Last weekend correspondent and advisor Gary Teetzel attended an event opening the Jack Kevan Collection at the Valley Relics Museum here in the L.A. area. Kevan is the celebrated monster-maker & special makeup expert most famously known for fabricating and part-designing Universal’s superb Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Speeches and presentations were offered by C. Courtney Joyner, Jack Kevan’s daughter Pamela and others. Gary sent along photos of the exhibits. Displays of items from Kevan’s family were supplemented with exhibits of monster memorabilia, showing the impact that Universal’s creations had on popular culture.
The selection of genuine Kevan items saved by Pamela Kevan included several pieces of The Monster of Piedras Blancas, Kevan’s own post-Universal creation — the infamous severed head, and the monster’s hands and feet. There were also a pair of surviving Mole People hands.
↑ Gary saw a shelf with a couple of unidentified items, including the monster head pictured above — is it actually a mask? At first I thought it was the Piedras Blancas beastie or something from Star Trek . . . who knows? Its identity eludes me, but maybe a correspondent can nail it down for us . . .
Italo film expert and frequent disc commentator Troy Howarth has been touting an upcoming U.K. Blu-ray from the disc company 88 Films, of Mario Bava’s Gothic horror classic The Whip and the Body, or in its original Italian, La frustra e il corpo. The street date at Amazon UK is listed as March 27, 2023.
This is of course the sado-masochistic mini-masterpiece in which Daliah Lavi takes the ‘traditional’ Barbara Steele role, excelling as a woman haunted by the ghost of an abusive lover . . . Christopher Lee, naturally. It’s as close as Lee ever came to playing a dark romantic ‘Heathcliff’- type leading man. Except that this character is a complete rat, a sadist through and through.
The upcoming disc is hopeful news to Mario Bava fans because almost all previous videos of Whip have been of disappointing quality, far too dark and with Bava’s hallucinatory colors dimmed. The last time we saw it looking good was at a 1993 American Cinematheque screening — I think. The memory for that screening dims, for some reason. It was the night that Joe Dante introduced us to two guests: the ‘new’ horror authority Tim Lucas, and to the adventurous actress Harriet White Medin, of numerous quality Eurohorrors plus Rossellini’s classic Paisan.
We hope Troy’s praise for the image quality turns out to be accurate, as Whip is a nearly perfect corridor-wandering, flowing-nightgown haunted castle epic. A potential downside for some collectors? 88 Films’ disc will most likely be Region B.
And as a final post- Halloween treat, secret CineSavant agent ‘B’ circulated some pages from the original Fawcett comic book adaptation of Edgar G. Ulmer’s mini- sci-fi classic The Man From Planet X. He determined that the comic book hit newsstands in December of 1951. Wait a minute — I was born in February of ’52, and my parents didn’t buy me a copy. They could have read me to sleep with it, or something.
Here are a couple of sample panels. It’s a quality comic; Charlie Largent says that it was drawn by his favorite Superman/Lois Lane artist. The film’s dastardly scientific villain Dr. Mears was played by none other than favorite William Schallert, near the very beginning of his film career. I think his likeness in the comic is pretty amazing. We wonder if Schallert was aware of this ‘ancillary’ comic book stardom. Or with his busy day-player acting schedule, did he even have a chance to pass by newsstands?
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson