Review: Space Monsters Magazine #3 / Author: Richard Gladman / Publisher: Self-published / Release Date: Out Now
Space Monsters #3 is now out and it’s a good ‘un. The brainchild of editor Richard Gladman, Space Monsters, to make the point obvious, is designed to celebrate monsters from outer space (or with a definite sci-fi slant!). Hence this month’s issue focuses on Frankenstein on film, with a strong Hammer contingent.
As usual the level of writing is superb. Sascha Cooper contributes a pretty thorough history of Frankenstein adaptations, taking us from the very earliest silent days through the Universal classics to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), with the 1950s onwards picked up next month. Emily Booth provides a witty account of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, a kitschy romp from 1965 about a robot who combats Martian invaders who come to impregnate our women. Part of the fun in reading Booth’s monthly column is waiting for the asides and side swipes at directors she has worked with. ‘Having been impregnated by aliens myself in Evil Aliens’, she jokes, ‘ their methods seem almost humane compared to the hell Jake West put me through.’ Priceless!
Pete Shorney gives us an overview of Quatermass at the movies, covering Hammer’s three features, as well as the lessor known Euston Films’ 1979 TV mini-series based on an original script by Nigel Kneale, starring John Mills. Shorney also discusses the 1996 radio show The Quatermass Memoirs and 2005’s Jason Flemyng-starring The Quatermass Experiment, and reflects on Kneale’s influence on people like Stephen King and John Carpenter.
Joseph Losey’s The Damned (1963) gets a short 'n’ sweet review by Dom O’Brien, who rightly praises Losey’s timeless direction. It’s a film that needs to be seen in its original 94 minute version to be fully appreciated. Another early Hammer release is the subject of Anthony Gates' appreciative retrospective. Four Sided Triangle (1953), is, as Gates says, a fairly tentative step into science fiction for Hammer, but a fascinating one nonetheless.
Bringing us into the American nature-runs-amok subgenre of the 1970s, Ernie Magnotta casts an affectionate glance at Empire of the Ants, the 1977 Joan Collins-starring cheese-fest from Bert I. Gordon. As Magnotta says, it’s so bad it’s good, and gives us a whopping list of 28 classic moments from the film. Radioactive waste that looks like silver paint has to come near the top!
Jonathan Dabell contributes an equally engaging piece on Hammer’s Jurassic classics. There’s fur bikinis and Harryhausen stop-motion dinos aplenty, as Dabell rounds up One Million Years B.C., Prehistoric Women, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Creatures The World Forgot for an affectionate critical mauling.
Dom O’Brien’s second piece this month is a fascinating account of the 1973 Fantastic Planet, Rene Laloux’s groundbreaking surrealistic sci-fi animation, which is, as Dabell says, still impressive today.
Cranston McMillan contributes a retrospective of 1970 monster mags, including two by our beloved Honorary Editor-in Chief Dez Skinn. Anyone out there who has never read Monster Mag or House of Hammer (not to mention World of Horror or Legend Horror Classics) needs to check out McMillan’s article asap.
Gladman springs a coup by landing Debbie Rochon, veteran scream queen of Santa Claws (1996) and Tromeo and Juliet (1996) for her Top 5 sci-fi movies; while Dabell contributes an article on another obscure Hammer gem Spaceways (1953). Pieces on The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, Moon Zero Two (1969) and X - The Unknown (1956) continue the Hammer sci-fi theme, and most enjoyably too.
As usual, Space Monsters includes some superb lobby cards and movie posters from the period courtesy of Steve Kirkham and Stephen Jones/Monsters from Hell, as well as great original artwork by Woody Welch, Ash Loydon, and Billy Chainsaw. The whole thing, as ever, is lovingly put together by editor Gladman and designer Kirkham; and fittingly, this issue is dedicated to the late Forrest J. Ackerman whose Famous Monsters of Funland – as Gladman points out – started the whole monster mag thing off in the first place.
To order your copy go here: http://www.classichorrorcampaign.com/space-monsters-magazine.