Category Archives: movies
Hammer is the legendary British film company that dominated the horror genre for decades. In The Hammer Vault, author Marcus Hearn recaps many of the films produced by Hammer with scant notes about the release, controversies, and images of promotional posters, stills, and props from the movies. He begins in 1954 with The Quartermass Xperiment, and concludes with 2014’s The Woman in Black: Angel of Death.
Most films are covered in two pages, while a handful only receive one page. It is certainly interesting to see the various images, such as annotated script pages, newsletters, and press passes to advance screenings, but two or three paragraphs about the films leave the reader wanting more.
The Hammer Vault is 12.9 inches by 10.1 inches and 184 pages long. It is an enjoyable overview of the company’s history, but is by no means exhaustive. The real value of this books is in the images rather than the text.
Originally published in 2010, The Art of Hammer is a visual guide to the history of Hammer Films’ releases dating back to the 1950s. The artwork is stunning, at times risqué, and along with the films, often caused controversy upon release. The artwork on the front (pictured above) comes from Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, the 1972 movie starring Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Carl Victor and David Prowse as the Creature/Herr Schneider. The book also comes with a jacket featuring artwork from Dracula A.D. 1972 starring Christopher Lee. The 200-page book is large at 10.3 by 13.1 inches, heavy and sturdy.
Except for a couple of introductory pages written by Marcus Hearn, the book is largely made up of images of promotional posters from around the world with brief captions identifying the film, as well as the dimensions of the original piece and the illustrator (if known). The author cautions in the introduction that The Art of Hammer is not intended to be a complete catalogue of Hammer posters, but a general overview of “examples from some of the most inventive and controversial marketing campaigns in post-war film history.”
As many of the original pieces were destroyed by theaters after they were used, a book like this serves as an inexpensive way to look into the past and see how far the art of movie posters has come, or how far it has fallen.
(January 22, 1940 – January 27, 2017)
Veteran actor John Hurt succumbed cancer at age 77. His career dates back to the 1960s; his notable recent roles included the War Doctor in the Doctor Who television series and Ollivander in the Harry Potter films.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani (2016)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two
introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani
Abrams ComicArts, 2016
Many fans of the greatest space opera contend that the best film of the series is Episode V, better known as The Empire Strikes Back. It is fitting, then, that the book chronicling Topps trading cards for the film exceeds the initial volume in quality. The creative driving force behind the design and writing of the cards, Gary Gerani, tells the process of meeting with LucasFilm executives to read the script and select images for the cards. The movie’s big reveal was kept secret from Topps at the time; Gerani recalls the first time he learned of Darth Vader’s familial relationship with Luke Skywalker was when he saw the film in Manhattan.
Initially, Gernai and Topps were told they could not use Yoda in their set, as he was a “mysterious creative element” that George Lucas and Irvin Kershner wanted to keep him a surprise for the public. Lucas eventually relented, and Yoda is prominently displayed on several cards in the series. Gerani wrote the copy for many of the cards, making up dialogue that fit with several of the characters’ personalities.
In addition to the reproductions of all three series of cards, front and back, the book also features images of sell sheets, packaging, stickers, and the 30-card set of giant photocards. Also, as in the first volume, actual promotional trading cards are also including with the hard copy purchase. In addition to that, Topps has included a code for a free pack of digital trading cards on their Star Wars Card Trader app.
(November 4, 1925 – April 17, 2016)
Perhaps best known for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond, Doris Roberts will by remembered by me as Mildred Krebs on Remington Steele. She passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.
(June 28, 1922 – April 4, 2016)
The voice of Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna in the Star Wars universe, voice actor Erik Bauersfeld passed away Sunday at the age of 93.
I received my Galactic Greats card set from Punk Rock Paint today, and I have to tell you, I have never been happier with an unofficial Star Wars product! A mashup of baseball and the greatest movie franchise ever, Travis really outdid himself with these cards. Each 30-card set features a Fleer sticker-styled front, re-imagining the thirty Major League Baseball teams for the Star Wars universe. Travis posted several teasers on his Twitter feed, but they are infinitely cooler in-hand. The reverse side of each has a “Baseball’s Galactic Greats” cartoon, featuring everyone from R2-D2 to Padme Amidala to Finn. Hands-down, this is one of the greatest parody trading card sets ever made.
I do not know if a 1/1 color test proof is included in each order, but I was very happy to receive the Jakku Reys/Cincinnati Reds color test proof in the package. But there was another bonus as well…
A blank-back 1981-style Darth Vader of the Lord Sithies! A very pleasant surprise, indeed!
If you have not ordered your own set of Galactic Greats cards, you need to do it pronto! Only 66 sets were produced, and they are still in stock at the Punk Rock Paint store as of this writing.
(November 29, 1949 – March 24, 2016)
Comedian and actor Garry Shandling passed away yesterday at the age of 66 from a heart attack. In the 1970s, he wrote for classic television sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. Recently, Shandling was seen in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Senator Stern.