Actor Charles Bronson, the craggy-faced
action star who began his acting career in villainous bit
parts and eventually became one of the world's biggest box
office attractions, died of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center in Los Angeles. He was 81. Cult-movie fans will remember
that one of Bronson's earliest roles was as Igor, Vincent
Price's mute assistant in the 1953 3-D horror classic "House
of Wax." At the time, Bronson still went by his given name,
Charles Buchinsky. In 1961 he again appeared with Price
in "Master of the World," a sci-fi film based on a Jules
Bronson had myriad roles in crime thrillers and Westerns
throughout the 1950s including appearances in "Riding Shotgun,"
"Apache," "Drum Beat," "Vera Cruz," "Big House, U.S.A."
and "Run of the Arrow." In 1958 he starred in the television
series, "Man With a Camera." The same year he played the
title role in director Roger Corman's gangster quickie "Machine
Gun Kelly." In the early 1960s Bronson had breakout roles
in two classic John Sturges pictures, first as one of "The
Magnificent Seven," and as tunnel digger Danny Velinski
in "The Great Escape." Following prominent roles in "The
Dirty Dozen" and "Villa Rides," Bronson headed to Europe
where he turned out a string of action pictures that made
him internationally famous. He returned to Hollywood one
of the world's biggest stars. In the 1970s and 80s, he appeared
in a number of controversial crime films including "The
Valachi Papers," "The Mechanic," "Mr. Majestyk" and the
ultra-violent "Death Wish" series.
Bronson, who was married to actress Jill Ireland until
her death in 1990, was wed three times in all, and is survived
by his wife, Kim, six children and two grandchildren.
THE B MOVIE MONTH IN REVIEW
TEN DAYS OF 3-D
Hollywood's historic Egyptian Theatre will host the 10-day
"World 3-D Film Expo." This marathon study of three-dimensional
cinema is billed as "the biggest, most thorough set of screenings
ever done anywhere in the world, of stereoscopic films from
the 1950's." And there'll be no red and blue goggles among
the crowd. All films are being screened in the 35mm "double
interlock" Polaroid system. (If you've never experienced
this superior screening method, we guarantee you'll be blown
away by the effect as compared to those anaglyphic glasses.)
The lineup of films encompasses the mainstream (Hitchcock's
"Dial M For Murder," the Martin and Lewis comedy "Money
From Home" and the Broadway classic "Kiss Me Kate"), Westerns
("Charge at Feather River," "Gun Fury," and "Jesse James
vs. the Daltons"), film noir ("The Glass Web" and "I, the
Jury"), scads of short subjects ("Nat King Cole," the Three
Stooges short "Pardon My Backfire"), rare Disney cartoons
and an enticing catch-all called "3-D Rarities," which features
material never before seen in 3-D. And, of course, our beloved
genre-films are well represented.
The staggering playbill includes "House of Wax" (naturally),
"Gog," "It Came From Outer Space," "Cat-Women of the Moon,"
"Phantom of the Rue Morgue," "Robot Monster," Creature From
the Black Lagoon," "Revenge of the Creature" and many more.
If you're on the fence about attending, promoters are quick
to indicate that "if you miss seeing these rare prints at
the 'World 3-D Film Expo,' it is extremely unlikely you
will ever have another chance to see them in a theatrical
setting, in 3-D, on the big screen, again." We believe 'em!
Tickets are $10.00 per show (all individual shows; no double
bills). Festival passes are available. The special pass
guarantees you "priority seating" and a free copy of the
festival souvenir book! And if you spring for every show,
you save 50 bucks on the total cost of admission. Polaroid
3-D glasses will be required for all screenings and are
available for just 25 cents. You can get them via the festival
Web site (see below) or purchase them at the theatre. It
all happens September 12-21 at Hollywood's wondrous Egyptian
Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. For festival info, check out:
For more about the Egyptian and the American Cinematheque
And, by all means, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!
ADAMS' AWESOME AUCTION
The man behind the "Monster Bash," one-man e-Bay Ron Adams,
is currently amassing an amazing all-movie paper auction
and sale scheduled for November. Adams has managed to acquire
the one-sheet posters of all three Karloff/"Frankenstein"
films -- including the ultra-rare poster promoting the 1931
original. He's also accrued hundreds of similar classic
horror-related items dating from the Universal Golden Age
(1931-44), including one-sheets, unfolded inserts and lobby
cards -- even complete lobby sets STILL in the original
Universal wrapper! Adams says, "It'll probably be the biggest
display of original classic horror movie paper ever in one
place." The dates are firm -- Friday and Saturday, November
15 and 16. "I've got an accountant coming in, a notary,
security, the whole nine yards," says Adams. The gavel falls
at the Wingate Hotel in Latrobe, Pa., adjacent to Arnold
Palmer Airport. You MUST be pre-registered to attend. You
can register by phone (724) 532-5226 or mail (P.O. Box 643,
Latrobe, Pa. 15650) for a fee of $10, which guarantees you
a color catalog and bidding number. Don't say we didn't
give you a heads-up. More details are available at the Creepy
Classics Web site:
MONSTERS MENACE MUSIC CITY
Nashville horror film host Doctor Gangrene alerts us that
the "Horror and Comic Fest" is happening October 11-12 at
the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Agricultural Hall in Nashville.
For those who find the $12-$15-a-day ticket costs of many
genre-conventions intimidating, be aware that admission
to the Nashville shindig is just three bucks. The majority
of personalities on the guest roster hale from the comics
field, but among those attendees with cult-film credentials
Dick Warlock (Michael Myers in "Halloweens" 2 and 3 and
Kurt Russell stunt double)
Linnea Quigley (Scream queen star of "Return of the Living
Dead" and Elm Street Nightmare's 4 and 6)
Jim O'Rear (Known for appearances in "Day of the Dead" and
the fourth "Star Trek" feature film)
And what cult-film con is complete without a visit from
"Plan 9" survivor Conrad Brooks?
There's also a Chiller Cinema Halloween party, movie screenings
and prize giveaways. (And don't forget, the good doctor
can be seen Fridays at 1:00 a.m. on Nashville's UPN 30.)
For more info visit:
Or, schedule a checkup with the doctor at:
Naturally, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!
MODESTO FEST FOR ASPIRING SHOCKERS
The "Firelight Shock Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction Film
Festival" bills itself as "one of only a handful of competitive
film festivals for Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction films,
especially independents, in the world." This year's fest
takes place in lovely Modesto, Calif. (handy to both San
Francisco and Fresno), with screenings and special presentations
at Modesto's vintage State Theater. The guest list includes
Kevin "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" McCarthy, Dee "The
Howling" Wallace Stone, actresses Brinke Stevens, Belinda
Belaski and Felissa Rose, and multi-talented screenwriter/artist
Frank Dietz. Scheduled events include a "Dinner with the
Stars," "A Salute to Kevin McCarthy," "Film and Television
Symposia," and an awards ceremony honoring the films in
competition. It all starts Sept. 26. To find out more, visit:
You might want to mention that the B Monster sent you!
STANG RECALLS, TOTALLY
Character actor Arnold Stang, who co-starred with Arnold
Schwarzenegger in the body builder's first film, told Reuters
that he thinks the Terminator's run for Governor of California
is "kind of an ego trip. He doesn't have any background
in anything like that and he doesn't have any experience."
At the time they were filming "Hercules in New York," Stang
thought the same thing about Schwarzenegger's future in
films. "I couldn't see any future for him as an actor, which
shows what I knew, because primarily he was a muscleman."
The offbeat 1970 film stars Mr. Universe (renamed Arnold
Strong in the credits) as the fabled strongman who is befriended
by a benign pretzel vendor played by Stang. Not only was
his lengthy named changed, but all of his dialogue was dubbed.
"He [had] this very heavy accent that he did not seem to
be able to beat," recalls Stang, 73. "He had a much heavier
accent than he has now." According to Stang, Schwarzenegger
was also given to making far-fetched claims. "He would say
things like he never works out, he never does any exercise,
he never goes to a gym. ... He was going to pretend that
he was born that way or something." According to Netflix.com,
rentals of "Hercules in New York" have more than doubled
since the recall brouhaha began.
"CINEMA FIGHTING CANCER"
That's the heartfelt credo of the good folks who host The
Santa Monica Film Festival, which just wrapped another successful
summer series. Staged by Deep Ellum Film, Music, Arts and
Noise, Inc. (DEFMAN), the festival screens films "under
the stars and over the waves on the Santa Monica Pier."
The idyllic setting and retro ambiance are enough to recommend
the weekly showings, but attendees also aid a very worthy
cause. DEFMAN is a non-profit organization created in 1999
that works ³to promote the art of filmmaking and the entertainment
industry while raising funds to help improve the quality
of life by providing relief to individuals fighting cancer."
Admission is free, but all ancillary profits from raffles,
chair rentals and t-shirt, hat and poster sales go to The
Cancer Relief Fund. You can find out more at:
Of course, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!
WELCOME BLACK POTTER
According to a report in Newsweek, "The Prisoner of Azkaban,"
third in the Harry Potter series, will be much darker than
the first two installments. Thank God! I was wondering when
people would stand up and protest all of that unbridled
wholesomeness. Looks like reality has finally hit the fan
and splattered noir all over the Potter franchise, well
known as a powder keg of militant innocence, a seething
cauldron of disruptive, kid-friendly entertainment and encouragement.
It's about time these Pollyannas got into lockstep with
every other fantasy film. The edgier feel is attributed
to director Alfonso Cuaron, whose credits include such hard-hitting
potboilers as "Great Expectations" and "A Little Princess."
"Alfonso is much more gritty than Chris [Columbus] ever
was," according to Emma Watson, the film's world-weary,
12-year-old co-star. (No kiddin', she really said that!)
Focus Features hopes to cast baby-faced Ben Affleck as George
Reeves in their upcoming biopic "Truth, Justice and The
American Way." The feature film chronicling the life and
controversial death of the actor who portrayed Superman
on television in the 1950s is currently in pre-production.
Alan Coulter, the Emmy-nominated director of such high-profile
cable programs as "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City,"
will direct from a script by Paul Bernbaum. According to
The Hollywood Reporter, the film will likely resemble "L.A.
Confidential" as it "follows the botched investigation into
Reeves' death as well as the actor's relationship with the
iconic role." Originally, sneering Aussie X-Man Hugh Jackman
had been assigned the part, but was forced to drop out due
to a scheduling conflict. At one point, Kyle MacLachlan
was vying for the role. Meg Ryan, Diane Lane and Sharon
Stone are reportedly being considered for the role of Reeves'
paramour, Toni Mannix. Affleck, incidentally, is 15 years
younger than Reeves was at the time of his death at age
A & EEEEEEE!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the A&E network is
currently developing "A&E's Ghost Tales," an anthology series
featuring programs based on classic literary thrillers.
Three Muse Productions head Robyn Rosenfeld is currently
working out the details with the cable channel. But don't
get your hopes up; Rosenfeld executive produced those dreadful
Cinemax "Creature Features," remakes (in name ONLY) of classic
American International 1950s drive-in shockers.
McKEE'S TO SUCCESS
The folks behind the Screamfest Horror Film Festival and
Screenplay Competition have recently announced that, in
association with Two Arts, Inc., the con will host the Robert
McKee Horror Day. For the uniformed, McKee is, according
to the official Web site, "the most widely known and respected
screenwriting lecturer in the world today." (McKee was portrayed
by Brian Cox in director Spike Jonze' Oscar-nominated "Adaptation.")
The special daylong seminar will address the essentials
of creating a horror film with particular focus on writing.
It's all part of the Screamfest program, which kicks off
Oct. 11 at the L.A. Film School. The 10-hour crash course
runs from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The registration fee is
$195 for the day. (The Screamfest itself runs Oct. 10 through
Oct. 19th at the Laemmle Theatre and L.A. Film School facilities.)
The winner of the Screamfest Horror Film Festival Screenplay
Competition will receive a complimentary registration to
a future McKee Story Seminar Weekend donated by Two Arts,
Inc. For travel and accommodation info, or more detail in
general, drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. For still
more info visit:
http://www.mckeestory.com and/or http://www.screamfestla.com
NEW BOOK NAILS CARPENTER
Fans of John Carpenter will want to pick up a copy of "John
Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness," a comprehensive new
tome by Gilles Boulenger. The crux of the book is an exhaustive
interview with the filmmaker that details his infatuation
with German Expressionism, his influences including Howard
Hawks, John Wayne and Stephen King, the creation of every
slasher-film fan's favorite murderous maniac Michael Myers,
even a digression into quantum physics! Boulenger, one-time
publisher of the French cult-film magazine Le Cinephage,
has written such movie-related books as "Burton on Burton"
and "The Apocalypse Now Book." For more information, contact
Silman-James Press at:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ON DVD
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD
Hallelujah and praise the deity of your choice! "The Thing"
is FINALLY released on DVD! Years of watching the skies
have been rewarded. And is our patience acknowledged by
a deluxe release, loaded with extras? "Special Edition?"
"Interviews with cast members?" "Behind-the-scenes documentary?"
"Illuminating audio commentary?" Nope. Just a clean print
(with oft missing scenes intact) and the theatrical trailer.
Whoop-dee-do! And there was little fanfare to accompany
one of the most anticipated DVD releases in recent memory.
Shabby treatment for one of the best and most influential
thrillers in movie history. James Arness, Robert Cornthwaite
and William Self of the original cast are still in vigorous
health, and I'm sure would gladly participate in a special
salute to the film. And any number of genre-film historians
would jump at the chance to provide audio elucidation. Apparently
no one at AOL - Time-Warner - HBO - CNN - CompuServe - Amazon
- Castle Rock - New Line - TNT - DC Comics - Hanna-Barbera
- Rhino - Sports Illustrated - Cinemax - Little, Brown and
Company (no kiddin', one company really controls them all
-- and God only knows how many corporate entities they've
gobbled up since this was written) thought it worth the
JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER
This film is so numbingly inept it hardly seems fair to
pass negative judgment. Giving it a bad review is akin to
climbing aboard the "Let's get Ed Wood" bandwagon that was
so popular a few years back. You know the routine: Mainstream
critics suddenly realize that indy filmmakers with little
money have made movies that aren't as good as "Citizen Kane,"
so naturally the personalities behind them are fair game
for ridicule. Take Ed Wood, for example, or in the case
of "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter," director
William Beaudine. Dubbed "One-shot" Beaudine by detractors,
it's true that he sped through productions with a workmanlike
disregard for perfection. He also directed more than 250
films and TV programs over a 50-year career. (Let's review
Michael Bay's resume 50 years from now and see how they
compare.) Most of Beaudine's films were not particularly
distinguished. Some were terrifically entertaining, such
as "Voodoo Man," myriad entries in the Torchy Blane, Charlie
Chan and Bowery Boys series, and multiple episodes of "Spin
and Marty," "Broken Arrow," "The Naked City" and "The Nine
Lives of Elfego Baca." Notwithstanding, fair is fair, and
"Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" is simply awful.
The title pretty much sums up this mish-mash of Western
and horror themes. In fact, it feels very much like two
different movies only tenuously joined by the very exploitable
title. The only action to speak of is a single shootout
that takes place in the Western portion of the film, long
after we've forgotten the horror film that commenced two
reels earlier. In said shootout, Jesse's big, dumb henchman
is wounded and the only doctor within 100 miles is Maria
Frankenstein, who has taken up residence in an unconvincing
matte painting that represents an abandoned monastery in
the Arizona desert. (According to lengthy exposition, Maria
and her brother continue their experiments in the American
desert, because there are more thunderstorms there than
in their native Vienna.) The frightened villagers who once
lived in the matte painting, terrorized by the Frankensteins,
have abandoned their homes, all save feisty Estelita Rodriguez,
who falls for Jesse. Jesse's hulking buddy, Cal Bolder,
is the perfect subject for Maria's sinister surgery and,
you can pretty much figure out the rest.
Screenwriter Carl K. Hittleman apparently had a thing for
Jesse James, having produced Sam Fuller's "I Shot Jesse
James" in 1949 and "The Return of Jesse James" in 1950.
(Interestingly, John Ireland played Jesse's killer in the
former, and the man mistaken for Jesse in the latter. Reed
Hadley played Jesse in the former and Frank James in the
latter). Hittleman wrote the equally notorious "Billy the
Kid versus Dracula," which was also directed by Beaudine
and released on a double bill with this feature. This title
is the first in Elite Entertainment's series of "bad" movies
featuring audio commentary by schlock-film maven Joe Bob
Briggs. Joe Bob's punditry is often witty and illuminating,
but even his notable loquaciousness is tested during the
film's many boring stretches. Scathing (if warranted) commentary
notwithstanding, this is recommended viewing, a fascinating,
genre-juggling glimpse at Poverty Row desperation, helmed
by a much-maligned journeyman.
Holy Moley, what a long, dull, predictable stinker. If you're
expecting a modern take on a Verne or Burroughs-like adventure,
forget it. Even if you abandon all of your old-fashioned
notions of science fiction, anticipating instead a steely
slick thriller in a Ridley Scott vein, you're likewise out
of luck. In fact, the makers of this film don't seem to
have been altogether sure WHAT tone to go for. The film's
posture continually wavers, one moment campy, the next,
deadly earnest. Director Jon Amiel, whose shining moment
was the British teleseries "The Singing Detective," has
done little of distinction since that 1986 gem ("Sommersby,"
"Copycat," "Entrapment"). But he might have found SOME way
to steady this tottering script about shortsighted military-industrialists
who have inadvertently caused the Earth's core to stop spinning.
As the catastrophic ramifications of this predicament are
spelled out, a valiant crew is chosen to helm an experimental
craft that will drill to the titular core and, with a nuclear
blast, get it rotating again, thereby sparing mankind horrific
natural disasters and utter extinction.
And who comprises this crew? Let us count the cliches:
Hilary Swank (the military female who has to prove she's
as good as a man), Aaron Eckhart (the ever-so-earnest, compassionate,
hippie scientist who's just bound to fall for Hilary), Stanley
Tucci (the egomaniacal, credit-hogging scientist you love
to hate), Bruce Greenwood (the handsome Joe Whitebread commander)
and Delroy Lindo (the black guy who gets killed). In fact,
if you've seen your fair share of genre-films, you'll be
able to predict who gets killed and when, and who gets to
live in the brave new world. The effects are less than special,
considering that over 100 CGI, makeup, art department and
effects artisans are credited, including "inferno artists,"
a "digital integration supervisor," a "fabrication supervisor,"
a "CG lighter" and an "outer core supervisor." This does
not include 26 sound technicians. So much talent lavished
on a tired concept aimed at the lowest possible common denominator.
Call it campy or moralistic, but you can't have it both
ways. These people tried, and that's why "The Core" is hollow.
TERROR IS A MAN
Kane Lynn and Eddie Romero teamed up in the Philippines
to produce a whole bunch of exploitation pictures, the best
known of which are the "Blood Island" films starring former
American teen idol John Ashley. The "Blood Island" movies
were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but the "Blood
Island" saga actually began with "Terror is a Man" in 1959.
Directed by Filipino auteur Gerry de Leon, it is based --
and NOT loosely -- on H.G. Wells¹ classic "Island of Dr.
Moreau." Richard Derr of "When Worlds Collide" fame is the
seagoer washed up on the bloody shores of the island of
Dr. Charles Girard, played with excruciating hauteur by
Francis Lederer. Lederer is one of the underrated B-movie
greats, and was one of the very best screen vampires in
the little-heralded "Return of Dracula." He is no less enjoyable
You're no doubt familiar with the time-honored plot concerning
vivisection, gland transplants and other grisly surgeries
that create a misshapen breed of half-man, half-animal.
(In fact, when originally released, one marketing gimmick
involved a warning bell that alerted squeamish theatergoers
when it was time to hide their eyes -- "A unique experience
in motion picture terror!") It's an economical and energetic
little film with some genuinely spooky scenes. It isn't
subtle a la Jacques Tourneur, nor is it outlandish like
George Romero. But it IS uncharacteristically raw for a
1950s drive-in thriller. The three leads, including former
Miss Denmark Greta Thyssen as the mad doc's stifled wife,
have at the material with conviction. In other words, they
sell it. At least, I was sold.
DRIVE-IN DISCS VOLUME 3: I BURY THE LIVING, THE HAND
Volume one featured "The Screaming Skull" and "The Giant
Leeches." Volume two showcased "The Wasp Woman" and "The
Giant Gila Monster." All feature an esoteric assortment
of short subjects including Gumby cartoons, coming attractions
and refreshment stand promotions, not to mention an innovation
(if that's the right word) called "Distorto," an audio option
that replicates the scratchy sound of a drive-in movie speaker.
Volume three isn't on par with its predecessors owing to
the merit of its twin features. Even so, it's required viewing
for completists, as the lower tier of the twin bill, "The
Hand," is rarely revived or screened on TV -- with good
reason. The premise is so decidedly grisly -- especially
by the standards of the 1950s -- it's little wonder that
it rarely, if ever, turned up on the late, late show. This
little-seen British shocker begins in WWII, as British POWs
are tortured by their Japanese captors who summarily chop
off their hands. From there, we jump to London in 1960 where
a maniacal killer is lopping off the hands of his victims.
What's the link? No spoilers here. You'll have to endure
this one to find out, same as I did! The Yanks may have
been the masters of exploitation, but Brit B-movie-makers
had a penchant for the gory when they could slip it by their
notably stuffy censors. ("The Crawling Hand," you may recall,
features a pre-credits decapitation.) "The Hand's" director,
Henry Cass, helmed the similarly unpleasant (and terminally
dull) "Blood of the Vampire" two years earlier. His final
feature was 1968's "Happy Deathday." Sounds like a fun guy.
The main attraction here is "I Bury the Living." While
it has been largely overrated, accruing an unwarranted reputation
as a masterful shocker (Stephen King has cited it as one
of his all-time favorite films), it IS pretty good, with
an enticing premise and a solid cast led by Richard Boone
and Theodore Bikel. Boone plays the freshly appointed director
of a cemetery who seems to possess an unwanted power over
the destinies of his clientele. Whenever he sticks a black-headed
pin into the cemetery map, the person owning the pinpointed
plot promptly croaks. Director Albert Band, who never again
displayed such subtlety, credibly chronicles Boone¹s dissent
into madness. Subsequent films directed by Band include
"Face of Fire," "Dracula's Dog" and "Robot Wars." Band's
more notable contribution to genre film is the formation
with son Charles Band of a latter-day B-movie empire that
has, to date, churned out roughly 200 low-budget features
and direct-to-video shockers, most of which seem to be planned
as franchises. These include the "Trancers" series, the
"Puppet Master" series, the "Ghoulies" series, the "Dollman"
series, as well as such lurid trifles as "Beach Babes from
Beyond," "Femalien" and "Bimbo Movie Bash." And to think
it all started with a pin stuck in a map.
ATOMIC BRAIN, LOVE AFTER DEATH, THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED
WORLD: SPECIAL EDITION
This triple bill from Image Entertainment and (who else)
Something Weird Video is packed with so much behind-the-scenes
trivia that the films themselves are completely overshadowed
-- which isn't much of an accomplishment -- all three of
'em stink, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see them.
Let's start with "Atomic Brain," also released under the
far more appropriate title "Monstrosity." By some obscure
script connivance, atomic power and glandular surgery are
employed to reverse the aging process. At least I think
that's what the rich old biddy in the big creepy house is
paying scientist Frank Gerstle to do in her basement. In
any event, lovely exchange students start disappearing into
the cellar lab. These include Judy Bamber, who appeared
in "Dragstrip Girl" and Roger Corman's "A Bucket of Blood,"
and Erika Peters, who appeared in William Castle's "Mr.
Sardonicus," director Maury Dexter's "House of the Damned"
and "G.I. Blues" with Elvis Presley. Frank Gerstle was a
fine character actor, one of those guys you might not know
by name, but certainly by face. He worked in dozens of films,
both "A" and "B," and myriad TV series. His cult-film resume
is not to be sneezed at: "The Magnetic Monster," "The Neanderthal
Man," "Killers from Space," "The Four Skulls of Jonathan
Drake," "The Wasp Woman," and, of course, "The Banana Splits
Adventure Hour." This is the sole directing credit for Joseph
V. Mascelli. He was a sometime cinematographer who shot
the Arch Hall "classic," "Wild Guitar," and Ray Dennis Steckler's
"Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became
Mixed-Up Zombies," and "The Thrill Killers." He also filmed
"The Street is My Beat" for Irvin Berwick and Jack Kevan,
the team behind "Monster of Piedras Blancas." (Kevan was
a top-flight makeup artist who helped create "The Creature
From the Black Lagoon.")
"The Incredible Petrified World" is an incredibly stultifying
film from Jerry "Say it loud, I'm a hack and I'm proud"
Warren. Warren not only produced pictures on the cheap --
VERY cheap -- he seemed to have genuine contempt for moviegoers
and TRIED to make the worst possible film that could still
earn back its nut. (Inept or not, at least Ed Wood had a
heart.) Warren's films are aggravatingly bad but, like an
automobile crash scene, sometimes it's difficult to look
away. "Petrified World" star Robert Clarke told the B Monster
that it was perhaps the best picture Warren did. It is --
but that ain't sayin' much. John Carradine, who appeared
in more than one of Warren's films (albeit in extraneous
footage that was later stitched into the finished product),
plays a scientist seeking to perfect an experimental method
of deep-sea exploration. His guinea pigs are Clarke, Phyllis
Coates, Allen Windsor and Shelia Carol. The initial dive
goes bad and somehow the quartet is trapped in a maze of
sub-aquatic caves inhabited by stock footage lizards and
a mute hermit played by one of Warren's relatives. Clarke
recalled Warren as "a screaming idiot! He'd stand by the
camera and yell. I said, 'Why can't you calm down and speak
normally?' He did, once the scene was over. At once, he
was very calm but when the light went on and he said 'action,'
he became a raving maniac." Clarke also recalls that "the
actor who wasn't in the scene had to hold the sound boom,"
and that Warren, "edited the damn thing in his living room.
... I had to admire the guy. At least he had a lot of enterprising
The third film in this loathsome threesome is "Love After
Death," a lurid, murky, dubbed Argentine film lensed in
1968. This muddle involves a cataleptic, cuckolded husband
who is buried alive by his scheming wife and her lover.
He somehow escapes the grave and ... can you guess what
happens? It would appear that no one listed in the credits
of this film ever did another (with the exception of Jennifer
Welles, whose sleazy American-filmed scenes were added for
the movie's stateside release. She went on to win the Erotica
Award for Best Actress in 1977). Either that, or no one
north of the equator has ever bothered to research the Argentine
B-movie business and report on it. I know I don't want to,
not if films like "Love After Death" are representative
of their output. http://www.image-entertainment.com
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, founder and CEO of Dinoship, Inc. http://www.dinoship.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 screaming young girls sucked into a labyrinth of horror
by a blood-starved ghoul from hell!" -- Beast From Haunted