Archive for the Genres Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Win the Halloween 2 novelization from Fangoria!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Edging ever closer to Halloween!  And speaking of Halloween, here’s an ad for a double contest that ran in Fangoria #15 from 1981 that let you win something VERY Halloween-y!

The first contest involves going to see the movie Halloween II in theaters and answering 10 questions. 50 winners will be drawn to win copies of the movie novelization by Jack Martin. Which, today, that Halloween 2 novelization is pretty rare.  I would have loved to have won that.

The second contest involves the semi-sequel to Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment.  You have to explain in 30 words or less why you want a Shock Treatment t-shirt.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: The Forgotten Frankenstein and other lost cinema treasures

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

In Fangoria #2 (1979), there was an article about Universal’s Frankenstein. But it wasn’t about the Boris Karloff movie. It was about the original incarnation of the movie that starred Bela Lugosi as the monster.  It was called The Forgotten Frankenstein. 

It started the article with a picture of the original poster that proclaimed Bela Lugosi as the star (click images to make them BIGGER).

The article says the initial development for Frankenstein was done by Robert Florey and in his development Lugosi was to be Dr Frankenstein, not the monster. However, when his treatment was approved by the studio, they insisted Lugosi be the monster.

As Florey was writing the script they brought in Lugosi, Karloff and several other actors to do a fully costumed test reel. Florey says they shot and edited two reels of footage which included the full Jack Pierce makeup. Lugosi was offered the role, but turned it down exclaiming the tall lumbering mute was beneath him. Karloff was ultimately given the role and then Florey was dropped from the director chair and replaced by James Whale.  After this, all the test reel footage and some of the development for Florey’s version of Frankenstein were lost.

This article reminded me that there is a series of books on similar subjects written by Phillip J Riley, which you can find on Amazon.  The series includes original shooting scripts for a ton of early Universal movies as well as “alternate history” exposes on some of those movies including the Lugosi Frankenstein, the Lon Chaney Dracula, the Boris Karloff Invisible Man, the Karloff Return of Frankenstein and even one on the lost Chaney London after Midnight film.  Lots of fun alternate film history out there to read!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Movie Friday: Christine

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, books, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture, Stephen King with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Every year around Halloween I try to fill in the gaps in my Stephen King reading. I’d read a bunch of his books back in high school and in college, but then I lapsed for a while. So a few years ago I decided around Halloween each year I’d pick up a book I hadn’t read of his and read it for the spooky season. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve read the uncut The Stand, The Talisman, Salem’s Lot, The Shining and Needful Things. This year, I decided to finally read Christine. And since I’m reading the book, I thought I’d watch the movie as well, seeing as how I’d never seen it.

book movie

I was always fascinated by the idea of the story and was eager to dig in. I read the book first. And the book is actually a lot longer than I was expecting. The copy I read had over 500 pages. It’s typical early King, long on setup. But once you get past the halfway mark, things amp up considerably.  But don’t take that as a disparaging remark to the first half.  The fact that King takes the time to set up the concept and we get to live with the characters a little while, it makes the events in the end really affect the reader.  You know and care about the characters, so the horrific events at the end hit you hard. Since King is playing the long game we really get to know Arnie and when the changes start coming you can really see it.  Little events build up to bigger events until it all snowballs in the end to, honestly, catastrophic results.  And I like the motivations and explanations of Christine here in the novel.

I really enjoyed Christine as a horror novel and a King novel.  Is it my favorite?  No, but I’m glad I read it.  The next King book I’m going to tackle will probably be The Dark Half.

So after reading the book, I watched the movie.  Directed by John Carpenter, who was originally supposed to direct an adaptation of King’s Firestarter a few years earlier but it fell through.  After reading the book, I was a bit disappointed with the slightness of the movie.  I get it, it only has like 2 hours to do what King did in 500+ pages, I totally acknowledge that.  Carpenter’s directing is pretty great.  The movie is shot fantastically.  The car looks awesome.  I love the burning car sequence.  It’s just so relentless and horrific looking.  Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed with how the movie answers the motivations of Christine.  It’s different than the book and it just feels so…bleh.  It was evil from the day it was made?  Really?  Huh.  I didn’t love that, but I really liked the kids in the movie and overall I’m happy with how it turned out, but not surprisingly, I prefer the book.

Fangoria did cover Christine a few times.  With several articles.  The movie got a cover story in Fangoria #32 in 1984.

Fango 32 cover Fango 32 article

King’s novel would get a review in Fango’s Nightmare library a few issues earlier, Fangoria #30, in 1983.

Christine novel review 1 Christine novel review 2

It’s a positive review, for the most part, but the author uses so many metaphors it’s tough to really say for sure.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria’s Monster Invasion column

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Let’s talk about Fangoria’s Monster Invasion.

Fangoria ran the Monster Invasion column for years. It was a collection of rumors and up-and-coming news for movies, TV shows, books, etc. Most of the news revolved in some way around the horror genre, but it would occasionally cross over into sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Actually, many of the Fangoria family of magazines would run a similar column. One of my other favorites was Comics Scene’s “Comic Screen”.

Anyway, I combed through a few choice issues and found some neat news tidbits from within the Monster Invasion column.


Here’s an item from Fangoria 23, 1982.  It mentions Stanley Kubrick’s next movie.  He had directed The Shining in 1980 and everyone was speculating what would be his next movie.  This says that Arthur C Clarke’s 2010, the sequel to Kubrick’s 2001, is on his production slate.  That movie would get made, in 1982, with Peter Hyams as director.  It also mentions that John Milius (Conan, Dirty Harry) just finished an original script that would be Kubrick’s next.  I’m not sure what that Milius project was supposed to be, but Kubrick’s next movie wouldn’t be released until 1987, FIVE years after this article.  And it would be Full Metal Jacket.


This one jumped out at me mostly because, as I write this, I’m reading Stephen King’s Christine for the first time. This article starts off telling us that Universal has canceled their plans for a John Carpenter directed adaptation of King’s Firestarter. Which I would’ve loved to have seen.  The article then mentions that this cancellation may have been initiated by the poor box office returns of Carpenter’s The Thing!  Which seems absurd now because The Thing is considered a horror classic.  Anyway, the article goes on saying that Carpenter has another King adaptation in the works, for the upcoming novel Christine which, at the time this article was written, hadn’t come out yet.  But we now know that Carpenter’s Christine would indeed come out the very next year in 1983.


A few issues later we get some followup on Firestarter. Universal is moving forward with Firestarter and Mark Lester was picked as the director. And that is how the movie would actually move forward. The screenplay would be written by Stanley Mann and it would be released in 1984.


Here in Fangoria #9 (1980), Fango is calling out a 3-D revival!  They are hearing rumors all over the place of upcoming movies planning to use 3-D including Halloween 2, Creepshow, and a possible Friday the 13th sequel!  Only one of those things eventually got the 3-D treatment.


Here’s a 3-D followup from Fangoria #15 (1981).  Last time, they are speculating about a revival, this time they are talking about an actual revival of 3-D movies in the wake of the success of the comedy western, Comin’ At Ya!.  It even predicts that studios should start cranking out 3-D movies very soon to capitalize on the success of this movie.  They also mention that John Landis is prepping a Creature from the Black Lagoon remake and they hope he plans on using 3-D when filming it.  And I would have watched the sh*t out of that.  At the end of the piece, Fangoria wonders how long this 3-D revival will last after the flood of sub par 3-D junk studios will undoubtedly put out wears out the format’s welcome.  It’s funny how Comin’ At Ya! is name dropped as the progenitor of 3-D success here in this article when NO ONE today remembers that movie.  Everyone remembers Friday the 13th Part 3 and Jaws 3, but literally no one remembers Comin’ At Ya!


Here’s the final 3-D followup from Fangoria #32 (1984).  The previous article is called “3-D Revival”.  This new item is called “3-D Dead?”.  Which pretty much sums it up.  Fangoria, having called the revival, is now calling the death.  They say the technology itself is the reason for the demise.  It’s just not up to snuff.  And all the crap studios put out with sub par 3-D just killed the format.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: Cult Film Club Podcast – Trick or Treat (1986)

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2017 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

That’s right, my friends, Cult Film Club is back. Today we are releasing episode 41 where we talk about the 1986 horror flick, Trick or Treat.

Trick or Treat

We’ve threatened to do this movie before and we thought this Halloween was the perfect time to do it.  The movie stars Family Ties’ Marc Price with cameos by Gene Simmons, Ozzy Ozbourne, and Showbiz Pizza’s Billy Bob (not even joking).  It’s a classic 80s horror movie that is better than you think it is with a rocking soundtrack.

Download the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Google or any of your usual podcasting places.  Or you can listen to it directly right here.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Original Ghost Rider (1949)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Paxton

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Everyone knows Ghost Rider. The flaming skull. The Hellcycle. Penance Stare. Hell, just last week I posted a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring the motorcycle riding demon fighting the Headless Horseman.  But did you know that Ghost Rider was originally a supernatural western hero?

Back in 1949, Magazine Enterprises was publishing a western comic called Tim Holt: Cowboy Star of the Movies.  In issue #11, a backup story was introduced featuring the ghostly first appearance of the Ghost Rider.

The story was written by Ray Krank and drawn by Dick Ayers. It told the origin of the Ghost Rider.  Rex Fury, aka the Calico Kid, is ambushed by renegade Indians.  He fights the attacking braves while saying classy things like this:

fire water

It *was* 1949.  Anyway, the Indians’ numbers eventually overcome the Calico Kid and they throw him and his Chinese manservant, Sing-Song (I’m not even joking.  1949, guys.), into the “Devil’s Sink”, a bottomless whirlpool from which no one that has fallen in has ever returned.  Except Rex Fury.  After somehow washing up inside a hidden cave system, Rex decides to come back as the spectral Ghost Rider to fight crime and get the men who sent him to his watery grave.

Ghost Rider would appear in Tim Holt a few more times before, in 1950, getting his own title.

For this new title the character was again drawn by co-creator Dick Ayers. The first issue retold the character’s origin from Tim Holt #11 but with new art and an expanded story. This time they expanded on his time in the Devil’s Sink.  Instead of washing up in a hidden cave system, he enters something like the afterlife, or Purgatory.  While there he learns skills from famous Western heroes like Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Kit Carson, etc so he can return to the living and fight evil.  They even give him the suit.

The title was a different type of Western and the Ghost Rider was a different type of Western hero.  The book was essentially a horror title.  The stories pitted our hero against a motley assortment of ghosts, monsters, cursed treasure, witches, and demons.

I’ve read a few issues of this title and there are some fun issues. Ghost Rider even manages to meet another of my AWESOME-tober-fest theme monsters, Frankenstein.  In issue #10.

The character was a big hit for Magazine Enterprises for nearly a decade until the company went bankrupt. In 1967, after the trademark on the character had expired, Marvel Comics released their own almost exact copy of the character in his own title written by Roy Thomas and again drawn by Dick Ayers.

Unfortunately Marvel stripped out all of the horror and supernatural elements and made Ghost Rider a more traditional western gunfighting hero.  Several years later, after Marvel introduced their motorcycle riding demon version of Ghost Rider, they renamed this Western character Phantom Rider.  Phantom Rider would team up with the new Ghost Rider several times for Marvel.

For Halloween a few years ago I did a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring a meet up of the Original Ghost Rider and the New Ghost Rider.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Others (2001)

Posted in Genres, ghosts, horror, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2017 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2017

Today I want to talk about another favorite ghost movie of mine, The Others, from 2001.

It was directed by Alejandro Amenabar and starred Nicole Kidman.  The only other movie I know Amenabar from is Open Your Eyes from 1997 with Penelope Cruz.  It’s the movie Cameron Crowe and Tom Cruise remade into Vanilla Sky which would open the very same year as The Others.

I saw this movie in the theater based mostly on the spooky trailer and Nicole Kidman.  I had no preconceived notions going in on what to expect.

The movie takes place in 1945 in Jersey, a British dependency located in the Channel Islands.  Kidman lives in a remote country home with her two children; Anne and Nicholas.

The children have a rare condition that makes them allergic to sunlight and their father had left to fight in WWII but has not returned.

After three servants take up residence in the house strange things start occuring. The oldest daughter begins talking about seeing a small boy named Victor. Mysterious sounds are heard in abandoned rooms. Doors are left open. Typical ghostly haunted house stuff.

Kidman is not sure if the kids are causing the disturbances, the new servants or some ghostly intruder.  The suspense is really ratcheted up throughout the movie.  Lots of atmosphere.  And the old house is a great part of this whole thing.  It’s huge with all of these abandoned rooms.  You almost feel lost in the house while you are watching it.  There’s so much wood which causes lots of “house noises”.  Kidman’s character opens and closes every door of every room she enters and you get the requisite wood sounds every time.  The house looks and sounds great.  And the “ghostly” events are really spooky.

I’m not going to give away the ending.  I really want you to watch it.  But the atmosphere and tension are really amped up.  Kidman gives a great performance as the mom trapped in an ever increasingly bizarre set of circumstances.  The daughter, Anne, played by Alakina Mann, is pretty great as well.  She needed to work because she’s the one who goes against her mother for most of the movie as she’s the one who’s seen Victor and the “intruders”.  And she brings it 100%.  She’s really great in all her scenes with Kidman.

I rewatched this movie for this review and it still holds up.  Even knowing what the ultimate climax was going to be, I still very much enjoyed the journey the movie took me on to get to its “final resting place”.

Okay, so next week is the final FULL week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  I can’t believe it’s already nearly over.  Usually for this final week I’ll do what I call “Greatest Hits” where I revisit topics from previous AWESOME-tober-fests like vampires, werewolves or movie maniacs.  However, this year, for the 10th anniversary of this countdown, I’ve decided to do something a little different.  For the next week I’ll be doing ALL NEW topics.  Topics that I had planned for their own AWESOME-tober-fest at some point.  I’ll pick one article from five different topics I’ve never done before.  It should be a lot of fun.  I’ll even give you a preview of Monday’s topic.

Awesometoberfest 2017

I’ll see you back here on Monday.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.