#58 November 2003

CLUB NEWS
JUST READ ALL THE CLUB NEWS
A Letter to the Editor

MONTHLY ICS PRESENTATION 
ANIME EXPLAINED

TV NEWS
ANGEL GETS CORDELIA BACK? 
WB GETS LOST 
FIREFLY FINDS A NEW HOME ON DVD 
TEEN WOLF TO HOWL ON UPN 
TAKEN TEAM REUNITES 
ELECTRA TOPS MONSTER ISLAND

LITERARY NEWS
UCSC GETS HEINLEIN BEQUEST 
JEDI TRIAL FILLS IN THE GAP 
PHENOMENA IS LAUNCHED 
Book reviews -
Hacker Cracker by Ejovi Nuwhere
Scream Queen by Edo Van Belkom

 MOVIE NEWS
MOVIE NEWS
PUNISHER WRAPS IT UP 
GOT LOTR MARATHON TICKETS? 
LUCAS FIRES UP STEALTH 
GAYE EXPANDS MATRIX ROLE 
HEARTTHROB TO REIGN AS ARTHUR 
 

 MOVIE NEWS
POTTERS PARTS AUCTIONED 
STAR WARS FANS TO HOPE –VII- IX? 
SHRINKING GROWS IN MARCH
WHO IS THAT SUPERMAN?

ACTION FIGURE NEWS
ACTION FIGURE NEWS
COLLECTIBLES CORNER by Gary Roberson
 

DVD NEWS
ANIME DVD RELEASES 
SOMEDAY’S DREAMERS 
LAST EXILE 
LICENSCED BY ROYALTY (L/R)

FAREWELLS
Florence Stanley
Bernard Schwartz
Jack Elam
Janice Rule
Guy Rolfe
Harry Clement Stubbs

THE LAST "WARD"
 

ICS CALENDER
 
 

TAKE THIS PAGE, PRINT IT 
THEN POST IT ON THE FRIDGE!!!

Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- Regina Vallerani,Tim Fleming, Taylor Sherblom Woodward, Mike Laird, Jeanne Matcovich, Gary Roberson, Charles Wittig, Joe Plempel, John Ward
clubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnewsclubnews
OCTOBER MEETING BEGINS WITH A FEAST
 Our meeting began with the fourth annual ICS Halloween Potluck.  The counters were overflowing with salads, warm entrees and desserts.   Thanks to all who contributed – we appreciate the time and effort you took in preparing and sharing with the club!

OCTOBER MEETING PART 2 – OTAKU-STANDING PRESENTATION
    Blake and Taylor Sherbloom-Woodward gave a very enjoyable and informative talk about anime, complete with clips and a handout containing films of note, FAQ and a glossary of anime terms.  (Ever wonder why all of the anime characters have large eyes or what’s so special about an anime nose bleed scene?)  While there were several interesting film choices, JIN ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE won the honor of official October film.  Thanks for the wonderful job, Blake and Taylor!

OCTOBER MEETING PART 3 – AN ALL NIGHT RECORD
    Andrew Kent and Steve Vaught are the 2003 All-Nighter champs.  The pair sat through around 5 a.m. The all night program included The DICK VAN DYKE Walnut episode, SCARS OF DRACULA, VERSUS, and NINJA SCROLL.  Also, special thanks to Joe Plempel for running the equipment until the next day!

WELCOME TERRI WARD
  John Ward ponied up to make his spouse, Terri Ward, a 2003 member.  We’d love to see you at a meeting, Terri!  And Hendo can make a Santo badge for you!

WELCOME PATRICIA SMITH
  Another thoughtful spouse, Richard Smith, enrolled his wife Patricia into the club for 2004.  We’ll look forward to meeting you Patricia – hope you can make it to a 2003 meeting!

HISTORICAL TAPES – GOT ANY?  WANNA BE IN ONE?
  Also, in honor of our 5th anniversary, Barry Murphy is video taping 20-30 second testimonials and anniversary messages from our members during the next meeting.  If interested, please see Barry at the next meeting.  Also, if anyone has any pictures or videos from previous meetings or VHS tapes of films we’ve viewed (it doesn’t matter if you presented the film or not), please allow Barry to borrow them.  When he is finished with his project, we should have a fun little tape to watch at the January 2004 meeting.

CALENDARS ARE HERE
 The theme for the 2004 calendar is TV Shows of the 60’s and is now available.   The calendar is $15 and while most of them are reserved, we have 2 or 3 extras.  If you want one, please see Regina.

NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING – EARLY START AND 2ND TO LAST SATURDAY
 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday November 22nd at 5:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course, turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it, there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll talk you in. 

Please note that we are meeting on the 22nd, which is not the last Saturday of the month – it is the weekend before Thanksgiving.  And we are starting at 5 p.m. for the auction.

AUCTION GOODS NEEDED FOR NOVEMBER!
  The Masked Auctioneer and The Minimum Bid Kid are making an appearance at the November meeting… and that can only mean one thing – we’re having an auction!  The club is auctioning off several films and miscellaneous goods that did not sell at the Fanex dealer’s table.  We also need auction goods – so clean out your closets and prepare to spend and laugh at the antics of our resident auctioneers.  The auction will begin at 5:00 on November 22.  If you have donations, please bring them in prior to 5:00.

NOVEMBER PRESENTATION – THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR GIALLO
  Regina Vallerani is doing a presentation on Giallo films. Giallo films were named after the lurid yellow covers of Italian pulp novels and usually deal with suspense and murders.  They are a genre of low budget European cult filmmaking from the late 1960’s, which have influenced several later US films.  Film choices will include authentic period giallos and neo-giallos.

YANKEE SWAP ON THE HORIZON
 In December we'll be doing our annual Yankee Swap. It's always a lot of fun. We'll be reviewing this in more detail in the December issue.  We recommend bringing movie-related gifts only with a limit of $20.

ICS ANNIVERSARY BASH AT THE SENATOR
  ICS is renting out the balcony at the Senator Theater on Saturday, January 24, 2004 to celebrate our 5th anniversary.  Admission is $10 and is limited to 40 members – turn in your money to Regina at the next meeting.  The reservations are held when the payment is received.   Spaces will be held for ICS members until Dec 31.  After that date, if there is room and you want to invite friends or spouses, please see Regina to reserve a ticket.

The attendance list is:

Joe Auslander
Lisa Casper
Betsy Childs
Jim Childs
John Clayton
Suzanne Cooper
Sue Feder
Diane Gervasio
Peggy Gervasio
Dave Henderson
Andrew Kent
Mike Laird
Jeanne Matcovich
Barry Murphy
Skip Phillips
Joe Plempel
Norman Prentiss
Justin Proveaux
Tom Proveaux
Gary Roberson
Mike Schilling
Dava Sentz
Donna Sentz
Regina Vallerani
Beth Vaught
Steve Vaught
Neil Wagenfer
John Ward
Terri Ward
Dave Willard
Charlie Wittig
Jeanette Wolfe
DUES ARE COMING
    This is just a reminder that dues expire on New Year's Day. It will be time to pony up for the coming year. Individuals are $25. Couples are $40. Extra family members who reside at the same address are $15 each added the primary membership.  We hope that you decide to join us for an exciting year ahead.

The following list of people have renewed for 2004.  If you are not listed, please see Regina.

Betsy Childs
Jim Childs
Suzanne Cooper
Andrew Kent
Tom Noll
Rick Rieve
Gary Roberson
Ruth Roberson
Patricia Smith
Richard Smith
Regina Vallerani
Dave Willard

ELECTIONS ARE COMING
    We'll be holding elections at our January meeting for the five-person Board of  Directors. Self-nominations are now open. Anyone who is a current dues-paying member is both eligible to run for the Board and to vote for it. Anyone interested in running should either see our current secretary, Dave Henderson, at a meeting, e-mail him at
IMHENDO@HOTMAIL.COM. Nominations will be opened until December 31. The list of candidates will appear in the January "ICS Files" for the sake of possible absentee votes.

And a new addition to the ICSfiles-
 A letter to the editor regarding Septembers ‘Last Ward’.  This came in to Editor Betsy via Internet from a member that wanted to be sure another view was heard.

Subj:  The (not so last) Ward...
Date: 10/8/03 1:24:19 PM EST
To: icsbetspots@aol.com

      I only just now read John Ward's recent article about Star Trek, and I must admit that I was impressed with its sincerity. Here I was expecting a no-holds-barred tirade against all things Trek, for which I was duty-bound to refute, but instead I read about a man who had this great love for Star Trek...and then the feeling went away.
     I will agree with John on certain points, believe it or not. Just because I'm as much of a Trek-nut as anyone, that doesn't mean that I can't be critical when things are not up to standard. The Star Trek franchise is not what it was, and never will be again. Only in my case, I've never lost my fondness for the original series, or my sense of excitement over what they will come up with next, which in many cases is actually quite good.
     I myself am actually a classic-Trek supporter over all the other incarnations of the show, first and foremost. No matter how the state of effects advance over the years, nothing can replace the memory of the original Enterprise taking our intrepid crew to new adventures out among the stars every week. Also, regardless of the anything-goes approach to television writing these days, no show took on major issues with such a regard for the intelligence of its audience than the original did. And perhaps most of all, no matter your personal feelings about William Shatner 
As an actor and as a person, his type of energy in performing James Kirk brought about the unique chemistry between the acting ensemble on the show that the other series can only dream about...although Enterprise has at least given it the ol' college-try. Picard, being the great father-figure/diplomat that he is, simply can't create that kind of camaraderie, with Riker, Data, or anyone else, simply because his is "above" all that. Sisko on DS9 was too distant to even attempt such things except with his son.  Voyager didn't even try to build on that kind of a feeling very much after the first season. Janeway and Chakotay danced around a relationship for seven years, and the good captain tried to be a surrogate mother for Seven, but that's about it.
     The face of television is different now. Star Trek was not only the first "serious" science-fiction series, but also the first show that really dared the wrath of the censors by taking on the social issues of the time. Now, all the gloves are off. Today, Enterprise and other shows of its like have to push the envelope just to keep up with what else is out there these days. The major domos at Paramount and Viacom, not wanting to over milk their middle-aged cash cow, tend to stick to the original formula for fear of losing the one audience that they have counted on for so many years. It's a classic case of damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't.  All things being equal, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga (I know, boo-hiss-puke) have to yield to the logic of the all mighty dollar and do whatever it takes to try to keep their show on the air and keep the paychecks coming through. I personally didn't feel that they needed the changes, but they are welcome, nevertheless.
   To summarize, this whole rebuttal was really about telling all you ICSers out there that just because newer-generation Star Trek shows don't give you the same thrill they once did, it doesn't mean that you give up on the whole idea.  Yes, the whole franchise is definitely in decline, and there may be many more interesting shows to follow out there; but I'll take a rerun of classic's "The Doomsday Machine" or TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds" anytime. I'll still look forward to the next episode of Enterprise with much apprehension, because they might actually come up with something good that's worthy of the name.
     Regardless of the doubters and all sense of practicality...the Star Trek legacy lives on...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
                                                                Thank you, Michael Schilling 

OCTOBER MOVIE PRESENTATION: UNDERSTANDING ANIME 

   In understanding anime, it helps to understand Japanese concepts of art and entertainment.  One of the most important concepts is that the picture extends beyond the frame.  In a painting, we may only see the house and the garden, but that doesn’t mean the homeowner has no neighbors.  This concept is reflected throughout Japanese film-- anyone familiar with Japanese movies notices that occasionally weird stuff happens with no explanation whatever. 
   This doesn’t mean that there isn’t an explanation for the weird stuff (though sometimes there really isn’t) just that the filmmaker felt the cause of the weird stuff was not as meaningful as the effects of it or what the weird stuff symbolizes.
   Another concept seen often in anime: the unrealistic is sometimes best at portraying reality.  Anime is mostly fantasy, but it’s not always wish fulfillment.  Sometimes the aliens we fight are a metaphor for something else in our lives.
   Anime evolved from manga, or Japanese graphic novels (like comic books).  The tradition of combining pictures with text had been around for a while, but a young doctor named Tezuka Osamu revolutionized the medium.  Often referred to as “the God of Comics”, his efforts in the fields of anime and manga made it blossom into a multimillion dollar industry and an internationally prized art form. 
   Aside from drawing thousands of pages of manga in his lifetime, he often worked on scripts or even directed anime adaptations of his stories.  Taking inspiration from sources such as Walt Disney and other forms of cinema, Tezuka used such techniques as extreme close-ups, panning shots and flashbacks in his stories.
   His most notable creation was TETSUWAN ATOM, a robot who is essentially a young boy in every regard except that he is not flesh and blood. (Pinocchio, only metal.)  His story was made into a TV series, which eventually came to the states as ASTROBOY.  Over time other artists like Leiji Matsumoto, Go Nagai, or Yoshiyuki Tomino entered the field, inspired by Tezuka’s ideas.  They in turn inspired others, creating shows that paid homage to those before, but each adding something new to the tradition.
   To this day, most anime is inspired by manga.  Of course, the animators might not follow the original story to the letter, choosing instead to take a different approach.  Sometimes they have no choice but to take a different approach: often a manga is animated before the author has completed its serialization, so the animators have to come up with a conclusion on their own.  Some anime shows are original productions by studios that wish to develop their own ideas, but have manga adaptations created later.  For example, both WOLF’S RAIN and RAHXEPHON were original anime concepts developed by Studio Bones, who then began a manga incarnation when the end of the TV series approached.
   Anime usually comes in one of three different formats-- movies, TV series, or OAVS.  Everyone knows what a movie is, but Japanese TV series are developed differently than ours.  As opposed to creating a show and producing episodes as long as the networks will let them as we do in the US, Japanese productions usually have a set run of episodes, usually about 2 season’s worth or 26 episodes total.  The breakdown for the TV cycle in Japan is 13 episodes per season, 4 seasons per year.  An anime production can really only be expected to last this long anyway, since they aren’t marketed for a mainstream audience.  Having only a set number of episodes may seem to limit the show’s profit, but actually the bulk of the money is made in video sales and merchandising.  Limiting the episode count has an advantage for the writers since they can script out ideas for the entire series, thereby making a continuing story line and creating a satisfactory conclusion while developing the characters.  Some shows leave their endings open in hopes of getting a sequel, but some may go as far as to kill off the lead character in order to make a more powerful story.
   An OAV, or “original animation video,” is a direct-to-video release.  In America, “direct-to-video” has a negative stigma around it, but in Japan, it’s usually the sign of higher production values than those of a TV series.  OAV’s generally have only a few episodes and are frequently an animated version of one story arc of a popular manga, sort of a little treat for the fans of that manga.  In the earlier days of anime in the US, OAVS were frequently brought over because they were short and therefore easier to sell.
   Anime and manga now comprise a huge industry-- not just in Japan, but in America and other countries as well.  Adolescents are the major demographic target of the industry, although there some children’s shows and those for adult audiences as well (and I don’t just mean the hentai releases).  It’s important to remember that while there are plenty of shows that are bold and daring, many of the shows are just a mish-mash of whatever formulas have been successful.
   Common themes of anime relate to Japanese culture.  Throughout the Japanese culture, emphasis is placed on fitting in and doing your part.  A person’s identity as part of a group is more important than their value as an individual, reflected in the tradition of the family name coming before a person’s given name.  The idea of finding one’s niche in the group is often presented, as well as the theme that may seem the opposite—that of finding one’s worth as an individual.  The revolutionary title NEON GENESIS EVANGELION is largely about the paradox this holds-- the balance between individual needs and the needs of others, as well the ability to love and forgive one’s self.  In a more light-hearted way, the shoujo anime FRUITS BASKET touches on this idea as well.  Tohru Honda manages to hold the ideal of caring for others very well (almost to the extent of being a doormat it seems), however the people that she cares about, the members of the cursed Sohma family, do not seem to understand that they are worthy of being loved. Loyalty to a group or person is also common.  In any story about war or conflict, this will be evident by how loyal characters remain to a cause. 
   Whether or not the cause is just is irrelevant.  The point is to stick to your guns and stay committed.  The hero is not defined by the cause he fights to defend, but rather how strongly he defends it.  Sometimes both side in a fight are righteous-- they just have conflicting needs.
   Since most titles are aimed at teenagers, themes about adolescence and growing up are most common.  This may be in the typical fashion of watching a character grow up, or in a stronger metaphorical sense.  As examples, ALIEN 9 uses symbiotic aliens; REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA has sword fights and the apocalypse.  There are more as RAHXEPHON has mechas and a mysterious dome that keeps the time in Tokyo from passing by at a normal rate - all to convey issues of adolescence such as becoming one’s own person and taking on adult responsibility.
   Some stylistic conventions are unique to anime.  For some scenes, the scenery may drop out entirely.  This helps to emphasize the importance of a character’s development or to highlight a certain action or event. 
   Daydreams and wishful thinking often take place in flowery backgrounds, and fights or scenes where someone is “powering up” may just be a generic blue blur.  Important scenes may be repeated up to three times for emphasis.  The screen may split into different sections during a crucial moment to illustrate the importance of a single action’s effects on each of several characters.  Dramatic moments may feature sakura (cherry blossom) petals falling down or feathers floating through the air.  It is teorized that the use of cherry blossoms is often foreshadowing, since cherry blossoms represent the Japanese concept that something is more beautiful because it does not last. 
   This may vary depending on the director.  Sometimes the floating items in the background are used to keep the imagery consistent: for instance,  REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA  has roses everywhere because of the ‘Rose bride” present in the story, as well as the rose shaped ring that Utena wears.  X has feathers, partially because the creators, “Clamp,” really like them, but also as an acknowledgement of the way the characters are depicted in dream sequences, either with the wings of angels (for those playing the role of Dragon of Heaven) or that of a demon (a Dragon of Earth).
   Conventions of expressing emotions provide shortcuts for animators as well as comic relief.  A sweatdrop on the forehead indicates embarrassment, a bulging vein in the forehead shows anger, and, everyone’s favorite, nosebleeds indicate arousal (usually triggered by a very perverted thought)
   Since the media of anime is so diverse, and so much more of it is brought to the US every year,  I would expect that anyone with an open mind can find at least one anime series or movie they enjoy-- or possibly hundreds of things they enjoy, if they’re willing to kiss that much of their paycheck good-bye. 
(As I have.)

And from the fiendish mind of Barry Murphy - Movie Ad Lines

The Terror Of The Monster Rabbits - Out To Destroy Everything In Their Path . . Dynamite Won't Stop The Hopping Of These Giants.
Night Of The Lepus  1972

The Cats Are Hungry . . . .Run For Your Lives!
Alone, Only A Harmless Pet . . . .
One Thousand Strong, They Become A Man-Eating Machine!
Night Of The Cats  1972

It's Roots Reaching Down To The Dead!
It's Crawling Creepers Reaching Out For Human Flesh!
It's Monstrous Body Bulldozing It's Way Thru The Jungle!
From Hell It Came  1957

tvnewstvnewstvnewstvnewstvnewstvTHE GLASS TEATnewstvnewstvnewstvnewstvnewstvnews
ANGEL GETS CORDELIA BACK? 
   Joss Whedon, co-creator of The WB's vampire series ANGEL, said that he hopes to bring back former regular cast member Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) sometime this season, even if it's just to wrap up her character's story.  Carpenter left the show at the end of last season, the show's fourth, and her character was left lying in a coma.
   "We definitely want to see Charisma again," Whedon says "She has an important part to play this season to bring some closure."  If things work out, there's a chance viewers could see Cordelia around the midway point of the season.
   Whedon was less sanguine about a guest appearance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the former star of BUFFY, which spawned ANGEL.  "I'm not banking on it," Whedon said.
   Meanwhile, ANGEL co-star Alexis Denisof (Wesley) said that he's hopeful that his new wife, Alyson Hannigan, will appear on the show as Willow.  "I hope they can talk her into it," Denisof said. "I'll certainly be trying to talk her into it."

WB GETS LOST 
   The WB Network has given a pilot order to a remake of the 1960s fantasy-adventure drama LOST IN SPACE.  The WB pursued the project aggressively, beating out several networks interested in the series.  The new version, set in the year 2097, will follow closely to the original by telling the adventures of the Robinson family and their loyal robot sidekick.
   Feature filmmaker John Woo (Mission: Impossible 2) is on board as an executive producer and may possibly direct the pilot.  The pilot is to be written by BUFFY scribe Doug Petrie, who will also executive produce.  Jon Jashni and Kevin Burns of Synthesis Entertainment, which oversees the TV and film properties controlled by the estate of LOST IN SPACE creator Irwin Allen, will also be executive producers.

FIREFLY FINDS A NEW HOME ON DVD 
   Joss Whedon, who created the short-lived television series FIREFLY, said that he's thrilled with the quality of the upcoming DVD box set.  "They really went to town on the DVD," Whedon said.  "There are interviews, extras, a gag reel and commentary on more than half the episodes.  I was really impressed.  When they said they wanted to do it, I was surprised.  Then they just did it proper.  It's a really nice package." 
   Set almost 500 years in the future, FIREFLY follows the adventures of the ragtag crew aboard a transport spaceship named Serenity.  The four-disk DVD set includes all 13 episodes of the series, eight of which feature commentary, deleted scenes from three episodes, three featurettes, a gag reel, Alan Tudyk's audition for the role of Wash and Whedon himself singing the theme song.  A feature film based on the series is currently in development, with Whedon attached to direct. The DVD set will be released on Dec. 9.

TEEN WOLF TO HOWL ON UPN 
   UPN is developing a drama series loosely based on the 1985 Michael J. Fox feature Teen Wolf.  The network is angling for a BUFFY - ESQUE vehicle about a college student who discovers that he's a werewolf.  UPN and producer Warner Brothers Television are reportedly looking to depart from the comedic bent of the original feature and emphasize the fantasy elements and black humor. 
   Warner Brothers acquired the rights to use the Teen Wolf title from MGM, which owns the original feature.  UPN has given a script commitment to the project, which will be helmed by veteran TV director Terry Hughes (Friends, 3rd Rock From the Sun) and scribe Ron Milbauer.

TAKEN TEAM REUNITES 
   Steven Spielberg, Les Bohem and DreamWorks Television-the creative team behind the Emmy Award-winning miniseries TAKEN-have announced their next collaboration, a trilogy entitled NINE LIVES, to air on SCI FI Channel.  Heralded by the network as the "first true miniseries trilogy ever,” NINE LIVES will be conceived, written and produced over the course of three separate installments.  The saga of love, death and beyond will be entirely written by TAKEN scribe Bohem, who will also executive produce with Spielberg and DreamWorks Television. The project is slated to launch in 2005.
   "Steven joins us in welcoming this second opportunity to be associated with the SCI FI Channel in bringing innovative programming to the television audience," said Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, co-heads of DreamWorks Television.  "TAKEN was an incredible experience on every level, and with Les Bohem back at the helm, we have no doubt that NINE LIVES will be equally exciting for all of us."
   Following the success of miniseries events such as TAKEN, Frank Herbert's DUNE and Frank Herbert's CHILDREN OF DUNE, SCI FI has made a number of deals with high-profile filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Bryan Singer, Dean Devlin and Gale Anne Hurd.  A highly anticipated four-hour re-imagining of the classic Battlestar Galactica is slated to premiere in December.

ELECTRA TOPS MONSTER ISLAND 
   Carmen Electra has been cast as herself in the upcoming MTV original movie MONSTER ISLAND, a satire of classic monster movie.  Electra will play the celebrity host of a fictional MTV beach concert that goes awry when a giant creature crashes the party and flies away with her in its beak.
   The teen cast tries to rescue her with the help of a mad scientist, who will be played by Adam West, star of the 1960s TV series Batman.  The cast includes Daniel Letterle, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Harrison, Chelan Simmons, Case Beddow and Joe MacLeod. MONSTER ISLAND is scheduled to air in the first quarter of 2004.  This sounds like one for ICS night for sure!
 

"I bring you a warning . . . . 
everyone of you listening to my voice . . . .
Tell the world . . . .
Tell this to everybody, wherever they are . . . . 
Watch the skies everywhere.  Keep looking!  Keep watching the skies! "
The last lines by newsman "Scotty" in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD  1951

literarynewsliterarynewsliterarynewsliterarynewsliterarynewsliterarynewsliterarynewsliterarynews
UCSC GETS HEINLEIN BEQUEST 
   The University of California, Santa Cruz's archive of science fiction writer Robert Heinlein received a gift of materials and cash from the estate of Heinlein's late widow valued at $300,000.  The latest acquisition includes all of his honors and tributes, including his four Hugo awards, plus artwork and other memorabilia, as well as his extensive working and personal libraries, the site reported.
   The donation was accompanied by a grant to establish the position of a Heinlein Scholar at the campus, who will work to organize, document and promote the scholarly use of the archive, housed in the University Library's Special Collections since 1968, the site reported.
   William H. Patterson Jr. has been selected by UC Santa Cruz as the campus Heinlein Scholar for 2003-'04.  He is founder of the Heinlein Society, a nonprofit educational charity that is dedicated to promoting Heinlein's social legacy, the site reported.  Patterson is also the editor/publisher of The Heinlein Journal and co-author of The Martian Named Smith, a critical study of Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land.

JEDI TRIAL FILLS IN THE GAP 
   The upcoming hardcover novel Jedi Trial is one in a LucasBooks series of Clone Wars books that will fill in the years between SW: EPISODE II-ATTACK OF THE CLONES and the upcoming movie EPISODE III.  A 2004 hardcover, Jedi Trial, will detail an important development that Anakin Skywalker faces in a major battle of the war.
   The Sluis sector has become a crucial battleground for control of a vital communications center.  The forces of Freedom's Sons fight under the flag of the Republic, but they need clone trooper and Jedi reinforcement to hold their ground.  Young Padawan Anakin Skywalker is dispatched to Praesitlyn, accompanied by an older Jedi Knight who is almost as headstrong and reckless as he is.
   Jedi Trial, written by David Sherman and Dan Cragg, is scheduled for release in hardcover in November 2004.

PHENOMENA IS LAUNCHED 
   Former CBS president Jeff Sagansky has launched Phenomena, a new bimonthly magazine dedicated to the exploration of the unexplained, publishers announced.  Mania Entertainment (Cinescape) will publish the magazine, whose first issue is on newsstands now. 
   "This content has been a passion of mine for some time, and Phenomena presents a forum to let readers in on the latest research and speculation from writers all over the world," Sagansky said in a statement. Simon Cox (the CD-ROM magazine DUAT) will be the editor-in-chief of Phenomena.
   The November/December 2003 premiere issue features an article by Cox, Robert Kirby and Sam Parnia examining near-death experiences from a medical point of view.
 
 
 

Book review by Jeanne Garden -

Hacker Cracker by Ejovi Nuwhere

   This book is divided into 3 parts and you don't have to be a computer geek to understand most of it. The first 100 pages or so is dedicated to a poor black boy growing up near the projects in Brooklyn. How dangerous it can be. Also comparing himself to how poor they have in the projects and that at least he has a loving extended family. Through the book, it talks about his depression because of his lack of a father and his mother’s battle with AIDS.
   In the second more geeky section he explains in detail how a hacker works and how you can use one computer to break into another. And how it gave him such a feeling of power to "own" a computer. From this he starts edging more and more into the positive side of the law in a security field. He also, in the second section, tells of his martial arts competion and just how tiring they can be.    If you get bored you can always flip to the last independent chapter about September 11th and how it changed his life. He talks about how close he was and how he was nearly killed in the shockwave of the towers falling. He then went on to say how everyone in his company from the president to lowest technical person worked side by side to rebuild the banks computers before Wall St reopened. 
 

And a Book review by Betsy Childs

SCREAM QUEEN by Edo Van Belkom

   This was a book made to be a movie if ever there was one.  A great plot with some odd twists building up and then plummeted three quarters of the way into it to finish with a kind of blaise ending.  The book follows the making of a horror reality show.  Spend one night in a haunted house.  Really haunted.  And the vengeful spirits of tortured victims that are ready for human interaction.  Ha ha, hee hee!
   The characters are the group of contestants that have been selected (all for various reasons that are reveled in the plot).  And they must survive one night in the haunted house to win the million dollars.  The directors/producers of this show are two of Hollywood’s greatest horror filmmakers and they use every trick they have to liven up the night.  They have gone in ahead of time to set up some special effects, never thinking that the house and its ghosts may not want to be disturbed. 
   When the ghosts start taking over the set in very subtle and yet bloody ways, the game changes quickly.  You are not sure what is real and what is part of the game.  Who will survive the night and win the million?  Who will care in the end?  It’s a great read for a horror fan but not one to try and go to sleep after!
 
 

If any ICS members would like to share their view on a recent book that they’ve read – fiction or non-fiction, please email it  attn betsy at ICSBETSPOTS@aol.com.

We are a cinema club, but many movies we watch were started in book form with our own imaginations creating the images that come to life in the films we love.
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PUNISHER WRAPS IT UP 
   On Oct. 15 came the wrap of principal photography on THE PUNISHER, a feature-film adaptation of the Marvel Comics series about a vigilante.  The film shot for 11 weeks on location in Tampa, Fla.
   THE PUNISHER stars Thomas Jane, John Travolta and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, with a supporting cast that includes Roy Scheider, Samantha Mathis, Laura Harring, Will Patton, Ben Foster, and James Carpinello.  In the comic, The Punisher is known for the skull logo on his chest.  He became a vigilante against crime when he lost his family to the mob.  This movie marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh (Armageddon) and will be released in on April 16, 2004.

ARENT YOU SPECIAL? GOT LOTR MARATHON TICKETS? 
   LORD OF THE RINGS fans are finding tickets scarce to the Dec. 16 marathon screenings of the Rings trilogy of films, featuring the extended versions of the previous two movies and the debut of the third installment, The Return of the King.  Fans lined up around blocks and jammed online sites last week to buy tickets to "Trilogy Tuesday," a day before KING officially bows nationally on Dec. 17.
   The marathon screenings will take place in selected theaters around the country. Demand has proven overwhelming, and tickets sold out in a matter of hours at the 99 U.S. locations that will host the marathon.  The Senator Theatre here in Baltimore will be one of those locations.
   Tickets, which went on sale Oct. 9, ranged from $25-$49 each and drew so many fans that online ticketing sites became clogged, forcing theaters to open up their box offices to handle the demand for what had been originally designed as an online promotion.  New Line Cinemas has no plans to expand the promotion.
   New Line also plans separate theatrical bookings of the extended version of the first Rings movie, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, from Dec. 5-11, followed by the extended version of the second film, THE TWO TOWERS, Dec. 12-15.

LUCAS FIRES UP STEALTH 
   Josh Lucas will star in Columbia Pictures's upcoming futuristic action film STEALTH, to be directed by Rob Cohen (XXX. STEALTH is slated to start shooting Jan. 19 in Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and China.
   This movie is designed as a summer tentpole for 2005.  STEALTH is set in the naval air force of the near future and tells the story of an artificial-intelligence pilot who is brought aboard to learn combat skills from human pilots, when the A.I. pilot begins to have ideas of his own.  Cohen said that the film will feature more than 800 visual effects, with jets designed in cooperation with Northrop Aviation.
   Lucas (Hulk) will play Ben Gannon, the senior pilot in the human wing of the naval air force.  Cohen penned a rewrite of the original script by W.D. Richter, who is best known to SF fans for directing 1984's BUCKAROO BANZAI. 
 

GAYE EXPANDS MATRIX ROLE 
   Nona Gaye, who stars in the upcoming sequel film THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS said that her character will have a lot more to do in the third and final installment in the trilogy.  "I get down," Gaye said in an interview at a party celebrating the DVD release of THE MATRIX RELOADED.  "In the second one I'm just kind of crying and saying, 'Please, baby, don't go,' and in this one I'm kind of doing my thing and crawling and digging and shooting and all kinds of stuff.  I even got to fight."
   THE MATRIX RELOADED DVD went on sale Oct. 14, while THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS opens in theaters Nov. 5.

BRITISH HEARTTHROB TO REIGN AS ARTHUR 
   Clive Owen-the British heartthrob who plays the title role in producer Jerry Bruckheimer's upcoming movie KING ARTHUR said that the film revises the well-worn myth.  "It's a new take on the whole King Arthur story, unlike anything you've ever seen before," Owen said.  He added, "Our version is set earlier than it's usually set.  We have it at 500 A.D., as opposed to medieval times.  Basically, the Roman empire is crumbling."
   Owen plays a half-Roman Arthur. "He's a commander of a crack team of military knights who, at the beginning of the movie, [get] the mission from hell: to go into dangerous, unknown territory and rescue a family as the Saxons are invading by the thousands.
  Meanwhile, Arthur has always held onto Rome as something he wants to return to and something he reveres, but it keeps changing."
   Ultimately, Owen said, the movie is about faith.  "His faith is called into question," he said.  "It's about how he begins to accept the place where he lives and the people who he's with. He becomes a man of the people."  KING ARTHUR, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), is still in production.

POTTERS PARTS AUCTIONED 
   Two parts in the proposed fourth Harry Potter film are to be auctioned off in November at a charity dinner in Scotland.  The two highest bidders at a dinner for the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland will win walk-on parts in HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, which begins filming next April.
   Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is a major supporter of charities for multiple sclerosis, the disease that caused her mother's premature death in 1990.
   The auction will take place Nov. 28 at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, with tickets priced at £175 ($293) each. Guests at the function will also be able to bid for a full-size replica of Dobby the House Elf, signed by Rowling.

STAR WARS FANS TO HOPE –VII- IX? 
   A new rumor that a long-hoped-for-and long-denied-third trilogy of Star Wars films may be back on the drawing board.  Citing an anonymous "insider source," it is reported that the sequel trilogy "might happen."
   Star Wars creator George Lucas originally told journalists that his plan was to create three trilogies of films.  The original one that included the first STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK AND RETURN OF THE JEDI, a prequel trilogy and a sequel trilogy that would pick up the story after the events in JEDI, consisting of Episode VII through IX.  Subsequently, Lucas said he never intended to do the sequel trilogy.
   But now, the source has said, "apparently there is some talk, even to the point of [Steven] Spielberg-who was interested in doing ATTACK OF THE CLONES at one point-stepping in for Lucas, who may want to write, but probably won't want to direct."  The source added that it's possible Lucas could strike a deal with writer/director Frank Darabont, who is writing the script for the proposed fourth Indiana Jones movie, to write the sequel scripts.

SHRINKING GROWS IN MARCH
   Eddie Murphy will be the title character in an update of the classic SF movie THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN said Brian Grazer, producer of said that the film which begins shooting in March 
   The film has been long in development, but Grazer credits writers Ben Garant and Tom Lennon with bringing the final touch that made the script ready to shoot.  "[They] had a genius idea as to what the occupation of the guy should be," Grazer said  "He's going to be a Las Vegas magician.  It's so great, because what happens is he's that bigger-than- life [persona].  It's Eddie with an attitude.  It's not happy Eddie.  It's Eddie with his edgy attitude being like David Copperfield or David Blaine. ... But he's somehow been relegated to do the day show, like babysitting kids. And he's pissed."
   When Murphy's character begins shrinking, "the audience believed that that was part of the show," Grazer said. "So you get to have a reality where everyone's going, 'He shrunk himself, screw him.  You're on Leno?  Bullsh-t. You shrunk yourself.  You're promoting yourself.'  And he's going, 'Ummm…Get me out of here."  Sounds like some interesting mixing of personalities.

WHO IS THAT SUPERMAN? 
   Henry Cavill or Brendon Fraser?
   It was recently reported on the Superman-V.com fan Web site that an unsubstantiated rumor that British actor Henry Cavill is under consideration to play the Man of Steel in a proposed fifth SUPERMAN movie. The site reported that the relatively unknown actor told a fan site that he was auditioning for the lead role in the movie, but added that he fears he "may be too young though, ... which is so often the case."
   However Brendan Fraser said in an interview that he is still in the running for the coveted title role in Warner Brothers' upcoming SUPERMAN film, based on the DC Comics character.
   "I'm interested," Fraser said while promoting his latest film, LOONEY TUNES:BACK IN ACTION.  "I have been approached about it. It is a possibility. It really comes down to, I think, decisions made [at the] studio level way up on high."
   Fraser said that he is also taking into consideration the drawbacks of playing the iconic superhero.  "Whoever it is who plays that role is historically forever more known as that character," he said. "I mean, that's a superhero who isn't masked, and he's also of a duplicitous nature.  It's Clark Kent and Superman.  So, I've read the script for it. It's very good.  We'll see.  Stay tuned. No pun intended." He said laughingly.

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COLLECTIBLES CORNER  by Gary  Psyched about the New season of 24  Roberson

      From the Here We Go Again Department - In the DVD section of the I.C.S. Film Forum, I had mentioned a set available containing 8 of the classic Universal Monster films, since they're almost impossible to find anymore, but if you don't read the forum, you may have missed out on a really good deal, from  www.diabolikdvd.com . It's the UNIVERSAL MONSTERS COFFIN BOX SET. 
That's right, folks!  Eight of the classics - DRACULA / FRANKENSTEIN/ BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN/ THE MUMMY/ PHANTOM OF THE OPERA(1943)/ THE INVISIBLE MAN/ THE WOLF MAN & CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON!,  all packaged in A LITTLE COFFIN!!!
  This set is a STEAL, at $74.99, if you consider what these movies go for individually (if you can find them) on E-bay.  Check it out, if only for a really cool website!!!

     From the Back to the Shire Department.
   In anticipation of the forthcoming RETURN OF THE KING, is the LORD OF THE RINGS FELLOWSHIP DELUXE SET, containing all 9 members of the original "Fellowship", along with a replica of The One Ring to Bind Them All and a map of Middle Earth.  For $44.99 from www.bigbadtoystore,com  .

     From the You, Too, Can Have More Fun than Billy Bob Thornton! Department.    How would you like to have a set of 6 1/2" Angelina Jolies on your shelf?  From www.monstersdirect.com  there's the action figures from LARA CROFT AND THE CRADLE OF LIFE! 
You can have Angelina 2 ways (calm down, guys!) -  in jeans and T-shirt with jacket and a set of 45's (that's pistols, you pervos!) orrrrrrrrr... in that marvelous wetsuit, so gloriously portrayed in the one-sheet poster, with sawed-off shotgun and spear pistol!!!!   To quote my 9 week old Miniature Schnauzer, WOOF!

     From the Speaking of Cheesy Science Fiction Department. 
  What do you think of when  you hear the title  A.I.P.?   Amazingly  Intelligent Pictures?  Another Incredible Picture?  More likely, Awfully Incompetent Pictures...
  Actually, it's American International Pictures, which was responsible for some of the cheesier low budget flics of the 50's, 60's and 70's. 
But, as you know, they had a certain charm - evident to some of us who would rather watch EARTH VS. THE SPIDER over Spielberg's  MINORITY REPORT, any day of the week!!!!   So, much to my delight, www.monstersinmotion.com  is offering limited release action figures from DAY THE WORLD ENDED, SHE CREATURE and WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST!!! They're available for pre-order at about $39.99 each, to be shipped out early next year.

DVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNEWSDVDNE
SOMEDAY’S DREAMERS volume 1, released by Geneon, 11/11/03. SRP 29.98, 
special edition (with collector’s box) 39.98
It’s seems like a slice-of-life anime, except some people can use magic. But  in this world, magic users are not too uncommon. Yume is one of these people, and she has reached the age of apprenticeship, so off she goes to Tokyo to live with the wizard Oyamada. It’s basically meant to be just a sweet simple show that follows a young girl as she learns new things and grows up.
This originally had a different Japanese title- MAHOU TSUKAI NO TAISETSUNA 
NA KOTO, which seems to translate to “things that are important to magicians”, but even in the Japanese logo the words “Someday’s Dreamers” can be seen. Perhaps the influence of American licensers is getting stronger? Anyway, it’s only 12 episodes long, so it will be released on 3 discs.

LAST EXILE volume 1, released by Geneon, 11/18/03. SRP 29.98 (disc only), 39.98 (with box), 49.98 (Special limited edition)
Gonzo Digimation studios, celebrating their tenth anniversary, made LAST EXILE as part of their celebration. Now Gonzo has a reputation for having it shows starting out strong and then kind of waning towards the end (HELLSING, FULL METAL PANIC both seem to do this). So when announcing LAST EXILE as their new project they swore up and down that the quality would be consistent, comparing the quality of the animation to SENTOU YOUSEI YUKIKAZE, the extremely high budget OAV they’ve been working on. 
And they seem to have kept their promise. And, man does it look good.
Claus and Alvie fly planes, sometimes making deliveries. When some human cargo they were supposed to deliver doesn’t make it to the assigned destination, the duo is caught in an aerial war between two countries.
The show is sometimes described as being “steam punk”. I’m not really sure by what people mean by that, but there’s lots of flying in pretty airplanes, and the timeline of the technology is hard to pin down. Some stuff looks like it’s from the 40’s, other parts seem more like the 19th century.
Oh yeah, the special limited edition for this release mirrors the original Japanese release- aside from a numbered box, there’s a mousepad  and a Alvie 
Figurine that can be put in different poses.

LICENSCED BY ROYALTY (L/R) volume 1, released by Geneon, 11/25/03. SRP 29.98, 35.98 (with box)
 “L/R” refers to the two agents of the Ishtar Royal Family, Jack and Rowe. These two handle all of the jobs that need to be taken care of, but can’t be traced back to the government. With Jack’s suave personality and Rowe’s talent for disguises (and kicking butt) the two of them are a perfect duo who never fail.

FAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLS
Veteran actress Florence Stanley, who was probably best known for playing Det. Phil
Fish's wife, Bernice on BARNEY MILLER and FISH, died Oct. 3 in Los Angeles. She
was 79. 
Born in Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University, the gravely voiced Stanley began her career on Broadway. Her films include OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVE. and ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE. She also appeared as a regular or guest on many other television series including as the voice of Sobbing Josette on DARK SHADOWS.

Bernard Schwartz, film producer, has died at age 85. Schwartz was best known for his biopic of country singing star Loretta Lynn in the 1980 COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER.
The film earned him a Golden Globe Award for best musical or comedy, a Country Music Assn. award for best picture and an Academy Award nomination for best picture.
ICSers will remember Schwartz best for producing the television series about supernatural phenomena, ALCOA PRESENTS: ONE STEP BEYOND, starring host John Newland from 1959 to 1961 and the 1959 science fiction film, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, starring James Mason and Pat Boone. Until he became ill several months ago, he had been working with producer Dick Zanuck on a contemporary remake of that film. He also produced 1983’s PSYCHO II with Anthony Perkins, which critics called a “suprisingly good sequel” to Hitchcock’s original.

Jack Elam, a character actor and favorite Western bad-guy who menaced the good-guy cowboys with his crazy grin, wild eyes and malevolent gunslinging, has died.
He started out in Hollywood as an accountant and hotel manager and took bit parts in 
movies, usually uncredited in the late 1940s.
He has appeared in such films as THE SUNDOWNERS, RAWHIDE, KISS ME DEADLY, KISMET, GUNFIGHT AT O.K. CORRAL, POCKET FULL OF MIRACLES,
4 FOR TEXAS, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, RIO LOBO, THE CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF and THE APPLEDUMPLING GANG RIDES AGAIN.
ICS member Barry Murphy reports, “He was a guest at a recent Memphis Film Festival that I attended and, if I'm remembering right, was one of those rare birds who didn't charge for his autograph.  I also recall that, whenever they weren't needed, in true Grizzled Hollywood Oldtimer-style, Elam and Gene Evans and Red West and whatever other tough ol' buzzards were there reportedly kept sneaking back to their hard-drinkin', smoke-filled-room for their weekend-long poker game.”
Jack Elam, one of the movies’ great villains, was 84 years old.

Janice Rule, dancer-turned-actress who appeared in Broadway plays, movies and as a guest star on popular television series through the 1950s and '60s, has died. She was 72.
She made her acting debut on Broadway in the original production of  PICNIC  by William Inge. She later turned down the role opposite Marlon Brando in the picture ON THE WATERFRONT  because she was still appearing in that play. Eva Marie Saint accepted the offer and won an Oscar for her performance. 
Rule appeared in such movies as BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, THE CHASE, THE SWIMMER, ALVAREZ KELLY, DOCTORS WIVES and 3 WOMEN and in T.V. series
like STUDIO ONE, ALCOA HOUR, PLAYHOUSE 90, WAGON TRAIN, MOMENT OF FEAR, ROUTE 66, BURKE’S LAW, MURDER SHE WROTE and THE RAY BRADBURY THEATRE.

Guy Rolfe, actor, gaunt leading man in the heyday of the British screen who later became a star of cult horror movies has died, he was 91 years old.
Rolfe had a screen career in Britain and America that spanned five decades, first as a leading man and then in character parts. He starred opposite Hollywood legends such
as Elizabeth Taylor, Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton and Joan Fontaine, and
worked in every genre from thrillers and romantic dramas to musicals and historical epics. Later in his career he began appearing in horror films, and at the age of 80 he became a favorite of slasher-movie fans by appearing as the insane puppet manufacturer Andre Toulon in the Puppetmaster films.
Other of his films include THE SPIDER AND THE FLY, IVANHOE (as Prince John),
KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES, THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY, SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES  (as Count Oga), KING OF KINGS (as Ciaphas), MR. SARDONICUS, TARAS BULBA, THE ALPHABET MURDERS, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS, BLOODLINE, THE BRIDE, and DOLLS.

Harry Clement Stubbs, better known to science fiction readers as Hal Clement, has died at age 81.  He was born in Somerville, Massachusetts and grew up in the Boston area. He received degrees from Harvard, Boston University and Simmons College.
His first story, Proof, appeared in the June 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, and his first novel, Needle was serialized there in 1949.
Some of his other novels include Mission of Gravity, IceWorld, Ocean on Top, The Nitrogen Fix, Space Lash, HalfLife and his latest, Noise. 
Some of the plaudits Clement had garnered during his career are Guest of Honor at the 1991 World Science Fiction Convention, a 1996 retro-Hugo award for his 1945 short story Uncommon Sense, induction in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, and SFWA's Grand Master Award in 1999.

THE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARD
THE LAST WARD…
by John Ward

 It is a commonly held belief that 1939 was the greatest year in movie history, in terms of overall quality.  A quick look back at the titles, and one is hard-pressed to dispute the claim:  MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, GONE WITH THE WIND, THE WIZARD OF OZ, STAGECOACH, NINOTCHKA, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS… The list goes on and on.
 But does this theory stand up to the genre test?
 Just for fun, (and mainly because I was strapped once again for a column idea) I decided to take 1939 to task.  Could the genre product (horror, fantasy, mystery, thriller, etc.) of that golden year stand up to any other random year? 
 How random, you say?  Well, let’s choose… oh, I don’t know… how about… 1958?  Yeah, that sounds good.  You can’t get much more random than 1958.  Besides, it was a good year for birthdays, or so my mother tells me.
 Ladies and gentlemen, let the face-off begin…

 We’ll begin with the big guns.  The classic genre product of 1939, and arguably the greatest fantasy film ever made (until short stumpy guys with hairy feet started popping up around New Zealand), had to be THE WIZARD OF OZ.  The tale of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, et al. remains burned into our collective consciousness.  The film was such an annual event in my house growing up that, to this day, whenever I see it on tape or DVD, I know instantly when the commercial breaks would fall.  The first one, for example, comes just when Dorothy leaves Professor Marvel’s campfire as the winds start to pick up, and the old guy goes, “Poor kid, I hope she makes it home all right…”
 This movie had some genuinely creepy moments, despite being one of the greatest kid films of all time.  Lots of people remember the flying monkeys, and I admit the first glimpse of them coming toward Dorothy in the forest chills the blood.  They looked like bats, for goodness sake.  But I also remember the sight of the tornado far off in the distance, whirling and ghostlike, silent and deadly, and that shook me more than any CGI-generated cyclone in TWISTER ever could.  Then there were the Munchkins, who freaked me out in a strange way long before FREAKS ever did.
 The biggest genre product of 1958 would have to be VERTIGO.  It’s considered by many to be Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest film.  For the sake of this month’s column, I’m not about to argue.  But I always considered this film something of a head trip for Hitchcock.  It has an assortment of classic moments, including the opening rooftop chase and the finale in the bell tower, plus a great performance by Jimmy Stewart.  For sheer entertainment, and probably for historical impact as well, I’d go with THE WIZARD OF OZ.
 Batting second for 1939 would be SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, Boris Karloff’s final appearance as the Monster.  It was a slight letdown in quality from 1935’s BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, but still a fine monster mash, with nice performances by Basil Rathbone as Dr. Frankenstein, Lionel Atwill as the Inspector (wonderfully lampooned by Kenneth Mars in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN), and Bela Lugosi in one of his last notable roles as the hunchbacked Ygor.  I still can’t figure out why Karloff’s Monster wore that funky woolen vest in this movie.
 1958 struck back in a big way:  HORROR OF DRACULA.  The first appearance of Christopher Lee as the infamous Count, red-eyed, fangs bared, damn near animalistic.  Coldly suave one moment, deliciously feral the next.  (And for my money, superior to the fellow in the maitre d’ outfit, but that’s another column.)  He’s matched by Peter Cushing in one of his two greatest roles as Dr. Van Helsing, vampire hunter extraordinaire.  My only quibble with this film is that the two actors didn’t share more screen time together.  The edge here has to go to HORROR OF DRACULA.
 Next up for 1939 would be Basil Rathbone’s one-two punch of THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.  Casting Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson had to be one of the greatest casting moves in film history; they were perfect in their roles, with superb chemistry.  I confess I’ve never seen ADVENTURES…, but HOUND… remains an old favorite.
 1958 countered with THE BLOB.  Forget the star-making turn by Steve McQueen; this one had a giant, pulsing mass of voracious, ruby-red protoplasm.  The special effects seem almost quaint when stacked against the gory 1988 remake (still one of my favorite guilty pleasures), but there’s no denying the scare factor when the original BLOB rolled into (and out of) that movie theater-within-a-theater.  One of my most vivid childhood nightmares (vivid because I still remember it) was that of sitting in my grade school classroom (on the second floor), looking out the window, and seeing the Blob roll into the playground.  I started screaming as the ooze crept up to the level of the classroom windows, and then I woke up.  THE BLOB takes this round, no contest.
 Batting clean-up for 1939 would be the original animated version of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.  Before Max Fleischer scored with his classic Superman shorts, he answered Disney’s SNOW WHITE with this loose adaptation of the Jonathan Swift classic.  It pretty much does away with most of Swift’s social satire, but I can’t see the kiddies who loved SNOW WHITE going for Swift’s take on class warfare.  Instead, we’ve got some rousing action and some not-awful songs.  Okay, but it pales before…
 1958’s THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD.  Probably the second greatest thing Ray Harryhausen ever did, next to JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS.  This one has the Cyclops, the Roc, evil wizards, swashbuckling heroes, chases, a swordfighting skeleton, magic spells, a winning heroine, and a great big dragon.  ‘Nuff said.
 1939 was not ready to throw in the towel, however.  It tossed in the remake of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, one of Charles Laughton’s greatest roles.  This could have been a real joke of a movie, because the original Lon Chaney silent version was considered a classic.  But Laughton brought a tragic pathos to his characterization of Quasimodo, the misshapen bellringer, and an odd sweetness to his scenes with a young Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda.  Laughton nimbly made the character his own.
 What could 1958 possibly offer in return?  How about…THE FLY?  Not a movie known for its powerhouse acting; we’ve got a hammy Vincent Price chewing up the scenery, and a pre-Voyage David Hedison as the unlucky scientist.  But I don’t remember any individual scenes from HUNCHBACK, just Laughton’s performance.  Whereas THE FLY… well, who can forget that finale with the spider?  “Help me, hellpp mmeeee…” Yikes!!  1958 takes this one in a minor upset.
 After a couple of solid body shots and a swift right to the jaw, 1939 was reeling, practically on the ropes.  But it stumbled upright with TOWER OF LONDON, a horror movie masquerading as an historical epic.  Once again, we’ve got Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff, matched as Richard, the Duke of Gloucester (soon to be Richard III) and Mord, his club-footed executioner.  There are some pretty effective moments in this one as Karloff goes around doing his master’s bidding, knocking off everyone in line to the throne ahead of Richard.  It even featured Vincent Price in his screen debut.  However, I sensed that 1939 was starting to weaken.
 1958 moved in for the kill with the surprisingly effective IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE.  This one was made on the cheap, to be sure.  But look closely, and one sees an ALIEN-style thriller, with an assortment of astronauts trying to survive a space ride home with a distinctly unfriendly passenger.  More entertaining than TOWER OF LONDON, and an ICS movie choice, to boot.  Who could argue with that?
 What else was there to offer in 1939?  Well, let’s see…THE RETURN OF DR. X, billed as the only horror movie Humphrey Bogart ever made (and with good reason; he looked pained throughout)… THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG, an effective Karloff-back-from-the-dead chiller… THE PHANTOM CREEPS, a serial with Bela Lugosi… OF MICE AND MEN, while not strictly a genre movie, had possibly Lon Chaney Jr.’s finest performance…
 And 1958 responded with THE RETURN OF DRACULA, with Francis Lederer as the Count against some All-American teenagers.  This was the one where the blind girl was bitten by Dracula and regained her eyesight…TOUCH OF EVIL, Orson Welles’ prime slice of film noir…THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Hammer Studios’ second take on the Frankenstein story, with Peter Cushing as the good doctor…the grade-B chills of I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE…
 1939’s tank was empty.  The only fumes I could smell were a couple of Mr. Moto movies and a Buck Rogers serial.  There was a momentary spark of life when I discovered a movie made in 1939 called LEATHERFACE (I am not making this up), but it turned out to be some Indian movie starring a guy named Jairaj and a gal named Mehtab.
 I thought the battle was done.  But, just to add insult to injury, 1958 piled on the likes of MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS, WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, TEENAGE CAVE MAN, THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK, ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN, and as one last thumb to the nose, THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO.
 1958, in a landslide.
 What was 1939 thinking, anyway? 

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ICS CALENDER –the Month in review
 

Nov 22nd – the ICS meeting.  Come early and be prepared for ICS auction.
 We are meeting a week ahead of normal in deference to Thanksgiving holidays.
 
 

TCM MOVIE SCHEDULE FOR ICS MEMBERS  (movies of our favorite genres)
    November 9
10:30 pm Lon Chaney:A Thousand Faces
12:00 am The Unholy Three (1925)
1:30 am  The Unholy Three (1930)
2:45 am  Laugh, Clown, Laugh
4:15 am  Phantom of the Opera (1925)
   November 10
2:30 pm  Cat People (1942)
   November 15
3:00 pm  7'th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
4:30 pm  Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
   November 22
12:15 pm  Village of the Damned (1960)
   2:00 pm  From the Earth to the Moon (1958)
  November 30
6:00 pm  2001:A Space Odyssey (1968)