Son of Horror Films for Your Sequester

July 13th, 2020

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
Janet Munro (Katie O’Gill), Edward Judd (X the Unknown, First Men In The Moon), Leo McKern (X the Unknown, Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother). Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices causing a change to the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth. This is a great, very adult sci-film that I somehow missed until recent years.

The Stranger Within (1974)
Written by the great Richard Matheson; starring Barbara Eden, George Grizzard (star of two Twilight Zones: In His Image, The Chaser)
An expectant mother begins acting strangely and doesn’t know why. Gradually she starts to realize that her bizarre behavior is being controlled by her unborn baby.

The Rapture (1991)
Michael Tolkin (writer-director; The Player; Escape at Dannemora); starring Mimi Rogers and David (X-Files) Duchovny.

This unique movie does not go where you think it’s going.

Grabbers (2012)
When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive. Hilarious thriller; great monster.

Nightmare Alley (1947)
Starring Tyrone Power (in his best role ever), Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray (The Leech Woman), Mike Mazurki (Murder My Sweet).

The story starts out with a geek (in the original sense of the word) running loose at a sleazy carnival. Creepy as heck and wait until you see what develops out of all this.

Point Blank (a 2010 French film; not the John Boorman/ Lee Marvin movie)
Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse who saves the wrong guy — a thief (Roschdy Zem) whose henchmen take Samuel’s pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) hostage to force him to spring their boss from the hospital. A race through the subways and streets of Paris ensues, and the body count rises. Can Samuel evade the cops and the criminal underground and deliver his beloved to safety?

Dagon (2001)
Directed by Re-Animator‘s Stuart Gordon, this film combines two H. P. Lovecraft stories: “Dagon” and “Shadow Over Innsmouth” and has what may be the longest chase sequence in cinema history.
A boating accident runs a young man and woman ashore in a decrepit Spanish fishing town which they discover is in the grips of an ancient sea god and its monstrous half-human offspring (based on designs by Bernie Wrightson).

The Stuff (1985)
Written and directed by the always surprising Larry Cohen, and starring Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Mira Sorvino, Danny Aiello, Brooke Adams (cameo) and Eric Bogosian.
A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers, who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost, begin infesting the world.

Body Snatchers (1993)
Written and directed by Abel Ferrara and starring an extremely chilling Meg Tilly, with Gabrielle Anwar and Forest Whitaker. This is the second sequel to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It was brilliant to have this sequel take place on an Army base, where everyone dresses and pretty much looks the same, making it even harder to distinguish the pod people from the normies.

Raw Meat (aka Death Line; 1972)
Starring the great Donald (Halloween) Pleasance.
There’s something pretty grisly going on under London in the Tube tunnels between Holborn and Russell Square. When a top civil servant becomes the latest to disappear down there, Scotland Yard begins to take the matter seriously. Helping them are a young couple who get nearer to the horrors underground than they would wish. One could view this as a tragically sad romance film, rather than a horror movie. “Mind the door!”

More to come, my friends! Sequester safely!

Horror Films for Your Sequester

July 11th, 2020

Hi Friends and Fans (and those who are both),
Sequestered away and you don’t know what to watch? Well, here you go; try some of these relatively obscure horror and fantasy films:

Grave of the Vampire (1972)

Starring William Smith; David Chase (creator of The Sopranos) screenplay.

Killer opening: Vampire tears off teen’s car door, snaps guy’s spine over a tombstone and rapes the boy’s girlfriend. She gives birth nine months later and breast feeds blood to her infant who grows up to be William Smith.

Dead and Buried (1981)

Ronald Shusett/Dan O’Bannon screenplay (the guys who wrote Alien); starring James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson and Robert (Freddy) Englund.
This film is like great Twilight Zone episode with an unforgettable opening sequence.

Body Melt (1993)

Wild ass Australian movie; Residents of peaceful Pebbles Court, Homesville, are being used unknowingly as test experiments for a new “Body Drug'” that causes rapid body decomposition (melting skin etc.) and painful death.

On Borrowed Time (1939)

Starring Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke, Una Merkel and Henry Travers.

Death (Hardwicke) is trapped in a tree by a grandfather (Barrymore) to save the life of his grandson. Terrific fantasy film.

Hellzapoppin’ (1941)

Olsen & Johnson, Martha Raye, The Harlem Congaroo Dancers, Hugh Herbert, Mischa Auer, Shemp Howard, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Slim (“Flat Foot Floogie”) Galliard.

Hellzapoppin’ is the closest you’ll ever see to having Kurtzman & Elder screwball humor in a live action movie (especially the first third). And don’t miss the Congaroo Dancers sequence, the greatest jitterbugging ever put on film.

Once Upon a Time (1944)

Starring Cary Grant, James Gleason, William Demarest, Janet Blair and Kirk (Superman) Alyn.

An enchanting show biz fantasy that even involves Walt Disney — with perhaps the most shocking Cary Grant moment ever put on film.

The Fall (2006)

Tarsem Singh directed this dream project, shooting it in 28 different countries over the course of four years. It’s Singh’s masterpiece and you don’t get to really know what the film’s actually about until the movie’s very end. The movie has Lawrence of Arabia‘s scope and grandeur, Terry Gilliam‘s fantastic unpredictability and Eiko‘s unbelievably gorgeous costumes. See it on a huge screen if at all possible.

Murder, He Says (1945)

George Marshall (director); starring Fred MacMurray, Marjorie Main

One of the greatest screwball comedies ever made. I believe this film was Harvey Kurtzman‘s source and inspiration for naming the Frazetta-Williamson-Krenkel bunch The Fleagle Gang. The song sung throughout the film is the same tune as the National Public Radio theme song(!).

Black Sheep (2006)

An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into bloodthirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.

Growing up on the family sheep farm was idyllic for smart, sensitive Harry Olfield, except for some knavish mischief from cocky brother Angus, until their dad has a fatal accident. Fifteen years later, Harry has finished sheep-phobia therapy and his schooling and returns. Angus buys him out, all ready to present the genetically engineered Oldfield sheep he bred with a ruthless team. When environmentalist Grant steals a discarded embryo, which has sharp teeth, he gets bitten by it, and thus the first to be infected with predatory hunger and a mechanism that turns any mammal into a ravenous werewolf-like creature.

They must survive both the bloodthirsty sheep and their creators.

Silent Partner (1978)

Starring Elliot Gould, Christopher Plummer, Susannah York. Curtis Hanson (L. A. Confidential) screenplay.

A timid but really sharp bank teller (Gould) anticipates a bank robbery and steals the money for himself. The bank robber gets blamed. When the psychopathic crook realizes he’s been fooled, he tracks down the teller and engages him in a cat-and-mouse chase for the cash. This won the Canadian version of the Oscar for best screenplay. It’s full of unexpected twists and turns.

Tell No One (2006)

Phenomenal opening set-up. The pediatrician Alexandre misses his beloved wife Margot, who was brutally murdered eight years ago when he was the prime suspect. The story amps up when Alex receives a mysterious e-mail of a live Metro feed. Suddenly his wife walks out of the Metro crowd and up to the Metro camera. She looks directly into the camera and whispers, “Tell no one”.

More to Come…

Happy Mother’s Day! Great Gift Ideas Here!

May 10th, 2020

Happy Mom’s Day! In this bizarre new world we’re living in, you may be stuck for some idea as to what to give Mom for Mother’s Day.

Everything has changed. Nearly all of my conventions have cancelled, including my biggie, Comic Con International, where I make about 20% of my annual income. I can weather that storm, but I fear that some of the people who work with me can’t.

You may have noticed some of the cool T-shirts I’ve been wearing at shows. I officially license World of Strange to produce and sell T-shirts with my imagery on them. When I’m at a show in their area, we usually team up in the selling of my shirts. Ben and Tracy of World of Strange are two of the hardest working, kindest and most generous people in my life.

So, if you’re stuck for an idea as to what to give your mom, please visit their site:

You’ll find all kinds of cool shirts in all sizes. Pick one up for your mom, then get a few for yourself. High quality shirts with great, crisp printing. Then spread the word! You won’t be sorry.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Great News for Horror Fans!

May 5th, 2020

One of the best — and most difficult to see — re-tellings of the Frankenstein story is now available on YouTube — but only until 7:00 PM (London time) on May 7 (Cumberbatch’s last performance as The Creature) and May 8 (Miller’s last performance as The Creature).

In 2011 England’s Royal National Theatre put on a production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. One played Dr. Frankenstein; the other played The Creature. Then, the next night they switched roles. This alternate night switching went on for the run of the play. This stage production was directed by the great Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slum Dog Millionaire). The brilliant adaptation of Mary Shelley‘s novel, told from The Creature’s point-of-view, is by Nick Dear.

The original stage production was presented live simultaneously in movie theaters all over the United States. One could watch Cumberbatch play The Creature one night, and then the next night one could return to the theater to see Miller perform as The Creature. It was so successful that there were very limited encore screenings in 2012 and 2013. I missed those.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller shared both the Olivier Award and London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for their respective performances. Cumberbatch also won the Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards’ Best Performance by an Actor in a Play. The play also won the Olivier Award for Best Lighting for the filament light bulb installation designed by Bruno Poet. In 2018, the 200th anniversary of the novel, there was an encore presentation of both versions during Halloween week (we weren’t told in advance which version we’d be seeing). My wife and I caught the Miller-as-The-Creature version. It was absolutely brilliant. My wife (a former actress) declared it to be one of the finest and best-written plays she’d ever scene. Unfortunately, we saw the final screening, so seeing the other version and telling our friends to catch it…well, we were too late.

I kept on the lookout, though. On April 30, as a treat and gift from the Royal National Theatre for all of us COVID-19 sequestered individuals, a filmed version of the play with Cumberbatch as The Creature was released to YouTube with the Miller-as-Creature version debuting the following night (May 1). We watched the Cumberbatch-as-Creature version last night. Incredible! And now you can binge on both back-to-back! Lucky you!

It’s fascinating to watch both versions and observe the differences.

Be sure to catch Benedict Cumberbatch’s two-and-a-half minute introduction to the play elsewhere on YouTube.

My only regret is that, as far as I know, my Frankenstein obsessive pal Bernie Wrightson never got to see either version. I hope I’m wrong!

Untold Tales of Hollywood #46

April 8th, 2020

Here’s Fred Dekker‘s terrific story of Godzilla in a nutshell (a slight edit of the Wikipedia description):

A meteorite collides with an American defense satellite which triggers a nuclear missile to launch towards the Earth. The missile detonates in the middle of the South Pacific, which awakens a giant reptilian creature on the ocean floor. A Japanese fishing vessel is towed to San Francisco for examination after it recently disappeared. Journalist Dana Martin sneaks onto the ship and finds a perfectly preserved trilobite and a burnt survivor whose last words are “Gojira”.

Martin takes the trilobite to paleobiologist and dinosaur expert, Gerald Balinger, who seems skeptical about the fossil’s authenticity. On Oto Island in Tahiti, an American Special Forces squad comes into contact with a giant reptilian monster, who lays waste to nearby villages. Navy Colonel Peter Daxton leads an investigation off the coast of Mexico for a mysteriously sunken Russian submarine. The investigation is secretly being observed by Russian spies and Daxton’s old enemy, Boris Kruschov, who wishes to retrieve the sub’s two nuclear missiles.

Daxton finds a video onboard which reveals that the sub fired one of the missiles on a giant reptilian creature. The missiles are then taken into military custody pending negotiations with Russia. Daxton returns home to San Francisco and his son, Kevin, only to be called back for another mission. Daxton, Kevin, and Balinger are taken to Baja, Mexico where the carcass of a reptile “the size of a house” has washed ashore. Daxton recognizes it as the same creature from the video.

Balinger theorizes that the creature is a dinosaur, however, the military disregard his theories and assume it came from another planet. As Balinger and Kevin watch the military transport the body, Balinger names the creature “Godzilla”, based on an old Japanese myth about a dragon. Off the coast of California, the adult Godzilla surfaces and destroys an oil derrick and a tanker. The dead Baby Godzilla is stored at a warehouse at San Francisco’s Embarcadero for studying purposes.

Balinger becomes alarmed when researchers who came into contact with the body begin suffering from radiation poisoning. Balinger deduces that the Baby is a living atomic reactor with regenerative properties. Since the sea disasters continued even after the Baby’s death, Balinger concludes that the adult Godzilla is coming to the city, but the military disregard his ideas again. Kruschov kidnaps Kevin and demands that Daxton exchange the missiles as ransom. Kevin manages to escape just as Godzilla rises from San Francisco Bay.

The military attack the beast but to no effect, which angers Godzilla into a rampage, destroying the Golden Gate Bridge. Daxton, Balinger, and Martin plan to lure Godzilla out of the city with a recording of the Baby taken from the submarine video and kill it with the Russian missiles. As Daxton flies the helicopter carrying the missiles, Kruschov appears onboard with Kevin and demands the missiles be returned. After a brief fight, the helicopter crashes and Kruschov lands in Godzilla’s hand, where he is incinerated by Godzilla’s atomic breath.

Godzilla finds the warehouse holding its offspring and unleashes a mournful roar after discovering the Baby dead. Balinger and Martin turn on the Baby’s recording at Alcatraz Island, which attracts Godzilla’s attention. Daxton drags the remaining missile onto the Scorpion-78, a high-tech prototype battle helicopter. The co-pilot falls off as the Scorpion-78 lifts off and Kevin takes the co-pilot’s place. As Daxton flies the chopper, Kevin reluctantly fires the missile into Godzilla’s throat, which successfully kills the monster. Kevin falls off the Scorpion-78, but is saved by Godzilla. Kevin weeps as Godzilla takes its last breath.

Strange Days

April 2nd, 2020

Lots of folks have queried me as to how I am doing (I’m in that dreaded age group that doesn’t do well with the coronavirus). I’m doing fine. Not infected; self-quarantined except when I do my three-mile run around my neighborhood to stay in shape. Thanks for asking! I work at home anyway and e-mail my finished art to clients — so no changes there. I had to close down my Sunday figure drawing workshop (I call it Worshipping at the Temple of the Holy Female Form), though; the first time in over thirty years.

Strangely, I’ve got a lot of work. I just wrapped up a full color seven page story for a new Slow Death Anthology; I did the cover, too. I’m painting the cover to the Comic Con International Program Book (I did the program book cover for the San Diego ComicFest about a month ago).


I’m also designing a Tar Man Cthulhu mug for Mondo. I’ve always got retrospective books planned (huge books on each of the following subjects: my comics work; my music-related work; my entertainment advertising art; my film design work), and my Legends of the British Blues book is nearing completion. I’ve also done my own translation of Pablo Neruda’s book Stones of the Sky with a full page pen illustration for each poem. That book is completed; all that is needed is the official permission of the Neruda estate.

If you’re looking for something wonderful to pass your sequestered time, I highly recommend that you go to YouTube and search for Ringo Starr-Robbie Robertson and “The Weight”. There’s also some other great stuff put together by the same international group. There is also a moving version of Beethoven’s Ninth performed by the sequestered Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra. All very positive and uplifting! If you’re in the mood for a riveting twisty-turny mystery, check out The Stranger on NetFlix. I also recommend Steven Soderbergh’s white-knuckler Unsane, starring Claire Foy…plus any film by Taika Waititi, especially Hunt For The Wilder People.
I hope all is well with you, my friends. These are strange times…

See You at San Diego ComicFest!

March 5th, 2020

Another great San Diego ComicFest starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday. This is a great, low-key show that’s strictly about comics. I’m on three panels this year., including the fan favorite: Untold Tales of Hollywood which I do tag team-style with my pal Paul Sammon.

It feels like the original San Diego Comic Con was about 40 years ago. It’s relaxed and the dealers room closes at a decent time, giving us all time for dinner and drinks and great conversation with friends.

Join us!

The details (address, dates, etc.) are in the Appearances section of my website.

Anza-Borrego Stout Lecture on Antarctica

January 9th, 2020

On Saturday, January 11, I will be giving a PowerPoint presentation for the Anza-Borrego Paleontology Symposium: Dinosaurs to Deserts.

This will be at the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center, 590 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, California.

My talk will be “Dinosaurs, Penguins and Whales: The Wildlife of Antarctica”.

The $25 ticket for this event includes the Friday, January 10 lectures as well. The other speakers are Jack Horner, Tom Demere, Greg MacDonald and Dr. Jessie Atterholt.

I hope to see you there!

I am Back and Ready for 2020!

January 2nd, 2020

Unusual for me, I took some time off in late November and more than half of December. I owed my wife a big vacation, so just before I left for my Australian adventure in October I planned and booked a fairly elaborate vacation in Costa Rica, a place my wife has always wanted to visit.

I researched and booked all of the hotels and inter-Costa Rica travel, our nature hikes, snorkeling and other tours, the restaurants, plus our in-country flights and air travel to San José, Costa Rica and back to Los Angeles International Airport. I like doing that kind of stuff. If the bottom falls out of the art market, maybe I’ll become a travel agent…

We enjoyed Costa Rica at just the right time: after the end of the rainy season and right before the big Christmas/New Year’s tourist crush.

The Costa Rica people (called Tikos) were incredibly kind and good-spirited. We saw lots of wildlife, from sloths to tapirs, from macaws to toucans and lots of incredibly colored hummingbirds. The food and accommodations were wonderful. We were there for about three weeks, all over the country. We saw and experienced a lot!

More on Costa Rica later!

¡Pura Vida!

Return of the Living Dead Appearance Tonight!

October 27th, 2019

Hi, Return of the Living Dead fans!
There is going to be a special screening tonight of the movie, followed by a Q & A with Yours Truly, Beverly (Tina) Randolph, Allan (Tarman) Trautman and make-up maestro Kenny Myers.

This is going to be an only-in-Hollywood experience, part of the Rooftop Cinema Club series. Yes, we’re going to watch our little zombie film under the stars at 6121 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on the third floor rooftop (3rd floor access off of El Centro). Doors open at 6:30 PM; the film screens at 8:00 PM. There will be cocktails and food being served as well.

Here’s the website for ticketing and other information:

See you there! Happy Halloween! More Brains!