For the longest time while I was growing up “John Carpenter’s The Thing” was the scariest thing I’d ever seen. Even watching it on grainy VHS the ground breaking practical effects and suspenseful set-pieces, the extremely effective moody atmosphere and isolated icy setting made a massive impression. For many the film is on the short list of the top horror movies of all time.
In 1937, in Seattle, a twenty-year old budding filmmaker had already created 50 plays and 9 never released, award-winning films, using his own equipment. This director would go on to work for Disney, and eventually create an Academy Award winning documentary in 1950. Richard H. Lyford’s films have developed a following among film-historians around the world. His early “amateur” films are some of the first “indie” films ever created outside of Hollywood. Lyford experimented with special effects and models, and was developing as a director. His final film of this era was “As the Earth Turns”. It was filmed in the Pacific Northwest, around Seattle.
On March 23rd Mr. Larry Cohen passed away at the age of 82. A true auteur who left behind bucket loads of writing credits in a career than spanned five decades and along the way he directed a few gems. Always very witty but also concocting some truly original horror and suspense stories; Cohen’s legacy will live on with genre aficionados all over the world.
Arguably his greatest contribution to the horror genre was a trilogy of films concerning mutant baby monsters in the “It’s Alive” threesome. Cohen’s writing was spot on when it came to every parent’s fear of a child’s possible abnormality, society’s fear of all kinds of human made chemicals interfering with what Mother Nature intended and mankind’s cluelessness when it has to deal with something very different from them. Director Cohen also infused these semi-exploitation mutant movies with very adult and heartfelt drama and elicited some top-notch performances that really legitimized the material beyond B-movie schlock horror.
It was short and sweet; 4 films and 13 episodes and the Man from Atlantis vanished. Patrick Duffy hit it big in „Dallas“ but his interest with the character persisted and the actor published a novel in 2016 where he covered his origins. Duffy explained that if the novel would sell in large numbers he would be interested in doing a trilogy about this aquatic man who‘s possibly from Atlantis.