Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's hard to blow a horn with no lungs!
The entire staff of Sweet Skulls (as well as that of Monster Memories, Held Over Movies and My Star Trek Scrapbook) wishes you a New Year filled with success and happiness. And by entire staff I mean me.
And here's a cool link I just found that's right up my bony ally!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Face of the Future Part 2

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"The Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come" from "Scrooged"
(Click on images to see larger.)

Did you ever get the weird feeling that your TV is watching you?
In the 1988 film "Scrooged," Bill Murray stars as a modern-day lost soul in dire need of redemption. This is the second film to show the Ghost of Christmas Future as the skull-faced specter, but with a twist; the ghost has a TV screen in the hood that shows different images.

Taking a stiff drink to get a grip, the bony hand of the future is about to get a grip on him.

Eash Spirit is given a different interpretation than the usual; The Spirit of Christmas Past is an elfin cab-driver; the Spirit of Christmas Present a giddy, violence-prone fairy; however, the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come is the closest to the original, only with more emphasis on the horror.

When cornered in the elevator by the oversized Ghost, a peek inside it's robe reveals the trapped souls of previous victims, an idea borrowed from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. More the specter of Death here than any other version, it only needs a scythe to complete the image.

At one point the shifting images in the Ghost's face screen reflect the main character's own visage in a decayed and horrific state. All this convinces our man Frank Cross to change his ways, although one gets the idea that he repents only to save his life, instead of having a truly humbling and heart-changing experience. This movie is pretty low on my list of favorite versions of the story, but it's worth a watch for a holiday laugh, like "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

In any event, we can all learn from Scrooge's lessons, and hopefully "to open our shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below us as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

For a special treat, read the entire Marvel
comic adaptation of "A Christmas Carol"

Have a wonderful Christmas!
And, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, Every one!"

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Face of the Future

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"The Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come"
(Click on images to view larger.)

"Hey, Ebenezer, pull my finger!"

In the 1971 film "Scrooge," starring Albert Finney, we finally get to see what's hidden under the dusky shroud of the Ghost of Christmas Future. And as we suspected, it's not a pretty sight.

Scrooge did the smelly spook one better by actually soiling his shorts.

Earlier versions of the film never showed what this Ghost looked like other than the novel's description of a black-cloaked figure shrouded in darkness. But even there the resemblance to the Grim Reaper was not lost on Scrooge who, upon being taken to the cemetery in the final vision, looked upon the Ghost and "dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape."

"Watch that first step, it's a killer!"

In the scene depicted here, Scrooge, upon reading his own name on the tombstone, turns around to beg for mercy and stares straight into the bony face of his future. The fright causes him to lose balance and tumble into what is now an open grave. The film then takes this scene farther, by having Scrooge experience a little of his pending punishment right then, as he falls down a chasm til he ends up in Hades. The Disney short animated film version done years later was inspired by this scene and did their own take on it.

"And a partridge in a pear treeeee!"

This musical version of the story is my second favorite, right after the 1951 Alastair Sim version. Dickens knew that there was no better time for a ghost story than at Christmas, and he crafted the granddaddy of them all.

"Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?"

Next time, another sinner sees the Face of Death!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Terminator Salvation teaser poster

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The "Terminator Salvation" teaser poster
(Click to view large size.)

I have to admit this film is starting to look interesting. The trailer is intriguing, and I like the poster concept of the Terminator face formed out of the ruins of LA.

If you think this is cool, check out the animated Flash version!

I'm ready for a well-done story of the post-Judgement Day fight against the machines, leading up to the final battle when John Conner wins the war and sends his best friend (and father) back in time to stop the original cyborg, and die in the process.

I'm just hoping this film exceeds my expectations and meets my hopes, and spawns another film or two in order to bring it full circle and let us see the events at the other end of the first film.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Flesh Feast poster

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The "Flesh Feast" poster art

You gotta love that rotting corpse hanging from the ceiling. They just don't make posters like that any more! From 1970, this el-cheapo filmed-in-Florida flick exploits the natural gag-and-ick factor of maggots, while providing ex-actress Veronica Lake a small check to pay for some extra dog food she might have needed. Surely the script didn't entice her to come out of retirement! I mean, what self-respecting actress would want that as the last movie on their filmography?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Graveyard Shift poster

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The "Graveyard Shift" poster

"Yeah, black lung killed me, but I'm still working off my debt to the company store!"

Although the poster seemed to promise coal miner zombies rising from the depths of the unsafe shafts to wreak bloody pick-and-shovel vengence on the tight-fisted company owners who put them at risk, no such luck. Maybe someone will make that movie someday!

As it is, it's a cool poster for a so-so movie about giant monster rats living under an old textile mill. It seems more like an extended episode of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" than anything else, and I can see our man Mike Rowe digging in and cleaning out the gunk and mutated rats, which aren't as nasty as some things he's had to contend with.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles"

This film is an annual Thanksgiving tradition at our house, after the big meal. This sequence is one of my favorites in a movie full of funny moments! Neal Page and Del Griffith get a glimpse of their mortality during a near-death experience.

I have to admit that I well up and get all emotional at the end when Neal takes Del home with him for the holiday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The House On Skull Mountain

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"The House on Skull Mountain" poster art
(Click on image to view larger size.)

Sure, it's a bad, bad (and not in a good way) movie. But I loves me that skullicious poster art! There's just so much going on there... wicked lightning, a bleeding skull, which happens to be on fire, a panties-revealing defenestration, and probably more up in the house we aren't even seeing.

This is one of those that caught my eye when the ad appeared in my local Macon, GA newspaper in 1974. Check it out at my other blog Held Over! if you want to see it in glorious black and white halftone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Conqueror Worm poster

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"The Conqueror Worm" poster
(click on image for hi-rez)

A great rotting-skull-centric poster with awesome artwork, for a movie that features the legendary Vincent Price. Initially released in 1968 under the title "Witchfinder General," it was released under this new title later to link it to the successful series of Corman/Price/Poe films that had come before.

Although I missed seeing nearly all of the Price films when they came out, I've been steadily collecting them on DVD as they are released. So far, I don't have this one, but am on the lookout for it. If the movie is as good as the poster I'll have a classic.

A printable page for the kiddies to color when they're getting in your hair.

If you have an insight or memory, or even a mini-review of this film you'd like to share, leave a comment and do so, please!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Theatre of Blood poster

First, an apology to my regular readers; I haven't been able to post for a few weeks, as "real" life caught up to me lately and I had very little extra time for awhile. Hopefully now I can get back in the swing of things and post at least once a week. Also, my yahoo mail account is acting weird, I can send mail to it but anyone else seems to get a bounceback message. As soon as I can open another account somewhere I'll post the address!

Thanks for sticking around! -Fred

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:

The "Theatre Of Blood" Poster

My first glimpse of this cool poster art was on the very first "Monster Times" issue I ever saw. This paper and I fell in love the moment we met, and I bought every issue I could find thereafter. I even have this cover framed on displayed with other special (to me) TMT covers. You can see them on the wall over my DVD collection.

The level of writing and the humor inherent in the magazine were somewhat above the level found in any other monster mag, and was a joy to read. I was 14 when I got this issue, and we were a perfect match.

Here for your ocular enjoyment is both the poster and the Monster Times cover which I scanned in. There are so many memories wrapped up in that issue that I could never blog about them all without boring you.

The milkman was always leaving something extra just to show he cared.

If you've never seen the movie, it's a must for any horror/Vincent Price fan. Living out an actor's dream, he takes bloody and ironic revenge on his theatrical critics. Making a living criticising others who do what they cannot, they have it coming and you cheer each time another one bites the dust.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Disembodied poster art

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"The Disembodied" poster art

Monday, October 20, 2008

Haunted Horror artwork

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The back card artwork for the Halloween sound effects cassette "Haunted Horror."
(Click on image for a frighteningly large version!)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, writing many words on this blog right now is tough since it's getting into the busy time of year for me. So, rather than let it languish, I will just post some skelecentric images that I like and let them do the talking for me.

Here is the rather neat-o artwork for a horror sounds cassette tape I bought back in the early 80's and have kept ever since. And with all the many blog entries out there showcasing Halloween Sound Effects LP and CD covers, I've never seen this posted anywhere before. Not earth-shaking or soul-changing, but hey... it's a new post! Whoopee!

And more will follow with the pressure off to wax eloquent. Below is a Halloween party plate I saved from a few years ago. I suppose in 50 years it'll be worth something... but I like it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ray Bradbury's Skeleton

Published in 1994, special issue #1 0f Topps' adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories featured this version of his classic story "Skeleton," about a man who fears those bony horrors to such an extent that he wishes to rid himself of the one hiding inside his own body! Ordinarily this could only be solved by repeated and expensive visits to a psychoanalyst; but unfortunately (for him) he finds someone all too willing to help him achieve his goal...

Well, a little inconvenient, I'll admit... but with a large rolling bucket Clarisse should be able to help him get around. Feeding him, changing his diaper, bathing him... it's all a chore, but she looks at the good side; his not having a backbone means he'll never stand up to her mother again!

The moral: Love your skeleton or you'll lose it's support!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Death Dives Deep" 3-D comic

The enchanting, dare I say "bewitching" bad-girl art by the late Dave Stevens adorns the cover of the 1985 issue of the "Seduction of the Innocent" comic. All of the stories are reprints from the "Adventures Into Darkness" comics originally published by Standard Comics between 1952 and 1954. The black-and-white art has been given a 3-D treatment that really adds depth to the stories, pardon the pun. The three "D's" in the title "Death Dives Deep," as well as the underwater setting, make it perfect to adapt to this format.

So, dig out those red-and-blue 3-D retro glasses, and really "get into" this simple story of deep sea death. After I did the scans I enhanced the art by adding more contrast, and the 3-D effect in the enlarged image is startlingly deep! The effect of the fish swimming through the skull's eye sockets is particularly neat. Take a deep breath and dive in, cause it's comin' at ya!

Click on the images to view full size.

Okay, as you blink and let your eyes adjust after taking off the dorky-looking glasses, let me know if you want more 3-D pages posted in the near future. A headache is a small price to pay for such coolness, and after all, that's why they made Tylenol!

The image above I clipped from a local TV guide in the year that the first "Treehouse of Terror" episode ran. The annual shows have been traditional viewing for me all through the month of October ever since. At this point I'm up to episode #4. Which one did you last watch? And which is your favorite?

For more art like this, check out my post on artist Den Beauvais over at Monster Memories!