Sunday, August 20, 2017

DEADTIME STORIES NO. 36


It's getting late, monster kiddies. Are you ready for a Deadtime Story to send you off to nightmare land? Well this little tale, called "The Cave of the Bats", is a story about, well, bats in a cave, what else? As a certain vampire vixen used to say, "Unpleasant dreams!"



[FROM: WEIRD TERROR #1, September 1952]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

FISH WITH HUMAN HANDS ATTACKED ME!


"Terror stalked the lonely Nicaraguan beach when the Monster appeared from the sea."

As a follow-on to last week's review of Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle's great new collection, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE!, offered today is a little outre gem of a story from the first issue of TRUE WEIRD (November 1955). As you may know from one of my earlier posts, TW was published by physical fitness and health entrepreneur, Joe Weider, along with help from his gorgeous wife and popular figure model, Betty Brosmer.

The TRUE WEIRD (and later, TRUE STRANGE) stories are an interesting combination similar to the type found in men's adventure magazines with a touch of Ripley's Believe It Or Not added for "authenticity".

The cover story from TRUE WEIRD #1 is titled "'Fish' With Human Hands Attacked Me!". Told by Arthur A. Dunn, the story eschews the "I was there...", first-person account that such a story screams out for (although the "victim" does explain the encounter as it happened), and instead, opts for a narrative more akin to a straight news story. As a result, while still interesting to read, it lacks the thrilling urgency that made so many of the men's adventure magazine stories notable.

The feature is derived from a news story that appeared in the Spring of 1954 as a dispatch from Porto Cabezas, Nicaragua (located on the North Caribbean Coast of the country) which flatly stated: "Senorita Madeline Fuercova, visiting friends at nearby Bragman's Bluff, on the Atlantic side of the Central American republic, today claimed to have narrowly escaped an attack by three strange fish. Each fish, she said, had the head of a toad, the chest of a man, and instead of fins, arms like a human being."

The account was related by the "beautiful" Miss Fuercova, who said that she had been skin diving for fish with a spear when the creatures -- who she thought at first were sharks -- approached her. One of them came close enough to her, and when it appeared to grab for her, she noticed that it had a human hand instead of a fin. She jabbed her spear at the would-be assailant, and after a few moments and more spear-jabbing, they swam off. She returned to the beach where she told reporters, "I guess I fainted."

The article goes on to tell the history of a number of other strange creatures who have been pulled out of the sea with inexplicable appendages and other features that make them appear more human than fish. The point of the story is made that many "weird" things that have been living in the oceans for perhaps millions of years have yet to be discovered by man (insert echo chamber voice over here).

Not quite the tale that we expect, especially when the illustrations, drawn by Warren Knight, dramatize Fuercova's narrative. Still, a fascinating story and worthy of the "weirdness" contained in TRUE WEIRD.

Some have compared the description of the sea creatures to that of the gill-man in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (Universal), which ironically was released just the year before this story was published. I happen to think that the description is right out of H.P. Lovecraft's short story, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and the fish-men here resemble the "Deep Ones". The Deep Ones are described in Lovecraft's story as men who have evolved into fish as a result of a genetic disorder, and who are denizens of Devil Reef which lies just off the coast of the cursed town of Innsmouth (a fictionalized version of Newburyport, Massachusetts).

So, were the "fish with human hands" a wild tale cooked up by a Nicaraguan beauty in a bikini, or were these things real, stalking the waters and waiting for the chance to make a meal out of an unsuspecting human?

As previously mentioned, the story is written by Arthur A. Dunn and illustrated by Warren Knight. The cover of TRUE WEIRD #1 further exploits the tale quite effectively with a painting by prolific pulp artist, Clarence Doore. Along with the full story shown here, scanned from my personal copy of the magazine, is the original, 16"x 22" oil on board painting of the cover, which was sold at auction in October, 2015, for $18,750.00. 








Friday, August 18, 2017

MONSTRUOS DE UNIVERSAL HOY!


There is no shortage of monster movie fans in Spain. There are a multitude of conventions, books and magazines that cover all aspects of the horror film. Even Universal's monsters hold a respected place. In the August issue of CELULOID DIGITAL (#78) is a very nicely done tribute to our favorite, classic monsters. Shown "hoy" are a few sample pages.
















Thursday, August 17, 2017

FREAKY MONSTERS COVER ARTIST

Basil Gogos cover (left), Arlis cover (right)
Since my post earlier today, I've had a couple of inquiries as to the identity of the artist who does the work on the covers of Ray Ferry's retro-monster 'zine, FREAKY MONSTERS. The artist's name is "Arlis" and he has been producing covers for Ferry's magazines since Ferry started publishing FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND back in the early '90s. While the imagery can be compared to those by Gogos the Great, who paints, in reality they are most likely embellished manipulations of photographic images, such as those that can be created by Photoshop and other graphics software. I may be wrong, but that's my somewhat educated guess.

Arlis employs the familiar high contrast style and if his work were from "live" photographs they would be called "high dynamic range" prints in these days of digital photography and art.

Whether or not one finds the work derivative in a negative sense or not is anybody's prerogative, I guess. In my opinion Arlis' work is successful in the fact that evokes iconography from the earliest days of monster magazines. We know it's not up to snuff with Gogos' best (even Gogos had the occasional stinker of a cover), but I think you'll agree that they are more than enough to resonate to fans of classic horror.

NOTE: A "Meet Arlis" article is included in the FREAKY MONSTER FEARBOOK (#17). I do not have a copy of this to refer to, but anyone can still order a copy by clicking HERE.

FREAKY CHANGES COMING FROM FILMLAND CLASSICS


Since purchasing the rights to FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND in 1993, editor and publisher Ray Ferry has weathered his fair share of controversy. Lately though, he has quietly gone about publishing, with some regularity, FREAKY MONSTERS, the closest thing we have to the original FMOF (Ron Adams' MONSTER BASH runs a fairly close second). 

Now, in the face of a changing publishing landscape, Ferry is showing that he can be a nimble businessman by re-tooling his magazine. If I am reading his announcement below correctly, he is dispensing with the regularly-printed and stapled magazine and replacing it with a digital edition and a premium, print-on-demand version with a cover price of $19.95 plus $7.00 for shipping.

Visit the Filmland Classics/Freaky Monsters website HERE.



FILMLAND CLASSICS UPDATE

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'...

and we're changing with them to serve you better.

Owing to market trends that we can no longer resist, Freaky Monsters is adding digital download versions to our line and changing our print versions from mass-produced offset printing to Premium Collectors (POD) Print versions. All our issues will be available in 2 versions:


  1. Digital Download versions for as low as $4.99 for our e-media fans. All digital downloads are made from the publisher's original print master files, not scanned from print copies. Crisp, sharp PDFs with incredible image detail you can view on your laptop, computer or smartphone.
  2. Premium Printed (POD) versions starting at $26.95 ($19.95 + shipping) for hard copy collectors. We have always been the innovator and leader in high quality photo reproduction among monster movie fan magazines (starting with FMOF #201, the first hi-end glossy issue in 1993), and even our detractors have never argued the quality of our publications. But while escalating production costs mean we have to raise prices, we will also be raising the quality of our printed issues further than before. Premium printing means premium content.
  3. Instead of using one color black ink, our new premium gore-met print (POD) editions will feature rich, luscious quadtone black inks on premium hi-gloss paper with gloss-laminated heavy weight covers and perfect (square edged) binding. Combined with the meticulous restorations we do on our image content, our new print editions will be stellar. Remember, Freaky Monsters features more rare, full, half and double-page images per issue than any other genre mags.  Freaky Monsters means classic horror fotos that will tantalize your eyes.
  4. To increase aesthetic value, new print issues will NOT have UPC barcodes printed on the covers and each print copy will come with a special edition authentication stamp & certificate.
  5. Premium Print Back Issues Availability:  All Freaky Monsters back issues will be available in both Premium Printed (POD) and Digital Download versions. POD back issues will also have perfect (square edge) binding, heavy weight gloss laminated covers and NO UPC barcodes on the covers.

Regular  Back Issues Availability:  A limited number of regular stapled back issues of Freaky Monsters are available in our sales clearance section (see banner ads on main page). When they are sold out, there will be no more made.

Suspension of third party distribution:  After years of watching our regular $9.95 issues being gobbled up at wholesale prices and resold at 4x-5x their original cover price, please note we are ceasing wholesale distribution to retail outlets. We appreciate that there have been several retail outlets that purchased Freaky Monsters through a distributor and sold them at original cover price, but we ceased intermediary distribution because their discount demands and fright costs had become cost ineffective. We may be able to accommodate select resellers who wish to continue carrying Freaky Monsters in the future, but primary distribution will be through our own webstore.  Resellers (as well as fan-run websites) can also join our exclusive Affilliates Program.

Our publications will be available direct from our own web store and also through us at selected online premium magazine and book sites.



Suspension of Subscriptions Service:  Because our new Premium Printed versions will be higher priced than standard mass-produced copies and postal rates have escalated to a point where mailing costs can no longer be absorbed in a fixed package price, pre-paid subscriptions will no longer be offered.  Instead, we will offer a free "Advance Order Reservation" service whereby readers can reserve a copy of the newest issues as they come out for free and get discounted pricing and premiums just like we offered with subscriptions, but without having to purchase or commit to multiple issues in advance.  Buy just the issues you want, when you want.

That being said...

Our subscribers have shown their support of our efforts and we intend to acknowledge that support by providing them with an exclusive.  Current subscribers will receive standard stapled versions (the same as our first 27 issues, for series continuity) of any remaining issues (#28, #29, #30) and cards due on their active subscriptions, but please note:  these copies will not be available for general public sale. Only our current active subscribers will receive them.

We think you'll enjoy our new policies and we believe the value of your current collections should increase. We never planned for Freaky Monsters to be a "collectors' item".  We published & priced it for light reading and enjoyment.  But -- for whatever reasons -- back issues routinely trade at collectors market prices, with some issues rivaling vintage FMOF issues.  We think our Digital Download versions will address the needs of the fan-reader and our Premium Print versions will satisfy the hard copy collector.

In the coming months, we will also be expanding our library beyond the classic horror genre with stand-alone special issues on classic TV, non-horror classics films, art, short story anthologies and, as previously announced, an updated 2nd edition of "Life Is But A Scream!" and its sequel.   Like our previous special issues, "Adam West Remembers Batman", "Chuck McCann's 'Let's Have Fun!' Scrapbook", "The Golden Days of Radio", "The Classic Horror Fearbook" and "The Classic Sci-Fi Fearbook",  we think our new specials will be to genre fans what the "Time/Life" specials are to general pop-culture history fans.

Since the beginning, editor Ferry has been dead-icated to the true-grue classic monsters lover.  From mass produced general newsstand distribution of FMOF during the 1990s and 2000s, to select internet-based distribution of Freaky Monsters since 2010, he has always put his readers first and refused to give in to the pressures of mainstream commercialism.  That dead-ication will not alter. The content, design, style and philosophy of Freaky Monsters will not change. We remain committed to keeping the torch of classic horror, sci-fi & fantasy film fandom burning bright.

Long live the 1960s!

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