Dear Monsters After Midnight,
Horror movies aren’t what they used to be, that’s for sure. I just saw It, Chapter 2, and was very disappointed. The special effects are phony and the audio is so loud it’s deafening, which also detracts from the movie. And … I don’t even find them scary. Just stupid. There’s nothing like the old horror movies. Am I the only one who feels this way?
North Aurora Illinois
We totally understand. There’s nothing like the classic monsters movies. We feel the same way you do! That’s why we keep the classics alive here at Monsters After Midnight
Editor G. Stevens
By Gene Stevens
I first saw 13 Ghosts at the Harlem-Irving Drive-In in Chicago when I was about five years old. The movie scared the pants OFF of me! And what the HELL was with my family for taking me to see such a scary movie at night time? Then again, my older brothers would frequently terrorize me by doing things like wearing horrible rubber monster masks, locking me in dark closets, telling me that the devil would bite my toes if I got out of bed one more time, and they even locked me in the trunk of my Dad’s old car while playing Al Capone. And yes dear brother.. If you read this article.. I haven’t forgotten. But it’s okay, it made me stronger and gave me a really cool sick and macabre sense of humor, which I’ve used at many funerals over the years. Almost got me lynched one time. But I digress.
Thirteen Ghosts, was in my opinion, both a brilliantly produced and marketed horror movie, which mixed animation in the film process to produce a realistic land of ghosts.
The movie plot revolves around Dr. Plato Zorba, who is apparently an eccentric scientist who dabbles in the occult. He goes around the world collecting ghosts and bringing them back to his creepy mansion. The mansion is where he and his spooky housekeeper live with the mischievous spirits. As the story goes, Dr. Zorba not only developed a way to catch ghosts but, a way to see them as well, by the use of a special pair of goggles.
The cool part of the ghost goggles was that the audience got a pair too. The movie producer was a guy by the name of William Castle. Who was a great showman in the tradition of PT Barnum.
You could see the ghosts if you wore the magic goggles!
The plot unfolds when Cyrus Zorba (played by Donald Woods) who is financially challenged, inherits the old mansion packed full if ghosts (and treasure). At first they can’t believe their good luck. Though, it is not long after they move in, that they realize their mistake. And that the house is haunted by 12 ghosts (because the thirteenth is still pending) and run by one really creepy housekeeper (Margaret Hamilton) who dabbles in the dark arts. Though the ghosts are intent on killing a member of the family, the Zorbas insist on staying in the house because they have learned that a large fortune is hidden somewhere inside it. A large amount of money also sought by a young lawyer played by Martin Milner, best known for his role on the T.V. series Adam-12. The young lawyer soon finds himself on the wrong side of the ghosts, including old doc Zorba who is now a ghost in the house and out to get revenge against the young lawyer who tried to rip him off. Does anyone get out alive?? Do they find the treasure?? You’ll have to see it to believe it.
In honor of Lon Chaney’s independent creativity
Greetings monster kids. As many of you may have noticed, there was a post from a few weeks back announcing the Lon Chaney awards. That announcement was removed. The intention…. My intention, for the Lon Chaney award was to honor those people who work within their art and passion independently to keep the classic horror genre alive. Much in the same way that Lon created and developed his own characters in the earliest days of Hollywood with his own hands and his own blood, sweat and tears. It’s unfortunate, but in order to avoid issues with the legal matter of using Lon’s name. It was decided to rename the awards the “Classic Monsters Award” to avoid a bad situation. The awards will however proceed as planned. The names of winners will be announced on Halloween 2019. Please feel free to submit nominees to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gene Stevens – Editor
George Glenn Strange (August 16, 1899 – September 20, 1973) was an American actor who mostly appeared in Western films. He is best remembered for playing Frankenstein’s monster in three Universal films during the 1940s and for his role as Sam Noonan, the popular bartender on CBS‘s Gunsmoke television series.
Very early on Friday morning at 3:30am the 13th of September, under the light of full moon. Officers from a suburban town outside of Birmingham, Local police were called to an unknown disturbance at 1941 Vasaria Ln. Upon arrival responding Officers overheard a great commotion coming from the inside of the residence at that location. As Officers approached the property, the front door of the home was forced open with violent force and a large hairy bipedal animal with large sharp teeth charged towards the officers who attempted to subdue the creature. After several minutes of struggling with the creature, Officers deployed TASERS which proved to be ineffective. The creature then broke free and seriously injured one officer and then fled into the darkness. Officers searched the area until day break and could not locate the strange animal, which the officers described as a canine walking on two feet. Detectives returned to the residence the next day and located the owner of the residence, a 36 year old male named Larry Talbot. The resident had no knowledge of the beast and indicated that he did not own a dog or any other animal. The case is still under investigation.
I’m a lifelong fan of cinema – most of it predating my own birth. The memory of seeing these larger than life creations in a darkened theater for the first time shaped who I am. While these characters, and the writers, actors, directors and special effect artists that created them, are formative to our being, we can’t help but recognize they are properties owned by corporations… a corporation’s job is to produce a product, at a profit, to the benefit of their shareholders. These decisions are based on market research – not emotion. Corporations are not emotionally attached to century old characters. They will continue to update, remake and reimagine their properties ad nauseum. We are the minority. We bought the VHS, then we rebought the DVD, then the boxed set and the blue ray and the t-shirts and the action figures and model kits… they’ve made their money from us. They want new money – and to introduce their property to new audiences that are born everyday.
What they can never do is erase our memories. They’re not going to come into our homes and steal our VHS and DVD copies. Sure, they’ll make new versions – they have to or those characters will wither and die. The best you can do is introduce a kid to the originals and respect their fandom of what’s new. They’ll do the same to their children… different concepts, themes and methods appeal to different generations and that will continue to evolve. But those original pioneers remain to inspire new generations of creators. So, never forget the past, never let it be forgotten, but for God’s sake, stop hating on the present… let them learn for themselves what speaks to them. No one is erasing your past, just adding to their own voice to the chorus.
I recently asked the question about who the Better Frankenstein’s Monster was. I put the poll out there to see what our audience felt.
I actually expected the results of the poll to favor Boris Karloff over Glenn Strange. Even though Glenn Strange appeared in many of the later universal movies featuring the monster and Glenn’s image also dominated the publics image of the monster during the 1960s
In particularly Glenn’s image is strongly reflected in the Aurora models Frankenstein figure.
But judging by the poll. And as was expected, Karloff was considered the Better of the two. And it’s probably a foregone conclusion that Karloff would be considered far better and more recognizable as the monster above and beyond any other actor who had played the part.