month for the
Terror at the Time triple feature event, so maybe we'll see you there.
SET A PLAN...WRITE IT DOWN...MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Yeah, I know, a new year means a lot of New Year's
resolutions that we never fulfill. But that doesn't mean we can't try right?
Especially if this plan is about the horror genre, right? That makes it not only
better, but easier, more fun, and educational as well! Now I'm not talking about
setting something so vague as "watch more movies". Set yourself a particular
goal, like watch all the Hammer Frankenstein and/or Dracula films. Or watch 10
Italian giallos that I haven't see yet. Or even, read 5 horror reference books!
And to make this easier and something to keep following up on, make a list!
Write it down and keep it handy to be a reminder and then make it happen.
Just to show you that I'm not just preaching this, but going
to setting myself up a goal too. Power in unity, right? My goal is to read one
of my reference books each month. Sure, you might not think that is a big deal,
but with all the other oars I have in the water at any given time, this isn't
going to be breeze. But it is something that I'm pretty sure I can achieve.
So...who's with me?
KRYPTIC ARMY - S.O.S.
Okay...I'm an idiot. Let's get that out of the way. Earlier
this year, I emailed a few of the Army regulars and asked if they wanted to help
out with some of the missions for next year. I'm pretty sure all that I asked
responded, which I would mark down on a piece of paper with each month, the idea
for that month's mission, and the person that suggested it. Well...that piece of
paper seemed to been misplaced at some point and I've turned my office upside
down and can not find it.
I have some of them, such as January (Craig), June (Damien),
July (John P), October (Lance), November (Aaron), and December (Lee). I have the
topics for February, March, and September, but don't remember how suggested
them. I am missing everything for April, May, and August.
So...if you were one of those that I emailed and are not
mentioned above, can you please email me back with what your suggestion was? And
if had sent in one for Feb. March, & Sept., let me know as well so I can give
SOUNDTRACK LOVERS REJOICE!
I do have to admit that it just amazes me sometimes the
soundtrack titles that are being released these days. Granted, some of them are
released in a very limited quantity, like some at only 500 copies, it still
shows me that these are really works of pleasure. Nobody puts out the soundtrack
for Rino Di Silvestro's THE LEGEND OF THE WOLF WOMAN expecting it to sell
thousands and thousands of copies. Same goes for Jess Franco's VIRGIN AMONG THE
LIVING DEAD. But to some of us fans out there, this is incredible news. They
have to be doing this for the sheer love and passion and just hoping that it is
financially worth it. And the
thanks and praise should go to companies like
Howlin' Wolf Records,
Digitmovies, or La-La
Land Records, we are able to enjoy these glorious works of musical art that I
know most of us would never have thought possible. We just need to support these
smaller companies to not only show them that we are liking what they do, but
also to help them continue to do just that.
For Coriolano Gori's score for WOLF WOMAN, this is the first
time this score has been available in ANY format. It has been mastered by
Claudio Fuiano, and comes with a 8-page booklet with tons of illustrations and
liner notes by Gergely Hubai. The release has 21 tracks for almost an hour's
worth of music. This release is only for 500 copies so if you're interested, you
better pre-order your copy now. You can order it directly from
Quartet Records, but they are outside of the US. Or you can also order your
Screen Archive Entertainment.
NEW SOUNDTRACK REVIEW: WOMAN IN BLACK: ANGEL OF DEATH
We have posted our review of the score from the latest Hammer
Film. Head over to our Soundtrack Reviews to read
Our first lesson of the year is about an intense character
actor that never ceases to entertain me, as well as creep me out. Head over to
the classroom to find out who I'm talking about.
First of all, I totally forgot to mention Gavin Schmitt in last week's photo. He
did send in the correct answer, but I somehow missed it. Sorry about that Gavin!
Okay...let's see if I can go without forgetting somebody this time out! Our last
photo was from the film BLADE IN THE DARK, an early film from Lamberto Bava. I
know a few of you recognized the little blonde kid and figured it was from HOUSE
BY THE CEMETERY. While that movie is probably what Giovanni Frezza is known for,
he was appeared in the beginning of this Bava flick, as well as at the end of
Bava's DEMONS. So this little kid got around. Kudos to the following that did
identify the correct film: Hoby Abernathy, Cate Cameron, Dustin Moravick,
Raymond Rich, and Lisa Stewart.
Okay...on to our first Mystery Photo of the year. This one
might look familiar, even if you don't remember seeing the movie. There's a
reason for that, which I'll mention in our next update. Anyway, take a look, see
what you think, and then click
HERE to send us
your answer. Good Luck.
2014 really has been a rollercoaster of a year and one that I
am glad is over. Not that anything really bad happened, but just that it has
been a bumpy ride. Last December, I started a new job which had me working 12-14
hour days for most of the first part of the year. I have to say those kind of
hours can really cut down on one’s movie-watching time, not to mention
everything else. So my movie count for this year was way lower than I usually
get to. But at least I have a job, right? So shouldn’t really be complaining
about that. The hours are better now and while not saying this place doesn’t
have its share of issues, I’m trying to remain somewhat positive and hopeful.
But besides the job and the long hours, we’ve had to deal with a (supposedly)
busted sewer pipe, which mean having our basement floor dug up. Granted, it was
an unfinished basement, so again, it could have been worse. Though, after
spending a few thousand dollars to get it fixed, it really didn’t matter. Then
throw in the fact that after spending a grand to have a leak somewhere in our
A/C system fixed, we discover there is ANOTHER leak somewhere else that is going
to cost another grand to find and fix. And of course, that is not to say that
yet another leak won’t appear. Granted, the AC place be more than happy to
install a whole system where they could guarantee no future leaks. Sure, let me
just grab that extra $4000 sitting in on my shelf.
Add in the
fact that I’ve been dealing an eye infection/cist issue on my right eyelid since
the early summer, and still dealing with, as well as all the other fun things
that life has decided to throw at us, I for one, am glad to see 2014 end and
hoping that 2015 is going to be a better one. What could go wrong, right?
This is our
16th year running the Krypt, though there was a short time earlier
this year when I thought I would be shutting it down. But better heads prevailed
and it is still up and running, though a few changes were made. The obvious one
is that the updates are now every other week instead of weekly, which has given
us some more time to work on other projects so that has helped.
Another thing you might have notice this year on the site
that my regular convention reports have stopped. In fact, I don’t believe I did
one this entire year. I don’t want this to get into a big bitch session, but I
feel an explanation is required. The reason is simple. Conventions are nothing
like they used to be. There are two reasons I attend shows these days. The first
one is being a dealer. I still love being able to put a horror reference book or
two in the hands (and mind) of an eager horror fan wanting to increase their
knowledge. My second and main reason for going to shows is because of friends.
Our friends that we only really see at these shows, our convention family
really, where we get to chat and discuss different movies and the genre that we
love so much. Not just old friends but also the new ones we make at each and
every show. Sure, there might be a guest we want to see, if they are doing a Q&A
panel, but that is becoming more and more of a rarity these days. This is
nothing against any of the shows out there, since I know they are trying their
hardest to put on a good show. But after 25 years and hundreds of cons, seeing a
lot of the same guests over and over again, and with prices becoming so
outrageous for autographs and a photo with the celeb, all of that part of the
shows, which used to be the main draw for me, has lost its charm for me. So
writing up convention reports now, pretty much saying the same thing that I’ve
been saying, had gotten pretty old. So we’ve stopped doing them. We’ll keep the
ones we have posted still up on the site, so they will always be there to go
back and revisit. So I apologize if you are missing our reports, but they just
aren’t fun, or are just repetitive of many of the other reports. I hope everyone
With every End of Year review, I always want to mention those that have passed
during this year, that I feel have made an important contribution to the genre.
These are the people that helped in one way or another, bring something dark and
fantastic to the screen, or help keep some titles alive and not lost in
obscurity, or even something as simple as writing about these movies, which
makes younger fans maybe seek something new out to watch. As students of the
genre, it is our job to keep their memories alive and to make sure that their
work is continued to be viewed and enjoyed.
Burns, Madeleine Collinson, Everett De Roche, John Fasano, Radu Florescu, H.R.
Giger, Menahem Golan, Phil Hardy, Gordon Hessler,
Richard Kiel, Carla Laemmle, Francis Matthews, Ed Nelson, Kate O’Mara, Riz
Ortolani, Arthur Rankin Jr., Dick Smith, Mike Vraney
I have one
more name that we wanted to add to the list above, who just passed away shortly
before Christmas, Mark A. Miller, pictured right. He was a high school teacher
that had written a couple of books on the genre, Christopher Lee and Peter
Cushing and Horror: A Filmography and
The Christopher Lee Filmography, along with Tom Johnson. But he also was
a huge fan of the genre. I didn’t know Mark that well. In fact, I had only met
him one time. It was at a HorrorHound convention in 2012 where a guy came up and
was looking at the selection of books on my table. We started talking about
different books and some classic Hammer and Universal monster movies and he
mentioned that he was the author of the Lee/Cushing book, which I promptly told
him I was proud to have a copy in my own library. He was so friendly and we both
could tell that we shared that passion. I gave him one of my flyers for the
website and a short time later I received an email from him, saying how much he
enjoyed our conversation we had at the show and that he had checked out my
website and really enjoyed it. We exchanged a couple more emails but that was
it. I had heard from some other friends that he’d been battling cancer which is
what finally took its toll. It is people like Mark, and the countless other fans
out there that really keep this passion for the genre alive. It is something
that we live for. So when we lose one of those, it hurts. Our thoughts go out to
Mark’s friends and family.
Even with all the issues that we were dealt with in 2014, there were still
several highlights for us that we were thrilled and honored to be part of. First
and foremost, had to been the book Hidden Horror. While it was
technically published at the very end of last year, it has been quite a
whirlwind of activity this year with this little publication. We had an amazing
book release party in January that had a great turnout, with a bunch of the
contributors making the trip out for it, including a few from out of state. It
made its official convention debut in March at the HorrorHound Weekend in
Cincinnati. We had several of the contributors there as well, who were helping
out and hanging around the Hidden Horror table all weekend, signing
copies for the people that purchased them. We got to hang out, sell some books,
and talk movies with a bunch of these people and just had an amazing time. Can’t
thank Aaron Christensen and the rest of the Hidden Horror crew for their
help and support on this project.
But that was
just the beginning. At the Flashback Weekend in August, we were lucky enough to
be able to have a Hidden Horror panel, getting to talk more about the
book and the movies included, with a few of the authors present, as well as
getting to chat with the audience about some of their favorite Hidden Horror
titles. Again, it was so much fun and we continued to hear some positive
responses on the book.
In fact, the
book had been nominated for a Rondo Award for Best Book and even won! Going up
against some stellar competition like Chris Nashawaty’s book on Roger Corman, Crab
Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, & Candy Striped Nurses and Guillermo del Toro’s
Cabinet of Curiosities, I was completely surprised to hear it won. Again,
this praise goes to each and every one of the authors involved, as well as to
John Pata for his hard work on making it look as good as it does, the copy
editors, and every single person that helped promote it. Can’t thank you enough.
of the Rondos, I was not only nominated for the 2nd year in a row for
my column in HorrorHound, but I actually won this time. It really boggles my
mind the fact for some who grew up really despising reading and writing of any
kind, that not only that I would actually have a regular column in a nationally
syndicated magazine, but it would be enjoyed so much to win this award. Wonders
There are two reasons that I am mentioning this now. The
obvious one is that this was a pretty big milestone in my life. But I'm not
really mentioning it here to brag but to hopefully inspire. I want to be the
example for someone else that has this deep passion for something but is too
afraid to do anything with it. I'm here to tell you that if you have the passion
and the drive, never stop trying to achieve whatever goal it is you want to get
to. I was just some fan that loved to talk about horror movies and the people
that made them to whoever would listen. But now I'm writing for different
magazines, as well as this site, and am still having a blast doing it. Then when
I hear from a reader that has checked out a movie that I recommend and loved it,
then honestly, that is worth more than any award.
So thanks (once again) to those that not only voted for me and my
column but also those that read it each issue. Thanks to Aaron and Nathan at
HorrorHound for giving me the platform where I can talk about the movies I love.
Thanks to Aaron Christensen who has inspired me in more ways than I could ever
repay him. And the biggest thanks had to go to my wife Dawn, who has put up with
this little hobby of mine for many, many years, but has done nothing but give me
support and encouragement.
project that started in 2014 that I was proud to be part of was Evilspeak
magazine. This was created by like minded, die-hard fans that wanted nothing
more than to spread their infectious passion for the horror genre. And now that
issue 3 is now out, I think we’ve done just that. Sure, there have been some
technical issues, which are still being worked through, but I think that even
with those issues, I think the passion still just oozes from the pages. It is
something that I have been very proud to be a part of and am excited to see
where it goes.
I think we
went to the drive-in more times this year than I can think of. Several times
were we out for triple features and always just had a great time. Getting to see
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE on the big screen at the drive-in (twice actually)
was beyond words, same goes for PHANTASM. The photo below was actually taken
from my camera on my phone, after many failed attempts to get a good shot with
my digital camera. It almost looks like that screen shot was superimposed, but
not the case. That was such a fun night. I know I might sound like a broken
record, but going out to the drive-in on a Saturday night, especially for a
triple feature of great horror titles, with tons of other like-minded horror
fans, it really can’t be beat. You just get this family feel to it, as if we're
all one big family out to enjoy a great time. I was also able to check off my
bucket list of being able to see all of the Universal classic monsters on the
big screen as well. Over the years, at various different movie marathons or
screenings, I had seen all off the classics except DRACULA. Well, that changed
back in October when the McHenry Drive-in screened it, along with THE WOLF MAN,
and THE MUMMY. So much fun.
meant another birthday party for me, where once again my wife Dawn knocked it
out of the park with a cake based on two J.P. Simon movies: PIECES and SLUGS,
which just happened to be the two movies we were screening that day. Of course,
we seemed to have an attack of mosquitoes that evening, even going overboard
with some natural garlic repellant that didn’t seem to do anything. Maybe next
year will figure something better out. Plus, another shout out to those that did
come and bring plenty of food donations we were collecting for the local food
pantry. You guys rock!
Yeah, I know I keep saying that but it still brings
a smile to my face every time I see a new horror reference book being published.
Not sure if it is because of the small press houses or the self-publishing way
of doing things are so much cheaper than before, but there seems to be no
shortages of new titles coming out that I am adding to my list of future
editions for my library. But these new titles aren’t just coming from the small
press/self publishing either, but some are from major publishers as well, so
that is a good sign. And 2014 was definitely a good year for horror reference
books. While most of these I haven’t read yet, here’s just a few of the great
titles that we’ve added to the Kryptic Library.
Derek Botelho’s The Argento Syndrome is a must for any
and all Argento fans. Well written and with lots of great stories, it is well
worth your time and money. With Phantasm Exhumed, author Dustin McNeill
gives every phan out there a chance to learn a ton about this unique and one of
a kind series. One title that we just recently got that I’m anxious to dive into
yet is The Creature Chronicles, by Tom Weaver, David Schecter, and Steve
Kronenberg. While it is a bit pricy, I knew I needed it for my library, figuring
any time I needed to learn something about this movie series, I would probably
find it in this book. Once I get to it, we’ll have our review posted as usual.
But probably the biggest (both in size and investment) title I got was The
Hammer Legacy by Wayne Kinsey. Published in a limited edition (only 500
copies) by Peveril Publishing, I knew that if I did drop the money now for this,
I never would be able to get a copy since the prices on all of Kinsey’s
out-of-print Hammer titles go through the roof. Kinsey is the Hammer authority
in the UK and has added another incredible addition to his stream of Hammer book
I don’t really have a
Best of Books list out of the ones I read this year, mainly because I haven’t
been keeping track. But I will recommend two that I did get to in 2014 that I
thought were spectacular. The first one is Mark Thomas McGee’s You Won’t
Believe Your Eyes. You can read our full review
HERE, but this was such a fun book to read. It is on the ‘50s sci-fi/horror
films and can pretty much guarantee you’ll get a few titles for your
Need-to-Watch list. The second book is Gunnar Hansen’s Chain Saw Confidential,
which you can read the review
HERE. If you would have told me that there would be something else that I
could learn, or even want to hear about the cult film from ’74, I would have
called you a liar. Don’t miss-understand, I love the movie and think it is a
masterpiece. But after different commentaries, convention Q&A panels,
documentaries, is there any more I could learn about it? Yes. Yes, there is.
Especially when it is coming from Leatherface himself. The great thing about
this book is that because I have seen the film so many times, when Hansen was
talking about a particular scene, I knew exactly what he was referencing. But it
is not just on-the-set stories that are interesting, but Hansen’s way of telling
them. Another must read for fans of TCM.
BEST & WORST VIEWINGS OF 2014
Okay folks, here are our list of films that we watched
for the first time in 2014 that have made our Best list and some that made our
Worst list. Please remember that these are films that I've watched for the
first time in 2014, not necessarily ones that came out in that year. Since
what I watch consists of a majority of older films, coming up with 10 titles
that I seen this year wouldn't be that epic...if I could come up with 10 at all.
Another reason that I consider any new film watched for my list is because I
want to encourage other people to keep seeking out older movies. I think so many
fans concentrate on new movies, or older ones that get a new release on DVD or
Blu-ray, but tend to forget about the thousands and thousands of titles that are
still out there, in danger of getting lost in obscurity. So here's to you fans
out there that keep seeking out titles that are not the latest and greatest to
get released, or ones that everyone might be talking about, but instead, maybe
some old black and white flick that you read about that sounds cool. Then if
you're impressed with it, then you can maybe pass that on to someone else so
they can enjoy it. Remember, as good as a movie is, it is even better when you
can share it with a friend. Because when they come back and thank you for the
recommendation, then you have successfully passed on that infection!
So yeah...maybe because I didn't get through as many movies
this year as I normally do, but going through the list of movies that I did
watch this year, finding 10 films that were amazing and/or mind-blowing...was
pretty tough. Honestly, it didn't seem that 2014 was a great year for films. Dame shame, really. Not to say that there were no good movies, but
usually the process is cutting titles out of the list to get it down to 10, not
trying to find a few more titles to make it to 10. But here we go.
(1945) – A great companion piece for THE LODGER, also directed by John Brahm and
starring Laird Cregar. Cregar once again plays a man who just might be murderer.
He is a composer under a lot of stress due to a deadline on a new composition.
When he gets stressed, he blacks out, only to awaken in a different part of
town…where someone was recently found murdered. Cregar was such a talented
actor, and Brahm made some damn fine pictures too. Check this one out when
you’re in the mood for a classy black and white thriller. And then watch THE
LODGER if you haven’t seen that one either.
Director's Cut (1990) – Now I of course had seen NIGHTBREED before, but
this is the recent director’s cut that just came out, so I'm counting that as a
new film. I had seen the CABAL Cut last year and while it was cool to see those
sequences for the first time, the movie was way too long and just didn’t flow.
But now seeing the director’s cut, the way that Barker wanted it from the
beginning, it really improves the film. This has always been one of my favorite
films to begin with and this version just made it better.
TIGHT (2011) – I am a huge fan of Jaume Balagueró and his films. There
hasn’t been one that I didn’t enjoy. But when this flick came out, I had read
the basic plot was and wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch something that not only
sounded really creepy, not like a haunted house creepy, but a guy stalking a
young girl kind of creepy. So I kind of avoided it for a few years but finally
decided I needed to check it off the list. And I was right. Damn was it creepy.
Not one I would advise watching with the wife/girlfriend because she will have
you checking your house/apartment, under the bed, closets, and everywhere else
before you go to bed. Granted, it will leave you with an aching in the pit of
your stomach, but it is a great movie.
(2013) – Chad Crawford Kinkle’s feature length debut shows that low
budget filmmakers can not only still to make a great film, but can be a force to
be reckoned with as well. Here we get such an original story, played out by an
amazing cast, that it was so refreshing to see something like this to come
along. Great film.
(2013) – I had seen Mike Flanagan’s 2011 film ABSENTIA and was really impressed.
Just like Kinkle did, Flanagan showed having a low budget doesn’t mean you can’t
make a very stylized and scary film. So when OCULUS came out, I had high hopes
for it and was not disappointed. For a studio film, he still delivered the goods
with a great story and a very good cast.
MORTIS (2013) – This one came out of nowhere. I am big fan of the MR.
VAMPIRE films that came out of Hong Kong in the ‘80s. But who would have thought
that someone would make a modern day entry in that sub-genre, making it very
serious, but also still keeping that sly bit of humor that the originals had,
without going overboard with the silly slapstick. I always enjoyed the mythology
used in those films, so it was cool to see that back as well.
WHAT WE ARE (2013) – Having never seen the original version, I wasn’t
entirely sure what this movie was about, other than the subject of cannibalism.
But once again, Jim Mickle has yet to let me down. Even though I had a little
bit of a problem with the part of the ending, Mickle and crew really deliver the
goods on this film, making a very dark and gritty little film. Great cast,
especially the two young actresses that pretty much carry the film.
AND BITCHING (2013) – Álex de la Iglesia is yet another director that I
would follow anywhere. With such a dark and twisted sense of humor, he continues
to produce highly original and damn entertaining movies. And this one is no
different. Loaded with plenty of his trademark dark humor, lots of bizarre and
wild characters, and a plot that has you wondering just what the hell is going
to happen now, it will be one that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
BABADOOK (2014) – I just love the concept of this film, with a character
from a children’s book becoming real and terrorizing a woman and her child.
While there were times that I really wanted the young boy to be gone from the
rest of the picture, the young Noah Wiseman does an exceptional job as the
troubled little boy. And Essie Davis makes the audience feel every ounce of her
overwhelming feeling of loss and hopelessness. Not a feel-good-movie for a
Sunday afternoon, but well worth your time.
(2014) – I had never even heard of this one, not to mention having no idea what
the movie was about. All I know that it was an excellent movie, really keeping
me guessing as to what was going on. Great cast, with that charming New
Zealander humor, and a unique story, making it one of my favorites for the year.
WORSE VIEWINGS IN 2014
Now we get to the other
side of the spectrum. Like Stephen Thrower had said, "the only bad movie is a
boring one", which I believe 100%. We have some boring ones in here. We also
have some ones that are just plain terribly made films. And then of course we
have a couple that we should have known better to expect anything else than what
we got. Which really is the saddest part, when you have some talented people
involved in a project that still just reeks of blah, creating something that is
pretty much forgettable. Shame. But none the less, let us get to our Worst
Viewings of 2014:
(1981) – No, not the Craven one (though I'm not a huge fan of that either), but
one that I was surprised to come across this little slasher movie that I had not
only never seen before, but never heard of it. So I was pretty excited to
hopefully discover some lost great slasher flick that might had slipped by the
wayside. Well…it sure wasn’t in this piece of crap. There’s more excitement
watching paint dry than watching this movie. NOTHING happens. Just terrible.
(1981) – Yet another slasher film from 1981 that has a great soundtrack to it,
which is one of the reasons I was expecting this one to be good. But like
SCREAM, this one is just mind-numbingly bad. Once again, not much happens, or
makes any sense for that matter. Of course the filmmakers were trying to make a
very ambiguous storyline, trying to be different, but it just fails on every
EXPERIMENT (2005) – I am a huge fan of all three QUATERMASS films that
Hammer made, as well as the original broadcast versions. When news of a new
updated version of the original story, one that would be broadcast live, I was
pretty excited to see it. But it never got a release on DVD. So I waited. Until
I found a friend that had gotten a copy of it and now I could finally have a
chance to see it. The film stars Jason Flemyng as Quatermass, which I thought
was a strange casting choice, even though I really enjoy Flemyng as an actor.
But once the film starts, it was a bigger crash than the rocket ship in the
show. So boring, with very little action, or even some interesting storyline, it
just dragged on. My feeling is that if you’re going to have a Quatermass movie,
you have to have an actor that can bring that larger-than-life character alive
on the screen. And as much as I like Flemyng, he just didn’t do it. Granted, it
could have been the script, but it was an epic fail. Makes me now realized why
it hasn’t been released on DVD. Nobody wants it.
THE KILLER SHREWS (2012) – This was the first movie I watched in 2014. I
didn’t realize that this terrible movie was going to pretty much set the pace
for my entire year. Being a huge fan of the original (yes, I think it is
actually a great little ‘50s monster flick), I was expecting them maybe to give
this sequel that same feeling, especially since actor James Best is returning as
the same character. And even with a name like Bruce Davison, it has to be good,
right? Wrong again. This film has some just god-awful CGI creatures, and some of
the worst dialogue spoken by stupid characters. This is the kind of low budget
film that makes me take two steps back after taking a step forward after seeing
a low budget film that is actually good. This film is so bad it isn’t even worth
the time to read this paragraph about it!
FRANKENSTEIN (2014) – This comes from “No shit it’s bad” file. Let’s
see…a big budgeted Hollywood film that is going to take an immortal character
from a classic novel and completely change anything and everything about it and
throw him in the middle of an UNDERWORLD rip-off style script. This is a perfect
example on how most of the people in Hollywood wouldn’t know something original
and good if it crawled up their ass and whispered in the inside of their ear.
ONES (2014) – A veery disappointing film, this time coming from newly
reborn Hammer Films. I had such high hopes for this one, since they were making
a period piece again and one that was supposed to be pretty creepy and scary.
Instead what we get is a mish-mash of garbage. No idea what the hell the plot of
the movie was, what the characters were suppose to be accomplishing, or why I
even bothered watching this all the way through.
EVIL 2 (2014) – Another one that was disappointing as well. But one might
think watching the sequel to a lame slasher movie (and that is being kind to the
original SEE NO EVIL), how could anybody expect it to be good. Right? Well,
since this was directed by the Soska sisters, it would have their
unique and stylized flare that they had showed us in AMERICAN MARY. Right? Instead
we get another waste-of-time sequel to an all-but-forgotten film. Yes, there was
one kill that was really well done and give them kudos for that. But besides
that, I was really
disappointed to see a very generic script that they really didn’t do anything
with other than once again show how stupid people are in these kid of slasher
movies. If it wasn’t directed by the Twisted Twins, then I wouldn’t be so harsh,
but I loved AMERICAN MARY and think they are extremely talented. But you’d never
know it by this film. I think if this was their first picture, nobody would even
know who they are. Really hope this isn’t the direction they are going.
And by the way, Danielle Harris is not a good actress
and should just stick to doing conventions.
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