Archive for magazines

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Fangoria #182 (1999) – Mummy Mania issue

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by Paxton

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Time to dip down into my stack of old Fangoria magazines to see if there are any cool mummy issues.

Oh look!  Found one.

Check out Fangoria #182 from May 1999. It’s the Mummy Mania issue with a cover story about the new Stephen Sommers directed The Mummy remake.

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The issue features lots of other mummy based articles.  The one I want to look at today, though, is an in-depth blow by blow of the history of the mummy in cinema. It’s called “Show Me the Mummy”.

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It’s a more straight forward historical account of the birth and proliferation of mummy movies than that Starlog invisible man article from last year that tried to write the history of the invisible man in popular culture into a weird, narrative story that presumes invisibility actually exists.  Essentially turning movies and TV shows with invisible people into “historical documents”.  This article, is a nicely researched account that doesn’t just list out mummy movies but gives some background info into some of the bigger releases.

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

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Out of the Aeons (1935) – HP Lovecraft and Hazel Heald

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2016 by Paxton

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There were five stories written by a Massachusetts writer named Hazel Heald which were revised by HP Lovecraft and published. I’ll talk about one of those stories today.

The story is called Out of the Aeons and it was published in the April 1935 issue of Weird Tales magazine.

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Like the Doyle story The Ring of Thoth, this story isn’t a typical “mummy story”. It begins with the discovery of a mysterious mummy on a mysterious island that mysteriously appeared in the middle of the ocean and then mysteriously disappeared soon after its discovery.

The story is written as a letter of final confession for the curator of the Cabot Museum in Boston.  The letter explains that some unbelievable and terrifying events have sprung up around the mummy and this letter he’s writing is to set down on record what actually happened as museum officials have essentially “white washed” the majority of the story with the press.

Much of the story is the curator delving into the history of the mummy.  It’s a fairly interesting and creepy sort of legend that has been culled from several banned tomes like “The Black Book” and the “Necronomicon”.  About half the story is catching the reader up to what the mummy could possibly be.  The back half of the story is essentially what happens to the mummy in the museum when the story gets out and the exhibit becomes popular.  All the nutzos come out and the situation escalates to a creepy and horrific end.

I enjoyed this short story.  I think I liked it even better than the previous Lovecraft stories I read, Herbert West, Re-animator and From Beyond.  I really need to delve into some of the Cthulhu stories.  Lovecraft’s writings have sort of the “creeping dread” atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat feeling like something just isn’t “right”.  Very effective.

A few tidbits of Lovecraftian mythos make appearances in this story.  One of the characters who briefly visits the mummy is awesomely named Swami Chandraputra, which is a known alias for Randolph Carter, one of Lovecraft’s recurring characters.  There are several Dark Gods listed in this story, two of them being previously mentioned as a part of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.  Lastly, the previous curator of the museum who actually discovers the mummy is named Pickman and shares this name with the painter in Lovecraft’s story Pickman’s Model.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Scooby-Doo and a Mummy Too! (1969)

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2016 by Paxton

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During the very first season of Scooby Doo Where Are You!, the gang met up with a mummy.  It was in episode 12 which aired in late 1969 and it was called Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too!

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As most Scooby-Doo episodes are, this is a pretty fun little episode with all the regular Scooby tropes you’d expect.

The show starts off with the gang at the local college’s Department of Archaeology. They are unveiling a new mummy exhibit and the gang has offered to help set up.
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The gang is talking to “The Professor”, who is the white bread dude in the middle.  I have to assume “The Professor” is his name as he’s never called anything else.  Next to “The Professor” is…

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Dr Najib who, I presume, is the Egyptian expert.  I have to presume because the show never directly says just who he is.  The show also implies that he actually found the mummy, who is identified as “the mummy of Ankha” at first then as just “Ankha” later.  With Najib’s ascot and red fez I believe they’re trying to invoke Boris Karloff in Universal’s The Mummy.

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This is Scooby Doo so we get Shaggy and Scooby eating food that’s inedible for normal humans. For example, this is a liver a la mode sandwich. With an olive garnish. Classy.

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The mummy eventually disappears from his sarcophagus and the gang begin pursuit. They almost catch the mummy but he escapes through the museum’s glass door leaving only a mummy shapped outline in the glass. I love that this is how glass works in Scooby-Doo Land.

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Here’s the mummy stalking the gang all mummy-like. Scooby actually picks a fight with him and changes into his Hong Kong Phooey outfit to do battle. Scoob’s a black belt?!

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While being chased by the mummy, Velma has time to go to the lab and carbon date a piece of the mummy’s rags in order to reveal a clue to the mystery.

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Scooby and Shaggy, on the run from the mummy, duck into an old tool shed. Shaggy doesn’t hear the mummy in pursuit so he opens the door to see if he’s still there and sees that the mummy has started to BRICK UP THE ENTRANCE TO THE SHED. Did he mix his own cement? Surely already mixed cement wasn’t just lying around?  I love that he’s holding a spade too. Amazing.

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The mummy chases the gang around the museum and eventually gets thrown up into the basketball hoop where Fred climbs up on a ladder and unmasks him. Scoob celebrates by finding the actual mummy hiding in some bushes.  And the actual mummy looks a lot like the Boris Karloff wrapped mummy (see my AWESOME-tober-fest banner).

That’s the episode.  Like I said, it’s a pretty fun episode.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016 is near!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, movies, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2016 by Paxton

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It’s early September. The days are growing short. The spooky season is fast approaching. Some, like my good friends Matt and Jay, have already begun. It’s Countdown to Halloween time!

And yes, I’ll be doing AWESOME-tober-fest this year.  And my theme will be The Mummy!  So expect to see lots of ancient, bandage wrapped awesomeness popping up here starting, officially, on Monday Oct 3.  I’ll be covering lots of pop culture mummy things like books, comics, movies and even a few cartoons!  So mark your calendar, starting Monday October 3 I’ll be redressing the Cavalcade for the entire month of October and starting daily weekday updates featuring The Mummy!  Plus a few other surprises.

And I guarantee you, at some point during AWESOME-tober-fest, the below cartoon depiction of Alcatraz Island will show up.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Destroyer (1988) movie review

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by Paxton

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This is it!  The final day of the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2015. It’s been a blast. I really hope you guys have had as much fun as I’ve had. I’m sad to see the Halloween season come to a close. But, all good things, am I right? Anyway, without further ado, here is today’s final AWESOME-tober-fest article and it’s the last of this week’s look back at all of my previous years’ AWESOME-tober-fest subjects.

Last year, my theme was Bloody Best of Fangoria.  I went through the vast history of the magazine, showed you articles and pictures and each Friday I reviewed a B-horror movie that appeared in the pages of the magazine.  Those reviews were called Fangoria Movie Fridays.  The last FMF was the awesome Cheerleader Camp starring Lucinda Dickey.  But it was almost a different movie.  As a matter of fact, it was so almost a different movie that I had watched and mostly drafted a completely different movie review but I changed my mind at the last second.  I think it’s time to bring that movie back and give it its due.  That movie was the flick Destroyer from 1988.  It starred Lyle Alzado, Debra Foreman and Anthony Perkins.

Here’s the ad they used to promote the VHS release.  I remember seeing it in an issue of Fangoria.

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Lyle looks like he’s holding his head weird.  Or is his head just Photoshopped into the poster?  I can’t tell.

Here’s the actual poster for the movie.

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Yeah, this is actually a bit more bonkers and awesome.  Did you notice that they added a LASER SCOPE to the jackhammer?  Why the f**k does he need a laser scope on the jackhammer?!  Crazy.  And weird.  And awesome.

Anyway, this movie poster obviously spoke to me.  Lyle Alzado as a “half dead” serial killer?  Anthony Perkins as a horror movie director? Yes, please.

So, first, is this movie any good.  Ehhh, it’s okay.  It’s not bad for a late 80s slasher flick with a ton of cult pop culture familiar faces in it.  What’s it about, well, Alzado plays a serial killer who is on Death Row.  He is about to be executed when a power surge while he’s in the electric chair makes him “half dead”.  Essentially it makes him a savage, nearly indestructible killing machine.  The jail is abandoned and Lyle is left to roam the empty jail.  Flash forward two years or so and a horror film crew arrives to film their movie in the infamous jail.  They, of course, stir up Lyle who starts killing off members of the crew.  How do you stop an unkillable monster?  I. Don’t. Know.

That’s the basic premise.  Did I mention this movie had familiar faces?  Yep, let’s quickly look at the cast. You’ve already seen sweaty Lyle Alzado up there on the poster as the “lead”. Lyle is known mainly for football but he also appeared in this movie, Ernest Goes to Camp, Zapped…Again! (yes, the sequel to Zapped!) and the sadly short lived wrestling sitcom Learning the Ropes.

The next most notable face would be the aforementioned Anthony Perkins, best known as Norman Bates in the Psycho movies.  Anthony is playing the director of the horror movie-within-the-movie, Death House Dolls.  Honestly, Perkins is pretty much the best thing in the movie.  He’s very entertaining and I loved every scene he’s in.

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Here’s a familiar face, Clayton Rohner.

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I did not expect him to pop up in this movie. This guy is an 80s staple with lead rolls in Just One of the Guys, I, Madman and another little horror film I love called April Fool’s Day.  If you haven’t seen April Fool’s Day, watch it.  It’s pretty great.  But also starring in April Fool’s Day was an actress named Deborah Foreman.  And in a nice little reunion, Deborah is in this movie as well.

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Deborah is adorable.  You’ve seen her in a ton of 80s flicks like Valley Girl, Real Genius, Hot Pursuit and My Chauffeur.  Unfortunately she goes with “Hilary Clinton” hair in this movie which is rather…unfortunate.

I do like both of these guys, so it’s nice to have them here.  Clayton comes off a little better because he’s written to be a funny, irreverant writer so he has some funny lines.

So, how’s Lyle?  He’s okay.  I mentioned his character is described as “half dead”, which I assume means he has “crazy eyes”.  Because that’s what he does at every opportunity.  Gives us his “crazy eyes”.

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He does seem to have a lot of fun with that jackhammer, though.

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Easy, Lyle, you can go blind handling that jackhammer so much.  Take a break, buddy.

If you like cheesy 80s “horror” with a dash of comedy, I think you’ll like this.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Starlog’s pop culture history of invisibility (1992)

Posted in magazine, movies, pop culture, Starlog, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2015 by Paxton

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In issue 177 of Starlog magazine, which showcases an interview with John Carpenter about his upcoming Memoirs of an Invisible Man, there is an article by Michael Wolff on the pop culture history of invisibility. It’s written as if invisibility exists and is recounting the many different ways one would make oneself invisible. And throughout the article Wolff peppers in movies and TV shows that featured some form of invisibility.

Here’s the article, click to make the images BIGGER.

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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Interview with John Carpenter about Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Posted in magazine, monsters, movies, pop culture, Starlog with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2015 by Paxton

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Issue 177 of Starlog magazine featured a cover story on the soon to be released Chevy Chase movie, Memoirs of an Invisible Man (which I reviewed yesterday).

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The featured story is an in-depth interview with the movie’s director, John Carpenter.  He had just come off a hiatus of several years to direct this big budget studio movie.  Being an indie staple, Carpenter had never really done a large studio movie before.  In the article, he discusses why he took the job and a little bit about the history of the project.

Talking about the movie, Carpenter mentions that this project had been around since 1986 and that it’s based on a book by HF Saint.  Obviously, the part about the novel is true, as I’ve reviewed that novel this month, however, the book wasn’t actually published until 1987.  And while studios today will buy up book rights before books are published, it was not done at that time.  However, Carpenter could just be off in his memory by a year, not a big deal.

Carpenter also mentions that Chevy Chase himself bought the rights to the book and the first drafts of the movie were written by the great William Goldman with Ivan Reitman attached to direct.  However, Carpenter said that after everything was “set to go” Chase decided he didn’t want to do a “Stooge” comedy.  He wanted more of an adventure movie.  Which seems odd to me because the book is NOT a comedy.  I guess Goldman/Reitman assumed that’s what they’d be doing with Chevy Chase attached and adapted the book that way.  I tell you what, I’d love to see a Goldman/Reitman/Chase invisible man comedy movie.  I’d be 100% on board for that.  But that iteration of the movie fell apart and is sadly placed on top of the giant pile labeled “movies we’ll never see”.  After Goldman and Reitman left Richard Donner came on to direct and did some work but eventually he left as well.  It was then Chevy Chase that brought Carpenter on to the project as director.

So this movie has an interesting back story.  Clearly, it was a passion/vanity project for Chase.  He controlled nearly every aspect of production.  Carpenter’s interview is very informative with lots of “inside Hollywood” info.

Below is the full story. Click the images to make them BIGGER.

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