Thursday, December 16, 2010

ICS - Update December 16, 2010

Chilly Holiday Greetings to One and All!

This month's meeting will be held this Saturday, December 18. The presenter will be Jovial Joe Plempel. I'm not sure what the topic is, though!

Last month we had Smiling Sam DiBlasi give a presentation on "Lost in Space". We watched the first season episode, "The Keeper" with Micheal Rennie. Like Irwin Allen's other show on at the time, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", LIS's first season holds up as fairly decent sci-fi. Nobody will ever mistake it for STAR TREK, but hey!

There's still time to bring in items for the "Silent Auction, Evil Auction" that we're holding this meeting.

For January, we're trying something different, that if it's successful, may become permanent. In efforts to respond to comments about the "sameness" of the meetings, we came up with the following idea. For January, anybody can bring in a movie (or two). We will put the movies in a box, or write the titles down or something, and draw 3. The person who brought that movie in will give a short blurb on it.

After that, the club will vote for one to watch. If none get voted on, we draw 3 more. The object is to get a variety of movies that we haven't seen. In this DVD, DVR, Movies on Demand Age, it's so easy to see any movie you want when you want. Not like the old days where we scoured TV Guide to see what movies were coming on. I found a movie I'd been wanting to see on YouTube the other night. Unreal.

We are collecting dues now, if you wish to pay at the next meeting. We also will be having an election in January, for anybody who would like to run for the board.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ICS Passings- Hammer Star Ingrid Pitt passes away

At age 73. Jovial John Ward put me on to this story.

Here's an article from the BBC:    Ingrid Pitt dies

Thanks to FANEX I got to meet Ms Pitt in person. She was a great guest- unabashedly proud of her time with Hammer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ICS - Update November 16, 2010 Odds & Ends

That frankly I forgot last time!
Don't forbet to bring in items for the SILENT AUCTION, DEADLY AUCTION!     We will be having that instead of the Yankee Swap this December.
Midnight Marquee has some new books for sale. Check 'em out at

Again, Sam DiBlasi will take us "Lost in Space"! Hopefully we'll get to see "The Great Vegetable Rebellion", considered one of the absolute BEST shows EVER (see photo)!!
Harlan Ellison has said he wished he had written that script instead of his lame Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever".

I have changed my mind re: the book version v the film version of "Island of Lost Souls". No wonder H.G. Wells didn't like it. They came up with a MUCH better ending!

Put on your thinking caps- I'd like to know what you all like best and least in the ICS. What would you do to improve things? Now, if you're content as it is, that's fine. But here's a chance to make some suggestions since we're coming to the end of another year. I'd like this before Thursday if you can do it. Succinct and short, if you will.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

ICS - Update November 14, 2010 (includes Halloween)


Last month we had 26 people turn out to hear Greg Mank talk on the classic film, The Island of Dr. Moreau. I had seen this movie many many years ago on the tube (like back on Channel 20’s Creature Feature or even on House of Horrors). Charles Laughton turns in a truly memorable performance (you may remember he was married to the elfin Elsa Lancaster, although he was gay and they had a very open marriage). Very subtle in many respects, Laughton definitely put on a few more pounds chewing up the scenery. Despite the fact that H.G. Wells, who wrote the novel, didn’t like it, I am now reading the book and find that, for a movie, it hews pretty close to the source material. Not like when I read “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” after I saw Blade Runner and wondered if these were the same frikking story!

There was a LOT of food- kudos to our members for really coming through! Terrific Tom Proveaux and I arrived early to decorate. Turns out Jocular Joe Plempel had a tub full of decorations from Halloweens Past, including thankfully some table cloths for the tables and additional items to hang on the walls. I spent $35 on decorations, and after I put those up it was like, “that’s it?”.

We had our Halloween Costume Contest- the winner was Tom Proveaux as Lord Baltimore. Now I’ve seen Lord Baltimore’s portrait, and I didn’t quite see the resemblance, but I guess the members did and, what? It was Lord Voldemort, not Baltimore? Oops! Anyway, we also had Tom Diggin as Green Lantern, Mary Blackstock as the Bride of Frankenstein, and Nina Hawes as Cruella De Ville. See attached photo.

Speaking of Nina, she celebrate her birthday this week! Happy Birthday and many more.

And speaking of Tom, ask him to tell you his Tony Curtis story and how he held Jamie Lee Curtis in his arms!

Next meeting will be November 20, this upcoming Saturday, under the old way of moving the day away from the Thanksgiving weekend. Next year it will be Thanksgiving Weekend when we have the meeting. Well, for now...
Anyway, we’ll be having Sam DiBlasi take us Lost in Space. LIS as many of us boomers know was one of the shows that was part of the Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen, which included the Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants (Deanna Lund, woo woo!), and some show about a submarine...

Glad to say that Little John Ward is feeling better. Turns out his condition was NOT as serious as thought.

Speaking of John Ward, he looked into his crystal ball and put together an interesting report on what’s going on in Movie Land:

I chuckled at a recent online quote from Iron Man director Jon Favreau about next summer’s movie prospects. Favreau is prepping a new popcorn epic called Cowboys and Aliens, with Harrison Ford. I give Favreau credit for not jumping on the sequel bandwagon, which happens every summer. Anyway, Favreau is worried about his film’s chances in the middle of next summer’s genre avalanche. Favreau said, “It’s gonna be Omaha Beach. There’s going to be blood on the carpet and teeth on the floor just about every weekend next summer.” Meaning: the slate is so crowded that something’s going to get buried. Maybe a lot of somethings.

So I was inspired to take an early look at what’s ahead in 2011. I usually save this column for January, but this time I couldn’t resist. I found a lot of retreads, a lot of superheroes, and some interesting gems in the mess. See what you think:

THE GREEN HORNET. Seth Rogen lost some serious weight to get this role, so husky guys like me should probably give him the benefit of the doubt.

THE RITE. Did you know there’s a real exorcism school lodged within the Vatican? Neither did I. Interested? Me neither. But it’s Anthony Hopkins, back in genre mode!

SANCTUM. I saw the trailer for this one, and it looked nice. Producer James Cameron supplied the same 3D technology he used for Avatarto make the film, about a deep-trench expedition (I think) trapped far underground.

DRIVE ANGRY 3D. Nicolas Cage plays a dead guy who escapes from Hell to get revenge on the cultists who murdered his daughter. Evidently he drives really, really fast to do this. Hence the title.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES. This one is being promoted as a cross between Cloverfield and Black Hawk Down. Aggghhhhh! Shaky-cam alert! Shaky-cam alert!!

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. Yet another film based on a Philip K. Dick property (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, you name it) with Matt Damon as a Senate hopeful who bucks Fate by falling in love. No, seriously, Fate is majorly pissed; Fate is actually a bunch of men in dark suits who chase you down if you don’t turn the right corner, push the right button, etc, etc.

SUCKER PUNCH. Zack Snyder, who made Dawn of the Dead andWatchmen, ramps it up again with this live action comic book about hot-looking babes fighting monsters, ninjas, giant robots, indoor plumbing...okay, I made that last one up.

SCREAM 4. After ten years, Ghostface is back. Maybe this time it’ll be Courtney Cox under the mask, and she’ll go after her ex. Fool around on me, huh? We’ll see about that! Eat THIS! Slash...slash...

THE THING. This is a prequel to the John Carpenter classic, relating the events at the Norwegian outpost. I predict the dog gets away at the end.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES. Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow, looking for the Fountain of Youth with Penelope Cruz. Wouldn’t we all.

THOR. Marvel Comics is back with another superhero, and Anthony Hopkins plays Odin. No-name Chris Hemsworth sure looks the part in the pictures.

KUNG FU PANDA: THE KABOOM OF DOOM. I only listed this one because I love the title.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. The Marvel onslaught continues with this prequel to the earlier X-Men movies. We get James McEvoy as a young Charles Xavier and Michael “Inglourious Basterds” Fassbinder as a young Magneto. I’m still cheesed they didn’t sign McEvoy to play Bilbo in The Hobbit, but you can’t have everything, I guess.

GREEN LANTERN. Ryan Reynolds fills the emerald tights as one of DC Comics’ most popular heroes. What, you thought it was all about the Bat at DC?

RISE OF THE APES. Yet another prequel, this one from Fox, in a loose remake of the long-ago Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, with James Franco as a present-day scientist working with highly-evolved monkeys, or something like that. Isn’t it cool how I can get away with such long sentence fragments? Just keep adding commas!

CARS 2. I only mention it because it’s Pixar’s 2011 model. No car pun intended.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON. Which is where I wish all those big-ass robots would just go away to live, and leave the rest of us alone. And take Shia LeBoeuf with you, please.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2. Remember Favreau’s comment about Omaha Beach? This is the cruise missile that will probably do the most damage. I give Marvel Comics props for having the cajones to bring out their Captain America flick the following week.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. I’m still hoping they move the date on this, because I’d love to see it, but I have a feeling that the boy wizard will eat it for breakfast and spit it out for lunch. A big thumbs up, though, for deciding to film it as a World War II period piece.

COWBOYS AND ALIENS. Guess what, Favreau? You’re probably right; those are your teeth on the floor.

FRIGHT NIGHT. Colin Farrell plays the vampire next door in this remake of the ‘80s classic. Anton Yelchin, who I believe played Chekov in the new STAR TREK, plays the kid here. CONAN 3D. Are you kidding? Doe John Milius know about this? It looks like August is truly turning into Remake Hell. FINAL

DESTINATION 5. Okay, I won’t lie. I plan to see this. I love the demented Rube Goldberg-style deathtrap set-ups. The guiltiest of guilty pleasures. SPY KIDS 4: ARMAGEDDON. It’s Jessica Alba in a tight black leather catsuit. What else do you need to know?

STRAW DOGS. Remake Hell trickles over into September, although this time they’re going after Sam Peckinpah. Sacrilege! Sacrilege! The action moves from the English countryside to the deep South. Rod Lurie directs.

CONTAGION. Not much has been revealed about this, but check out the details: directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Marian Cotillard, about a viral epidemic thats leapfrogs around the globe. IMAX and 3D screens are being reserved for it. Who knows?

THE TWILIGHT SAGA - BREAKING DAWN PART I. I didn’t realize the book was big enough to warrant a Part 2. Then again, I haven’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies. And finally, check out this final month. Unbelievable!

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. David Fincher, the director of this year’s best film (so far)

THE SOCIAL NETWORK, is directing the English-language version of the worldwide best-seller, starring Daniel Craig. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL. Tom Cruise returns with Ving Rhames. I think the premise has Cruise passing the reins to Jeremy Renner. We’ll see. SHERLOCK

HOLMES 2. All the principals are back—Robert Downey, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, director Guy Ritchie. I wish they’d gotten Depp to play Moriarty. I keep forgetting you can’t have everything.

HUGO CABRET. Last year’s Caldecott winner for Best Children’s Picture Book, about a young French lad who lives in the Paris train station and meets Georges Melies, is currently being filmed for 3D by Martin Scorsese. The cast includes Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Christopher Lee.

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN. Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Jamie Bell, and Simon Pegg in this motion capture extravaganza, with Peter Jackson’s assistance. Check for early pictures. They look good. And that’s it. December looks fantastic, and the rest of the year ain’t bad, either.

Allow me to add that if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, and haven’t seen SHERLOCK, you should! Holmes gets updated to the present day- Dr. Watson keeps an online blog- but it is faithful to the flavor of Doyle.

And AMC’s Walking Dead continues to shamble along. The Zombie-fest has been given the green light for a second season. We’ll see if there’s enough life in this concept to go a second season! 

See you- at the movies!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ICS - Update October 7, 2010

Greetings ICSers! We went from Summer to Fall overnight, eh? TThe frost is definitely on the pumpkin.

Last month's meeting went Ok, with Norman Prentiss doing the presentation. Norman did a reading from one of his short stories- "Storybook Forest", a tale based on his recollections of the "Enchanted Forest". That was one of my favorite get-aways with the parents. So simple- nowadays kids would be bored in no time flat. But danged if it wasn't pretty cool to me.

We didn't have much of a business meeting. When we started, we only had 10 people, and 4 of them were board members. By the end of the evening attendance had crawled up to 15.

As you hopefully know- October is our ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY. Once again we'll be having Greg Mank as guest speaker, talking on the original "Island of Lost Souls". Bring along a dish for the potluck supper. Tom P and I will handle the decorations, Dave W will be bringing festive table cloths and we hope to have our usual nice spread! And of course- movies from dusk to dawn!

October also brings a lot of horror movies on TCM. Mike Schilling was nice enough to send this list to me. A lot of Hammer in this list! Get out your popcorn, crawl into your snuggie, and watch some cook ghoul flicks!

October 7'th-8:00 PM
on TCM
Forbidden Planet, Alien, Countdown, Marooned, From the Earth to the Moon

October 8th-8:00 PM on
The Plague of the Zombies, The Devil's Bride, The Reptile, The Gorgon

FRI OCTOBER 15th-8:00 PM on
The Mummy (1959), The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Shroud (1967), Blood from the Mummy's Tomb

12:30 Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
 2:00 The TIme Machine (1960)
12:00Midnite The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

6:00 AM Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)

FRI OCTOBER 22nd 8:00 PM-on
X The Unknown, Five Million Years to Earth, These are the Damned, The Stranglers of Bombay, The Boogens, NIght of the Lepus

Nosferatu (1922), Vampyr, The Return of the Vampire, Count Yorga-Vampire

THU OCTOBER 28th 8:00 PM Onward
Dead of Night, Rebecca, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, The Other, Dragonwyck

FRI OCTOBER 29th 6:00 AM onwards all day
Doctor X, The Mystery of the Wax Museum, The Vampire Bat, The Ape, Isle of the Dead, The Corpse Vanishes, The Devil Bat, White Zombie, I Walked with a Zombie, Curse of the Demon, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Revenge of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Created Woman, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!, Carnival Magic, Berserk

SAT OCTOBER 30th 6:15 AM onwards all day
The Devil Commands, The Ghoul, The Walking Dead, The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, The Old Dark House (1963), 13 Ghosts (1960), Homicidal, Mr. Sardonicus, Strait-Jacket, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), WhatEver Happened to Baby Jane?, Mad Love, Cat People (1942), Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton:The Man in the Shadows, The Leopard Man

SUN OCTOBER 31st 6:15 AM onwards all day
Freaks, Mark of the Vampire, The Devil Doll, The Terror, A Bucket of Blood, Tower of London, The Tingler, The Mad Magician, House of Wax (1953), House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Haunting (1963), Poltergeist, The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ICS - Update September 19, 2010

I got this message from Charlie Wittig (fan mail from some flounder?).

Since so many friends are going to be at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (MANC), because it's really the only con even close to the old FANEX, we thought it would be great to get together with our old FANEX staff and friends. The con guests are  Dawn Wells (remember Amy playing Maryann at Nostalgia con?) and Roy Thinnes (The Invaders), Mark Goddard, Will Hutchins, Ed Nelson and god forbid Conrad Brooks.  So, we're going to meet in the Hunt Valley Inn bar at 2:00 Saturday, Sept. 25.  It will be like old times (except we don't have to do any of the work!)

We're also doing pre-production on our next film, a 1950s sci-fi extravaganza, so if you'd like to be in the movie or work on the crew, make sure you tell us so we can get in touch!

PLEASE PASS THIS E-MAIL ALONG TO OUR OTHER FANEX FRIENDS, we have lost touch with so many of them.

Hope to see you there!

Indeed, MANC is next weekend. For some members, you could make the con and still make the meeting. Conventions are getting to be big, expensive propositions, to say nothing of the fact that a lot of the actors we grew up seeing on TV and the movies are getting up there in age. They need our support in order to keep going. I know things are tight, but if you get a chance, go on up to see MANC. I’m going to try to make it there myself.

Andrew (King of the Zombies) Kent has bought himself a new car- a Smart Car! Now I know a number of folks laugh at this small sized road warrior, but let me tell you. Back in the 1970s a friend of mine bought one of the first Toyotas. Now I was putzing around in my 69 Camaro at the time (which many of you got to see at the last 2 meetings), getting 13 mpg yet able to smoke almost anything on two wheels. We made fun of her car- asked if she got tires at the donut shop. Well, who’s laughing now? Toyota- the #1 car manufacturer. If an alternative fuel source isn’t found, we might all be riding around in Smart Cars in 20 years. Happy Motoring, Andrew!

At the last meeting we found that John (Just try to stump me) Weber was making slow progress with his broken foot. Here’s hoping that things are continuing to improve, John.

At our next meeting we’ll be having longtime member and Bram Stoker Award Winner Norman (Mr. Macabre) Prentiss giving the presentation. In October we’ll see the RETURN OF GREG MANK, doing a presentation on the original Island of Lost Souls with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. In November we’re going to get LOST IN SPACE with Sam (where’s my jiffy-pop spacesuit?) DiBlasi.

In case you haven’t heard, versatile actor Kevin McCarthy passed away at the age of 96. Ma ny of us remember him from his role in the classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. He appeared in numerous TV shows as well, including THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

Hope to see you at the meeting this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ICS - Update September 1, 2010

Greetings ICSers! Another Summer is coming to an end, and despite the fact that I'm a summer person, I'm not sorry to see this one pass! It's not fun when the heat and humidity keep one indoors as much as the cold and wind does in winter!

The last meeting saw Terrific Tom Proveaux chillin' the ol' funnybone with the Martin & Lewis Movie "Scared Stiff". And yes, it's true that Jerry Lewis was re-incarnated as Jim Carrey and, what? Jerry's not dead? Could have fooled me! Anyway, the cast included Lizabeth Scott (who never found her missing "E"), Carmen Miranda and Fins the Wonder Trout.

Our Pizza Night in July was a success- although next time we'll be adding 1 more pizza for a total of 9, and getting additional pepperoni, and a mushroom instead of the veggie. Ah,'shrooms! We try to please as many people as possible, and know we can't please everyone. So if you like veggie pizza, bring some veggies and sprinkle them on a slice of regular cheese! Voila! And made JUST the way you like it!

Speaking of not pleasing everyone, here's the scoop on Thanksgiving Meetings. At the July Meeting it was motioned that we should not move the meetings. So it was put to a vote, and not moving won 14 to 8. Now this is the 4th time that this issue has been voted on. It originally came up when we had our first Thanksgiving Meeting and found that turnout was lighter than usual. So we moved it, also out of consideration for a few members that lived out of town (who have not been to a meeting in awhile or who have since left the club). Then we found that the attendance was actually about the same even when we moved it. The problem was that there are some who almost every holiday go out of town, and there are some who don't and would like something to do that weekend. And the feelings run very strongly about this- to the point where I'm going to suggest to the club that starting in 2011 we have 2 meetings in November so this back & forth will finally stop. This year we have already moved the meeting,so we'll stick with that. As it stands now, next year we won't because of the July vote. But hopefully for next year we'll adopt my 2 meeting suggestion.

The Halloween All-Nighter will be in October with our special guest speaker GREG MANK! If you only come to one meeting this year, then you need to come more often! Anyway, Terrifying Tom and Horrific Hendo will be putting up decorations, and the Wizardly Willard will be bringing table cloths. What do we need you to do? BRING FOOD! Course we've never had a problem with this in the past, and I doubt we will now. Like last year, there will be a Costume Contest with a $25 Amazon Gift Card for the winner. Last year Rascally Rick Arnold won with his Serial Mom costume. As you know, we show movies from Dusk to Dawn (hmmm, sounds like a name for a vampire movie!). One DVD that I will be offering is actually an old TV episode of Route 66. Now those of us who are old enough to remember know this show starred Martin Milner and George Maharis as two drifters going around the country in a convertible Corvette, doing odd jobs as they go. One episode was entitled "Lizard's Leg and Owlette's Wing", and featured Lon Chaney, Jr, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. Of particular interest is that this episode has Chaney and Karloff done up as the Wolf Man and Frankenstein in a segment. Although the title is called "Route 66", they weren't always on that highway. In an interview, Maharis said such a show could not be done today. Back then, if you say went north, south, east, or west, the areas you'd be in would look different from each other. Not homogenized like today. As Maharis said, no matter where you go, there's a Denny's. Having gone down to SC the past few summers, I can say he's absolutely right. That's why I was absolutely taken with Piggly-Wiggly- nothing like it up here! Dig the Pig! :)

The Calendar is dead... sort of. Frankly I didn't see that much bang for the buck for the effort to make it. We put it to a vote, and by 1 vote the calendar was shelved. However I got to thinking- I can't do it, but maybe one of those who voted for a calendar can! Here's your chance to get involved! You want it, you can help make it! Betsy Childs has agreed to put it together, Dave Willard has the gridlines, what you need to do is collect photos, stretch them to 8x10 and print them out on a laser printer somewhere, like maybe Kinkos! So I'm calling on one of those who voted for a calendar to step forward and pick up the baton- and help get a 2011 calendar out! If you'd like to volunteer, contact Dave at

Instead of a Yankee Swap this Christmas, we're going for a Silent Auction, Holy Auction. All is calm, all is bright... that's where you secretly bid on stuff that's on display. What stuff? Well, stuff that we're hoping that you'll donate! Genre-movie related stuff. Sort of like our regular auction. But as rotating Chairman Jovial John Ward pointed out, if it doesn't sell, you can take it back, or we can pitch it for you. So check your collections and see if anything can go, and bring it to the November Meeting. John and Provincial Joe Plempel have agreed to take the stuff and hold it until December!

Hey, a big THANK YOU to Charlie Wittig, who came to the meeting early to set up the A/V stuff since Master Justin could not make it.

The Treasury- has dropped below $1000. There are a number of reasons for this- we had a larger number of members who asked for dues waivers, we had/have two guest speakers for this year (the upcoming Mank and Tom Weaver), and we haven't done any fundraising events like an auction. Thankfully we still have a low rent fee and the only expenses we have are club functions- guest speakers, the Memorial Day Cookout, Pizza Night, and things like ice and soda for the meetings. We would like to mention again that we have a ceegar box at each meeting where one can toss a donation. Any amount. Times are tough, but if everyone chips in a buck, that pays half the month's rent. $2 and the room is covered. Again, everyone's feeling the pinch, all's we ask is that you do what you can if you can.  

HORRORFIND CONVENTION is this weekend in... Gettysburg? Yes, the convention that has lost sight of its roots has now gone to that hallowed town of Gettysburg. Just for the record, though, the guest list includes Bruce Campbell, George Romero, Dee Wallace (formerly Wallace-Stone), Gary and Jake Busey, Richard Lynch (remember him? It's like everytime they needed a creepy bad guy on '70s or 80s TV or low budget movies, they got him. He once played a vampire in a TV movie ("Vampire"- 1979) and it was actually not bad),Kristy Swanson, etc etc.
Horrorfind Website 
Don't forget to vote in the primaries! A lot of people sacrificed to give you that right! Don't take it for granted.

And see YOU at the movies!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ICS - Mini Update August 29, 2010

Greetings one and all! Here's the latest ICS UPDATE!

Next Month we will have noted ICS member and Bram Stoker Award winning author Norman Prentiss doing the presentation. Here’s what Notorious Norman had to say:

I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do for the my September presentation.  For the presentation portion, I'm going to do a reading--possibly "In the Porches of My Ears," possibly a new story.  Porches has a movie theater setting, so that might be most appropriate.  I'll bring the Stoker also, so people can see it.

Then for the screening, I want to do some British genre TV.  We'll start with an episode of "Garth Marenghi's DARKPLACE," which is a fictional "restored" program from the 80s about a haunted hospital.  It is a hilarious show, with much juvenille humor.  I'll bring the whole series and we'll vote for an episode.  That would be the 25 minute short subject.

For the "feature" film, we'll vote for an episode of Brian Clemens's (of THE AVENGERS fame) "Thriller" anthology series.   These were 65 minute mini-movies that were broadcast in England in the 70s, but also aired on ABC's movie of the week slot.  They have fun, suspenseful plots, highly amusing 70s fashions, and (to please the American audiences) often involve an American tourist/actor getting into som e kind of terrible trouble. Titles for voting will include:  "I'm the Girl He Wants to Kill," (a woman trapped after hours in an office building and stalked by a killer) "File it Under Fear" (crazed killer stalks a librarian) "Someone at the Top of the Stairs" (Donna Mills as an American student in a creepy English boarding house). 

Sounds like a great presentation for a Fall Evening!

The calendar idea was voted on, and down, at the last meeting.

At the last meeting Leaping Leo Dymanski brought to the floor the idea of not moving the meetings for Thanksgiving weekends. This time it passed 14 to 8 to not move the meetings.

Hard to believe it’s only 2 months out til Halloween. With that in mind, and also with it being the near the start of Football Season, John Cusack is starring in a movie about Edgar A. Poe (he never called himself Edgar Allan Poe) called THE RAVEN. Poe finds himself in 1850s Baltimore, where someone is killing people using his stories as his inspiration. Sure it’s fantasy- it has to be, since Poe died in 1849. Being a Poe aficionado, I’ll probably go see it.


John Ward pointed out to yours truly that another one of those great Titan Books is on its way. It’s entitled “The Art of Hammer”, and it showcases those wonderful Hammer posters that featured in ads and promos at theaters. Often they used full painted art and not photos for their ads, except perhaps in the one ad for “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” with the girl with two band-aids on her neck. I never liked that one. To me, the only way to be able to enjoy Hammer was to take it seriously in its own Hammer-verse.

Well, I mentioned Hammer, so now I will mention Universal. I saw this book online (on Amazon- remember to go through the ICS Website so we get a kickback!). I’ve never heard of this anywhere in my readings on Universal. A Wolfman vs Dracula movie? Here’s the write up:

            Following Phantom of the Opera (1943), in the middle of the Silver age of Universal Studio's monster movies, a new sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman was considered for a Technicolor production: Wolfman vs Dracula!
      Lon Chaney Jr., who was the only actor to portray Universal's four  classic monster roles; Dracula, frankenstein's monster, the mummy and the wolfman. At first Chaney was to play both roles, as his father Lon Chaney Sr. had done in several of his famous silent films. But Larry Talbot in his human phase would look exactly like Count
Dracula so the role of Dracula was given to it's originator Bela Lugosi.
      A script was prepared by Bernard Shubert, who had written the screenplay for Tod Browning's London After Midnight(MGM 1927) remake Mark of the Vampire (MGM 1935). Shubert kept the settings very tight in its scenes, to keep the cost down to balance out for the extra expense of technicolor. But by 1944 Bela Lugosi was in his 60s and would have had to play part of his role as a giant bat much like in the Copolla Bram Stoker's Dracula in the 90s - and that would have been too much for him. And they couldn't have the Wolfman fighting an animated bat much like John Carradine's depiction of the Count or even Lugosi's portrayal in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. So they decided to make one of their Arabian Nights film on the Technicolor contract and all that remained of Wolfman vs Dracula are some color 8x10s of Chaney in both parts.

This volume has a short biography of screenwriter/TV producer Bernard Shubert and comments from Shubert and special effects cinematographer David Stanley Horsley.

Well, it intrigued me enough to order it. I hope it’s not a joke!
By John Ward

There is absolutely nothing in the new film Piranha 3D that could be called "socially redeeming." It doesn't have a message. It doesn't teach a lesson. It doesn't preach. It doesn't get all artsy with its camerawork. It doesn't even have much of a story, clocking in at a very brief 82 minutes.

But those 82 minutes are entertaining.

Director Alexandre Aja, who filmed one of my favorite horror movies of the last decade, Haute Tension, knew exactly what type of movie he was making, and he delivered: the most cheerfully gratuitous major studio film in a long time (maybe ever). There are scenes in this film that have no real business being in the movie other than to deliver a shock, a scare, or just to titillate. How else to describe the slow motion nude underwater ballet (I'm not kidding) between two lovely ladies? Or the chomped-off privates of a cast member, floating directly toward you in all their 3D glory? Or Eli Roth's cameo as the emcee of a wet t -shirt contest?

But wait, there's more. Any self-respecting fan of movies will grin from ear to ear at the opening scene, with a big-name actor sending up a famous role by singing several bars of a well-known song from his big-name film. (The character's name was just icing on the cake.) How can you not laugh out loud at a movie like this? And not maliciously, either.

Piranha 3D doesn't take itself seriously at all, which makes it a guilty pleasure of the highest order. The story, something about prehistoric piranha unleashed on an unsuspecting spring break crowd, is merely setup for one of the single most eye-popping displays of special effects bloodwork ever seen on screen. And now we're back to the definition of gratuitous. But I'm in full complimentary mode, folks. Really.

This will be a hard movie to defend. All I can say is, it's fast, fun, and in your face. Leave your brain at the door and you'll have a good time. Don't forget to pick it up afterward. 9 out of 10 stars.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ICS - Mini Update August 24, 2010

Greetings one and all! Your friendly neighborhood Hendo here! Sorry I haven't been in touch, but things have been very hectic lately, and they probably won't let up til after Labor Day. But I do want to remind you that we have a meeting this SATURDAY! Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place!

I'm going to try to bang out a regular ICS-UPDATE on Friday, with news, views and the latest Psycho Ward. In the meantime, why not take a gander at this AMC Production of "The Walking Dead"? Andrew, I'd be curious as to your reaction to this trailer, being our own Emperor of the Zombies:

The Walking Dead

Be back soon, Tru B'lievers!