Aurora Prehistoric Scenes style Iguanodon Model

Iguanodon sculpt by Mike K pic 2

This is my Neave Parker/Burian style Iguanodon. Parker and Burian did artwork of what the Iguanodon may look like in the early 1900s. They only had a few bones to work with and conferred with other scientists about how the creature might look. Today the Iguanodon looks much different as more complete fossils were found in subsequent years. They are primarily quadrupeds and don’t have that broad neck design.

Iguanodon by Mike K - sculpt in progress

Ok, this is not a marketed model kit – it is a sculpt I made from plastic forming clay to add to my Aurora Prehistoric Scenes kits. I used the Lindberg Corythosaurus figure (minus the head) to start the modeling from, completely covering the entire body with clay to be molded.

Iguanodon by Mike K - giving the Fonzy thumbs up

I made the base out of clay and plaster. It is shaped to lock-in with my custom Allosaurus base.

iggy by Mike K - 2

I made two Compsognathus (Compys) for the background and the Archaeopteryx on the branch in the foreground is from the Tamiya Mesozoic Creatures model kit collection. I know this mixes time periods but so does the whole PS Line of model kits.

I added some palm trees, plants, broken tree limbs and rock outcrops to complete the scene.

Rare Dinosaur films and where to find them

The animal world dinos pic 13

Rare and obscure Dinosaur films and where to find them

This post is for those interested in special FX, stop-motion animation, and for dinosaur film enthusiasts. The films here would probably not be considered highly entertaining in this day and age without the enjoyment of nostalgia and cinema history.

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The Animal World (1966) – Documentary
The Animal World is a documentary by Irwin Allen (famous for his 1970’s disaster movies, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure) attempting to show the scope of animal evolution from the beginning of time to date. It is all live footage except for a ten minute sequence in the beginning showcasing Dinosaurs. They hired Willis O’Brien for the project who then handed off much of the work to his underling (at the time), Ray Harryhausen. This ten minute sequence featured a Stegosaurus, two Ceratosaurus, a Brontosaurus, a T. Rex and a Triceratops. It is the highlight of the film with some wonderful bloody dino battles and an extinction meteor-hit/volcano sequence. I had originally seen these Dinosaurs on a View Master 3d viewer, because the film itself was rarely played on TV, nor was it easy to get in later years on VHS. Amazingly you can find the entire Harryhausen/O’Brien Dinosaur sequence in the dvd special features of The Black Scorpion.

The animal world dinos small 3 The animal world dinos  - harryhausen

 

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Journey to the Beginning of Time (1966) – Documentary
The 1st time I ever saw this may have been either in school during a science class, or on one of the early educational public broadcast stations, like the ones Sesame Street plays on. Three boys leave the Museum of Natural History, get on a raft and as they float downstream they go back in time. Along the shore we see eras going from the Ice Age to the Age of Dinosaurs as the boys enter periods of misadventure trying to find their way home. This is a hard to get Czeck-made film but I found it on VHS after considerable searching. Hunt for VHS version on Ebay and I-Offer.

journey-to-the-beginning-of-time-poster journey to the beginning of time pic 14

 

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The Lost World (1925)
The full-length silent movie can be found on the special features DVD of The Lost World (1955) (Irwin Allen). This was Willis Obrien’s first feature film based on the Sir Author Conan Doyle classic adventure. In the end, the crew brings a Brontosaurus back to London.  The beast goes on a rampage through the streets. This definitely feels like a precursor of things to come. Eight Years later, O’Brien would lead his greatest beast into the streets of NYC for the epic film, King Kong (1933).

The Lost World 1925 - pic 5 the-lost-world-movie-poster-1925

 

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The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1919)
This is another early Willis O’Brien film, a short (approx. 20 minutes). It demonstrates Obie honing his skills at creating/animating dinosaurs while telling an entertaining story (for the time). A man tells his nephews a tale from when he was a boy. There was a mountain top that, if you climbed it, you could see the events of prehistoric times. It has quite a few dinosaurs in it and you can notice the progression of Obie’s rising talents by watching this great little film and comparing it to future movies. It is a silent film so it wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking, but there were aspects I enjoyed. I kinda’ enjoy most things with Dinosaurs, though. You can find the movie in the special features of Planet of Dinosaurs.

ghost of slumber mountain pic 2

 

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Dinosaurs, The Terrible Lizards (1970) – Wah Chang’s, – Documentary
The Terrible Lizards is a docu-film showing the life of dinosaurs, created and produced by Wah Chung. It was most likely a very good documentary at the time but now seems more applicable to children‘s viewing. A lot of the science is now dated but the visuals are interesting. Another interesting aspect about the film is one of the models was later used as the star dinosaur in the 1970’s children show, Land of The Lost (1974) (Grumpy). Wah Chang worked visual and special fx on a multitude of sci-fi movies including, Planet of the Apes (1968), The Time Machine (1960), Jack the Giant Killer (1962) and Star Trek (TV Series), and of course, the Land of the Lost TV series (1970‘s). He was also an un-credited puppet designer in both, The Black Scorpion and Tarantula. I hope to on day get a better quality version but for now, you can see the whole “Dinosaurs” documentary here on Youtube:

Gallery 1: The Animal World

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Gallery 2: Journey to the Beginning of Time (1966)

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Gallery 3: The Lost World (1925)

 

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Gallery 4: The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1919)

 

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Gallery 5:  Dinosaurs, the Terrible Lizards (1970)

Evil Streets (1998) – a look in the rearview mirror

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The Downfall of Johnny Garrett

Evil Streets (1998) - SOV movie - The Downfall of Johnny Garrett

From 1996 to 1998, I had worked on a horror anthology film project titled, Evil Streets. The film consisted of 3 short story segments in the urban horror genre.

One segment was written by me and directed by Terry Wickham. It was adapted from my story of the same name, The Evil Streets boxes cover webDownfall of Johnny Garrett.

Terry recently asked if I’d like to write an overview of the movie segment for his blog. Terry has been active in the past few years directing short films such as, Hair of the Dog and Washington Road (for which he won awards).

Terry had directed another segment in the film titled, Stalk. The third segment was written and directed by Joseph F. Parda, titled Zamota’s Mistress. It was released in spring 1998 with a premier at the Chiller Horror Convention and dates at the Malverne Theater, NY. It was produced directly to VHS and sold by mail order for two years following.

Terry is currently directing a new anthology film, The Devil’s Five.

Check out the Making of…Johnny Garrett overview at Terry’s website:
http://wordpress.mantaraypictures.com/2015/03/23/the-downfall- of-johnny-garrett/

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Damsels in distress – part II – horror and sci-fi movie posters

Damsels in distress – part II – horror and sci-fi movie posters

This post takes a look at Damsels in distress as depicted on movie posters for horror and sci-fi. There’s no truth in advertising here as many of these depictions never actually happen in the films.

Movie Posters:

Gallery 2:

 

And don’t forget to take a look at Part One of our Damsels in Distress pictorials: Damsels in Distress – in movies

Willow Creek (2013) – movie review

Willow Creek pic 7

Willow Creek (2013)

Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite
Produced by Aimee Pierson

Starring:
Alexie Gilmore
Bryce Johnson


What can I say about Willow Creek? I didn’t dislike it. I like the idea of Bigfoot, in both aspects, as a modern legend or the possibility of a real species. Either way it is an interesting subject. I do have an acceptance of found footage films and own quite a few. And I like indie horror, monster, and sci-fi films; I prefer them to Hollywood blockbusters.

There are many things I liked about the film. A young couple, Jim and Kelly, head deep into the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, making a documentary film on Big Foot. Jim is obsessed with Bigfoot and the 1967 archival footage willowcreekknown as the Patterson-Gimlin film. His intention is to reach the site where this footage was taken for comparison and investigation. He is really hoping to get his own footage of the elusive creature.

On their journey they interview shop owners from both ends of the spectrum, enthusiastic book store proprietors, to apathetic motel owners, on the subject of the enigmatic Bigfoot. The film-making couple is charming and their plight interesting. It appeals to the documentary film watcher in me. By the end I get the feeling that I would’ve preferred to watch the finished documentary over this film. The parts in the tent at night were similar to Blair Witch, only filmed with a better camera with better sound. It made this film somewhat more tolerable but wholly derivative.

(spoilers and angst)
In the end, I like a pay-off. It doesn’t have to be a big budget finale. Something as simple as a half dozen Bigfoot standing in shadow would have been quite enough. I’d like to see some Bigfoot in my Bigfoot movie. It’s like going to the zoo, and the curators talk about animals, but the end of the day comes and you haven’t seen any animals. Its like ordering a bacon and egg sandwich, you bite into it, and there’s no egg! This is not a freakin’ radio show! Film is a visual medium. The Forest Bride aspect seems like a side note and doesn’t really do it for me. Perhaps if the movie had changed course earlier and focused on women being kidnapped as the main plot driver it would have worked much better. The camera being dragged quickly along the ground was a cop out to me, a poor excuse for not having a real ending to the film. That ending has been seen a dozen times already in FF films and I feel it’s almost as bad as the It was all a dream ending of 1980’s horror flicks. At the very least it’s a cliché aspect to FF films and it actually ruined my enjoyment of Willow Creek to that point.

Willow Creek pic 6

An entertaining found footage film about Bigfoot that is only outdone by it’s own cliché ending and its lack of Bigfoot.

I give it 2.2 hooting hairy men out of 5 on the wood knocking scale of rock throwing forest dwellers.

A simple shot of a damn Bigfoot would have made me enjoy the film so much more…

The 1967 Patterson-Gimlin  footage

The 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage

Michael Thomas-Knight’s short story in Ghosts Revenge

 Ghosts Revenge - JWK Fiction cover full

GHOSTS: Revenge
JWK Fiction

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I’m pleased to announce that my latest short story is part of the JWK Fiction Anthology, GHOSTS: Revenge

Tales of angry ghosts, vengeful people, scary places and local haunts to chill the spine and spread fear. Over 40 stories, 330 pages of terror,  today’s upcoming horror authors come together to offer their take on what it might be like to be a ghost, an angry ghost, the kind of ghost not soon forgotten.

My story is called The Obsidian Box, a tale of NY mobsters, a vengeful spirit, a dominating wife and her undisciplined son.

If you like ghost stories, want your ghostly fix, and feel the need to get your creep on…there’s plenty of horror fiction here to last you many a night.

 

Currently available on: Amazon Kindle

 

Paperback coming soon, I’ll keep you posted.

Ghosts Revenge - JWK Fiction cover

GHOSTS: Revenge

edited by James Ward Kirk

Authors list:

underlined names provide links to authors

Mary Genevieve Fortier
William Cook
Roger Cowin
Scáth Beorh
James S. Dorr
Dona Fox
CS Nelson
John Sies
Michael Tugendhat
Guy Burtenshaw
E.F. Schraeder
Evan Dicken
Brian Rosenberger
Mike Jansen
Sheldon Woodbury
Allen Griffin
Ken L. Jones
Rik Raven-Daleford
Flo Stanton
Kenneth Whitfield
Rie Sheridan Rose
William Petersen
Brian Rosenberger
Tim Jeffreys
Stephen O’Connor
Matthew Weber
Nicholas Day
Steve Foreman
Neal F. Litherland
Alex S. Johnson
J. C. Michael
Betty Rocksteady
Justin Hunter
Angeline Trevena
David Schütz II
Lori R. Lopez
Magenta Nero
Tracy L. Carbone
T.S. Woolard
K.Z. Morano 
and Michael Thomas-Knight

Cover Artwork by Stephen Cooney
Cover design John D. Stanton
Inside art illustrations: Gidion Van de Swaluw

 

Beavers! by Joseph F. Parda – Book review

Beavers! by Joseph F. Parda
Midnight Bookshop

I began reading Beavers! with some enthusiasm, enjoying the B-horror flick style of the cover artwork. Let me say, I was pleased that the story contained within the pages perfectly matched the mood of the cover art. Too many times I have picked up a novel because of the cover and discovered something quite different inside.Beavers! - Joseph F Parda - websize

This is the first novel by Joseph F. Parda but seems to be written by an experienced novelist. The story cruises along at a break-neck pace that keeps the reader turning pages, wanting to devour all the gory details. What many of you may find interesting is that Joe Parda is an experienced writer, having produced and directed indie horror films for over 20 years. With titles such as ‘5 Dead on a Crimson Canvas’, Guilty Pleasures, and the horror anthology, Evil Streets (which included a segment written by me), he had paid his dues honing his craft of story telling. His films were very art-house in style and avant-garde, in such a way that I’ll admit, for most of them I didn’t even understand the plot. So I was shocked and delighted to discover Beavers! to be mainstream story-telling. It oozes Roger Corman, has a simple premise and is pure, fun horror entertainment. It is loaded with comedic ironies, well-defined characters, and plenty of violent endings at the hands, and buck teeth, of our furry little friends.

There are plenty of innuendos to keep a smirk on the reader’s face including a whole chapter on a singing sensation and teen heart-throb star, Justin Beaver, whose punky-gangsta attitude leads to an untimely demise by the chomping, chattering teeth of his namesake. If you just read that one chapter alone, it would be worth the price of the book, enjoyably funny! The tale has a true hero in Gary, a single father who lost his wife on an expedition to Mount Everest. Taking some time off to spend with his son, camping at Beaver Falls, the two are thrown into extraordinary circumstances as a new aggressive species of beaver stakes its claim to the land of its forefathers. Shades of The Birds, Food of the Gods, and Night of the Lepus are woven through the story-line, but are counterbalanced with innuendos and campy horror fun.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fun and entertaining horror novel to sink your teeth into, look no further. Beavers! is a Damn good read!

Purchase it now for: Amazon Kindle

For other formats visit the website: The Midnight Bookshop 

Joseph F Parda

Joseph F Parda