I recently hunkered down with my new Blu-ray copy of Night of the Demon (1957) from Indicator (Powerhouse) Films and held my breath while pressing “Play.” As it was a British import, it cost more and I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with so-called “upgrades” of Black & White classics. 96 minutes later, I was grinning from ear to ear.
In many ways, attending the latest Horrorhound Weekend/MASK-FEST in Indianapolis was like a visit to an alternative Universe. For one thing, the huge gathering of horror buffs was taking place at an all-new venue; one that promised better parking and a larger layout to accommodate vendors and fans. For another, I was attending with a friend from Rhode Island who’d never done a Horrorhound Weekend before. Jason Schoolcraft joined me last year in Indy for Days of the Dead and assists me every so often with his “Killer Reviews.” We had a great time at “Days” and Jason loved having an opportunity to meet independent filmmakers which he hoped to continue to do at Horrorhound. For me, it was all about the masks.
Last month, G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) celebrated its 25th show. The kids and I packed into Rosemont’s Crowne Plaza like sardines; amazed at how popular this event’s gotten since our first visit 15 years ago. Thanks to the unexpected success of Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla, the world’s most famous atomic monster has been enjoying something of a renaissance these days. Consequently, these last few years have seen G-FEST become something of a giant monster itself. Of course, this isn’t the first time an American version of the “Big G” made some waves. Two decades ago there was another. One so controversial that die-hard fans will only refer to it only as “Zilla” or GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). That being said, I was pretty surprised to see “Zilla’s 20th Birthday Party” listed in this year’s itinerary. Almost as shocked by how badly I wanted to be there for it.
After leaving Braxton County West Virginia and checking out their tributes to the Flatwoods Monster, we headed further south to the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. I’ve been wanting to see this place ever since Brian Maze from Maze Studio shared his experience with this site back in 2011. It’s dedicated to a large, winged creature many claimed to have witnessed back in 1966-67. Though these sightings have never been sufficiently explained, they preceded the collapse of the Silver Bridge – a giant suspension bridge that joined West Virginia with Ohio. It would be years later when a connection would be suggested of the two; most notably illustrated in the 2002 thriller starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney – The Mothman Prophecies. This museum offers props and memorabilia from this film along with just about everything else associated with the creature. Though my experience will be documented in greater detail in my WEIRD USA column for Scary Monsters Magazine #111, here are some visual highlights to tide you over…
The 2017 Rondo winning Scary Monsters Magazine just dropped their latest issue #108 and it’s so thick (178 pages) it could qualify as a book – and a Best Selling one at that! The theme is Outer Limits and I can honestly say it had an impact. The weekly sci-fi series aired several years before I was born though I was familiar with its famous intro. This issue peaked my interest and inspired me to actually get my money’s worth on HULU for a change and start watching. I’m currently on episode ten and plan to finish the whole series by summer.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been an avid fan of Marvel Comics. Though I didn’t mind watching the DC “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings nor seeing Linda Carter twirl into “Wonder Woman” via prime time, I was completely “brand loyal” to Marvel when it came to print. I collected all the Spider-man, X-Men, and Avengers titles but particularly loved the more obscure ROM: Spaceknight which I discussed years ago here and, more recently, in Scary Monsters Magazine. Aside from being a throwback to vintage sci-fi films, ROM regularly featured something the other titles didn’t: namely, giant monsters! And if there’s one thing this overgrown kid loves more than just about anything, it’s a decent monster. Years before Marvel would revolutionize the world of super heroes, they were a very different company. In fact, many of their titles resembled the works of another favored brand of mine, EC Comics. “Tales to Astonish,” “Journey into Mystery,” and “Strange Tales” would not only see the first appearance of several popular, modern day superheroes such as Ant-Man, but also a slew of amazing monsters created by such titans in the industry as Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. Sadly, by the time I was born, these comics were long gone but, thanks to two amazing books, I can finally enjoy them without spending an arm and a leg in the secondary market. Earlier this year, Marvel released MONSTERS Volumes 1 & 2 which has not only brightened up my Omnibus collection but puts a big smile on my face every time I open one.
Former Marvel editor, Tony Isabella, joined artist, Mark Maddox, for a G-FEST XXIV panel discussion on giant monster films outside of Japan – specifically Gorgo, Kongo, and Reptilicus. This would be the last panel I’d attend at this event and would also prove one of the most entertaining! The following are highlights from the panel…