DAY 36 – THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES
Its tagline stated “Revenge is the best medicine” and this movie prescribed it in spades. Today’s design is of Vincent Price from the 1971 AIP classic The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Upon the death of his wife, Anton Phibes blames the physicians who treated her and seeks revenge by staging each of their deaths based upon the 10 plagues of Egypt. This movie is over the top entertainment with its incredible art deco sets, stylized cinematography, and sublime dark humor. The first time I watched it, I found it VERY bizarre but it quickly grew on me to become one of my all-time favorite horror movies. The good doctor returned for the 1972 sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again. The obvious psychedelic influences of the era elevates these movies to the realm of high art (forgive the pun). And for art’s sake… check back again tomorrow.
DAY 37 – I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN
The folly of youth… Today we examine the 1950’s fascination with teen exploitation. After the success of I Was a Teenage Werewolf, AIP rushed to cash in on this trend with my next design. Today I present Gary Conway as the monster from the 1957 AIP classic I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. After becoming involved in a car wreck, Bob (the monster) is reconstructed by Dr. Frankenstein using spare body parts he has stored in drawers. The doctor disposes of useless limbs by dumping them down a chute where he has an alligator waiting in the basement to devour them (a classic WTF moment). Approach with extreme caution and a sense of humor when viewing; these were date movies meant to scare the girl into her boyfriend’s arms. I’ll see you youngsters again tomorrow.
DAY 37 – I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF
For whatever reason I no longer remember, this portrait never made it into the original 13 Months of Horror. Looking back at this piece, I feel it’s worthy of inclusion this time around. Today I present Michael Landon in makeup from the AIP classic I Was a Teenage Werewolf. In short, Landon is a troubled youth who is given a regression serum that causes him to transform into a werewolf at the sound of school bells and ringing telephones. This movie was a trend setter in many ways. It was the first movie to exploit the idea of a teenager becoming a monster as well as the first to use “teenage” in the title. It also became one of AIP’s most successful films. This movie also launched Landon’s career; he went on to star in Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven.
DAY 38 – RETURN OF THE FLY
Like father, like son… that is how movie sequels are conceived. Today’s design is from the 1959 20th Century Fox classic Return of the Fly starring Vincent Price. It also stars Brett Halsey as son Phillipe Delambre; Halsey however didn’t act as the monster; it was played by Ed Wolff. Synopsis: A son tries to vindicate his father’s failed experiment that turned him into a fly-headed creature with another failed experiment that turns him into a fly-headed creature. The original Fly was far superior to this outing in both story and filming; the original was shot in “Cinemascope & Terror-Color” and the sequel was shot in black & white. Vincent Price reprises his role from the first movie and is the fly paper that holds this movie together. I won’t bug you anymore today… just RETURN tomorrow.
DAY 39 – I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE
Huh!?! That’s the name of a real movie? Yes folks, today’s design is Tom Tryon from the 1958 Paramount Pictures classic I Married a Monster From Outer Space. It is an excellent, atmospheric invasion film that many historians have ignored it due to its ridiculous title; it has however garnered more respect in recent years. Newlywed Marge Farrell notices that her husband has begun acting strangely and has become more distant. She follows him one night and sees an alien entity leave the host body. Upon confrontation, the alien explains that the females of his species are extinct and the males of his species have come to earth to mate with earth’s females. This movie is proof that a bad title can kill a good movie; one of the better of the 50’s sci-fi genre. A better title tomorrow… I promise.
DAY 40 – THE REPTILE
This is one cold blooded little lady… literally. Today’s design is of Jacqueline Pearce from the 1966 Hammer Studios classic The Reptile. I love this movie and the make-up. It really used to creep me out as a child when I saw pictures of this in Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. When I actually got to see the movie as an adult, it creeped me out even more. People in the small village of Clagmoor Heath start dying from a mysterious “Black Death”. In an attempt to discover the cause, Tom Bailey (Michael Ripper) notices what looks like snake bites on one the corpses and it turns out that the serpentine daughter of a local doctor is the culprit. This movie delivers a nice scare in traditional Hammer style. Ssssee you tomorrow… another dessssign awaitssss.
DAY 41 – IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE
I am just curious where “beyond space” is. Can anyone tell me? Today’s design is of Ray “Crash” Corrigan as IT from the 1958 United Artists classic IT! The Terror From Beyond Space. Does this plot sound familiar to anyone? The crew from a rescue mission is returning to earth and discover that an alien has boarded their space ship; the alien begins to kill the crew and they in turn have to fight for their survival. In addition, the stowaway alien is impervious to all of their weapons. Yes, this movie was the inspiration for the 1979 Ridley Scott classic Alien. This movie may seem weak next to Alien but you have to consider the time in which it was made. The costume is a bit cheesy by today’s standards but it is definitely an excellent example of 1950’s creature design. Check IT out today… I will check you out tomorrow.
DAY 42 – THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
What a fantastic day… a perfect day for a little fantasy. Today’s design is the Cyclops from the 1958 Columbia Pictures classic The 7th Voyage of Sinbad starring Kerwin Mathews as Sinbad. This movie is a masterpiece in the art of stop motion animation. The character designs were created by and the animation executed by the master Ray Harryhausen. It is impossible to imagine one man creating all of these characters and then imbuing them with life and movement frame by tedious frame; it took Harryhausen 11 months to complete the animation sequences for this movie. This movie makes me yearn for the days before CGI. The final battle scene between the Cyclops and the dragon is definitely one to see. Eye will be looking for you again tomorrow.