Sunday 12 May 2024

Roger Corman passses away at age 98!

Can't say that I'm actually shocked about Roger Corman's passing (he was, after all 98, and after age 85 you are on borrowed time). That said, Corman was a remarkable piece of my history in that one of the first horror films I recall seeing on Chiller Theater was Beast With A Million Eyes (1955). In fact, with Sci-Fi theater on channel 9 mid mornings Saturdays, I caught all the Corman sci-fi's way before I had the Poe films, which actively played channel 7 on the 4:30 movies throughout the 1970's. The Poe films are still my largest influence, my first feature Bloody Ape based on Murders in the Rue Morgue. My fourth-coming Three Slices of Delirium also based on Poe. I had two small instances with Corman. First, I had seen him at a convention in Manhattan late 90's, in fact I gave him the promo teaser for Bloody Ape and told him I'd work for free for his company (by the way, that was total bullshit, I would not have worked for free for him, but I thought it sounded good). Later, when Corman had a presence on Facebook, he congratulated me on the Blitzkrieg premier at the Two Boots Cinema in Manhattan. That meant a lot. I've interviewed many folks over the years who had worked for Corman, Jack Hill and Mel Welles in particular. One of the nicest guys was David DeCoteau, who was kind enough to interview several key personal in exploitation cinema for a forthcoming documentary from both myself and Robert Hauschild of Visual Vengeance. This was over 12 years ago, but some things are meant to marinate, believe me once done it will be worth it. That said, Dave had nothing but braise for Corman. Corman was a rare force of nature. A once in a life time type of guy. He will be forever missed. The below photos come from a French magazine in my collection dated from 1964.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Dracula- Broadway, 1977. Playbill signed by Frank Langells.

I was very lucky when I was a kid because I had various folks in my life who treated me very well. Lamenting the late Nick Wexler the other day, I was prompted to drag out my play bill of Dracula, the Broadway play Nick and my sister took me to see in 1977. It was my very first Broadway play, and what a fantastic experience it was to see Frank Langella in a role he was meant to have. I was 12 years old, and I was a Universal pictures freak, I grew up on the old Dracula and Frankenstein films. To go back to where it all started was the experience of a life time. My fondest memory was of Harker and Van Helsing wrestling down Dracula only to have him emerge as a bat from between the both of them. A simple trap door trick but my God it was so impressive. One of the stupider things I did in life was not accepting free tickets from my middle school teacher to see Raul Julia as Dracula. My thought at the time was that I had seen the play with Langella, how can you top that!? I think the woman who offered me the tickets was insulted, I wasn't being rude, just practical I guess. And yes, I did see the movie version with Frank Langella in 1979 when it came out. I had seen it at the Lynbrook theater, I liked it at the time, but I'd need to do a reassessment now. Anyhow, I wanted to share my signed play bill with all the Dracula and Langella fans, and thank the late Nick Wexler again for all the kindness he shared with me. It was a magical time and I never will forget it....

Friday 1 April 2022

Happy 139 Birthday Lon Chaney Sr!

A Happy Birthday to the immortal Long Chaney Sr, who at 139 years old still creeps into our nightmares via his cinematic output with his partner in crime Todd Browning. This promo piece is original and from my personal collection.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

I was scanning this in answer to another post regarding Chained for Life, but decided to post on this myself. This is a promotional pamphlet for Chained for Life (1952) featuring Daisy and Violet Hilton of Freaks (1932) fame. It tells the story of their life right up to Chained for Life, it's a full ten pages from cover to cover, complete with many photos. It's signed by Violet Hilton but not Daisy, which makes very little sense in that they couldn't have wondered too far from one another. Looks like a fairly rare piece, I don't see a lot of these around, and being a Freaks fanatic it's one of my more treasured pieces....

Tuesday 1 March 2022

A sad goodbye to Veronica Carlson

I just want to take a moment to give my condolences on the passing of Veronica Carlson. I met Veronica once, in 1992, during the golden era of the Exploitation Journal years. She was one of the sweetest women I have ever met, so good natured, very easy to talk to. Very proper and very British. Gods speed to her, and my deepest condolences to her family. This past week has given me some really heavy hits. First, losing Gary Brooker, who was one of my top Gods. Then losing Veronica. Sad week indeed!

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Goodbye to Gary Brooker- Serious loss to any Procol Harum fan!

I'm so saddened today to hear of the death of Gary Brooker, lead vocalist, piano player and co-writer of the music of Procol Harum. Harum is my #1 British group, in fact I used to annoy people telling them how much I felt the Beatles were overrated, but then carry on about how damn good Procol Harum was. It's obvious that A Whiter Shade of Pale was background music when I was growing up, that and the live version of Conquistador received quite a bit of radio play. But thanks to my best friend Paul Richichi, I became a full blown Harum fan when he turned me on to all the albums in the early 1980's. From there on, there was no stopping me from consuming anything Harum related. But why was I so infatuated? Because Harum was dark, gothic and moody. If you listen to Dead Mans Dream from the Home album, you might as well be watching a Lucio Fulci zombie movie. And this was recorded long before Fulci was messing with Zombies. Despite their Blues roots, the group was very British and didn't apologize for being that. They told stories of of being lost at sea (A Salty Dog) and subjected to the plights of lousy weather while afloat (The Wreck of the Hesperus). With Whaling Stories, they speak of a siege that "rots it all, and rots it clean". I'm a Long Island boy with strong British roots, why would I not love this! With Nothing That I Didn't Know, he speaks of the death of a young girl, most likely do to drugs (that's open for interpretation). But I've lost high school acquaintances to various means, so how could I not relate to all this. I was lucky enough to see Procol Harum at least 9 times over the past 30 years. While I was too young to see the classic line ups of the late 60's and early 70's, the reformed Harum which featured both Brooker and organist Matthew Fisher of the 90's and early 2000's was an amazing sight and sound. In fact the last show I had seen with Procol Harum was in 2019, I had taken a friend for his birthday. And I was never, ever disappointed with their shows, they were dead on every-time I had seen them. A few years earlier I was lucky enough to witness the group play the whole In Held Twas I. A complex number to say the least, they rarely did it live. I was blown out of my seat. I was counting on them touring again once all this Covid nonsense stopped. Looks like I wont be getting that show now. Gods speed to Gary Brooker, his voice defies description, and those Procol Harum albums will continue to bring me joy in the upcoming years. The photo below is myself with Gary Brooker at a Harum show back in 2014.

Saturday 22 January 2022

An Article About My Past and Present!

Mike Reistetter of Messenger Papers Inc. Does an interview with me about my past, present and future. Dig in and find out what is going on. Click on picture for the article.