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A Werewolf Remembers

The Testament of Lawrence Stewart Talbot

by Frank Dello Stritto
Cult Movies Press 2017

reviewed by Michael Copner

Anyone reading the Mondo Cult Online site is likely to be a member of the Monster Boom generation—and they know it. Furthermore, these film elite will be aware that Frank Dello Stritto is among the greatest Monster Boomers, and it is Frank who coined he term, recognizing the concept.

A few of us were introduced to Frank by way of his early essay in a 1970s vampire themed issue of Mark Frank’s film fanzine Photon. In more recent times, he’s been an important contributor to Cult Movies and Monster Bash magazines.

As a spin-off of Frank’s insightful writing ventures, he founded Cult Movies Press, a publishing house devoted to books of horror film history, all highly acclaimed by fans of the genre. In June of 2017, Cult Movies released a highly awaited first-horror novel authored by Frank. A Werewolf Remembers is written in part, as the life telling diaries of Lawrence Talbot, printed verbatim. Interspersed with these are editorial commentaries authored by Frank.

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Frank Dello Stritto

A Conversation

with Michael Copner

When I was doing Cult Movies Magazine in the 1990s, I became close friends with our staff writer, Guy Tucker—a young man who saw things in films which were beyond the average viewer. A true boy genius, he taught himself to read, write and speak fluent Japanese by age 15. He traveled to Japan to meet and interview everyone at Toho Studios. I respected all about Guy, and was very sad when I heard that he had died in 2007.

One time after six years of reading our magazine, Guy told me “the best thing you’ve got going in your pages is the work of Mr. Dello Stritto.” I concur that Frank was the greatest then, and he’s amazing in our Century 21.

Frank still writes for monster magazines (currently he is a regular contributor to Monster Bash Magazine). His latest book, A Werewolf Remembers—The Testament of Lawrence Stewart Talbot, premiered in June 2017. In August 2017, I met with him and his wife Linda at the famed Los Burritos Mexican eatery on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. They were visiting from Houston, which was then experiencing record-breaking rains and floods. Frank and Linda were a bit worried about their home (which mercifully did not flood), but were otherwise the upbeat and entertaining people than I have now known for almost 20 years.

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Chasing Paper

An Announcement

from the Publisher

Brad Linaweaver

Photo of Brad Linaweaver (right) by Caran Wilbanks

Some readers of Mondo Cult are aware that I was a prolific writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror in olden times. Did my fair share of commercial non-fiction, as well. There were rewards, awards, and even big sales on the Doom novels which I co-authored with Dafydd ab Hugh.

Unlike many contemporaries I've not kept up with a changing world, and didn't make the bulk of Linaweaver scribblings available on Kindle. In the case of media tie-ins and other work for hire it's not really my choice. However, that leaves everything else. I've been content for those interested in my contributions to the vanished mid-list to track down anthologies and magazines and novels in cyberspace—and then order the paper artifacts for their collections.

Seems reasonable. I'm a collector of paper myself. Except . . . except . . .

...except there are the pounding drums of impending mortality.

Having recently become a Senior Citizen, I surrender. As it stands, a few of my efforts are on Kindle already.

For example, the novella version of "Moon of Ice" is part of The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century, thanks to Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg. It was a successful paper book from a major publisher that is now available on Kindle. One day the novel version of Moon of Ice should also be available on Kindle, although I've never entirely given up on one last legacy paper publication before surrender.

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Dracula’s Daughter

Gary D. Rhodes, Tom Weaver, Michael Lee and David Colton

"Bear Manor Media—2017—349 Pages

reviewed by Michael Copner

Dracula's Daughter
Gloria Holden

Here is a 5-star rated book, an epic to one of the most underappreciated—yet most sensual—vampire classics of Hollywood’s 1930s output. Of course, we wish Bela was in the final cut. That was likely the intent of Carl Laemmle, Jr. when he commissioned the first treatment to be written by John Balderstone in 1933; that first draft, turned in during January of 1934, picks up in Castle Dracula in Transylvania, exactly where the 1931 Dracula concluded.

But by page 2 of the treatment, Mr. Balderstone had a change of heart about in which direction the plotline should unfold, and he explains his ideas explicitly. For starters, he notes: “The use of a female vampire instead of male gives us the chance to pay up SEX and CRUELTY legitimately. In Dracula that had to be almost eliminated because too horrible and unpleasant if added to the blood-sucking of women by a male monster.”

The cards are thus laid on the table that writer Balderstone plans to morph and shape shift the Dracula sequel into something other than what Universal Studios—and film-going audiences—might have been expecting. He carries his theme further on page 3 by declaring: “…why should Cecil DeMille have a monopoly of the great box office value of tortures and cruelty in pictures of ancient Rome? I want to establish in Part Two, the fact that Dracula’s Daughter enjoys torturing her male victims…and that these men under her spell rather like it. The censors will stand this provided it is done by suggestion and it gives us a big box-office value that we lacked before.”

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On Thanksgiving Day in this 2016th year of our reckoning, Forrest J Ackerman would have celebrated his 100th Birthday. He's gone now though, so it's left to us to celebrate for him. Brad and I were ruminating about our very different, though sometimes strikingly similar, memories of Forry and decided we should do something for 100 years. And of course, it wouldn't be a Mondo Special without an original piece of art from the eerily-talented L.J. Dopp.

So please, join us in wishing The Ackermonster a Happy Century Mark.

"Up, up and away, with Forry J!"

Merely A Century

(Forry is 100)

by Brad Linaweaver

"He was a dear man."

Deborah Painter: Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman

Exclusive to Mondo Cult, artwork by L.J. Dopp and © 2016. No reproduction without permission.

The first time was in Dallas, Texas, the summer of 1971. A childhood dream came true. Not an adolescent dream, confused with inchoate ambitions and ill defined lusts for an imaginary adulthood. Childhood fantasies come before all that. They are about the Sense of Wonder.

Suddenly, I was more than an undergraduate at Florida State University, attending Dallascon, my first science fiction convention. Finally, I was meeting Forrest J (no period for some arcane reason) Ackerman. Seeing a letter of mine published in Famous Monsters of Filmland the previous year had been a thrill, but it didn't compare to an actual encounter.

As we shook hands, I was transported back in time to the stark fears and desperate hopes of a crazily imaginative childhood. I could hear the music again. Science was magic. The future, whether good or bad, was going to be wildly different than the present. It just had to be.

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Living A Dream

by Jessie Lilley

A hundred years ago, when I was quite young, I used to save my nickels and dimes so I could buy my favorite magazines. They were MAD Magazine and Famous Monsters of Filmland. I would stop at Lazzaras at 11 West Railroad Avenue in Tenafly, NJ on my way home from school and pick up the new issues. Then I would hide them in my book bag, because my mother didn’t think I should be reading either of them.

What did she know, anyway? She thought The Ink Spots were a “pretty hip group” and didn’t grok the magic of The Beatles.

But I did. And I knew in my deepest soul that these two books were my lifeline out of the hell of the NYC suburbs of the 60s. Grasping at the straws of imagination and humor, I devoured them from 1966 on into my teens. It was then that I fell amongst theatricals…

Of all the people I met during those years, one of the larger influences was Richard Valley, with whom I eventually created Scarlet Street: The Magazine of Mystery and Horror. It was Richard who sent me off to the Son of Horror-Thon convention (now known to those in the know simply as Chiller) in NJ, to get an autograph for him from Forrest J Ackerman. Off I went and met one of my idols and quite simply, it changed my life.

Forry and I got on splendidly from the git go. He liked women and I liked brainy punsters so it was a win-win.

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Regarding the Incomparable Acting Career of

Peter Lorre

by Lucas Paris

To look at an actor or actress, requires one to look at the body of their work. An often exhausting process depending on how prolific the thespian, it is also quite often enjoyable as conclusions can be drawn from their successes and failures, making for contrasts or comparisons with other greats in the same field. Yet, there are actors that are singularly incomparable, with character that indelibly marked the industry.

One such was Peter Lorre.

Born Laszlo Lowenstein in 1904, the Hungarian Jewish actor’s story could be a film unto itself. Running away from home at a young age, learning the stage craft in Vienna before debuting in Zurich, working as a banker—then traveling throughout Europe doing stage in Germany, Austria and Switzerland before landing his first seminal role, a film role, in Fritz Lang’s revolutionary M in 1931.

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The Guillotine on the Walk of Fame

Brad Linaweaver Reviews

The Brain That Couldn't Think

by L. J. Dopp

Yellow Hat Productions, 2017
$19.95, ISBN 978-0-9890242-1-1

This book was a lifetime in the making. It contains multitudes. In the foreword, George Clayton Johnson promises that the reader will "discover what a fascination with pop-culture, a satirical turn of mind, an ironic sense of humor, and a head full of bright ideas can do to a man."

He's introducing L. J. Dopp.

One of the best short story collections in many years did not just happen. The thing had to grow over time, fed by the blood of cruel memories.

You know the movies where the flying saucer lands? There is keen anticipation as nervous humans wait for something to come out. Suspense is an ache in the soul. Anything can happen.

The Brain That Couldn't Think is a lot like that. Dopp has written fiction chock full of surprises. When's the last time there was a book of this kind?

Many writers have become as predictable as a summer cold. Either trapped in the slowly grinding gears of genre conventions, or preaching a straight-jacketed ideology or theology, the only surprise is in guessing how long their next tome will be. These writers are so deep in terminal exhaustion that their work lacks the brevity of Charles Dickens.

Dopp will have none of this. He does not sell escapism by the pound. He tells his story, and stops when it's over.

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The Raven

Lugosi and Karloff—At Last!!!

by Michael Copner

Let’s start with the greatest news first, then put a few add-on items at the end. The news is that via the marvel of a Google search, anyone can now view the original trailer for Universal’s 1935 masterpiece, The Raven. Something film fans and collectors lamented, “We’ll never see!” A short while ago, I was searching around the ‘net and up came the pristine trailer for my favorite film; totally devoid of any splices or scratches—it appears as clear as the day it was shot. Where has it been secreted away (for over 92 years)?

It’s as action and thrill packed as the feature itself and very compact at 2 minutes long. The single most exciting fact is that the film is billed as starring Bela Lugosi (first!) and Boris Karloff—the only time Bela received top billing over his supposed rival.

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The Mysterious Existence of

Twin Peaks

by Josh Bravo

For a television show that is bursting at the seams with secrets, it’s not a secret that Twin Peaks is one of the greatest cult television shows of all time. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve definitely heard about it. And if you have seen it, you’ve definitely talked about it.

If you fall into the “haven’t seen it” category, what are you doing here? Go watch it! Immediately! And when you come back, you can agree with mostly everyone on the importance of Twin Peaks; a show filled to the brim with mystery.

Its entire existence is a mystery in itself. The idea that something like this can exist on prime time television on a major network—not HBO or Showtime, but ABC—the same channel as Full House (let that simmer for a second.) You could be watching the Olsen twins one minute and enter The Black Lodge the next. This show was so ahead of its time; it was almost as if David Lynch could see into the future. Like the early 90s showed up at a Halloween party dressed as the mid 2000s. David Lynch and Mark Frost really cemented the type of stories that you can tell on television; a model that is just blossoming today. Years and years before Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Game of Thrones, Twin Peaks was a completely new ballpark for TV to play in.

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Resident Evil

How to Make a Successful Film Series
Out of a Video Game

Bonus Interview with the late, lamented

Ray Zone (1947-2012)

by Jessie Lilley

[This article first appeared in truncated form in Famous Monster of Filmland Issue # 251. The article in its entirety, is presented here with permission from the publisher.]

The last thing I ever wanted to do was get involved in what I assumed was another hash up of the Apocalypse on film; even worse, the idea of the film was purportedly based on a video game. I was not looking forward to the three DVDs that had been glaring at me from the top of the TV for a full week. Finding myself with some free time early one morning however, I admitted defeat and sat myself down-fortified with some strong coffee, to view the films. Imagine my astonishment when about 10 minutes into the first film I realized I was enjoying myself. Either I’m getting less picky in my dotage or this film is actually pretty good.

A little history: RESIDENT EVIL is based on the Capcom PlayStation game of the same name (it’s called Biohazard in Japan which is where the game originated). We won’t dwell on the game itself, other than to note the basic premise: learn the mystery of the mansion—while vanquishing zombies, their zombified dogs and countless other bad guys along the way—and escape alive. In short, the game is your basic quest fantasy.

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Mondo Cult Online Proudly Presents

Check Back Often for a New Column

July 2017

Bye George

(A Different George)

Before I begin, this is the second column I’ve written for Mondo Cult Online, entitled “Bye George”. The first one was saying goodbye to George Lucas and it outlined my pleasure that he handed over the Star Wars reins to Disney. And based on the success of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One and the general suckiness of Episodes I, II and III, I think you’ll agree that it appears that this new marriage seems to be working out just fine and dandy.

This second “Bye George” does NOT mark such a happy occasion.

In March of 2015, I wrote a column entitled “The Game-Changer”, about my experience seeing Night Of The Living Dead in the theater, in 1971. (Please scroll down a ways and you’ll see it. I promise.)

Now, two years later, I find myself sitting here contemplating the rest of my life without George A. Romero—something I didn’t really want to have to do.

Read The Full Article by Richard J. Schellbach...

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Lest we forget, we honor the original cast that launched the Silicon Assassin series.
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What Do Other Publications

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Mondo Cult #3

Edited by Jessie Lilley

Published by Brad Linaweaver

2012, 1601 pages, $13

from the Prometheus newsletter

This brief review can in no way do justice to the third issue of Mondo Cult, which packs in several magazines' worth of material between full-cover pages. Although adhering to no solid publishing schedule, Mondo Cult, when it arrives, has become a critical vehicle for the review and study of classic film, music, books, and people of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. In this issue over 30 writers contribute articles. Photos of actors, writers, and other personalities fill virtually every page, along with images of classic movie posters, advertisements and cartoons, not to mention a Frank Frazetta picture on the back cover. One could spend hours reading and re-reading this magazine, and still discover or re-discover new aspects of what is covered.

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