MAY 2000

A heartfelt thanks to all those who have purchased the official "Crater Kid" t-shirt. For those of you who may be unaware, half the proceeds go to Childhelp USA, benefiting abused and neglected children, a cause near and dear to The B Monster's heart. If you haven't got yours yet, get 'em while they can still be got! The cause is certainly a worthy one. Go to for more info!


Joel Ashley
Best known to genre-film buffs for his role in "Zombies of Mora Tau," actor Joel Ashley is dead at 81. Following much stage work, including noteworthy performances as Abraham Lincoln, Ashley transitioned to live television drama, working on series such as "Studio One." Ashley moved to Hollywood for a role in the Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster, "The Ten Commandments," and remained in California to take up a motion picture career.

Ashley appeared in such films as "Tension at Table Rock," "Ghost Town," "Broken Star" and "The Great Locomotive Chase." He also found work in many television series including "Gunsmoke," "Have Gun Will Travel," "Death Valley Days," "Wagon Train," "The Cisco Kid" and "The Lone Ranger."


Q: There's a surf 'n turf dinner riding on this: My wife says that the droopy dog-faced alien monster in "The Phantom Planet" is Richard "Jaws" Kiel of James Bond and "Eegah!" fame. My old college roommate swears it's stuntman Wings Hauser. Who is correct?

A: I hope you like red meat and shellfish, friend. The wife is absolutely correct. "Phantom Planet" features long, tall Richard Kiel in a small but significant, pre-"Eegah!" performance. What college was that again?

Q: Is it true that actress Laura Elliott ("Two Lost Worlds") and Kasey Rogers, who played Mrs. Larry Tate on TV's "Bewitched, are one-in-the-same person?

A: You couldn't have asked at a better time. They are, indeed the same person. Rogers reverted to her original name upon embarking on a television career. Our own Tom Weaver recently talked at length with the actress and we're proud to say that that engrossing interview can be perused in the pages of our site. Leave it to Weaver.


Hong Kong action star Jet Li, who is just beginning to make a splash with American audiences, is in talks to portray Kato, the Kung Fu master/valet to millionaire Britt Reid in a feature film production of "The Green Hornet." No word as yet on who will play the chartreuse sleuth.

Last time around we told you that Tom Skerritt had been cast as Will Kane, in the TBS remake of "High Noon." (Gary Cooper's portrayal of the character earned him his second best actor Oscar in the original.) Joining the cast as of this writing are "Homicide's" Reed Diamond, Maria Conchita Alonso and Susanna Thompson. Look for an August premier.

The latest rumor regarding the "Forbidden Planet" remake is that heavyweight director Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile," "The Shawshank Redemption") may be in contention to helm the project. No casting news, as yet.

OUR PROMISE TO YOU: No more talk of remakes this month!

Fox TV is planning a pilot for a possible series called "Star Patrol," described as a sci-fi parody about space rangers guarding our galaxy in the distant future. Actor Charles Rocket ("Moonlighting," "Max Headroom") is slated to star. Do we really need another sci-fi "parody" poking fun at how blissfully ignorant our vision of the future used to be? Who knows? Maybe they'll fool us. Maybe it'll be clever and fresh and original. Maybe.

The E! Channel's "Mysteries and Scandals" show is preparing a segment on the circumstances surrounding the death of Susan "Wasp Woman" Cabot. (See for more.) Tom Weaver was flown to the coast for filmed interview segments. He was also able to hook the E! people up with Cabot comtemporaries Lori Nelson, Dick Miller and Kathleen Hughes. No word yet on when the show will air.

Bill "Keep Watching the Skies" Warren has a new tome on the way. "The Evil Dead Companion" will be published by Titan Books later this year. A "Special Edition" of the volume may also be in the works. Watch this space for developing details.

Scott Wegener, great nephew of German silent film star Paul Wegener, saw his dream of remaking his ancestor's best-known film, "The Golem," nearly destroyed. The film is based on the 16th century legend of a rabbi who creates a giant out of clay to protect his people. The real monster turned out to be a faulty computer that nearly devoured Wegener's entire film. Wegener, a news photographer at a Cincinnati TV station, had to painstakingly reassemble the film, working around the clock, living out of a tent in the station's attic. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Wegener first learned about his famous relative's movie while in film school. He later found a book containing plans and sketches from his great uncle's silent production and constructed sets based on them. The new "Golem" was scheduled to air in Cincinnati in April and, depending on the response, "The Golem" may be offered to other stations. TV execs in Ukraine and Czechoslovakia also have inquired about airing the film.

Retired actor Robert Cleaves, whom cult-film fanatics might recognize for his parts in "Project X," "Targets" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," was sentenced to 16-years-to-life in prison for second-degree murder. In an incident described as road rage, Cleaves, 71, ran over Arnold Guerreiro with his car several times, killing the movie company employee. According to Reuters, Cleaves showed little emotion when given the maximum sentence by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

For those of you fortunate enough to receive the TV Land channel, we certainly hoped you reveled in the "Adventures of Superman" marathon last month. If you missed it, take heart. The station will begin airing episodes every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. ET beginning May 6. For programming details and enough George Reevesiana to send you leaping tall buildings, visit Jim Nolt's nifty Web site at

Promoters of the annual Bicknell Film Festival report that a highlight of this year's proceedings is an Al Adamson retrospective. As diehard cult-film buffs know, director Adamson was responsible for some of the more notorious drive-in titles of the late 60s and early 70s: "Blood of Dracula's Castle," "Satan's Sadists," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" and "Brain of Blood," to name but a few. He was murdered in1995. Bicknell is in Wayne County, Utah, near the western entrance to Capitol Reef National Park.

Get a load of the list of films being shown at this year's Cannes Film Festival as part of their "Cinema of the Future" program: (I'll see you there!) Aelita (1924) Alien 3 (1992) Blade Runner (1983) Brazil (1985) The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) Bunker Palace Hotel (1989) Dark Star (1974) The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Le Dernier Combat (1982) Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941) The End Of August At The Hotel Ozone (1966) Fantastic Voyage (1966) Forbidden Planet (1956) Ghost In The Shell (1995) The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) It Happened Here (1964) La Jetee (1962) Mars Attacks! (1996) The Mouse That Roared (1959) Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) La Planete Sauvage (1973) Slaughterhouse 5 (1972) Terrore Nello Spazio (1965) Them! (1954) These Are The Damned (1961) The Thing From Another World (1951) This Island Earth (1955) THX 1138 (1971) Total Recall (1990) Village Of The Damned (1960) Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) The War of the Worlds (1953)


Our pals at Englewood Entertainment are taking further steps beyond the bounds of cult filmdom, introducing more mainstream titles into the respectable mix they offer. One of the more interesting is this film noir, soap opera hybrid featuring one of formidable Barbara Stanwyck's meatier roles. Watch, also, for Van Heflin and Kirk Douglas in impressive early portrayals. Director Lewis Milestone handles what could easily be an unwieldy, corny plot with great aplomb.

Consider the elements: Story by Hemingway, direction by Henry King, music by Bernard Herrmann, larger-than-life movie stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward, Oscar-nominated, Technicolor cinematography and art direction. This one is a fabulous example of how they made 'em in the "old days." Yet somehow it just doesn't jell. A little too talky, a little too soapy. But Ava Gardner in Technicolor is worth every penny of $14.95!

Tim Burton is nothing if not consistent. He turns out film after film, filled with ideas, good performances, gorgeous design work ... and zero suspense! This one is thrilling to look at, and the cast is uniformly convincing in the most outlandish circumstances. But there is never any sense of jeopardy. There's a genuine shock or two, but watching the film, I found myself rooting for the pace to pick up, for the plot to get into gear, like I was staring at beautiful paintings and trying to will them into animation.

This goofy take on the classic "This Island Earth" premise (embattled aliens seeking earthly help) was a surprising public and critical success. Surprising in that it mocks the very fan base it seeks to entice. Jokes at the expense of sci-fi geeks are certainly not fresh, and the behind-the-scenes stuff involving the pompous cast of the fictional "Galaxy Quest" program isn't innovative (after all, William Shatner has made a cottage industry of skewering his public image). But somehow it works. Sure, it's predictable. The self-righteous hero redeems himself, the geeks are rewarded for their allegiance and the cliches are ridiculed. More importantly, there are good guys and bad guys, their values are clear and the good guys win. We need more movies where that happens.


Two fascinating examples of Lon Chaney's early film work are now available on DVD for the first time. They're being presented as a package available through the Image company.

Arguably the more interesting of the two is "Outside the Law" (1920). It's one of Chaney's early collaborations with director Tod Browning, with whom he teamed on some of the silent era's most odd and fascinating titles. Chaney tackles two disparate roles in this strange crime drama: Black Mike Sylva, an unscrupulous gangster, and Ah Wing, a trusting Asian student of Confucian philosophy.

"Shadows" (1922) also presents "The Man of a Thousand Faces" in a challenging part. Once more, he convincingly portrays an Asian character sympathetically. As a Chinese laundryman, Chaney finds himself ensnared in an extortion plot. Both of these films are accompanied by all-new orchestral scores.


Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal Press or at

Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at

Bob Madison, whose books are available through Midnight Marquee Press or at

Bryan Senn, whose books are available at and at

Tom Weaver, whose books are available at and at

"See prehistoric nymphs bathe in the pools of paradise!" -- Women of the Prehistoric Planet

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