Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creature Feature Classics: Blackenstein

I Know This Is Creature Feature Classics Post But This Creature Feature Is Definitely No Classic. It's Actually In My Top 10 Of The Worst Movies Ever Made. It Gives The Term "Blaxploitation" A Bad Name. It's The Quite Possibly The Worst Frankenstein Movie Ever Made. Yes It's Called Blackenstein!

After American International Pictures Had A Hit With "Blacula" Of Course, In The Great Tradition Of Exploitation, Someone Had To Make "Blackenstein". Unfortunately It wasn't AIP That Produced This "Classic". To Say This Movie Was Cheaply Made Is An Understatement. Yes, There Is A Castle With The Props From The Original Frankenstein Movie Lab. The Lead Actor John Hart (Dr. Stein) Did Actually Play The Lone Ranger After The Original Actor Clayton Moore Left The Show. Actress Andrea King Was In "The Beast With Five Fingers" With Peter Lorre. And "Actress" Liz Renay Was Notorious For Being A Gangster's "Moll" And Being In A John Waters Movie (Desperate Living). Those Are The High Points Of This Jaw Slackening Cinematic Mess, It Get's Even Worse When The Monster Actually Appears.


The Storyline Involves A Young Female Doctor Winifred (Ivory Stone) Who Seeks Out Dr. Stein To Help Her Boyfriend Eddie (Joe De Sue) Who Lost His Legs And Arms In Vietnam. Dr. Stein Has Just Won The Nobel Prize For Cracking The DNA Code And Has Found A Way To Regenerate Limbs Through His Experiments. Needless To Say He Is Able To Give Eddie His Limbs Back But Due To The Doctors Jealous Servant Who Is Jilted By Winifred, Eddie Is Given The Wrong Meds And Becomes The Blackenstein Monster. Blackenstein Then Escapes, Hits The Town Murdering The Locals In Their Homes, At Lovers Lane And At The Local Bar/Comedy Club.

Even Though This Plot Might Seem Amusing,
Like A Wacked Out Eerie Publications Comic Book Story, Its So Badly Produced, Shot And Edited That It's Not Even Worth Checking Out Unless You Really Want To See One Of The Worst Of The Worst Movies Ever Made. Plan Nine From Outer Space Is Like Citizen Kane Compared To This. 

Blackenstein is On Netflix Streaming If You Dare Check It Out. The DVD Released By Xenon Looks No Better Than the Old VHS Which Was Pretty Bad To Begin With, But Even A Nice DVD Transfer Couldn't Help This Clunker. It Might Even Make It Worse If Thats Possible.  

And Check Out Slow Robot A Go Go 
Episode 97 For Our Blackenstein Podcast
Coming Soon! 

The Oculture Corner : Dr Horror

If I say the phrases ‘the Golden Age’ and ‘Horror Comics’ together, your thoughts most likely flash to the early 1950’s and perhaps the publisher EC. And while it’s true that this period was the pinnacle of horror comics, the genre really has existed since the earliest days. A surprising (well to me anyway) number of supernatural based serial strips were part of the GA comic book offerings long before those short story based ones came upon the scene. I intend for “The Oculture Corner” to be a complementary series to my “Monsters vs Heroes” postings.

I’ll begin with a particularly disturbing strip from Lev Gleason’s CAPTAIN BATTLE COMICS. Let me introduce you to Dr. Horror.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Monsters vs Heroes Captain Triumph

When I was young there was a television commercial for peanut butter cups that bragged “two great tastes that taste great together!”. Well my new blog series is designed along that line of thinking. As a boy the two things that got me really excited were superheroes and monsters. From digging through the comics of the Golden Age, I’ve discovered that this was apparently true for the kids of the 1940’s as well. I make this judgment from the large number of stories where costumed crusaders fought against creatures of the night. Postings with this header will be a platform to explore these tales.

Quality Comics had a rich cadre of beloved and well remembered characters, such as Plasticman, the Ray, the Black Condor, Blackhawk and the Spirit. Perhaps less recalled is Captain Triumph, but this hero had an admirable longevity running in 35 consecutive issues of CRACK COMICS between 1943 and 1949.

Cap came on to the scene rather late, when you consider that the popularity of super characters had already peaked by 43. But the hero had a kind of unique spin on the genre that helped keep him popular when the others were dropping. First was the occult nature of his powers. Lance and Michael Gallant were identical twin brothers that shared one of the tightest fraternal bonds depicted in comics. These guys were of matching attitude when it came to physical perfection, their good citizenship and sense of right and wrong. When Lance witnesses Michael’s murder from sabotage, he makes a vow. “Michael was my brother! I swear there’s no risk I wouldn’t take – nothing I’d hesitate to do! I’d sacrifice anyone’s life – my own included – to wipe from the face of the earth the evil that brought about this disaster!” Suddenly the ghost of Michael appears before Lance, with praise for his brother’s commitment. If Lance agrees to take on a crusade for justice then the spirit of Michael will use it’s supernatural abilities to aid in the fight.

Captain Triumph’s costume was hardly that, if you compare it to other mystery men. He wears no mask, simply a red tee-shirt, jodhpur style riding pants and leather calf-high boots. This less than flamboyant fashion aided in making the character more pliable with regard to story types. A writer could dream up any sort of story idea, making him a mystery detective, circus roundabout, crime noir investigator, international provocateur or straight adventure hero and none would not seem out of place for the Gallant brothers. This flexibility probably helped in his longevity.

The original artist on the Captain was Alfred Andriola, of Kerry Drake fame, but for myself, the guy I most identify with the strip, is Reed Crandall. So for the inaugural post, let us look at his gorgeous job from CRACK COMICS number 51 where the good Captain battles a werewolf!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Pit And The Pendulum

A Very Early Adaptation Of
The Poe Classic By Doug Wildey.
This Story From Beware 10 Looks Like 
It Was Very Early In Wildey's Career. So Early 
In Fact That I Couldn't Tell It Was His Work Till
 I Saw The Signature.

The Professor And The Pixie

Not Sure Who The Artist Is
On This Story From ACG's
Out Of The Night 17 But The Art
Is Nice And There's A Couple
Of Wally Wood Swipes Too!