Hammer’s Glamour: The Art of Hammer Films

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You don’t need to visit the local art gallery to see some incredible works of art. Two years ago I wrote “The Art of Horror” — a blog post that highlighted the lost art of illustrated film posters.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that illustrated movie posters really started to fall out of vogue. And such a shame that they did too. In my previous post, I focused on posters and artists from Hollywood’s Golden Age. But this time, I’m going to dive head first into a pool of glorious Technicolour — the posters of Hammer Films.

From the late 50’s through the 70’s, the British production company was well known for its love and use of bright colour, scantily clad bodies, lavish sets, and often garish special effects. And you know what? I loved every bit of it. And if you don’t? Something’s seriously the matter with you. ;P Continue reading

If the World Hates You…

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If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

Annibale_Carracci_-_Mocking_of_Christ_-_WGA04441If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.

Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

Continue reading

Are We Really Civilized?: TZ’s “The Shelter”

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No moral, no message, no prophetic tract. Just a simple statement of fact: for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized.

Man was made in the image and likeness of God, which means that we have the ability to reason, to use logic, to divide Truth from Falsehood, and to choose to Love or to Hate. It’s a battle which rages inside each and every one of us daily. Because deep down, we’re all fighting against the same thing.

Instinct.

Animals live by instinct. They can’t reason, they don’t rationalize. They just react. And under the right set of circumstances, man can become nothing more than a beast of instinct too; rejecting his ability to choose. And when that happens, the consequences are often quite severe.

There is no greater instinct than the drive to survive.

In 1961, future “Hogan’s Heroes” star Bob Crane was hosting a California morning radio show at KNX CBS. Crane served as host between 1957 and 1965, and just a few weeks after The Twilight Zone’s third season episode “The Shelter” aired, Rod Serling was his guest on the show. Continue reading

1313 Mockingbird Lane: 50 Years with “The Munsters”

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I can’t even imagine how fun it must have been to be a kid growing up in the 1960s. Television-wise, I mean. Last week, ABC gave us our first day in the life of “The Addams Family”. And now here we are, just one week later, and CBS is about to say, “We call your House of Horror, ABC, and raise you a monster.” Or four.

In the late 1950s, early ’60s, there was a revival of classic horror. “The Addams Family” and “The Munsters” were the networks’ attempt to capitalize on this trend.

1964 was dubbed “The Year of the Ghoul” by LIFE magazine, and on September 24th, “The Munsters” was born. For 50 years now, people have enjoyed the fun and silliness that the monstrous, all-American suburban family called Munster brought to TV screens. Continue reading

“You Rang?”: The Addams Family: 50 Years Later

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I once heard John Schneider (Bo Duke, “The Dukes of Hazzard”) say that there were only two kinds of people in the world: Addams Family people, and Munsters people.

There are countless variations on that “two kinds of people” phrase, but this was one I found particularly interesting.

Two series, premiering only a week apart, on two rival networks. The same genre, the same basic appeal. On the surface, “The Addams Family” and “The Munsters” may seem easily interchangeable. But when you get right down to brass tacks (or His & Her’s beds of nails), they are two VERY different creatures.

His and Hers Bed of Nails

The first of these two series was the devilishly macabre “The Addams Family”, which premiered September 18, 1964 — 50 years ago today — on ABC. Like its CBS counterpart, it ran for only two seasons, ending a 64-episode run on April 8, 1966. Continue reading

Will You Do it For a Scooby Snack? How About 45 Scooby Snacks?

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45 years ago today, my favourite cartoon of all time premiered. “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” was the first incarnation of what would become one of the most beloved TV shows in the world.

This group of teenagers and a scaredy-cat dog have devoted the last 45 years of their lives to chasing down bad guys. Bad guys who like to scare the pants off of everybody while they commit their crimes. Freddy, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby Doo have never backed down from a challenge. In fact, in the likely event that no one believes you’re being haunted by Merlin’s ghost or the Headless Horseman? Who ya gonna call? Yep. “Mysteries Inc”. Continue reading

The Immortal Count

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I am Dracula. I bid you welcome.

When Universal Studios released “Dracula” in 1931, I don’t think anyone imagined the worldwide obsession that would follow. Bram Stoker’s novel was already 34 years old, and “Dracula” wasn’t the first vampire film. But this was the first time the audience was introduced to a charming and dapper Count Dracula; a villain they wanted to love.

In England, in 1924, “Dracula” the stage play was the first adaptation of the novel authorised by Stoker’s widow. In 1927, the play came to America and in his first major English-speaking role, Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi donned the famous Dracula cape for the first time. And a legend was born. Continue reading

Gallery Feature: “Self-Portrait of the Artist at Twenty-Five”

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Wendy Brydge – “Self-Portrait of the Artist at Twenty-Five” – 2014

Every painting begins with an idea.

Rod Serling once said, “The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act, the physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence. Once you get that prod, that emotional jar, that “I have witnessed something.” Or “I have felt something.” Or “I have seen something.” Or, through observation, “I have been moved by an event.” I think the answer is, “Get it down. Get it down quickly. Write it down.”

That right there is the best advice any artist — be they writer or painter — will ever receive. When you get that magical *spark* in your mind, that little glimmer of inspiration? You grab it, hold tight, and run with it as far as it will take you.

Ideas build on ideas. But inspiration can be fleeting. Maybe you see an image in your head as you’re drifting off to sleep at night. Or perhaps you read something interesting, or hear something unusual, and it makes you want to process and use that information somehow. When that happens, I urge you to do as the talented Mr. Serling said: GET IT DOWN. Any and all of it. Before it’s gone. Continue reading

~Mary~

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October 28, 1954 – July 7, 2000

The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.

~ Isaiah 57:1-2

Miss you, Mom. ♥

Dark Shadows: 48 Years of Darkness in the Daytime

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My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me. And link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea, high atop Widow’s Hill. A house called… Collinwood.

Vampires, witches, warlocks, ghosts, a severed head and hand, parallel times, mad scientists and werewolves. All of these supernatural elements are pretty commonplace on television today.

In the 1960s, we could watch the good-spirited, friendly, madcap antics of the Munsters and the Addams Family. And Hammer Films was at its peak in theatres around the world. But only one show dared to bring the supernatural to daytime TV. It was a bold, all or nothing, last-ditch effort to save a floundering series. And as anyone who recognizes that opening I quoted above knows, it was a ghostly gamble that paid off in spades.

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Today marks the 48th anniversary of the delightfully dark soap opera Dark Shadows. On June 27, 1966, this soon-to-be-supernatural hit aired on the ABC network for the first time. Continue reading

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