AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Richard Matheson on writing Jaws 3-D

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Richard Matheson is a ground breaking, extremely popular genre writer. He wrote the novel I Am Legend that was adapted into a film four times, one of which Matheson himself cowrote the screenplay. He also wrote many of the original Twilight Zone episodes as well as the novels that birthed the movies The Incredible Shrinking Man, Legend of Hell House, Real Steel, What Dreams May Come, Duel and The Box.

In Fangoria #31 (1983), they did an interview with Richard Matheson talking to him about writing the recent movies Jaws 3-D and Twilight Zone the Movie.  To be perfectly honest, I really like Jaws 3-D, and I had NO IDEA that Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay for it.  MIND. BLOWN.

Some of the Jaws 3 insights he gives in this article include that he likes writing the third movie in a series. You get to break away from the location of the previous two. He also said the studio forced him to use Brody’s sons, Michael and Sean, in the script. He originally had no intention of using any of the Brody family, which now, looking back on that movie, makes SO much sense. He also said the studio wanted him to make the shark in Jaws 3 the same shark that was electrocuted in the second movie! Wow. Glad cooler heads prevailed there. Lots of interesting info in this article including more insights into the writing of Twilight Zone, including why he thinks it didn’t do as well as they expected, and working with Spielberg on the movie Duel.



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

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 Scream Greats – Beetlejuice

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

It’s Monday, time for another Scream Greats poster. This one was inside Fangoria #76 from 1988 and it features a great image of Beetlejuice.

Just a few issues earlier, in Fangoria #74, also 1988, they featured a set visit to the movie.  The cover page to the article featured an alternate version of the Scream Greats photo.



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.