The B Monster is a stand-up guy. When he's wrong, he admits
it, let the chips fall where they may. In last month's write-up
of "Jeepers Creepers," the cheap shocker about a cadaver-collecting,
chainsaw-wielding gargoyle truck driver, we predicted that,
flawed though the film was, a sequel must certainly be in
the works. We were wrong. A TV SERIES is in the works! That's
right, according to a prominent filmland source, MGM plans
on developing a series based on the uninspired film. What
form will it take? Who can say? Perhaps the protagonist
will run amok, hacking off a different body part each week.
Like the film's Johnny Mercer title tune, there are lots
of pop ditties that could lend themselves to the premise:
"I Only Have Eyes For You," "Footloose," "Crazy Arms," "I
Want to Hold Your Hand ... "
Paul Hubschmid aka Paul Christian
Swiss actor Paul Hubschmid, billed as Paul Christian in
his U.S.-made films, died in Berlin of a pulmonary embolism.
He was 84. Hubschmid is no doubt best known to American
movie watchers for his role as Tom Nesbitt in director Eugene
Lourie's "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," which co-starred
Kenneth Tobey, Cecil Kellaway and Ray Harryhausen's terrific
animated "Beast." Another notable genre-film appearance
was a part in the Gordon Douglas-directed "Missing Link"
stinker, "Skullduggery," with Burt Reynolds and Susan Clark.
Hubschmid was born in Switzerland and trained as an actor
in Austria. He came to Hollywood in 1948. Using the name
Paul Christian, he appeared in such films as "Bagdad," opposite
Maureen O'Hara, and the Don Seigel-directed "No Time for
Flowers." Hubschmid was the veteran of nearly 100 films
in all, most of which were made in Europe.
THE B MOVIE MONTH IN REVIEW
NEW LAGOON SOON?
The rumors have been floating for nearly two decades that
a real, for-sure, definitely-gonna-happen maybe remake of
"The Creature From The Black Lagoon" will soon begin production,
probably, definitely, soon, perhaps in the near future.
Universal Studios has made it official ... again. Director-screenwriter
Gary Ross ("Pleasantville") is set to co-produce the remake
under his "Larger Than Life Productions" banner along with
his father, Arthur A. Ross. The elder Ross had a hand in
scripting the original 1954 classic. "The story my father
wrote embodies the clash between primitive men and civilized
men," Ross told The Hollywood Reporter, "and that obviously
makes it a fertile area for re-examination. Plus, I'm thrilled
to be working with my dad." (Ross is rightfully proud of
his Pop, but let's not forget that the story had a long
genesis involving many talented hands, most significantly
those of producer Bill Alland.)
When Universal's ho-hum "Mummy" overhaul made a bundle
a couple of summers ago, word was that director Stephen
Sommers was approached to helm a campy retelling of the
original "Creature." One story stated that it would take
place in a new, luxury hotel complex in Florida. It was
said at the time that it would be produced through actor-rapper
Will Smith's production company. And there was much talk
in the early 1980s of a remake/sequel to the classic "Creature,"
to be scripted by Nigel Kneale and directed by Jack Arnold,
who directed the 1954 original. Since then, rumors have
surfaced periodically concerning a remake, some getting
as far as production sketches depicting an overhauled version
of Alland's "Beastie." (One of the niftiest of these can
be seen at the site of B Monster buddy Kerry Gammill: http://gammillustrations.bizland.com/monsterart/id8.html
Gary, Arthur, we're beggin' ya. If you gotta do it, please,
do it right. Don't just remake "Alien" for the umpteenth
time and call it a day. Look beyond the pandering gore and
high school curse words and give us a decent story with
cliche-free dialogue. Dispense with the loudmouth stand-up
comic du jour (who gets killed in the first reel, anyway).
Give Bruce Willis and his wig-of-the-month a rest. No ZZ
Top or Aerosmith music. No Joel Silver car crashes. Don't
give us a good "popcorn" movie (God, I hate that excuse
of a phrase.) Please, just give us a "good" movie.
FANGORIA TO FEATURE "FORGOTTEN HORRORS"
Michael H. Price and John Wooley, peerless chroniclers of
Horrordom's poverty row history, have sealed a deal with
Fangoria to bring their lauded "Forgotten Horrors" series
to the magazine's pages. Price and Wooley will generate
a monthly column that will also serve to preview books the
pair currently have in development. The "Forgotten Horrors"
feature will begin in the March 2002 issue, appearing thereafter
in both the magazine and at the Fango Web site: http://www.fangoria.com
While the original "Forgotten Horrors" volumes, by Price
and his late partner, George Turner, focused on low-rent
shockers from the 1930s and 40s, the Price/Wooley column
will deal with indy horrors of a more recent vintage, broadly
defined at the authors' discretion. Filmic fodder for this
scholarly scrutiny incudes Larry Buchanan's "Mars Needs
Women," David F. Friedman's "She-Freak," William Girdler's
"The Manitou" and Kevin Connor's "Motel Hell." The columns
will be compiled for future "Forgotten Horrors" volumes
to be published by Midnight Marquee Press.
Price and Turner wrote the original "Forgotten Horrors"
in the 1970s, opening many a neophyte's eye to celluloid
oddities few knew existed. An expanded 20th anniversary
edition arrived in 1999, generating sufficient interest
to warrant a line of sequels. Following Turner's death in
1999, Price carried on solo with the interim "Forgotten
Horrors 2: Beyond the Horror Ban." Price enlisted Wooley
as a collaborator while gathering material for Volume three.
"John has a knowledge of this material to match that of
George Turner," says Price, "and moreover he has a fondness
that George never quite developed for the littler postwar-and-beyond
pictures. I'm looking forward to an exhilarating long run
with this projected five-foot shelf of 'Forgotten Horrors.'"
Wooley is an author, journalist and radio personality
based in Tulsa, Okla., whose novels include "Awash in the
Blood" and "Dark Within" (available from Hawk Books), in
addition to the nonfiction film survey "Hot Schlock Horror!"
Price is director of motion-picture programming for Sundance
Square entertainment district in Fort Worth, Texas; president
of the Fort Worth Film Festival, Inc.; and resident film
critic with KRLD/NewsRadio 1080, Dallas/Fort Worth.
THE "SCOPE" OF JAPANESE CINEMA
The B Monster's ad hoc literary critic, Lawrence Woolsey,
weighs in once again with a revealing peek at a recent volume
devoted to the arcania of Japanese filmdom:
I only recently came across "Tokyo Scope," an intriguing
trade paperback by Patrick Macias from San Francisco-based
Cadence Books, which is subtitled "The Japanese Cult Film
Companion." Kinji Fukasakau ("Battle Royale," "Message from
Space" and some 60 other lesser-known epics) wrote the foreword
and is extensively covered within. Takashi Miike, the even
more prolific (on a yearly basis) director of the grisly
"Audition" contributes an Afterword.
This tome covers Nippon films ranging from the original
"Godzilla" ("Gojira") thru the latest domestic hits and
is full of fascinating trivia available nowhere else. Sonny
Chiba, Yakuza, "Pink" and Disaster pix all get their due
via some revealing interviews and well-informed prose. Anybody
curious as to the origins of "Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell,"
"The Tattooed Hit Man" or "Godzilla vs the Smog Monster"
are encouraged to seek this one out. My favorite section
is Banned Films, where we learn that I. Honda's Yeti pic
followup to "Gojira," known in the US as "Half Human," has
been completely suppressed in Japan since 1955 owing to
some internal political overtones and suggestions of bestiality!
Apparently, only the recut John Carradine-narrated U.S.
version is available there on the black market! Similarly,
Honda's Jules Verne-like "Latitude Zero" is also verboten
due to some kind of copyright problem involving screenwriter
Ted Sherdeman ("Them!"). This is just a hint of the fascinating
info scattered throughout this slim volume -- definitely
worth a look even if your interest in the subject extends
no further than "Destroy All Monsters" -- which itself gets
more attention than it deserves! "Tokyo Scope" retails for
just under 20 bucks.
VAULT ABOUT TO BURST
They've always been the discriminating cult-film fan's primary
source of video entertainment. Now, with the DVD boom in
full swing, Video Vaultmaster, Jim McCabe, reports that
"our DVD selection has topped 4,000 titles and is growing
exponentially!" The Video Vault continues to go shoulder-to-shoulder
with the likes of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, whose
commercial prominence threatens the existence of such independent
upstarts. The DVD obscurities Video Vault keeps in stock
give them a fighting chance against the major outlets that
mass-order "The Matrix," and couldn't care much less about
"She Demons" or "Fiend Without a Face." Can't find a copy
of "Beast of Yucca Flats" at the Oxnard Blockbuster? The
Vault does mailorder. Here's where to find 'em: http://www.videovault.com
Of course, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!
THE CUSHING CONSTITUENCY
(No, it's not the new Robert Ludlum novel) How much do you
love Peter Cushing? If you love Peter Cushing -- and we
mean LOVE Peter Cushing -- then you'll love The Peter Cushing
Museum, a comprehensive fan site devoted to all things --
and we mean ALL things -- Peter Cushing; essays, filmographies,
trivia, poster art, fan art, even fan fiction with such
lurid titles as "Blood of the Vurdylak," "The Beast of Hampton
Moors" and "The Spy with a Scalpel," featuring Cushing film
characters as their protagonists. According to the museum
Webmaster, "All fans of the late, great, Peter Cushing are
welcome here. Our purpose is to honor Peter Cushing -- A
celebration of his entire life. The Peter Cushing Association
does not charge any dues to join, we just like to show our
admiration with the number of members and their contributions.
We are constantly looking for Peter Cushing-related articles,
artwork, poems, film reviews, news, etc., for our online
There's also an ancillary print mag that can be ordered
from the site. "The Cushing Confidential" is 52 pages filled
with articles, essays and interviews, an introduction by
Barbara Shelley, Cushing's personal screenplay for "The
Black Cat," a "Collecting Cushing" section featuring pics
of Cushing's life mask, a rating of Cushing's top 10 most
villainous moments on screen, a report from Fanex 15 with
Barbara Shelley and on and on. You'll find it all at: http://www.petercushingmuseum.com
N'SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR N'SYNC
Not long ago, in a galaxy I'd rather not live in, Lucasfilm
announced that pubescent pop stars N'Sync would appear in
the upcoming "Star Wars" installment, "Episode II: Attack
of the Clones." Why would George Lucas add the adolescent
crooners to the cast? The New York Post reported that Lucas
caved in to pressure from his pre-teen daughters. A Lucasfilm
rep says the daughters "didn't have anything to do with
it" and that N'Stead, it was N'Sync who asked producer Rick
McCallum if they could appear in the film. The controversy
recently deepened when N'Sync-ster, Joey Fatone, claimed
that Lucas subsequently cut them out of the final footage
after "Star Wars" purists voiced their outrage. "I'm going
to make it officially known that they dropped it because
people made a big deal about it," Fatone told a Tampa radio
station. Lucasfilm maintains that the decision to include
the teen idols won't be final until Big George makes his
final cut. Well, the B Monster has unearthed the story behind
"the story": It seems a high-profile consulting firm hired
by Lucas determined that "Episode I: The Phantom Menace,"
with its racist characterizations, Deathstar-sized plot
holes and meandering stretches of boring dialogue, simply
wasn't embarrassing enough. The inclusion of a flavor-of-the-month
boy band could well increase the new film's cringe quotient.
IS IT McSUPE, YET?
The definitely, for sure, probably, soon, maybe-gonna-happen
new "Superman" movie has a director: McG, named, we believe,
for a fast-food novelty item available briefly in the 1980s.
McHe directed the big-screen version of "Charlie's Angels,"
which starred Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.
Reportedly, Diaz, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Lopez
are all up for the role of Lois Lane ... really.
DON'T SAY WE DIDN'T WARN YOU!
This is just a taste of the esoteric titles Image Entertainment
has slated for DVD release in the near-future:
-- Light at the Edge of the World/Cannibal Apocalypse
-- Atomic War Bride/This Is Not a Test
-- Carnival of Blood/Curse of the Headless Horseman
-- Devil Doll (1964)/And Now the Screaming Starts
-- Beach Girls and the Monster
-- Mighty Gorga/One Million AC/DC
You can find out more at: http://www.image-entertainment.com
By all means, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!
KELTON POUNDS A DIGITAL BEAT
Film historians may someday remember it as "The Kelton Trilogy."
We refer, of course, to "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "Bride
of the Monster" and "Night of the Ghouls," the three Ed
Wood films that all featured the recurring character Kelton
the cop as portrayed by Paul Marco. What with the resurgence
of interest in Wood and his entourage over the past decade,
Marco has virtually BECOME Kelton. He's rarely seen out
of uniform, though, to our knowledge, he's never been arrested
for impersonating an officer. It's really a case of life
imitating art imitating an imitation of life -- or something
like that. Marco's making the most of the vestiges of "Woodmania,"
and we say why the heck not?
The Kelton "experience" is now snugly ensconced in cyberspace
at www.paulmarco.com. The site, packed with browser-busting
Flash, Java, Gif animation, RealAudio and darned-near every
Web-based gimmick yet devised, is divvied up into sections
including Police Records, Spook Details, Kelton's Mug Shots,
Kelton's Club, and individual sections devoted to "Plan
9," "Bride of the Monster" and "Night of the Ghouls." There's
also a section featuring celebrities Marco has posed with
for Polaroids. These include Robert Vaughn, Steve Reeves,
Julie Newmar, Don Knotts, Linda Blair, "Kookie" Byrnes,
Clint Walker (?) and Corey Feldman (?!!!). Marco also sings,
and his 45 rpm foray into the pop world is available only
from the site. The flip side of Marco's disk features a
tune first crooned in 1956 by Ed Wood's favorite (and infamously
inaccurate) prognosticator, Criswell, who belts out "Someone
Walked Over My Grave." In our opinion, Sinatra it ain't,
but judge for yourself -- you can listen to a clip at the
site. You can also order the Ed Wood classics on DVD and
other memorabilia through Marco. (If he were really smart,
he'd be selling "Marco Polo Shirts.")
Check it out at: http://www.paulmarco.com
Why not tell 'em the B Monster sent you?
NEW ON VIDEO
THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001)
The laughable tagline used to promote this completely unnecessary
remake of William Castle's schlocky 1960 gimmick-shocker
should tell you all you need to know about it: "Misery loves
company." We'll assume that applies to everyone who recommended
this film to a friend.
NEW ON DVD
Three of the original Castle "classics" are soon to make
their DVD debut:
Some have called it THE definitive Castle film (we prefer
"The Tingler" or "House On Haunted Hill," but arguments
in favor of "Homicidal" should be considered). By their
gimmicks ye shall know them. "The Tingler" boasted "Percepto"
(hot wired theater seats), "House" had "Emergo" (an honest-to-goodness
skeleton emerging from the screen). "Homicidal" has "The
Fright Break:" Castle stopped the flick at its most frightening
juncture to offer viewers the opportunity to "follow the
yellow streak to the Coward's Corner" for a complete refund.
An onscreen clock ticked off the time you had to make up
your mind. Glenn Corbett and Patricia Breslin are the ostensible
stars, but the show is easily stolen by gender-blending
Jean Arless aka Joan Marshall as ... but wait, we've said
too much. You can continue reading, or scroll on down to
the "Coward's Corner" where ... With a story by frequent
Castle collaborator, Robb White, it's great fun and not
to be missed. For what it's worth, the man who called William
Castle "God," director John Waters, cites this film as his
Lesser Castle is still superior to those crappy updates
of "House on Haunted Hill" and "13 Ghosts." This may not
be Castle at the top of his form -- and no one's form ever
varied with such bravado from film to film -- but the gimmick
this time around is a pip: "The Punishment Poll!" Patrons
were issued glow-in-the-dark thumbs. The onscreen action
was halted and, supposedly, one of two endings was screened
based on the audience's life or death decision. Was Mr.
Sardonicus, as portrayed by Guy Rolfe, to be pitied or scorned?
Should he live or should he die? It's good ol' Castle hokum
abetted by a sturdy cast that includes Oscar Holmolka, Audrey
Dalton and Vladimir Sokoloff. The story by Ray Russell borrows
a bit of inspiration from "The Man Who Laughs," whose protagonist
(agonizingly portrayed in the silent classic by Conrad Veidt)
sports a permanent, hideously leering grin, much like that
of Mr. Sardonicus.
For the record, this is the film that introduced one of
the classic movie taglines of all time: "Just keep saying
to yourself: 'It's only a movie ... It's only a movie ...
'" which was later co-opted by the makers of the gratuitous
and grisly "Last House on the Left." Big names abound in
this sordid saga of a rehabilitated axe-killer re-entering
society after 20 years in an asylum. Joan Crawford is the
hatchet-toting leading lady. Oscar-winner George Kennedy,
Leif Erickson and Diane Baker co-star. Castle's hype cut
right to the point when this opus hit the screens: "Warning!
'Straight-Jacket' vividly depicts axe murders!" (It somehow
lacks the goose-bumpy charm of "Percepto.") It's not top-flight
Castle, but the DVD extras make it worth your while. They
include Crawford's wardrobe and makeup tests and a featurette
called "Battle-Axe: The Making of 'Straight-Jacket.'"
SATAN IN HIGH HEELS: SPECIAL EDITION
Look up "camp" in Webster's Dictionary, and you'll find
the words: "See "'Satan in High Heels.'" Want a crash-course
in '60s kitsch? This is the film for you. Pinup girl Meg
Myles plays the eponymous, stiletto-heeled heathen, a bitter,
second-rate carnival stripper. (The shy and sheltered B
Monster never even knew that carnivals HAD strippers.) She
swipes her junkie husband's bankroll and heads for the big
city, where she lands a gig at a naugahyde lounge owned
by the shrewish Pepe. Director Jerald Intrator's other credits
-- his ONLY other credits, so far as we know -- are "Naughty
New York" and "Striporama." Of particular interest to cult-film
fans is the presence of "Horror of Party Beach" director,
Del Tenney, as the club's pianist. Also on hand is Sabrina
as ... Sabrina, a campy, trampy chanteuse who's poured into
a gown to purr "I Can't Be Good." Myles also takes a turn
at the mike to warble "The Female of the Species." Actually,
the only "special" thing about "Satan in High Heels" is
the jazzy soundtrack by guitar legend Mundell Lowe. Lowe
was a crack session man who worked with everybody who was
anybody in the jazz world. Bonus features include the 1962
exploitation oddity "The Wild and the Naked" and trailers
for "Confessions of a Bad Girl," "Girl with an Itch," "The
Love Cult," "Satan's Bed," "Satan's Playthings" -- okay,
you get the idea.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
The success of "The Blair Witch Project," the clever docu-shocker
about three students' hellish trek into the Maryland hills,
had little to do with its intrinsic merits. It was an interesting
idea. It was offbeat and unsettling. It was well-acted.
But the film's makers are to be applauded, primarily, for
the way in which they carefully cultivated the critical
buzz surrounding the film from day one. It was one of a
very few examples we can cite in which the revolutionary
Internet was utilized correctly and successfully. Hype,
rumors, clues, fake documentary evidence (the mockumentary
about the Blair witch legend was more effective than the
actual film, in our opinion) all resulted in long lines
and repeat business. It proved the value of digital word-of-mouth.
The film cost nothing to make and made a fortune. Isn't
that what B movies are supposed to do?
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal
Press or at http://www.amazon.com
Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
Bob Madison, whose books are available at http://www.amazon.com
Bryan Senn, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html
Tom Weaver, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html
"We urge you not to panic or bolt from your seats!" -- The