The B Monster is a stand-up guy. When he's wrong, he admits it, let the chips fall where they may. In last month's write-up of "Jeepers Creepers," the cheap shocker about a cadaver-collecting, chainsaw-wielding gargoyle truck driver, we predicted that, flawed though the film was, a sequel must certainly be in the works. We were wrong. A TV SERIES is in the works! That's right, according to a prominent filmland source, MGM plans on developing a series based on the uninspired film. What form will it take? Who can say? Perhaps the protagonist will run amok, hacking off a different body part each week. Like the film's Johnny Mercer title tune, there are lots of pop ditties that could lend themselves to the premise: "I Only Have Eyes For You," "Footloose," "Crazy Arms," "I Want to Hold Your Hand ... "


Paul Hubschmid aka Paul Christian

Swiss actor Paul Hubschmid, billed as Paul Christian in his U.S.-made films, died in Berlin of a pulmonary embolism. He was 84. Hubschmid is no doubt best known to American movie watchers for his role as Tom Nesbitt in director Eugene Lourie's "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," which co-starred Kenneth Tobey, Cecil Kellaway and Ray Harryhausen's terrific animated "Beast." Another notable genre-film appearance was a part in the Gordon Douglas-directed "Missing Link" stinker, "Skullduggery," with Burt Reynolds and Susan Clark.

Hubschmid was born in Switzerland and trained as an actor in Austria. He came to Hollywood in 1948. Using the name Paul Christian, he appeared in such films as "Bagdad," opposite Maureen O'Hara, and the Don Seigel-directed "No Time for Flowers." Hubschmid was the veteran of nearly 100 films in all, most of which were made in Europe.


The rumors have been floating for nearly two decades that a real, for-sure, definitely-gonna-happen maybe remake of "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" will soon begin production, probably, definitely, soon, perhaps in the near future. Universal Studios has made it official ... again. Director-screenwriter Gary Ross ("Pleasantville") is set to co-produce the remake under his "Larger Than Life Productions" banner along with his father, Arthur A. Ross. The elder Ross had a hand in scripting the original 1954 classic. "The story my father wrote embodies the clash between primitive men and civilized men," Ross told The Hollywood Reporter, "and that obviously makes it a fertile area for re-examination. Plus, I'm thrilled to be working with my dad." (Ross is rightfully proud of his Pop, but let's not forget that the story had a long genesis involving many talented hands, most significantly those of producer Bill Alland.)

When Universal's ho-hum "Mummy" overhaul made a bundle a couple of summers ago, word was that director Stephen Sommers was approached to helm a campy retelling of the original "Creature." One story stated that it would take place in a new, luxury hotel complex in Florida. It was said at the time that it would be produced through actor-rapper Will Smith's production company. And there was much talk in the early 1980s of a remake/sequel to the classic "Creature," to be scripted by Nigel Kneale and directed by Jack Arnold, who directed the 1954 original. Since then, rumors have surfaced periodically concerning a remake, some getting as far as production sketches depicting an overhauled version of Alland's "Beastie." (One of the niftiest of these can be seen at the site of B Monster buddy Kerry Gammill: http://gammillustrations.bizland.com/monsterart/id8.html )

Gary, Arthur, we're beggin' ya. If you gotta do it, please, do it right. Don't just remake "Alien" for the umpteenth time and call it a day. Look beyond the pandering gore and high school curse words and give us a decent story with cliche-free dialogue. Dispense with the loudmouth stand-up comic du jour (who gets killed in the first reel, anyway). Give Bruce Willis and his wig-of-the-month a rest. No ZZ Top or Aerosmith music. No Joel Silver car crashes. Don't give us a good "popcorn" movie (God, I hate that excuse of a phrase.) Please, just give us a "good" movie.

Michael H. Price and John Wooley, peerless chroniclers of Horrordom's poverty row history, have sealed a deal with Fangoria to bring their lauded "Forgotten Horrors" series to the magazine's pages. Price and Wooley will generate a monthly column that will also serve to preview books the pair currently have in development. The "Forgotten Horrors" feature will begin in the March 2002 issue, appearing thereafter in both the magazine and at the Fango Web site: http://www.fangoria.com While the original "Forgotten Horrors" volumes, by Price and his late partner, George Turner, focused on low-rent shockers from the 1930s and 40s, the Price/Wooley column will deal with indy horrors of a more recent vintage, broadly defined at the authors' discretion. Filmic fodder for this scholarly scrutiny incudes Larry Buchanan's "Mars Needs Women," David F. Friedman's "She-Freak," William Girdler's "The Manitou" and Kevin Connor's "Motel Hell." The columns will be compiled for future "Forgotten Horrors" volumes to be published by Midnight Marquee Press.

Price and Turner wrote the original "Forgotten Horrors" in the 1970s, opening many a neophyte's eye to celluloid oddities few knew existed. An expanded 20th anniversary edition arrived in 1999, generating sufficient interest to warrant a line of sequels. Following Turner's death in 1999, Price carried on solo with the interim "Forgotten Horrors 2: Beyond the Horror Ban." Price enlisted Wooley as a collaborator while gathering material for Volume three. "John has a knowledge of this material to match that of George Turner," says Price, "and moreover he has a fondness that George never quite developed for the littler postwar-and-beyond pictures. I'm looking forward to an exhilarating long run with this projected five-foot shelf of 'Forgotten Horrors.'"

Wooley is an author, journalist and radio personality based in Tulsa, Okla., whose novels include "Awash in the Blood" and "Dark Within" (available from Hawk Books), in addition to the nonfiction film survey "Hot Schlock Horror!" Price is director of motion-picture programming for Sundance Square entertainment district in Fort Worth, Texas; president of the Fort Worth Film Festival, Inc.; and resident film critic with KRLD/NewsRadio 1080, Dallas/Fort Worth.

The B Monster's ad hoc literary critic, Lawrence Woolsey, weighs in once again with a revealing peek at a recent volume devoted to the arcania of Japanese filmdom:

I only recently came across "Tokyo Scope," an intriguing trade paperback by Patrick Macias from San Francisco-based Cadence Books, which is subtitled "The Japanese Cult Film Companion." Kinji Fukasakau ("Battle Royale," "Message from Space" and some 60 other lesser-known epics) wrote the foreword and is extensively covered within. Takashi Miike, the even more prolific (on a yearly basis) director of the grisly "Audition" contributes an Afterword.

This tome covers Nippon films ranging from the original "Godzilla" ("Gojira") thru the latest domestic hits and is full of fascinating trivia available nowhere else. Sonny Chiba, Yakuza, "Pink" and Disaster pix all get their due via some revealing interviews and well-informed prose. Anybody curious as to the origins of "Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell," "The Tattooed Hit Man" or "Godzilla vs the Smog Monster" are encouraged to seek this one out. My favorite section is Banned Films, where we learn that I. Honda's Yeti pic followup to "Gojira," known in the US as "Half Human," has been completely suppressed in Japan since 1955 owing to some internal political overtones and suggestions of bestiality! Apparently, only the recut John Carradine-narrated U.S. version is available there on the black market! Similarly, Honda's Jules Verne-like "Latitude Zero" is also verboten due to some kind of copyright problem involving screenwriter Ted Sherdeman ("Them!"). This is just a hint of the fascinating info scattered throughout this slim volume -- definitely worth a look even if your interest in the subject extends no further than "Destroy All Monsters" -- which itself gets more attention than it deserves! "Tokyo Scope" retails for just under 20 bucks.

They've always been the discriminating cult-film fan's primary source of video entertainment. Now, with the DVD boom in full swing, Video Vaultmaster, Jim McCabe, reports that "our DVD selection has topped 4,000 titles and is growing exponentially!" The Video Vault continues to go shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, whose commercial prominence threatens the existence of such independent upstarts. The DVD obscurities Video Vault keeps in stock give them a fighting chance against the major outlets that mass-order "The Matrix," and couldn't care much less about "She Demons" or "Fiend Without a Face." Can't find a copy of "Beast of Yucca Flats" at the Oxnard Blockbuster? The Vault does mailorder. Here's where to find 'em: http://www.videovault.com Of course, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!

(No, it's not the new Robert Ludlum novel) How much do you love Peter Cushing? If you love Peter Cushing -- and we mean LOVE Peter Cushing -- then you'll love The Peter Cushing Museum, a comprehensive fan site devoted to all things -- and we mean ALL things -- Peter Cushing; essays, filmographies, trivia, poster art, fan art, even fan fiction with such lurid titles as "Blood of the Vurdylak," "The Beast of Hampton Moors" and "The Spy with a Scalpel," featuring Cushing film characters as their protagonists. According to the museum Webmaster, "All fans of the late, great, Peter Cushing are welcome here. Our purpose is to honor Peter Cushing -- A celebration of his entire life. The Peter Cushing Association does not charge any dues to join, we just like to show our admiration with the number of members and their contributions. We are constantly looking for Peter Cushing-related articles, artwork, poems, film reviews, news, etc., for our online magazine."

There's also an ancillary print mag that can be ordered from the site. "The Cushing Confidential" is 52 pages filled with articles, essays and interviews, an introduction by Barbara Shelley, Cushing's personal screenplay for "The Black Cat," a "Collecting Cushing" section featuring pics of Cushing's life mask, a rating of Cushing's top 10 most villainous moments on screen, a report from Fanex 15 with Barbara Shelley and on and on. You'll find it all at: http://www.petercushingmuseum.com

Not long ago, in a galaxy I'd rather not live in, Lucasfilm announced that pubescent pop stars N'Sync would appear in the upcoming "Star Wars" installment, "Episode II: Attack of the Clones." Why would George Lucas add the adolescent crooners to the cast? The New York Post reported that Lucas caved in to pressure from his pre-teen daughters. A Lucasfilm rep says the daughters "didn't have anything to do with it" and that N'Stead, it was N'Sync who asked producer Rick McCallum if they could appear in the film. The controversy recently deepened when N'Sync-ster, Joey Fatone, claimed that Lucas subsequently cut them out of the final footage after "Star Wars" purists voiced their outrage. "I'm going to make it officially known that they dropped it because people made a big deal about it," Fatone told a Tampa radio station. Lucasfilm maintains that the decision to include the teen idols won't be final until Big George makes his final cut. Well, the B Monster has unearthed the story behind "the story": It seems a high-profile consulting firm hired by Lucas determined that "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," with its racist characterizations, Deathstar-sized plot holes and meandering stretches of boring dialogue, simply wasn't embarrassing enough. The inclusion of a flavor-of-the-month boy band could well increase the new film's cringe quotient.

The definitely, for sure, probably, soon, maybe-gonna-happen new "Superman" movie has a director: McG, named, we believe, for a fast-food novelty item available briefly in the 1980s. McHe directed the big-screen version of "Charlie's Angels," which starred Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. Reportedly, Diaz, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Lopez are all up for the role of Lois Lane ... really.

This is just a taste of the esoteric titles Image Entertainment has slated for DVD release in the near-future:
-- Light at the Edge of the World/Cannibal Apocalypse
-- Atomic War Bride/This Is Not a Test
-- Carnival of Blood/Curse of the Headless Horseman
-- Devil Doll (1964)/And Now the Screaming Starts
-- Beach Girls and the Monster
-- Mighty Gorga/One Million AC/DC
You can find out more at: http://www.image-entertainment.com
By all means, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!

Film historians may someday remember it as "The Kelton Trilogy." We refer, of course, to "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "Bride of the Monster" and "Night of the Ghouls," the three Ed Wood films that all featured the recurring character Kelton the cop as portrayed by Paul Marco. What with the resurgence of interest in Wood and his entourage over the past decade, Marco has virtually BECOME Kelton. He's rarely seen out of uniform, though, to our knowledge, he's never been arrested for impersonating an officer. It's really a case of life imitating art imitating an imitation of life -- or something like that. Marco's making the most of the vestiges of "Woodmania," and we say why the heck not?

The Kelton "experience" is now snugly ensconced in cyberspace at www.paulmarco.com. The site, packed with browser-busting Flash, Java, Gif animation, RealAudio and darned-near every Web-based gimmick yet devised, is divvied up into sections including Police Records, Spook Details, Kelton's Mug Shots, Kelton's Club, and individual sections devoted to "Plan 9," "Bride of the Monster" and "Night of the Ghouls." There's also a section featuring celebrities Marco has posed with for Polaroids. These include Robert Vaughn, Steve Reeves, Julie Newmar, Don Knotts, Linda Blair, "Kookie" Byrnes, Clint Walker (?) and Corey Feldman (?!!!). Marco also sings, and his 45 rpm foray into the pop world is available only from the site. The flip side of Marco's disk features a tune first crooned in 1956 by Ed Wood's favorite (and infamously inaccurate) prognosticator, Criswell, who belts out "Someone Walked Over My Grave." In our opinion, Sinatra it ain't, but judge for yourself -- you can listen to a clip at the site. You can also order the Ed Wood classics on DVD and other memorabilia through Marco. (If he were really smart, he'd be selling "Marco Polo Shirts.")
Check it out at: http://www.paulmarco.com
Why not tell 'em the B Monster sent you?


The laughable tagline used to promote this completely unnecessary remake of William Castle's schlocky 1960 gimmick-shocker should tell you all you need to know about it: "Misery loves company." We'll assume that applies to everyone who recommended this film to a friend.


Three of the original Castle "classics" are soon to make their DVD debut:

Some have called it THE definitive Castle film (we prefer "The Tingler" or "House On Haunted Hill," but arguments in favor of "Homicidal" should be considered). By their gimmicks ye shall know them. "The Tingler" boasted "Percepto" (hot wired theater seats), "House" had "Emergo" (an honest-to-goodness skeleton emerging from the screen). "Homicidal" has "The Fright Break:" Castle stopped the flick at its most frightening juncture to offer viewers the opportunity to "follow the yellow streak to the Coward's Corner" for a complete refund. An onscreen clock ticked off the time you had to make up your mind. Glenn Corbett and Patricia Breslin are the ostensible stars, but the show is easily stolen by gender-blending Jean Arless aka Joan Marshall as ... but wait, we've said too much. You can continue reading, or scroll on down to the "Coward's Corner" where ... With a story by frequent Castle collaborator, Robb White, it's great fun and not to be missed. For what it's worth, the man who called William Castle "God," director John Waters, cites this film as his favorite.

Lesser Castle is still superior to those crappy updates of "House on Haunted Hill" and "13 Ghosts." This may not be Castle at the top of his form -- and no one's form ever varied with such bravado from film to film -- but the gimmick this time around is a pip: "The Punishment Poll!" Patrons were issued glow-in-the-dark thumbs. The onscreen action was halted and, supposedly, one of two endings was screened based on the audience's life or death decision. Was Mr. Sardonicus, as portrayed by Guy Rolfe, to be pitied or scorned? Should he live or should he die? It's good ol' Castle hokum abetted by a sturdy cast that includes Oscar Holmolka, Audrey Dalton and Vladimir Sokoloff. The story by Ray Russell borrows a bit of inspiration from "The Man Who Laughs," whose protagonist (agonizingly portrayed in the silent classic by Conrad Veidt) sports a permanent, hideously leering grin, much like that of Mr. Sardonicus.

For the record, this is the film that introduced one of the classic movie taglines of all time: "Just keep saying to yourself: 'It's only a movie ... It's only a movie ... '" which was later co-opted by the makers of the gratuitous and grisly "Last House on the Left." Big names abound in this sordid saga of a rehabilitated axe-killer re-entering society after 20 years in an asylum. Joan Crawford is the hatchet-toting leading lady. Oscar-winner George Kennedy, Leif Erickson and Diane Baker co-star. Castle's hype cut right to the point when this opus hit the screens: "Warning! 'Straight-Jacket' vividly depicts axe murders!" (It somehow lacks the goose-bumpy charm of "Percepto.") It's not top-flight Castle, but the DVD extras make it worth your while. They include Crawford's wardrobe and makeup tests and a featurette called "Battle-Axe: The Making of 'Straight-Jacket.'"

Look up "camp" in Webster's Dictionary, and you'll find the words: "See "'Satan in High Heels.'" Want a crash-course in '60s kitsch? This is the film for you. Pinup girl Meg Myles plays the eponymous, stiletto-heeled heathen, a bitter, second-rate carnival stripper. (The shy and sheltered B Monster never even knew that carnivals HAD strippers.) She swipes her junkie husband's bankroll and heads for the big city, where she lands a gig at a naugahyde lounge owned by the shrewish Pepe. Director Jerald Intrator's other credits -- his ONLY other credits, so far as we know -- are "Naughty New York" and "Striporama." Of particular interest to cult-film fans is the presence of "Horror of Party Beach" director, Del Tenney, as the club's pianist. Also on hand is Sabrina as ... Sabrina, a campy, trampy chanteuse who's poured into a gown to purr "I Can't Be Good." Myles also takes a turn at the mike to warble "The Female of the Species." Actually, the only "special" thing about "Satan in High Heels" is the jazzy soundtrack by guitar legend Mundell Lowe. Lowe was a crack session man who worked with everybody who was anybody in the jazz world. Bonus features include the 1962 exploitation oddity "The Wild and the Naked" and trailers for "Confessions of a Bad Girl," "Girl with an Itch," "The Love Cult," "Satan's Bed," "Satan's Playthings" -- okay, you get the idea.

The success of "The Blair Witch Project," the clever docu-shocker about three students' hellish trek into the Maryland hills, had little to do with its intrinsic merits. It was an interesting idea. It was offbeat and unsettling. It was well-acted. But the film's makers are to be applauded, primarily, for the way in which they carefully cultivated the critical buzz surrounding the film from day one. It was one of a very few examples we can cite in which the revolutionary Internet was utilized correctly and successfully. Hype, rumors, clues, fake documentary evidence (the mockumentary about the Blair witch legend was more effective than the actual film, in our opinion) all resulted in long lines and repeat business. It proved the value of digital word-of-mouth. The film cost nothing to make and made a fortune. Isn't that what B movies are supposed to do?


Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal Press or at http://www.amazon.com

Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com

Bob Madison, whose books are available at http://www.amazon.com

Bryan Senn, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html

Tom Weaver, whose books are available at http://www.mcfarlandpub.com and at http://www.midmar.com/books.html

"We urge you not to panic or bolt from your seats!" -- The Black Scorpion

 All contents copyright The Astounding B Monster®