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Archive for May, 2010

Thoughts on the Legacy of Charles Beaumont by Jason V Brock

I first met William F. Nolan when my wife, Sunni, and I were collecting interview footage for a film about Forrest J Ackerman (The AckerMonster Chronicles). During the interview (at his then home in Bend, OR), we learned that Nolan was a longtime friend of the writer Charles Beaumont. By this time, we’d already interviewed about twenty people that knew Ackerman (including Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson and so on), and most of these same folks knew Beaumont as well.

So, as we were talking, we asked about his close association with the mysterious Beaumont (a key figure in the recent history of science fiction and horror). Nolan became energized: “Chuck was my best friend for ten years!” With that statement, we were off.

Nolan has been a valuable resource for understanding Beaumont (who dominated his friends and colleagues both personally and creatively: he was the driver for adventure and misadventure alike) and his contributions to the state of the art. Nolan’s keen insights into the molten, multifaceted core of this driven, intense, creative person – who, tragically, was struck down in medias res – has been both sad and inspiring. Beaumont’s untimely death at age 38 (still a mystery, but a form of pre-senile dementia), was a force in two dynamic ways: the bad — it shattered asunder the informal collective of friends and writers gathered around him (now known as “The Group”, or “The Southern California Writing School”); the good — it catalyzed these young men into a sudden (albeit uncomfortably real) adulthood. If Beaumont had lived, there might never have been a Logan’s Run, or several other works from John Tomerlin, Richard Matheson and the people that he considered his intimates.

Nevertheless, what has the world missed? That is a harder question to answer. Examine some of his works:

  • The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (one of several efforts with George Pal)
  • The Intruder (William Shatner’s first starring film role; done with Roger Corman)
  • The Twilight Zone (he was the main writer other than Rod Serling; this was in addition to other, lesser-known TV shows of the late ‘50s/early 1960s) 
  • Numerous short stories (nearly 100 published!) and non-fiction articles
  • Two novels and several collections
  • The Premature Burial, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death (all for Roger Corman)
  • The go-to fiction writer for Playboy and Rogue (as well as other slicks and digests of the era)

All of this in a span of just over a decade, and before the age of 35! Beaumont was also an artist, musician, actor and auto racer (the macho male status symbol of the time). He was the nucleus for The Group (which included not only Nolan, Matheson, Tomerlin and Johnson, but by extension Bradbury, Chad Oliver, Charles E. Fritch, Harlan Ellison, Ackerman, Ray Russell, Jerry Sohl, OCee Ritch, Frank M. Robinson, Robert Bloch and more), as well as a husband and father. All of these factors contributed to why we decided to finish the film on him first (Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man). He was a remarkable individual.

After all of this interaction with Bill Nolan, he and I have become close friends; it was perhaps inevitable that we would want to work with one another on different projects (which is quite in the spirit of The Group: they all participated in much collaboration). To date, we have written stories together, worked on several comic books (Logan’s Run: Last Day, Tales from William F. Nolan’s Dark Universe) and have co-edited The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers. This last item came about as a result of lamenting the current state of the horror publishing industry. After too much grousing, we decided to do something about it, and gathered together the best and most interesting unpublished works that we could find from Bradbury, John Shirley, Dan O’Bannon, the Mathesons, Steve Rasnic Tem and others. It was a fun book to do, and one that we are quite proud of.

I like to imagine that – somewhere — Chuck Beaumont is pleased and confounded that his legacy is now captured on celluloid, and that his friends not only miss him, but are still working together, in the same spirit that he fostered all those years ago…

By Jason V Brock

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Devin Watson Author of “Horror Screenwriter: The Nature of Fear”

The State of the Art of Horror

by Devin Watson

 Summer has arrived. Warm air, vacations, mowing the lawns. For some of us that’s just fine. Not for me. Summer has always meant the time when I sit back and enjoy some good movies with my friends. And of course write, write, write.

 Hollywood is in horror remake mode, and while some of us might be satisfied with the results I’m betting that more than a few of you aren’t, as am I. Some of us want more, new, and dare I say it, different. And even the gloss of Hollywood can’t deliver that.

 In my opinion horror wasn’t meant to be given a glossy sheen. It’s supposed to be ugly and brutal, bloody, scary, and dangerous. We want to be scared, to have the oogies, jump in our seats when the unexpected happens. Hell, even laugh some and maybe even think about things that are on the edge of our own imaginations. Where else can we get those kinds of intangible things delivered to us in a single package, aside from spending a weekend with the in-laws?

 Right now if you want to know the true state of horror you’ll have to dig under the glossy skin of Hollywood and look at its true guts: the independents. Independents come to these festivals not only to be seen but to be enjoyed. And that’s just what we do. We enjoy them. Crypticon is one of those places where you can find people of like mind that celebrate horror in all of its forms, from the visual to the written word.

 Horror fans can be more than fans. Of every genre out there, I can think of no other that is more fun and easily accessible for the aspiring writer or filmmaker. If you are a fan, you’re also halfway there to being one that picks up the torch and carries it further should you feel like it.

 Don’t like what you see on the screen and think you can do better? Then get out there and do it. This isn’t an angry ultimatum, by no means. In this day and age, there simply is no excuse to get out there and make your own and show it to the world. Even if it’s a five minute short with rough editing and bad sound, do it anyway. It’s a start. Just like playing the piano or riding a bike, you only get better with practice.

 It takes strong tenacity and an unwillingness to quit, but it can happen. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just another face in the crowd of horror fans. Then I crossed the line into writing horror, then filming it. It’s a thin line that’s easy to cross, but it takes courage. It’s courage I’m sure more than a few of you out there have.

 Above all, have fun and embrace the weirdness that is horror

You can get Devin’s book from Michael Wiese Productions right here! 

SIFF and good Midnight Adrenaline Movies!

Crypticon spotted something good on the SIFF site about the Midnight Adrenaline series.  Our good buddies over at MIFFF are helping to sponsor those crazy midnight movies!  Check out the write up below. This year includes some must see movies!  

 

MIFFF is pleased to announce that it’s an official sponsor of SIFF’s Midnight Adrenaline film track. Midnight Adrenaline returns to SIFF with an overdose of highly addictive, unpredictable, and suspense-inducing features for the cult film junkie. SIFF showcases an onslaught of classic genre film including a zombie apocalypse, slasher backwoods hillbillies (sort of), medieval fantasy games, and unusually enhanced geishas.

Cult-classic grindhouse film reaches a whole new level with Israel Lunaʼs controversial transportation film, Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives.

 Zombie mayhem ensues with a live ZomBcon event at Boom Noodle before the screening of George A. Romeroʼs Survival of the Dead, the sixth zombie film by the godfather of undead cinema.

 From Hong Kong, director Pang Ho-Cheung unleashes a gory tale of lifestyle fetishization and a desperate, bloody path toward obtaining oneʼs own Dream Home.

 In the kitschy RoboGeisha, Japan presents a twisted take on sibling rivalry as two cybernetic-enhanced geishas combat to win the local steel baronʼs heart.

 Amer is a dreamy pastiche tour-de-force of 1970s Italian giallo horror movies that plays out a delirious, enigmatic death-dance of fear and desire.  

 When their legion is ambushed in Northern Britain, a small platoon of surviving Roman soldiers must evade a revenge-hungry band of barbarian warriors through harsh terrain in an attempt to rescue their general and return to the safety of the Roman frontier in Centurion.

 Splice is a 21st century creature feature, two young scientists willfully ignore society’s ethical boundaries, and achieve fame by splicing the DNA of different animals into the human genome to create a new species. However, their creation rapidly develops into a beautiful, yet deadly, winged chimera.

 The Wild Hunt explores when a medieval live action role playing game can go seriously off track.

 Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil tells the story of how two hillbilly’s have found their perfect “fixer-upper” cabin, but remodeling is never easy, particularly when a group of college co-eds on spring break start killing themselves all over your property.

 See all the trailers here: http://www.siff.net/festival/film/programdetail.aspx?FID=166&PID=348

MIFFF will be giving tickets away through local podcasts and other events.  Watch for them.

Chris Alexander Fangoria Editor in Chief on Crypticon!

It has been a long time since I’ve been an active presence at a horror convention. When I worked for that “other magazine,” I immersed myself in all manner of geek-out goings-on, from moderating Q&As with legends like Dario Argento, Elvira and Jeffrey Combs to performing a duet of “The South’s Gonna Rise Again” with H.G. Lewis. It was a blast being able to do these James Lipton-esque riffs with my horror heroes in front of a captive audience. I loved it. And you know what? I’ve missed it…

That’s why being asked to be a guest myself at Seattle’s Crypticon this year (June 18-20) was such a nice, exciting surprise. There’s a gaggle of really fascinating folks coming to this thing, and a few of them are people I’ve long admired and idolized. See, no matter how long I do this movie journo thing, the thrill is never, ever gone. I truly consider myself a professional student of cinema, someone who loves to learn, study the past and hear war stories from the front lines of fright. It’s why I do what I do, and it never gets tired.

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At Crypticon 2010, there are a couple of figures who I’m really looking forward to sharing space with. One of them is Thomas Jane, he of the underrated second PUNISHER flick, the Darabont/King masterpiece THE MIST and HBO’s hilarious show HUNG, and director/star of the oddly ignored 2009 neo-noir DARK COUNTRY. I’ve always believed Jane to be one of the best male actors of our generation. He has this solid, almost Robert Mitchum-esque roughness about him, something very 1950s and brutish, yet he also has a contemporary vulnerability that gives him an accessible humanity. His turn as the under-pressure pop in THE MIST is the kind of performance that Oscar should reward, but rarely does. And that’s why I love this guy: He’s a brilliant actor, but still just a bit under the wire. Mainstream, sure, but also cult, and it’s awesome to see him make an appearance. Maybe he’ll bring his missus, Patricia Arquette…that would be nice.

I’m also pretty jazzed about meeting F. Paul Wilson, whose book THE KEEP devastated me as a kid and was spun into a very odd Michael Mann film I also adore. I still have my dad’s paperback that he laid on me when I was 8, and—although I’ve never been an autograph hound—I totally plan on having Wilson ink it. And Stephen Geoffreys from FRIGHT NIGHT; man, I’ve been a major obsessive of Tom Holland’s 1985 classic since I saw it theatrically for my 11th birthday, and some of its freakshow punch was supplied by Geoffreys as Evil Ed. As many fans have read, he fell off the radar in the ’90s to do adult films, but he’s back from the beaded curtain, doing horror again and occasionally appearing on the con circuit. Interesting fella, with tons of tales to tell about the long, strange trip he’s been on so far, no doubt.

The final guest list has still not been finalized, and I’ve heard a few names dropped that make me even more thrilled about attending. Go to Crypticon’s official website http://www.crypticonseattle.com for up-to-the-minute additions and events.

Hope to see you there. I’ll be available to talk about what’s going on in FANGORIA, I’ll be reading my silly words from my latest book and I’ll be having as much fun as my wife will allow. And I’ll be blogging about it, uploading pics, videos and Polaroids in manila envelopes, so stay tuned…

Alexander out.

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Dance party at Crypticon? Of course!!

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Stocker Farms Field of Screams Sponsors the 3rd annual Crypticon Horror Convention Party

Stocker Farms Field of Screams, known for its fun and safe horror themed event in October, is the official sponsor for the3rd  annual Crypticon Horror Convention Party on June 19th 2010 7pm at the downtown Everett Washington Holiday Inn.

“Field of Screams looks forward to supplying the music and atmosphere for this years horror party,” says Dan Orme, Field of Screams marketing director. “Crypticon allows regional horror fans to meet artists, writers and celebrities from all over the world in a fun convention atmosphere.”

Margot Kidder, Ernie Hudson, Doug Jones,and Nightmare on Elm Street stars are just a few of the celebrities fans can mingle with at Crypticon this year. Vendor booths and discussion panels ranging from local artists, comic and horror authors, filmmakers, and prop designers will be present all weekend.

Look for entertainment from Seattle’s Pure Cirkus, a mini haunt from Black Lake Insane Asylum and a long list of sneak peak or rare horror movies, including the locally made Book of Zombies.

Stocker Farms Field of Screams is a locally owned outdoor haunted attraction that opens every October in Snohomish Washington. Look for more event and community information on their website: www.stockerfarms.com/fieldofscreams

For more information about the June 2010 Crypticon Horror Convention, goto their website at www.crypticonseattle.com or email info@crypticonseattle.com

Contact:
Field of Screams
fospublicity@stockerfarms.com

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Slimy sequel

In the late ’80’s a wild slime film was unleashed:  “Slime City” Variety called the movie “repulsive”. That sounds like an endorsement to me.  The movie was re-mastered for DVD a few years back and created an underground mass of slime lovers. Gregory Lamberson created this masterpiece of subversive cinema and because the fans demanded it Greg made a sequel!

In the wake of a “dirty bomb” attack, a New York City neighborhood known as “Slime City” has been evacuated, except for the homeless (“displaced refugees”). Four squatters searching for food in the ruins of the Zachary Devon Soup Kitchen discover a supply of mysterious wine. When they drink the wine, they are transformed into hideous slime creatures driven to murder – an intermediate step as they are possessed by the spirits of cultists who committed suicide years earlier. (from IMDB)

 Check out the wild trailer here!

 Now that you have seen the trailer, see the movie! It starts at 8:00pm Friday June 18th at Crypticon!

 

Infected! A Live Event! Prizes? YES!

 Infected! A Live Event, is rolling ahead full bore! Some FANTASTIC companies have already thrown their hat into the ring with prizes, including:

 Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper for the XBOX 360

Horror DVDs

prizes from PopCap Games, makers of Plants vs. Zombies and much more! 

Keep it here for details!

See full game details in the blog below: Infected: A Live Event at Crypticon!