Cinema Sunday: Planet of The Vampires (1965)

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Title: Planet of the Vampires

Distributor: American International Pictures

Writers: Mario Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Antonio Roman, Callisto Cosulich, Rafael J. Salvia,

Director: Mario Bava

Producer: Fulvio Lucisano

Starring: Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Àngel Aranda, Evi Marandi

Released: September 1965

MPAA: UR

 

 

It just recently hit me that I’ve never reviewed a film by legendary Italian horror master, Mario Bava! This man created the horror scene in Italy overnight. His contributions to the genre are undeniable, and he has the catalog to back it up. A quick Google search will net you dozens of films he made, and quite a few you should not only recognize, but have seen. One of these films is Planet of the Vampires.

Definitely look up some of his films (a few are on Netflix as of right now, I believe), they don’t have high production values typically, but the atmosphere is pretty cool. Well, that’s enough for now, let’s get to the film…

 

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The movie begins with two spaceships heading to a planet that’s emitting a distress signal. As they communicate with each other, suddenly the view screen goes dark, and communications are lost. The crew has no idea what’s going on, and before they know it, the ship is pulled down to the planet by force. The Captain, Mark Markary (Barry Sullivan), is very concerned because his brother is on the other ship. As the occupants begin to wake up from the crash, they go crazy, and attack each other. The only one that seems to be able to keep his wits about him is the captain. He eventually gets the crew under control, and they’re visibly shaken, especially Sanya (Norma Bengell).

 

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The first thing they do is set out to find the other ship and see if they’re alive. The planet seems to be a barren wasteland and nothing but a mysterious fog rolling around seems to be even remotely recognizable. After a quick distress call from the other ship, but the batteries that run the ship are dead, so they have to hot-foot it to the other ship. As they make their way across the rugged terrain, they realize that although it looks rocky, there is also lava in certain spots. Once the reach the other ship, they find two dead crew members outside. A victim of a fight from the same madness, no doubt.

 

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As they enter the ship, they find a few more crew members dead from the same affliction or something worse. They do notice that there are three crew members unaccounted for, and that definitely raises an eyebrow. They bury the dead, and then attempt to get into the bridge of the ship. They can’t gain access, and realize they need a cutting torch from their ship. They leave one crew member behind to stand guard (yeah, he’s basically a “red shirt”). When the others return from the ship, he’s gone. They then go inside the ship to search for the missing crew member, and now, the bridge is open. Not only that, there were four bodies they couldn’t bury that they left in there, and they’re gone.

 

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Back outside the ship, the one crew member standing guard sees something that makes her cry out, and then weep. The others rush outside, but she’s basically having a nervous breakdown. As they run back to their ship, the dead that were buried rise up from their graves and look like they’ve been to hell and back. The crew decides that tomorrow they’ll begin to try to fix the ship to try to escape this planet. As they sleep, there are two guards posted. They hear noises, but only see illuminated globes floating around. As the Captain heads outside to check on the guards, one of them shrieks, and when the captain and the other guard investigates, they find the guy torn up real bad, and as he’s in his death throes, he insists that the captain of the other ship did this to him.

 

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As night goes on, more and more crew members get slaughtered, and eventually, we find out that not only are the dead rising, but that they are possessed by an alien life form that wants nothing more than to get off of this planet. And they do it by any means necessary! The engineer, Wes, believes that he can reignite the batteries, and get the ship going. He’d better, because if he can’t, they might not make it through another night!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

Along with another film I recently reviewed (It! The Terror from Beyond Space), this one is frequently credited with partially inspiring Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, Alien. Both of these films definitely gave him some ideas, no doubt. I think the budget was $50 for his movie. I’m not kidding, and if you doubt me, read up on the production of this one, you’ll be blown away by the way this movie looks compared to the budget. Very moody, and atmospheric, and the fog machines coupled with the multicolored lights really make the set look cool. The pulsing sound also reminds me of another classic horror flick. “John Carpenter’s The Thing,” has that ominous pulsating music to it as well, that sounds like the heartbeat of the devil himself!

The actors did a decent job, but nothing Oscar worthy. Sullivan and Bengell are pretty good, and carry most of the scenes. The space ships are a little disappointing, but again, when you look at the budget, you can understand why. The dark corridors of the ship were frightening, but the technology was very sub-par.  Bava certainly knows how to make something out of nothing, sort of like Carpenter did with his first few films (and Hammer, Amicus, AIP, etc.).

 

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Grab some popcorn, turn down the lights, and sit down and watch this classic sci-fi/horror flick. Then look up more of Bava’s films from his heyday, you wont be sorry!

 

Click here for the trailer!

 

Cinema Sunday: Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966)

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Title: Rasputin the Mad Monk

Distributor: Hammer Studios/ 20th Century-Fox

Writer: Anthony Hinds

Director: Don Sharp

Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys

Starring: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews

Released: March 1966

MPAA: PG-13

 

After a quick break (for a soccer tournament), I’m back and have a great flick in store for everybody! With the recent passing of Sir Christopher Lee, I thought I’d get at least one (if not two) movie of his out there that was a bit lesser known compared to his big hits. In 1966, Hammer Studios had a few different films that were not in their typical Dracula/Frankenstein’s monster vein. These films were so very good, because not only did they give us the atmosphere and sets that the previous films did, but also all the great actors as well!

I’m not a big fan of this character in history, and I do know that Hammer took a few liberties with the story, but it doesn’t really matter. The film is about entertainment, not being factual. Alright, now let us get down to the film!

 

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The film begins at a local pub in a small village. A doctor is there telling the landlord that his wife is gravely ill, and on her death-bed. As the patrons look on, the family is upstairs, trying to pray for the woman. Suddenly, the door to the pub swings open, and a grisly looking man clad in a monk’s outfit barges in. The monk tells them that there is fever in her, and that he will draw it out. He begins to perform a ritual of sorts, and the family looks concerned. Within seconds though, he succeeds in healing the woman, and everyone is astonished. The landlord then allows the monk to drink freely at his pub and to fraternize with his daughter.

The villagers seem to be skeptical of this man, and get an uneasy feeling about him. After everyone is good and drunk, the monk and the pub owner’s daughter disappear. The next thing we see, the two of them are in the barn making out. The girl’s boyfriend comes in and breaks it up, and he and the monk get into a brawl. Eventually, the monk chops off the guy’s hand with a scythe and he runs screaming from the barn. The monk then attempts to rape the young woman, but the rest of the villagers from the pub stop him. He runs off, back to the monastery where he resides. The next day the villagers confront the monastery about his actions, and he then introduces himself as Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee).

 

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He then basically gets cast out (or a punishment where’s he ejected from the monastery), and is on a wagon ride to nowhere. The man driving the wagon tells him that he should go to St. Petersburg because that’s where the action is to be found. Rasputin then commandeers the wagon and heads straight for the city. Once there, he goes into a pub and starts drinking. He then engages in a contest with another patron to see who can drink the most. Over on the other side of the city, we see a ball going on at the royal palace. We then see Sonia (Barbara Shelley) (a “lady in waiting” for the czar), as she’s bored to death by these events, and craves some real fun. Her brother, Peter, (Dinsdale Landen), his friend Ivan (Francis Matthews), and another girl, Vanessa (Suzan Farmer) (another “lady in waiting”), then take a trip to a local pub that can get rowdy (the same one that Rasputin is at).

 

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The group shows up and see Rasputin and the doctor, Boris Zargo (Richard Pasco), having their drinking contest. The contest is eventually won by Rasputin, and he then begins to dance like a wild man, and Sonia is getting very drunk at this point. She begins to laugh out loud, and as the music stops, it seems as though she’s laughing at Rasputin. He stares t her and demands that she apologizes for laughing at him. Peter attempts to get tough with Rasputin, but he gets slapped away like a child. Sonia is enthralled by Rasputin, and then she apologizes to him. The scene ends, and Rasputin takes the drunken Boris home.

 

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The following day, Sonia seeks out Rasputin, as he’s put the whammy on her. She again apologizes, and then he slaps her around a bit, then they have sex. Boris goes out for some food and wine, then returns to see Rasputin hypnotize her and tell her that while the heir to the throne is under her care, the boy will have an accident, and then she will send for a “holy man” that she knows can heal the boy. The following day, she and Vanessa are watching Alexei, when Sonia pushes him off a ledge, and the boy is hurt badly. None of the doctors or priests can do anything, so then Sonia urges the Tsarina to let her bring in Rasputin.

 

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After a few days, Rasputin arrives at the palace, and does heal the boy. The Tsarina is impressed and offers to reward him. Initially, he refuses payment, but after a few days, he then accepts a gift from her. He also takes full advantage of the opportunity alone with her to hypnotize her, and put her under his spell!

Will Rasputin gain control of all of Russia? Will anyone be able to stop his madness? Watch to find out!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

If you haven’t seen this film, it’s a must. Lee is very impressive in this film and will convince you of the evilness of Rasputin! Barbara Shelley is also absolutely incredible in this one (and looking as beautiful as ever! image below). Her chemistry with Lee is undeniable, and after working together before (Dracula Prince of Darkness) probably helped. The supporting cast is right there as well, and Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer, and Francis Matthews are all splendid.

This film was a double-bill with Dracula Prince of Darkness, so you see a lot of the same sets, but in typical Hammer fashion, they redress everything well enough to make it seem like two separate locations. The music score was good too, and Don Banks is one of those guys I consider right up there with the greats of this time/genre.

Get on this one immediately if you haven’t already viewed it and if you have but not in a while, sit down and enjoy this masterpiece by Christopher Lee (RIP)!

 

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Click here for the trailer!

 

Marvel Chillers #4, 1976 “Night of the Huntress!”

For a time, Marvel tried to further its reading base by creating some books that had  female protagonists. One of those characters was “The Cat,” Greer Nelson. She was featured in her own short-lived series, and after became an Avenger. She eventually mutated into a tiger-woman, named Tigra! She also had a stint in Marvel Chillers, and in this issue, she battled none other than Kraven the Hunter! We all know that Kraven is a bad mamma jamma, but don’t worry, Tigra can hold her own!

The creative team on this one was unique as this was the only issue they all worked on  (writer, pencils, inks) in the series. You have X-Man supreme, “Clever” Chris Claremont (writer), “Free-Wheelin” Frank Robbins (pencils), “Valiant” Vince Colletta (inks), John Costanza (letters), and George Roussos (colors), that gave us this gem! Oh, and let us not forget editor “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman, and “Jazzy” Johnny Romita (pencils), and “Terrific” Tom Palmer (inks), with the cover!

 

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Cinema Sunday: IT! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

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Title: IT! The Terror from Beyond Space

Distributor: United Artists

Writer: Jerome Bixby (screenplay)

Director: Edward L. Cahn

Producers: Robert Kent, Edward Small

Starring: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer

Released: August 1958

MPAA: Approved

 

 

Tell me if you’ve seen this one before…an alien snakes aboard a ship, and using guile and subterfuge (and the duct work), eliminates the crew of the ship one by one. If you guessed the 1979 classic, Alien, you’d be wrong. Sounds a lot like the screenwriters for that movie “borrowed” some key plot points from this film, doesn’t it. Not that it hasn’t been done many times over, just pointing it out for those that might not have seen this film or know about the similarities.

This film has the “space” theme like many others of the 1950’s, but it does separate it self from most of them because of a few key elements that I’ll talk about in my thoughts later after the synopsis. Well, sit back, relax, and get ready for a rocket ship ride to Mars! Let’s get to the film!

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The flick begins with a monologue from the captain of a rocket ship that crashed on Mars, in 1973. He tells that another ship arrived to help eventually, but that the other crew members are all dead. Col. Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) tells us that the other rocket ship will take him back to Earth, and try him for the murders of his fellow astronauts. We next switch back to Earth, and a press conference being held, telling reporters of the situation. They all immediately run to the telephones to inform their editors of the blockbuster story. Carruthers then tells the viewers that the ship is readying for take off, and that the four-month long trip will be interesting.

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Next, we see the Colonel Van Heusen (Kim Spalding)  asking his crew if everything is ready for departure. his crew all relay their information, and then he notices that someone left one of the hatches open. The one responsible speaks up, and then they close it promptly. There’s only one problem. We see that a shadowy figure has sneaked aboard, and looks really ticked off. After they’re in the atmosphere, Van Heusen approaches Carruthers while he’s deep in thought. He asks Carruthers if he’s thinking about the nine bodies he left down there no the planet. He responds that he was, and then Van Heusen begins to interrogate Carruthers, but he sticks to his story that an alien killed his crew. Van Heusen presses him for answers and even reveals that they found the skull of one of is crew members with a bullet hole in it, and then he tells Carruthers that only one kind of monster uses a gun.

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In the next scene, the crew is having dinner, and making small talk. Carruthers, who’s being escorted around today by Lt. James Calder (Paul Langton), walks in, and the crew goes silent. One of the crew members, Eric Royce (Dabbs Greer), remarks that he doesn’t necessarily think that Carruthers is lying, but that he’s convinced himself that an alien did it, so he wouldn’t go insane. Carruthers interjects and tells them that he’s obviously not insane, and then he leaves the room. Van Heusen tells Royce that he’ll get a full confession out of him by the time they reach Earth.

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That evening, Carruthers is still being watched by Lt. Calder, but then Mary Royce (Ann Doran – Eric’s sister?) walks in and offers him some food. She says that she wants to believe him but that the only version of the story she’s heard is from Van Heusen. Carruthers then tells her about the day the crew began to be murdered, one by one. The crew had set out on a fact-finding mission, but a sandstorm arose, and they headed back towards the ship. One of the crew was snatched out of the jeep like a baby by some unseen beast. They all began firing in different directions (this is when it hits Carruthers that the skull with the bullet hole in it was obviously caused during this event). One by one, the crew gets annihilated, except for Carruthers, who made it back to the rocket ship. Van Heusen then walks in and gets rude with Carruthers, who then walks away. Mary chastises him for acting that way to a fellow officer, and we see that the Van Heusen and Mary are a couple. Van Heusen agrees to stop hassling Carruthers at the behest of Mary.

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Later, Carruthers and Eric Royce are having a chess match. One deck below, Joe Kienholz (Thom Carney), is on duty, and hears something below decks. He investigates, and as he’s searching below, he’s savagely murdered by the creature. Carruthers hears him scream, but no one else does. Carruthers investigates, and soon, the rest of the crew is wondering where Kienholz is on the ship. They begin to search, and the next victim is Gino Finelli (Richard Hervey). As he’s smoking a cigarette, the creature attacks him. The others, especially his brother, Bob (Richard Benedict), are getting apprehensive. They discover Klienholz’s body, as it was stuffed in the duct-work. Van Heusen calls for all hands on deck, and everyone comes to help investigate. They realize that someone has to go up in there to search for Gino, so Major John Purdue (Robert Bice) goes in, because he knows the layout best. Within minutes, he finds Gino, who’s on the brink of death. Seconds later, he’s attacked by the creature, but manages to get off a few rounds, and escape death.

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The crew now realizes that Carruthers wasn’t blowing smoke, so they formulate a plan to attach grenades to all the openings for the duct work, so when the creatures attempts to open one, it will blow him to kingdom come. They wait and the ladies, Ann Anderson (Shirley Smith) and Mary attend to Major Purdue’s injuries. They also look at the body of the fist victim, and remark that every bone in his body is broken, but that isn’t what killed him. What’s left of the crew tries to theorize what this creature is, and why it’s on a murderous rampage.

One by one, the crew begins to disappear and it seems that none of their conventional weapons can even remotely stop this creature. When the rocket ship arrives on Earth, will anyone still be alive to warn the others? Watch this classic to find out!

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OK, here are my thoughts:

When you watch this film, and see all the elements that are in more modern-day sci-fi flicks, you’ll be blown away. I mentioned Alien (1979), because that one has the biggest thank you to give to this film, but there are others that followed this template as well. Of course, this film also some elements that probably stem from films like Forbidden Planet (1956), which were big hits just a couple of years earlier. The cast did a great job at portraying ultimate fear, and the monster, for its time, was outstanding!

The musical arrangements were also good, and really helped set the tone for the more ominous scenes. The special effects were on par with those of the age in cinema, which is to say that they were decent, but didn’t blow you away. Honestly, Marshall Thompson and Dabbs Greer seemed to really be the most convincing, and really have you believing that the film takes place in space. Put this one on your bucket list if you haven’t already seen this one, because you’ll definitely be glad you did after viewing this classic!

Click here for trailer!

SGT. Fury #98, 1972 “Dugan’s Deadly Dozen!”

With Memorial Day in the rear-view mirror just slightly, I thought it would be cool to spotlight one of Marvel’s military comics from back in the day. None was better than the always entertaining, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!  This rag-tag group was always either kicking butt or making with the wise comments. Never a dull moment! In this tale, Fury is laid up, so Dugan must take charge, and whip these new guys into shape! A new class of recruits that are less than desirable need to be trained and it’s up to Dum Dum Dugan to do it! Also look for a special appearance by Nick Fury and Happy Sawyer!

This title always had great creators on it. From Roy Thomas, to Jack Kirby, and more. This issue however, is presented by the incredible team of Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Artie Simek (letters), and John Severin (cover)! These fine creators did a copious amount of work on this title, and they really made it their own for a time. Well, sit back and relax, because this one is a real treat! Just look at the fantastic work by Ayers and Esposito!

 

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Cinema Sunday: The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)

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Title: The Mummy’s Shroud

Distributor: 20th Century Fox (Hammer Studios)

Writers: John Gilling & Anthony Hinds

Director: John Gilling

Producer: Michael Carreras

Starring: André Morell, John Phillips, David Buck, Elizabeth Sellars, Michael Ripper, Eddie Powell (as the Mummy)

Released: March 1967

MPAA: Approved

To finish off Hammer Studio’s trilogy of Mummy movies (yes, the last one doesn’t count because there wasn’t an actual “mummy” in the movie! The Mummy- 1959, Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb- 1964, I’m taking a look at the 1967 film, The Mummy’s Shroud! The film does recycle some of the ideas from previous films of the genre, but it also has a good cast, and a fine job turned in by basically a stunt man! Sit back, relax, and get ready to watch some bandages fly as the Mummy is out for revenge! Let’s get to the flick!

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The film begins with some narration informing the viewers that there was a child born to a king of Egypt in ancient times. This boy would soon be ushered away from his father as a coup took place, and the then king, was murdered. The boy was taken to the desert, but he and his caretakers died there from lack of food and water. End interlude…

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In the time around 1920, we see an expedition led by Basil Walden (Andre Morell), and his assistants, Paul Preston (David Buck) and Claire de Sangre (Maggie Kimberley). The expedition is financed by a greedy businessman named Stanley Preston (John Phillips). He and his wife, Barbara (Elizabeth Sellars), have arrived in Cairo, and are troubled about the expedition having lost contact with all outside persons. There’s also a man there to help Stanley Preston, by the name of Longbarrow (Michael Ripper). He seems to be more like a slave to Preston, but an honest man nonetheless.

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After a press conference, Stanley joins one of the search parties that are heading out to find Sir Basil and young Paul. Meanwhile, the expedition finds the tomb, and digs their way into the actual burial section of the boy-king. The team is accosted by an Egyptian man who shouts at them in a foreign tongue, and tells them that he guarding the tomb. After thinking about his warning for about ten seconds, they proceed inside. They head inside, but Claire is troubled by an ominous warning about disturbing the tomb. Sir Basil seems to pause, but then they all join in (except Claire) and excavate the bones and shroud of the boy-king. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Sir Basil gets bitten by a poisonous snake, and barely makes it out alive.

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Next, Stanley and his search party catch up to the expedition, and he sees an opportunity to seize all the glory for himself, even though he had nothing to do with the actual find. They remove everything from the tomb, and head back to Cairo to inventory the loot. Stanley wants to take everything back to England, but the others are worried about Sir Basil, as he’s taken a turn for the worse. Stanley has Sir Basil committed to an asylum because of his erratic behavior. Soon after though, he escapes. Stanley just wants to get out of town, but the police wont let anyone leave until Sir Basil is found.

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Speaking of Sir Basil, as he’s wandering around the city, evading the police, an old woman (a fortune-teller) approaches him, and tells him that she can help. Her and her accomplice (the man who warned the expedition in the tomb), tell him that he’ll soon die, and then we see Hasmid (the accomplice), steal the burial shroud from the mummy, and perform a ritual. This brings the mummy to life, and then it sets out to seek revenge against the defilers that sought to profit from his body and wealth! As the fortune-teller continues to taunt Sir Basil, he gets weaker by the minute, and then from behind the mummy approaches. It grabs his head, and crushes it like a grape (image above)!

He is only the first in line, and the clock is ticking for all those who entered the tomb!

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OK, here are my thoughts:

This film is a bit underrated for sure. No, it isn’t the finest movie Hammer ever produced, but it’s also not the worst by far. André Morell is his usual self, and delivers a good performance, but too brief as well. After his other performances in Hammer films, you know what he brings to the table. The supporting cast is a good one too, and John Phillips is a great scoundrel in this film. His love of money and cowardice later in the film, are the textbook definition of the word miscreant!

The music score was a good one, and better than most latter-day Hammer films. Don Banks is probably the second person I think of (behind James Bernard) pertaining to Hammer music scores, and deservedly so. The sets are quite good as you also come to expect from Hammer, and really have you believing that you are in Cairo. The ever faithful, Michael Ripper gives a good performance as well, and just seeing his face makes a Hammer film feel more comfortable.

Take some time out to visit or revisit the Hammer “Mummy” films. When looked at as a trilogy, they might not make sense as they don’t continue on with the same story, but taken as separate films with the same antagonist, you’ll be delighted by the results.

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Click here for the trailer!

Fantastic Four Annual #12, 1977 “The End of the Inhumans…and the Fantastic Four”

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I agree, and in the case of this issue of the Fantastic Four, you can definitely see that the entire thing is an homage to Jack Kirby. The Fantastic Four are awesome enough, but throw in the Inhumans, and Thraxon the Schemer, and you get a Bronze Age winner! Alright, the big draw isn’t Thraxon the Schemer, but a throw-down between the Sphinx and Black Bolt! Yes, these two heavyweights go toe to toe, and this is one brawl you can’t miss!

When the epic adventure starts with an incredible cover by “Big” John Buscema (pencils) and “Joltin” Joe Sinnott (inks), you know you’re in for a great visual story. The FF at this time was under the guidance of “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman (writer & editor) and he really crafted some cool cosmic tales during his tenure. The interior work was also very good, and we have Bob Hall (pencils, first half), Keith Pollard (pencils, second half), and Bob Wiacek (inks) to thank for that! Rounding out the team is Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters).

 

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The Defenders #27, 1975 “Three Worlds to Conquer!”

My love for the Defenders is legendary, so it stands to reason, that I must love the creators as well. Most of the stories borderline on the absurd and unusual, kind of like a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode. Truthfully, you have to be kind of weird to like this book, but that suites me just fine. The Guardians of the Galaxy (from the future), get tangled up in a battle with the Brotherhood of the Badoon, and it’s up to the Defenders to help them defeat these nasty aliens!

The creative team supreme, of Steve “Baby” Gerber (writer) and “Our Pal” Sal Buscema (pencils), gave us this great book, and by no means do I exaggerate! Throw in the controversial “Valiant” Vince Colletta on inks, Joe Rosen on letters, Al Wenzel colorist, and “Lively” Len Wein, editing! Being that this book is a GotG tie-in, the price can be utterly insane, so, watch out, the thieves of the internet are on the prowl!

 

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Cinema Sunday: The Abominable Snowman (of the Himalayas) (1957)

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Title: The Abominable Snowman (of the Himalayas – U.S.)

Distributor: Hammer/ Warner Bros.

Writer: Nigel Kneale

Director: Val Guest

Producer: Aubrey Baring

Starring: Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, Maureen Connell, Richard Wattis, Robert Brown

Released: August 1957

MPAA: Approved

 

Welcome friends, to another week of Hammer Studios greatness! This week’s film is one that I honestly thought I’d already reviewed! After a quick search, I realized I hadn’t. So, I must present this little gem that was lost in the archives mainly because of the success of Curse of Frankenstein, that was released the same year. With some familiar faces, solid acting, and a setting that is very creepy, this one definitely needs to be revisited, so let’s get down to business!

 

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As the film begins, we see Dr. John Rollason (Peter Cushing), talking to the Lama (Arnold Marlé). The Lama questions why Rollason has agreed to meet with an adventurer type guy that is coming to explore the area that the monastery is located. Rollason tries to calm the Lama’s fears, but he cannot. A few moments later, the Lama tells Rollason that his wife, Helen (Maureen Connell) is approaching, and seconds later, she walks in the room along with his assistant, Peter Fox (Richard Wattis). Both enter and are upset with Rollason because he’s agreed to go on the expedition with this other man, rather than continuing his research.

 

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In the next scene, we meet the explorer, and the burly Dr. Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker), is leading his men through the town to meet Rollason. Friend has also brought along a trapper named Ed Shelley (Robert Brown), a photographer, Andrew McNee (Michael Brill), and a local guide named Kusang (Wolf Morris). They all meet and make arrangements to have dinner together later, and meet the Lama. At the dinner party, the Lama again questions the motives of the expedition, and eventually, the truth comes out. Friend and his group are there to find the mysterious Yeti of that region, and we also find out (eventually) that he wants to capture one alive!

 

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The next day, the expedition sets off and begins their long journey up the mountain. They keep the group small, because Friend believes that marching an army up there would scare off the Yeti. Friend has already been to great heights on this mountain, and hid equipment in caves along the way. After a day’s journey, they stop at one of the resting points. They make camp, and have a fire going, but one of the men seems uneasy. As they’re settling in for the night, one of the team believes he heard something nearby. Everyone heads out to investigate, but no evidence can be found.

 

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The following day brings an avalanche, and then one of the men, McNee, gets his leg caught in a trap and gets injured. They take him to the tent and he relaxes there for a while. Rollason stays with him as the other push ahead. When they catch up, Ed tells them that he’s captured a Yeti. They rush to see it, and are astonished at the creatures size. That night, more of the Yeti come to take back the body and to terrorize the camp. Ed shoots and kills one of them, and the group realizes that now the Yeti might get hostile towards them. McNee is almost crazy from the pain of his injury, but he also seems to be sensitive to the presence of these creatures. Friend thinks he can use this to his advantage though, and begins to scheme about another trap.

 

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Kusang sees one of the yeti reaching into the tent, and the fright of the ordeal is too much for him, so he flees. Friend and Rollason stop him and ask what he saw, but he only responds with…”I see, what man should not see!” McNee ends up wandering off the next day, and falls off of a cliff. He’s completely delusional at this point, and the fall kills him instantly. That leaves Friend, Rollason, and Ed. Speaking of Ed, he seems to be in the beginning stages of schizophrenia, and is a liability at this point. Rollason buries McNee, but Friend and Ed will have nothing of it, and continue to lay their trap. Meanwhile, Helen and Fox are leading another expedition to find the others, but they’re way behind.

 

Robert Brown and Forrest Tucker in The Abominable Snowman

Will Helen and Fox reach the others in time? Will the Lama’s prophecy come true that no man will see the creature and live? Watch to find out!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

Alright, well, as I said initially, this film is fantastic, but was definitely overshadowed by Curse of Frankenstein, that followed soon after this film. It’s really a shame though, because this film has a lot to offer. The script, locations, music, and acting were all very good. The only thing I think that could’ve been better were the creatures themselves. We never get to see any Yeti action (attacking/killing)! That for me is the only glaring missed opportunity in this entire film. No one is to blame, especially not the special effects people, who coincidentally did a fine job. I understand the notion of not showing the Yeti’s and letting your imagination run wild with different scenarios, but even just one or two scenes would’ve sufficed.

As far as the cast goes, Cushing and Tucker really made this one great. The Lama was pretty good too, and really gave a creepy performance. The others were at least average, and none of the players weighed down the film. I will say that Kusang was played brilliantly as well, and he and the Lama were very convincing. Do yourself a favor, and get a copy of this film either online streaming or grab a copy somewhere. You wont regret it!

 

Click here for the trailer!

 

Daredevil #143, 1976 “”Hyde and Go Seek”, Sayeth the Cobra!

Unlike most comic book readers, I’m not a huge fan of the gritty era that eventually engulfed the 1980’s. Yeah, I like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and V for Vendetta (especially this last one), but that’s about it. I like my comics to have more of a lighthearted tone or just not as hardcore as say the works of Frank Miller. The importance and place in history of his work aren’t lost to me, but those stories just don’t get me excited to read comics. Miller is a guy that I like the early work of on titles like The Punisher, and his Spider-Man work. One character that everyone raves about though, as far as Miller is concerned, is Daredevil. Now that is the one character that I can really get into when it’s Miller for some odd reason. I just feel he’s a character that Miller was born to write/draw. Honestly though, I love the material that came out in the years earlier to his legendary run even more.

One issue in particular that I absolutely love is #143. It’s part two of a story that features DD up against his old enemies, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra! These two villains have plagued DD on several occasions, and always give him a run for his money! We get to see a lot of action in this one but also some intrigue as well with Heather Glenn’s father and his “business” ventures. Some jungle action, a man-eating lion, and the usual DD butt-kicking fight scenes are all packed in this comic book!

Marv Wolfman (writer), had a decent run on this title as writer and editor (about 2 years). We all know his ability to write a good story, whether it be a one and done, or a lengthy story over a few issues, he can get it done! Artists Bob Brown (pencils) and Keith Pollard (inks) are two guys that don’t get a lot of airplay, but when you look at their bodies of work, you’ll be impressed nonetheless. The cover art was done by none other than Dave Cockrum, and his exploits on the X-Men, and Legion of Superheroes is well documented, as it should be!  John Costanza provided the letters, and Janice Cohen the colors, to round out this solid creative team!

 

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