With issue 25 of Castle of Frankenstein, the original run of Calvin T. Beck's magazine ends. He decided to move on to writing books (Heroes of the Horrors, Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors). In this issue, Phantom of the Paradise, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, George Pal, Andy Warhol's abominable Dracula and Frankenstein (hey, I got physically ill in the theater watching these train wrecks--in 3D for Frankenstein!), Ed Parker (stunt monsterman for Universal), and Young Frankenstein are covered. And for Night Stalker fans, there's an interview with Darren McGavin.
Here's another interesting item from Professor Kinema's Archives, given to him by Forrest J. Ackerman. Of note in this issue is Robert Bloch's article on Voodoo and Julius Schwartz's The Science Fiction Eye. Flash!!--from England is also interesting: "After fifteen months of negotiations with leading authors over here, the firm of George Newnes Limited, of London, have at last decided not to publish what would have been the first real science fiction magazine to appear in England."
Professor Kinema received this Fantasy Magazine Vol. 1, No. 1 (Scientifilm Issue) from Forrest J. Ackerman. Note FJA's personal note, written in 1990, on the Contents page. A big thanks to Professor Kinema for sharing this rare and fragile magazine with us. (Here's the comic book reader version: Download Fantasy Magazine Vol 1 No 4 . For more cool monster and scientifilm reading pay a visit to the Magazine Morgue.)
Good coverage of Roger Corman' Fantastic Planet and Not of This Earth, plus a solid layout with lots of photos, makes issue 23 of Castle of Frankenstein a good read. Unfortunately, coverage of the Planet of the Apes series, which could have been better represented, is marred by yet another dislike-fest (so much bitterness in the 1970s, oh my) from Paul J. Wishninsky (nom de plume alert?). Edward Felipe soothes the burn with his article on George Pal's Doc Savage. Sort of. He doesn't cover the movie, just provides a good background to the pulp superhero who predated Superman.
While horror, fantasy, and science-fiction magazines crowded the racks at the corner store in the 1960s and 70s, fanzines grew in popularity as more fans became knowledgeable in the genre and rolled their own. Here's Famous Fantasy Films from 1965, courtesy of Professor Kinema, which addressed the following concern: "Are you sick and tired of puns? Are you vexed at seeing the same monster pictures and information repeatedly printed? Do you enjoy reading magazines which contain over 25% advertising? If these are your complaints, then Famous Fantasy Films will try to alleviate them."
From the Wikipedia entry on fanzines: "Alex Soma's Horrors of the Screen, Calvin T. Beck's Journal of Frankenstein (later Castle of Frankenstein) and Gary Svehla’s Gore Creatures were the first horror fanzines created as more serious alternatives to the popular Forrest J. Ackerman's 1958 magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland." Courtesy of Professor Kinema's archives comes issue 3 of Horrors of the Screen, murky fanzine printing and all. Articles include Edwin Schallert's How the Invisible Man Was Filmed, which delves into the special effects used to create the illusion of invisibility, Annette Florance's Peter Cushing. Steven Jochsberger recalls a birthday with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi's career coverage is continued in part 2 of William G. Obbagy's article.
I don't read French, but Professor Kinema visits Paris every year. He brings back a lot of good reading he finds in the book stalls. Here's his copy of La Methode Revue De CinemaNo. 9, which is full of great horror movies. While we were punning our way through the movies in the 1960s, the French took a more serious approach to our horrors. We caught up in the 1970s but I will always be grateful to the French fans and critics who saw the classic in our terrors before we did.
In the 1970s, Star Trek was hot. Judging by the franchise owner's less than planet-shaking attention given this year to the 5oth anniversary of the landmark television series, I doubt they experienced any of the 1970s love-fest for all things Trek.
In FMOTF number 6, Vincent Lewis, in his Horror of Dracula review, says "In comparison to Lee's deathly sinister portrayal, Lugosi's Dracula is today not only completely outdated but in many instances utterly ludicrous." I love both Lee and Lugosi and all I can say is Mr. Lewis's statement is ludicrous. One can argue thematics, varying character to sociological nuances, and tonally structured elements, but I doubt he knew what those were, so why bother? On a more positive note, horror host, the Outsider, (bet you didn't know about him!) of Nightmare Theatre is spotlighted, Bela Lugosi's filmography is listed, and The Shadow strikes back. (This copy courtesy of Professor Kinema.)
Robots, scream queens, and more Bela Lugosi make for another stellar issue of Fantastic Monsters of the Films. But there's more. The importance of a deadline hits home in The Devil's Workshop, FMOTF plants a big wet one on The Day of the Triffids, the Horrorscope dishes the dirt on the hottest news from monsterland, Alex Gordon talks about the real Bela, and Spy Smasher smashes spies. All you need to do is supply the bed sheet and the flashlight. (Oh, wait, if you're reading on an e-reader, nevermind the flashlight.)
More horror movie coverage with lots of photos fills up Fantastic Monsters of the Films issue 4. The Raven from AIP gets nice coverage, James Bond's first outing with Dr. No gets a license to see, and George Pal is highlighted. A fantastic close-up of Lon Chaney Jr. as the Frankenstein Monster stands out among other great shots of him in various roles, and horror host Jeepers of Theatre 13 is spotlighted. A treat for Mexican horror fans is Thomas Bradley's article, Ship of Monsters. Another real treat is Vincent Price's In Defense of Horror Films. (This copy comes from Professor Kinema's archive.)
Photos, photos, and more photos fill Fantastic Monsters of the Films magazine. Issue 3, courtesy of Professor Kinema, has The Devil's Workshop by Paul Blaisdell, Vincent Price in the Tower of London, an eye on Doctor Cyclops, and radio stories made into movies in Terror in the Air. Great shots from 3 Stooges Meet the Martians and for A Belfry of Bela make this another issue to treasure. But the piece de resistance is the photo on the inside back cover: it shows an early maquette of the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
An eye-popping cover by Kelly gives the 18th issue of Castle of Frankenstein a graphic jolt, but once you get under the covers that jolt fizzles. Which is one constant lapse in judgement seen throughout CoF's run: poor layout and small text. In this issue, the text goes minuscule, and against a dark background, makes it difficult to read. Wasting space on useless graphic filler, the editorial ironically mentions some articles had to be left out of this issue, while H. P. Norton's assault on H. P. Lovecraft (fishy byline, right?) uses very small text to capture quite a big space of opinion. On the other hand, John Carradine's interview is a welcome portrait for a great classic horror actor, who, at age 14 and after seeing the Merchant of Venice, decided he wanted to act. The interview is too short, though. Night of the Living Dead gets a positive review, an amateur picture story for Tarzan centerfold, and a so-so review for Tales from the Crypt round out the issue.