The weather cools, the leaves fall, and we at B Monster Central hunker down for the autumn semester. Enjoy the following scintillating syllabus of fact, fun and ephemera!


Rose Hobart
Actress Rose Hobart, whose film career was curtailed by the Hollywood blacklisting of the late 1940s, is dead at 94. Although she had signed documents stating that she had never been a communist, and maintained that signatures on documents purporting to prove otherwise were forged, her movie career stopped cold. She had been on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and took part in the Actors Lab, which was considered a subversive organization by Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Hobart's striking eyes and dark hair are familiar to genre-film fans from her appearances in "Tower of London," "The Mad Ghoul," "The Cat Creeps," and, most notably, the classic 1931 version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starring Frederic March (who won an Academy Award) and directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Over the next two decades, Hobart appeared in an interesting mix of "A" and "B" pictures including "Mr. and Mrs. North," "Who Is Hope Schuyler?," "Soul of a Monster," "The Brighton Strangler" and "Conflict," opposite Humphrey Bogart. Her final feature film was 1949's "Bride of Vengeance." Her television appearances included guest roles on series such as "Gunsmoke," "Night Gallery," "Cannon" and "The FBI."

Ms. Hobart maintained that she was not bitter over the blacklisting, and believed that she was targeted, not for communist leanings, but for her efforts to secure better working conditions for actors. "We were militant about the working conditions," she said. "We wanted an eight-hour day like everybody else."

Don Weis
Prolific film and television director Don Weis is dead at 78. The cause of death was not reported. Weis' television credits include episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "The Night Stalker," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," "Burke's Law," "M*A*S*H," The Love Boat" and many others. He received six Best Director awards from the Directors Guild of America.

Among the feature films directed by Weis were "A Slight Case of Larceny," "I Love Melvin," "Just This Once," "Remains To Be Seen" and "Pajama Party." Cult-film fans are sure to remember the beach/sci fi/comedy curio "Ghost in the Invisible Bikini," which Weis directed in 1966.


The good folks who gave us "Monstrous Movie Music," two CDs of lovingly reconstructed classic science fiction scores, have released "Creature From The Black Lagoon (and Other Jungle Pictures)." The CD contains previously unreleased music from the 1954 Universal-International classic. The 35-minute suite contains 21 cues available for the first time! This landmark score by Herman Stein, Henry Mancini, Milton Rosen, Hans Salter and Robert Emmett Dolan conjures both the beauty and horror of the Gill-Man's Amazonian world, and this suite offers practically every second of music previously unavailable on disc.

The CD also contains much of the music written for MGM's Tarzan films of the 1930s and '40s by such well-known composers as Herbert Stothart, William Axt and Daniele Amfitheatrof. Rounding out the package is a 16-minute suite from "The Alligator People," a brilliant, swampy score written by Irving Gertz, complete with that '50s staple, the electric violin! Also included are bonus tracks, music cut from the films, and a state-of-the-art 40-page liner book, complete with never-before-released photos, music scores and information. To order yours, write: Monstrous Movie Music P. O. Box 7088 Burbank, CA, 91510-7088 or phone (800) 788-0892 or (818) 886-8863 or fax (818) 886-8820 or e-mail or visit the website at

Longtime "Cult Movies" scribe Frank Dello Stritto and Andi Brooks have collaborated on an interesting tome addressing Bela Lugosi's abbreviated 1951 stay in the British Isles. "Vampire Over London - Bela Lugosi in Britain," published by Cult Movies Press, is set for an October debut.

With horror out of fashion, 68-year-old Lugosi went to Britain hoping for a comeback. For months, he played Dracula on stage across England, Scotland and Ireland, delivering flawless portrayals in well over 200 performances, despite his declining health. He thrilled audiences in the British provinces, but the comeback he sought never materialized. Dello Stritto & Brooks have retraced Lugosi's footsteps through a period of his career that's been largely overlooked, interviewing his co-workers and associates, uncovering documents and long-forgotten reviews, and recording the memories of audience members. According to the authors, "What emerges is the moving story of a fading star's last grasp at greatness, his last chance to rekindle the legend that both consumed and sustained him."

The book also includes behind-the-scenes accounts of Lugosi's three British films ("Mystery of the Mary Celeste," "Dark Eyes of London," and "Mother Riley Meets The Vampire"), and the story of Hamilton Deane, the often overlooked actor-playwright who first dramatized Bram Stoker's novel.

Copies are available for $29.95 plus $3.00, and can be signed if you so desire. Send check or money order to: Cult Movies Press 644 East 7th Street Houston, Texas 77007

We told you a while back about "The Gregory Walcott Film Festival," built around the star of Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space." Now, we'll make good on our promise to provide more detail. The festival begins September 22 at The Boykin Center located in historic downtown Wilson, NC. There will be a "Star's Reception" at the lakeside home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed White. Attendees can take part in a silent auction and have their photo taken with Mr. Walcott.

Movie screenings include "Sugarland Express," starring Goldie Hawn, "Prime Cut," starring Gene Hackman and, of course, "Plan Nine from Outer Space" starring Mr. Walcott. There will be opportunities to meet the star, a Q&A session and plenty of videos and memorabilia for sale. For more information, contact The Arts Council of Wilson at 124 East Nash Street, Wilson, NC, 27893 or e-mail or visit

This Halloween's "Chiller Theatre" con boasts a guest lineup that's sure to pack 'em in (not that that's ever been a problem for the festival in the past -- it's always wall-to-wall). Of special note this time around is a rare public appearance by Patricia Neal, the acclaimed film star best known to genre-film fans for her role in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Billy Dee Williams, James "Scotty" Doohan and Gary Busey will also be on hand, and it should be great fun to meet the two-man team who brought the "Lost In Space" robot to life -- Bob May, who inhabited the steel suit and Dick Tufeld who provided the voice. Also attending are Andy Robinson of "Dirty Harry" and "Hellraiser" fame, Nora Hayden of "Angry Red Planet," Don Stroud, Richard Lynch and, of course, Zacherley.

All this plus the gigantic dealers' rooms, monster modelers, the "Willy Wonka" kids and the usual assortment of scantily-clad vixens and steel-plated swordsmen. It all gets started October 27. For more info, check out

The American Cinemateque will sponsor a special showing of "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" at Hollywood's historic Egyptian Theater. Scheduled for September 8, the festivities include personal appearances and Q&A sessions with Yvette Vickers, well known for her performance as homewrecker Honey Parker in the film. Word is that the film's director, Nathan Juran, may also be on hand. "It'll be the first time I've ever seen it on the big screen," says Vickers. "It's very exciting."

Film buff, scribe and self-styled lounge-lizard (and we mean that in the best sense) Will "The Thrill" Viharo and company continue to do a bang-up job of preserving the nation's kitsch heritage at Oakland's Parkway Theater. Located in beautiful Oakland, Calif., The Parkway is a restaurant/moviehouse with sofas, beer, pizza and an outrageous lineup of films and live guests. For instance, "Elvis Day 2000" featured a screening of "It Happened at the World's Fair," with The KIng's co-stars, Yvonne Craig and Gary Lockwood in attendance. The Parkway also hosted "An Evening with Ray Dennis Steckler," highlighted by a mind-boggling triple-bill of Steckler cinema: "Rat Fink a Boo Boo," "Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters" and Blood Shack." There's even a "Thrillville Nursery" at Tuesday night "Thrillville Theater" showings for parents with infants 1 year old and under.

Viharo also sends out a nifty newsletter each month. "Parkway Planet" is filled with coming attractions and cult-movie news. To learn more, call The Parkway Hotline at 510-814-2400, or visit -- or you can drop Will a line at: Be sure and tell 'em The B Monster sent you!

The blockbuster summer comedy you've been waiting for has arrived, and it's a rib-tickling parody of the sci-fi and horror films we love. No, we're not talking about the Wayan's brother's "Scary Movie." I'm referring to director Paul Verhoeven's "Hollow Man." All of the sci-fi cliches are dragged in for lampooning, just as "Airplane" did with the disaster films of the 1970s. Who'd have thought that the director of "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls" would emerge as one of Hollywood's sharpest satirists. There are knee-slapping scenes of exploited women being groped, fondled -- even assaulted! What a hoot! And you'll be in stitches as a puppy is smashed to death by the film's protagonist. Move over "Chicken Run," finally there's a summer film we can all enjoy. In our book, Verhoeven is Dutch for laughs!

Here's what Washington Post columnist Joel Achenbach has to say about "The Cell:" "Perhaps I'm a fuddy-duddy, no longer culturally relevant as I transition to increasingly less desirable demographic categories. I simply don't like extremely graphic disembowelment scenes, period ... In "The Cell," the bad guy uses a barbecue spit to wind the entrails from his screaming victim's body. It's all explicitly depicted. As I recall, in the old days that kind of thing was merely implied. Violence in movies is not inevitably bad or offensive ... but we ought to pause when a movie lavishes its talent and skill -- its technical virtuosity -- on depictions of violence against women ... it would have done no violence to the First Amendment to excise some of [the film's] 24 scenes of violence. Editing is not the same thing as censorship."

For the record, the Post's reviews of the film contained the following warning: "Contains nudity, graphic gore, torture, corpses, imaginary bogeymen, obscenity, drug use and child abuse."

Our good friend Robert Fuller was recently honored with an award at "The Knoxville Film Festival." The star of "Brain From Planet Arous" and the TV series' "Laramie," "Wagon Train" and "Emergency!" demonstrated why he's so highly regarded by fans. According to "Western Clippings," upon taking the podium, Fuller pointed out a dedicated fan in attendance, decked out in full western regalia. "I don't even know his name," Fuller began, "but he's in the audience and I would like to dedicate this trophy to him and give it to him." Fuller then left the dais, embraced fan Kenneth Shipley and presented him with the award.

For anyone wondering whether actress Dana Wynter ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers") was forced to cancel her appearance at "Classic FilmFest 2000" due to ill health, have no fear. Ms. Wynter made a rare appearance at the aforementioned "Knoxville Film Festival." She shied away from photo ops, even though, according to observers, she looked lovely.

Universal Studios will be sponsoring several monster stock cars bearing the likenesses of their most horrific stars at various races this fall. Cars covered with graphics depicting Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and the Mummy will be among those racing in Charlotte, NC, and Memphis come October. Universal is also sponsoring monster funny cars to be featured at the NHRA drag races in Dallas this October 19. Matchbox-size, diecast collector monster cars will be available shortly thereafter, and some retailers are reportedly taking advance orders.

TV "Zorro" and "Lost In Space" Dad, Guy Williams, earned a spot on the Bronx Walk of Fame, the only inductee to receive the honor posthumously. Williams, originally from Bedford Park, died in 1989 at age 65. The actor's son, Guy Williams Jr., took part in the induction and the parade that followed.

Our pals at "The" are poised to unleash "The Monster Club.Com Guide To Horror," featuring a foreword by our buddy, The "Reel" Gillman, Ben Chapman. The club mascot, Tomb Creeper, leads readers through the best in horror from the silent era to the present: Horror posters, radio, comics, toys, magazines, profiles of TV horror hosts, monster moviemakers, the superstars of horror and a review section that includes a look at vintage TV shows and 100 of our favorite horror movies. The book is available for advance order at a special pre-publication price of $10.95 + $1.75 for shipping. You can send a check or money order to: JoNa Books P. O. Box 336 Bedford, IN 47421 For more about the folks behind this terrifying tome, check out


How did so many good actors end up in what is inarguably one of the dumbest films of the year? Cloying dialogue, clumsy exposition, glaring predictable plot points and ham-fisted direction that swipes from the better films in the genre, most embarrassingly Kubrick's "2001." This mega-dud was helmed by Brian De Palma, the Rich Little of film directors -- he's done Hitchcock, Antonioni, even Eisenstein -- why not Kubrick?

The "adrift in space" sequence is supposed to be a nail-biter, but generates zero suspense (the audience I saw it with erupted in chuckles as the astronauts did their little "bunny-hop" toward Mars). The CGI is impressive in spots, but the animated cave men -- a key sequence near the film's conclusion -- look distressingly Gumbyesque. A dopey, TV-movie-like flashback also drew audience guffaws, and product placement has never been so shameless -- dilemmas integral to the plot are resolved with Dr. Pepper on one occasion, and M&Ms on another! Perhaps the thinking was that any audience plied with enough M&Ms and Dr. Pepper would have no trouble swallowing the tired storyline.

Dedicated to digitally remastering esoteric films, the folks at Englewood Entertainment have released a crisp video version of this 1935 visionary fable. Rugged Richard Dix stars as an optimistic engineer who's devoted his energies to tunneling from London to New York, no matter what the cost. Originally a German film ("The Tunnel"), writer Curt Siodmak brought his original script to Britain where this remake was lensed. Nifty "state-of-the-art" effects (the state they were in, in 1935) and Dix's agreeable brio make it happy viewing.

Only from Englewood. This gender-bending musical starring Brit songstress Jessie Mathews as a cross-dressing cabaret warbler was based on a German play and subsequent film. It later served as the inspiration for director Blake Edwards' "Victor/Victoria."

Prepare yourself for the most controversial, incendiary statement of the new Millennium -- Shemp is The B Monster's favorite Stooge! There, we've said it! Don't get us wrong, we love Curly -- but it's time we stood up and made our preference clear. We know, we're in the minority, but political correctness be darned!

Having said that, we're happy to announce that Columbia Tristar is releasing six of Shemp's best Stooge shorts on DVD. Most of them have a supernatural theme, however tenuous. -- "Spook Louder" -- "Mummy's Dummies" -- "Shivering Sherlocks" -- "The Ghost Talks" -- "Hokus Pokus" -- "Fright Night" (Shemp's first Stooge short following Curly's debilitating stroke).


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

Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at

Bryan Senn, whose books are available at and at

Tom Weaver, whose books are available at and at

"They planted the living, and harvested the dead!" -- Invasion of the Blood Farmers

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