Vintage Reads #49: Horror Novels

When I think of the history of horror fiction, I mentally categorize them into three very simplistic eras: The Olden Days, The Retrospace Era, and The New Era.  (No doubt there are thousands of literature teachers and professors out there shaking their heads sadly in unison.)

"The Old" consists of everything from Matthew Lewis' Monk to HP Lovecraft.  It includes those Victorian Ghost Stories and Gothic tales by Poe and LeFanu. Some of the my favorite from "The Old" are Melmoth the Wanderer, Uncle Silas, The Turn of the Screw, and, of course, Stoker's Dracula.  Event the Penny Dreadfuls have something to offer. Nothing provides a better escape during the Halloween season than a good old fashioned haunted mansion in Dickens' England.


Retro Film Report #39: Dracula. The Dirty Old Man (1969)

When an already terrible movie has to redub the entire film from scratch (because the original sound was so poor and didn't line up), it starts to transcend the "terrible" and enter into the murky waters of "train wreck". Add the fact that the film is beyond tasteless, mean spirited, and tacky to the fullest extent of the word, and you now have left the realm of "train wreck" and entered the realm of "dumpster fire".

So, if you're in the mood for a dumpster fire - something akin to burning garbage, then this may be for you. It's inept, poorly executed, and without any redeeming quality... other than its shameless bad taste which it revels in.  When I saw it for the first time, I was slack jawed amazed..... when I saw it the fifth time, I realized that I obviously have very bad taste in films, because here I go again.

But, hey. Tasteless incompetence can be fun when it's done wrong.... horribly, horribly wrong.  And I love every minute of it.  This is a 44 year old dumpster fire that still smells like shit.  Take a whiff and see for yourself, if you dare.


Mini Skirt Monday #167 : One Among Many

I don't care who you are, there's one - and only one - thing your eyes are centered on in that picture.  Does this woman realize all the men within range are stealing glances?  And how many times have the men that flank her instinctively had their gaze wander in her direction?  Too many to count, I'm sure.

Indeed, the miniskirt exudes a gravitational pull on the male eyeball.  Call it biological or call it a quantum attraction, but don't deny its reality.  And when that room is full of stuffy men in suits smelling of Aqua Velva and other women in long dresses or slacks, that ocular attraction becomes amplified.

In this post, we salute the girls who, alone, donned the mini - much to the delight of the males present, and much to the detriment of the gals who did not.  Lone miniskirt wearing chick - Retrospace salutes you!


Retrospace Sharity #1: 15 Horror Magazines

Retrospace Sharity is back! (I'm starting back at #1 since all previous sharity posts are dead.) After being cast aside by Rapidshare, another file sharing service has arisen to carry the torch and provide the masses with the retro material they crave.  Sure, we've lost everything from the past 3 to 4 years, but the agony of defeat has only made us stronger (and horribly bitter... but that's neither here nor there).

So, bottom line, here are 15 vintage horror magazines made especially for your downloading pleasure. You're more than welcome, and Happy Halloween!

Retrospace Radio Halloween Rewind

As I've mentioned repeatedly on Retrospace, I was stricken when both Rapidshare and another file sharing company ditched me like a bad habit less than a year ago.  All the files that I'd worked so hard to compile and upload for my loyal readers were gone in a blink of an eye.

Well, you can't keep an obsessive compulsive down for very long.  I'm experimenting with ways to still deliver the goods.  Here's a couple Halloween mixes I put together back in October '11 and '12.  It should download, but I can't find a way to stream it for you yet.  Consider this an experiment.  An experiment in awesomeness.


The Boob Tube #48: Horror on the Tube (Part 2)

October 1987
Horror on the Tube (Part 1) 10/1/12

Television is better today in so many ways: we didn't have shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men back in the day - shows with such an amazing attention to detail. Of course, we didn't have AMC or a hundred other cable stations - our options were much more limited...... and yet....

And yet, with just a few channels on the dial, we got an array of movies that blows away today's TV schedule.  There were no infomercials or profoundly retarded reality shows clogging up the system.  Every night there were gobs of movies to choose from - often stuff that will never even make it to DVD.  Stay up late, and there's no telling what double bill you'll end up watching.

For horror hounds like myself, those days are cherished memories.  I wish I could click on the boob tube tonight and catch some of these fright night jewels.  The beauty of it was that it was a purely serendipitous experience.  You watched what was on, not what you carefully researched then rented or downloaded.

Anyway, here's a bunch of horror TV ads which hopefully conveys the wonderful variety of horror offerings local networks provided us way back when.  Enjoy.


Vintage Scan # 27: Donny & Marie Coloring Book (1977)

I found this Donny & Marie coloring book from 1977 and felt the need to share.  Far be it from me to make fun of it - there's nothing wrong with a little D&M love.  However, the artwork is so incomprehensibly poor and the content itself so mind-bendingly inane, I can't help but smile at its overall badness.

For instance, I can't imagine even the most ardent D&M fan enjoying the laborious process of coloring in Donny Osmond packing a suitcase, or holding a plane ticket, or any other page of eye-watering mundanity. But then, this is an el-cheapo Whitman coloring book, so what was I expecting?

Anyway, here's a good bit of the coloring book scanned for your viewing enjoyment.  Thank you, and the pleasure was mine.


Retro Film Report #38: Nine 1980s Horror Movies You Haven't Seen

Okay, I know there's a lot of horror buffs out there that have seen every movie on this list multiple times; so, please don't cause a ruckus over the title.  It simply means I'm taking a look at some horror titles that the vast majority of you haven't seen, or even heard of.  Let's face it, who needs a review of Nightmare on Elm Street at this point?  Or even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (groan).

I'm digging deep here, folks. Like the dwarves who dug too deep in the Mines of Moria, I'm in danger of unleashing the Balrog.  Not to worry, - Gandalf Gilligan is here to get us through.  One word of warning up front: Most of these movies are forgotten for a reason.  When you're this deep in the mines, you're not likely to strike gold.... but when you do, it is all the sweeter.


Catalogs #33: Men's Fashion - Sears Fall-Winter 1974

This group of guys look like they should all be members of some elite crime fighting group and have their own TV show.

The Freddy Mercury looking hombre on the bottom left is Esteban.  He's been known to diffuse bombs with his teeth while maintaining perfect hair..

The fella on the bottom right? That's Victor, the muscle of the crew who walks the fine line between lawman and criminal.  Delivered one of the finest no-holds-barred beat downs ever shown on network television.

Top right: Cornelius - ex pusher turned cop.  But just 'cause he stopped slingin' H doesn't mean he's working for the "man".  His heart will always be in the ghetto.

Top Left: Illya Nickovitch - Fought his way out of the Russian army wielding only a butterfly knife. Trademark: chews on carrots.

The magnificent bastard bottom center is the leader of this group, Nathan Wind.  Rumored to be dating Jaclyn Smith.


Album Covers #41: Side B Track 3

Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd sift through a stack of old records, post their glorious cover art, and list the third track on side B of each record.  Why? This is the Internet -  Do we really need a reason?

Of course, there's the required snarky commentary by yours truly - so there's that value bonus.  Who will win the award for best Side B Track 3 title?  Continue on faithful reader...


Deep Thoughts #8: This Is Progress?

There can be no doubt that we live in climate of sweeping change..... but is it progress?

You have to really take a long hard look at what "progress" means to answer that question.  Is it progress to have big-ass flat screen televisions, impossibly cheap corn based food, high speed internet, air conditioning, stainless steel refrigerators and granite counter-tops - but we each have to work sixty hours a week? Or, instead of progress, are these just sad little treats; a poor exchange for a life of labor?


Just a quick update: Retrospace can now be accessed through retrospace.org (or www.retrospace.org).  I got tired of always having to refer people to this godforsaken URL of my-retrospace.blogspot.com.

Of course, this new URL simply redirects readers to the shitty original URL, but at least we have a domain that's not a ridiculous blogspot address.  I'd love to have gotten rid of it entirely, but there's too much that would be hijacked by moving everything to a new domain.  I would go into the details, but I'm boring myself already, so I'll spare you.

So, pardon this brief interruption.  I just wanted to let you know that if you want to refer anyone to this site, you no longer need to spew out the complicated blogspot URL anymore.  A big thanks to the generous donations from you folks that keep this blog rolling along - I thankfully didn't have to reach into my own pocket to make this happen.  Keep the donations coming - the tip jar is always open.

Vintage Scan #26: A Donnie & Marie Show Script

I found this script at a used bookstore when I was in Salt Lake City in 2011.  It's actually a rather fascinating read - just seeing what the participants on this variety show held in their hands. This particular episode has as its guest stars Dirk Benedict, Debbie Boone and Paul Lynde.  It was the final episode before the show morphed into the mid-season replacement The Osmond Family Show (which didn't last long).

Let's have a look at a few pages, shall we?


Vintage Scares #34: Slasher Films: Dirty Girls Must Be Punished!

"I'm convinced that these films are a primordial response to the women's movement."
- Gene Siskel on Slasher Films

Whatever the underlying reason was (we'll leave that to the armchair sociologists); the fact remains that the surest way to get killed in a slasher film is to take your clothes off.  If you plan on taking a shower or a skinny dip in a slasher movie, go ahead and expect an untimely death at the hands of the boogeyman.

Heck, even removing your pants and chillaxing in your underwear is grounds for swift and immediate execution.  Even worse, appear just a teensy bit slutty or horny..... aaaaand you're dead.  Slasher bad-guys may spare the "pure" one, but the "tainted" guys and gals gotsta go.

In this post, we'll focus on the ladies.  After all, they're killed way more often and creatively than the horny guys.  The "dude deaths" are often just an annoyance to get through before the slasher kicks it up a notch.  Or it serves the purpose of setting a mood of impending doom; making the girl's death more anticipated and chilling.  For instance, in Halloween II, the deaths of the security guard and horny hot tub dude aren't particularly memorable.... however, they certainly amp up the tension and fear.

So, let's focus where it counts - those dirty dames that must be punished. Enjoy.


Vintage Scan #25: A Citizen's Handbook on Nuclear Attack (1968)

The Cold War scare of nuclear annihilation probably was at its zenith during the fifties and early sixties; however, the threat of mass extinction lingered well into the eighties (anyone remember "The Day After"?). One could make an argument that we are no less safe today.  For instance, if Pakistan and India start dropping bombs on each other, the repercussions will be on a global scale. You could also argue that atomic weapons are in the hands of far less stable countries.  Where the Cold War threat sat at a stalemate of mutually assured destruction between two superpowers, the climate today is much more spread out, with fingers on the button that probably shouldn't be trusted with a toaster let a lone an Earth destroying warhead.

But, there are other factors at work (such as the capabilities to send them long range without intercept, etc.), but the bottom line is this: the threat may still exist, but the fear of attack was far more widespread five decades ago.

Vintage Style #38: Hair

Hair is actually quite strange when you stop and think about it.  It's basically there to protect your head from the effects of the sun and serves as insulation.  Beyond that, it's function is under debate.  But this tuft atop our heads has tons of meaning for us humans.

The hippies grew it long as an act of rebellion, and blacks let it 'fro as a demonstration of their African roots. In the 50s and 60s, men slicked it back and cut it close while the ladies manicured it like a topiary.  Eighties hair bands as an androgynous and decadent statement while the subsequent grunge bands let it hang limp, untended and greasy.  In the early part of the seventies, the "earthy" anti-materialist vibe was all around and women subsequently wore their hair simple and straight.  When the disco era hit, a more glam, feathered and tended hairstyle became popular.

You get the picture... and that's just the latter half of one century.  This hair thing has been going on since mankind was slinging stones at mammoths.  In this post, I've just collected together a few hair related ephemera I have lying around.  Enjoy.


Magazines #39: '68-'86 Year by Year

Here's a fairly random collection of magazine covers starting from 1968 and ending in 1986.  I chose this time frame because this fairly accurately captures the boundaries Retrospace covers on a regular basis.  I also tried to avoid types of magazines which Retrospace posts on frequently: Detective mags, Girly mags, Action mags, Biker mags, Horror mags, and Humor mags.

And one last note: I could have easily gone through and posted People and Newsweek covers and it would've been a "memory lane" type of post. However, I try to tread in areas off the beaten path, so there's some odd ones in there, and several non-US periodicals.  But that's what makes it interesting (to me, anyway).  So, enjoy.


Whatever Happened To...? #11: Actresses Who Appeared in Their Underwear in 1970s-1980s Comedies

This may be one  of the oddest "where are they now" posts out there.  But, this is what you get when you've been posting retro stuff for over five straight years - oddly specific, peculiar but intriguing posts.  Call it scraping the bottom of the well, or call it divinely inspired - it is what it is.

Admittedly, it is rather interesting to see where some of these undergarment and lingerie wearing actresses ended up.  Come see for yourself.


Kid Stuff #17: Games

This was just the old fashioned "Oh, Hell" card game but with All in the Family merchandizing. 

From the box:

A Message from Archie: "In my neighborhood, we ain't much for playing Contact Bridge or cannestoga or any other leftist games, so we play my card game. Even Edith plays it, so ya know it's gotta be real simple to learn. Meathead plays it too, but he's got trouble counting so we gotta stop to coach 'im. I highly recompense this Ding Bat card game for all youse right-thinkin' Americans."

The message comes with the following disclaimer: "The above quotation from 'Archie' is printed the way he talks on the famous 'All in the Family' TV Show. It is not intended to be correct English."

Thanks for that clarification, Milton Bradley.

Vintage Business #15: How to Have an Office Affair

Here, in its entirety, is a wonderfully un-PC guidebook to banging your secretary.  Fans of Mad Men may enjoy this delightful (albeit misogynistic) glimpse into the office spaces of 1957.  As usual, I've peppered it with illustrations; there's nothing I hate worse than a book without pictures.  Enjoy.


Viva VHS #15: 1981 Video Catalog

So, I found this nice little gem languishing on a dusty flea market shelf.  I thought it deserved to see the light of day.  In a strange twist of fate, this catalog will reach more eyes via Retrospace than it did in it's original run (although, I'm not reproducing it in its entirety - just picking bits here and there).

It's The Compleat Videocassette Movies Guide presented by The Video Station, copyright 1981. And everyone knows that when you use Ye Olde English spelling of 'complete' it's got to be good.

Food and Drink #20 : Baconmania

At what point did Americans go apeshit over bacon?  I mean, we've always had a love affair with these greasy, salty strips, but recently it seems we've developed almost a mania for it. It used to be so boring and commonplace, now it's decadent and trendy.  Our taste buds haven't changed - so what has made us all baconphiles?  There's only a couple explanations I can come up with...

The government is testing its ability to manipulate its citizens.  Before it moves on to more Goebbels-esque brainwashing, the Thought Police are conducting an experiment of epic scale. How do they do it? I don't know all their dirty secrets, but they certainly can't resort to subliminal messaging like they used to - they'd be caught red handed in this tech-savvy digital age.


Vintage Scares #33 Horror Movie Newspaper Ads (Part 4)

I enjoy looking at these horror newspaper ads even more than the movie posters.  The posters obviously have superior artwork, but the newspaper ads send me to directly to that time.  A crummy drive-in advertisement takes me there, shows me what movies were playing playing alongside it.  There's a cheesy cliche that I try to avoid on Retrospace, but I think "blast from the past" is a well suited description here.

These ads are bittersweet for me.  I'm sad there isn't anything like this anymore, but it's a fantastic trip to a time when you could your car and watch shitty horror movies till the sun came up.  A time before movies had to weigh in at $100 million in order t to attract the youth market.  The last Pirates of the Caribbean film cost $300 million to make.... Halloween cost $325 thousand.  What the hell has happened?

There's a vicious cycle at work.  Big budgets drove up ticket prices, which put more demands on the producers to make it worth cost to the audience..... which meant even bigger productions..... which led to higher ticket prices which now had to compete against home theaters..... which led to 3D as a last ditch resort to give you a reason to leave your home.

I'm sure there are other factors at work, but somewhere along the way, the low budget horror flick (or any low budget flick for that matter) got left in the dust.  Let's face it, Americans aren't going to drive miles across urban sprawl and shell out wad of cash for a Grade Z horror movie that probably isn't that good.  Those days are long gone.  We might try it on Netflix Instant, but devoting time and cash to see it at a theater is a lost tradition.  

But I digress.  Enjoy the horror movie ads, and for those interested:

Part 1 10/28/10
Part 2 10/25/12
Part 3  3/23/13


Wonder Woman - S1E3

Wonder Woman, Season 1, Episode 3
Title: "Beauty on Parade"

A deadly connection to The Sopranos
Steve complements Diana's ankles
The Make Me Laugh host fires a rocket propelled grenade
Jurassic Park, Forbidden Planet and Clonus Horror connections
and The Hanging Chandelier of Doom!

So, what are you waiting for?