Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've been experiencing computer problems for the past several weeks so I haven't processed any orders since late October. I'm due to get my computer back from the shop this weekend so hopefully I can get started on Monsters from the Vault #30. I finally was able to fill all outstanding orders over he past couple of days so if you're expecting an issue (or issues) from me they're in the mail.

Also, thanks to an error by Diamond Comics, Monsters from the Vault #30 was not listed in the October Previews for December shipping as planned. By the time I discovered their mistake, it was too late for the issue to be listed in the November Previews. So now the issue will be listed in the December Previews for shipping in February 2012. Unfortunately, their error has forced me to delay the release if the issue until February. So if you order MFTV from your local comic shop check out the December Previews.

Marian and I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review from the Vault: Tales from the Cult Film Trenches

TALES FROM THE CULT FILM TRENCHES: Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema, by Louis Paul, Foreword by Tom Weaver (2008: McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640). Softcover, $35.00.

Review by John Rozum

Before I begin, there's something I need to disclose. When I read a magazine I tend to skip interviews with actors, no matter how much I may enjoy their work, or how interested I am in the movie the interview promotes. This is not because I look down on them or think they don't have anything intelligent to say. The reason is that more often than not, they aren't given the opportunity to say anything interesting.

Most actor interviews I've read seem to be more about making the reader believe that the journalist who conducted the interview is now best buddies with the actor in question, and any quotes used tend to be fluff pieces about some hilariously embarrassing mishap on the set, or how dedicated their co-star is to his or her craft.

Reading Tales from the Cult Film Trenches was a refreshing contrast to my expectations regarding actor interviews. Author and interviewer Louis Paul works in the vein of Tom Weaver, who wrote the Foreword to this volume, in that Paul's admiration for his subjects shows through and allows him to ask well-considered questions that usually get well-considered responses. Where Weaver tends to focus on actors whose body of work was concentrated in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, Paul picked subjects who worked in the subsequent three decades, making this book a wonderful companion volume to Weaver's.

Tales from the Cult Film Trenches contains interviews that Paul conducted with 36 actors best known for their work in genre movies, be they horror, science fiction, sword and sandal, biker, action, adult, or movies lumped under the problematic heading of blaxploitation. (As actor Fred Williamson points out, "I do not understand how they could use that terminology, because I don't know who was being exploited.")

While the actors in this book are best known for work they did in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, most of them are still working now. The first entry begins, "Tom Atkins is an actor whose name you may not readily recognize, but you’ll recognize his face if you were or are a fan of genre films of the eighties." That description easily applies to just about everyone in this book. These are character actors, and while many of them have had their moments playing lead characters, the meat and potatoes of their work is in supporting roles. Quite a few of these actors have made a career out of playing heavies.

The actors Paul chose for this collection are a diverse lot: Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Berryman, Samson Burke, David Carradine, Robert Davi, Brad Dourif, Keir Dullea, Sid Haig, Tippi Hedren, Gloria Hendry, Richard Herd, David Hess, Brion James, Brigitte Lahaie, Ed Lauter, Christopher Lee, Marrie Lee, Valerie Leon, Richard Lynch, Charles Napier, Linnea Quigley, Steve Railsback, Tura Satana, John Saxon, Madeline Smith, William Smith, Austin Stoker, Don Stroud, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Dee Wallace Stone, Mel Welles, Fred Williamson, William Windom, Lana Wood, and Celeste Yarnall.
As can be expected in any book of this sort, the depth of the interviews varies from subject to subject. Some, such as Adrienne Barbeau, don't really say much, with each query being answered with, essentially, "That person was really nice and interesting to work with," or "I had a lot of fun working on that project." Fortunately, the bulk of the interview subjects have quite a bit to say, offering insights into their backgrounds, their craft, the films they've worked on, co-stars, directors, and the general economics of low-budget filmmaking and surviving as a rank-and-file character actor.

Aside from the interviews themselves, Paul also provides excellent biographical material as well as extremely thorough filmographies. The latter illuminate just how hardworking these mostly uncelebrated actors are, as many contain page after page of densely typed movie and television series names and dates. Paul also helpfully provided each episode name when discussing television series that featured the actors in nonrecurring roles.

These elaborate filmographies also highlight the only drawback to this book. It's sometimes disappointing, as in the case of William Windom, to find that despite a nearly five-page list of credits, Windom's interview is only about a page and a half long, focusing on just a couple of roles. Granted, I know each actor is different in how much time he or she allows for interviews and how cooperative he or she wants to be with the process, so I'm sure Paul did his best with whatever time or personality he was working with.

There is a lot of gold in this book. I learned a lot and was impressed by how much thought went into the responses to Paul’s questions; it was obvious the subjects enjoyed being interviewed by Paul. The actors who divulged how they approached their craft and viewed the types of movies they appeared in are the most fascinating interviews to read, and they make up the bulk of this book.

I'm very glad to have read this volume, and I recommend it to anyone whose love of cult and exploitation films extends beyond horror and science fiction to encompass the other genres mentioned above. I also recommend it to anyone interested in the history of motion pictures from the 1960s to 1980s or in the craft of acting. I'm looking forward to Paul’s next collection of interviews.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review from the Vault: Wild Beyond Belief!

WILD BEYOND BELIEF! Interviews with Exploitation Filmmakers of the 1960s and 1970s, by Brian Albright (2008: McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640). Softcover, $39.95.

Review by Anthony Ambrogio

Wild Beyond Belief! brings together, in alphabetical order, sixteen Brian Albright interviews with greater and lesser lights of low-budget horror and action cinema—from director Al Adamson to writer James Gordon White.

Interview books are always a mixed bag: some of the interviews hold no interest for a particular reader, and some of the interviewees don't give particularly good interviews. On the other hand, sometimes a film personality one might have dismissed displays unexpected depths. Sid Haig, for example, comes off as intelligent and articulate.

Tom Weaver is the Master of the Genre Interview, having done hundreds (collected in thirteen books). Albright is not Weaver—yet. But one can see him becoming more assured and incisive as the interviews accumulate, and, from the first, he shows himself to be a professional who certainly knows his subjects and has done his homework. Thus, he is able to ask about various titles and supply us with missing information (picture release dates, full names of people referred to, etc.). One wishes he had dated the interviews so a reader could more easily place them in the context of the subjects' careers.

Albright's introductions summarize his subjects' professional life from their beginnings to the present day, but a filmography of some sort for each individual would have provided a handy reference. And more description of the titles under discussion would have helped too. If you are unfamiliar with a movie that Albright and his interviewee are talking about, you usually do not learn a lot about it from their conversation. Their remarks about some titles tantalize—but that’s all. For example, interviewee Gary Kent told the producer of the proposed nudie-cutie Secret Places, Secret Things (1971), which Kent eventually directed, "Let's make an art film. It will be a nudie, but it will be art" (p. 127). Those of us who don’t know the movie are curious about the finished product.

Another problem with reading celebrity interviews is that sometimes the celebrities' memories are so faulty, or sometimes what they consider important seems so trivial or meaningless, that their recollections are worthless.

You learn that what's funny to an interviewee may not be funny to a reader, either because the interviewee can't tell a good anecdote or the incident is not particularly amusing to the reader—or both. Case in point: actress Jenifer Bishop's story about herself on location during the shooting of The Female Bunch (1969), involving a horse, a ravine, and the reaction of Lon Chaney, Jr. (see p. 22). I had to read it several times before (I think) I got it.

You also learn that a subject may know his business well but be unable to explain it clearly. Case in point: Sam Sherman's "explanation" of sub-distributor "settlements" (p. 191). I read it several times and still didn't get it.

Part of the reason for this apparent incoherence stems from the author's admirable attempt to reproduce verbatim his subjects'  comments (most of which were no doubt captured by a recording device). While there is merit in an in-his-own-words recital, most people are not exceptional extempore speakers and could benefit from judicious editing and rewording. Such paraphrasing is not dishonest; in fact, it's the kind of polish anyone would do if he or she had the chance. It's been my limited experience (interviewing food-service workers for a restaurant magazine) that as long as interviewees don't appear to be saying "red" when they meant "blue," they are generally happy with the emendations the writer makes to their quotations—and frequently assume that what comes out, rendered through this filter, is exactly what they said.

I guess it comes down to differing philosophies: Should the author leave the interviewees' words exactly as they were spoken, or should he or she craft them into clear renditions of what the subjects really wanted to say (as interpreted, obviously, by the writer)? I would opt for the latter. Albright apparently prefers the former, wishing to be true to the experience, no matter the result.

Despite this use of "raw data," a number of Albright's interviews prove very illuminating, even (or maybe especially) when his subjects put forth dubious propositions.

For example, Albright engages director Monte Hellman in a discussion about the "quiet spaces" now lacking in films. Former philosophy student Hellman maintains, "An audience can't really absorb oral stimuli and visual stimuli simultaneously. If you want them to see something, you can't have anything distracting on the soundtrack. If you want them to hear something, you can't have something distracting on the screen" (p. 97). This idea may be theoretically sound, but it's a great leap from this to suggest that dialogue or sound in itself is a distraction, as Hellman seems to. One could argue that—considering the elaborate musical scores written for many silent films or even the organ or tinkling piano accompaniment found in neighborhood theaters—film was never purely visual; or one could maintain, as Pauline Kael has, that the interrupting intertitles of silent films prevented them from being the "purely visual" works some critics labeled them; or—conversely—one could contend that silent film, lacking the dimension of accompanying sound, is an entirely different art form from talkies. It's an avenue of discussion that this reader wishes Albright and Hellman had explored further—although, since they agree about it, there was probably no place for them to go.

Albright comes into his own as an interviewer with his Jack Hill piece—possibly because he's asking intelligent questions of an intelligent filmmaker who's thoughtful about his work and provides useful insights. (Monte Hellman is an intelligent person, but Albright can't get much out of him except the refrain that Hellman rewrote practically every script he ever filmed. If true, this is not particularly impressive if one finds the majority of Hellman's films to be less than impressive.)

Overall, Wild Beyond Belief! makes for interesting reading—and for exceptional reading for fans of Sherman and Adamson's International Independent Pictures, since so many of his interviewees were connected with those films in one capacity or another.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We're Back!

After Blogger's new spam detector software mistakenly identified Blog from the Vault as a spam blog two weeks ago my blog was locked. After going through the appeal/review process it was determined that Blog from the Vault is not a spam blog and the blog was unlocked today. Look for some updates this week. Also, all subscriber, single issue orders, contributor, and whole copies of Monsters from the Vault #29 have shipped. Finally, the new issue will be hitting comic book shops this week. I hope everyone enjoys the issue!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MFTV #29 Starts Shipping 9/16/11!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I was wrapping up Monsters from the Vault #29. The issue was picked up from my printer today and looks great. I'll be processing orders from now through the weekend and all copies will be in the mail by Monday, September 19th. With the time it takes Diamond Comics to process and ship merchandise I wouldn't expect to see it in comic book shops before September 27th. The issue will make its convention premiere at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention being held in Baltimore, September 22-24, 2011. If you're there make sure you stop by our table and say hi! Below is a look at the contents page of the the issue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monsters from the Vault #30 Cover Peek!

I know Monsters from the Vault #29 isn't even out yet, but I decided that since I don't have any travel scheduled for my job this fall that I wanted to get another issue of MFTV out before the end of the year. And of course with this being the 100th anniversary of Vincent Price's birth who better to feature on the cover? Look for the Monsters from the Vault #30 in the December issue of Diamond's Previews with a February 2012 shipping date. Since the Phibes films are among my Price favorites, he get's the cover. Another fantastic painting by Daniel Horne!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monsterpalooza---The Magazine!

Monsterpalooza magazine will be published quarterly. The premiere issue debuts in September, 2011.
 96 pages. Full color. $9.95 plus shipping and handling. Printed in the USA.


Published and Edited by: Michael Heisler and Mark Redfield
Art Director: Theresa Ratajczak
Graphics and Webdesign: Jennifer Rouse
Contributing Editor/Senior Writer: Joe Nazzaro


Illustrators: Jeff Preston (cover illustration, “The Pumpkin Master”, 2011), George Chastain and Mark Redfield (interior illustrations).

Writers (alphabetically): 
Jeff Baham, Matthew J. Bowerman, Frank Dietz, Scott Essman, Pierre Fournier, Daniel Griffith, Michael Heisler, Matt Lake, Joe Moe, Caroline Munro, Joe Nazzaro, Mark Redfield, Gary Don Rhodes, Eric Supensky, and Anthony Taylor.


-Frankenstein and Dracula at 80!
-The Fine Art of Vincent Price!
-The John Chambers Interview!
-2011 Handy Halloween Handbook!
-Chart A Course for The Island Of Lost Souls!
-Who Put The ‘Monster’ in Monsterpalooza? We Answer: Chaney and Pierce, Of Course!
-The Thing(S) From Another World!
-KNB: EFX Frightnight!
-Apes Rising!
-And much, much, more! It packs a ‘palooza! 96 pages—cover to cover content ad free!

Don't miss out on the premiere issue, go to www.monsterpaloozamag.com and order your copy today! In fact, order a couple as it will soon be a treasured collectible!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Monsters from the Vault #29 Update!

Monsters from the Vault #29 is progressing along and is scheduled to go to press on Monday, August 15th. The issue should start shipping to subscribers and wholesale dealers approximately 10 days after that. Below are a couple of sample spreads from Gary D. Rhodes' article on the 1931 Dracula (the article also features a heavy dose of the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula also). Gary's article is the longest piece (30 pages) ever to run in one issue of MFTV. Usually an article of its length would be split between two issues, but Gary and I thought that given its scope it would better to run the complete article in one issue. It's an important piece and I think our readers will enjoy it, but I also think there will be some strong reactions to it. So hold on a little longer, and the new issue of Monsters from the Vault will be heading your way soon. Look for a few more spread previews here in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rob Zombie, Monster Kid!

On July 20th, as part of my week-long birthday celebration, Marian and I went to see Rob Zombie in concert in Reading, PA. Zombie was touring on a co-headline tour with Slayer as part of the Hell on Earth Tour. This is the fourth time we've seen Zombie in concert in the past year and a half, and he remains our favorite performer today. His live show is truly a Monster Kid's paradise, with Universal Monsters appearing on the big screens that adorn his stage throughout his performance. This show was the first to feature a new stage curtain (at least for us) that covered the front of the entire stage before dropping as the band kicked into its opening number. I've attached a couple of photos of the curtain as well as a YouTube video I shot of his encore (Dragula) with this post. The photos and video were taken with my iPhone, so while they're not the greatest, you'll get the idea. If you like Rob Zombie's music, I highly recommend that you try to catch him in concert--believe me, you won't be disappointed!

Huge King Kong Stage Curtain

Let the show begin!

My Other Rob Zombie Concerts

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Island of Lost Souls on Blu-ray and DVD!

I've been hinting about it for months on the Classic Horror Film Board (since I got the word from my inside source); now the cat's out of the bag as Criterion finally made the announcement we've all been waiting for: Island of Lost Souls will be released on both Blu-ray and DVD on October 25th. Below are the disc features:

-New high-definition digital restoration of the uncut theatrical version (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-Audio commentary by film historian Gregory Mank, author of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff and Hollywood's Maddest Doctors

-New video conversation among filmmaker John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Oscar-winning makeup artist Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, Videodrome), and genre expert Bob Burns

-New interviews with horror film historian David J. Skal (The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror); filmmaker Richard Stanley (Hardware, original director of the ill-fated 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau)

-New interviews with Devo founding members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, whose manifesto is rooted in themes from Island of Lost Souls

-Theatrical trailer

-Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Christine Smallwood

Certainly, this is the best news for fans of classic horror in quite some time, and the perfect release for this Halloween! Having being named the "The Film Most in Need of a DVD Release or Restoration" for the past six years by voters during the annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, it looks like voters will have to start thinking about a new film for next year's ballot!

Photos of the Week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Posters of the Week!

Monster Bash, It's a Wrap!

Well another Monster Bash has come and gone and as always, a great time was had by all who attended. I've attended every Bash since the beginning except for one (2000) and I don't know how Ron and Gang continue to improve year after year but they do. This year was extremely special for me because I got to catch up with some old friends I haven't seen in a while, and make some new ones as I do every year. There were so many highlights this year, but a few of them stand out for me. First was the Saturday night Drive-in showing of Blood of Dracula, followed by Zach Zito's Live Theatre. Zach is always incredible during his yearly one man show, but this year he had an assist from the lovely ladies of Hammer, Veronica Carlson, Caroline Munro, and Yvonne Monlaur. Also, comedian Don Reese delivered the laughs as always during his stand-up performance. Finally, the Bash's new band, The Bash Boys played an entertaining set of classics Friday night in the bar. Hopefully this will be a regular gig for the guys. They sounded great, especially considering they only practice together a couple of times. While these events were highlights for me, in all honesty, the whole weekend was one BIG highlight for Marian and I. 

So as I sit here having Bash withdrawals as I type this, at least I know I'll have a much shorter wait until the next Bash thanks to Ron Adams and gang throwing a October shindig this year. I'll be set up in the dealer's room as always at the show, so make plans now to attend the first of what I hope will be many Monster Bash Octoberfests. So until then, I'll have to settle for all the wonderful memories I have of the weekend, and a HUGE thanks to Ron and the whole Bash crew for throwing the best Monster Party in the world, year after year! We all appreciate the hard work and long hours everyone puts in to make the show a success each year. So from all of us who attend every year, a big THANKS!

Frankenstein's Monster Hits the Dealer's Room
Garou and Penny Dreadful of Shilling Shockers
Tom Weaver Hosting His Annual
Monster Bash Braintwister Game Show
Contestants Trying to Win a Prize
Tom Weaver Seems to Have
Contestant Steven Thornton Stumped
Garou and Penny with Boris of the Ghouligans
Boris and Wolfgang of the Ghouligans
Creighton and The Invisible from Ghoul A Go-Go
Horror Host Dr. Lobo on the Receiving End
Director Daniel Griffith and Dr. Lobo Introduce
Some of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures' Short Features
Director Larry Blamire (Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) Stars
in Daniel Griffith's Short, Jam Handy to the Rescue
The Always Lovely Caroline Munro and Friend
Marian and Friend
My MFTV Partner in Crime
Me and Count Dracula

Comedian Don Reese's New DVD (Filmed at Last Year's
Bash) Premiered at This Year's Bash and Has One
Cool Cover Courtesy of George Chastain
Let's All Go to the Drive-In!
This Year's Feature Was Blood of Dracula
A Surprise Guest Visits the Drive-In
Ursula Adams Made Up by Jesse Melchior
A Face Only a Mother Could Love!
Bash Staffers Toss Blood of Dracula
Frisbees Into the Drive-In Crowd
Things Like This Make the Monster Bash Special
Look, I'm on a Frisbee!
Back Among Friends
The Unbelievable Zach Zito Performs Bram Stoker's,
"Dracula's Guest" During Saturday's Live Theatre
Zach Had Some Help From Yvonne Monlaur
Zach's Performance Was a Huge Hit
Caroline Munro Really Gets Into Her Part 
During the Performance of "Dracula's Guest"
Props Play a Big Part in the Performance
Veronica Carlson Being Escorted From the
Stage after Her Contribution to the Performance
Another Great Prop
Zach and the Ladies of Hammer
The Always Beautiful and Classy, Caroline Munro,
Veronica Carlson, and Yvonne Monlaur
Kevin Slick as Count Orlok Prior to 
His Live Performance of the Score 
During a Screening of the Film Nosferatu
Kevin's Make-up Was Done by Jesse Melchior
Who Said Print is Dead? Monster Magazine Publishers, Dave Davey (Undying Monsters), Dick Klemensen (Little Shoppe of Horrors), Dennis Druktenis (Scary Monsters), and Jim Clatterbaugh (Monsters from the Vault)
Cortlandt Hull With His Newly Painted Dracula Head
Cortlandt With His Monster Bash Award (aka The Forry)
Sunday Night Dinner: On the Left, Kerry Gammill, Rich Scrivani, and Tom Weaver. On the Right, Richard Gordon, Will Roberts, and Steven Thornton
Dick Klemensen and His Lovely Wife Nancy
Max Cheney and I Ham it Up at Dinner

Make plans and reservations now to attend next year's Prehistoric Monster Bash, you won't be disappointed!