Saturday, March 25, 2017


Mr. Lobo is an ideal host, not only for "misunderstood" movies, but for comic-book horror tales. Yes, our dear, engaging host is a veritable Cryptkeeper in his own distinguished right. 

The British-based Wrench Productions detected Mr. Lobo's potential and has wisely utilized his presence for the new, illustrated, anthology series, BIZARRE DIMENSIONS!!!

The initial issue is out now, and boy, oh, boy, does it ever live up to its title, offering enough weird twists and turns to make even the likes of the Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock envious. In other ways, BIZARRE DIMENSIONS is like an otherworldly fever dream: think of Roger Corman's "The Trip" crossed with Roald Dahl's "Tales of the Unexpected". 

The initial issue sports a wild cover (as seen above) by Lola Patissiere, depicting a cycling, Napoleonic simian, which ties in to one of the issue's stories, "Bananas": penned by Cliff Jones and illustrated by Grayham Puttock. It's a cool cross between "Planet of the Apes" and "Me and the Chimp", but even more so, stands as a bittersweet swan song of sorts to all those grand circuses of old and new.

Also in the issue is the eerie, off-kilter "Brown Out", written as well by Cliff Jones, with artwork by Andrew Richmond. This one has a real haunting mood, which will likely stay with one days after one reads it. For those who fancy Serling's "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", this one should more than hit the spot.

Mr. Lobo gives each story the proper wraparound panache, adding sophistication and wry humor to set up and conclude them, proving indeed how perfect he is for this splendidly strange concoction.

Get in on this new, surreal sensation by ordering your copy of BIZARRE DIMENSIONS today at...   You'll be so pleased that you did!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Wanted to share Ron Fortier's Airship 27 Productions Press release of my novella, "The Hyde Seed". Captain Ron is doing a swell job promoting it, and here's the proof-- 

Also, for the sake of enticement, I thought I'd offer the novella's initial Amazon review:

"THE HYDE SEED reminds me of something that might have appeared on TWILIGHT ZONE or maybe TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE. It's about a down-and-out boxer named Pepe Rodriguez, who has this strange force spew from his brain after getting walloped in the ring. The thing doesn't dominate him, though, until years later when he's working as a janitor and a group of bullies cause his Hyde side to reawaken. That's when the real trouble starts.

The novel is rather sad, as most underdog stories are. I really felt for this poor guy and wanted him to win out. Parts of the story deal with unrequited love, the loss of Rodriguez's mother and his need to impress his hardheaded father. 

The book is also pretty creepy in the way the Hyde character is portrayed. The monster is described as a plant-like thing, with its garden being the protagonist's brain. The early scenes featuring the monster are presented in dreams, but as the story moves along, the invisible Hyde starts to exist outside its host. Yeah, weird stuff, but also pretty much familiar Jekyll/Hyde territory. 

I recommend THE HYDE SEED for the fact that it's a throwback to an old-anthology way of storytelling and combines tension with tenderness to get its point across. For the price, you can't go wrong. It's also a real fast read. Probably would make a decent movie." - horrorfan

I do believe the above is an encouraging endorsement, so please give "Hyde Seed" a try. You can order your paperback edition at... 

You can also order from Barnes and Noble at...

Thanks very much for your support, my friends, and I hope you enjoy my story!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I saw Disney's Beauty and the Beast Remade (but why?)...

Once upon a time, director Gus Van Sant redid "Psycho" in an apparent shot-by-shot, cinematic recast. In truth, the film wasn't entirely a mirror image of Hitchcock's classic, though structurally, it emerged damn close to such. The question naturally emerged: If the remake was to be so near the original, why did the director bother?

In the same vein, one could question the point of Disney’s most recent "Jungle Book"; "Alice in Wonderland; and "Cinderella", though none of these have leaned so heavily upon their animated counterparts, standing as variations on earlier, acclaimed adaptations. However, even with a proven formula established, Disney's executives have decided to take their need for reinterpretation one step nearer that of Van Sant, with a retelling of the 1991 Oscar-winning "Beauty and the Beast": a film some claim to be the studio's all-around best. (For the record, I've always preferred CBS' "B&B" television series based on Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's fable to the competing, animated product, though I realize comparing the two is like that of apples and oranges; but then so is comparing "Psycho" to "B&B", I suppose.)

Now, unlike the "Psycho" redux, Disney's "B&B" has actually gone the stage route and has proven most successful in that format. That makes its re-entrance to film not so far-fetched, but at the same time, as with "Psycho", we’re presented with a lifting of architectural and character concepts that have become so ingrained in our pop-cultural consciousness that a new, cinematic version of them can’t help but feel, to some extent or another, imbalanced.  

Nevertheless, thanks to director Bill Condon, the new “B&B” defiantly exists: not a shot-by-shot remake, but without watching the animated feature alongside it, it might very well come across that way (though, in truth, the live-action edition is bridged by superfluous stuffing). At any rate, depending on a viewer's vantage, the similarities could be good, bad or unnecessary, with the latter most likely holding favor. 

As with "Psycho ‘98", the casting sometimes goes against the grain, if only because the actors don’t necessarily resemble their founding versions, which depending on one's taste, could falter or delight. (Personally, I've always liked Vince Vaughn's casting in the "Psycho" remake, but hey, that's just me.) Actually, in one instance, the innovative "B&B" twist seems most noble in the current climate of acceptance: i.e., Disney's first "openly gay" character, LeFou (Josh "Frozen" Gad), with his sexual orientation insinuated throughout his scenes. On the other hand, this variance isn't radical enough to turn things upside down, leaving the new "B&B" with so few profound alterations as to cause a fair sum of uncanny-valley discomfort. This queasiness might dissipate after repeated viewings, but for now, most of the actors occupying the roles seem simultaneously in tune with their animated characterizations and yet strangely off kilter, even though the performers are clearly trying to make their revised editions lasting, if not definitive. 

In addition to Gad's aforementioned LeFou, the cast includes Belle (Emma "Harry Potter" Watson); the Beast (Dan "The Guest" Stevens); the unjustly vilified Gaston (Luke "Dracula Untold" Evans); Candenza (Stanley "Transformers" Tucci); Cogsworth (Ian "Lord of the Rings"/"X-Men" McKellen); Plumette (Gugu "Jupiter Ascending" Mbatha-raw); Lumiere (Ewan "Star Wars" McGregor); Madame de Garderobe (Audra "Private Practice" MacDonald); Maurice, Belle's dad (Kevin "Silverado" Kline); and Mrs. Potts (Emma "Dead Again" Thompson). Indeed, an impressive ensemble, but didn’t we meet one of equal (or rather, unequaled?) caliber in the ’91 version?  

As another questionable plus, the sets and choreography are splendid in their carryover context: in fact, at times as good as one could hope, and perhaps in this respect, some of that uncanny-valley awkwardness becomes less apparent along the way, but there are still times when even the most presentable traits can feel overstressed, as if trying to prove an unnecessary point. To counter these forced elements, the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman score is at least as smooth as what we've come to know and love, featuring such favorites as "Be Our Guest", "Bonjour" and the "B&B" theme. Yeah, sure, the soundtrack still enchants, but then why the hell wouldn’t it?

Again, the persistent problem is the wavering sameness within the overall newness: a nagging tottering that makes one wish to see everything slip back to animation or maybe head toward something boldly altered. This live-action "B&B" tugs at both ends, and that makes the movie the oddest anomaly since Van Sant’s “Psycho”, for it's cursed with the same confounding contradictions. ("Jungle Book", for example, could at least escape this trap with its wilder-than-life landscapes, beastly visitations and truncated simulations of song-and-dance sequences.)

Despite its unavoidable hindrances, "B&B" is already drawing big bucks, and as it does, Disney's executives will assess which next to dance down the live-action aisle: "Bambi",  "Dumbo", "Lion King" … "Robin Hood".  Now, wouldn’t these be a sight to see, or would they? The personas wouldn’t be rendered via traditional, "Planet of the Apes" type make-up, but rather CGI, and with CGI being basically another fanciful form of cartoonery, well…again why bother? And isn’t that the drawback of any such endeavor? 

Sure, it never hurts to see a new version of an old favorite, but if the demand is that great for a faithful-to-the-core revisit, why not opt for a theatrical re-release or if need be, travel the sequel/prequel route? Hey, it worked for "Sleeping Beauty", right? Okay, maybe not. Perhaps when all is said and done, there are simply certain things so iconic in their beloved designs that it's best to leave well enough alone, no matter what the intended extension or potential ticket sales. Uncle Walt (God bless him) understood this, but obviously not Disney's Van Sant disciples. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017



It was only yesterday that I gazed upon several of your Swamp Thing illustrations and smiled with great admiration. It only goes to show that you sure knew how to do monsters right, Mr. Wrightson. Thanks to you, the macabre became magnified in not only the aforementioned, but in such signficant publications as "Eerie"; "Creepy"; "House of Mystery"; "House of Secrets"; "Creepshow"; "Frankenstein"; "Cycle of the Werewolf"; and "Heavy Metal". Also, your contributions to the DC and Marvel superhero scenes remain respected and in many ways, unsurpassed. No matter how or when readers come across your work, your memory will live on. Bless you for making horror and fantasy so memorable, so moving, my dear, artistic friend. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Collectible Time #83: Moebius Yvonne Craig/Batgirl and Suicide Squad Batmobile Model Kits

My friends at Z&Z Hobbies, Harvey and Mike, received a back-order on the resin release of Moebius' Yvonne Craig Batgirl kit. 

When assembled (see above images), the 1:5 scale costumed Barbara Gordon stands an awesome 17", with base. The kit was sculpted by the masterful Jeff Yagher and comes in a large, heavy-duty box, with cool-blue graphics, which of course, feature the fetching Craig. 

Moebius has been releasing styrene versions of the Batman '66 characters, which I've featured in several previous posts, like "Collectible Time #71": Oct '16. The figure featured here is a more expensive, deluxe entry, which though probably out of my price range, nonetheless satisfied my urge to get a Craig Batgirl for my collection. The kit goes between $125 - $150 through most hobby sources. (Z&Z gave me a loyal-customer discount, I'm pleased to report.)

Also through Z&Z, I obtained a Moebius "Suicide Squad" limited-edition, Ben Affleck Batmobile. The company actually released a version of this model last year (see "Collectible Time #56, April '16) to coincide with "Batman v Superman", so it's the crimson-backdrop packaging that primarily distinguishes this (re)release. Also, if one doesn't add the front guns, the Batmobile can better reflect the style featured in the villain-rally hit.

The Batmobile is an impressive 1:25 (12") scale, so no matter which release one goes for, one will get a decent chunk of plastic with which to tinker for about $30-$40, at the present price range.

Anyway, it was sure fun to get a couple Batman collectibles that span both the new and old cinematic realms.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Netflix's Iron Fist Debuts!!!

During the martial-arts movie craze of the '70s, Iron Fist stayed steadfast and in the forefront among the comic-book counterparts. However, the chance for a movie version grew only prominent during the past decade, with Ray "Darth Maul" Park positioned for the lead. That obviously didn't pan out, but now, with Netflix embracing the Marvel universe as part of its profitable sector, the famed character manifests in a brooding series.

Finn "Game of Thrones" Jones stars as the billionaire, Buddhist monk/kung-fu expert, Danny Rand. During his stay in a monastery, Rand mastered the means to tap the mystical power of the Iron Fist (and now can become such personified). However, when he returns home to reclaim his family's prestigious company, circumstances push him more toward crusader than entrepreneur.  

In addition to Jones, the 13-part saga features Jessica "Game of Thrones" Henwick; Tom Pelphrey; Jessica Stroup; David "Lord of the Rings" Wenham; and Rosario Dawson, reprising her "Daredevil"/"Luke Cage" role of Claire Temple. Also, Carrie-Anne Moss, "Jessica Jones'" Jeri Hogarth, is set to guest star.

All episodes of "Iron Fist" will be available for viewing on Friday, March 17. The series will ultimately interlock with most of Netflix's other heroes, to be showcased in "The Defenders", a group in which Rand holds a leadership role. 

It appears "Iron Fist" will grant Netflix another winner, though for the character's fan base, its success will depend on how much it captures its Marvel mythology. So far, so good with Netflix's other comic-book interpretations, so let's hope "Iron Fist" emulates their precision, implementing a modern-day panache, but never losing sight of the character's hip, '70s roots. (Yeah, the chest tattoo may be on the mark, but a good shave and an iconic, yellow mask would be a promising step in the right direction.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I can't express how often your productions have enchanted me over the years, and the list is filled with numerous, colorful classics: "The Blob '58"; "Beware! the Blob"/"Son of Blob"; "The Blob '88"; "Dark Star"; "Dinosaurus!"; "Equinox"; "Eyes of Laura Mars"; "4D Man"; and the comedy favorite, "Schlock". You gave so many young filmmakers and performers a chance to make their mark on the imagi-movie scene, for which so many of us are grateful. May you bring your insightful grace to the great drive-in screen in the sky, where your innovative entries can delight for as long as the stars do shine. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I saw Joshua Kennedy's Return of Sherlock Holmes...

You can take all of your current, Hollywood hotshots and toss 'em away. In my estimation, they don't hold a candle to the outstanding talent of writer/director/producer Joshua Kennedy. That's because Kennedy understands (i.e., remembers) how movies were once made. However, when need be, Kennedy's modern sensibilities easily surpass any offered by those young upstarts who get their breaks not through talent, but nepotism and loads of unjustified luck. Trust me: In the vastness of all the Hollywood phonies and wannabes, Kennedy is a breath of fresh air and in every respect, the real deal!!!

My claim is aptly demonstrated by his latest endeavor, "The Return of Sherlock Holmes": a 2016 tribute to the filmmaking style of Terence Fisher's "Hound of the Baskervilles"; Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes"; and any number of other above-average Sir Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations that have surfaced over the decades. Yep, "Return of Sherlock Holmes" truly does it right, mostly because it's done in the manner of those adaptations that have done it right.

The film's structure is episodic, catering to Doyle's "The Empty House" and "The Six Napoleons" (both included in the author's anthology, "The Return of Sherlock Holmes"), with Kennedy giving an exemplary performance as the legendary, Baker Street detective. The beautiful Bessie Nellis stars as Dr. Watson, and though she's not the first, female Watson to bless celluloid, she's certainly the most enchanting; and her performance complements Kennedy's to a tee. Talk about chemistry! It rolls off this spry couple in spades. 

The overlap of Doyle's yarns flows fast and flawlessly (as anyone acquainted with the short stories will see), which is good, for there have been a few Holmes entries to hit a slow snag or two, but "Return of Sherlock Holmes" gallops forth with an eager gait, thanks to Kennedy's excellent script and directorial style. Sure, we know that Holmes and Watson will solve the mysteries, but the build-up in each instance makes one yearn for such with increased fervor (and a few laughs), even if an air of familiarity prevails from the classic plots. 

To make the scenarios credible, the film's presentation of London remarkably hits the mark. How Kennedy succeeded in capturing all the right details on what's evidently a small budget (staged entirely at Pace University, by the way) is beyond me; but hey, that's what talent (and caring enough to remember) is all about. In fact, all involved in this movie deserve a standing ovation for pulling off a product that, unlike most big-budget counterparts, stays in amazing grace with its atmospheric subject matter. 

Incidentally, the superb, supporting cast consists of Jorge Chapa (of HBO's "Divorce", who supplies ample, quippy humor); Quinn Corcoran; Jonathan Danziger; Alejandro Hoyos; Patrick Keenan; William McKinley; Mark Rosenfeld; Traci Thomas; Jake Williams; and the ever jubilant Amy Zilliax as Mrs. Hudson. In a stylish cameo as the dastardly Professor James Moriarty, we're given the great Mark Redfield, who gave us one of the best adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" ever to grace film, stage or video; and Mark Holmes, acclaimed Femforce contributor, also makes an appearance--whose presence is now an established tradition in Kennedy's Gooey Film Productions--which is every bit as wonderful as those that have preceded it. As with any Kennedy production, each participant lends a special quality to the scenes and interludes in which they're featured, helping to make the production an indisputable, professional effort.

Because Kennedy so expertly captures the classy flair of the Holmes movies of old, I implore him to do a sequel. He's so natural in the role that it would be blasphemous to let the opportunity slip. Similarly, get Nellis and Zilliax back into the swing of it. Heck, do a whole darn series!!! (I, for one, would love to see Kennedy put his spin on "The Red-Headed League" and "A Scandal in Bohemia".)

"Return of Sherlock Holmes" is now available for purchase at ... (Also, for the record, other Kennedy titles are listed through the same source, including the DVD of "Night of Medusa"/"Slave Girls on the Moon"; please check out my double-feature review when you visit.) Anyway, it's all quite elementary, my dear reader, so do yourself a favor and add some of that infectious Kennedy charm to your movie collection today!!!

Friday, March 10, 2017


Hello, folks--The latest Airship 27 Productions Podcast is here. Give a listen to catch some nifty info on my novella, "The Hyde Seed", courtesy of Captain Ron Fortier and Chief Engineer Rob Davis. As many of you know, Airship 27 published "Hyde Seed" a few weeks back (in late Feb). 

The episode also features scoops on the latest Pulp Factory awards, as well as exciting updates on the Brother Bones movie and R.A. Jones and Rob Davis' sexy "Scimidar" novel!!!

Check out installment #25 at the Comics Podcast Network: Insightful cheer is guaranteed for all!!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I saw Kong Reborn...

Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve admired the towering fury and primal sensitivity of the mighty, mammoth King Kong.

The Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack original is the be-all/end-all when it comes to this mythic beast, and I’m the first to acknowledge it. “Kong ‘33” has it all: action, adventure, ballsy characters, implied sensuality and above all, wondrous, stop-motion monsters galore. Hands down, it's the greatest, giant-monster movie ever made, let alone the most exotic and action-packed film ever produced. Nothing, on any cinematic level, will ever match it.

With that said, one might assume I wouldn’t fancy any other incarnation of the great ape, but “Son of Kong” and the original “Mighty Joe Young” (Kong’s unofficial cousin, in my opinion), and later down the line, "Konga", taught me that other versions could also be a ton of fun. Therefore, I came to enjoy Toho's submissions, "King Kong vs Godzilla" and "King Kong Escapes"; the Rankin Bass cartoon show (that inspired the latter); the "Mighty Kong" animated musical; and yes, even the oft-maligned Dino Kong and its equally discredited sequel, plus Peter Jackson’s ambitious remake and all the offshoots that fell between and/or came thereafter, including Kong's appearance in the recent "Lego Batman Movie": alas, a sour misconception, but that's just the way the ball sometimes bounces. 

With all these incarnations brimming my brain and furthering my support of the majestic Goliath, I’ve grown most anxious to view director Jordan Vogt-Robert's “Kong: Skull Island”, anticipating another hardy spurt of escapism, and as should come as no surprise, I was pretty well satisfied. 

For the record, the new Kong isn’t entirely based on the Joe Devito/Brad Strickland book of the roundabout same name, as some had hoped, or for that matter, Russell Blackford's underrated novel, "Kong Reborn", which surfaced around the same time, to coincide with the Jackson retelling. As rendered by scriptwriter Derek "Jurassic World" Connolly; Max "Godzilla '14" Borenstein; and Dan "Freejack" Gilroy, this Kong adventure is an unmistakable reboot in its inflated, B-movie construction: a Nixon-era lead-in for a possible, new Kong/Godzilla crossover. (I suppose the team-up's prospects will ride on “Skull Island’”s box-office draw and that of Legendary Films' planned “Godzilla 2".) The film's intent is solely to reintroduce Kong’s mythology, with the promise that it'll avoid an Empire State/Twin Towers' fall. To do this, it flows rather like "King Kong Lives" (though sans the artificial-heart transplant), introduces new monsters and as in Jackson's re-imagining, includes a Joseph Conrad "Heart of Darkness" allegorical undertone: pretentious, yes, but it clicks.

The film's primary protagonist (beyond Kong, that is) is Tom Hiddleston's British Special Forces Captain James Conrad (get it?), who's accompanied by a pretty photojournalist named Mason Weaver, played by Brie Larson. (She's the would-be Ann Darrow, but in this instance, "love" doesn't figure in, though there's a moment of fleeting tenderness.) Overseeing the duo is John Goodman as the Carl Denham-ish/Monarch Company creature-chasing head, Bill Randa. There's also Samuel L. Jackson's Ahab-angled Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard and John C. Reilly's stranded, WWII pilot Hank Marlow (the surname being another Conrad nod), who's a Dennis Hopper-ish "Apocalypse Now" host to those who might happen upon the island. 

By the way, Toby Kebbel, who won praise for his portrayal of Koba in the new "Planet of the Apes" franchise (and who's played Dr. Doom in "Fantastic Four '15" and Durotan in "Warcraft") is the motion-captured man-to-ape in this version. He's basically done what Andy Serkis did in the '05 film (or for that matter, what Serkis did as Caesar in "Apes"), but giving it his own spin: a combo of the original, stop-motion, animated Kong and Rick Baker's suited version in the '76 Guillermin remake. On the whole, Kebbel does a smashing job in giving Kong the essential depth and ferocity to guarantee his predominate presence, even when he's not on screen. (Incidentally, one might find Kebbel in another role, as well: that of a sensitive soldier named Chapman. Yep, Conrad referenced again.)

Early in the tale, we realize that Randa's monster obsession will lead to a dangerous confrontation with the pugnacious king, and Packard eagerly seizes this task, though the simian's defensive assault on his soldiers (and their napalm-dropping helicopters) makes the military man insanely vindictive. This leaves Conrad, Weaver and Marlow to side with Kong, as they pave their way (with anyone else sensible enough to follow) off Skull Island. 

The film's human characters, though knock-offs of others who've visited such lost worlds, are interesting enough to pad the adventure: not that it needs much once the monster brawls get going. And boy, do those damn Skullcrawlers ever liven things up, as does a giant spider and squid: the latter a homage to the meddling octopus in "Kong vs Godzilla"!

The film's only drawback is its negative military slant. Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" at least avoided this cliche, but the new Kong leans on the tedious tactic, sometimes depicting our Armed Forces as bumbling imperialists. (Okay, in this instance, they're more a mercenary tangent, one could argue, but still...). It may have been a more interesting approach to have had the military abet the great ape; instead, we get the anti-Vietnam, no-man-should-be-left-behind concept shoved upon us, which in its own right isn't necessarily bad on all fronts, but again, a tad predictable and therefore, it blunts a portion of the picture's glory.

“Skull Island” isn’t, after all, a complicated tale and a few innovations here and there couldn't have hurt. Then again, Kong’s original tale was never envisioned as a blatant, message movie. What prompted discussions on Kong's circumstance were based purely on viewers' personal perceptions. A Kong adventure, therefore, only needs to be large and uninhibited to inspire meaningful reference. 

“Skull Island” does its job well enough to reunite us with a film favorite who, though a trifle redesigned in his skyscraping stretch, is still the wondrous creature he was from the start and still quite capable of igniting our thoughts. The film made me want to see more of him, and I think we will, along with another gigantic favorite or two or three or four, but you'll have to wait until after the end credits to catch their identities. (Anyone have a hankerin' for a famous, Japanese quartet? Hint, hint.)