Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monster Kid Movie Memories Part 2

KISS Marvel Super Special 1977; notable for using the bands blood mixed in with the ink. Contains lots of cool behind the scenes pictures. The cover on my mag is a bit rough, but the pages are still milky white.

This is part 2 of the 3 part catalog of mega monstrous movie memories! There's an assortment of pics including a handful of my own from various magazine and comics covers and also some trading cards. This one was originally a bit smaller, but has grown over the last few days. I hope some of you enjoy reading it and maybe even reminiscing a bit!


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Lucio Fulci's zombie island massacre was my introduction into the fine art of the Italian zombie picture. I remember my dad renting both this and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET the day it came out on video. The latter was referred by a girl working at Action video (which also rented LD's at the time). ZOMBIE was my pick. This was the first Wizard Video edition (not a big box) which I later bought a used copy of. I remember the tape well as it had the entire synopsis of the movie on the back and that iconic rotted corpse visage on the front. Both movies effectively frazzled me, but ZOMBIE ensured I slept sitting up in the middle of the bed with the nightlight on in my room. I was later lucky enough to get my hands on an original poster for the film (given to me by one of my best friends) after I got ripped off on ebay for the same poster.


Unused and unfinished piranha sequence

This was my second experience with Italian cannibal movies. The first is a few spots down (and it's a doozy). I first came to learn of this movie in the great Chas Balun book, Horror Holocaust. At the time, I was so much into gorror movies, I had a handful of mail order services I was sampling. One of them was Mondo Video (an upcoming Mail Order Madness! entry will feature Mondo Video) out of Tennessee. I ordered a VHS tape of Deodato's movie, widescreen from Venezuela and with Spanish subtitles. There was a trailer for some nasty mondo movie on there, too. Needless to say, my jaw was on the floor after seeing this one. My dad wanted to watch it and made it to the adultery scene. After that, he promptly cut the movie off and took it out of the VCR and went upstairs. I asked him if he was gonna finish the movie and his response was, "That movie is evil! You'll never see this again!" Not long after, I managed to sneak the tape out of his cabinet and never heard anything else about it.


Unfortunately, I don't have the postcards anymore


This was one action film that I had always wanted to see and was thrilled when I first saw a preview of it on channel 45 as an upcoming feature. I did manage to catch it late one evening on a Sunday night and was really impressed with it. I tried to watch it every chance it was on television eventually buying the DVD and then the first DVD release. I skipped over the tinkered with version. My first trip to New York in 1996 was a choice opportunity to encounter many of the locations. Later on I met and spoke with Michael Beck (Swan) at a WARRIORS reunion at a Chiller con. It has since become my favorite quotable movie. "Caaan yoooouuuu dig iiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!"


This is a random set of trading cards in one of my albums

The release of SUPERMAN was a spectacular experience for a lot of people, but for whatever reason, it didn't really sink in till SUPERMAN 2 came along. I remember my mom buying me that over-sized DC Comics Superman 2 Collectors Album. Lots and lots of great pics from both films, but predominantly the sequel. I wish I still had that. However, I do still have the complete Topps Trading Cards series for the film in mint condition safely tucked away in an album. Undoubtedly one of the best sequels of all time.


This is a B/W comics magazine


After reading all about the Gamera movies in the Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films book by Jeff Rovin, I was shocked to discover this 1980 Gamera flick on channel 48 after THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET one Saturday afternoon. Curiously, this one wasn't mentioned in the book, but there was a mention for a GAMERA VS. LEO whatever that was supposed to be. The Gamera movies were much more kiddie oriented than Godzilla, but had more monster gore. A lot of fans dis this movie for its preponderance of stock monster footage. It's like a greatest hits package to me. It uses some of the best scenes, edits them far more tightly than they were in the actual movies, contains a group of supergirls and rocks along with a jammin' monster movie score. Obviously, STAR WARS and SUPERMAN were inspirations. I'd watch this one any day over the other Gamera movies. Loved it as a kid and love it now.

TV FLASHBACK! #1 ROLLER DERBY (or rollergames)

above, below and insert; google images

The Rollergames was a massive favorite of mine as a kid. In the early 80's a bunch of us used to watch them at the Boy's Club after school. Channel 48 had them on during the week at 11pm and CBS also aired matches Saturday's at 12pm. One of my grandmother's sisters had a swimming pool and when we had lunch, me and my cousin would watch the show before going back into the pool. I don't how much of it was real, but damn, if they didn't take some hellacious bumps. I still remember a number of the players on the famous Los Angeles Thunderbirds team.

Players like Ronnie "Psycho" Rains, "Skinny Minnie" Gwen Miller, the great Ralphie Valladares, Frank Maceda, Sam Washington and coach, "Big" John Hall. My other favorite team was the Detroit Devils led by the mean and nasty "Mizz" Georgia Hase (pronounced like Hoss). Hase liked to stir up lots of turmoil between teams and often instigated brawls. I wish I still had a lot of those old VHS tapes with Rollergames on them. Lots of fun times watching that.


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I remember getting all excited when this movies trailer aired on television back in 1980. I remember harassing my dad to go see it and we did that afternoon. I really dug it as a kid and the toothy, Frisbee like monsters were creepy as was the huge alien hunter that tosses them. Seeing it again now, I'm not sure what all the fuss was about. Recently, I managed to get a hold of a really cool lobby set of the film from Not really a good movie at all, but a nice trip down memory lane for this unusual variation on the slasher movie. Review here.



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Few movies spooked me as much as JAWS and ALLIGATOR was one of them. It made me afraid of getting in a pool at night and even made me think twice about sitting on the toilet! I remember seeing the trailer on television and then suddenly, it seemed it wasn't long before it was the ABC Movie of the Week, which is where I saw it for the first time. Another huge favorite, I was startled to discover that the TV version had some additional scenes not in the videotape, something that wasn't unusual back then.


I don't remember seeing anything about this movie prior to my parents renting it from this video place called Kelly's. It was an electronics store and they also rented out movies. That was where I saw HALLOWEEN and BARBARELLA for the first time as well as AMOS & ANDY and Disney tapes like 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and SONG OF THE SOUTH which were housed in these big puffy yellow clamshells. Anyway, FLASH GORDON made a massive impression on me. So much so I remember going to a local Pizza Hut and playing the theme song in the jukebox several times. I also bought all three parts of the Whitman comics version of the movie which I still have.


William Smith (left) and Clint Eastwood (right)

Both these Clint comedy classics (the other is EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE 1978) are huge favorites of mine, but this one is special in another way; it was my first major introduction to the baddest screen tough guy, William Smith. As Jack Wilson, Smith participated in one audaciously spectacular bare knuckle brawl. Looking a bit different here, I knew I'd seen Smith somewhere before and soon realized I had seen him on channel 48(!!!) in the suspense flick, PIRANHA, PIRANHA (1974) and also on Shock Theater with INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973). Having been in pretty much everything, he also had a cameo as Conan's dad in the first movie about the Hyperborian Age Cimmerian.


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In addition to Commander USA's Groovie Movies, the USA Network also had KUNG FU THEATRE on Sundays (or Saturdays?); the USA Cartoon Express, a 90 minute block of cartoons (mostly Hanna-Barbera); NIGHT FLIGHT, an ahead of its time program that aired after hours into the next day. It featured music videos, short films and cult movies. One of the segments was the hour long 'Rick Shaw's Takeout Theater'. This was where I first saw the wonderfully goofy ISLAND WARRIORS (1981). Also, NIGHT FLIGHT aired frequent episodes of DYNAMAN, an intentionally badly dubbed version of a Japanese Tokusatsu show, the likes of which morphed into the hugely popular POWER RANGERS years later. USA also had SATURDAY NIGHTMARES that aired at 8pm Saturday evenings. Then there was USA UP ALL NIGHT, another movie program with a comedic host that aired Friday's and Saturday nights. For these, the slant was mostly 'B' movies and crude comedies. The lovely Caroline Schlitt was the first host while squinty eyed Gilbert Gottfried was another. The bosomy and bubbly Rhonda Shear replaced Schlitt after a few years if I am remembering it correctly.


Google images; A few years later I managed to buy the very same copy of the tape I rented from The Video Station when they went out of business. I sold it when DVD's hit and wished I'd held onto this one and a handful of others for there box art

This one got me into all kinds of trouble with my grandparents. There was a local video store in town and they had LOADS of horror titles and by loads I mean hundreds. There was this one day I apparently decided to rent the most disgusting movies I could find. Well I settled on this and THE WIZARD OF GORE (1970). Needless to say, Lenzi's cannibal classic got me in some serious hot water. I was ten at the time and I made the mistake of popping this in during the day with my grandparents present. One of my grandfathers friends was over at the house (everybody called him Santa Claus cause he was big and had white hair and beard). The scene where 'Naughty Mike' gouges the indio's eye out comes up and Santa Claus says, "Good God, what are you watching?!" To which my grandfather replied, "I don't know, some shit Brian rented, turn that shit off, boy!" After this, they cracked down on what I was watching and confiscated all my magazines and horror tapes. And I never did get to finish watching WIZARD OF GORE although I did sneak and watch about 70 minutes of it while my grandfather was out the next day.



Both this and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP were elusive movies for this young 7 year old boy at the time. I was kept away from the Corman classic tale of monster fish mating with human women for a number of years, but apparently rape by a giant maggot was okay. I remember sitting down at my uncles house one weekend and checking out GALAXY OF TERROR (which he'd recorded off HBO the night before) while enjoying some McDonald's cheeseburgers.


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I remember going trick or treating one Halloween in '81 or '82 and wanting to be home to see this movie on television. I sat down in the den, ate my candy and watched this superior TV movie spookshow. The next day at school, me and several other friends talked about it in class. A supremely effective 'revenge from beyond the grave' tale that finally gets a belated DVDebut very soon from VCI.


Still got all the posters in this one and they've only been opened once...honest


I first caught this strange hybrid at 1am on local station, the then WNRW channel 45. They weren't as good as channel 48, but they frequently had some good stuff on there. They used to have a yearly PLANET OF THE APES marathon which was always welcomed. What made this flesh eating mummy movie so special is that the station showed it uncut(!) The first time I saw it, it had already been on for about 15 minutes. It showed up later again and I was amazed at how gruesome it was. Curiously, the print shown on channel 45 was brighter than any other version I have ever seen including the stateside VHS tape and even the Anchor Bay UK DVD.


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I first ran across this movie in Action video in the laserdisc aisle and not long after, I saw it on HBO. NBC aired it late one night, and I managed to record it, although it was shorn of some questionable bits here and there. It quickly became a huge favorite resulting in my watching it almost everyday. I had never seen a movie before that featured so many cool clips from all kinds of monster movies. I was already familiar with the comedians featured in the segments from my parents and relatives love of Saturday Night Live (the JAWS skit was always one I loved and the one where the SNL cast were dressed up like comic book superheroes). Thankfully, a friend had this on LD and transferred it over to disc for me as it will likely never come out on DVD. Review here.


This pic and insert--google images

Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) was the very first horror host I ever recall seeing in full on spooky regalia (and damn, didn't it look good on her!). Our version of Shock Theater was my first exposure with these kinds of shows, but I don't recall there being an actual dressed up host. There'd be this blue screen with a silhouette of a spiders web across the screen. The sound of a heart beat would be heard on the soundtrack as the camera would zoom in and out with each increasingly loud beat. Then, a piercing scream from a woman would be heard followed by blood pouring down the screen and a voiceover would utter, "Shock Theater!" Back to Elvira, I'll not only remember the Queen 'B' for her heaving, bouncing bosom, but for turning me on to some cool curios such as ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1977) and TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971). There was more than enough schlock to go around with films like BLOOD BATH (1975), THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT (1975) and FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS (1974). Movie Macabre is a much missed program and thankfully, Shout! Factory has released a handful of them on DVD.


When I saw this movie from start to finish about a year after it hit videotape, I was awestruck. I had already collected a number of the Marvel Comics such as Conan the Barbarian and King Conan (and also some spin offs such The Warlord and Thongor). In 1984, my Cimmerian palette was satiated with my very first issue of The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian. It was the most violent comic I'd ever seen. It was all in B/W (except the cover) and reminded me a lot of the movie. Inker, Ernie Chan became an instant favorite and I anxiously looked forward to any issues that had his artistry in them.


These are B/W comic magazines. They differ a lot from the standard color comic books in that they are far more adult in tone in their depiction of graphic violence and sexual situations. This was my very first issue of this awesome comic magazine


I first spied this cult classic in those very small and glossy HBO guides which was a thinner equivalent to the TV Guides of the time. Since the movie version of Conan impressed me to no end, this picture about a man who can control animals to aid in revenge for his villages destruction was sure to be an instant winner. It was, and the inclusion of a scantily clad Tanya Roberts ensured its success on my then impressionable mind. Like another favorite, CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), it soon went on to become one of the most requested movies on television.

An additional, gratuitous lobby card featuring Tanya Roberts


This pic and insert--google images

Talk about an amazing production! Being such a huge Muppets fan, it was a major eyeopener to see such a darkly ominous and gloomy film from Jim Henson and Frank Oz; the total polar opposite of their more familiar product. I got the Marvel Super Special (which I don't have anymore) of this one, too. In third grade at Halloween we got these discount passes to see a mystery horror movie, but the ticket didn't say what the movie was. The theater was at half capacity and I had, like a lot of people, thought it was gonna be some new movie, but it was THE DARK CRYSTAL, which me and several others had already seen just a few weeks prior in the theater. There were a lot of sighs in the crowd, but once it started, everybody was into it all over again.


Chang Cheh's spectacularly gory superhero live action comic book was my first experience with the Black Belt Feature (soon to morph into Martial Arts Theater, then Kung Fu Theater). The Black Belt Feature was first on in the early evening around 5 or 6 on Saturday's. The program ended up being so popular, it was then moved to five nights a week at 11pm. Review here.

STAR TREK 2 1982

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Me, my parents and aunt and uncle all went out to see this opening night. After being disappointed in the first STAR TREK movie (which I saw in the theater, too), this one was everything that one should have been. At that time, I didn't recall seeing the original 'Space Seed' episode the movie was utilizing as its source. Having already been familiar with Ricardo Montalban from FANTASY ISLAND (Back then, this show was on ABC back to back with THE LOVE BOAT), it was awesome to see him playing such an insidious villain. I remember the gasps of amazement when Montalban removed his coat revealing his toned physique (not sure why some people didn't believe it was really him; he was always a big actor) and the theater literally erupted in tears when Spock died. An amazing movie and an amazing score by Horner, which I had on cassette tape soon after.

KRULL 1983

This was my favorite movie at one time. After seeing the trailer, I made it known I really wanted to see this. Me and a friend were dropped off at the cinema one day and there was about ten people in the theater. We arrived a bit early and caught the last few minutes of the movie before the showing we were attending officially began. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it. I also bought the Marvel comics adaptation, the original poster and the first CD release of the score on Southern Cross. I later bought the complete double CD set of what I deem to be James Horner's finest and most opulent score. This is definitely one Science Fiction Fantasy film that needs a lot more love. Review here.


Fangoria issue #55; insert--google images

The mid to late 1980's was a good time on weekends and the USA Network had one of my fondest memories in the form of Commander USA (Jim Hendricks) who resided in the basement of a New York (or was it New Jersey?) shopping mall (the video vault). The Commander would have a Saturday double feature and one or two episodes from old serials like THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM. Towards the end of the run, the shows were streamlined and there was only one movie and the program later moved to Sundays. He had all kinds of horror movies on there, but the one's I remember the most were the plethora of Mexican horror movies and 70's Hammer films. Commander USA had a sidekick, "Lefty", a face he makes on his left hand using an unlit cigar he's always sporting. I just wish I could find that B/W autographed photo I had of the Commander and "Lefty". He also had some familiar catch phrases he would use every show such as the opener, "Commander USA here, soarin' superhero. Legion of Decency...retired", and the line that closed every program, "Keep your nose in the wind, and your tail to yourself." Near the end, SATURDAY NIGHTMARES began showing many of the same movies the Commander had during his afternoon tenure.


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This was my very first introduction to Sonny Chiba. He wasn't the main star, but this huge Japanese fantasy spectacular was unlike any Asian action fantasy picture I'd ever seen. I rented it from a video store in Greensboro in the late 80's and totally got into the storyline (based on a very famous Japanese tale) and then fascinating visuals. A few weekends later, channel 48(!!) would air MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978), an incredibly gaudy and ultimately satisfying Japanese clone of STAR WARS which also featured Chiba (as Prince Hans!) and utilized the same source material as EIGHT SAMURAI.


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I remember checking out ENTER THE NINJA on The Movie Channel around 1982. We didn't have that channel, but ever few seconds or so the picture would stabilize momentarily so you could see what was going on. Remember those old cable boxes? It was three rows of buttons with numbers above them. Anyway, Sho Kosugi was the villain in that first movie, but took over as the hero in each of the two unrelated sequels. This second film, one of the greatest American action movies ever, has one of the single most awesome car chase sequences. The kicker is that Sho is on foot chasing a van load of bad guys. I used to watch this one religiously back in the day and me and my dad got into several debates as to which was the better movie, REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) or SUPER NINJAS (1982). Kosugi most recently played the lead villain in NINJA ASSASSIN (2010).


In addition to dozens of BLACK BELT and INSIDE KUNG FU MAGAZINE's, I got a handful of NINJA MAGAZINE, NINJA MASTERS and NINJA-WARRIORS OF THE NIGHT magazines. Also, a number of issues of MARTIAL ARTS OF CHINA, my favorite.


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I recall my mom taking me to see RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and trying to cover my eyes when the Nazis at the end melt away into piles of goo. Nothing quite prepared her for the gruesomeness ahead in this sequel. And I loved every minute of it. I remember stopping at a popular convenience store chain at the time called the 'Hop In'. That was one of the main sources for my comics and assorted magazines.

This poster was inside the INDIANA JONES & TEMPLE OF DOOM movie magazine which also was a promo piece for the then proposed INDY 3: THE CAVE OF DEATH. The poster above is some conception artwork for the aborted movie. I wish I still had this magazine. Pic--Google images

I purchased this Indiana Jones magazine that was promoting TEMPLE OF DOOM, but also had some startling information on what was then dubbed as INDY 3: THE CAVE OF DEATH. This particular movie had Jones battling a gigantic snake of all things. I wish I still had this strange curio. I do remember the back cover having a nice picture of Lucas and Spielberg relaxing on the set.

DUNE 1984

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My mom asked me one day what I wanted to see at the movies and I chose this infinitely bizarre, grotesque movie from David Lynch. I didn't understand just what in the hell was going on, but I loved all the monsters and nasty business that was unfolding onscreen. After the movie, we went to the mall and I bought this DUNE pop up book which had these cardboard cut outs of the characters included so you could recreate the scenes from the movie. I also got a KRULL coloring book, too.


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My grandmother dropped me off at the local theater one day. My intention was to see STAR TREK 3 (I later pulled the same trick with THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN the following week), but upon realizing the Conan sequel was also playing, I went with one of my favorite comic characters and wasn't disappointed at all. Not only were there a multitude of characters, but a cool quest and several monsters. I liked the comedy moments and the semi packed theater didn't seem to mind, either. I enjoyed this sequel as much as the original and also bought a Conan the Destroyer Poster Magazine which I wish I still had.



The Bloody Best of Fangoria Volume 5

I was terrified by the first two movies having snuck and seen them on cable. This was the first entry I saw in the theater. My cousin went with me and I was shocked by all the nudity and crude language. I really did enjoy the redneck family in the movie. The theater was packed, too. I kept looking behind me thinking the doorman was going to remove me at any time considering I was only ten at the time. This ended up being one of my favorites of the sequels and the fact that it wasn't really Jason doing the murders didn't bother me at all. It's got the sleaziest air about it compared with the others.


Billy Bobb is to the far left sitting down. This pic and

The much revered and loved Channel 48 out of Greensboro, NC had so much great entertainment back in the day. As has already been mentioned, 48 started out with The Black Belt Feature in the early evening hours. Later, Billy Bobb (Dana Lowell) took over and showed kung fu movies at 8pm on Saturday nights. Later in the run, Billy Bobb began showing monster and horror movies and was subsequently moved to a 2pm time slot where he enjoyed a long and successful run. I remember one airing of HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP had Billy Bobb declaring Doug McClure the "King of the Monster Movies". Billy Bobb's frequently spoken catch phrase was "Tooooo funny!"

Remember the old days when TV stations used to go off the air sometime after midnight?

Meanwhile, kung fu movies found their home weeknights at 11pm as Martial Arts Theater and then, finally, Kung Fu Theatre before channel 48's original programming was wiped clean and made way for crapola shows with FOX affiliates. The station slogan was 'The Great Entertainer', and channel 48 WGGT was definitely that. Never anything less, it's a shame there's virtually no television stations like that around anymore. Well, we all got our memories, at least we have that much.


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