Happy birthday to a legend in the Science fiction and Horror Genre, Willam Shatner turns 83 (WTH?!) today! Born 1931, in Quebec Canada, he went on to film and tv greatness. He will forever be linked to The Star Trek Series as the Heroic womanizing (be she human or Alien) Captain Kirk. He made tv history when he shared an interracial kiss with Lt. Uhura on the popular tv series. He is also well know for iconic roles in horror. Starring as the seemingly crazy passenger in the famous Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. He was also in such cult favorites as Kingdom of the Spiders, The Devils Rain, and Incubus (one of the few films ever made that are in the language Esperanto, a language that the creators hoped would become the international language). Shatner even has his share of fame in music, with several albums and a Broadway musical based on his music, seems there is nothing this renaissance man cant tackle! Happy Birthday Mr. Shatner, we wish you many more and say thanks for all the memories!
The malls became a bit less friendly of a place to wile away the hours on this day in 1986, with the release of Chopping Mall. Directed by Jim Wynorski, who is credited with making more than 75 B-Horror and exploitation films in his still thriving career. This film is a great example of 80s over indulgence, with rampant consumerism, and misguided technology gone wrong. It is a fun cheesy horror done right! In an age when we thought everything would soon turn to computers and robots for all of our daily needs, this film spoke to a generation of movies goers, and was important enough to our generation that it is currently being worked for a remake. Unfortunately it is not expected to have the killer bots that helped make the film so endearing, instead it is billing itself as a re imagining.
Cult fans need no reminder what great film came out this day in 1964! All Hail Herschell Gordon Lewis, and his fantastic splatterfest film 2000 Maniacs! It is hard to remember that this film is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, its a staple of the splattergore sub genre, and reminds me of a by gone era of drive, and midnight theaters. Its a classic north versus south horror story that had some real popularity in the late 60s and early 70s, often showing the southerners as slow dimwitted ne'er do-wellers and the northerners as educated although naive pacifists. The film 2001 Maniacs was a remake, of the work in 2005, starring Robert Englund. Fans of extreme gore need to look no futher than the Master H G Lewis to see where their favorite modern gore films found inspiration.
Fans unite today in giving thanks for a very influential movie release with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which saw its American premier this day in 1921. The film is a still considered to be one of the most influential films of all time in the genre. It is a silent German expressionist film that is credited by many as having introduced the "twist ending"! And that is all I will say about this fantastically inspired film that stands up even today as a MUST see by anyone who claims to be a true fan of the genre, if you haven't seen it, I don't want to take anything away from the film, and if you have seen it you already understand the importance of this piece of film history! Regardless of which side of the fence you are on in this conversation the seen or not seen, why not honor this ground breaking film in the most fitting way possible?! Click the link below to view this classic film!
Musical History ( and controversy) is made with the release of White Riot, the first recording by alternative 70s British punk rockers The Clash, in 1977
On a seperate but musically related note The Rolling Stones were also fined 5 pounds each for public urination on this date in 1965... Oh The Humanity!!!
Andy Warhol gave us more than just pop art, he also produced a few classic monster horror films. Flesh for Frankenstein was released in the USA in 1974, and starred Udo Kier as the great Baron von Frankenstein, Monique van Vooren as the Baroness, and Joe Dellesandro as the stable boy. This is definitely a film worth taking a look at, like all things Warhol, it has a life of its own. It has the same basics of the original classic but twists them into a weird psycho sexual, goretastic assault of the senses. I personally am a fan of the Warhol produced Horror, it screams of the 70s, its hyper sexualized and dripping with the over the top shock gore of the era. Heck these films broadened my horizons adding pop art into my knowledge and foreign horror beyond that of just the Hammer studios. I recommend you look for this classic gem right away!
It is hard to imagine anything more horrific than what this man perpetrated in his lifetime... This day in history saw the birth of Josef Mengele, aka Angel of Death, in 1911 Bavaria, Germany. Mengele joined the Nazi party in 1937 advancing to the SS in 1938 and transferred in the concentration camp Auschwitz in 1943. He very quickly saw opportunity in the abundance of victims being held, and began conducting various torturous experiments on the prisoners. Mengele was particularly taken with issues of heredity and as such had a fondness for experimenting with twins in particular, but his torture was in no way was saved for them only, he sought out pregnant women, dwarves and really anyone who was physically different then the norm. In terms of modern psychology he was a clear psychopath never expressing any remorse for the atrocities he committed. And believe me they were horrendous, he IS the crazy mad scientist. He literally sewed twin girls together in an attempt to make a conjoined twin, he would inject eyes with various chemicals in an attempt to change their color in live victims, he also was one of the men charged with deciding which prisoners went to the gas chambers, and that barely scratches the surface of the horrors thgis man passed out in his lifetime. It is impossible to say how many lives he took. He was able to flee Germany after the war making South America his home until he died, drowning after suffering a stroke while swimming. There is some speculation that Mengele continued experiments in South America.