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Forbidden PLANET

Before Star Trek, There was… FORBIDDEN PLANET!


On Saturday, July 27th, Svengoolie showed  Forbidden Planet. The movie is a technologically savvy film that dared to take a look at future events.  I really enjoyed assessing the film’s ideas of modern culture and modern technology from today’s perspective. Within the first few minutes of FP you immediately realize that you’re watching the model on which the series Star Trek was based.  In opening scenes the handsome and swashbuckling Captain, played by Leslie Nielsen identifies his vessel as a member of the federation of planets. Ever heard that before? The ship on which they travel through the vastness of space has a good and well seasoned crew of officers and men. And science is their motivation, as they boldly go where no space crew has gone before.


Forbidden Planet also introduces us to the famed Robby the Robot. Robby has a whole back story to himself which will be covered in a future blog post.

Forbidden Planet touches on many things that challenge us today. Including the responsible use of advanced technology, artificial intelligence, ethics and human relationships.

One very interesting aspect was how Robby the Robot was programmed. Surely Asimov’s rules for robots played a part in how Robby’s part was written.

Asimov’s Rules

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I won’t give away too much of the movie plot in this blog post. As it’s probably a foregone conclusion that most of our readers have seen Forbidden Planet. And if you have not seen it. I highly recommend that you do. Forbidden Planet is best viewed on a large formatted TV.  The film was designed to be viewed on a large theater screen. It’s deep colors, attention to detail, animation and large sweeping backgrounds look great on a high def T.V.

The Monster Club; Omaha Nebraska By Gene Stevens Monsters After Midnight.

If you love classic horror and monster movies while your having dinner or lunch… You’ll love the “Monster Club”. The club is a restaurant and local bar located in the Old Market area of Omaha Nebraska. They feature monster themed food and drinks.
There I was sitting at home watching T.V.  when my wife, who is a native Iowan, mentioned a place in Omaha Nebraska called the Monster Club. Being an avid user of facebook she happened to run into a post from a friend. I was immediately excited to hear about the place and photos posted online had images  of Dracula, Freddie Krueger, the Wolfman and other horror figures.  0719191653
Upon entering the building I was immediately thrilled to see Lon Chaney in the front lobby (well at least a very realistic likeness of the Wolfman) As you can see by my photo. I was thrilled to death to meet one of my personal heroes. As I walked deeper into the dark chambers of the Monster Club. I found that the restaurant was filled with tons of monster items. From full size figures of Dracula, the Wolfman, The Creature of the Black Lagoon and may more monsters, crashing through the windows of the restaurant. The tables are set up like old time carriages (or hearse).  In the background we could hear the various themes from movies being played from movies like Halloween, Poltergeist and the Exorcist.



The menu contained a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches and salads. I personally had the chicken sandwich which was awesome.  The other family members at the table had burgers. I was so tempted to yell out that the “burgers were people”.. But I refrained. I didn’t want to scare anyone else in the restaurant.  But over all the service was great and the food was very good.
Unique Experience
The Monster Club a pub and grub, is a unique experience for everyone. But for a monster kid, its especially cool.  I highly recommend the Monster Club!

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Lon Chaney; Phantom of The Opera, The Great Unmasking. By Gene Stevens Monsters After Midnight


Art imitates life and life imitates art. No where is the more apparent than in the movies. Those who produced movies in the early days of film knew this. They used it and profited from it. Love and hate are the most powerful emotions that humans know. People need to be loved, acknowledged and affirmed by other people. These are among the greatest needs of people. We express our needs through body language, facial expressions and words. In the early days of film. One of the most critical elements of expression was missing.. And that missing element was the use of language.

I’ve always loved Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the people that he created on the silver screen. Early Silent films were just that………….. Silent. Free of the encumbrance  of speech, free of the beauty of color and free of the deep complications that modern cinema presents to the viewer. Everything was left to the interpretation of the movie goer.

Silent movies spoke to people through body language and facial expression. The human face has forty three different muscles, which are capable creating hundreds of facial expressions. Movements of the face and eyes can instantly and instinctively convey complete messages to other humans at the speed of light by mental thought. The unmasking of Lon Chaney in the Phantom of the Opera is perhaps one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.

The sequence runs about a minute and half as the viewer watches Mary Philbin who plays Christine Daae as she becomes overwhelmed by her curiosity and unmasks the Phantom, Played by Lon Chaney. In the following moments after the unmasking (not in the above video) Chaney uses body language and facial expression to express his thought. To express love, hate, need and sorrow. In those moments we see a man unstrung, filled with hate, anxiety and deep sorrow mixed together in one fluid motion. He is a man intent upon destroying all that exists around him. In this one minute and thirty seconds of film,  Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the Phantom lays the ground work for all future horror and suspense.

The umasking scene would be repeated many times in cinematic history. One of my personal favorites is House of Wax with Vincent Price. I believe that Vincent’s acting was an extension of Chaney’s work. Price was brilliant and eloquent and had roots in Shakespearean acting. A huge asset in suspense and horror.  But Vincent Price had the use of make up, technicolor and Sound.  And his vast experience to give to his performance. But the fright was surely born from Lon Chaney’s work.

The House of Wax is the Phantom of the Opera repeated.

Much like the Phantom, a badly burned and disfigured Vincent Price who has been cheated out of his profession.. Shades of the Phantom. is unmasked as a frightful  scene reveals his face.

Both the Phantom of The Opera and House Wax walk out of the light and into the darkness of the human spirit. They use a physical mask to cover the damage spirit of their characters.


Remembering Bradford Dillman



By Gene Stevens

Monsters After Midnight




Sometimes, social media is just awesome. I’ve met some really amazing people online, from Artists, Writers, celebrities and more.  And the internet never stops giving. I even met my wife Vicki online. Then just yesterday evening I happened to have run into the daughter of Bradford Dillman.  For those of you who don’t know Bradford. He was a very busy actor and one of the most prominent faces on film and TV during the 1960s’ and 1970’s and his career stretched beyond that time period. He also starred in many horror and suspense movies / series such as Rod Serlings “Night Gallery” and the Mephisto Waltz and Escape from the planet of the Apes.  Bradford’s daughter Dina Dillman Kaufman has now written a book about her Dad called “I am Somebody” Which his her personal Tribute to her Father. She told me that her Dad had played heavy Characters in his film career, but she wants the world to know about the real man who was Bradford Dillman.