Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Monster Club Movie and Collectibles

I first saw The Monster Club on Elvira's on February 6th, 1983, on Elvira's Movie Macabre. It was episode 66 of Movie Macabre, and it was one day before my 14th birthday. I remember the broadcast for multiple reasons. In fact, I am watching a VHS copy I made of the movie rental I got at Video Outlet on Riverside Blvd. 24 years ago right now while doing my last fantasy football draft of the year.

I fell in love with the movie that first night I saw it. On this blog I will discuss the book The Monster Club by R Chetwynd Hayes, the director Roy Ward Baker, the actors Vincent Price and James Laurenson, the soundtrack with bands like B.A. Roberston, The Pretty Things, The Viewers, and Night, the movie poster, comic book, and especially the Monster's Genealogical chart by artist John Bolton which is the basis of the stories in the movie. We will also explore Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, aka Cassandra Peterson, Movie Macabre, and Thriller Video in depth. 

How do you get to Loughville? Story three is about a village of ghouls that a cantankerous film director, looking for an eerie location in which to shoot an atmospheric horror film, just stumbles upon. 

But of course everyone's favorite story is the first one, a heartbreaking diddy about a tender-hearted monster named...

Raven Shadmock. You see, according to Vincent Price, Shadmocks are the lowest on the monster hierarchy, and yet they have this tremendous power. A power so frightful anyone who does not have monster immunity and witnesses it will...
What happens when a Shadmock whistles? We'll get back to that later. The entertainment is about to commence.
With songs by British bands Night, B.A. Robertson, UB 40, The Pretty Things, The Viewers, and a flip side of atmospheric synthesizer music by Allan Hawkshaw, the Monster Club soundtrack is one of the best of the 1980's. My favorite song is the vampire song by B.A. Roberston. It typifies the entire tongue-in-cheek spirit present in every aspect of the production of this movie. I have spoken with several people present during filming and the wrap party and it seems everyone was just having fun.

I'm just a sucker for your love. 

As a collector of movie posters, I was really pleased when I located and won the auction for the British Quad poster of the movie. I had seen a French version a few weeks before, but it was awful. It had a snake and some other central figures that weren't even in the movie. I don't blame the artist because I know from my reading he didn't even see a script when he was approached to do these posters. 

I have never actually opened the package that arrived from the U.K. with my British quad poster of The Monster Club in it. I suppose some day I should check to see if it is really in there and get it framed. British quad posters are so named because they are 40x40, a size not used in American movie posters. It is done this way because it allows for better depiction of the artwork and colors.  Just looking at the ridiculous price the last few of these have brought at auction I probably should have bought the French version when I had the chance. Speaking of memorabilia, the Holy Grail of Monster Club collectibles has got to be The Monster's Genealogical Chart created by John Bolton and used as the basis of the stories in the movie. I have a story about this, also.

A Monster's Genealogical Chart, as seen in the movie The Monster Club. Several years ago I contacted John Bolton's assisstant, who also happens to be his wife, and asked if he remembered whatever happened to the original that is in the movie. I'm not sure if it makes me happy or if it fills me with a sense of loss that she responded they had found it a few months before I wrote in the basement behind some old canvases, and that they had sold it to a private collector soon after. I can't be devastated by that because perhaps that person cares even more than I do about this artifact, and maybe they paid an extravagant sum I'd never be able to afford for it. I'm happy just to know it exists, and I still hold out hope it will find its way into my collection some day. 

Another piece of memorabilia that got away from me is a copy of the comic book of the script created by Dezz Skinn and John Bolton. A copy was given to everyone in the production at the wrap party, and the one I found for sale was signed by Vincent Price. Unfortunately it was during a period where I was already spending way too much on VHS tapes, vinyl records, Hot Wheels, and first edition books, so I let it go to someone else. Maybe that item also will come back to me eventually. Or one like it. 

One of the easier and most economical items for Monster Club collectors to add to their collection is the VHS or Beta tape issued by Thriller Video and hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I have both the VHS and Beta. I bought a Sony Betacord last year, and it worked for a couple of playings of The Sentinel, but soon froze up. By the time I got The Monster Club on Beta it didn't work anymore. I still plug it in sometimes, though, just to see the lights flashing. That makes me happy. The Betacord was the first VCR we ever had at our house. 

The Monster Club on both VHS and Beta. Hosted by Elvira. Thriller Video did a really nice job on these, and although The Monster Club is probably the most readily available of the big box releases, its one of the most fun to own. Once you have the soundtrack (good luck), the British and French quad posters, the original book, the comic book, the VHS and Beta tapes, the Monster's Genealogical Chart, and some original artwork of the ghouls by John Bolton give me a call and maybe we can make some trades.
Sweet Dreams!

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