Monday, May 31, 2010

HORROR IN ADVERTISING

I'm in a weird mood again today, but don't let that stop you. Get out and char some flesh on the BBQ! Picture courtesy of the George Romero School of Acting.

RUE-MINATING AT THE MORGUE (PART 3)

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ALEXANDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE (CONCLUSION)

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Freddy or Frankie(stein)?

DAVID ALEXANDER: Definitely Frankenstein -- I love the Universal classics and Frankenstein was my very first monster love. I've still got the Frankenstein model with the glowing head and hands that my dad put together with me when I was really young. It sits on the shelf in my office and is one of my favourite things in the world.

MMW: I notice that you don’t hold back on the gore in the magazine and I know film makers are pushing the limits of bloodletting, even going so far as to spawn the so-called “torture porn” genre. Just what is the future of the horror film?

DA: Well, that's a pretty huge question, and one we attempt to answer in the 100th issue with a big piece that looks at the past thirteen year of horror across the board, from comic books, to women in the genre, to movies, and then looks ahead to the future. There are certain things, such as war, terrorism, environmental destruction and so on, which will continue to shape the genre, but perhaps none so much as the rapid advances in technology.

MMW: Although it had its faults, I really enjoyed Universal’s recent release of THE WOLF MAN remake even though it bombed a bit at the box office. Do you think there is any hope for the return of the classic monster?

DA: Well, it did make over $138 million worldwide, so I don't know if that's quite a bomb, but I'm sure expectations were higher. It depends what you mean by "return to." Those creatures aren't going anywhere, but they are shaped by the times, so they're going to rendered, at least partially in CG and things will get bloodier and more violent. Part of the reason classic horror fans love that Universal stuff is that the films are a product of their time – just like atomic monster movies of the '50s or slasher films of the '80s. It's not an "authentic" experience today to have a black and white creature feature with sweeping dramatic performances, a mono score and pancake makeup, for example.

MMW: If you could wave a magic wand and change or accomplish anything with RM, what would it be?

DA: To finally bring life to our mascot Brucie. No, wait... I guess just try to accomplish a fraction of all the big ideas that our team has for RUE MORGUE. For example, we'd love to see horror continue to gain respect as a genre worth serious investigation, and part of that would be to bring the world of RUE MORGUE to a variety of multi-media platforms. Of course, that sounds like a bunch of corporate-speak, and that's not the vibe around here. To put it more simply, we're working toward more online content, we'd love to have a news-style show some day, and what RM fan wouldn't dig some of Gary and Justin's artwork on their iPhone? Only so many hours in the day, though, so we're working away on it.

MMW: RUE MORGUE magazine has come a long way. What is the health of RM as a print ‘zine and what might the future hold?

DA: I think I touched on future endeavours in the previous answer. In terms of health, we face the same challenges as every magazine in an increasingly digital, recession-rocked world where advertisers are dropping out and specialty companies are going under, but there's a loyal fanbase of RUE MORGUE readers who support us, so as long as they've got our back, we can evolve and be there for them. We do need their support right now, more than ever, if we're going to keep doing cool things, such as the Hymns comp.

MMW: Any last words of wisdom for the readers of the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD BlogSpot?

DA: Support your monster magazines! And send us letters, we love to hear from you. After all, RUE MORGUE is by horror fans, for horror fans.

And that concludes the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD interview with David Alexander of RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE. Monstrous thanks, Dave, and best of luck with the magazine!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

HYMNS FROM THE HOUSE OF HORROR: FREE DOWNLOAD


Just to prove that some things in life still are free, the folks at RUE-MORGUE.COM are offering a free download of a music comp that they've produced. The download contains darn near an hour's worth of hard rock, psychobilly, punk, surf and atmospheric tracks from the likes of THE GHASTLY ONES and MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE. It even includes artwork to make your own CD sleeve and disc label! So, hurry on over -- this free offer is available only for a limited time according to the website. What better way to spend your weekend than charring flesh on the BBQ and listenin' to tunes?

And, while I'm on the subject of RUE MORGUE, on Monday I will be posting the conclusion of the interview with Dave Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of RUE MORGUE magazine.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH NO. 1 (PART 4)


Here are the concluding pages of the first issue of Stan Lee's MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH. Now I will let you in on a little secret of mine and it may answer the questions that some of you may have been asking, like: "Why is he posting this rag?". This magazine has a more profound meaning for me than most other people. In an odd way, it is a sort of historical benchmark in my pursuit of the pleasures of monster movie-dom. You see, MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH was the very first "monster magazine" that I was allowed to purchase. I suppose it was because it seemed more like a "joke book" than a movie monster magazine, and one could argue the fact that it is just exactly that. In any event, I plunked down my quarter and brought it home, poring through it and staring at the fabulous pictures for hours on end.

I guess when it comes right down to it, MTLW is best discussed in the context of the times in which it was published. Stan Lee didn't write these 'zines for adults. His target audience was pre-teen and young teenage boys -- the same ones who were building Aurora monster models and sat glued to their TV sets on the weekends absorbing the latest serving of SHOCK THEATRE or CREATURE FEATURES. Plus, the jokes were funnier back then. To anyone who knows who Jose Jimenez is, you'll catch my drift. In summation, MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH is definitely not high art, but it happens to be high on my nostalgia meter. And you know what? That's okay with me.









Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MONSTERS AND THINGS: A RARE LOOK


When it comes to the lesser known and scarcer monster magazine titles, too often our association with them is only with their cover image. Once in a while one of the more uncommon, even rare 'zines surfaces. That the entire issue, interiors and all, gets shared by the fortunate owner for the rest of us monster magazine lovers is a huge bonus!

Harry Lee Green over at the The Hairy Green Eyeball BlogSpot does just that by offering us a rare glimpse of MONSTERS AND THINGS NO. 2 (Magnum Publications; April 1959). The first issue of MONSTERS AND THINGS was published in January 1959 only about a year after the "first" monster movie magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND (Warren Publications; February 1958). Another Magnum Publications title distributed by the American News Company was the equally scarce MONSTER PARADE, whose first issue in September, 1958 predated the other early FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND competitor, WORLD FAMOUS CREATURES by only one month (October, 1958).

Put in perspective, what we have here is a great opportunity to take a look at an example of monster movie magazines from their earliest beginnings. A bit of horror history, if you will. Follow the link over to The Hairy Green Eyeball and feast your own eyes on a rare treat. If you leave a comment, let Hairy ... er, Harry know that MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD sent you. Following are a few preview images.



RUE-MINATING AT THE MORGUE (PART 2)

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ALEXANDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE (CONTINUED)

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Do you have an office where editing and production is conducted or do you all work remotely?

DAVE ALEXANDER: Jody and Ankixa work out of home, the RM Radio crew come in to work on segments in the office radio room – or, in Shannon's case, work remotely because she's across the country. Our freelancers are always dropping in and out of the office, as is Dave Daniloff. The rest of us are here in the House of Horror, in west Toronto, which makes for eight of us regularly in the office. That's not counting the re-animated werewolves in the basement, the giant spider in the roof or that gelatinous blob growing in the back of the lunch room fridge...

MMW: Whose idea was it to publish a monster magazine that covered the full spectrum of the genre?

DA: It's Rodrigo's brainchild. He started it in 1997out of his apartment and gave away the first two black and white issues for free. The theme: "Horror in Culture & Entertainment."

MMW: Jason or Michael Myers?

DA: Myers, because he's my first slasher.

MMW: I particularly like the idea that you cover music. I also see that you’ve just completed your first music compilation. Tell me a little about how that came to be and how listeners can hear it.

DA: Well, Rodrigo has always made music a huge part of Rue Morgue, of course, and we hashed out the idea a while ago, but it really didn't take off until Trevor arrived in January and put the necessary time and effort into it. (He also dubbed it Hymns From the House of Horror). Tomb and Liisa and I worked with him to come up with a list, contact our fave bands and then do some write ups. It was a lot of work and a huge source of pride to be able to give the fans something cool, while also getting some of our favourite bands more exposure. You can download it from rue-morgue.com or ruemorgueradio.com and it's absolutely free, but for a limited time, so don't wait around. Justin gave it the final touch with some amazing artwork (also downloadable, so you can print it off, or even screen a graphic onto the disc if you've got a CD printer.

MMW: I’ve noticed that the cover price of RM has been creeping up and the paper, especially the cover stock, is getting a little flimsier. Comic books and other publications are going that way, too. Will you comment and can paper get any thinner without bleeding through?

DA: That's not really my department, but we work with our printer to get the biggest bang for our buck so we can keep the cover price reasonable, and save for those special issues, such as the glossy, thick cover of #100, without having to raise the price. In general, the state of the magazine industry, coupled with the recession, means that everyone is trying to find ways to maximize their budgets. It can be a real struggle and publications are disappearing weekly. We've had to tighten our bootstraps like everyone else.

TO BE CONTINUED  . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

RUE-MINATING AT THE MORGUE (PART 1)


AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVE ALEXANDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE.

Announced in a recent MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD post was the Sasquatch-sized news detailing RUE MORGUE magazine’s landmark 100th issue (which I will be reviewing right here in the not too distant future). This is a huge accomplishment for any print ‘zine these days, let alone one that has nothing but measly monsters and horror stuff in it. For that, I tip my pointy hat to you guys!

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD cajoled Mr. Dave Alexander, Editor-in-Chief, to put down his bone saw for a few bloody minutes and agree to answer a few questions about RM’s long journey to its centennial edition and what’s in store for the future. The interview will run in several installments of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD.

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD: Have you got a dream job or what?

DAVE ALEXANDER: Hell yeah, I get to work with the coolest and most talented folks around, geek on monsters and horror, and generally not have to grow up. Ha!

MMW: One hundred issues! Can you describe your overall feeling?

DA: I started freelancing for RUE MORGUE at issue #34, and was hired as an editor starting at #43, and time has really flown by. The 100th always seemed so far away; we worked super-hard on it for months, and now it's gone in a flash and we're already onto #102. So, yeah, it's extremely gratifying to hit the big 100, especially given the current state of the magazine industry, but we also don't have much time to sit back and take it all in.

MMW: In the recent past there have been some changes in the staff of RUE MORGUE. What happened?

DA: Without getting into unnecessary details, there are things that make for a toxic work environment that include being very negative, being very vocal about not wanting to be there, and making oneself the focal point at the expense of the contributions of others. Even if it's not like that all the time – sometimes it's great, in fact – and if that person is indeed talented, it's a poison that builds up. I read an interview that claimed things happened because everyone here was "jealous," which is hilarious. We all have our successful artistic endeavours outside of Rue Morgue and we're all very supportive of each other's projects, so I guess that kind of a statement just proves my point. More importantly, though, our current team is on the same page, love working together and are able to take things to the next level, as they say.

MMW: RUE MORGUE can’t be possibly masterminded by one individual. Can you give me a quick rundown on who does what?

DA: Well, Rodrigo Gudiño is the president and founder, Jody Infunari is our ad and promotions guy, and Marco Pecota is our money man. Jessa is our office manager and keeps the day-to-day stuff running smooth, usually with the help of an intern or two. Ankixa Risk handles rue-morgue.com. Liisa Ladouceur is our copy editor. Dave Daniloff handles Rue Morgue events. Our design team consists of Art Director Gary Pullin, and designer Justin Erickson. Monica S. Kuebler is our Managing Editor, who also oversees the literary section. Trevor Tuminski, the latest addition to the team, is our Associate Editor, and he oversees music content. I'm the Editor-in-Chief, and I program our monthly CineMacabre movie nights. Of course, there's the Rue Morgue Radio gang, which consists of Tomb Dragomir, Stuart F. Andrews, Last Chance Lance, Shannon and Liisa. And then we've got a couple dozen freelancers, who keep the Monster Machine running. (More info here: http://www.rue-morgue.com/rmp_rue_crew.php).

MMW: Do you have an office where editing and production is conducted or do you all work remotely?

DA: Jody and Ankixa work out of home, the RM Radio crew come in to work on segments in the office radio room – or, in Shannon's case, work remotely because she's across the country. Our freelancers are always dropping in and out of the office, as is Dave Daniloff. The rest of us are here in the House of Horror, in west Toronto, which makes for eight of us regularly in the office. That's not counting the re-animated werewolves in the basement, the giant spider in the roof or that gelatinous blob growing in the back of the lunch room fridge...

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BILL DUBAY (JAN 11, 1948 - APR 15, 2010)


MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD learned today that Bill DuBay, best known for his lengthy stint as editor of Warren Publications' line of comics magazines, died in Portland, Oregon from colon cancer on April 15, 2010.

Mr. Dubay was born in San Francisco, California on January 11, 1948. He was active in comics fandom in the early 1960's and ended up landing a job writing humor for Charlton, and later, Marvel.

He was hired by Warren in 1970 and wrote stories and contributed art as well. After Archie Goodwin, Bill Parente and others, he became full-time editor of the Warren's comics line and remained so off and on until Warren ceased publishing. He then went on to Archie Comics where he tried unsuccessfully to revive the Red Circle super hero line. His last major projects were with 20th Century Fox's Kids Programming.

MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH NO. 1 (PART 2)

Here are the next few pages from the first whimsical issue of MONSTERS TO LAUGH WITH.












More pages soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

SCARY MONSTERS 75 SNEAK PEEK

Dennis Druktenis, the brainiac behind SCARY MONSTERS magazine was very kind in providing a sneak peek at the cover of the next issue, which has just gone to press! Thanks, Dennis, your a beast of a guy! And, don't forget to check out the SCARY MONSTERS website and their great mail order shop! Just click on the SCARY MONSTERS cover on the sidebar of this here MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD BlogSpot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SCARY MONSTERS 74


SCARY MONSTERS
No. 74
Editor: Dennis Druktenis
Publication Date: April 2010
Publisher: Dennis Druktenis Publishing & Mail Order, Inc.
Color cover/B&W interior
134 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $8.95

If there ever was a monster magazine that closely follows the spirit of the original FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, it's SCARY MONSTERS. SM also holds the distinction of being the first (new) monster movie mag to be reviewed here on the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD BlogSpot.

Dennis Druktenis and host, Sam Scare, create an accurate, respectful tribute to the legacy of the vintage monster 'zines of the past with each and every issue. He has even devoted a series of special annual issues of "monster memories", where writers submit reminisces and remembrances of those good times that us "older" monster kids are so fond of.

The surprise of this issue, and no small feat I might add, is how writers Paul and Donna Parla made a twenty-five page article on the Herschell G. Lewis produced concoction MONSTER A GO-GO, so dad-burned . . . entertaining! This movie, like a number of others of the era, had a strange history of money problems, production issues and other assorted conundrums that leaves you scratching your head as to how the thing ever got released (and after watching it, why it ever got released)! Well, the Parla's serve up an absorbing account, and before I knew it, I was into the long interview with writer and director, Bill Rebane.

Another lengthy article by Joseph Winters entitled, "Witchcraft Through the Cinema", attempts to describe the history of witchcraft alongside a timeline of movies that were inspired or influenced by the subject. This is a tall order, even for 18 pages. I would rather have seen it run longer for several installments. Even so, Mr. Winters covers a lot of ground and, as a result, the overall intent does not suffer greatly. I could even see this idea expanded into a book-length format.

We get yet another short tour through Bob Burns' basment from Mark C. Glassey, Ph.D. I nearly skipped reading this because what could easily have turned out to be a run-of-the-mill account actually turned out to be quite entertaining. Glassey's descriptive writing had me almost there in my mind's eye.

"Kount Kurta's Kreepy Kollectible Korner!!!" is a regular series penned by Jeff Kurta. This issue he regales us with his experiences in collecting the lurid lore of Eerie Publications. These mostly recycled, doctored-up and partially re-mastered pre-code horror comic magazines were the black sheep of the family to the other, far superior Warren black and whites (although I suppose some would argue that point . . . never convincingly enough for me, though). Like a crow, I am attracted to bright and shiny things, and one can't help but to be drawn in by the downright gaudy and perverted covers that these schlockmeisters without shame slopped on with a brush and a pen. God help me, I love 'em! There's not a lot of historical or informative data here to chew on, but it was fun reading Kurta's strange addiction (wink-wind, nod-nod!) to these most reviled of mainstream horror tomes. Now I know I am not the only one waiting with bated breath for Mike Howlett's THE WEIRD WORLD OF EERIE PUBLICATIONS to be published.

One other article worthy of mention is Tom Triman's "The Doctor Is In! A Tribute to John P. Fulton", in which he discusses Fulton's monumental work in a historical context which only serves to amplify the absolute essential nature of his genius. Many stills and screen grabs enhance the text, and rightly so since Fulton's greatest contributions to cinema were of the purely visual kind.

Closing out the issue is another reason to remember why SCARY MONSTERS is, in many ways, not necessarily a throw-back but rather a tribute to the great FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND: Mr. Druktenis has put himself together a mail-order business that is the present day equivalent to Warren's Captain Company. I'm not kidding! He offers everything from magazines to recordings to models, and everything in between. In some cases, it's the same products that were being sold way back in the day -- which only proves the monster magazines are timeless. Of course, we all knew that already, didn't we?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL APE IN THE WORLD 1972


Remember me mentioning not too long ago that I'd let you know in a future post the type of "scream queen" whom I thought would be worthy for the likes of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD? Well, this isn't it. Instead, while shlepping around the Arcane Archives I came across this cultural curiosity in order to show you to what depths the carnival hucksters called the media could stoop in using monsters (and sci-fi/fantasy characters, too) to exploit their wares.


The year was 1972. The place: Los Angeles, California. Cars were still high-octane gas-guzzling heaps of metal, Bob's Big Boy (a sort of kinder, gentler Fat Bastard) served up the best chili spaghetti and chocolate shakes around, Norm's advertised their $3.99 Porterhouse and T-Bone steak special dinners in full-page newspaper ads, and DuPar's had a blueberry cream cheese cake that could send The Cheese Cake Factory back to baking school. Out in the rest of the world, there would be the Watergate Hotel break-in, Jane Fonda would earn the nickname "Hanoi Jane" by her ill-conceived "tour" of North VietNam, and Disco (thank God) had yet to take hold on the mind set of coke sniffin' club-goers. It almost seemed as if Americans had settled into a mode of cultural mediocrity that some would agree we haven't shaken off since.



Despite all the usual Cold War and political hijinks that were going on at the time, it was the year that THE GODFATHER was released. So was CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Now, I will be the first to tell you that I am a big fan of POTA. But, when they killed off Taylor and (especially) Nova, and to some degree, even Brent in the first sequel, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, the series lost its toehold on a unique thematic premise. Not to say that the others had their merit, but the first two POTA movies are, in my calculation, screen classics.

Sometime after the release of COTPOTA, either somebody in 20th Century Fox's publicity department, or some other media genius who got the studio's blessing decided it would be a great idea to hold a "Most Beautiful Ape in the World" beauty contest. The winner would swing into a role in the next Ape's movie, BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.

The event was held in Century City and hosted by Gary Owens. Owens, a perennial L.A. radio and media guy, was often seen in the popular TV show, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. That ought to give you some idea of the general mood of the contest. The girls could model in either hot pants (yes, it was the 70's) or bikinis, but they'd all have to wear the same over-the-head ape mask. When the smoke cleared . . . or when the fur stopped flying . . . or, whatever the case, the contest came down to five girls. Contestant No. 2 was finally declared the winner. The name of the body with the face under the ape mask was Dominque Green. Apparently, she got her 15 minutes of fame, then disappeared into cinematic obscurity. The story was published in a POTA publicity tabloid titled, of all things, The San Simian Sentinel. A quick internet look-up revealed no extra information on her. If you try it yourself, I caution you to be aware that you will get some hits depicting more, shall I say, fleshly Dominque Greens. It seems as though the beautifully femine French name "Dominique" has been hi-jacked by the adult film industry.


I also gave brief thought to what the ACLU might think of this type of event were it conducted today, and maybe even PETA. Maybe there's even a "POTA", People for the Objective Treatment of Apes? After all, it's one thing to have a girl wear an ape mask, but eating the banana afterwards? Sheesh! Somehow, though, I have a hard time thinking that any of the girls were coerced against their will into running the cat, er . . . ape walk.

Well, there you have it. The saga of the world's first and the world's only "Most Beautiful Ape in the World" contest. So, what does this have to do with monster 'zines you ask? To tell you the truth, I don't have an answer for that, but I told you early on I wasn't sticking to a strict format here. Call it discussing a cultural artifact of monsterology, if you will. One of the things about blogs is that every reader gets to share in the digression. Anyway, I've left a clue for you on the answer to the question that I said I would answer that I haven't answered yet. And, in my opinion, who I've got in mind is hottern' the 100-degree plus temperature I've been fighting for two days. If you know what I'm talking about, then you're gettin' real warm, too. But that's for a later post.

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