2001! Where's my flying car?! Are we on the way to Jupiter, yet? According to Kubrick, I should be transforming into the ubermensch any minute now. As I await the transition to starchild status, enjoy this monolith-sized, data-packed post, dished up with the inimitable B Monster panache.


Leo Gordon
One of the big screen's most intimidating tough guys, Leo Gordon, is dead at 78. The cause of death was not reported, but the actor had been battling several ailments in recent years. He was widely recognized as one of Hollywood's premier heavies but also produced an impressive body of work as a screenwriter and novelist.

As a veteran, Gordon utilized his G.I. Bill funds to study acting. A prominent role in the stage production "Darkness at Noon" caught the eye of a Hollywood agent, and Leo moved West to break into the movies. "They asked me could I ride a horse," Gordon recalled. "I said 'Yes. If I can't ride it I'll carry it.'" His first significant part was opposite John Wayne in "Hondo," but the actor secured his reputation as a movie bad guy with a definitive role in "Riot in Cell Block 11." He worked steadily as a heavy from then on, mostly in westerns, appearing in films such as "Santa Fe Passage," "Johnny Concho," "Man With A Gun" and "Black Patch," a western starring George Montgomery, which Gordon also wrote. Beginning with his script for "Cry Baby Killer," starring a young Jack Nicholson, Gordon began an association with Roger and Gene Corman writing B-thriller classics such as "Attack of the Giant Leeches," "The Wasp Woman" and "The Terror." Gordon recalled for the B Monster the nonchalant manner in which the Roger Corman productions came together: "[One day] he asked me if I had anything with a castle in it. I said no. He said, 'That's too bad. I've got this set over at Producer's Studio -- an interior of a medieval castle. I have it for a week and I've got Boris Karloff for a week but I have nothing to shoot.' So, over the weekend, I wrote "The Terror", fifty-some pages of interiors in screenplay form. He was shooting it the following week."

Gordon worked extensively in television as an actor and writer, appearing in episodes of "Cheyenne," "Bronco," Maverick," "Rawhide," "The Rifleman," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Lassie" among many others, and writing 21 episodes of "Adam-12." Two of his screenplays, "Tobruk" and "You Can't Win "Em All!" were made into big-budget, action-adventure films starring Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis, respectively.

Leo Gordon clearly enjoyed his reputation as a heavy: "You get more recognition, I think, as a bad guy than a lot of these guys who've played heroes on long-running television shows." Upon receiving the Golden Boot Award he quipped, "Thank God for typecasting." He is survived by his wife, actress Lynn Cartwright, to whom he had been married since 1950.

Marie Windsor
The actress hailed by many as the unchallenged queen of B-movies, Marie Windsor has died of congestive heart failure. She passed away Dec. 10, the day before her 81st birthday. She appeared in films of every description but will be remembered best for her roles in movies that she affably maintained she would rather forget. Best-known of these camp classics was "Cat-Women of the Moon." Windsor once told the B Monster, "I wasn't that particular, shall I say. I never asked who the costars were or anything like that. I just asked when it was and how much money."

In the early 1940s, Marie Windsor left her Utah home and landed work in Hollywood posing for legendary pinup artist Alberto Varga. While working as a cigarette girl at Hollywood's Mocambo nightclub, she was spotted by producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. She was soon appearing in westerns, dramas, comedies and, most notably, some of the finest examples of film noir ever produced. "I didn't even realize what a film noir film was at that time," she said. Marie scored with critics in juicy roles as dangerous dames in "Narrow Margin," opposite Charles McGraw, "Force of Evil," with John Garfield and "The Killing," directed by Stanley Kubrick. No one played the femme fatale better than Marie Windsor.

In addition to fantasy fare such as "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" and "The Jungle," Windsor appeared in her fair share of "A" pictures including "Critic's Choice," with Bob Hope, "Support Your Local Gunfighter," with James Garner and "Cahill: U.S. Marshall," opposite John Wayne. When asked to name her personal favorites, she cited " 'Hellfire,' a western with Bill Elliott, and then there was 'The Killing' and 'Narrow Margin;' they're all my favorites." The last time the B Monster spoke with Windsor, she was surrounded by a stack of cards and letters from fans around the world -- all of which she intended to answer.

Don Devlin
Character actor-turned-producer Don Devlin is dead at 70. He had cancer. Devlin began his career as a B-movie bit player appearing in films such as "Rumble on the Docks," "Escape From San Quentin" and the Herb Strock-directed shocker "Blood of Dracula." He turned to screenwriting with the 1961 thriller "Anatomy Of a Psycho," and collaborated with a young Jack Nicholson on the screenplay for "Thunder Island" in 1963. As a producer, Devlin's credits include "Harry and Walter Go To New York," "My Bodyguard" and "The Witches of Eastwick," which starred Nicholson. Devlin's son is actor-turned-producer Dean Devlin, who produced such big-budget blockbusters as "Independence Day," "Godzilla" and "The Patriot."

Hoyt Curtin
The cartoon composer who supplied the soundtrack for a generation of TV-addicted baby-boomers, Hoyt Curtin, is dead at 78. The cause of death was not disclosed. After writing commercial jingles for a time, Curtin went to work for the Hanna-Barbera animation studio in 1957. There, he composed themes and soundtracks for classic programs such as "The Flintstones," "Yogi Bear," "Huckleberry Hound" and many others. His themes for "Johnny Quest" and "The Jetsons" particularly showed off the jazz-informed flair that Curtin brought to his compositions. Curtin once modestly referred to what is perhaps his best-known theme, "The Flintstones," as "a catchy little tune ... just a simple thing arranged for jazz and singers."

George Montgomery
Actor George Montgomery has died at 84 following a heart attack. He began his acting career as George Letz but after several film appearances, he began using his middle name as his last. Montgomery appeared in numerous B movies, the majority of them westerns, including "The Lone Gun," "Battle of Rogue River," "Fort Ti," "Gun Belt," "Indian Uprising" and "Black Patch," a horse opera written by actor Leo Gordon. He portrayed characters both real and fictional, from Davy Crockett to Bat Masterson. He may be best known to cult-film fans for his portrayal of tough detective Philip Marlowe in "The Brasher Dubloon." He starred in the television series "Cimmaron City" and later in his career tried his hand at directing and producing films. His marriage to singer Dinah Shore ended in divorce.

Billy Barty
3-foot-10-inch screen actor Billy Barty is dead at 76. He had a heart ailment. The diminutive actor appeared in dozens of classic films throughout the 1930s including "Nothing Sacred," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Footlight Parade." He may be best remembered by cult-film fans as the imp in Roger Corman's claustrophobic B-shocker "The Undead," and for his many TV roles in series such as "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" and "H.R. Pufnstuf." He appeared in a pair of Elvis Presley vehicles and worked extensively in film and TV until recently. Other big-screen credits include roles in "Foul Play," "Masters of the Universe" and "Willow." Barty founded Little People of America in 1957 and later started a non-profit foundation bearing his name that sought to improve the lives of little people. The foundation's website bears the following greeting: "The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Sydrome Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy."

Werner Klemperer
The actor known around the world as the bumbling German officer, Colonel Klink, of the long-running comedy series "Hogan's Heroes," Werner Klemperer, is dead at 80. He had cancer. Ironically, Klemperer was himself a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who fled to the United States with his father, Otto, a renowned conductor and composer. In fact, three of the show's stars, Klemperer, John Banner (Sergeant Schultz) and Robert Clary (Corporal LeBeau) were Jews who had fled the Nazi regime. (Clary had been imprisoned in Auschwitz.) Klemperer undertook his role as Klink on one condition: that the character never be depicted as anything but a fool. If ever a script called for Klink to appear as anything but an idiot, the actor said he would leave the show. Even so, the character proved to be strangely appealing, and Klemperer one two Emmy Awards for his portrayal.

Prior to his television success, Klemperer had appeared in supporting roles in films such as "Flight to Hong Kong," "Istanbul," and "5 Steps to Danger." In 1961, he portrayed Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann in "Operation Eichman." One of his earliest roles was as a scientist on the trendsetting sci-fi TV series "Captain Video."


After posting several chapters to the Internet, author Stephen King has pulled the plug on his web/shareware publishing experiment. King had been serializing his novel, "The Plant," trusting readers to pay for the chapters with their credit cards after downloading them. When fewer than half of those who downloaded the latest installment failed to pay, King decided to fold his tents and return to paper full time -- for the present, at least. Why didn't the King of horror lit publish one or two chapters free, hook his loyal readers, and THEN commence charging for the installments? The devoted fans who followed King's honor system are now left high and dry. On his website, King outlined what he saw as the three large problems facing Internet publishing: "One is that most Internet users seem to have the attention span of grasshoppers. Another is that Internet users have gotten used to the idea that most of what's available to them on the Net is either free or should be. The third -- and biggest -- is that book-readers don't regard electronic books as real books."

Author and western-film authority without peer, Boyd Magers, has completed the second volume of his comprehensive "Westerns Women," due to be published by the folks at McFarland soon. The initial collection, a definitive tribute to the cowgirls and lady gunslingers of the movies, boasted scores of informative profiles. The upcoming collection will feature Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill, among many others.

Also coming from the good people at McFarland is "Cinema Sequels and Remakes, 1903-1987." It makes us wonder why nobody came up with a book like this before. Thank goodness, Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan have written this scrupulous compilation of release dates, casts, credits, descriptions of the original films and comparisons with their progeny. it doesn't surprise us that this baby weighs in at 966 data-packed pages!

A 256-page study of the late-night horror movie host phenomenon by -- you guessed it -- McFarland and Co. presents "Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires, Mad Scientists and Other Denizens of the Late-Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed." The title says it all. It's a fun and fact-filled volume devoted to chronicling the sinister segment hosts who followed the ghoulish trail blazed primarily by Mala "Vampira" Nurmi in the mid-1950s. Originally published in 1991, the late Elena M. Watson's tome, packed with photographs, filmographies and discographies is now available in paperback.

Okay, last plug for a McFarland book, we promise -- but you'll have to agree, anything entitled "Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies" is worthy of mention. This volume profiles such mini-skirted exotics as Celeste Yarnall, Lana Wood, Linda Harrison, Pamela Tiffin, Deanna Lund, Diane McBain and Judy Pace. It celebrates these women as the only true virtues of films that would otherwise be sorely lacking any: "Teenage Millionaire," "The Girls on the Beach," "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine," "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" -- you get the idea. Tom Lisanti is the author with a forward by Chris Noel. Check out the McFarland site at: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com Be sure and tell 'em The B Monster sent you!

Tony Taylor, producer of the 1965 Esperanto horror film "Incubus," is putting together an all-the-bells-and-whistles DVD special edition, which will include an audio commentary, interviews with "Incubus" star William Shatner, Conrad Hall, William Fraker, film historian and "Incubus" fan David Schow and, of course, Taylor. The producer is also trying to get the distributor to include the French version, wherein the subtitles aren't superimposed over black bars. Taylor is also hoping to compile a short film, "Curse of Incubus," about all those related to the project who died, were murdered, killed themselves, or had family members mysteriously die.

Charlton Heston, "The Omega Moses," told Entertainment Weekly that he's personally flattered by Tim Burton's upcoming "Planet of the Apes" remake. "I remade both 'The Ten Commandments' and 'Ben Hur,' " Heston pointed out, "so there's no law against remakes. It's indicative of the popularity with audiences the original film had. It's a compliment." The equivalent of Heston's role in the original "Planet of the Apes" is being assumed by Mark Wahlberg. Others in the cast (simian and homo-sapien) include Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan and Kris Kristofferson.

Fans of brooding, nail-biting film noir should take heart at the return of pulp and paperback scribe Rance Turley. Turley is collaborating with Marty Baumann on "The Dick Profane Mysteries," a free, Internet-syndicated detective comic strip. Hard-boiled mystery buffs will remember Turley as a contributor to magazines such as, "Men," "True Men," "All-Man," "True All-Men," and "Truly Manly Tales of Men." He's also the author of "Dial M for Homicide," "Kiss My Deadly Sweet Lovely" and "Thursday, the Rabbi Had a Really, Really Stale Knish." Check out "Dick Profane" at http://www.dickprofane.com


This Elite release, available through Image Entertainment, employs lots of kooky extras in its heartfelt attempt to recreate the 1950s drive-in experience. The dynamite double-feature includes a countdown clock, ads for concession stand goodies, a selection of coming attractions, cartoons -- even an intermission. Also unique is an optional audio track that replicates the scratchy, drive-in speaker sound! All this in addition to two of the best 1950s drive-in features extant. "The Screaming Skull" is slow-going in spots, and the day-for-night shots are certainly lacking in atmosphere -- but there are plenty of superimposed skulls. Besides, what do you want for one low admission price? And if you don't already own several copies of "The Giant Leeches," aka "Attack of the Giant Leeches," this nifty double-bill is an absolute must. Yvette Vickers trampy turn as lustful Liz is unforgettable, as is sweaty Bruno Ve Sota as her cuckolded husband, not to mention the squad of extras in hefty bags as the eponymous leeches.

This just might be the most effective of producer Richard Gordon's 1950s British shockers. No kid ever walked away from this flick without the image of those slobbery, hopping brains, spinal cords trailing behind them, burned into his adolescent brain. American transplant Marshall Thompson is the nominal hero of this unique film, which attempts to combine subtle, implied horror with flat-out gore. It works! "Fiend Without a Face" is genuinely scary in spots. The rampaging-brain attack is hard to beat. This special edition boasts an informative audio commentary by Gordon and top-flight film historian Tom Weaver, and is subtitled for the hearing-impaired. Other extras include production stills, original trailer and an Illustrated essay on British sci fi films by author Bruce Eder.


This sadistic turkey sickened us when we saw it on the big screen, and all we can do is warn you again. Women are degraded, a puppy is killed, and every shock-film cliche you can imagine is trotted out and exploited to little effect. Truly embarrassing. A hollow film in every sense. Did we mention that a puppy is killed?

Make that DISNEY'S "Dinosaur." That means the animation is sumptuous, the characters well-realized and the voice talent top-notch. But it's the one thing a film about dinosaurs shouldn't be -- boring! The plot is so linear it barely exists. There are mean dinosaurs and nice dinosaurs and they have to travel from one place to another for safety. That's it. The cuddly primates that get tossed into the mix won't keep the kiddies from noticing that next to nothing happens. The theatrical screening we attended last summer was filled with squirming toddlers asking to go home.


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

"See men swallowed in treacherous planet pools of acid!" -- Women of the Prehistoric Planet

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