I don’t remember the exact time when collecting Halloween masks came into my life. If I had to guess it was around 1982 or 1983, after receiving a full color catalog from Distortions Unlimited in the mail, after seeing an ad in Fangoria magazine. I would go through this catalog front to back, over and over again, admiring the awesome creations by Ed Edmunds. There were so many monsters in this collection that I wanted, but since I had yet to start working, buying these masks was not in the cards.
In this entry of my Film Book of Fear series I am covering a classic from 1956 called EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS! This is an interesting film in that it has a typical 50’s fun feel to it made all the better by the amazing special effects by animation master Ray Harryhausen! This is actually the first time Harryhausen animated something other than a living creature showing how creative and versatile he was.
Let me start by saying that this review has been a long time coming. Why? Because this book is huge! This 2019 release by McFarland is probably the definitive book on this subject and it is one that every horror fan, especially if you’re a fan of the classics, should have in their library.
The 50’s will go down in history as the greatest decade of all time for science fiction films. During this 10 year period we were introduced to Godzilla, Rodan, giant insects and arachnids and of course every type of alien being bent on invading Earth imaginable. It truly was a great time to be a fan of not only movies, but of science fiction. Some of these films were great; some not so great. The one thing they all had in common though was great imaginations at a time where Hollywood was chock full of original ideas.
The Creature Double Feature, on WLVI channel 56 out of Boston, was one of my favorite shows growing up (see my original post HERE). It ran from 1975 until 1984, offering some of the greatest monster movies of all time to the children and adults living in New England. While working on this movie guide, showing each week’s double feature, I noticed two very interesting things. First off, the program director was very good at pairing movies up that were similar, either in title or in subject matter. Second, the classic Universal monster movies did not start to be shown until 1980, six years into the show’s run! Also in 1980 saw a wider variety of Godzilla movies and other films that had not been shown in previous years.
Remembering back to when I was a kid, I have come to realize that I was quite the loner. Though I had friends at school, I rarely hung out with them after school or on weekends. With that being said though, I had no issues keeping myself entertained, especially on weekends. During the 70’s, one of the things I looked forward to the most on the weekends were monster movies, especially those shown every Saturday afternoon on WLVI channel 56 out of Boston. The show? The Creature Double Feature.
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.
Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. There was just something about that fall night that excited me, even more so than with Christmas. I love the history of the holiday and everything that it represents. I have so many fond memories trick-or-treating and actually “feeling” that the barrier between the living and the dead was thinner. There was something about the air every Halloween night…it was just different.
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.