September 2013

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Monday, September 30, 2013

ICFIFC: No Blade of Grass

The Death of Grass (published in the United States as No Blade of Grass) is a 1956 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the English author Samuel Youd under the pen name John Christopher.  It was the first in a series of post-apocalyptic novels written by him, and the plot concerns a virus that kills off all forms of grass.

The novel was written in a matter of weeks and liberated Samuel Youd from his day job.  It was retitled No Blade of Grass for the US edition, as supposedly the US publisher thought the original title "sounded like something out of a gardening catalogue". 

A new virus strain has infected rice crops in East Asia causing massive famine; soon a mutation appears which infects the staple crops of West Asia and Europe such as wheat and barley, all of them types of grasses (thus the novel's title), threatening a famine engulfing the whole of the Old World, while Australasia and the Americas attempt to impose rigorous quarantine to keep the virus out.

The novel follows the struggles of engineer John Custance and his friend, civil servant Roger Buckley, as, along with their families, they make their way across an England which is rapidly descending into anarchy, hoping to reach the safety of John's brother's potato farm in an isolated Westmorland valley.  Picking up a travelling companion in a gun shop owner named Pirrie, they find they must sacrifice many of their morals in order to stay alive.  At one point, when their food supply runs out, they kill a family to take their bread.  The protagonist justifies this with the belief that "it was them or us."

By the time they reach the valley, they have accumulated a considerable entourage as a result of their encounters with other groups of survivors along the way.  They find that John's brother is unable to let them all in to the heavily-defended valley.  Pirrie acts to prevent John leaving the group and taking only his immediate family into the valley; instead, the group takes the valley by force.  Pirrie and John's brother are killed; John takes possession of the valley.


No Blade of Grass (1970)

  • Genre: Drama - Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Cornel Wilde
  • Produced: Cornel Wilde
  • Written:
    • John Christopher (Novel) 
    • Sean Forestal (Screenplay)  
    • Cornel Wilde (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Nigel Davenport, Jean Wallace, Anthony May, John Hamill, Lynne Frederick, Patrick Holt, Wendy Richard, Anthony Sharp, Bridget Brice, Bruce Myers, Christopher Neame, Cornel Wilde, George Coulouris, John Buckley, John Lewis, Michael Percival, Norman Atkyns, Ruth Kettlewell, Tex Fuller, William Duffy
  • Music:
    • Burnell Whibley 
    • Charles Carroll 
    • Louis Nelius
  • Cinematography: H.A.R. Thomson
  • Editing:
    • Eric Boyd-Perkins  
    • Frank Clarke
  • Studio: Theodora Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  
    • MGM-EMI  
    • MGM/UA Home Video  
    • Warner Home Video   
    • Cinefear
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 23 October 1970
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Country:
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
  • Language: English

Environmental pollution turns a normally harmless virus into an uncontrollable plague that is deadly to crops, and famine spreads throughout Britain.  Biochemist Roger Burnham convinces his friend John Custance that Custance and his family must leave London immediately.  On the way to the well-stocked farm owned by Custance's brother, they stop to steal firearms from a supermarket.  The shopkeeper tries to stop them, but hoodlum Andrew Pirrie, who with his wife, Clara, has joined the party, shoots the man, and the group escape.  Later, Custance's party is attacked by a band of motorcyclists who steal their cars and supplies and rape Custance's wife, Ann, and their daughter Mary.  When they finally camp for the night, Clara attempts to seduce John, but the outraged Pirrie shoots her.  Continuing on foot the next morning, they join another escaping group and finally reach the farm.

John's brother David is unwilling to permit such a large number of people on his farm, however, and John, unwilling to abandon the rest of the people, leads an attack on the farm.  David and many others are killed; the Custances and other survivors take over the land, determined to live in peace.

This potentially powerful material is unfortunately dealt with too melodramatically.  An overly conventional script and the confusing use of flash forwards mitigate the suspense the film might have generated, especially during the climactic action sequences.  What's more, characters are often merely stereotypes, especially the evil characters. However, there is an arresting bleakness to the arrangement of scenery and properties that makes this film worth a look.  Crops lie destroyed, and fields are littered with bodies of the dead.  Significantly, this desolate landscape predates the apocalyptic vision of George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD.  The direction is by Wilde, who starred in numerous swashbucklers during the 1940s and 1950s after being a member of the US Olympic Fencing team.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

DNDF: Turning People Into Reptiles

Reptilians (also called reptoids, reptiloids, or draconians) are purported reptilian humanoids that play a prominent role in science fiction, as well as modern ufology and conspiracy theories.  The idea of reptilians on Earth was popularized by David Icke, a conspiracy theorist who says shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies.  Icke has claimed on multiple occasions that many of the world leaders are, or are possessed by, reptilians attempting to gain power to rule the world.

According to British writer David Icke, 5- to 12-foot (1.5–3.7 m) tall, blood-drinking, shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from the Alpha Draconis star system, now hiding in underground bases, are the force behind a worldwide conspiracy against humanity.  He contends that most of the world's leaders are related to these reptilians, including George W. Bush of the United States, and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.  Icke's conspiracy theories now have supporters in 47 countries and he has given lectures to crowds of up to 6,000.   American writer Vicki Santillano included it in her list of the 10 most popular conspiracy theories, describing it as the "wackiest theory" she had encountered.  A poll of Americans in 2013 by Public Policy Polling showed that 4% of registered voters believed in David Icke's ideas.

Now I have known plenty of people who believed in theories like the faked moon landing or the JFK assassination but I have never met anyone who believed in the Lizard People theory.  But that isn’t to say it wouldn’t make a great horror/sci-fi movie plot. 

Sssssss (1973)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Bernard L. Kowalski
  • Produced:
    • David Brown 
    • Robert Butner 
    • Daniel C. Striepeke 
    • Richard D. Zanuck
  • Written:
    • Hal Dresner (Screenplay) 
    • Daniel C. Striepeke (Story)
  • Starring: Strother Martin, Dirk Benedict, Heather Menzies, Richard B. Shull, Tim O'Connor, Jack Ging, Kathleen King, Reb Brown
  • Music: Patrick Williams
  • Cinematography: Gerald Perry Finnerman
  • Editing: Robert Watts
  • Studio:
    • Universal Pictures 
    • Zanuck/Brown Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Universal Pictures  
    • National Broadcasting Company  
    • Umbrella Entertainment  
    • Future Film  
    • MCA/Universal Pictures
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: July 1973
  • Running Time: 99 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Sssssss (released as Ssssnake in the UK) received a nomination for the Best Science Fiction Film award of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1975.

The movie begins with Dr. Carl Stoner (Martin) selling a mysterious creature in a crate to a carnival owner.  It is later discovered that the creature is actually part-man/part-snake, the result of one of Stoner's bizarre experiments. College student David Blake (Benedict) is hired as an assistant by Stoner, an ophiologist.  It transpires that Stoner's previous assistant had mysteriously left town without telling anyone (Stoner explains that he had gone back home to attend to a sick relative).

Unbeknownst to David or anyone else, Stoner is a delusional man, convinced that humanity is doomed and is attempting to prepare for what he believes to be the inevitable by working out a method of transforming humans into reptiles that can survive pollution and any other ecological disaster that would wipe humanity out.

Stoner begins David on a course of injections, purportedly as a safeguard against being bitten by a snake in his lab.  David's skin slowly starts to change and even peel like a snakeskin.  David begins a romance with Stoner's daughter Kristina (Menzies), although her father objects and insists that she not have any sexual relations with him.  David becomes increasingly perturbed by the strange side effects of the injections.  Kristina visits a carnival freak show and is horrified when she sees a bizarre "snake-man", whom she recognizes as Stoner's previous assistant, Tim.

Distraught, she races back home to save David who is currently mutating into a cobra, brought about by the injections that Stoner has been giving him.  Stoner is bitten by a real cobra from his lab and dies, just as David's transformation is complete.  Kristina arrives home and finds her father dead with the real cobra next to him.  The police then arrive and shoot the cobra before heading to the lab where a mongoose is attacking David's neck, attempting to kill him.  But the police do not have a clear shot, and as Kristina screams David's name the movie ends abruptly, leaving their fates uncertain.

The film's executive producers were Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who went on to produce Jaws.  This film was released by Universal as a double feature with The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973), making the program one of the last double bills released by the studio.


Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)

  • Genre: Horror - Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Larry Buchanan
  • Produced:
    • Larry Buchanan 
    • Edwin Tobolowsky
  • Written: Tony Huston
  • Starring: Bill Thurman, Francine York, Jeff Alexander, John Agar, Shirley McLine
  • Music: Ronald Stein
  • Cinematography: Ralph K. Johnson
  • Studio: Azalea Pictures
  • Distributed:
    • American-International Television  
    • BijouFlix Releasing  
    • Elite Entertainment  
    • Reel Media International  
    • Something Weird Video  
    • Video Dimensions
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 1966
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Curse of the Swamp Creature is a 1966 American film directed by Larry Buchanan.  Although Buchanan was producing extremely low budget 16mm color remakes of American International Pictures sci-fi movies for television distribution around this time, he claimed this was an original even though it bears more than a few striking similarities to the 1957 AIP film Voodoo Woman. 

Buchanan later said "never make a swamp picture. Your film comes back and it's all... strange."

Deep in the rural swamps of Texas the reclusive and ruthless wife-abusing mad scientist Dr. Simond Trent is conducting experiments in his laboratory on the local impoverished voodoo-worshiping black "natives" in an attempt to discover the secret to reversing evolution, feeding the failures to the alligators he keeps in his covered outdoor swimming pool.  When a party of oil surveyors comes upon his isolated yet strangely suburban-style home he decides to take the final step and turn one of them into a grotesque and virtually indestructible amphibious "Fish Man" so that he can take his revenge upon the world.

Despite showing the monster very prominently on the posters of the film which bill it as an "underwater terror from another age", other than brief, partial glimpses down into the mist-filled glass tank where its body is being modified from its original human form, the titular burly bald, Spock-eared and slit-pupiled, protruding ping pong ball-eyed creature only appears in the film for less than five minutes, and no scenes take place underwater.

And despite what many sources say, said webbed-fingered, hospital gown-clad creature was created using primitive prosthetic make-up and greyish green body paint and not the infamous cheap and phony-looking scalloped-scaled rubber wetsuit and fiercely-fanged fish head mask with painted ping pong ball eyes Buchanan later used in Creature of Destruction and 'It's Alive!'.

The movie was filmed in Uncertain, Texas where the Fly-N-Fish Lodge and Airport seen in early scenes still exists.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

CC: The Tomb

"The Tomb" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in June 1917 and first published in the March 1922 issue of The Vagrant.  It is the first work of fiction that Lovecraft wrote as an adult.

"The Tomb" tells of Jervas Dudley, a self-confessed day-dreamer.  While still a child, he discovers the entrance to a mausoleum, belonging to the family Hyde, whose nearby family mansion had burnt down many years previously. The entrance to the mausoleum is padlocked and slightly ajar.  Jervas attempts to break the padlock, but is unable.  Dispirited, he takes to sleeping beside the tomb.  Eventually, inspired by reading Plutarch's Lives, Dudley decides to patiently wait until it is his time to gain entrance to the tomb.

One night, several years later, Jervas falls asleep once more beside the mausoleum.  He awakes suddenly in the late afternoon, and believes that a light has been latterly extinguished from inside the tomb.  Taking leave, he returns to his home, where he goes directly to the attic, to a rotten chest, and therein finds the key to the tomb.

Once inside the mausoleum, Jervas discovers an empty coffin with the name of "Jervas" upon the plate.  He begins, so he believes, to sleep in the empty coffin each night.  He also develops a fear of thunder and fire, and is aware that he is being spied upon by one of his neighbors.

One night, against his better judgment, Jervas sets out for the tomb on an overcast night, a night threatening to storm.  As he approaches the tomb, he sees the Hyde mansion restored to its former state; there is a party in progress, which he joins, abandoning his former quietude for blasphemous hedonism.

During the party, lightning strikes the mansion, and it burns.  Jervas loses consciousness, having imagined himself being burnt to ashes in the blaze.

He finds himself screaming and struggling, being held by two men with his father in attendance.  A small antique box is discovered, having been unearthed by the recent storm.  Inside is a porcelain miniature of a man, with the initials "J.H."  Jervas fancies its face to be the mirror image of his own.

He begins jabbering that he has been sleeping inside the tomb.  His father, saddened by his son's mental instability, tells him that he has been watched for some time and has never gone inside the tomb, and indeed, the padlock is rusted with age.  Jervas is removed to an asylum, presumed mad.

He then asks his servant Hiram, who has remained faithful to him despite his current state, to explore the tomb – a request which Hiram fulfills.  After breaking the padlock and descending with a lantern into the murky depths, Hiram returns to his master and informs him that there is, indeed, a coffin with a plate which reads "Jervas" on it. Jervas then states that he has been promised burial in that coffin when he dies.


The Tomb (2007)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Ulli Lommel
  • Produced:
    • Ulli Lommel 
    • Nola Roeper 
    • Jeff Frentzen
  • Written:
    • H.P. Lovecraft (Short Story)  
    • Ulli Lommel (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Victoria Ullmann, Christian Behm, Gerard Griesbaum, Michael Barbour
  • Music: Robert J. Walsh
  • Cinematography: Bianco Pacelli
  • Editing: Christian Behm
  • Studio: The Shadow Factory Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Fenix Pictures  
    • Future Film  
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  
    • Peacock Films  
    • Sunfilm Entertainment  
    • Ytinifni
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 19 June 2007
  • Running Time: 81 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

HP Lovecraft's The Tomb is a 2007 United States production horror film that is supposedly based on H.P. Lovecraft's 1917 story, "The Tomb".  However, many reviewers have noted that the plot of this film is completely unrelated to the Lovecraft short story.

The film in fact has no single element whatsoever in common with the short story, save for the title.  The film is often compared to the 2004 movie, Saw, going as far as having that series mentioned on the box art.

The film is also known simply as The Tomb, but the title on the DVD case and onscreen is HP Lovecraft's The Tomb.  The movie was directed by Ulli Lommel.

Tara (Victoria Ullmann) and Billy (Christian Behm) awake in a dark basement or warehouse, bloodied and covered with wounds.  As they explore the empty surroundings, they find other wounded people who die in horrible ways at the hands of "The Puppetmaster," a sinister villain who plays a deadly game with them in which there will be only one survivor.  H.P. Lovecraft is mentioned several times during the course of the film by some characters, and the 'Puppetmaster' is referred to as 'Charles Dexter Ward' and one of his victims as 'Pickman' (a reference to Lovecraft's story Pickman's Model).  However these passing references to Lovecraftian characters (and a quote from one of Lovecraft's stories about going "beyond ye spheres") are largely irrelevant to the serial killer plot played out on screen.

Production of HP Lovecraft's The Tomb took place during August 2005 in Marina Del Rey, California, at a warehouse on Princeton Drive that has since been demolished.  The scenes at the "Palm Desert Motel" were shot on an indoor set at the same warehouse.  Exteriors were shot in the high desert near Palmdale, California.

Co-executive producer Jeff Frentzen is wearing the black gloves of the killer throughout the film.

An entire day's shooting was ruined by technical difficulties with the location audio.  The scenes that had to be re-shot were all of those featuring actor Michael Barbour.  The re-shot scenes, however, produced much better performances by Barbour and the other actors.  The production also reuses the same sets from Zombie Nation.

Other names for this affront to gothic horror are:

  • The Tomb - Condemned to Agony
  • H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams of the Witch-house
  • HP Lovecraft's The Tomb
  • Witch-house

Why not Dreams of the Witch-house?  This film has about as much in common with that story as it does with The Tomb.

Richard J. Ivankovic or DrFaustusAU as he's known on deviantART has been busy with his latest creation: H.P. Lovecraft's The Tomb (For Beginning Readers), a 60-page masterpiece that will surely be the choice reading material for today's Lovecraftian youth.

Take a look at the gallery at Neatorama for some pages, then head on over to his deviantART page for more:



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Images for the short story found via Google Image Search

Images for the film via screen grabs of the trailer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WTFW: Planet of The Vampires

As September draws to a close we are presented with the final recommendation from Rob Morganbesser.  Make sure you visit him on Twitter and thank him for the movie ideas.

Planet of the Vampires (1965)

  • Original Title: Terrore nello spazio
  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Mario Bava
  • Produced:
    • Samuel Z. Arkoff  
    • Salvatore Billitteri  
    • Fulvio Lucisano  
    • James H. Nicholson
  • Written:
    • Renato Pestriniero (Story "One Night of 21 Hours")  
    • Mario Bava (Screenplay)  
    • Alberto Bevilacqua (Screenplay)  
    • Callisto Cosulich (Screenplay)  
    • Antonio Román (Screenplay)  
    • Rafael J. Salvia (Screenplay)  
    • Louis M. Heyward (English Translation)  
    • Ib Melchior (English Translation)
  • Starring: Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Ángel Aranda, Evi Marandi, Stelio Candelli, Franco Andrei, Fernando Villena, Mario Morales, Ivan Rassimov, Federico Boido, Alberto Cevenini
  • Music: Gino Marinuzzi Jr.
  • Cinematography:
    • Antonio Pérez Olea  
    • Antonio Rinaldi  
    • Mario Bava
  • Editing:
    • Romana Fortini  
    • Antonio Gimeno
  • Studio:
    • American International Pictures  
    • Castilla Cooperativa Cinematográfica  
    • Italian International Film
  • Distributed:
    • American International Pictures  
    • Home Box Office Home Video  
    • Orion Home Video  
    • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  
    • BijouFlix Releasing  
    • Hollywood's Best  
    • Image Entertainment
    • PolyGram Video
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 27 October 1965
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Country:
    • Spain 
    • Italy
  • Language: Italian

Planet of the Vampires is a 1965 Italian/Spanish science fiction horror film directed by Mario Bava.  The film stars Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell.  The screenplay was based on an Italian-language science fiction short story, Renato Pestriniero's "One Night of 21 Hours".  The story follows the horrific experiences of the crew members of two giant spaceships that have crash landed on a forbidding, unexplored planet.  The disembodied inhabitants of the world possess the bodies of the crew who died during the crash, and use the animated corpses to stalk and kill the remaining survivors.

The film was co-produced by American International Pictures and Italian International Film, with some financing provided by Spain's Castilla Cooperativa Cinematográfica.  Ib Melchior and Louis M. Heyward are credited with the script for the AIP English-language release version.  Years after its release, some critics suggested that the film's narrative details and visual design appeared to have been a major influence on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979).

Two huge interplanetary ships on an expedition into deep uncharted space receive a distress signal emanating from Aura, an unexplored planet.  Both ships, the Galliott and the Argos, attempt to land on the surface of the fog-encased world.  While entering the planet's atmosphere, the crew of the Argos becomes possessed by an unknown force and try to violently kill each other.  Only Captain Markary (Sullivan) has the will to resist, and is able to force all of the others aboard his ship out of their hypnotic, murderous state.

After the Argos lands on the surface, the crew disembarks and explores the eerie landscape in search of the Galliott.  Thick, pulsating mists, lit by ever-shifting eerie colors, saturate the terrain.  When they finally arrive at the other ship, they find that the crew members have killed each other.  Markary's younger brother, Toby, is among the dead.  They proceed to bury as many of the corpses as they can, but several bodies are locked inside the ship's bridge.  Markary departs to get tools for opening the sealed room, but the corpses disappear by the time he returns.

Some of the Argos' crew are found dead. Tiona (Evi Marandi) sees their corpses walking in the ship, and becomes paralyzed with fear.  Markary advises the survivors that they must escape from Aura.  Unfortunately, the Argos incurred serious damage during the landing, and repairs will take time.  During the waiting period that ensues, several more killings occur.  In a private tape recording, Markary admits that he suspects none of them will survive.

While exploring Aura, Wes (Ángel Aranda) discovers the ruins of a spaceship a few miles from the Argos.  Markary, Sanya (Norma Bengell) and Carter (Ivan Rassimov) investigate.  Inside the ship, they discover large skeletal remains of the long dead crew and thus realize that they are not the first ones to have been drawn to the planet by the distress beacon.  Markary and Sanya are temporarily trapped inside the ship, but manage to escape and return to the Argos. Carter inexplicably vanishes.

Two crew members of the Galliott, Kier (Federico Boido) and Sallis (Massimo Righi), arrive at the Argos to steal the ship's Meteor Rejector device.  Kier escapes with the machine, but Markary fights Sallis.  Markary tears open Sallis' uniform, exposing his putrescent body.  He learns that Sallis' corpse is being manipulated by an Auran, who reveals that the two ships were lured to the planet in order for the Aurans to escape from their dying world.  With the crew of the Galliott under their complete control, they plan to use the ship to escape to the humans' home planet.  Markary vows to stop them.

Markary and his crew rush to the Galliott to retrieve the Meteor Rejector.  They are successful, and manage to place explosives in the ship.  During a struggle with the Aurans, Dr. Karan (Fernando Villeña) and Tiona are killed. Markary and Sanya return to the Argos and manage to escape as the Galliott is destroyed.  After takeoff, however, they reveal themselves to be possessed by Aurans.  They ask Wes, the last survivor, to join them.  Wes refuses and tries to sabotage the Meteor Rejector, but fatally electrocutes himself while doing so.  Because the device has been broken beyond repair, Markary and Sanya decide to change course for a nearby planet...Earth.

Several critics have suggested that Bava's film was a major influence on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and Prometheus (2012), in terms of both narrative details and visual design.  Derek Hill, in a review of the MGM Midnite Movies DVD release of Vampires written for Images Journal, noted, "Bava's film (along with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, 1958) was a direct influence on Ridley Scott's 1979 big budget B-movie Alien.  But where Scott's film tried to mask its humble drive-in origins, Planet of the Vampires revels in its origins.  The film literally feels like a pulp magazine cover come to garish life..."  Robert Monell, on the DVD Maniacs website, observed, "[M]uch of the conceptual design and some specific imagery in the 1979 Ridley Scott screamer undoubtedly owes a great debt to Mario Bava's no budget accomplishments."  Govindini Murty of The Atlantic, in a review of Prometheus, said, "The striking images Ridley Scott devises for Prometheus reference everything from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 to Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires."  In one scene of Prometheus, the crew dons dark suits with red piping that resemble the suits worn by the crew of the Argos in Planet of the Vampires.

One of Vampires' most celebrated sequences involves the astronauts performing an exploration of an alien, derelict ship discovered in a huge ruin on the surface of the planet.  The crewmembers climb up into the depths of the eerie ship and discover the gigantic remains of long dead monstrous creatures.  In 1979, Cinefantastique noted the remarkable similarities between this atmospheric sequence and a lengthy scene in the then-new Alien.  The magazine also pointed out other minor parallels between the two films.  However, both Alien's director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon claimed at the time that they had never seen Planet of the Vampires.

Tim Lucas has noted that the basic plot and ideas of the film not only inspired Alien but "continue to influence filmmakers and inspire the genre today, as witnessed by David Twohy's Pitch Black (2000) and Brian De Palma's Mission to Mars (2001)."

In the late 1970s Atlas/Seaboard Comics published a short-lived comic book entitled Planet of Vampires, which combined plot elements from Bava's film with elements of Planet of the Apes and I Am Legend.

Related Articles:

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WATN: Judith O’Dea

Judith O'Dea (born April 20, 1945) is an American actress known for her role as Barbra in the George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead (1968).  She is also an acting veteran of over 40 years on stage, screen, radio, and TV. 

Judy began her exciting and varied entertainment career in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when she was just 15 years old.  Musicals were her thing back then, but as time went by, she moved into more dramatic and comedic roles that took her from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, California.  Some of her favorite shows include South Pacific, Babes in Arms, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, The Great Sebastians, Mary, Mary, The Odd Couple, Top Girls, Breath of Spring, and oh, so many more!

In addition to her acting career, Judy has been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed a second fulfilling career in business communications.  Using her experience on stage and in film, Judy began helping clients fine-tune their oral presentation skills.  She has spent over 25 years in this training and consulting field, building her own very successful company, O'Dea Communications. Among some of her notable clients are Hughes Aircraft Company, Raytheon Company, DirecTV, Spacelabs Medical, Inc., Datex-Ohmeda and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems.

Her related to this site’s films are as follows:

Serial Slayer (2003)

  • Original Title: Claustrophobia
  • Genre: Thriller – Horror – Comedy
  • Directed: Mark Tapio Kines
  • Produced:
    • Mark Tapio Kines 
    • Julia Stemock
  • Written: Mark Tapio Kines
  • Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Sheeri Rappaport, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Will Collyer, Judith O'Dea
  • Music: Christopher Farrell
  • Cinematography: Bevan Crothers
  • Editing: Marc Wade
  • Studio:
    • Cassava Films 
    • Greenstem Productions Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Imagine Entertainment  
    • Lions Gate Films  
    • New World Pictures  
    • SF Norge A/S
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 18 June 2003
  • Running Time: 79 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
Lock your doors, draw the curtains, and avoid the windows for this terrifying tale of a madman who stalks his prey from the rooftops of their comfortable suburban homesteads.  If you thought murder was relegated to the inner-city, you'll be holding your breath and listening for footsteps on the rooftop as three women become trapped in an inescapable nightmare from which they may never awaken.  Armed with a crossbow and a taste for blood, this maniac is like no other that has come before, and if there is any hope of making it out alive, the girls must turn the tables on the killer and prepare for the fight of their lives.

October Moon (2005)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror
  • Directed: Jason Paul Collum
  • Produced:
    • J.R. Bookwalter  
    • Jason Paul Collum  
    • Jennifer Lynn Goebel  
    • Michael John Isaacson  
    • Julie King
  • Written: Jason Paul Collum
  • Starring: Judith O'Dea, Brinke Stevens, Sean Michael Lambrecht, Jeff Dylan Graham, Jerod Howard
  • Music:
    • Red Clark II 
    • Sean Michael Lambrecht 
    • Jamey Sewell
  • Cinematography: Red Clark II
  • Editing:
    • Red Clark II 
    • Dennis Petersen
  • Studio:
    • B+BOY Productions 
    • Red Films Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Les Films de l'Ange  
    • Maxim Media International  
    • Tempe Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 29 September 2005
  • Running Time: 112 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
Shunned by his loved ones after realizing his true sexual identity, a shy young man slips into a paranoid and violent rage when the object of his affection offers nothing but rejection in director Jason Paul Collum's bleak tale of love gone bad.  Elliot is a quiet soul with a pretty fiancé and a loving family, but when Elliot's growing lust for Corwin finds him isolated from his friends and family, the stage is set for disaster the likes of which this family has never seen.  Rejected by the callous Corwin and excommunicated from his family and fiancé, Elliot makes a murderous resolve to win Corwin's heart and vows not let anyone stand in the way of true love.

November Son (2008)

  • Genre: Comedy – Drama – Horror
  • Directed: Jason Paul Collum
  • Produced:
    • Don Christensen 
    • Sally Christensen 
    • Jason Paul Collum 
    • Jennifer Lynn Goebel 
    • Michael John Isaacson 
    • Mark O'Meara 
    • Wendell Perkins
  • Written: Jason Paul Collum
  • Starring: Judith O'Dea, Brinke Stevens, Tina Ona Paukstelis, Debbie Rochon, Jeff Dylan Graham, Robyn Griggs
  • Music:
    • Sacha Sacket 
    • Jamey Sewell
  • Cinematography: Jason Satterfield
  • Editing: Dennis Petersen
  • Studio: B+BOY Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Tempe Entertainment  
    • Ariztical Entertainment  
    • Tempe Video
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 10 July 2008
  • Running Time: 103 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
The horror that began in director Jason Paul Collum's October Son continues in this sequel about a mother coping with the loss of her son, and wrestling with the realization that she may have driven him to become an obsessive killer.  A horror soap opera that doesn't shy away from psychological torment, November Son opens with Emily Hamilton (Judith O'Dea) still mourning the loss of her beloved son Elliot (Jerod Howard).  Meanwhile, Nancy (Brinke Stevens) longs for the same kind of love she once shared with Corin (Sean Michael Lambrecht), Maggie (Darcey Vanderhoof) reaches out for a confidante like Jake (Jeff Dylan Graham), and reclusive Marti (Tino Ona Paukstelis) has allowed a secret concerning those in Elliot's life eat away at her psyche for the last two years.  Could Eli (Sacha Sacket) and George (Lloyd Pederson) hold the key to helping these wounded women recover from the traumas of their pasts, or will their efforts to force the women to confront their lingering fears and guilt ultimately prove the catalyst for total annihilation?

Timo Rose's Beast (2009)

  • Genre: Crime – Horror
  • Directed: Timo Rose
  • Produced:
    • Raine Brown 
    • Eileen Daly 
    • Kathryn De roet 
    • Kelly Michael Glynn 
    • Dirk Glücks 
    • Jim Guntharp 
    • Mathias Jakubski 
    • William Orth 
    • John Orth 
    • Lars Rohnstock 
    • Timo Rose 
    • Donald Schaedtler 
    • Frank Skalsky III 
    • Joe Zaso
  • Written:
    • Mark Hyacinth (Story)  
    • Timo Rose (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Joe Zaso, Joe Davison, Raine Brown, Andreas Pape, Timo Rose, Thomas Kercmar
  • Music: Marco Werba
  • Cinematography: Timo Rose
  • Editing: Timo Rose
  • Studio:
    • Cinema Image Productions 
    • RaineY DaZe Creations 
    • Rosecalypse and 9 Films International
  • Distributed: Cinema Image Productions
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 31 March 2009
  • Running Time: Unknown
  • Country: Germany
  • Language:
    • German 
    • English
Alex (Joe Zaso), who has been estranged from his family (Raine Brown and Eileen Daly), returns to confront certain "issues."  Aside from his day-to-day woes, his biggest trouble is that he transforms into a violent, feral beast - and he's been given this curse by someone in his family.  Meanwhile, another "beast" named Tim (Andreas Pape) is being pursued across the German countryside.  These similar people with different stories intertwine, the body count mounts, and a shocking truth is revealed in their wild, blood-soaked showdown.

Women's Studies (2010)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Lonnie Martin
  • Produced:
    • Cindy Marie Martin 
    • Lonnie Martin
  • Written: Lonnie Martin
  • Starring: Judith O'Dea, Cindy Marie Martin, Tara Garwood, Kelley Slagle, Mélisa Breiner-Sanders, Laura Bloechl, Tiffany James, Mundy Spears, James A. Radack
  • Music: Ryan Sayward Whittier
  • Cinematography: Aaron Shirley
  • Editing: Jim McGivney
  • Studio: Ningen Manga Productions
  • Distributed: R-Squared Films
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 15 June 2010
  • Running Time: Unknown
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
A highly-secretive women's academy houses a dark secret in this blood-drenched horror yarn. A graduate student in women's studies, Mary has her entire political career planned out when she discovers she is pregnant. Shortly after wrapping up a summer working for an influential female senator, Mary and her friends are returning to campus when their car is stolen, leaving them stranded in the countryside. Miraculously, a group of students from the nearby Ross-Prentiss Women's Academy happen shortly thereafter, and offer the girls shelter. Upon arriving at Ross-Prentiss and striking up a fast friendship with Judith, the leader of the group, Mary discovers that institution is in fact a feminist sect that aims to take the world back from men by force, and the students are preparing for all out war.

There are two more films with Judith O’Dea in the credits but I have little information on them.

Living Dead (2012)

  • Genre: Comedy – Drama – Horror
  • Directed: James Howarth
  • Produced: James Howarth
  • Written: James Howarth
  • Starring: Ingrid Bloom, Bill 'Chilly Billy' Cardille, Frank Doak, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, James Howarth, Duane Jones, George Kosana, Nicholas Majer, Judith O'Dea, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, Karen Cooper, Mika Walter, Keith Wayne, Kelvin Xuna
  • Cinematography: Robert Aldrich
  • Studio: StampleVision Productions
  • Release Date:
  • Running Time: 62 minutes
Four characters experience old school horror in the far distant future.
- Information Subject to Change -

Ed Gein: D.D.S. (2013)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Cory Udler
  • Produced:
    • Cory Udler  
    • Derrick Carey
  • Written: Cory Udler
  • Starring: Judith O'Dea, Heather Dorff, Tom Lodewyck, Scott Rawson, Michael Eauslin Sr., Tom Running
  • Cinematography: Cory Udler
  • Editing: Cory Udler
  • Studio: Shalenn Productions
  • Release Date: 31 October 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
No other information is available on this film.
- Information Subject to Change -

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Monday, September 23, 2013

ICFIFC: Nosferatu the Vampyre

The film is set primarily in 19th-century Wismar, Germany and Transylvania, and was conceived as a stylistic remake of the 1922 German Dracula adaptation, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens.  It stars Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker, Bruno Ganz as Jonathan Harker, and French artist-writer Roland Topor as Renfield.

Herzog's production of Nosferatu was very well received by critics and enjoyed a comfortable degree of commercial success.  The film also marks the second of five collaborations between director Herzog and actor Kinski,  immediately followed by 1979's Woyzeck.

While Nosferatu the Vampyre's basic story is derived from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, director Werner Herzog made the 1979 film primarily as an homage remake of F. W. Murnau's seminal silent film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922), which differs somewhat from Stoker's original work.  The makers of the earlier film could not obtain the rights for a film adaptation of Dracula, so they changed a number of minor details and character names in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid copyright infringement on the intellectual property owned (at the time) by Stoker's widow.  A lawsuit was filed, resulting in an order for the destruction of all prints of the film. Some prints survived, and were restored after Florence Stoker had died and the copyright had expired.  By the 1960s and early 1970s, the original silent returned and was enjoyed by a new generation of movie goers.

Herzog considered Murnau's Nosferatu to be the greatest film ever to come out of Germany, and was keen to make his own version of the film, with Klaus Kinski in the leading role.  In 1979, by which time the copyright for Dracula had entered the public domain, Herzog proceeded with his updated version of the classic German film, which could now include the original character names.  Strangely, however, Jonathan Harker's wife was named "Lucy Harker", even though her name was Mina in the original novel, and a woman named "Lucy" was a friend of Mina's.  Herzog's production reverses these roles.


Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

  • Original Title: Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht
  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Werner Herzog
  • Produced:
    • Michael Gruskoff 
    • Werner Herzog 
    • Walter Saxer 
    • Daniel Toscan du Plantier
  • Written:
    • Bram Stoker (Novel “Dracula”) 
    • Werner Herzog (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
  • Music: Popol Vuh
  • Cinematography: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein
  • Editing: Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus
  • Studio:
    • Werner Herzog Filmproduktion 
    • Gaumont 
    • Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen
  • Distributed:
    • Werner Herzog Filmproduktion  
    • Gaumont  
    • 20th Century Fox  
    • A-Film Home Entertainment  
    • Altomedia. Co. Ltd.  
    • Anchor Bay Entertainment  
    • Crown Video  
    • Jef Films International  
    • Ripley's Home Video  
    • The Roan Group  
    • Shochiku CBS/Fox Video  
    • Shout! Factory  
    • Tohokushinsha Film  
    • Umbrella Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 17 January 1979 (France)  
    • 24 February 1979 (West Germany)  
    • 5 October 1979 (United States)
  • Running Time: 107 minutes
  • Country:
    • West Germany 
    • France
  • Language:
    • German 
    • English 
    • Romanian

Jonathan Harker is an estate agent in Wismar, Germany.  His boss, Renfield, informs him that a nobleman named Count Dracula wishes to buy a property in Wismar, and assigns Harker to visit the count and complete the lucrative deal.  Leaving his young wife Lucy behind in Wismar, Harker travels for four weeks to Transylvania, to the castle of Count Dracula.  He carries with him the deeds and documents needed to sell the house to the Count.  On his journey, Jonathan stops at a village, where locals plead for him to stay clear of the accursed castle, providing him with details of Dracula's vampirism.  Harker ignores the villagers' pleas as superstition, and continues his journey unassisted.  Harker arrives at Dracula's castle, where he meets the Count, a strange, ancient, almost rodent-like man, with large ears, pale skin, sharp teeth, and long fingernails.

The lonely Count is enchanted by a small portrait of Lucy and immediately agrees to purchase the Wismar property, especially with the knowledge that he and Lucy would become neighbors.  As Jonathan's visit progresses, he is haunted at night by a number of dream-like encounters with the vampiric Count.  Simultaneously, in Wismar, Lucy is tormented by night terrors, plagued by images of impending doom.  Additionally, Renfield is committed to an asylum after biting a cow, apparently having gone completely insane.  To Harker's horror, he finds the Count asleep in a coffin, confirming for him that Dracula is indeed a vampire.  At night, Dracula leaves for Wismar, taking with him a number of coffins, filled with the cursed earth that he needs for his vampiric rest.  Harker finds that he is locked in the castle, and attempts to escape through a window with a makeshift rope.  The rope, fashioned from bed sheets, is not long enough, and Jonathan falls, severely injuring himself.  He awakes on the ground the next morning, stirred by the sound of a young gypsy boy playing a violin.  He is eventually sent to a hospital and raves about "black coffins" to doctors, who then assume that the sickness is affecting his mind.

Meanwhile, Dracula and his coffins travel to Wismar by boat, via the Black Sea port of Varna, thence through the Bosphorus and Gibraltar straits and around the entire west European Atlantic coast to the Baltic Sea.  He systematically kills the entire crew, making it appear as if they were afflicted with plague.  The ghost ship arrives, with its cargo, at Wismar, where doctors — including Abraham Van Helsing — investigate the strange fate of the ship.  They discover a log that mentions their perceived affliction with plague.  In turn, Wismar is flooded with rats from the ship.  Dracula arrives in Wismar with his coffins, and death spreads rapidly throughout the town.  When Jonathan is finally transported home, he is desperately ill, and does not appear to recognize his wife.  Lucy later has an encounter with Count Dracula; weary and unable to die, he demands some of the love that she gave so freely to Jonathan, but she refuses, much to Dracula's dismay.  Now aware that something other than plague is responsible for the death that has beset her once-peaceful town, Lucy desperately tries to convince the townspeople, but they are skeptical and uninterested.  She finds that she can vanquish Dracula's evil by distracting him at dawn, but at the expense of her own life.  She lures the Count to her bedroom, where he proceeds to drink her blood.

Lucy's beauty and purity distract Dracula from the call of the rooster, and at the first light of day, he collapses to the floor.  Van Helsing arrives to discover Lucy, dead but victorious.  He then drives a stake through the heart of the Count to make sure Lucy's sacrifice was not in vain.  In a final, chilling twist, Jonathan Harker awakes from his sickness, now a vampire, and arranges for Van Helsing's arrest.  He is last seen traveling away on horseback, stating enigmatically that he has much to do.

The film was released as Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht in German and Nosferatu the Vampyre in English.  It was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival, where production designer Henning von Gierke won the Silver Bear for an outstanding single achievement.  The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes indicates that the film is highly regarded today, having a rating of 94%.  Reviewer John J. Puccio of MovieMet considers it a faithful homage to Murnau's original film, significantly updating the original material, and avoiding the danger of being overly derivative.

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