HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, November 6, 2008

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT #25 -- A Magazine You Can Really Sink Your Fangs Into!

Well, I just got through immersing my big, goofy Monster Kid self in the Summer '08 issue of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT (Vol. 13, No. 25), and I feel like I've just been to a horror convention in my head! Once again, editor Jim Clatterbaugh and his talented writers and crew have stitched together a creation that, in the words of old Ygor, really "does things for me."

First off, Corlandt Hull gives us an informative look at his great-uncle Henry Hull, best remembered as THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON. Included are some choice stills from this and other memorable Hull roles including Magwitch of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and his stage performances as Edgar Allan Poe and Samuel Clemens (for which he did his own makeup). We're also shown the original unused WEREWOLF makeup, which became a bone of contention between Hull and Universal makeup maestro Jack Pierce.

Next there's a massive behind-the-scenes account of one of my favorite sequels, Val Lewton's 1944's THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, by the author of one of my favorite books ("It's Alive!"), Greg Mank. "Sad, twisted, and oddly beautiful" is how Mank describes this story of a little girl guided by an angelic-looking ghost (Simone Simon) through some harrowing times involving a witchlike woman and a widowed father (Kent Smith) who neglects her. Not only does Mank give us a thorough account of the details behind the making of this dark fairytale, but also explains why it is the most strangely autobiographical of Lewton's films.

Following this is Mark F. Berry's interview with David Hedison of THE FLY, TV's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", and various James Bond films as 007's CIA friend Felix Leiter, with special emphasis on his role in Irwin Allen's fanciful 1960 version of THE LOST WORLD. Lots of info on the latter should interest anyone who grew up watching this cheesy-but-colorful adventure film and thrilling to the sight of iguanas wrestling in slow-motion.

"Manly P. Hall, Dracula, and the Complexities of the Classic Horror Film Sequel" is a fascinating examination of the various kinds of sequels that developed during horror's early years (author Gary D. Rhodes indicates three basic types, some more adherent to logic than others) and goes on to tell us of writer Manly P. Hall and his efforts to give the world a proper sequel to Lugosi's DRACULA. Fans of both the film and Stoker's novel will be interested in reading the details of Hall's proposed continuation of the story.

Rounding off this issue is a wealth of DVD and book reviews, including a look at the second edition of "Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946" by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, and John Brunas, which includes an interview with the authors themselves. Steven Kronenberg's description of this book's contents makes me want to read it right now! It sounds like a real treasure trove of juicy info and analysis for Universal horror fans. John Clymer's interview with the authors is also of great interest even if, like me, you don't always agree with some of their views on particular films such as DRACULA.

MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is a don't-miss publication for classic horror fans. It has the Monster Kid enthusiasm of Forrest J. Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Filmland", but with a more mature approach and extremely in-depth coverage--and it's jam-packed with great photos, too. Plus, that awesome Werewolf of London cover art alone is enough to make you want to run outside and howl at the moon! (And while you're at it, check out the website for info on subscriptions and back issues, and a whole lot more.)

No comments: