Thomas Webb: klasszikus szörny-festmények

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in | Posted on 0:53

Katt a nagyobb képekért!

I wanted to paint monsters, so I did.
I chose many of the classics.
I painted them in color, pretty much the color you think they are, with some exceptions... I could get away with it because like the dinosaurs, we’ve never really seen them in color...they were black and white movies.

I distorted them to match the image I have of them in my memory. Frankenstein has a big head, the bride of Frankenstein has Marge Simpson hair with that wild streak of white, the Phantom has a big forehead and really big eyes.

Some of the pictures won’t look distorted because you make the same distortions in your memory. Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula doesn’t really have a widows peak.
But, when it comes down to an artist statement I'll keep it simple...

I wanted to paint monsters, so I did.

Clara Bow on Mundo Grafico Magazine's Cover (1930)

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 0:32

Photos: Jane Fonda

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Jane Fonda - getting dressed for a scene in Barbarella

Digital Fritz Lang Papers

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 0:07

Digital Fritz Lang Papers

Twenty motion pictures have been digitized from the Lang Papers. Nineteen of the motion pictures Lang shot on 16mm film from 1938-1953 as he toured around the American Southwest, capturing images of Tombstone Arizona, Death Valley California, a Hopi Native American Village and what is now the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. All of the films are without sound.

  • ITT lehet megtekinteni a kisfilmeket.

Joan Crawford on the cover of Picture Play (Jan.1930)

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , | Posted on 23:44

Photos: Clara Bow [updated]

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Clara Bow

Photos: Mae Busch [updated]

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 18:31

Mae Busch

Mae Busch

Mae Busch

Mae Busch

Posters: Metropolis [updated]

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , , | Posted on 18:26

Szép régi plakát a Metropolis-hoz Bottlik Józseftől
  • ITT egy nagyobb változat


tervezőgrafikus(Budapest, 1897. május 5.–Budapest, 1984. augusztus 3.)

1913: Országos Magyar Királyi Iparművészeti Iskola (rövid ideig, nem fejezte be). 1919-től sokat foglalkoztatott plakáttervező, szakterülete a kereskedelmi grafika. 1924-65 között az Orion arculat- és plakáttervezője. 1933-35 között Berlinben dolgozik, politikai és filmplakátokat tervez, majd Londonban a News Review címlaprajzolója. Az 1940-es évek elejétől ismét Budapesten élt és dolgozott. Kezdetben a plakát populáris hagyományaiból merít, majd az expresszionizmus és más avantgárd irányzatok elemeinek beolvasztásával az 1920-as évek folyamán az art deco jeles hazai képviselője lett. A háború közeledtével megváltozott reklámstratégiák hatására ismét populáris elemek jelennek meg műveiben, a naiv anekdotázást ekkor patetikus, szónokias megoldások váltják fel, a modern ipar hirdetett alkotásait klasszikus idézetek vagy népies motívumok illusztrálják. 1945 után ~ visszatér a modern, tömör, tárgyszerű reklámeszközökhöz.

Válogatott csoportos kiállítások
1929 • Das internationale Plakat, München
1961 • IV. Magyar plakátkiállítás, Ernst Múzeum, Budapest
1960 • Magyar Plakát-Történeti Kiállítás 1885-1960, Műcsarnok, Budapest
1986 • 100 + 1 éves a magyar plakát, Műcsarnok, Budapest
1995 • Plakát Parnasszus I., Szt. Korona Galéria, Székesfehérvár.
Művek közgyűjteményekben
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest • Országos Széchenyi Könyvtár, Budapest.
GYÖRGYI K.: Karácsonyi iparművészeti kiállítás, Magyar Iparművészet, 1928/1.
BAUER J.: A nagyváros kulisszái, Színház és Mozi, 1949/23.
KISS S.: Magyar plakátművészet a két világháború között, a Legújabbkori Történeti Múzeum Évkönyve, Budapest, 1961
ERNYEY GY.: Az ipari forma története Magyarországon, Budapest, 1974.
(Bakos Katalin)

Ez pedig egy filmvetites plakatja ha jol latom

Posters: King Kong [updated]

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 14:01

King Kong

Photos: Margaret Hamilton [updated]

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , | Posted on 1:05

In 1939, Hamilton played the role of the Wicked Witch of the West, opposite Judy Garland's Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, creating not only her most famous role, but also one of the screen's most memorable villains. Hamilton was chosen when the more traditionally attractive Gale Sondergaard refused to wear makeup designed to make her appear ugly.

Hamilton suffered severe burns during a second (and unused) take of her fiery exit from Munchkinland, in which the trap door's drop was delayed to eliminate the brief glimpse of it seen in the final edit. Hamilton had to recuperate in a hospital and at home for six weeks after the accident before returning to the set to complete her work on the now-classic film, and refused to have anything to do with fire for the rest of the filming. Judy Garland had visited her while Hamilton recuperated at home.

Studio executives cut some of Margaret's most wicked scenes, worrying they would frighten children. Whatever ill will she may have felt toward the role quickly disintegrated; later on in life she would comment on the role of the witch in a light-hearted fashion. For an interview, she joked:

"I was in a need of money at the time, and my agent called. I said, 'Yes?' and he said 'Maggie, they want you to play a part on the Wizard.' I said to myself, 'Oh Boy, The Wizard of Oz! That has been my favorite book since I was four.' And I asked him what part, and he said 'The Witch' and I said 'The Witch?!' and he said 'What else?'" (Hamilton presented this as the punchline to the joke.) [DVD commentary track]

Photos: Nosferatu (1922) [updated]

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , , | Posted on 20:58

Mae Clarke Remembers James Whale

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 11:56

Whale on the set of BRIDE OF THE FRANKENSTEIN. 1935 Whale on the set of BRIDE OF THE FRANKENSTEIN. 1935

On May 29, 1957, the body of James Whale was found floating in his pool, next to the Graeco/Roman art studio behind his Pacific Palisades villa. At the time, Hollywood cruelly considered the mysterious death of the English director a piquantly baroque climax to his long exile from the studios. Little was said of his genius, and Whale appeared doomed to haunt cinema history as a forlorn, enigmatic ghost.

However, in the nearly thirty years that have passed since his tragic suicide, James Whale has won glory as a respected Hollywood stylist. His celebrated quartet of Universal horror classics – FRANKENSTEIN, THE OLD DARK HOUSE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN – have become almost as beloved as Grimms Fairy Tales. His beautiful 1936 SHOW BOAT survives as the most revered version of that oft-filmed Americana, while JOURNEY’S END and WATERLOO BRIDGE (though virtually impossible to see) rank among the most highly-respected films of the 1930s. Whale was the master of a pioneering, filmic style which he spiked with sardonic wit, pictorial beauty, and theatrical bravura. Most memorably, this wry, bitter artist presented in his work a parade of striking, heartrending misfits – the most famous being Karloff’s bewildered Frankenstein Monster.

Hollywood remembers “Jimmy” Whale in various ways. The prevailing persona has always been that of a foxy, English aristocrat, with cheroot, swagger, and a chillingly aloof reserve. Others knew him differently. At the Motion Picture Country House, a lady who was Queen of Universal City over 50 years ago remembers Whale vividly, and emotionally. More than half a century ago, she was Whale’s favorite leading lady, and starred for him in three films: WATERLOO BRIDGE, FRANKENSTEIN, and IMPATIENT MAIDEN.

The lady, of course, is Mae Clarke. “He is a giant to me,” she says of James Whale, “and my words are inadequate.” Nevertheless, on a lovely spring day in 1983, Miss Clarke eloquently found her words as she sat in her cottage at the Country House, and remembered.

In the spring of 1931, James Whale, fresh from his triumph of Tiffany’s 1930 JOURNEY’S END, signed a 5-year Universal contract. Overnight, he reigned as the “Ace” of Universal, which proudly heralded him as “The Genius who made JOURNEY’S END.” Everyone took notice of the tall, boney “Jimmy,” his red hair salted with white, a cheroot usually in hand, peacocking across the lot like a Byronic hero. The new director happily explored the pastoral back lot like a child in a toy shop, marveling at the gargantuan old sets: the Notre Dame Cathedral, where Lon Chaney’s HUNCHBACK had swung from a gargoyle; the Monte Carlo Casino, where Erich von Stroheim had sported his monocle in FOOLISH WIVES; the Tyrolean village, where the joyous German Army had marched in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. High up on the mountain above Universal, the ex-cartoonist, painter and actor could overlook the panorama below-the zoo, the lake, the edifices of all countries – waiting to serve his dramatic imagination.

The first project that “Junior” Laemmle gave Whale was WATERLOO BRIDGE. Robert Emmet Sherwood had based his play on an American streetwalker he had met at a riotous victory party in Trafalgar Square after World War I. The girl told Sherwood that she had come to London as a chorine in THE PINK LADY, had been stranded, and had reluctantly turned to prostitution for survival. Though he met her only once, Sherwood was haunted by the pathetic streetwalker, and had created “Myra” of WATERLOO BRIDGE as a catharsis to handle her memory.

1932 poster 1932 poster

Whale realized that the actress who would play Myra must possess the same haunting quality which had driven Sherwood to write the play. Tests began for the plum role, and from Columbia Studios came a blonde, 21-year old actress named Mae Clarke. She was enjoying a great year in Hollywood. In United Artists’ THE FRONT PAGE, she had played Mollie Malloy, the valiant hooker whose jump from a pressroom window became one of the screen’s most dramatic suicides; in Warners’ THE PUBLIC ENEMY, she had received the infamous grapefruit-in-the-face (”How did it feel? Wet!”) from her beloved friend James Cagney.

Today, a reproduction of the WATERLOO BRIDGE poster decorates the wall of Mae Clarke’s cottage at the lovely Motion Picture Country House. The memory of that film-and its director-is precious to her:

“I knew James Whale was imported as one of England’s very best, and was aware of the great success of his play and film JOURNEY’S END. I went to meet Mr. Whale the way I would have entered college to begin learning.”

Whale saw a vulnerability in Miss Clarke’s test that intrigued him, and selected her for the part. Douglass Montgomery (then employing the screen moniker of “Kent Douglass”) won the part of Roy, the soldier who loves Myra. With a 26-day shooting schedule and a $252,045 budget, WATERLOO BRIDGE began shooting Saturday, May 23, 1931.

As Mae Clarke arrived on the set for the first day’s work, the cool, aloof Whale was formality itself.

“I assume you’ve learned your lines?” asked the director.

“Yes, Mr. Whale,” smiled Miss Clarke. “And how you’d like them performed, I’d like to hear.”

They soon became friends. Whale appreciated the young actress’s eagerness to learn; he’d stimulate her imagination with his own insights, to enhance her interpretation:

“Our relationship was the adoration between a teacher (who was expert) and a pupil (who was most willing). And our objectives became: What did the author want? What did he not say, and assumed we would? We could forget ourselves.”

Robert Sherwood was in Hollywood at this time, working as a “Dialoguer” for United Artists, and visited the Waterloo Bridge set. He never made a single suggestion; rather, he marveled at the sensitivity with which Whale handled his players, and his fastidious attention to atmosphere and detail.

The climax of Waterloo Bridge was the stuff that actresses’ (and directors’) dreams are made of. Myra, not allowing her guilty self to accept Roy’s love, returns to the streets. One night, during an air raid, the heartbroken girl walks across Waterloo Bridge, and dramatically lights a match, signalling the bombers and bringing on her suicide. It was an intensely powerful scene, and Miss Clarke relates:

“I remember it-a night scene, on the back lot of Universal… The feeling of that scene was so overpowering! Everyone felt a reality over pretense.

“By that time, we had all learned to take advantage of every second Mr. Whale could give us – because his finger and his mind were in every single facet of the production. You’d ask, ‘Where’s Mr. Whale?’ ‘Oh, he’s up on the boom crane tower, creating the bomber effect.’ (He wanted to see Myra from the bomber’s point of view.) You’d ask, ‘Where’s Mr. Whale now?’ ‘Oh, he’s in checking the sound.’ He knew just where he wanted the shadows … everything. It was his picture: a James Whale production!”

On Friday, June 26, Whale completed WATERLOO BRIDGE, ahead of schedule; ever though the company reassembled July and July 6 for a theatre sequence, Whale still completed the film for $27,000 under budget. Unfortunately, the preview in late July spotlighted a problem nobody had noted: the repercussions of Myra’s suicide, Miss Clarke says:

“We didn’t realize in any stage of the development until the preview that the whole audience would hate Myra’s disregard for others who’d suffer from her action. There were too many people also on the bridge and certainly, it wasn’t patriotic for her to signal a target for the bombers.”

Back at Universal, Whale found himself forced to re-edit the climax he had so painstakingly crafted. Inevitably, the editing made the finale too jarring; yet it still managed to imply Myra’s motive, showing her walking into the path of the falling bombs, and to preserve the tragic impact.

On Friday, September 4, 1931, WATERLOO BRIDGE premiered at New York’s RKO Mayfair Theatre. The NY Times hailed Whale’s work as “praiseworthy” and “excellent,” noted his clever touches (e.g., the offscreen sound of farm animals as Myra and Roy go into the country) and reported, “Mae Clarke’s acting of Myra is capital.” Miss Clarke remembers the Hollywood premiere:

“We didn’t make Grauman’s Chinese, but we had a ‘mini-premiere’ in downtown L.A… There were klieg lights. Already there was talk of an Oscar for me as Myra, so I hostessed a dinner at the Brown Derby on the premiere night. I invited Colin Clive (it was after a day’s work on FRANKENSTEIN) and Helen Hayes and her husband, Charles MacArthur (whom I had known since I filmed THE FRONT PAGE, which he had coauthored with Ben Hecht), and the young man to whom I was informally engaged. And who won the Oscar that year? Helen Hayes, my friend, for THE SIN OF MADELON CLAUDET!”.

There would be no Academy nominations for WATERLOO BRIDGE, but Miss Clarke received a prize which meant more to her than an Oscar. It was a note from Robert Emmet Sherwood, which read, “…I was moved and thrilled and overcome by your marvelous performance in WATERLOO BRIDGE, for which I wish I could thank you adequately.” Miss Clarke still has the note: “It remains my permanent treasure.”

Since the sumptuous MGM remake of WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940), with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor, Whale’s version has been sadly consigned to the Metro vaults due to legal imbroglios. There was a too brief reprieve when the 1931 WATERLOO BRIDGE played at the Museum of Modern Art on September 5 and 8, 1977, as part of “MOMA’s” mammoth Universal retrospective. The film revealed Whale’s early, harmonious blending of the freedom of cinema with the drama, flourish, and excitement of the theatre. However, for those fortunate enough to have seen the film, the most memorable feature was Mae Clarke’s Myra. She is truly one of Whale’s noble misfits, one of his most real and heartbreaking outcasts. In JOURNEY’S END, Whale had presented Colin Clive’s Stanhope, a tormented, alcoholic hero, believing his soul irreparably destroyed by the horrors of war; in WATERLOO BRIDGE, the director showcased Myra, another victim, believing herself forever damned and hopelessly unworthy due to her life of prostitution. Whale’s own sensitivity and great bitterness reflect in Mae Clarke’s eyes throughout this performance, and a number of his most memorable characters – Karloff’s forsaken Monster, Claude Rains’ poisoned INVISIBLE MAN, Helen Morgan’s hapless mulatto Julie – are all relatives to Myra’s sadness and profound loneliness.

There followed FRANKENSTEIN.

Mae Clarke in WATERLOO BRIDGE, 1931 Mae Clarke in WATERLOO BRIDGE, 1931

“FRANKENSTEIN was a sensational story,” said Whale of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s 1818 classic, “and had a chance to become a sensational picture.” After Robert Florey had fumbled a 2-reel test with Bela Lugosi ludicrous as a Golem-’sque Monster, Whale took the property. He sent to England for Colin Clive, his cadaverous, nearly insane Stanhope, to play Frankenstein, and chose gaunt, doe-eyed Boris Karloff-found sipping tea in the Universal commissary – for the Monster, and Whale wanted his leading lady, Mae Clarke, for the heroine, Elizabeth:

“When we had our first rehearsal meeting, I said, ‘Really? British Lady Elizbeth?’ Mr. Whale said, ‘I think so. We won’t have to go in for the broad ‘A’ – just word here and there for flavoring.’ I warned about the English accent, but finally Mr. Whale said, ‘When you speak-remember to cross your ‘f’s.”

On Monday, August 24, 1931, FRANKENSTEIN began shooting, with a $262,007 budget and a 30-day schedule. The adventure of making this most famous of all horror films was unforgettable for Mae Clarke. She is still in awe of her leading man:

“Colin Clive was the dearest, kindest (in he real meaning of ‘kind’) man, who gave you importance. He was so wonderful, so clever. When he started acting in a scene, wanted to stop and just watch and think, ‘Here I am, playing scenes with this marvelous actor!’ Mr. Whale would say, ‘Colin’s voice is like a pipe organ… I just pull out the stops, and he produces his music.’”

“Colin was electric. I was mesmerized by him – so much so that I hoped it didn’t show! When he looked at me, I’d blush. He had a wife, back in England, and I had my young man (of the WATERLOO BRIDGE premiere). In fact, I was glad my fiancé was at the premiere that night – to be my good anchor against my stormy waves of fancy for Colin.”

Clive had a tragic life; a terribly sensitive artist, he died alone in Hollywood in 1937, victim of consumption and alcoholism. He was only 37 years old. As Miss Clarke remembers:

“He was the handsomest man I ever saw – and also the saddest. Cohn’s sadness was elusive; the sadness you see if you contemplate many of the master painters’ and sculptors’ conceptions of the face of Christ-the ultimate source, in my view of all sadness.”

“…One man crazy-three very sane spectators!” cackled Clive in the great creation sequence, as Frankenstein and his hunchbacked dwarf assistant (Dwight Frye) sent Karloff’s Monster up to the tower roof to receive the life-giving lightning. John Boles, Edward Van Sloan and Miss Clarke were the “very sane” trio who were the in-scene audience. Whale staged the spectacle magnificently, and Miss Clarke says:

“We had nothing to do or say, but just watch, and I believe we actors experienced exactly what future audiences would feel as the film rolled on the screens. We stopped short of fainting, which many ticket buyers did do, but I, for one, felt all of the awe, terror, and disbelief that our theatre audiences did. As we became inured to its drama, since we did it several times from different angles and many close-ups, we were able to enjoy the pyrotechnics and mechanicals as if it were one great and special 4th of July Fireworks Display-just for us! My, but it was noisy!”

Miss Clarke’s eyes glow as she remembers Boris Karloff’s Monster:

“I thought Karloff was magnificent. That scene with the skylight! When he looked up and up and up, and waved his hands at the light, it was a spiritual lesson: Looking at God! It was like when we die, the Beatific Vision, which makes people understand the words: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ears heard, the glories that God has prepared for those who love Him.’

The 4-hour make-up (by the great Jack P. Pierce) and 48-lb. costume were a torture in the summer heat. For Karloff, the only pleasantries were the daily tea break, and hiking up into the Universal hills, like a lost shepherd, enjoying a cigarette and seeking a merciful breeze. Yet the actor never complained. Miss Clarke remembers:

“Observing Boris taking director instructions: towering over the tall Mr. Whale, listening meekly as an obedient, child, both so softly spoken I couldn’t hear a word, then he’d nod his head and Whale would give him an affectionate push at his enormous hanging arms and call out, ‘Ready for camera.’ Boris was unbelievable patience and endurance and, as the world now sees, ha gave an incredible performance. He made that Monster understandable and painfully pitiable.”

Whale completed FRANKENSTEIN Saturday, October 3, 1931, 5 days over schedule. After some notorious previews, FRANKENSTEIN premiered at New York’s Mayfair Theatre Friday, December 4, 1931. The result was a sensation and one of the Screen’s enduring classics. Whale’s genius made a tragic hero not only of Clive’s dynamic “Modern Prometheus,” but also of Karloff’s pathetic Monster. In FRANKENSTEIN, Male, an “outsider,” who had created his own public “self” from an early background of poverty, took a Monster created from graves and charnel houses and made him hauntingly pitiful, strikingly sympathetic, and far more human than the torch-bearing villagers who pursue him. This twist has served as the special charm of Frankenstein, which seems to grow in its charm and beauty each decade.

There would be one more film collaboration for James Whale and Mae Clarke: the anticlimactic IMPATIENT MAIDEN (from he quite racy Donald Henderson Clarke novel Impatient Virgin). It began shooting Wednesday, December 2, 1931, just before the premiere of FRANKENSTEIN. Whale had accepted the project, with its $225,000 budget and 24-day schedule, just to keep busy; he resented the tepid script and the casting of Universal’s Lew Ayres, who had scored so memorably in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. As Mr. Ayres wrote to me:

“Mr. Whale had a reputation as an outstanding director, but I feel he was more or less accustomed to actors with considerably more polish than I possessed at the time. Yet I was the young lad under contract to the studio, and he had me thrust upon him … I tried to do my job, and he said little if anything to me one way or other. Frankly, I don’t think he thought I was correctly cast for the part.”

Whale amused himself on IMPATIENT MAIDEN with clever camera techniques (e.g., “dolly” shots through walls) while completing the film Tuesday, December 29, 1931 – 1 day under schedule and more than $13,000 under budget. The little drama opened March 3, 1932, and the NY Times reported, ” . . . there seems nothing James Whale, the talented director of FRANKENSTEIN and JOURNEY’S END, could have done about this one.” Recently revived (Jan. 7, ‘84) in a UCLA series, IMPATIENT MAIDEN held its audience primarily by the bright snappy scenes between Mae Clarke and Una Merkel.

Mae Clarke never worked with James Whale again. She joined MGM, while Whale stayed at Universal to create some of his finest films: THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932), the romantic farce BY CANDLELIGHT (1933), the elegant ONE MORE RIVER (1934), his gloriously misanthropic BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), SHOW BOAT (1936). As Miss Clarke’s career wound down in the late ’30’s (though she kept working into the 1970’s), so did Whale’s. The sale of Universal by the Laemmle’s to a new and ignorant management, unhappy misadventures at other studios, and tales of scandal (which Miss Clarke believes to be “unfounded and untrue”) caused the director to retire to the wealthy, isolated world of his Pacific Palisades house in 1941. Little was heard of him in Hollywood until his tragic death in 1957; indeed, in his exile and death, he became like a character in one of his films, a fascinating, dramatic outcast.

The Forry Identity

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 11:42



As I write these words, 91 year-old Forrest J. Ackerman is on his deathbed in Los Angeles surrounded by die-hard monster fans and his caregiver. It was just a day or so since he was brought home from the hospital at his own request. This is a bittersweet reflection on a childhood relationship that went sour around 1988, and until this week I have kept my feelings private regarding the circumstances that ended such a powerful tie that bound FJA and me in the magical world of fantasy and imagination.

Who is Forrest J. Ackerman? He may be a well-kept secret to most of the civilized world, but if you are connected in any way to Science Fiction or classic Horror films this man is a legend whose lifetime on Planet Earth has been utterly devoted to becoming just that: a legend is his chosen field of Science Fiction. For those of us who write about film his legacy is even more profound. From the early thirties, Forry has taken the task of preserving, at least in memory if not material, all the genre films that would have fallen through the cracks, regarded as worthless by critics of the day, if not for his magazine and his lifelong interest in them. If you look at film history in 2008, his influence is widely apparent, as we now respect the importance of cult films whether they are Ed Wood-directed fever dreams like PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE with Bela Lugosi in his final bow, or a Z-grade Science Fiction film like ROBOT MONSTER with a gorilla wearing a space helmet.

Forrest Ackerman made himself known to me at an early age through the magazine that will always be his legacy, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. This magazine united for the first time children around the age of 12 like me, who found themselves attracted to horror films thanks to the shock packages of CLASSIC MONSTER MOVIES that were sold to television stations all over America during the fifties and sixties. This was the way baby-boomers were first introduced to Bela Lugosi as DRACULA and Boris Karloff as FRANKENSTEIN. Nearly five decades cannot diminish the memory of the first issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS I ever laid eyes on. My mother and I were in Portland, Oregon on a shopping trip from Seattle where we were living at the time. We were staying in a large hotel downtown that had a newsstand, and from across the lobby I saw this bright yellow cover with blood-red letters that spelled CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF. Above that was the masthead that cried out FAMOUS MONSTER OF FILMLAND.

I must have read that magazine from cover to cover a dozen times before I could put it down and try and comprehend just why I was so excited. Looking back, the magazine justified my obsession with horror films, and for the first time I realized that I was not alone in my rapture for graves and ghouls. Because a guy named Forrest J. Ackerman cared about what I did, all at once as if by magic, I felt endorsed–not to mention part of a coven of like-minded kids that loved what I loved. We would all live then and there for the next issue, which turned out to be number 13.

Thus began my childhood as a fan of the Horror genre in earnest, although by then, 1960, I had already seen most of the Universal classics and never missed a horror film in the theater. My poor mother had to sit through some pretty damaging cinema as I was never “of age” to see a film. When I first saw HOUSE OF WAX in 3-D or, as she always reminds me, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JECKYLL AND MR. HYDE, being just four years-old, I cried during the credits and had to be taken home.

This experience was not unlike what happened to all of us baby-boomers during those days, and Ackerman’s monster parade was always a part of this as his magazine was akin to what the trades are for a Hollywood agent, keeping up with new releases as well as seeing for the first time movie stills from all the horror films that came before.

It was in following the development FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND throughout this period (1958-1983) that Forrest J. Ackerman became more than just the name of its editor. “Uncle” Forry, as he advised all his admirers to address him, lived and breathed what seemed then like an enviable fan-ish lifestyle devotedly to be wished by every reader in each and every issue. He published pictures of himself with notables in the field of horror films and soon we would learn that he had been a fan of science fiction even longer than most of us were on the planet. By the late sixties he had even published an article in FAMOUS MONSTERS about a day in the life of Forrest J. Ackerman. When I read this article, which depicted an adult male, by then in his mid forties, living by himself in the outskirts of Beverly Hills surrounded by nothing but books, Magazines, movie posters and file cabinet after file cabinet of photos from every horror film since CALIGARI, I realized that should be me. He even had his mail box rigged for sound to alert him to what goodies the postman would bring to his house every day. You see, Forrest J. Ackerman was the first of his kind – a FAN, and not just any fan, but a Horror and science fiction fan who lived for that purpose only.

What most of us could not have realized at that time, being so young, was a not-so-subtle variation on the Peter Pan syndrome of never growing up. Forry was Peter and Captain Hook rolled together and we were the lost boys. By the mid sixties Ackerman was allowing the faithful to visit his home if any of us happened to be in Los Angeles and wanted to attend one of his “open Houses,” which took place on Saturdays. We all knew what his place looked like, having seen pictures of every room in the pages of FAMOUS MONSTERS which, by this time, was simply referred to as “FM”.

This was the best of times for monster fans, remembered in the pages of Famous Monsters as “the Ghoul-don years,” and Forry more than lived up to the image we all had of him as the “PIED PIPER OF Horrordom” with a magic monster magazine that endorsed all of us who worshipped at the altar of Karloff and Lugosi and read EC comics instead of doing our homework. He even published an article entitled “Monsters are good for my children” just in case anybody should miss the point. All of this was perfect for that era where drive-ins were the teenage alterative to staying at home ignoring their hormones. At this point, up and coming studios like American International were grinding out Beach Party flicks as well as juvenile adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe, all of which premiered at the drive-in.

Throughout the late fifties and sixties, Ackerman maintained the hugely popular magazine without any reference to the reality of growing up in these turbulent times, yet the readership remained loyal as these monster kids would be among the last to tune in and trip out when the summer of love loomed over the horizon. By this time other monster magazines were beginning to show up on the newsstands, with one in particular standing out as superior in style and content, CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN; yet even as adult an approach as CASTLE was, it still owed its existence to the source of it all FAMOUS MONTERS OF FILMLAND.

By 1962 I was traveling with some regularity from Sacramento to Los Angeles in time to catch Forry at the original home he had during the magazine’s heyday. This address was located in the outskirts of Beverly Hills on Sherborne Drive. The Forrest Ackerman of those days is the way I will always remember him best. Forry dressed in business suits with silk ties as if he had a nine-to-five, and he was never without something under his arm, usually press materials from some new horror film, and dozens of genre magazines. He loved what he was doing, and why not? His work was his passion, the never-ending pursuit of all things fantastic in the visual medium.

He idolized PLAYBOY and the lifestyle of its editor, the legendary Hugh Hefner who, like Ackerman, started a magazine from nothing and created a publishing empire beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. At this time I think both Jim Warren, FM’s publisher, and Forry still had hopes of creating a little empire of their own with spin-off magazines like SPACEMEN and WILDEST WESTERNS. However, as influential as FAMOUS MONSTERS was for the baby-boomers of 1958, the kind of success and fame Hefner would enjoy with PLAYBOY was always well out of reach for Warren and his editor. Ironically, years later, Warren would strike it rich with horror comics like CREEPY, ERRIE and VAMPIRELLA.

The first afternoon I spent at the old address was something a 12-year-old would never forget, walking into a house filled with paintings and posters of fantasy and science fiction, the walls lined with bookcases filled with first editions of rare science fiction, weird fiction and pulp magazines with covers of great beauty and imagination. Forry kept a section of his living room for displaying material that was placed there especially for trading to fans like me. Advance copies of FAMOUS MONSTERS, foreign horror magazines filled with rare stills of films I was yet to discover. It was Ali Baba’s cave in the eyes of even a seasoned collector of such material. I still have the hard cover French film book he gave me that afternoon, which is now in shrink-wrap to keep the pages from falling out. He also collected people like Tor Johnson, who appeared in Ed Wood’s essential PLAN NINE, and my favorite, BRIDE OF THE MONSTER. To Tor and other exotic types, whose only claim to fame were their appearances in grade-Z horror films, Forry must have seemed like an oasis in the desert after being ignored by mainstream show business. Thanks to him, they all became part of our collective consciousness.

This youthful Forrest J. Ackerman was a wonder to behold, as he gave of his time to make sure others would follow in his example–that is, to always find a place for fantasy and imagination in your life. He loved to play music for his guests, and I remember hearing Marlene Dietrich for the first time singing “Falling in Love Again” in Ackerman’s living room while he sang along; absolutely unforgettable.

I began to collect in earnest after that, adding movie posters and stills whenever I could, and of course having every issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS was a given. Forry encouraged me to collect ALL monster magazines as they popped up, and in those days imitation was the highest form of flattery: Forry never felt threatened by any of them. What is amazing to remember is how nothing we collected was of any monetary value at that time. I hate to tell you what we would have in today’s market if the twelve-year-olds of 1962 had kept everything they collected.

I saw Forry whenever I could get down to Los Angeles. As time wore on, high school began, and soon other interests would take hold, yet my devotion to the Horror genre was now part of my imagination and would never leave me completely. After high school I moved to San Francisco and started college; it was during this period that I would see Forry at Science Fiction conventions in Oakland and San Jose.

Whenever I found something from METROPOLIS (which was, by the way, his favorite film), it never occurred to me to keep it; this was an item for Uncle Forry and I would make sure he got it if possible. Forry was forever buying books and movie material from dealers and fans alike. His collection was a work in progress.

Looking back at those conventions of the mid-seventies, Forry was not the Sci-Fi icon he is today, as we were still more or less a decade away from a major critical re-evaluation of these films, or from universities creating classes examining the films of the science fiction and horror genres. Forry had a reputation for being Sci-Fi’s first fan during the early days of pulp fiction in the twenties where he corresponded with Robert Bloch and the master H.P. Lovecraft, who failed to appreciate Forry’s enthusiasm and told him so in a famous letter to the young Ackerman. Robert Bloch on the other hand became a lifelong friend.

During the brightest period in the magazine’s run, Forry was a welcomed guest on film sets and had the opportunity to interview actors no one else would have thought to question. This habit also gave Forry another career, that of the cameo player in such films as Cur

When I finally relocated to Los Angeles in 1976 and subsequently opened a talent Agency, this would be the period where our paths would intertwine the most. By this time Forry Ackerman was living above Griffith Park near the Frank Lloyd Wright house that appeared in William Castle’s HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL in 1959. This home on Glendower was nicknamed the “ACKERMANSION,” even though it was anything but a mansion; it was a large home that once belonged to Jon Hall, a Universal contract player known for starring opposite Maria Montez.

Forry lived at this address with his then wife Wendayne and a South American housekeeper named Suzy, who lived in the quarters downstairs where Ackerman maintained his office and housed the majority of his collection. Wendayne, a lady of German heritage, met Forry in 1950 and they stayed connected. She translated a science fiction series Forry edited called PERRY RHODAN into German, and this series is still running today.

At this point I was part of Forry’s inner circle as I passed muster with then “assistant to the Ackermonster” Dennis Billows, who took care of Forry like a mother hen, and lived to regret it as did all those who followed who tried to bring order and keep the thieves away from his collection of increasingly valuable movie stills, props and posters. The reason these assistants never lasted too long was the tension that developed when outsiders would try and trade things away from Forry or make demands Dennis felt were unfair. Sometimes Forry would place Dennis in the middle and then side with the other person against him. Dennis left after a fashion, and this would go on until the magazine was no more.

As I write this I keeping checking on Forry’s condition which is still grave, and I can’t help but read with amusement the evaluations of others who have only known him for the last ten years or so as a fragile elder with a legendary past, a Santa Clause from an alternative universe who gave of himself freely so fandom could flourish in his wake. Death is without a doubt the ultimate equalizer and I now fully acknowledge and appreciate that his intense devotion to the genre of Science fiction and fantasy far outweighs his shameless self-promotion and ego-mania that alienated many in his lifetime.

Let it be noted that Forry is and was a fascinating character, even by Hollywood standards, not without his faults mind you, but a decent man who did much for the genre he in many ways helped create. He could have been so much more, as I discovered the day George Pal died. Let me explain: for years as a reader of FM, I was accustomed to Forry’s writing being juvenile and filled with puns, and it never bothered me because the photos were more than enough to make me happy at the time; in other words I never thought of Ackerman as much of a “writer” in the sense of, say, Ray Bradbury, although I knew Forry had once long ago tried his hand at fiction. The weekend of George Pal’s passing both Chris Deitrich – my life partner, and I were on duty at the Ackermansion to give Forry an open window to draw up what he was going to say at the funeral as the widow had asked for Forry to deliver the eulogy. Forry put it together in one evening and no one saw it until he delivered the eulogy at the service. The day of the funeral arrived and as we all took our seats I was next to actor Ron Ely who had played the title role in Pal’s last film DOC SAVAGE. Forry went to the podium and knocked the text right out of the park; it was fantastic. At the reception later in the day I went up to him and said, “You know, I just don’t believe you, Ackerman. You can WRITE! Why in the hell don’t you do this more often?” His reply was typical Ackerman: “Well for one thing we don’t lose a George Pal every day, now do we?”

Chris had replaced Dennis Billows as Forry’s assistant and because of that I was at the Ackermansion on Glendower almost every day for over a year. This gave me an unprecedented view into Forry and Wendy’s daily routine, which revealed for starters a marriage that was all but in name only. When I say this I should explain that when a man is so in touch with his inner child as Ackerman was, there could never be children in such a marriage. He was always to play that role himself. Wendy had a son already from her first marriage named Michael, and Forry grew to hate this man, and with good reason. Michael was a spoiled and willful guy who tormented Forry. The relationship was like Dwight Frye and the Frankenstein monster for real. I recall seeing Michael come down the stairs with lit books of matches hellbent on setting fire to Forry’s collection of a lifetime. He finally moved to Hawaii leaving the Ackermans somewhat alone, although Wendy would dote on her son throughout her lifetime.

Wendy was, in spite of her temperament, good for Forry because she prevented certain people from taking advantage of him, as she was more practical and refused to let his collecting excesses’ climb the stairs into the main house. None of it was allowed to be displayed upstairs except for some very rare and valuable fantasy art and one bookcase with his first editions and rare Arkham house books. All of Forry’s books and movie material was housed downstairs and out in a make shift garage he dubbed the “Garage-Mahal,” which was filled to the rafters with posters and billboards and the original paintings for some of the covers of FAMOUS MONSTERS. When Mayor Bradley came to the house and gave Forry an award in the form of a beautifully designed document complete with a seal from the mayor’s office from the City of Los Angeles, this was to cement an agreement allowing Forry to donate his collection, especially his books, to the city. This of course never happened because Forry wanted them to build something to house the collection and then allow him to curate the result. I had the award beautifully framed, and Wendy reluctantly allowed it to be hung in the hall.

If only Mayor Bradley had pulled it off and Forry had not made so many demands we would have an amazing library today to honor his name and accomplishments. These failures were not lost on Forry and he became sad as the realization that the powers that be both in fandom as well as the city of Los Angeles were willing to bestow titles and nicknames on him without any real respect in a solid way he could take to the bank. What is tragic to think about is that all of it was finally lost in lawsuits and attorney’s fees in a situation beyond repeating here, which led Forry to attempt to resurrect the magazine, and he spent the next ten years in courtrooms, casting a shadow over a lifetime of service. My friend Alan White, a longtime fan and supporter of both Forry and the Academy of Science Fiction, interviewed Forry on the subject of the frustration of being the first to carry the flag of fandom and the lack of appreciation for what for him was always a labor of love. Let Ackerman speak for himself on the subject:

“I’ve no hope whatsoever in fandom, none whatsoever. I’m a member of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. I was at the first meeting; I have been the director, the secretary, the treasurer, the publisher, the editor, the garbage man, everything you can think of. I’ve poured thousands of dollars into that club. I’ve been to over 1500 meetings of it. I have never once heard any suggestion that they pay a dime to help me out. I understand that over a hundred fans a week go to the club and I’ve put on the bulletin board that I have open house here. I’d be hoping for members of LASFS to come and see the place, but you know I just don’t seem to exist and the unkindest cut of all…finally 50 years rolled around and I went to the 50th anniversary meeting–there I was the sole survivor of the very first meeting and I thought they’d like me to get up and tell how it began, the highlights the lowlights and so on. Well, the speaker of the evening was Harlan Ellison who continually claims he doesn’t write Science Fiction and he began by saying something like, ‘I don’t know why you invited me because in 26 years I’ve only been to three meetings.’ I sat there through the entire meeting as though I was the Invisible Man, nobody ever said, ‘Oh Forry Ackerman…he was our first member.’ So I drove back with my wife and I said, ‘You know, have I lived too long or what?’ She says, ‘Well, young people, they don’t care about history, the world began when they were born and that is all they are interested in – themselves.’”

I think this was a difficult time for him as he wanted too much to see a museum or a library come forth or the funds to build one. For a time he had interest from Japanese fans to raise money to create just that but something always got in the way, Ultimately Forrest Ackerman would become a victim of his own bad judgment.

During this period I would bring genre celebrities I thought Forry would enjoy meeting up to the Ackermasion and it was always an experience to see how each one would react to the situation. Beverly Garland drove me up there one afternoon and proved herself to be not only a great lady but a good sport as well. Once she got a load of Forry’s collection she took us aside and told him this: “Are you nuts? …You mean to tell me you have people come in this office space and do whatever without a watcher? You are going to be robbed blind!” Forry changed the subject and gave her two posters from her cult films and the conversation went south after that. Of course she was right but Forry would just disregard such advice and was robbed blind right up until he moved out of the home altogether. However, not all were so candid as Beverly; most of the guests I brought up to see him were always amazed at his childlike sense of joy at having this collection and being able to share it with anyone who cared to make the journey.

There are so many memories I could relate regarding life with Forry, having experienced the best of times and the worst of times. However, as we baby boomers approach 60, looking back can be enlightening yet we can do nothing to change the past, and the future is what we make it. Forry has had a great run and for a man who lived on his own terms I can’t think of a more glorious final curtain than to be surrounded by caring fans and know that somehow you made a difference.

I will always keep this image of Forrest Ackerman in my heart: When I was going to Europe back in the 70’s Forry asked me to drop by on my way to the airport. I came up to the door and he walked outside wearing his favorite Hawaiian shirt loaded with buttons. He was smiling ear to ear and he handed me an envelope with a letter inside. He told me to read it on the plane and make as much use of it as I saw fit. I thanked him in advance for whatever it was and went on my merry way. At the bar at LAX I ordered a preflight Bloody Mary and decided to see what the Ackermonster had to say; the letter read as follows:

“For whom it may concern: this is my pal David Del Valle who has proven to me over time that he knows and loves all the same films and books that I do…Please treat him as you would my own son if I had one and let him purchase or trade for material that will ultimately serve us both.” (This note was followed by Forry’s unmistakable red ink signature on his one-of-a-kind stationary)

Forry and I often talked of time machines and how wonderful it would be to have one…Tonight I wish they really did exist because I would climb in one and go back to the day before we had our falling out and make it right. Having him out of my life all these years has truly been my loss. Goodbye, Forry.

How can you ever thank a man for giving you the key to unlock a world of Gods and monsters?

tis Harrington’s QUEEN OF BLOOD and THE TIME TRAVELERS with Preston Foster. Forry enjoyed himself hugely on these projects and has since appeared in dozens of films including a moment in Michael Jackson’s THRILLER music video. You can spot Forry seated behind Jackson in the theater as they watch–what else?–a horror film.

  • Az eredeti írást ITT találtam

YouTube video: Anthony Perkins on Late Night with David Letterman (1990)

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , | Posted on 21:03

Director updates on Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Brood

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , , , , | Posted on 7:36

A hír nem mai, de nekem valahogy elkerülte a figyelmemet eddig. Nem is tudom mit gondoljak róla. Egy dolog bizonyos: nem érzek bizsergést annak hallatán, hogy újabb mesterműveket-et próbálnak megerőszakolni a Nagy Újracsinálási hullám keretében. Azért várjuk ki a végét ... bár szinte biztosra mondhatom, hogy az "új" filmek látványosak lesznek, tele CGI-vel meg drámai hangeffektekkel. A popcorn-habzsoló moziba járó tömegeknek ennyi is biztosan elég lesz, de hol marad a régi filmek hangulata és a találékonyság, amivel akkoriban megoldották pl. a víz alatti felvételeket?

IT'S been taking rather a long time for the Creature from the Black Lagoon to re-emerge on to the big screen for the planned remake. And now it's evolving yet again...

The project has been in development at Universal for more than a quarter of a century and the studio has just hired a new director, Carl Rinsch.

Rinsch, whose previous work is mainly in commercials, was recently linked to the new Alien prequel (now being helmed by Ridley Scott) and will be in the hotseat for the samurai film 47 Ronin (starring Keanu Reeves).

Meanwhile, Breck Eisner - who had dropped out of the Creature remake earlier this year - is now directing a new version of The Brood, David Cronenberg's 1979 horror film about mutant children instructed to carry out violence through a psychic link with their mother.

The original Creature from the Black Lagoon, about an amphibious missing link (referred to as the Gill-man) living in the Amazon basin, was released in an early form of 3D back in 1954.

In 1982, filmmaker John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) wanted to get the original director Jack Arnold to update the film in a new 3D remake and a story featuring two Gill-men was crafted. But Universal scrapped the idea over budget concerns and a clash with another 3D project.

It wasn't until 1995 that serious talk began again, with Peter Jackson offered the chance to come aboard. But he chose King Kong instead.

Then, in 2001, Arthur A. Ross - the late co-writer of the original - and his son Gary became involved in producing the remake. At one point, Guillermo del Toro was set to direct but his plate was piled high so he had to move on.

Eisner signed on to direct in October 2005. The idea at that time was to reinvent the Gill-man as a mutant caused by a pharmaceutical company's pollution as they exploited the Amazon for profit.

Eisner spent six months working on the look of the new creature with Jurassic Park designer Mark McCreery. He also had a boat set built and was rewriting the screenplay.

Now, with Rinsch in the director's chair, the project's script has gone back to the drawing board.

Forty Years Mistery Solved: The Music Behind Plan 9 from Outer Space

Posted by Satanizmo | Posted in , , , , | Posted on 16:49