Thanks to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) the world was introduced to so many beauties that were bold enough to take off their clothes to become a Playmate of the Month. Some went on to have stardom in movies and on TV, while others took different career paths. Some died too young, but thankfully many are still with us.
Now, the Top 10 Playmates I love the most:
1. Janet Lupo – Miss November (1975)
2. Shannon Tweed – Miss November (1981)
3. Candy Loving – Miss January (1979)
4. Lynda Wiesmeier – Miss July (1982)
(May 30, 1963 – December 16, 2012)
5. Traci Adell – Miss July (1994) (Ho-stess’s Side Note: Aside from Pammie, Ms. Adell is my personal fave :))
6. Cynthia Jeanette Myers – Miss December (1968)
(September 12, 1950 – November 4, 2011)
7. Petra Verkaik – Miss December (1989)
8. Dorothy Stratten – Miss August (1979)
(February 28, 1960 – August 14, 1980)
9. Pamela Anderson – Miss February (1990) (Ho-stess’s Side Note: #QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Filmland has just lost one of its most famous monsters…
Legendary artist Basil Gogos was, without a doubt, one of the finest painters known to horror. His jaw-dropping, mind-melting portraits of cinema’s greatest fiends graced the covers of many, many issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Starting with an eerie portrait of Vincent Price for Famous Monsters #9, Gogos created almost 50 wondrously macabre works for the publication. Gogos often bathed his monstrous subjects with brilliant colors from multiple light sources, highlighting their fearsome features with expressionistic radiance. His subjects included The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, King Kong, Godzilla, Gill-man, Mr. Sardonicus, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and many other beloved fright icons. Mr. Gogos also brought his distinctive flair to CD covers for rock acts Rob Zombie, The Misfits and Electric Frankenstein.
Farewell, Basil Gogos. Your paintings brought out the beauty in the beast and inspired generations of monster lovers. Thank you for bringing color to black-and-white monsters. 🙂
(Ho-wdy, Ho-rror Ho-mies…Apologies for dropping the ball a bit around here for the last little bit. I had some personal matters to attend to, butt now I’m back in action and ready to make the spookening happen. 🙂 First up, a review of something near and dear to my cold, black heart…Death Note. This take on the new NetfliXXX adaptation presented by Mr. Anton Phibes…Thanks for the interesting input, Kinky Kolleague! 🙂 xoxo)
It’s a tired cliche to say that the pen is mightier than the sword, but that old chestnut is given new gravity in Adam Wingard’s Death Note, an American incarnation of the popular Japanese franchise. In the film, a few strokes of a pen etched within a most peculiar notebook are all it takes to kill anyone at anytime. Imbued with the abilities of a literal death god, the titular “Death Note” is the murder weapon to end all murder weapons: elegant, efficient, and damn-near impossible to trace. The notebook’s current owner uses its awesome power to purge the world of those he deems evil, resulting in an epic battle of wits between the wielder of the book and those who seek to stop him.
Since 2003, Death Note has been adapted many times over. Starting with the anime adaptation of the original manga, each interpretation retains the primary characters and certain scenes, but always tells its own version of the tale, with new twists and wrinkles. However, despite the many variations on the same story, it seems most adapters agree that the material is simply too much to tell one outing. The manga spawned 12 volumes, the anime series has 37 episodes, the Japanese live-action films gave its take in two films, and the live-action mini-series had 11 episodes. Regardless of the changes made, Death Note is still a massive story. And that is where the problems begin. A story as sprawling as Death Note shouldn’t be confined to a little over 90 mins. The picture feels rushed and overloaded, losing much of the power previous tellings had. What’s worse is that precious screen time is spent on paltry teen drama that exists in no other version. Instead of building up the rivalry between the murderous Light and the detective L that’s so central to the franchise, it places emphasis on a boring girlfriend character who would not be out of place in a Disney Channel movie. Much of the suspense is replaced with teen angst, questions on the nature of justice are tossed out for bland romance, and the Light depicted here is more of an awkward teenager than a diabolical vigilante. The entire affair has the unfortunate quality of feeling like a man in an iron maiden: cramped and bloodless.
Despite these considerable flaws, I actually did find quite a bit to love here. Adam Wingard’s direction is superbly stylishly, with extraordinary color usage, some fun death scenes, and some truly moody moments. Light’s character is significantly neutered compared to previous takes, but Nate Wolff does an admirable job as this version of the character. The other performances range from pretty good to downright excellent, with Lakeith Stanfield’s L and Willem Dafoe as the death god Ryuk emerging on top. Speaking of Ryuk, the effects used to bring him to life(?) are simply marvelous, giving him a Satanic grace and a perfectly demonic appearance.
Death Note is likely to disappoint fans of the source material, but may be of interest to those who love teen horror. There are moments that evoke the black magic of the franchise, but it’s best taken as on its own. Wingard’s film is deeply flawed, but not without flashes of greatness. Perhaps if he makes that rumored sequel, Wingard will deliver a film that lives up to the both his own potential and that of the material. There’s still time to make us see the Light.
“Before Halloween…. Before Friday The 13th…. Before Scream…. There Was The Saw.”
Modern horror has just lost one of its chief architects…
Rest in peace, Tobe Hooper, the man who changed the horror genre forever with a chainsaw buzz heard around the world…
With The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mr. Hooper scared the pants off of America with documentarian-like realism and a unbearable dread unknown to the genre before it. Hooper set a new standard for fright films and popularized the “masked slasher” villain that would forever be associated with the genre. Few filmmakers can claim to have changed cinema, but Hooper was surely among those elite few.
Beyond that masterpiece, Mr. Hooper has given us some of the best and most unusual scare-fare in all of horror. His credits include Poltergeist, The Funhouse (my personal favorite), Lifeforce, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Eaten Alive. For television, Hooper gave us the origin of Freddy Krueger in an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares. He even directed the post-apocalyptic music video of Dancing With Myself for Billy Idol.
Tobe Hooper was a true master of horror and he will be missed by all lovers of the macabre.
Haruo Nakajima was, in more ways than one, the King of the Monsters. From 1954 to 1972, Nakajima was the man behind Godzilla, donning the legendary suit for some of the greatest monster movies of all time. As if one timeless sci-fi icon wasn’t enough, the great Nakajima also portrayed Rodan Varan, Baragon, Gaira, the larva form of Mothra, and several kaijus in both Ultra Q and Ultraman. Nakajima was a true giant in genre cinema and his creatures will continue to inspire both fright and delight in fright fans for many years to come. Haruo Nakajima was an incredible, unstoppable titan of terror.
We lost two true legends today: director George A. Romero and actor Martin Landau. Romero was the man who gave us the zombie film as we know it today, Landau brought Bela Lugosi back to life for director Tim Burton. Both men were masters of their craft and will be deeply missed by us all. During this week, we will be paying homage to these two fallen icons. Thank you, gentlemen. May you rest well. xoxo