Thursday, May 21

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #35 - While the City Sleeps



In this 1956 crime drama, a serial killer dubbed The Lipstick Killer is on the rampage in New York City. Vincent Price plays Walter Kyne, son of recently deceased newspaper owner Amos Kyne. He sets three reporters on the case to uncover the killer, with the promise of gaining the position of Executive Editor to the one who succeeds. The killer is played by John Drew Barrymore, son of famous actor John Barrymore and father to current actress Drew Barrymore. Directed by Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M).


Tuesday, May 19

Weeknight Rewind at The Belcourt Theater!

For those of you in the Nashville, TN area that are fans of bad movies, VHS, and exploitation flicks (who isn't?) listen up! The Belcourt theater, Nashville's arthouse cinema of all things sinister has had a series going for a while now that I've been meaning to tell ya'll about. It's called WEEKNIGHT REWIND, and it's a genius idea.



Host Zach Hall brings three VHS tapes to the theater - that's right, I said VHS - and reads the back of each box, showing a clip from each of the evening's contestants in this analog battle-royale. Then it's up to you, as the audience votes, by applause-o-meter, on which epic will screen that night, projected off of glorious VHS tape!

It is too much fun, and must be seen to be believed. Come join us Tuesday, May 26th for the next entry in this insane series! I'll be there, so come say hi! Did I mention they serve beer, and wine, and mixed drinks there, too? As well as coffee for us old geezers who need help staying awake!

TUESDAY, MAY 26th at 10PM
The Belcourt Theater,
Nashville, TN 






By the way, here's the last film I saw during the Weeknight Rewind series - tell me this doesn't look like something you gotta see!


Monday, May 18

Scary Monsters Magazine #96 - Frank Dietz Interview

For my column for Issue #96 of Scary Monsters Magazine, it was my pleasure to welcome my good friend Frank Dietz into the lab for a chat.

I've known Frank since sometime in the early 2000s, and probably first met him at a Wonderfest convention in Louisville - although it might have been at Monster Bash in Pittsburgh. Monster memory is hazy, but it's always great to get the chance to hang out at shows when opportunity permits. I began hosting an annual live event at Wonderfest shortly thereafter, and it became tradition to involve Frank - at first he generously offered to donate artwork to give away to the crowd, and later he even took part in the fun, hopping onstage with myself, Bob Burns, Nurse Moan-eek, John Goodwin, Beau Kaelin, Ethan Black, and others. Always a fun time.

The clip below is from one of the Live Shows, 2007 - where we showed The Monster on the Campus. Frank came onstage as Dr. Clete Ferguson, a scientist from the Oceanic Institute, to help me study, and dissect, the coelacanth we discovered. Fun stuff.

Also present in the experiment were Bob Burns, John Goodwin, Nurse Moan-eek as well as the band The Exotic Ones (The coelacanth was built by Ethan Black).




The Scary Monsters Interview is posted below. Click the pages to enlarge and read. To find out more about Frank visit: www.sketchythingsart.com








Sunday, May 17

Midnight Syndicate Christmas CD, band announces plans for 2015 and beyond




I've been a big fan of Midnight Syndicate since I first listened to their CDs sometime back in the early 2000s. They started up right around the same time I did, in 1999. and we found each other shortly thereafter, emailing back and forth over the years, even working on a few things together.

I finally got a chance to meet founding member Ed Douglas face to face in 2013 at the Horror Hound convention, after years of corresponding back and forth. Such a cool guy, as friendly in person as he is online. Below is the press release for their upcoming album, events and more. Great stuff, these guys are a machine, I tell ya, a machine! Long live Midnight Syndicate!!

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2015
 
CLEVELAND, Ohio, May 12, 2015 - Midnight Syndicate has announced that their eighteenth album will have a Christmas and Winter Solstice theme.  “I think there's a rule that after a band's been around for ‘x’ years they are required to produce a Christmas album.  So, that's how we got here,” joked Edward Douglas. “In all seriousness though, a Yuletide-themed Midnight Syndicate album is something our fans have been asking us for since we began; this album will not disappoint them.”
 
“I will say that this album has been particularly challenging because we're taking songs that are SO familiar and that have been treated in so many different ways throughout the years and trying to make them uniquely our own,” added Gavin Goszka. “We don't want to make yet another Christmas album - we really want it to stand on its own as something truly original. We hope that it will evoke the spirit of the Yuletide season while also reflecting our ongoing musical style and vision.”
 
Content-wise, the album will be a mix of new material and twists on classics. “I'd describe most of the covers on the album as being reinvented, rather than simply adapted,” said Goszka. “I've found myself approaching this material with a very wide palette and a limited sense of allegiance to convention. That being said, it still has to make sense in some way and stay grounded in the familiar. I think we're stretching our creative wings more than ever here, but there's still a consistency and overall purpose to it.”  “The original songs have been a lot of fun to work on,” added Douglas. “I think the fans are in for a lot of pleasant surprises.”
 
Fans will not have to wait until Christmas for this present.  Midnight Syndicate will be exhibiting at DragonCon in Atlanta this year on Labor Day weekend (September 4-7) and plans to have the CD available at the show.
 
 
Midnight Syndicate Live!  update: In October of 2014, Midnight Syndicate Live! debuted at Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends  event.  From the audience response to the critical reception to record-breaking attendance numbers, the show was an overwhelming success.   Although the band will be using 2015 to focus on the new album, plans for a return of  Midnight Syndicate Live! in 2016 are already underway. “The success of the inaugural run of Midnight Syndicate Live! has ensured that live Midnight Syndicate shows will be a permanent part of our plans going forward,” said Douglas.  



Composers Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka have been delighting fans of instrumental gothic music, Halloween, roleplaying games, and classic horror for almost two decades. As the first recording act to produce seasonal atmosphere for professional haunts and amusement parks, their signature blend of dark orchestral "soundtracks to imaginary films" and sound effects have remained a staple of that industry in addition to weaving their way into the musical tapestry of the Halloween season and beyond. Every October, their music can be heard setting atmosphere on television and radio shows, restaurants, stores, and homes worldwide.

Thursday, May 14

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #34 - Serenade

Real-life Opera star Mario Lanza stars as a vineyard worker named Damon who gets his shot as fame singing opera. Along the way he falls under the influence of a siren named Kendall (Joan Fontaine), who uses him for her amusement and tosses him aside, shattering his confidence. In Mexico he meets and falls in love with a girl named Juana, and is about to stage a comeback when Kendall returns, set on winning him back... Price plays concert promoter Charles Winthrop, who helps Damon land his first big gig.




Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Wednesday, May 13

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #33 - Son of Sinbad

In this episode Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the 1955 film, Son of Sinbad, a costumed desert epic where Price plays Omar Khayyam, sidekick to Sinbad, legendary adventurer and womanizer. They are arrested when Sinbad tries to sneak into the Khalif's palace to romance his harem girls. They become entangled in a plot to retrieve the secret of Greek Fire, (which is in reality a recipe for making explosives), save the city from invading enemy forces, and save the girl Sinbad has fallen for. A silly plot that fortunately doesn't take itself seriously.


Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Tuesday, May 5

CONAN’S KIND OF WOMAN

So I had one of those moments of Zen recently, where things just sort of all seem to fall into place, a serendipity of sort, if you will.  I had just listened to the amazing seven hour podcast – that’s right, I said SEVEN HOUR long podcast – on Conan the Barbarian by the always entertaining PROJECTION BOOTH podcast.



The Projection Booth is hosted by Mike White, and for this show he had guest hosts El Goro and Josh Hadley, along with a plethora of special guests to discuss not only the original CONAN THE BARBARIAN film (one of my all-time favorite films by director John Milius) but also the entire CONAN franchise, from the pulp roots of writer Robert Howard all the way through the sequels, TV series, cartoon, and remake.


 It really is an impressive episode, and well worth checking out:
http://projection-booth.blogspot.com/2015/02/episode-207-conan-barbarian.html



Mike White is usually joined on his show by fellow host Rob St. Mary. They launched the show in 2011, and tackle a new movie each week – each episode usually includes interviews with people involved directly or indirectly with the movie, often times writers, directors, or even stars of the films. The Projection Booth was nominated for a Rondo Award, and is definitely one of the better shows out there, as they go above and beyond in the effort to create a quality program.

Well, getting back to my story – That same week on my own ongoing program, THE FANTASTIC FILMS OF VINCENT PRICE, I was tackling a film called HIS KIND OF WOMAN.




Made in 1951 by RKO Pictures, it was directed by John Farrow and features a truly star-studded cast, including Price, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Raymond Burr, and Jim Backus. It is a fun little story, an unusual film-noir of sorts that takes place mainly in an island hotel, full of quirky characters. The thing that rung a familiar bell was the fact that Producer Howard Hughes had brought in a second director to shoot additional scenes once shooting was wrapped, to include more comedy  - and more Vincent Price, who Hughes adored. Price gives a performance that starts off fairly normal and ramps up in intensity throughout the picture, culminating in a Shakespeare-spouting campy performance that is terrific fun to watch. That second director brought onboard was Richard Fleischer.



I was sure I had heard that name mentioned recently. A quick look through Fleischer’s filmography showed that, sure enough – he was the director of the Conan sequel, CONAN THE DESTROYER!

Fleischer is the son of Max Fleischer, who was the head of FLEISCHER STUDIOS, the animation studio that created Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor, as well as the excellent SUPERMAN animated series in the 1940s. He directed some truly iconic films, including 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (which is interesting to consider Disney hired the son of their competitor to direct their film), THE VIKINGS with Kirk Douglas, Fantastic Voyage, Soylent Green and many more.

Truly one of those aha moments that made me smile.

That evening I dug out my Conan DVD and gave The Destroyer a re-watch. My memories of it held up pretty well over time. It looks pretty, with a couple of nice special effects sequences – not a HORRIBLE film, but a big step down from the first. Overall I’d say it has enough good things going for it to make it worth watching, at least once.


Not really a ringing endorsement though, is it? The dorky humor throughout the film is the main detraction for me, and unfortunately, it seems Fleischer is the one responsible for the shift in tone from the first Conan film. But then he had been brought on to add humor to the Vincent Price film, hadn’t he? It all somehow  kinda makes sense now…



 

Monday, May 4

Scary Monsters #95 - interview with Mark Maddox

In issue #95 of Scary Monsters Magazine it was my pleasure to interview artist extraordinaire Mark Maddox. As mentioned in the article, I first met Mark at a smaller one-day comic book show in Nashville and was blown away at the quality of work he had displayed there. To top it off, he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I decided to invite him into the lab for a chat, to talk about his work, influences, and more!

 - click pages to enlarge and read...








Congratulations Derek Koch and Monsterkid Radio





I'd like to extend an extra special congratulations to my good friend Derek Koch for winning a Rondo Award in the Best Multimedia category for his outstanding podcast, Monster Kid Radio. Derek has been podcasting for a number of years, and works super hard on his program, putting out two episodes a week. MKR is a show that features conversations with fans and industry creators talking about their favorite horror movies and memories of them. It's a really unique show and one I look forward to listening to every week.

Check it out at http://www.monsterkidradio.net
Highly recommended!



Derek checks out the latest
Scary Monsters Magazine

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