I opened the door to Zombos' Closet 10 years ago, first to Blogspot in 2005, then a switch over to Typepad in 2006. I had two simple goals in mind: keep it commercial free (no blaring banners, no pop-up ads, no videos hawking crap), and keep it fun for you and me as I share my appreciation of the fantastique in film, literature, and popular culture. And, of course, show off my collection of cool stuff, too, while doing so. For posterity.
For me it keeps my inner monsterkid alive and kicking. For you I hope it does the same or will help you find your monsterkid, the one buried deep within all of us, often afraid to show itself. Or that imagi-movies kid in you. Or that Halloween-tripping kid in you. Or that pop-culture is cool as hell kid in you, devouring the geeky, the sublime, and the surreal, as a defense (and offensive blow) against the doldrums foisted on us by reality, constantly testing our resolve.
That resolve is to never forget that our imaginations keep reality in check. And today, reality needs to be put in check more often. When you apply your imagination to reality, you can bend that reality to your will for the betterment of yourself and everyone else, and that's truly fantastic. It's like body-blocking the hateful, the insipid, the mentally blind, and the determinedly evil folk among us who haven't a clue to share, let alone a sense of wonder for the beauty of the world we live in and our place in it. You know, the stuff that dreams are made of. We know all about that wonderful stuff because we're monsterkids, and sci-fi kids, and the why not? kids, always pushing back on greedy, selfish reality when others push it on us trying to beat our resolve down.
So embrace that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, that creepy sensation on the back of your neck, or shudder away as you dread, in the dead of night, just what that sound is, or why your closet door is slightly, ever so slightly, open when you thought you had closed it. It's only the fantastique calling, daring you to dream of gods and demons, and everything else in-between, to bolster your fight against reality. To watch the stars and constantly say why not?
So another year, another opportunity to fight the good fight. And win.
Lots of fisticuffs punctuate the movie serials. This Mexican lobby card for El Rey Del Sabotaje (Radar Patrol vs. Spy King) captures the pugilistic-paced thrills. Striking use of yellow with black, and the tilted position for the inset scene work very well together with the font choices creating an easy to understand and visually exciting layout.
My Interview with John Moulder-Brown By Jim Knüsch (Professor Kinema)
In the early 1970s, John Moulder-Brown made his mark in horror films with starring roles in Vampire Circus and The House That Screamed, in which he chopped up some school girls and pieced them back together. In the critically acclaimed Deep End, he was Mike, a sexually disturbed teenager who murders the girl of his dreams in a half-filled swimming pool. In King, Queen, Nave he had a memorable encounter with Gina Lollobrigida, who also wound up dead, and in Ludwig he portrayed the mad brother of the crazed titular king. He’s played the handsome prince in Rumpelstiltskin and the concerned, and for once guiltless, husband in Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Brown and here it is.
First things first, what led you to acting?
JMB: My parents split up when I was four. My mother wanted me to go to boarding school, my father wanted me to stay with him. He sent me to a private school, which was literally just around the corner from where we lived. They had a strong concentration on drama and, as a result of that, I fell into acting. My father had an army background. He was a major, but I had always wanted to be an actor. Through the school I worked as a child actor.
For The Monster Times issue 17, coverage of Forbidden Planet, Flash Gordon, and science fiction on television joins Amicus Productions' Asylum and the influence of Rod Serling's work for the cinema fantastic on the small and large screens. The 3oth World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles is reported on (seems McDonald's provided cheaper and better food than the banquet event), and Bill Feret's Monster Times Teletype gives the skinny on upcoming and ongoing newsy stuff (something we take for granted today, given the Internet's over abundance of newsy stuff).
This Mexican lobby card for El Conquistador Del Espacio (It Conquered the World) shows a keen eye for focal structure in its layout. With the monster from Venus glaring out from center, the terrorized woman on left in close-up, and a movie scene with menace an arm's reach away, your eyes are drawn to the title and the creature (which looks much more terrifying here than in the movie) embracing the width of the lobby.
I often wonder why some Mexican lobby cards, instead of showing a scene from the movie, use a comic illustration instead. This one for First Spaceship on Venus is a futuristic dreamscape with mesmerizing alien colors and rocketships blazing across the void. I'm still on the fence deciding if the inset "scene" illustration detracts from the lobby's overall effect. Perhaps stills from the movie weren't available for inclusion on the card. Or perhaps using a comic book panel-styled scene was thought to be more dramatic. (Which wouldn't say much for the movie, then, if that were the case.)
A better than average B movie, Monstruos De Piedra (The Monolith Monsters) has a simple plot device: meteoric crystals that keep growing on contact with water, provide a straightforward adventure with fairly well-integrated stock footage and bargain special effects (miniatures) that work well for the budget given. By this time Universal was looking to keep things as cheap as possible, but its later movies would suffer far worse at the hands of cost-cutting number crunchers. This movie would make a terrific remake. Just add suped up action, and killer special effects, and it would be a natural for a summer blockbuster.
Larry Ivie passed away this year. His Monsters and Heroes: The Magazine of Pictorial Imagination epitomized the growing fanbase whose interests spanned movies, comic books, and literature and where each intersected. Aside from his own creation, Altron Boy, Larry contributed to Eerie, Creepy, and Marvel Comics. In this issue, The Three Faces of Superman (for 1967, that is), and The Three Faces of Captain America (again, for 1967) appear, as well as "the original Flash Gordon," Siegfried: Son of Odin. A short article on Edgar Rice Burroughs The Monster Men is here to whet your interest, too.