Archive for October, 2019

Patterson Bigfoot and Lou Wagner

Posted in Cryptids, Documentary with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2019 by MONSTERMINIONS
    52 years later, the 16mm Patterson-Gimlin (PG) film (1967) uncut and stabilized continues to illicit “man-in-suit” jokes from skeptics or serves as definite proof of existence to Sasquatch aficionados and cryptozoologists.
    Through the years, starting in the mid-80 into the 1990’s, various special effects technicians, film historians, and directors have suggested that the PG bigfoot suit was a fabrication of Oscar-winning makeup artist John Chambers (see links below for more details). Then, in 1995, Emmy-winning Hollywood makeup artist John Vulich (The X Files) then head of Optic Nerve makeup studio, posted a message on-line, in which he wrote that the suit used in the PG Bigfoot film was supposedly modified from one used in the Lost in Space (LIS) episode The Space Croppers which features a werewolf-like creature Canis lupus first seen at 00:04:18 mark here. The episode first aired on March 30, 1966 (before the PG film in 1967). Here’s a screen shot of the LIS creature:

  • Vulich observed that the suit looked a lot like the PG bigfoot, sans the head, which was potentially replaced with a simian-looking cranium and face. John Chambers was further implicated in designing the Lost in Space prop and the PG bigfoot suit (see insert on the LIS connection, first link below). Those opposing Vulich’s theory and Chambers PG Bigfoot involvement can argue that 1) no definitive proof exists that Chambers worked on LIS, and 2) Chambers was mighty busy working on ape prosthetics from 1967-1968 during development and implementation of Planet of the Apes (1969).
  • Enter Lou Wagner.
  • While attending the Cinema Wasteland fall show in October 2019, I managed to chat with Lou, who played Zira’s rebellious nephew Lucius in POTA. Lou spent many hours with Chambers and was quite familiar with his artistry and technical prowess. I asked a two-folded question: 1) Had Lou heard of any involvement of Chambers with the PG film, and 2) Would Chambers have had the technical prowess to pull off making a convincing bigfoot suit? I had to refresh Lou’s memory regarding the PG film, and he asked about the timeframe. I’m paraphrasing here, but his immediate response was “1967? No way— He was buried with Apes…. As far as technical ability, there is no doubt in my mind he could have pulled it off IF he had had the time”.
  • So, where does this leave us? I’m more inclined to believe the PG film to be a hoax —the LIS werewolf suit looks a lot like the PG bigfoot, sans breasts (watch the entire LIS episode). However, I’m not convinced that John Chambers fabricated the PG bigfoot suit. So, who made it?

John Chambers and the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Suit Link

John Landis on the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Suit Link

Lesser Known Horror Gems 2019

Posted in Bad Films I Love, Cult Movies, Horror with tags , , , on October 21, 2019 by MONSTERMINIONS

It’s been a long time since I’ve composed a list of suggested viewing pleasures. With Halloween just around the corner, here are my picks of readily available, but lesser known horror films.

The Blob (1988, Tri-Star). No, this isn’t the Larry Hagman sequel or the “Steven” McQueen classic. This is a revisionist remake which depicts the title biotic mass as a militarized amoeba, and it is done well. I think the film has aged like vinegar, and I particularly like the creature effects supervised by Philip Bartko (The Abyss). Beware! No jello in this film —this blob moves, has tentacles, and the digestion scenes deliver. Keep an eye out for poor Candy Clark who takes on one of the most gruesome phone booth deaths ever. Great fun. Hold on eating rice pudding though.

Monster / Humanoids from the Deep (1980, New World Pictures). I missed this one in the theaters, probably due to the nudity-induced R rating. Damn it! I saw Alien (1979) around the same time though. The uncut version of this Roger Corman production is nonstop T&A monster mayhem. Here’s the story: Local fishermen battle salmon-human hybrids seeking female “hosts”. Feminists stay clear! Great fun and superb monster effects by Rob Bottin (The Thing, 1982). Any genre film with Doug McClure is worth seeing in my book.

Scary Movie (1991, AGFA). This just received a new pressing and Blu-ray release. Unfortunately the 2K scan from a 16mm print sucks. I never heard of the film, but it is worth seeking out. This is a low-budget late entry into the mad-slasher genre, and stars future Oscar nom John Hawkes in the lead role. The story centers around a slasher in a carny spook house. Plus, Roky Erickson jams out the closing tune!

AGFA Scary Movie Link

I Drink Your Blood (1971). Kid feeds rabies-inoculated potpies to LSD-addicted devil worshippers. Not much more to say.

Don’t Go in the Woods… alone! (1981). This is another low-budget screamer I missed. I wonder if it was even released in ’81. This one’s a bit campy, but I would not call it a “cult classic” by any stretch. Genre fans will want to see it for being a relatively early and regional slasher film.

Gorilla at Large (1954). This early 3D curiosity isn’t a horror film —it’s a Gorilla Murder Mystery (at least that’s what I’m calling it). The film is boring as hell and the ape suit (incapsulating George Barrows) positively this side of Toho Kong horrible. It’s entertaining all the same and is loaded with familiar stars, including Cam Mitchell, Raymond Burr, Lee Marvin (!), Lee J. Cobb, Warren Stevens, and Anne Bancroft. The big top setting helps as does the 84min running time.

Beast of Blood (1970, Severin Blu-ray “Blood Island” Box Set). In my book, this is the grandpappy of all infamous, over-the-top, gruesome, gory, gooey, fiendish Filipino fright-mares ever made. I love it. Dr. Lorca’s demise is unforgettable and the title beast one of the most iconic monsters of filmdom. Be sure to buy the Severn Box set and don’t settle for crappy prints on youtube.

Bonus! Dick Miller at Large!

That Guy Dick Miller (2014) paired with A Bucket of Blood (1959, Olive Films Blu-ray re-issue). We lost Dick Miller this past year. Celebrate his life with a superb documentary and perhaps his finest performance as Walter Paisley in A Bucket of Blood. Plot: A coffee-house worm gets famous by killing people and encasing them in clay faux-sculpture masterpieces. Masterful direction by Roger Corman and arguably the finest “black comedy-beatnik-culture-horror film” ever made!

Olive Films Bucket of Blood

Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019)

Posted in Cult Movies, Documentary, Horror, Sci-Fi with tags , , , on October 10, 2019 by MONSTERMINIONS

This new documentary by director Alexandre O. Philippe is about as good as it gets for a synopsis on the making of Alien (1979). Only aspects on the mechanical designs by Italian prop wizard Carlo Rambaldi and the man-in-suit performance by Nigerian Bolaji Badejo, and perhaps a segment on the scoring (Jerry Goldsmith) are lacking from the otherwise nearly complete documentary. I found the comparisons to films of Robert Altman absolutely fascinating. This film includes anecdotes from several cast members. The focus is on the origin and genesis of the story, by Dan O’Bannon, and his collaboration with surrealist H.R. Giger.

There’s also a segment referring to the inspiration of the chest-burster being paintings by Francis Bacon (1909-1992), especially Three Studies of Figures at the Base of a Cruxifixion (1944).

This was a top-notch documentary that fans of Alien will absolutely devour.