“Why do good people like bad movies?” B movie director, Bret McCormick, not only poses this question but gives us a 250-page answer courtesy of Texas Schlock: B-Movie Sci-Fi and Horror from the Lone Star State. In fact, this book presents such an incredible homage to Texas’ low-budget films of the ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, he made this lifelong Chicagoan feel like he’d grown up there. Not that you have to be a Texan nor seasoned movie fan to appreciate this as it’s the perfect resource for ingratiating younger fans to these movies while inspiring us older ones to nod with understanding.
As most monster kids my age did, I spent little to no time playing sports growing up. Instead, I spent my weekends watching any and all monster movies that I could find on TV. Each Tuesday, when the new TV Guide came in for the following week, I would go through page by page making myself a list of what movies were playing, on what station and at what time. Then I would try to watch as many of them as I could, of course assuming that our TV’s UHF antenna would actually be able to draw the station in at the time the movie was airing.
Horror books often find themselves on the silver screen and with mixed results. The Exorcist, JAWS, and The Omen are positive examples of book-to-movies but, unfortunately, for every Misery, there’s a Dreamcatcher. Sometimes the book is inspired by the film rather than its source material but, either way, there’s bound to be differences; subtle or profound. Today’s vintage book discussion is more of a rumble than a review and between one of my favorite John Carpenter films and a book written by Dennis Etchison to promote it. So let’s jump back to 1980 and revisit The FOG…
Special thanks to Angela “Bunny” Urban for sharing tidbits and photos from this past 2017 “Days of the Dead” Chicago!
Would you believe something as simple as a friend’s Christmas list could help sweep away the holiday blues? It did for me, though not in a syrupy Hallmark Channel sort of way, but rather with a nostalgic boost of horror that was like reconnecting with an old pal; one you never should have lost touch with in the first place. It all started a few weeks back while doing some online shopping. I was looking over the other Terror Dave’s Amazon “Wish list” hoping to fill in a few gaps when one of his requests seized my attention. It was a new book (written about older ones) titled “Paperbacks from Hell” and written by Grady Hendrix. The adventure that followed would not only melt this Winter Warlock’s heart but likely impact his coming year as well. Before I explain, I’d like to clarify this is NOT a book review. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal book; loaded with enough illustrations to merit your coffee table and absolutely worth buying. However, in keeping with the spirit of season, I’d rather spotlight its Sin-spirational subject matter instead.
So how many of you can remember that crazy time in American history when we didn’t have Netflix, Red Box, or Amazon instant streaming? If you can recall those Dark Ages, then let me date you even further by asking if you remember when VHS tapes were king and the only place you could get your fix of those was at a local video store? I grew up in Homewood, Illinois and was about twelve years old when the phenomena of home video first began. I can still remember the excitement of us watching my dad attach our first VHS player to the family television set. The idea of being able to watch a movie when you felt like it, or taping shows off your favorite channel so you could catch them later, seemed just too good to be true.
A few years ago I had the honor of covering THING-FEST at Days of the Dead Indianapolis where Canadian super-fan, Joe Hart, brought his immense assortment of props and collectibles associated with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Joe has a heart of gold and his enthusiasm for the movie, coupled with his enviable collection, made for one unforgettable weekend! Many of the actors from the film were on hand as well and one of my favorite moments was getting a photo with Thomas G. Waites (“Windows”) along with the actual microphone prop he’d used in the movie. I’ll always be grateful to Days of the Dead for hosting Mr. Hart as it was the magnetic pull of his collection that inspired me to cross state lines and attend!