A heartfelt thanks to all those who have purchased the official
"Crater Kid" t-shirt. For those of you who may be unaware,
half the proceeds go to Childhelp USA, benefiting abused
and neglected children, a cause near and dear to The B Monster's
heart. If you haven't got yours yet, get 'em while they
can still be got! The cause is certainly a worthy one. Go
to http://www.craterkid.com for more info!
Best known to genre-film buffs for his role in "Zombies
of Mora Tau," actor Joel Ashley is dead at 81. Following
much stage work, including noteworthy performances as Abraham
Lincoln, Ashley transitioned to live television drama, working
on series such as "Studio One." Ashley moved to Hollywood
for a role in the Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster, "The Ten
Commandments," and remained in California to take up a motion
Ashley appeared in such films as "Tension at Table Rock,"
"Ghost Town," "Broken Star" and "The Great Locomotive Chase."
He also found work in many television series including "Gunsmoke,"
"Have Gun Will Travel," "Death Valley Days," "Wagon Train,"
"The Cisco Kid" and "The Lone Ranger."
DEAR B MONSTER
Q: There's a surf 'n turf dinner riding on this: My wife
says that the droopy dog-faced alien monster in "The Phantom
Planet" is Richard "Jaws" Kiel of James Bond and "Eegah!"
fame. My old college roommate swears it's stuntman Wings
Hauser. Who is correct?
A: I hope you like red meat and shellfish, friend. The
wife is absolutely correct. "Phantom Planet" features long,
tall Richard Kiel in a small but significant, pre-"Eegah!"
performance. What college was that again?
Q: Is it true that actress Laura Elliott ("Two Lost Worlds")
and Kasey Rogers, who played Mrs. Larry Tate on TV's "Bewitched,
are one-in-the-same person?
A: You couldn't have asked at a better time. They are,
indeed the same person. Rogers reverted to her original
name upon embarking on a television career. Our own Tom
Weaver recently talked at length with the actress and we're
proud to say that that engrossing interview can be perused
in the pages of our site. Leave it to Weaver.
THE B MOVIE MONTH IN REVIEW
REMAKE FEVER, PART I
Hong Kong action star Jet Li, who is just beginning to make
a splash with American audiences, is in talks to portray
Kato, the Kung Fu master/valet to millionaire Britt Reid
in a feature film production of "The Green Hornet." No word
as yet on who will play the chartreuse sleuth.
REMAKE FEVER, PART II
Last time around we told you that Tom Skerritt had been
cast as Will Kane, in the TBS remake of "High Noon." (Gary
Cooper's portrayal of the character earned him his second
best actor Oscar in the original.) Joining the cast as of
this writing are "Homicide's" Reed Diamond, Maria Conchita
Alonso and Susanna Thompson. Look for an August premier.
REMAKE FEVER, PART III
The latest rumor regarding the "Forbidden Planet" remake
is that heavyweight director Frank Darabont ("The Green
Mile," "The Shawshank Redemption") may be in contention
to helm the project. No casting news, as yet.
OUR PROMISE TO YOU: No more talk of remakes this month!
WHAT'S IN FOX'S FUTURE
Fox TV is planning a pilot for a possible series called
"Star Patrol," described as a sci-fi parody about space
rangers guarding our galaxy in the distant future. Actor
Charles Rocket ("Moonlighting," "Max Headroom") is slated
to star. Do we really need another sci-fi "parody" poking
fun at how blissfully ignorant our vision of the future
used to be? Who knows? Maybe they'll fool us. Maybe it'll
be clever and fresh and original. Maybe.
"MYSTERIES AND SCANDALS" TO DETAIL SUSAN CABOT'S DEATH
The E! Channel's "Mysteries and Scandals" show is preparing
a segment on the circumstances surrounding the death of
Susan "Wasp Woman" Cabot. (See http://www.bmonster.com/cult10.html
for more.) Tom Weaver was flown to the coast for filmed
interview segments. He was also able to hook the E! people
up with Cabot comtemporaries Lori Nelson, Dick Miller and
Kathleen Hughes. No word yet on when the show will air.
"EVIL DEAD" DELUXE
Bill "Keep Watching the Skies" Warren has a new tome on
the way. "The Evil Dead Companion" will be published by
Titan Books later this year. A "Special Edition" of the
volume may also be in the works. Watch this space for developing
"GOLEM" REMAKE STUMBLES TO THE SCREEN
Scott Wegener, great nephew of German silent film star Paul
Wegener, saw his dream of remaking his ancestor's best-known
film, "The Golem," nearly destroyed. The film is based on
the 16th century legend of a rabbi who creates a giant out
of clay to protect his people. The real monster turned out
to be a faulty computer that nearly devoured Wegener's entire
film. Wegener, a news photographer at a Cincinnati TV station,
had to painstakingly reassemble the film, working around
the clock, living out of a tent in the station's attic.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Wegener first learned
about his famous relative's movie while in film school.
He later found a book containing plans and sketches from
his great uncle's silent production and constructed sets
based on them. The new "Golem" was scheduled to air in Cincinnati
in April and, depending on the response, "The Golem" may
be offered to other stations. TV execs in Ukraine and Czechoslovakia
also have inquired about airing the film.
ROAD RAGE SENTENCING
Retired actor Robert Cleaves, whom cult-film fanatics might
recognize for his parts in "Project X," "Targets" and "Don't
Be Afraid of the Dark," was sentenced to 16-years-to-life
in prison for second-degree murder. In an incident described
as road rage, Cleaves, 71, ran over Arnold Guerreiro with
his car several times, killing the movie company employee.
According to Reuters, Cleaves showed little emotion when
given the maximum sentence by a Los Angeles Superior Court
"MAN OF STEEL" YOURSELF
For those of you fortunate enough to receive the TV Land
channel, we certainly hoped you reveled in the "Adventures
of Superman" marathon last month. If you missed it, take
heart. The station will begin airing episodes every Saturday
morning at 7 a.m. ET beginning May 6. For programming details
and enough George Reevesiana to send you leaping tall buildings,
visit Jim Nolt's nifty Web site at http://www.jimnolt.com
Promoters of the annual Bicknell Film Festival report that
a highlight of this year's proceedings is an Al Adamson
retrospective. As diehard cult-film buffs know, director
Adamson was responsible for some of the more notorious drive-in
titles of the late 60s and early 70s: "Blood of Dracula's
Castle," "Satan's Sadists," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" and
"Brain of Blood," to name but a few. He was murdered in1995.
Bicknell is in Wayne County, Utah, near the western entrance
to Capitol Reef National Park.
CANNES YOU TOP THIS?
Get a load of the list of films being shown at this year's
Cannes Film Festival as part of their "Cinema of the Future"
program: (I'll see you there!) Aelita (1924) Alien 3 (1992)
Blade Runner (1983) Brazil (1985) The Bride of Frankenstein
(1935) Bunker Palace Hotel (1989) Dark Star (1974) The Day
the Earth Stood Still (1951) Le Dernier Combat (1982) Dr.
Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941) The End Of August At The Hotel
Ozone (1966) Fantastic Voyage (1966) Forbidden Planet (1956)
Ghost In The Shell (1995) The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) It Happened Here (1964)
La Jetee (1962) Mars Attacks! (1996) The Mouse That Roared
(1959) Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) La Planete Sauvage
(1973) Slaughterhouse 5 (1972) Terrore Nello Spazio (1965)
Them! (1954) These Are The Damned (1961) The Thing From
Another World (1951) This Island Earth (1955) THX 1138 (1971)
Total Recall (1990) Village Of The Damned (1960) Le Voyage
Dans La Lune (1902) The War of the Worlds (1953)
NEW ON VIDEO
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS
Our pals at Englewood Entertainment are taking further steps
beyond the bounds of cult filmdom, introducing more mainstream
titles into the respectable mix they offer. One of the more
interesting is this film noir, soap opera hybrid featuring
one of formidable Barbara Stanwyck's meatier roles. Watch,
also, for Van Heflin and Kirk Douglas in impressive early
portrayals. Director Lewis Milestone handles what could
easily be an unwieldy, corny plot with great aplomb.
SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO
Consider the elements: Story by Hemingway, direction by
Henry King, music by Bernard Herrmann, larger-than-life
movie stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward,
Oscar-nominated, Technicolor cinematography and art direction.
This one is a fabulous example of how they made 'em in the
"old days." Yet somehow it just doesn't jell. A little too
talky, a little too soapy. But Ava Gardner in Technicolor
is worth every penny of $14.95!
Tim Burton is nothing if not consistent. He turns out film
after film, filled with ideas, good performances, gorgeous
design work ... and zero suspense! This one is thrilling
to look at, and the cast is uniformly convincing in the
most outlandish circumstances. But there is never any sense
of jeopardy. There's a genuine shock or two, but watching
the film, I found myself rooting for the pace to pick up,
for the plot to get into gear, like I was staring at beautiful
paintings and trying to will them into animation.
This goofy take on the classic "This Island Earth" premise
(embattled aliens seeking earthly help) was a surprising
public and critical success. Surprising in that it mocks
the very fan base it seeks to entice. Jokes at the expense
of sci-fi geeks are certainly not fresh, and the behind-the-scenes
stuff involving the pompous cast of the fictional "Galaxy
Quest" program isn't innovative (after all, William Shatner
has made a cottage industry of skewering his public image).
But somehow it works. Sure, it's predictable. The self-righteous
hero redeems himself, the geeks are rewarded for their allegiance
and the cliches are ridiculed. More importantly, there are
good guys and bad guys, their values are clear and the good
guys win. We need more movies where that happens.
NEW ON DVD
Two fascinating examples of Lon Chaney's early film work
are now available on DVD for the first time. They're being
presented as a package available through the Image company.
Arguably the more interesting of the two is "Outside the
Law" (1920). It's one of Chaney's early collaborations with
director Tod Browning, with whom he teamed on some of the
silent era's most odd and fascinating titles. Chaney tackles
two disparate roles in this strange crime drama: Black Mike
Sylva, an unscrupulous gangster, and Ah Wing, a trusting
Asian student of Confucian philosophy.
"Shadows" (1922) also presents "The Man of a Thousand
Faces" in a challenging part. Once more, he convincingly
portrays an Asian character sympathetically. As a Chinese
laundryman, Chaney finds himself ensnared in an extortion
plot. Both of these films are accompanied by all-new orchestral
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 through Midnight
Marquee Press or 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
"See prehistoric nymphs bathe in the pools of paradise!"
-- Women of the Prehistoric Planet