Category: Horror

The Brute Man

I recently watched “The Brute Man” as the second part of the double feature dvd “M is for Madman”. “M is for Madman” is the third in Bill Blacks’ Crypt of Horror series which takes us back to the days when drive-in movies and late night horror hosts were two of the things that made weekends so much fun. “M is for Madman” features “The Man Who Turned to Stone” and “The Brute Man” hosted by Lon Madnight.

Lon Madnight
is our horror host. He appears before and after each film to provide insightful trivia about the movie to be seen and later leave us with some final thoughts and a chuckle or two. He’s exactly what’s needed in a horror host. The production values on the dvd are top notch. The films are crisp and clear with excellent sound. The movies can be seen without the Lon Madnight openings and closings, but they’re so much fun, who’d want to miss them? Priced at less than twenty bucks for two remastered movies and Lon Midnight — you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper evening of family fun.

I reviewed “The Man Who Turned to Stone” here, so let’s take a look at “The Brute Man”

The Pitch: “Frankenstein” meets “The Dark Man” set in the 1940s. A star high school football player is left disfigured by a practical joke and years later comes back for revenge.

The Good: The movie moves at a brisk pace. All of the cliches of the genre can be found here: spinning newspapers with headlines updating us on what we’ve just seen, the blind girl who doesn’t know she’s harboring the killer, a huge disfigured monster who walks the streets at night and easily escapes the cops after each murder… and there’s even some comic relief with the chief of police and city commissioners. And let’s not forget Rondo Hattan.

The Bad: How The Creeper kills his victims – he breaks their backs!

The Ugly: The Creeper.

The Summary: There are a couple of things that will make this a must own dvd for fans of the genre:

1] It was produced by Universal Pictures, so completists will want it for their collection to place along side “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” etc.

2] It stars Rondo Hatton as the monster. Hattan suffered from acromegaly, a disease which caused abnormal growth of his hands, feet, and face. Because of the disfigurement caused by the disease, makeup wasn’t needed for Hattan. Most reports attribute the onset of this disease to Hattan’s exposure to mustard gas in World War I. Hattan is somewhat of a legend among horror buffs and even has a horror award named after him!

Trivia: Janelle Johson had a supporting role in the film. Her biggest claim to fame is probably that she is the mother of Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees!

If you’d like to see a clip of the first three minutes of “The Brute Man” click HERE

Sammy Terry

Here is a link to about 20 minutes of Sammy Terry from the early 80’s. Of course I started watching Sammy when he premiered in the early 60’s out of Indianapolis when I was but a child. You can imagine how spooky he seemed in black and white. [That’s right youngsters, there was a time when television shows weren’t broadcast in living color.]

I don’t guess you’ll watch the entire clip, but if you do you’ll see ads for used cars, Billy Graham, a brand new $350 VCR, John McEnroe, Cowboy Bob and a bunch of other stuff… but Sammy Terry is the reason to click on the link.

The Man Who Turned to Stone

Longtime ZONErs know how much I enjoyed watching horror/monster movies as a kid growing up in Indianaespecially those shown by late night horror host Sammy Terry. For years I’ve been saying that someone needs to find a horror host and run a double feature of scary movies late on Saturday night. Although, no major network has stepped up to the plate, my buddy Bill Black has released a series of dvds that fits the bill [as in black].

Last night I watched “M is for Madman” the third in Bill’s Crypt of Horror series. It’s a double feature of “The Man Who Turned to Stone” and “The Brute Man” hosted by Lon Madnight. Madnight [whose name is a play on “London After Midnight” – the lost, silent horror film starring Lon Chaney] maintains the perfect balance of insightful trivia about the movie to be seen and bad puns. He’s just what the doctor [or at least I] ordered. The production values on the dvd are top notch. The films are crisp and clear with excellent sound. The movies can be seen without the Lon Madnight openings and closings, but they’re so much fun, who’d want to miss them? Priced at less than twenty bucks for two remastered movies and Lon Midnight — you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper evening of family fun.

So let’s take a look at “The Man Who Turned to Stone”The Pitch: Mad scientists run a woman’s reformatory and drain the “bio-electrical” life force from inmates in order to prolong their unnatural lives.

The Good: The special effects are surprisingly well done for a low-budget film of this era. You’re slowly made to realize that the people in charge of the reformatory aren’t just bad, they’re…

The Bad: This isn’t a classic horror movie — it’s bad in all the right ways. The hero kind of looks like Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Ugly: What happens when Eric doesn’t get enough “bio-electrical” life force.

The Summary: “The Man Who Turned to Stone” isn’t a classic, but it’s better than you’d expect given it’s lack of budget and notoriety. It’s exactly the kind of movie that works when you’re in the mood for an old time horror movie that you haven’t watched a million times. I can’t wait to watch it with friends/family who love scary movies.


Comics, Movies, and Lon Midnight

This morning I headed over to the the Daytona Beach Comic and Toy Show. My buddy, Steve Myers, runs it and I knew that several other friends were going to be there as well. The plan was we’d all meet up at the show and then some of us would cut out for lunch. It was great seeing Bill and Reb Black, Nick Northey, Tim Gordon, Mark Gmuer, and Chris Hanson. I’d hoped to meet Jerry DeCaire, but he was running late and arrived just as I was leaving. John Beatty and Bella were also running late, and decided to just meet us at Uno’s for lunch. When we left the show there had already been over 100 people through the doors, so it looked to be a success.

Lunch at Uno’s was fun. How could it not be when you’re sharing table time with Bill Black and John Beatty? Bill brought me some dvd’s that I’d been wanting to see from his online movie store. The amount of product that Bill has available [ranging from horror to superhero to tv detectives to…] is amazing. I’m especially looking forward to the horror movies hosted by Lon Midnight! [That’s Lon and me in the photo above. If you’re not sure which of us is the horror host, it’s the guy on the right.]
After lunch we all headed in different directions, but all plan to get together at Tim Gordon’s August Show. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Joe Ain’t the Pitts

The Pitch: Updated Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King.The Overview: Vampyres live among us. The world doesn’t know that they exist, but they do. They can’t turn into bats or mist. Crosses don’t kill them; in fact bullets don’t either… usually. They’re strong; they’re fast and victims of a vyrus. Most are members of one of the many clans… safety in numbers and all that. Word is that a clan war is brewing, and that’s the least of Joe Pitt’s problems.The Good: Charlie Huston can write. Joe Pitt’s attitude [which is bad]. Stretch the midget vampyre. What Joe is willing to risk for Evie. The attack at the side show.

The Bad: The vampyre freaks. The side show. The beating Joe takes.

The Ugly: Joe Pitt’s vengeance.

The Summary: Half the Blood of Brooklyn is an excellent example of why Charlie Huston is one of my favorite writers. He’s created a world of vampyres that could exist outside my window NOW. The only caveat is that the books are best read in order: Already Dead; No Dominion; Half the Blood of Brooklyn.

Look Out for Femme Noir

Next month, the first issue of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries, written by Chris Mills and drawn by Joe Staton, will be listed in Diamond Comics Distribution’s Previews. If you get Previews, I’d like you to check it out. My guess is after doing so, you’ll want to order a copy. If you don’t get previews, then please ask your local comic shop owner to take a look at it.

Femme Noir is a cartoon crime comic inspired by Eisner’s The Spirit, Gould’s Dick Tracy, plus a healthy mix of cliffhanger serials, B-movies, pulp magazines, and more. Each issue will feature a 28 page standalone story [how rare is that!] plus two pin-ups by guest artists!

Issues #1 and #3 are inked by Horacio Ottolini, issues #2 and #4 by Mark Stegbauer. Colors are provided by Melissa Kaercher and Matt Webb. As an added bonus, each issue is offered with two covers: one pencilled by Joe Staton and then digitally painted by Alfredo Lopez Jr, with the second by a guest artist. Those guest artists are Brian Bolland, Matt Haley, Phil Hester, and the late Mike Wieringo. [Some fans will buy the issues just for the guest covers!]

The official Femme Noir website is Check out the website and if you like what you see, help me spread the word. [And no, I’m not getting any kickbacks. I like Chris Mills’ work — especially his crime comic Gravedigger — and I’d like to see Chris and Joe Staton get the audience they deserve on Femme Noir. If it wasn’t a worthy comic, I wouldn’t be talking it up… and you wouldn’t still be reading this.]