Basil Gogos, the artist who painted so many of those terrific covers for Famous Monsters magazine, has passed away at 88. Throughout the magazine’s original run, he seemed to top himself month after month. This 1972 cover for FM #64 depicts Vincent Price in House Of Wax (1953).
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Gogos at some shows back in the day, and not only was he a great artist, he was a very nice man. (My best friend owns Gogos’ original art for issue #109, featuring Price in Madhouse. The detail to be found in his work is really incredible.)
Mr. Gogos was a huge part of my adolescent brain rottage — and I hate he’s gone.
Directed by Stephen C. Apostolof (as A. C. Stephen)
Written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Starring Criswell, Pat Barrington, Fawn Silver, William Bates
A couple (Pat Barrington and William Bates) crash their car and wander through a graveyard on their way to help. They end up being tied to stakes by a mummy and a werewolf — the evil minions of the Emperor Of The Night (Criswell) and the Black Ghoul (Fawn Silver). They’re then forced to watch some strippers in the titular Orgy Of The Dead (1965) — one of which is Pat Barrington again, painted gold like Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger (1964).
Exactly what you’d expect from a script by Ed Wood — who also wrote the novel!
Edward D. Wood, Jr. holds Criswell’s cue cards.
Emperor Of The Night (Criswell): “This is a story of those in the twilight time. Once human, now monsters, in a void between the living and the dead. Monsters to be pitied, monsters to be despised. A night with the ghouls, the ghouls reborn from the innermost depths of the world.”
While the sets are pitiful — not even the fog can’t conceal the lameness of the cemetery — the camerawork by Robert Caramico features gorgeously saturated color. He shot a bunch of low-budget movies, including Tobe Hooper’s amazing Eaten Alive (1976), before landing in TV with stuff like The Waltons and Dallas.
This whole crazy mess is coming to Blu-Ray from Vinegar Syndrome on September 26. You can bet they’ll have Caramico’s color looking better than ever — it’ll restore the original 1.85 cropping — and the extras will be extra-extraordinary.
Note that the novel (up top) features a “special introduction” by Forrest J. Ackerman of Famous Monsters!
Sir Christopher Lee
(May 27, 1922 – June 7, 2015)
Christopher Lee has passed away at 93. He’s an icon to monster kids of my generation, thanks largely to the Hammer Dracula films. But to focus on those would do him a great injustice. He’s in a James Bond movie, some of the Star Wars things and The Lord Of The Rings series. That’s a popular culture Triple Crown that’s gonna be hard to beat. (He’s even on the cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band On The Run album.)
If you want to get a thorough understanding what an actor can bring to a movie, watch Lee in anything. From the Dracula films to some late-70s, no-budget junk, his presence onscreen is incredible.
Directed by Edward Ludwig
Director Of Photography: Lionel Lindon
I’m really excited about this one. Right after mentioning Tarantuta! (1955), we get The Black Scorpion (1957). Another big-bug movie, another Mara Corday picture. And that, my friends, is always a good thing. Richard Denning c0-stars, and Edward Ludwig also directed Wake Of The Red Witch (1948).
The old DVD was OK, but it was full-frame. And that really, well, bugged me. But now Warner Archive’s got it, and they’re offering it up widescreen. Place your orders with confidence. You won’t get stung. (Couldn’t resist all the bug puns — blame it on too many issues of Famous Monsters.)