Horrorpedia notes that Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of this movie; critics, not so much. John Carradine appears in this one but not one of his best. Fantastic poster art helps sell this Mexican movie, but the pressbook is disappointing. It contains only newspaper ad mats; no articles on Carradine or the other actors. (see also History of Film with Quentin Tarantino)
What every astronaut hopes to find in space: rock monsters, giant unfriendly spiders, and lots of beautiful women improperly dressed for space. The poster art is wild, right? A "hair-raising adventure" indeed.
Here's some paranoia and Red Scare cinema for you to start off the new year right. Invasion U.S.A (not the Chuck Norris movie), warns us against The Enemy and why we should keep the lights on when we sleep. Mystery Science Theater 3000 spoofed it, but the idea of attacking with atom bombs (a cold war fear) still lives with us today. So maybe the joke's on us, not the movie. In spite of copious stock footage use, movie grossed over a million. Fear sells.
The fascination with outer space exploration and interplanetary travel (and evil aliens) fueled a lot of 1950s science fiction cinema. Usually it was either the after effects of space travel causing more harm than anticipated (the Quatermass Xperiment: The Creeping Unknown is a good example), or it was finding out that once you got to where you were going, monstrous alien monsters (I'm open to a better term if you've got one) wanted to eat you or do other nasty things (like in The Angry Red Planet). Then, of course, you had George Pal insisting on giving us movies that focused on the more positive and challenging aspects of space exploration. He even insisted on adding as much scientifically accurate information (at least what was known back then) as possible. Wild, right? Here's the pressbook for George Pal's Conquest of Space.
Many 1970s pressbooks focus on admats, which are placed up front in the pressbook, and then add a page or two of article promotion toward the end of the pressbook. If based on a novel or there's a novelization of the movie, there's a page devoted to it. Many 1970s pressbooks are rather bland because of this less stylish and often repeated format. This movie has that slow 70s pacing, but still is a good one to watch.
Here's a nifty double bill pressbook for The Devil's Partner and Creature from the Haunted Sea. This one has a unique design: you unfold the left and right edges to read the first page, then lift that page to see the ads. Striking combination of blue and yellow make this one pop. As does the lurid illustrations.
Possibly a better title than a movie, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972) still holds a lot of charm for me and many other horror fans. When you think of VHS, this one definitely comes to mind (for those of us who still think of VHS, that is). To see the theater giveaways, go here.
Wikipedia lists this as the first Republic serial made. Also, "Darkest Africa contained the first use of the flying special effects that Republic would go on to use in future serials, such as the acclaimed Adventures of Captain Marvel. This serial also showcased examples of the studio's model work that would be one of the factors in its future reputation and success. The destruction of the lost city in the final chapter is particularly highlighted by Cline as a "picturesque example." It was re-released to television and renamed Batmen of Africa to capitalize on the Adam West Batman craze. Hey, it's got Ray "Crash" Corrigan playing Bonga the ape: that works for me.
Here's the colorful pressbook for Republic Pictures' 12-chapter serial, Spy Smasher, which may be the best serial ever done. When originally shown, waiting for each cliffhanger ending to be resolved in the next episode was like waiting through the mid-season, after-season, before-season, and when-the-hell-is-the-season-starting for Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead to continue.
The stunning cover on this pressbook for Queen of the Amazons compelled me to get it. I won it in an auction on emovieposter.com a while back, and it went for less than I thought it should (lucky me!). The large size format of 17 by 22 inches is also eye-catching. That "Queen of the Amazing Sex" tagline on page 3 is pretty daring even if the actual costume filmed isn't as much as the one in the poster art.
If you were wondering how Stanley Kubrick and his production team could have imagined some of those brilliant special effects in 2001 A Space Odyssey, wonder no more. Der Weg Zu Den Sternen showed a space station wheel years before 2001, and some scenes could be twins between both movies, according to sources cited in the Wikipedia article on this movie. This pocket-sized pressbook caught my attention with its stylized graphics.
This French pressbook for Le Fantome De La Rue Morgue opens to a long montage centerfold (split across the center two pages shown here). How can you not love two gorilla hands reaching ominously for a terrified woman (or man, for that matter)?
Here's the French pressbook for House on Haunted Hill. The remake creeps me out, too, but the original still works its horror quite well (read my review). Watch it in the dead of night at your own peril.