Friday, August 19, 2011



Was saddened to hear of the passing of screenwriter Jimmy Sangster at the age of 83. Best known for his work for Hammer Film Productions in the UK, Sangster wrote the scripts for X: The Unknown, The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula and many other horror classics. He also directed The Horror of Frankenstein, Lust for a Vampire and Fear in the Night in the early 70s, and penned the scripts for many popular American genre TV shows throughout that decade, including The Night Stalker, Wonder Woman, Ironside, McCloud and The Six Million Dollar Man. Probably the first screenwriter whose name I first started recognising and taking notice of as a kid discovering horror movies on late-night TV.



New from Headpress:

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by John Harrison

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Your comprehensive guide to the original pulp fiction
Nearly 400 pages bursting with timeless smut...
An essential companion to the Bad Mags books...
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Click here to watch an outrageous selection of Hip Pocket Sleaze illustrations in our exclusive photobook
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HIP POCKET SLEAZE is an introduction to the world of vintage, lurid adult paperbacks. Charting the rise of sleazy pulp fiction during the 1960s and 1970s and reviewing many of the key titles, the book takes an informed look at the various genres and markets from this enormouslyprolific era, from groundbreaking gay and lesbian-themed books to the Armed Services Editions. Influential authors, publishers and coverartists are profiled and interviewed, including the "godfather of gore" H. G. Lewis, cult lesbian author Ann Bannon, fetish artist parexcellence Bill Ward and many others.

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Phillipa Berry is a Melbourne based artist whose passionate admiration for personalities who exist primarily on the fringes of cinema and rock & roll - along with a healthy worship of Mexican masked wrestling - manifests itself in the amazing shrines which she creates in honour of those who have entertained, influenced and intrigued her. Many of the people she pays tribute to in her shrines are names which have either been long-forgotten by the mainstream, or were never acknowledged by them in the first place. As Berry says, “The world doesn’t need another shrine to Elvis...”

Below is a cool little documentary on Phillipa and her work, as well as her amazing collection of memorabilia...

The Astonishing and Fantastical Shrines of Phillipa Berry! from SundayDriversPress on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


A few great vintage 1960s Mexican comic books featuring the adventures of their beloved masked wrester/film star, the Blue Demon!





Thought Captain America: The First Avenger, while hardly anything ground-breaking or visionary, was a solid and fun comic book movie, one of Marvel's better efforts so far! Highlighted by it's retro 1940s set design and period setting, nice nods to the character's long history, and enjoyable performances from all of the main leads. A well-deserved success for the often-malinged (and often deservedly-so) director Joe Johnston.



A peak at my little collection of vintage 'war stuff'....always loved a good Sat afternoon war movie matinee as a kid, followed by a backyard G I Joe battle when I got home!



As a big Apes fan and collector since I was a kid I thought Rise of the Planet of the Apes was an enjoyable enough film, solid without being spectacular. Much more faithful in concept and tone to the original films than Tim Burton's 2001 remake, and it's nice to see it doing well with critics and audiences as I'm certainly up for more big-screen Apes adventures! I do miss John Chamber's Oscar winning make-up though, and it's unfortunate that the trailers pretty much gave away the entire plot of the film, and the human characters and actors (apart from John Lithgow) were very wooden and little more than caricatures.

I also found that the abundance of references and in-jokes to the original films went too or two are fine, I liked the bit with Caeser building the Statue of Liberty model and the news clip of the Icarus lift-off, but the others were a bit too forced and obvious, and the "damned dirty ape" line should never have been used - it is such an iconic line and it belongs to Heston alone, not handed down to some kid who was probably the worst actor and most cliched character in the entire film.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes got me thinking of the fourth film the original series, and the one which this new film most resembles in tone and theme, 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Conquest was the first Apes film I saw in a cinema, when my English teacher took me and a couple of other classmates to a screening of it at the old Airport cinema in Melbourne (this was back in the days when a school teacher taking a few of his 12 year-old students to the movies on a weekend wasn't considered anything to get overly suspicious or concerned about). He was a bit of a Star Trek/sci-fi nerdy/buff-type and I guess in us he maybe recognised (and took pity on?) a few like-minded kids. The only other Apes film I had seen up until then were Beneath the Planet of the Apes (a 16mm screening in our class thanks to a student whose dad had a bit of pull at the Channel 7 TV studios) and about the first half of the original Planet of the Apes when it aired on Sunday night television (was forced to go to bed just after Taylor spoke - school the next day).

So I hadn't seen Escape From the Planet of the Apes and knew very little of what Conquest was about and it was quite a shock to see the apes roaming not a primitive wasteland but a modern city, and the humans talked but most of the apes didn't? I suppose at the time it was something of a let-down, as the imagery of the talking, powerful apes roaming this eerie, barren Forbidden Zone strewn with the ruins of nuclear-ravaged cities, was one of the aspects of the first two films that most appealed to me, and Conquest obviously lacked that tone. But I was still sitting in a cinema watching an Apes film so I certainly still loved the experience, and over the years Conquest has definately improved for me, I appreciate more it's tone and themes now than I did as a kid, it has that great early-70s American sci-fi vibe, and I love the cold concrete feel of the Century City locales. The original can't be touched, but Conquest runs very close with Beneath as my second favourite entry in the Apes saga.



1968/Directed by Kinji Fukasaku


I’m sure I wasn’t the only monster-loving kid on the verge of puberty who was entranced by the cover art for Famous Monsters of Filmland No. 57, which featured a shapely female astronaut in a skin-tight spacesuit being menaced by a typically lurid, green one-eyed space creature. The art was a detail from Vic Livoti’s original poster for The Green Slime, a 1968 American/Japanese co-production which was one of those films that I never got a chance to see until I recently acquired the widescreen DVD released by Warner Archives.

When a huge meteorite is discovered on a collision course with Earth, a space team mount an operation to land on the object and destroy it with explosives. The mission succeeds, but the team unwittingly bring back a pulsing, luminous green ooze which quickly mutate into an army electricity-shooting tentacled monsters who take over the revloving space station Gamma 3. The obligatory love triangle is provided by Richard Jaeckel, Robert Horton and Italian stunner Luciana Paluzzi (my favorite Bond bad girl) Featuring some elements later found in big studio films like Alien and Armageddon, The Green Slime is a fun slice of swingin’ sixties sci-fi, with mini-skirts and beehives, a colourful pop-art production design, cool monsters that would not have looked out of place stomping across a miniature city in a Toho production, and a classic psychedelic-tinged theme song composed by Charles Fox that was later covered by the Fuzztones!

What more could you want?