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FAMOUS QUOTE

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 -

1-18-15  IT'S OFFICIAL! WE'RE GOING TO MONSTER BASH
    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 Bash page HERE.

REST IN PEACE: ROD TAYLOR, ANITA EKBERG & BRIAN CLEMENS
    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 Reviews.

MORE 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 the money.
    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 cinema.
    For all the details about the book, head over to the Facebook page for the book by clicking HERE.

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 line!
    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 McKeown.

  • 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 CREEPSHOW

  • 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 minor)

LOST 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.

HORROR HISTORY
    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 more.

MYSTERY  PHOTO
    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. Well done!
    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 your answer.

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 Cinema 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 you credit.

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 Quartet Records, 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 copy from 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 more!

HORROR HISTORY
    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.

MYSTERY PHOTO
    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 understands.

    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.

Marilyn 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.

    And speaking 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 never cease.
    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.

    Another 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.

    Another year 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!

  

PRINT IS DEAD…MY ASS
    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 titles.

        

    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.

BEST VIEWINGS IN 2014

HANGOVER SQUARE (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.

NIGHTBREED: 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.

SLEEP 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.

JUG FACE (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.

OCULUS (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.

RIGOR 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.

WE ARE 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.

WITCHING 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.

THE 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.

HOUSEBOUND (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:

SCREAM (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.

FINAL EXAM (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 level.

QUATERMASS 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.

RETURN OF 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!

I, 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.

THE QUIET 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.

SEE NO 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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