R.I.P. Stuart Gordon

R.I.P. Stuart Gordon

11th August 1947 – 24th March 2020

If you enjoy my silly little reviews I do here for the To Watch Pile, you have one person to thank for it: Stuart Gordon.

As a kid, and I’m sure I’ve shared this before on this site or any of the others I’ve worked on, my father used to buy me Famous Monsters of Filmland every time one was delivered to my local news agency. The first drive in movie I can remember seeing was a vampire movie and I always had monsters as toys. I graduated to Fangoria after FMoF and liked horror movies but I wasn’t crazy about them.

Then my local video shop got a new release film called Re-animator on VHS, and I became obsessed by horror.

This turned my life around. HE turned my life around.

Everything I did from then on was for horror. I became obsessed with the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, and that turned into a love of horror stories. I started actually thinking about how movies were made, how special effects worked, how novels can be translated into cinema… this all was because of Stuart Gordon.

You have a few heroes in your life that really resonate in your artistic soul. For me, Jack Kirby, who co-created the Marvel Universe was a hero. Harvey Kurtzman, the co-creator or Mad Magazine was a hero. Kurt Cobain, the singer from Nirvana, was a hero… and people like Robert Crumb and Dario Argento are still heroes because of the effect they had on their various genres.

Gordon was different. Gordon effected me on a far more personal manner. Gordon made me think about cinema like I’d never thought about it before.

I could talk about what Gordon did in his life, about the films he made, about all the amazing stuff he did for theatre in Chicago, about what a revolutionary filmmaker he was but I’m not going to. If you want that, go and read the Variety obituary, or the Bleeding Cool article, or the Fangoria tribute piece, I’m going to give you something real.

Stuart Gordon influenced me in a way that I can’t describe. Re-animator was a key that opened my brain box and sprinkled awakening on my teenage mind, and still to this day, every time I watch something he directed, I see something that expands my understanding about storytelling.

Thank you isn’t enough, Mr. Gordon.

R.I.P Ernie Colón: Comic artist

Was very sad this morning to find out that comic legend Ernie Colón had passed away.

Colón was born in Puerto Rico in July 1931, but lived in the US until his passing on the 8th August 2019.

Colón started as a letter for Harvey Comics working on Richie Rich before working as an artist for the same Company.

Throughout his career, he worked for Dc Comics, Marvel Comics, Warren Publishing, Eclipse, Atlas Comics and Valiant, on characters like Amethyst, Dreadstar, Damage Control, Red Sonja, Magnus Robot Fighter and many others.

Tragically, Colón passed away, aged 88 after a year of fighting cancer, but his legacy of over 60 years working in the comics field, not to mention painting, sculpting and other works, has left an indelible mark on the industry.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Colón.

All images (c) copyright their respective owners

An Awful Week for Horror Fans

There is no doubt this week has been an epic bummer.

First, we lose comic writer/ creator Len Wein:

Len Wein


Wein delivered many awesome comics and created two super-important characters in Marvel’s Wolverine and DC’s Swamp Thing, and could regularly be seen on extras to many movies discussing various subjects as his knowledge of the history of comics was quite extensive.

Swamp Thing


Next, and for me this was one that really stung, we lost artist Basil Gogos. 

Basil Gogos


One of the reasons I love to draw monsters is from growing up with Gogos’ garishly coloured and totally amazing covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland. His capacity to add an amazing depth of varied colour to portraits of characters who only have photographs in black and white was amazing!

Basil Gogo’s portrait of Frankstein


Finally we get news today that cinematic legend Harry Dean Stanton has left us!

Harry Dean Stanton as Brett in Alien.


I was first introduced to Stanton when I first read the photo novel of Alien which I received before I got to see the film, but over the course of his career I enjoyed seeing him in things like Repo Man and The Green Mile, and even got a small shiver of excitement when he cameoed in things like The Avengers.

The To Watch Pile would like to forward our condolences to the respective families of our departed idols.

R.I.P. George A. Romero

In extraordinarily sad news, the TWP is sad to report the death of a man who made his career with the dead, George A. Romero.


Romero basically created the ‘living dead’ genre with his spectacular film, Night of the Living Dead, in 1968, and gave as several sequels, and probably the greatest zombie film ever, Dawn of the Dead.

He passed away after a brief battle with lung cancer, aged 77.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Romero, and thank you SO very much for your contributions to horror movies.

Bernie Wrightson R.I.P.

Today was tough for this comic and music fan. I awoke to the news that Chuck Berry had passed away and though to myself, ‘well this day is gonna suck.’

Then I found out one of my comic heroes, Bernie Wrightson, had passed away from brain cancer.

Bernie was best known for his horror comics and for the co-creation, along with Len Wein, for probably the world’s most famous muck-monster, Swamp Thing, which is where I was first introduced to him.

swamp-thing-4

When I first became aware of Wrightson’s art, I actively pursued his comics, and at one time was listed amongst my favourite artists along with Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Harvey Kurtzman and Robert Crumb.

Actually, that list is probably still current.

Some of the highlights of his career for me were his collaboration with Steven King, ‘The Cycle of the Werewolf’…

tumblr_m3frmzwrU61qlnkmso1_500

His illustrated Frankenstein book…

bernie-wrightsons-frankenstein-trading-cards-25-front

and the amazing ‘Jennifer’, written by Bruce Jones which was adapted by Dario Argento for the TV series Masters of Horror.

JENIFER_p01

I am sure all comics fans will feel his passing along with me, and if I may, please think about donating to one of the wonderful charities that support cancer sufferers and their families, like Bear Cottage.

 

Marina Malfatti R.I.P.


Tragically, Florence actress Marina Malfatti, aka Marina Mulligan, known for several Italian horror films, including The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave, has passed away. The To Watch Pile would like to pass on our condolences to her family. 

For those who don’t know her work, Arrow Films recently released this box set, but you better grab it quick as its limited to 3000 copies.

R.I.P. Prince

For music fans, today is another dark day, just like the many we have had this year, as many great musicians pass, all before their time.

It was with a heavy heart that I woke this morning to read that master of funk and pop legend Prince has passed away.

  
I have always loved Prince’s music, and he is relevant to us here at The To Watch Pile as not only has his music, according to IMDB, appeared in 166 various movies and video games and TV shows, he also won an Oscar for the soundtrack to the film he also starred in as ‘the Kid’, Purple Rain.

  
More to the TWP’s scope though, was his music inspired by the best Batman film, Tim Burton’s Batman.

  
Rest in peace, Prince, and thanks for the music. It’s not only Doves that will be crying today.

Thunderbirds Are… Gone.

Sadly, news has just come to pass that Sylvia Anderson, known best as the voice of Lady Penelope from the cult TV show The Thunderbirds has passed away, aged 88.

We here at the To Watch Pile would like to pass along our condolences to her family, and hope that wherever her spirit flies, that she still feels the love of a gigantic fanbase who were brought up on her and her husband’s work.

Thank you, M’lady.