THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: Fantastic Monsters of the Films (Gwandanaland Comics)

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I started reading “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine in the late 1970’s. Though I couldn’t always find it on the newsstand, when I did I made sure to buy it. It was a magazine that was easy to fall in love with. Not only were the articles and photos amazing, the magazine gave a feel of being a part of a monster family. And of course there were the ads in the back from Captain Company, that featured every monster-themed item you could ever hope for.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “Vampira and Her Daughters” by Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter

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Horror hosts have been around almost as long as television has shown horror movies. Back in the day, before corporations took over all of the local television stations, said station would try to maintain a local feel that extended beyond the news. Some of these stations would have local kids’ clubs, Dialing for Dollars movies and of course, usually late at night, horror movies that were usually hosted by a ghoulish character that would oftentimes entertain the viewer during the commercial breaks.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “The UFO Encyclopedia” by Jerome Clark

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I have been fascinated with the subjects of UFOs since I was probably seven or eight years old. I am a firm believer that despite the many hoaxes perpetrated over the years, there are many legitimate cases, reported by very reliable people and that the government is not telling us everything that they know. My UFO book library, which is quite extensive, features many books by author Jerome Clark and I have enjoyed every one of them. For this review, I am discussing not only his best book in my opinion, but also one of the best books out there on this subject.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “The Dinosaur Filmography” by Mark F. Berry

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Two things that I enjoy a lot are dinosaurs and movie guides. For as long as I can remember I have loved dinosaurs and growing up would read what I could on the subject and would spend many weekends watching movies such as The Valley of Gwangi and The Land That Time Forgot. I have always loved dinosaur movies and I never cared how they were realized on film. Whether it was stop-motion animation, a guy in a suit or actual reptiles made up to look like dinosaurs, I was there enjoying every minute of it. Even if the stories were weak, as long as there was some kind of dinosaur I would watch whenever possible.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “The Big Book of UFO Facts, Figures & Truth” by Stephen Spignesi & William J. Birnes

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UFOs. Those unidentified flying objects that have been seen in the sky and reported since before biblical times. This is a subject that I have been fascinated with since I was a kid. I have read dozens upon dozens of books over the years and try to read as many of the new releases that come out as possible. I have read tales that boggle the mind, making you wonder what the witness was on when they “saw” what they claim to have seen. I have also read many very compelling stories, that have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is more going on than people seeing the planet Venus or witnessing a flock of ducks flying overhead, with their undersides reflecting the lights from the city below.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “Savini: The Official Biography”

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If you’re like me, and are a fan of the horror movies of the eighties, then the name Tom Savini should be something that you are very aware of. He took realistic, practical special effects to a new level, especially when it came to gore. To this day his effects hold up and only a handful of people have been able to accomplish what he did. He ended up becoming a household name to fans of the horror genre and readers of Fangoria Magazine.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters”

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I cannot remember a time when I was not a Godzilla fan. I have vivid memories from a very early age watching Godzilla movies every weekend on the local UHF stations and enjoying week-long marathons during school vacation weeks. To this day I still love these films, not only for the nostalgic aspect of them but also because they are just very creative and fun movies to watch.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “Remember The Future: The Distortions Unlimited Story” by Lee Lambert

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In 2015, Lee Lambert released a labor-of-love book on one of the greatest Halloween mask studios of all time, Don Post Studios. The book was huge, was very well received and personally, it’s one of my all time favorite books. I started collecting masks in the mid-1980’s and though I only collected Don Post masks on occasion, I certainly collected a lot of masks by Distortions Unlimited. Lee’s follow-up book is on this very company.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING: Studies in the Horror Film by Lee Gambin

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To this day the debate continues. Which werewolf movie from 1981 is the superior one, John Landis’ AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON or the subject of this blog, Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING. To say that I am a fan of both is an understatement and to be honest, I do not understand why there is even a debate! They are both fantastic movies in their own right and credit must be given to all involved for bringing these films to the screen.

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