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With the current election cycle finally winding down, I look forward to the end of all the toxic attitudes and comments from all sides of the political spectrum.

What has for me personally been a surprise has been the vitriol aimed at those of the Liberal attitude from many within the horror and science fiction community. I am not so foolish as to think everyone who shares a mutual interest in a subject to lock step politically, though it is interesting that while we share a mutual joy in these subjects, that we take away different conclusions from them.

Being a small kid in the Bronx with a stutter and a strong Bronx accent, I always felt like an “outsider”. Then when I was very young, visiting relatives in Ireland, my older brother took me to the movies. The first movies that I ever saw on the big screen were FRANKENSTEIN (1931, Universal) and CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hammer,1957).


Mind you, this was in the early 1960s, but cinemas  would sometimes pair older films and show them . Now I was terrified by both films (and indeed my brother & I were tossed out of the theatre because I was screaming so hard when Christopher Lee tore off his facial bandages), but I felt a certain sadness for the creatures too, and I was unknowingly hooked. Peter Cushing popped up in several other films and I was impressed by him as a performer and I began to get the idea that I would like to be an actor.




I found myself drawn to works by horror,science fiction and fantasy writers. In the era before the internet or home computers, one had to go to the library and research when one didn’t understand certain things. Due to the references of certain eras ,countries, etc,I would go to the library and read books on history ,politics ,and various topics . Rather than being bored I found that it enriched my appreciation of the stories that I read, and the world in general. While others in school were struggling with THE CAT IN THE HAT, I was reading histories of the Middle Ages so I would have a better understanding of the world of “The Pit & The Pendulum” .the-pit-and-the-pendulumthe-spanish-inquisition6





Now hooked to fantasy /horror films, I recall that on television they had an ad on the old WOR-TV (Channel 9) in NYC. “Ghosts, murder, Regicide” intoned the unseen announcer as black and white images flew by the screen. I didn’t know what regicide was, but ghosts and murder were what I wanted to see.


At the appointed hour, I tuned on the t.v., and turned the knob to the channel. The film was Laurence Olivier’s HAMLET (RANK,1948). It looked like a horror film with its fog and moody photography (and heck at the end there was Peter Cushing as  Osiric) but there was something more to the film. I didn’t understand all that was said, but I knew I wanted to speak like that. At the end, I was in tears, and knew that:
1-I wanted to be an actor
2-I wanted to speak like the people in the film and learn more about this “Shakespeare” guy who wrote it.



quote-who-wants-to-see-me-as-hamlet-very-few-but-millions-want-to-see-me-as-frankenstein-so-peter-cushing-87-41-29So, I would listen to recordings by Olivier, Gielgud, and others reading the works of the Bard (thank you Caedmon records) and it helped me develop my speaking voice and my confidence. It also got me beaten up a bit (no one likes a pseudo British accent, especially under ten-year-old bullies), but I found too the writings of this man from 350 years earlier spoke to me of the human condition. “Hath not a Jew Eyes? “A speech that showed that people may pray differently, but in essence we were all of humans.

An amazing speech too in that there were very few Jews in the country at the time, and in a play, that in the end, the Merchant is forced to renounce his faith, in effect destroying what defined him. A complex ending to be sure. That earlier speech lifted Shylock from being the Hebrew of anti-Semitic tracts into a human being with flaws. Othello was a great general, had even saved the city and yet suffered prejudice due to the color of his skin. Again, there were few blacks in England in Shakespeare’s time, and xenophobia was quite strong, so that Shakespeare created a rounded human being (who even had flaws, suffering from epileptic fits, etc) from someone who was different speaks volumes.

Plus, when women were little more than property, he wrote such wonderful parts about them and for them, though it was illegal for women to PLAY them. The first English woman to legally do so was Margaret Hughes, December 8,1660 as Desdemona, ironically in “The Moor of Venice” (a reworking of Othello).

Through Shakespeare I discovered the idea of trying to understand others. Shakespeare and horror films also developed my love of storytelling as well as the joy of reading and discovery of ideas.
Science fiction writers like George Orwell challenged acceptance of society without question, and that sometimes things were not always what they seemed. ‘1984” Orwellian double speak now lives on in Fox News as well as politicians who constantly deny facts if it stands in the way of their political agenda. Sadly, many seem ready to accept their outrageous claims as “double plus good”. Back in the 1960s, though, we were engrossed in a foreign war that was not what we told it was for, and indeed the ideals were dropped as the conflict continued. Plus, at the time, social injustices and women’s liberation were also issues that threatened the fabric of the country. Science fiction, for a young teenager was a way of trying to understand these complex issues.


The idea of controlling the media and what we can and cannot read was a reality in many dictatorships, but also within our own country narrow minded people wanted to ban the likes of ROMEO & JULIET, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and many other works. Why? Because they made us question the status quo. Controlling thought in “1984” and Ray Bradbury’s ‘FAHRENHEIT 451 “reflected a society where that happens, and again Orwell predicted flooding the media with info that they wanted, and acting as if previous facts didn’t exist.


Television and movies also had a strong effect on shaping my opinions and beliefs.


The earliest influence that I can think of is Rod Serling’s TWILIGHT ZONE. Serling tried through his various brilliant television dramas to illuminate the human condition Unfortunately, he ran up against censorship from both the networks as well as the advertisers. In one of his political dramas he was forbidden to have his politicians comment on current events to avoid the appearance of siding with one side or the other.

Wanting to discuss social injustice, racism, and other injustices, he felt that only way to do that was to disguise his tales as fantasies, using the allegories to discuss otherwise taboo issues. Maintaining creative control, he was one of the first to explore the idea of people seeing only the superficial rather the person within (EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, NUMBER 7 LOOKS JUST LIKE YOU), bigotry and hate (I AM THE NIGHT-COLOR ME BLACK) and other social issues.



Probably the biggest influence on me was STAR TREK. The show showed a multinational multicultural crew working together to deal with new life forms and issues that reflected items within our own society. Yes, they had women in miniskirts, but that was more the demands of the era than the ideals of the series.

Looking back now 50 years on, it is easy to point out the flaws of the show, but one must remember that every step forward starts with a small victory, and that it doesn’t happen overnight.


The show also dealt with the issue of overpopulation (MARK OF GIDEON), racism (LET THIS BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD), mutual assured destruction (A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON) and many other issues of the time.


The thing that most appealed to me about STAR TREK is that it offered a possibility of a future for mankind. That somehow we would survive the constant threats that promised the destruction of our society and possibility the entire planet.


It reflected the possibilities offered by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both were murdered by narrow minds but they left with us the baton to fulfill the dream that they proposed as well as the ideals that Gene Roddenberry’s series gave us in his “Wagon Train to The Stars”.


Little did I know, but these shows and books influenced my world overview. I like to think of the possibility that we as a planet and humans can accomplish, to help other people and not be xenophobic, to respect difference and learn from them, to protect the planet over profit.


There are those who live in fear and they become more conservative as they do not understand change, while there are those who look in wonder of the possibilities of our future.


Yes, SCIENCE FICTION made me into a LIBERAL, and I am very grateful.

Kevin G Shinnick

1950s, Academy Award Winner, Art house, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, cult, genre, humor, Ireland, John Ford, John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, OLIVE FILMS, Republic, review, romance, studio history, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, Victor McLaglen

THE QUIET MAN ( Olive Films Signature Blu Ray)


THE QUIET MAN (1952) –Olive Films Signature Series Blu Ray $39.95 Color 129 minutes. Region 1. 1.37:1 mono release date October 25,2016 .     

One of the most beloved films of all time gets a wonderful and superlative release from OLIVE FILMS as part of their  inaugural ‘Signature “releases (along with HIGH NOON, covered previously(      ) and the quality and respect that these masterpieces have received from the studio should make movie lovers rejoice.


Coming from the original camera negative, the transfer received a 4 K scan and the results are amazing.


The Technicolor no longer has that slightly muddy look that the film had for many years. Maureen O’Hara ‘s fiery red hair blazes with the passion that also illuminates her performance. The greens fields make you want to pack your bag and ‘teacht ar ais go hÉirinn” (“come back to Ireland”).


The story by Maurice Walsh first appeared in the February 11,1933 edition of the Saturday Evening Post, and was later published in a collection called The Green Rushes (1935, Frederick A. Stokes Co.) .



downloadJohn Ford ‘s love of the story involved him having to first do a western for Republic (RIO GRANDE 1950). That film was successful enough that the studio approved location filming in County Mayo and County Galway while shooting in the more expensive Technicolor (most of their color films were shot in the cheaper Tru Color Process). Then interiors were shot back at the studios in Hollywood.



American Sean Thornton (Shawn Kelvin in the original story), played to perfection by John Wayne, returns to his ancestral home in Inisfree. He begins to fall for the beautiful colleen, Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), but she wishes to observe the local matchmaking principals, and obstacles and cultural differences keep getting in the way.



Also, a huge block is her brutish protective brother, Squire ‘Red “Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen, Oscar winner in 1935 for RKO’s John Ford classic THE INFORMER, wherein he played another slow witted but brutish fellow during the Irish Revolution). He cannot stop the couple from falling in love but he can deny them her dowry. Instead, the Squire challenges Thornton to fight, but the Yank walks away. Mary Kate thinks that Sean is a coward, but as the film unfolds we find out he has a dark secret.


The film ends with one of the best and most exciting and funny fight scenes ever committed to celluloid.the-quiet-man-005


Onto this slim framework, John Ford (via a screenplay adaptation by Frank S. Nugent, who wrote some of Ford’s best films) populates the film with almost every Irish character actor from Hollywood as well as several locals. The film makes the countryside also as much a character, and when the storms and rains hit, we are treated to one of the most electric screen kisses of all time.thyat-kiss



In 2013, OLIVE FILMS released the film on BLU RAY and DVD. While the film has hardly been out of the public eye since its release (a yearly March must show on television, as well as various releases on VHS by Republic as well as DVD releases by Artisan), the current incarnation from OLIVE FILMS is the must own version.



As mentioned, the film has been given a beautiful video upgrade. I do not have the previous Olive Films release for comparison, but must reiterate that this print is flawless. Colors leap out and the mono sound is ultra clean and hiss free.



The English optional subtitles follow the action and dialogue precisely. Kudos to whomever is charged with this important option for the hard of hearing audiences.


Ported over from the previous 2013 release is
The Making of The Quiet Man – a documentary that originated in the 2002 Artisan release. Leonard Maltin as always guides us through the history of this classic film in his usual fun and informative style.


New to this release is

Audio Commentary Track by Joseph McBride, author of two John Ford books. The love of his subject comes throughout his feature, dropping facts and info in an easy and informative fashion. It is so informative about the film and Ireland in 1951 that this is a track you will want to listen to it  several times to get the full effect.2995768_orig

Free Republic – a brief little history of the studio as to how a film processing company got into producing no nonsense and profitable films but somehow made films like Orson WellesMACBETH (1948, coming from Olive Films on Blu Ray         ) and of course THE QUIET MAN. This short is hosted by by Marc Wanamaker, a co-author (along with E.J. Stephens) of EARLY POVERTY ROW STUDIOS (Arcadia Publishing,2014). Mr. Wanamaker is also a founder of the Hollywood Heritage Museum.


A Tribute to Maureen O’Hara – actresses Juliet Mills, Hayley Mills, and Ally Sheedy share their memories and tributes to the actress. Besides her beauty, they make sure that people are aware of her strong personality, her charm, her career, her grace, and most of all her great talent. The warmth of their memories is truly moving.


The Old Man- Director Peter Bogdanovich (TARGETS, Paramount,1968) shares his thoughts on Ford and his career. From interviewing Ford for Esquire, the two directors developed a lasting friendship. I enjoyed Bogdanovich’s story of visiting Ford just before his death, along with Director Howard Hawks, and instead of hello Ford barked out how could Hawks stand all the questions that Bogdanovich’s had!



Don’t You Remember ,Seánín?
– A visual essay using footage from the film by quite voiced Tag Gallagher, film and John Ford expert. I do love his opening comment: “Every Irishmen is an actor “said John Ford, “And how flamboyant they are about it. Exhibitionists, like dancers. Their body language makes emotions vivid, palpable.”



The booklet enclosed has a few photos but no real information besides the cast listing, chapter stops on the disc and listing of the extras.



The slipcover can be reversed to show a beautiful black and white photo of the courting ride through town. The cover is a shot of the same sequence, with the two lovers walking in front of the carriage driven by Barry Fitzgerald. That shot captures the beauty and the romance of the film, and kudos for this original choice. It is also used for the hardcover cardboard case that it comes in.



The only way that I could see this release being any better is if they had also added a second disc to include the 2010 documentary DREAMING THE QUIET MAN (available from OLIVE FILMS ) .



I could go on and on as to why this film deserved to be chosen by the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2013, but if you have ever seen the film you have no need for convincing.



Kevin G Shinnick


1980s, Action Adventure, Blu Ray, cult, fantasy, Fred Ward, genre, Joel Grey, Orion Pictures, The Destroyer, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Twilight Time Blu Ray

REMO WILLIAMS ( Blu Ray from Twilight Time)


REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS (Twilight Time) Blu-Ray Regions: A/B/C $29.95 -1985, color, PG-13 Action-Adventure ,121 minutes.


From 1978 until 1999, Orion Pictures was a studio that made several brilliant films that sometimes-won awards and nominations (AMADEUS,1984; THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS,1991) but also had many box office failures and behind the scene intrigues that prevented it from becoming a new United Artists.



In fact, several of Orion’s board were former U.A. executives who were looking around for a successful action franchise along the lines of James Bond.   The series that they decided upon were “The Destroyer “book series created by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. The series continues to this day (145 and counting) with Murphy’s son Will picking up the mantle.



In the books, Remo Williams was a Newark cop falsely sentenced to die in the electric chair. His death is faked and he is spirited away and trained to become an assassin for CURE, a secret government organization. He is trained by Chuin, a master of Martial Arts. Many feels that the series hit its stride with the third book (Chinese Puzzle, 1972, Pinnacle Books). That is when Sinanju fighting style is mentioned and developed. Williams is taught that a gun is unnecessary (though he does occasionally use standard weapons when needed) and that he himself is the ultimate weapon.                                      (The Duo also appeared in Comic Book Form as well)



The idea for a film was shopped around by producer Larry Spiegel (he had written several episodes of tv’s RETURN TO PLANET OF THE APE series (Fox -tv,1975) as well producing John Huston’s little seen horror thriller PHOBIA(Paramount,1980)) and he presented the Orion executives what they thought would be a lucrative series.



To keep the idea of being a competitor to the Bond films, they hired director Guy Hamilton (GOLDFINGER,1964, U.A.) and screenwriter Christopher Wood (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME,1977, U.A.).



Fred Ward was relative unknown when cast as Remo Williams (he had starred in TIMERIDER (Jensen Farley ,1982) as well as embodying Gus Grissom in the superb THE RIGHT STUFF (Ladd Company/WB,1983)). Ward, feeling this film series could raise his level of visibility, through himself into the role, doing as many of the physical stunts himself.



Cast as Chiun was Tony Award winning Broadway star Joel Grey (winning the Best Supporting Oscar for role of the M.C. in CABARET (Allied Artists,1972). Grey was attracted to the mysticism of the role but feared offending the Pan-Asian community, particularly the Korean.  He researched and made sure that his character respected that history and he decided to take the role on the strength of the superlative make-up by Carl Fullerton.

REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, Fred Ward, Kate Mulgrew, 1985. ©Orion Pictures Corp

REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, Fred Ward, Kate Mulgrew, 1985. ©Orion                                                   Pictures Corp

The closest thing to a female lead in the film was the casting of Kate Mulgrew as Major Fleming. This was her first lead in a major film release (her debut was opposite Richard Burton in the barely released LOVESPELL(Paramount,1981) but there was not much there for the stage trained actress to work with.


The film was lensed in New York City, Coney Island New York, Washington D.C., and various locations in Mexico.


With all the expectations, the film, released October ,1985, received mixed reviews and worse, did not even cover its production costs.   Adding insult to injury, the May release of A VIEW TO A KILL (U.A.) continued to outdraw REMO.
The film started to receive cult status when it became a staple of H.B.O. and other premium channels.  Remo’s bad luck sadly continued when a t.v. pilot starring different actors was mostly pre-empted by a Presidential Speech in 1989, and then unseen until it began to pop up on some cable channels in 2009.



Now, TWILIGHT TIME goes above and beyond with their release of the film. Limited to a print run of only 3,000, Twilight Time has given us a 1080p Hi Def print in its original 1.85:1 ratio (it seems director Guy Hamilton was not a fan of Panavision). The image is sharp, showing off the cinematography of Andrew Laszlo (THE WARRIORS, Paramount,1979).



Sadly, the film betrays some cost cutting (or some money not making it to the screen. Shooting in Mexico to cut costs, they had superlative craftsmen, but they had not budgeted extortion that was a daily factor at the time in the Mexican Film Industry of the time). While the Statue of Liberty recreation is superb, some of the interior sets look like they were left over from a Jess Franco spy thriller (it seems some of the sets were unfinished when the filmmakers had to use them).japanese-posteer


The English 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound is rich, with hiss free dialogue.   The optional English subtitles are all very easy to read and follows the dialogue and describes the action perfectly.


The Disc has an abundance of Superb Extras:


  The original theatrical trailer


MGM   90TH Anniversary Trailer (MGM had acquired many of the Orion titles in one of their many acquisitions)


-A poster /still gallery


Craig Safan’s isolated score-  the synth sound dates the film as being from the 1980s, but it is a fun inventive work, mixing in traditional heroic orchestrations as well as a Korean Orchestra and even gun shots worked into the fabric of the compositions.(Remo Williams -Main Theme YouTube                                            ).



Audio Commentary by Film Historians Eddy Fiedfeld, Lee Pfeiffer, and( friend of Scarlet) Paul Scrabo.  This has got to be one of the most interesting commentary tracks in quite a while, as two of the three up front basically say that the film is not one of their favorites, and while they are quick to point out its many wonderful qualities, they seem to go into detail in pointing out its flaws.



The only other commentary track that I recall being this belittling of its subject was Retromedia’s out of print Tenth Anniversary DVD of JACK-O (Tri-boro, original Direct to video release,1995). On that film, producer Fred Olen Ray’s ribbing angered filmmaker Steve Latshaw so much that the Latshaw stormed out of the recording!!!



Ballyhoo Pictures once again outdoes themselves with their special mini documentaries.


Subjects covered are:


CREATED, THE DESTROYER: Writing Remo Williams. This part goes into detail about the many novels, and their history, plus interviews with author Will Murray and  others.   Devin Murphy (son of  Warren Murphy )has taken over production of the series .



UNARMED & DANGEROUS -Producing Remo Williams. Interviews with many of the people who shepherded the film from pre-production into the final release, including producer Larry Spiegel and some of his team.



SECRETS OF SINANJU: Training Remo Williams – A nice interview with star Joel Grey. He talks about how he approached the role, and the work that he put into it.  He seems (rightfully) very proud the part and has great affection for the character.   Sadly, neither Fred Ward or Kate Mulgrew appear in an of the interviews.  For Miss Mulgrew, it is perhaps no surprise, as it was a thankless role, but that Ward did not make himself available is a bit of a surprise/disappointment.



BALANCE OF POWER: Designing Remo Williams –  Production Designer Jackson DeGovia gives a very informative interview (well-illustrated with production sketches) on the important job that he and his team did on making REMO WILLIAMS, plus the behind the scenes problems and some disappointments.



ASSASSIN’S TUNE: Composing Remo Williams- Composer Craig Safan talks about his ideas that went into making his memorable soundtrack. Plus, as a bonus, he composes on the spot a villain’s theme, which the film he feels lacked.      Here he is a few years ago conducting his Remo Williams Suite without synths. What do you think?




All in all, a quite enjoyable disc given a remarkable first class release.  If you are a fan of this film, then this a definite must have.  If you have never seen it, this is a superb introduction to the characters.



Every few years, it is announced that someone else is going to attempt a new Remo Williams film. Before that happens, you should seek out this film.  It may not be a classic, but it is fun.  Kudos once again to TWILIGHT TIME.



Kevin G Shinnick


  (this article was corrected and updated on October 27,2016 thanks to welcome information provided by author Devin Murphy.Kevin had incorrectly said Will Murray ,not Devin Murphy was the son of Warren Murphy . The above pressure point was applied to Kevin ,and he is truly sorry for his error !Agh!)


Cat Shelter – D.I.Y.


Not film or horror related ,but I noticed a lot of horror,sci-fi,fantasy,etc lovers are are also major animal lovers.

Now with winter coming, it is time to worry about ferals that many have been feeding and caring for. First off, I hope that everyone has had the animals TNR’ed (Trapped Neutered,Released ). If you need to do so, read this link .

Now for the rest, you can build individual cat shelters for as little as $30 each.
You can ,of course, buy pre- made , but you will end up paying so much more and they may not be as well insulated.


First , get some inexpensive plastic storage bins (I went to Target ,which had a superb selection). I bought mine due to the size (two medium size cats could fit comfortable within )and the bright color makes it easy to see if you need to dig out when it snows.

I also bought an exacto-knife, and masking tape there. Then I ordered some MYLAR Rescue Blankets. They are inexpensive but can be life savers. MYLAR RESCUE BLANKETS provides compact emergency Protection in all weather condition
Made of durable insulation Mylar material,Retains/reflects 90% of body heat ,and are
Waterproof and weatherproof .


Finally, I bought some inexpensive Turkey basting pans (24lbs size). I also pulled out some old plastic bags from various stores that I had saved, some old cloth material that I tore up,and a bunch of old vhs tapes that I was going to toss out (you will be able to substitute other items for this).


First, I took the old cloth,and stuffed them into the plastic bags. I saw that two would fit comfortably into the basting pan . I then tightly sealed and then taped them carefully shut. The reason for this is to provide bedding for the cats, but te plastic will prevent the material from getting wet and moldy.


(2 bags filled with cloth,sealed and taped to prevent moisture)


Then I took the container and the exacto , & I cut a hole/door large enough for the largest cat to get though, but not too large as to prevent wind and water pouring in. Roughly 6″ x 6″ .



Then I took the Mylar ,and cut it into sheets to line the interior walls of the shelter.The black masking tape was used to keep the strips in place . The mylar would be a great help as it will reflect the body heat of the cats back to them.


Then taking the masking tape,I lined the opening of the box with black masking tape to protect the cats from any jagged edges as well as to reduce the cracking of the plastic .img_20161017_104619833

Next ,I put the old video tapes in the bottom of the container. This served three purposes, to act as extra insulation against the cold, to raise the beds should any water get in , and act as weight for the shelter in case of high winds . You can use other material to help serve the same purposes .


Onto this I placed the turkey pan. I bent the lip a bit so that moisture was less likely to pour into the pan ,keeping the cats dry .img_20161017_104733213

I then placed the two bags of cloth into the pan. The cats now had comfortable beds.


I taped the top part of the box to the container, and tried to seal any space between lid and box with black masking tape .


(By the way, are parents really trying to store their babies?)


I also took some strong plastic that was used to ship packages, and attaching it above the opening, it made an easy to move curtain for the cats. They could move it and enter with little effort and this would also serve to prevent rain from getting in .


Cat tested and approved.


The first one proved a great success and was used the inaugural night by at least one of the feral cats. I had completed the shelter one just in time ,as we were hit with high winds, a 30 degree temperature drop in two days and massive rains.


Putting my hand into the shelter after I saw one of the ferals exit it,I found it was
completely dry, and actually a bit warmer than the outside air . The insulation had worked.


You can play around with the designs a bit.

My second shelter,I decided to cut the door 3/4 ,and bend the plastic up into a sort of porch roof . Again ,this would provide more shelter for the cats entering and exiting.


For the door flap,I took the plastic bag from cat food which was very strong ,plastic, waterproof ,and re-enforced , and used that as a cat flap.img_20161024_125121589

My own cats had no trouble checking out the shelters and getting in and out.


The shelters placed outside ,next to a feeding station and water.


Please observe local regulations about the feeding of cats (clean up and dispose of food, etc ).

You may of course have to take the shelters in every once and awhile to clean them up and perhaps replace damaged mylar or cat beds. That is simple to do by just cutting off the tape sealing the lid, and reach in to do your repairs. If weather is bad, you can always bring it in to your work areas, and then return it when done.

I do wish to raise the cat shelters off the ground , but am at present looking for inexpensive material that is safe and will not endanger the cats or the shelters if placed upon them.

The idea of raising is to prevent predators from trapping the cats and the animals becoming trapped in a huge snowstorm.

If you have any comments and suggestions ,please feel free to do so.

Also feel free to share this how to guide if you feel it can help save animals.

Kevin G Shinnickcatscarf

1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, American International Pictures, book, BOOK REVIEW, Bruce Hallenbeck, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, cult, fantasy, genre, hemlock books, Horror, rare, review, Roger Corman, SCIENCE FICTION, studio history, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, wierd


ROCK ‘N’ROLL MONSTERS: THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL STORY by Bruce Hallenbeck (Hemlock Books) paperback pages 280 published August ,2016

U.K. £16.25
U.S.: $47.85

Author /film historian Bruce Hallenbeck has published another must have book for lovers of movies. After giving us wonderful books on many of the British companies Amicus and Hammer, Bruce Hallenbeck turns his focus on the little upstart company that grew and challenged the majors in areas where they could not or did not compete. American International Pictures finally began to become a major, only to find that the other studios were now churning out higher end versions of the type of movies that AIP had done, and so the studio vanished into corporate buyouts after 26 years.aiplogo001

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES began when studios began to lose audiences to television. Small independent producers began to create their own films outside the studio system after the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 (1948) forced theatres to divest themselves from owning theatres and keeping out other producers.aip_logo_2_4200

Rock ‘n’ Roll Monsters: The American International Story is a 2016 book by Bruce G Hallenbeck (The Amicus Anthology; The Hammer Frankenstein; The Hammer Vampire), published by British-based Hemlock Books.
In the early 1950s, the traditional American film industry was facing a crisis due to one thing: television. Two men from totally different backgrounds pooled their talents and tapped into the burgeoning ‘teenage’ market, and American International Pictures was born.gw228h126

Founded by James H. Nicholson, a fantasy /science fiction horror fan (he had known Forrest J Ackerman since High School and had even published an early fanzine together) who had worked his way through the industry up to writing campaigns for Realart’s re-releases of Universal horror classics.

When Realart distributed MAN MADE MONSTER (Universal,1941) under the title ATOMIC MONSTER*, producer Alex Gordon had a script with the same title, he sought a legal settlement. The lawyer he brought had been seeking an entrance into film production by the name of Samuel Z. Arkoff. Arkoff got Gordon a $500 settlement but more important the three men all hit it off with their similar love of making movies. In a strange way, Universal had created a monster that rose to challenge their status as a maker of creature features.james
Nicholson and Arkoff sought completed product to start their new company. They had tested the waters with a small documentary in 1953 called OPERATION MALAYA released by their company AMERICAN RELEASING CORPORATION. **     The man credited as producer on that film also became an important component to the company’s development, Herman Cohen.

However, the company had its first real success when they met the filmmaker who made them a viable entity, Roger Corman. The filmmaker had a film called THE FAST & THE FURIOUS (1954, released nationally in 1955). He had been thinking of having another studio distribute his film, but after being taken around by Nicholson to the various sub distributors, he was so impressed that he decided to take a chance with the new company.

With borrowed money to keep the doors open, the film became profitable enough that company was off and running. The studio was also smart enough to capitalize on a market that the major studios were neglecting, teenagers.

While many of their early films starred older performers, as the company developed, younger actors took the spotlight and became the heroes and heroines. Young audiences responded with their newly available dollars.
As the 1960s began, the studios moved into more expensive productions, and made Edgar Allan Poe a hot property.
Bruce Hallenbeck tells the story of the studio with clarity and affection, and has done a lot of research. His choice of mostly British lobby cards is most welcome to an American fan of the genre such as myself.


Towards the final portion of the book, there is a sense of rushing to the end. That may be because of editorial choices wishing to keep the book under the mass of a Stephen King novel. One wishes that the author had been allowed to expand his research into two books, as there is a very rich history. Also, except for a few brief references, Nicholson’s contribution to the success of the company is often overlooked and Arkoff’s a bit overblown. Several people felt that Nicholson was the creative force behind the studio, and several of the artists disliked dealing with the crude Arkoff.


That said, the book, like all of Hallenbeck’s studio studies as well as Hemlock Books, is definitely worth picking up.
-Kevin G Shinnick

*-This was a script that Alex Gordon had co-written with Ed Wood that was also known as ‘Bride of The Atom” before finally being titled BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955, released through Banner Productions, oddly, not ARC / A.I.P.)ghost-in-the-invisible-bikini-still-gorilla

**-if you were not a major company, you had your film distributed by several small regional sub distributors.


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1950s, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, cult, dvd, genre, Horror, OLIVE FILMS, review, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, UNITED ARTISTS, vampire, VAMPIRES

RETURN OF DRACULA -Blu Ray -Olive Films

51zquv8e5slTHE RETURN OF DRACULA (April 12,1958) Blu Ray -Olive Films -Available October 18,2016. $29.95 B&W/color 77 minutes.



One of the most sadly neglected of the Dracula films is THE RETURN OF DRACULA, One of four horror films produced by Gramercy Pictures (the others being THE VAMPIRE and THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (1957) (released as a co bill) and THE FLAME BARRIER (1958) (which was the co bill for RETURN OF DRACULA) and released through UNITED ARTISTS, they were well made well-acted horror films that are often overlooked as they were not part of the AIP or Hammer Films of the 1950s. Indeed, one month later, Hammer released its Technicolor masterpiece, HORROR OF DRACULA (distributed by Universal) and many other terror films got left in the dust.


(In England, the film was known as THE FANTASTIC DISAPPEARING MAN !)

OLIVE FILMS new Blu Ray release gives the movie a proper release for its re-evaluation. It had previously been released on VHS by MGM and on an MGM/MIDNIGHT MOVIE co bill with THE VAMPIRE. Both have been out of print for years.


The new OLIVE FILM Blu Ray looks a bit sharper than the MGM DVD that I compared it to. The old disc tended to sometimes be too dark in places (I have not seen the new OLIVE FILMS DVD (available via ) but I am sure that it is also less dark). The picture looks amazingly sharp for a 58-year-old film shot for $125,000.


The film’s screenplay (by Pat Fielder, who wrote all 4 of Gramercy’s horror/sci fi films) echoes that of SHADOW OF A DOUBT and SON OF DRACULA (both Universal,1943) wherein a mysterious stranger arrives and turns the lives of a small town upside down.


                                                                   (Old Super 8mm release )

In SHADOW, it is Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) who is a notorious serial killer who returns to his hometown to elude his pursuers. In SON, it is Dracula himself (Lon Chaney Jr) under the alias of Alucard who is hiding out in a small bayou Southern town.


shadow of a doubt


 The  Return of Dracula 

RETURN begins with several vampire hunters led by Dr Merryman (John Wengraf, a German actor who fled Hitler’s madness, only to be often typecast in Hollywood as a Nazi!) in an unnamed Central European country. The opening narration tells the legend of Count Dracula, though it never directly refers to the vampire in this film as the Count himself (the novel was public domain in the U.S. since Stoker failed to comply with a portion of the U.S. Copyright Law. However, it was still under the Berne Convention copyright until 1962 in the U.K. and other countries. Hence the clever way of referencing the character but never saying if it is him or not). They are in a crypt (the name on the side of the coffin is Grof Naov Istvan, but that may be one that monster has merely taken over), awaiting sunset to stake the vampire, but at the precise moment when the coffin is flung open, they find it is empty.


We jump then to a train station wherein an artist named Bellac Gordal (an uncredited Norbert Schiller, who would later play a small role in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Fox,1974) is being allowed to leave and go to America. It is hinted that they are in an Iron Curtain Country, and that he is fleeing to be able to paint without government obstruction. Once he boards the train, his fellow passenger (whom we see only behind a newspaper, which is itself supernatural, changing in 3 quick cuts from the German Berliner Tageblatt to a Hungarian Maygar Szo then inside the German paper MODEN-SPEIGEL, which has English on its back page!) attacks him.


We jump again now to a small California town of Carleton where a young boy Mickey (Jimmy Baird) plays in an abandoned mine (Bronson Cavern once again), and decides to leave his unseen kitten trapped in the mines shaft (who gave this kid a pet?) when he hears a train whistle and tells his family of the arriving train. It seems the Cora Mayberry (Greta Granstedt) is expecting her cousin Bellac whom she hasn’t seen since they were children. When they get to the station, they are told that no one has left the train but that some mysterious luggage has been left. However, a strange man well-groomed man (Czech born stage and film actor Francis Lederer) appears on the platform.” Cora?” he says. She takes him for Bellac and the family takes him home.

Rachel Mayberry (Norma Eberhardt ),the family’s teenage daughter, is particularly drawn to her uncle as she is an artist and fascinated by his (un)worldliness. Bellac has several quirks (no mirrors in his room, sleeping throughout the day) which they accept as probably the result of artistic temperament or ill treatment in his native land. Rachel’s boyfriend Tim Hansen ( Ray Stricklyn ) is not such a big fan of the new arrival. Meanwhile, Mickey discovers that his kitten is dead, covered in blood (what did you expect though kid? You left it in a mine shaft?).


Rachel takes Bellac to meet her friend Jenny ,( Virginia Vincent )who is ill and blind . Unfortunately, Bellac decides that she is to be is to be his next victim. We see that Bellac has his coffin within the abandoned mine.
He awakes within and in slow motion his hand creeps spiderlike out of the box and opens it. The vampire then sits up through a haze of dry ice and sits up and opens his eyes. Bellac tells the blind woman that she can see him, but when she stares, she screams and becomes a victim of the undead.


Dr Merryman arrives in town looking for his quarry, and things start escalating with a vampire staking (a brief flash of color as blood oozes out, which must have made people jump at the time, and a bit of expense splicing that into prints), ending with a final confrontation within the old mine.


The film moves really quickly, and wastes no time of its short span. The actors pretty much play easy stereotypes (mother, teenage daughter, bratty younger brother, the boyfriend) with the film belonging to Lederer. Wearing his overcoat as a cape and his brylcreemed hair looks like an older gigolo, but perhaps that is fitting for a great seducer. He makes great use of his voice and stillness, and draws attention to himself in every scene that he is in.


The Blu Ray has strong deep blacks but doesn’t lose details in the night scenes (indeed, except for the first scene, the whole film takes places at night or interiors.). The mono sound is clear and free of hiss, and the score by Gerald Fried (using a frantic and booming “Die Irae “) properly propels the movie along.
The subtitles are clean and easy to read and follows the dialogue exactly. The only extra is the film’s trailer.


While I would have liked a commentary track of some sort, I do not think that you will be disappointed by adding this Olive Films Blu Ray of THE RETURN OF DRACULA.


-Kevin G Shinnick

Ps- Francis Lederer returned and this time was indeed DRACULA when he appeared as the Count in an episode of T.V.’s NIGHT GALLERY. In the episode,” The Devil Is Not Mocked”, he dispatches of some very nasty Nazis.


1930S, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, cult, Film Detective, FILM NOIR, friend, genre, Hammer Films, Hitchcock, Horror, humor, RICHARD VALLEY, Uncategorized



It is hard for me to grasp still but that it has been nine years since writer, playwright, editor, publisher, actor, and friend RICHARD VALLEY passed away.


What I wrote quickly then

kevin g shinnick

Posts: 15257
Oct 12 07 11:37 AM

RICHARD VALLEY, SCARLET STREET EDITOR, has passed away at age 58.

He leaves behind a beloved mother, and his love of over a quarter century,
Tommy Amorosi.


Since then, many other fanzines have ceased publications, many other friends in the genre have gone on to join him in the great beyond, and many of the issues that were important to him have become political fodder once again.

To me, though, it is a personal loss of a man who was a great true and loyal friend who could irritate the hell out of me and then move one with his extreme generosity and kindness.

I have been lucky to have had four truly great friends in my existence, and though now two have departed, I still cherish them all.

I hope that each and every one of you is fortunate enough to know or have known such a shining presence in your life.
-Kevin G Shinnickscarlet-issue-55

Feel free to share any memories that you have of Richard and SCARLET STREET.

I hope you enjoy the    and share it with your friends.


BIG THANKS to JOHN C STOSKOPF for preserving SCARLET STREET and painstakingly scanning them to post them online for people to enjoy the work of Richard and so many contributors.