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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2010!
Assistant Editor / Co-moderator: Terence Nuzum

Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eleventh calendar year!
Number 517  (Vol. 11, No. 8). This edition is for the week of February 15--21, 2010.

Dr. Paul Bearer and Me
The Wolfman
Readers' Comments


Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
From 2008, The PCR staff meets the legendary Godfathers of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman.
As I write these words, Thursday, February 18th, our friend and hero, Dick Bennick, aka, Dr. Paul Bearer, has been dead exactly 15 years. He was 66. It was, in ways too complicated to explain to a very young person today, the end of an era.

Anyone who has ever visited this website knows how much space we've devoted to Creature Feature and its ghost Dr. Paul Bearer, the longest-running horror host on television at the time of his death. To summarize in just a few lines our thoughts on this man is impossible, but know he is sorely missed by horror fan afficiandos nation-wide. To Central Florida fans, he was one of our own. He lived in Winter Haven, but worked out of St. Petersburg (aka, St. Creaturesburg!) at WTOG Channel 44. I myself rarely missed an episode until the day he died.

My esteemed colleagues who helped me build CrazedFanboy.com spearheaded a groundbreaking effort to establish a memorial to this gifted performer, including a comprehensive episode guide (an ongoing project). ED Tucker's Monster Memories and Lost Interview with Bennick continues to draw more email than anything else on this site. It's obvious Dr. Paul Bearer touched countless lives. We enjoy corresponding with other fans and making available copies of 20-year-old episodes of Creature Feature for fan collectors. It is one important way we can continue to share in his memory.

I had the honor of meeting Dick Bennick (in character as Dr. Paul Bearer) on only one occasion, the 1991 Necronomicon where he arrived as a guest (in the company of the aforementioned Mr. Tucker). See my younger, clean-faced self with Dr. Paul here.

I have always been very proud and grateful to discover that when entering "Dick Bennick" or "Dr. Paul Bearer" into a search engine, some link from this website is always on the first page, if not at the very top. Hopefully, we can continue to serve fandom remembering Dr. Paul Bearer for many years to come.

(Addendeum, post facto: tip-of-the-hat to Brandon Jones and others who reminded me of this important anniversary.)


This past Sunday, fellow PCR staffers Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and Ye Olde Editor took in a late afternoon showing of The Wolfman, a remake (essentially) of the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. classic, this one starring Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, and directed by Joe Johnston.

This film was previously reviewed by our own Mike Smith in last week's movie review column, where Mike gave it our highest rating of Four Stars. While none of us who went Sunday would rate it Four Stars, we definitely agreed it deserved a solid Three.

For specific plot details, please refer to Mike's column or just take my word for it that it follows pretty closely the plot of the 1941 film with a few significant differences. Without disclosing plot spoilers, I'll tell you that the time period is different in the remake (late 1890s vs contemporary settings) and the involvement of Larry Talbot's father, John, is profoundly different (you'll have to see the movie for that one).

Setting it in the 19th century certainly paves the way for a moodier, more romantic and mystical ambience. The sets are great and very atmospheric. To my eyes, the photography was conspicuously biased toward very muted colors, giving the film a desaturated, nearly black & white look, except for the flesh tones and, well, some blood and gore. I'm guessing the muted colors are to augment the suggestion of an old time frame.

The casting is great with one notable exception (I'll get to that in a second). Benecio Del Toro, in some angles, actually resembles Lon Chaney, Jr.! His depth and pathos are well-conveyed. Anthony Hopkins is great in everything he does and this film is no exception. As Sir John Talbot, he protects his son, yet seems to anger the younger Talbot equally as often (in the original, John Talbot was played by Claude Rains, another heavyweight). The expanded role of the Inspector from Scotland Yard, played well by Hugo Weaving, is referred to as having investigated the "Ripper Murders" which helps sell the time frame. The one notable exception in casting I referred to earlier is the rather pivotal role of the old gypsy woman, Meleva. In the 1941 original, she is played by the legendary Maria Ouspenskaya and conveyed a heartrending authenticity. In the remake, the role went to Geraldine Chaplin, who I'm sure is a very nice lady, but her appearances in this are what I'd call, at best, pedestrian. Sorry.

Rick Baker's make-up effects are as amazing as would be expected by the man who pioneered wolfman metamorphases in films such as An American Werewolf in London and Wolf. The metamorphasis in The Wolfman is familiar along those lines, but strangely, somewhat restrained in spectacle. (According to Baker's interview in the current Make-Up Artist magazine, there might be some politics to that, mainly a feeling that a great, drawn-out morph scene was, for some reason, not deemed a priority from the production). There are some CGI effects in distant shots, like Talbot running along rooftops, but they're very acceptable in light of how organic the rest of the film seems otherwise.

Much has been said about the "blood and gore" effects. To that I would say that, yes, there is that in there and it is tastefully used (you really can't have a bloodless monster attack anymore can you?), but nothing so extreme as to suggest a "slasher" flick which would've cheapened it. Interestingly, Baker cameos as one of the first gypsy men to get killed.

The editor in me can't resist pointing out one more difference between the 1941 and 2010 films. In 1941, the creature was The Wolf Man, two words. Currently, he's The Wolfman, one word. I keep thinking it's to make it a more familiar concept to audiences along the lines of Superman and Batman, to have it as one word (not Spider-Man, however, which is trademarked as two words, hyphenated. OK, maybe I'm over-thinking it).

Surprisingly, The Wolfman opening didn't take the number one spot at the box office, that honor went to Valentine's Day. Despite both movies opening on Valentine's Day weekend, I really didn't see that coming, a "date" movie trumping a classic horror flick. I'm also shocked that the sappy, one-star tearjerker Dear John is still in the top five, but hey, these are the times we live in. I digress...

The Wolfman is highly recommended and, on a scale of zero-to-four, I give it Three Stars.

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
ED [23-02-2010 05:34] 
Anyone see the article where a copy of Action Comics #1 just sold for $1M! Look out retirement, here I come!
Simon Lynx [22-02-2010 16:10] 
Michael - it was alot of fun and only $25, there wasn't a bad seat in the house. And even the JAX choir was there for the vocals of the Star Wars tunes.
Michael [22-02-2010 15:18] 
Simon, what a great experience that concert must have been. I would LOVE to sit through a couple hours of John Williams music. Over the holidays the local concert venue featured "Star Wars in Concert" but I didn't feel like spending $75.00 to hear just one score, no matter how great it is.
Simon Lynx [21-02-2010 18:56] 
I just went to a John Williams Symphony Orchestra tribute show here in JAX. It was great, even some Star Wars characters were on hand during the performance and afterwards for photos. The 501st were present, was cool meeting them. I have actually printed their t-shirts many times in the past. The show was about 2 hrs. and is worth catching if in your area.
Petrey [21-02-2010 18:09] 
At least the porn stars don't have to request that what is closest to them to be buried with them. :)
Phatness in South Tampa [21-02-2010 17:29] 
i spent my youthful Saturdays with Dr. Paul and Gordon Solie.
Tobias Funke [21-02-2010 16:52] 
"Arrested Development" movie set for 2011.
Michael [21-02-2010 16:17] 
J, thanks. I met him through a friend that was promoting his upcoming concert. The date was November 24, 1991. Sadly, I remember that because both Freddie Mercury and Eric Carr died that day. He also autographed my "In 3-D" album but I like the way it stands out on "Even Worse."
J.MILLER [21-02-2010 11:54] 
Mike - Thats an awesome Weird Al autograph!
Steve Beasley [21-02-2010 11:46]  
I take back my previous comment. It seems Iron Butterfly's album, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" came out a full two years before Black Sabbath's self-titled album. So that would make heavy metal 42 years old on May 27th, 2010. That would at this point appear to be the first heavy metal song of all time.
Terence [21-02-2010 10:02] 
of course you do Guzzo if you liked it and we all liked it that would mean something was out of balance in the world and it would end way before 2012. the last couple movies I saw that i thought were actually well thought out and enjoyable popcorn flicks like Iron Man you seemed to think sucked or was badly written. yet to this day somehow you cant see the mess that is the Dark Knight script.
Happy Young Man [21-02-2010 08:38] 
Now this is comical ... I thought Wolfman was TERRIBLE.
Michael [21-02-2010 06:35] 
ED, sad to hear about Gillis. Back in the days when "adult entertainment" were actual films with stories he was one of the better actors.
ED [20-02-2010 18:52] 
RIP Jamie Gillis. Another actor from the golden age of porn is gone.
Terence [20-02-2010 17:16] 
John- um if the Wolfman was a typical glossy remake full of CGI and it went the cheap way could you really see me and Chris liking it. Nolan maybe ( i mean he defended Peter Jacksons King Kong) but me? cmon. give it a chance. of course i dont suggest anyone spend 10 bucks on any film.
J.MILLER [20-02-2010 13:20] 
I'll probably buy a $3 bootleg of the Wolfman since I am opposed to spending ten bucks on a ticket...

The movie looks Ok...I had to spend an hour and a half watching the trailer repeatedly in line the line for the wolfman haunted house at Halloween Horror Nights so I have a good feel for it...The movie just looks like a typical glossy remake and the CGI seems bogus...

I still like FFC Dracula movie and wish they had gone that route instead of the safest way possible...Anyways...Just my two cents
Steve Beasley [19-02-2010 02:33]  

On Friday the 13th, Friday in February of 1970, Black Sabbath released their debut album, appropriately entitled, "BLACK SABBATH". The world hasn't been the same since!
Michael [18-02-2010 13:55] 
One of my first Tampa memories is of watching Dr. Paul Bearer. In Cleveland we had a couple of pretty well known horror hosts (most famous were Ghoulardi and the teamof Houlihan and Big Chuck) so it was nice to have a new "host" to welcome me to town.

Nole, didn't see the note on Figer. Sorry. I think last time I read the comments someone was calling someone else a 'fag'...but then later the posts were gone.

"Sea of Love" was and is a good film....as is the ever lovely Ellen Barkin!

It's amazing how the movie "Scarface" and Tony Montana have been adopted by today's hip hop society. I can drive through certain parts of Kansas City and see giant blankets bearing the poster art for sale in shops. Now say goodbye to the bad guy...
ED [18-02-2010 11:18] 
Lonnie, that is news to me about Megacon. I got a booklet in the mail from them and according to there website it's still the weekend of March 12.
Lonnie Dohlen [18-02-2010 10:43]  
Nolan,ED,there is a Guy on Facebook named Dr Paul Bearer II,who lives in Winter Haven.He performed @ GHOULS NIGHT OUT on Oct 30,2009.He claims to be the son of DPB.Now,I don't believe any of this nonsense. ED sorry to hear there won't be a Megacon this year.I didn' see a Flier in the Mail.
ED [18-02-2010 09:51] 
Nolan - touching words and very true. I think we all knew 15 years ago that Dick Bennick's death was the end of an era but sometimes it's just hard for that to sink in. Widespread home video was only about a decade old at that time and instantaneous Internet access to films was only a dream. We have given up a lot of the communial bonding that shows like Creature Feature provided us with in favor of immediate gratification. I know I would not be the fan of horrible old movies that I am today had I grown up without Creature Feature and Dr. Paul Bearer. May he always be lurking for each and every one of us.
Nolan [18-02-2010 03:16] 
Andy: I'm confident you've read enough of our Schlock reviews to pretty much get a good feel for what we're looking for there. If you want to contribute (and I'm all for it if you are), I'll set you up an account and give you a password. If you're coming to Tampa this weekend, I'll give you the info personally. Otherwise, I'll email you or whatever. Thanks!
Petrey [18-02-2010 02:22] 
Andy: "Blackenstein" would be a good one if it has not already been Schlocked!

Nolan: "Sea of Love" seems to have gotten better with age. Pacino's at his best as a cop which in my opinion beats the pants off his performance in the over rated "Scarface". He really hams it up in SF but I can see where it would appeal to younger crowds. His performance as Tony Montana is more funny to me now than serious.
Andy [17-02-2010 20:12] 
Are there any requirements or parameters for a Schlock review? I've watched a good number of low-quality blaxploitation vidoes lately and there are some true gems that ought to be added to the database.
Chris Woods [17-02-2010 19:24] 
New Schlock Review posted: HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND
Chris Woods [17-02-2010 18:15] 
I thought The Wolfman was good and I'm glad the werewolf was mostly make-up effects and not that much CGI. I liked how they kept the name Talbot to pay homage to the 1941 film. I did think the gore was over used throughout and didn't need a lot of it. Also lots of good spots that would make you jump, which was cool and the look of the film was great.

Lisa - I argee about the "Date Movie" always winning on Valentine's Day weekend. Of course couples are going to see the sappy romantic comedy or love story on that weekend. Any other weekend I think Wolfman would have been #1, but not this one.
ED [17-02-2010 16:41] 
Wow, hard to believe it has been 15 years already. How the world has changed.
Brandon [17-02-2010 11:19] 
15 years later...RIP Dr Paul Bearer
Nolan [17-02-2010 08:05] 
Terence: Thanks for posting your thoughts on The Wolfman, I didn't think you were going to. Our opposing viewpoints on the film's details are interesting.

Mike: I wrote a brief comment about Doug Fieger's death on last week's Readers' Comments, you might've missed it. However, I'm sure this week's Mike's Rant will feature a bang-up overview of Fieger and The Knack!

Petrey: I was a big Sea of Love fan 20 years ago! Still am.
Petrey [16-02-2010 23:56] 
Isn't it funny how the movies we thought were 'ok' in our 20's suddenly become a lot better with second viewing in our 40's since we have experience under our belts? Now we can relate with the characters more. "Sea of Love" w/Pacino sure was a lot better watching it 20 yrs. later.
Michael [16-02-2010 21:25] 
R.I.P. Doug Fieger of The Knack.
Terence [16-02-2010 16:06] 
remakes are still a complete waste of time but if you have to do them at least make a completelty different film in name only which thankfully is what the Wolfman did. while Nolan thinks that its similiar to the 1940s version in plot all i could find similiar was a son returning home after his brothers death. thats it! the dad is different, the scenarios are way different, even the way he bcomes a wolfman and who he is bitten by is way different. if the character wasnt named Talbot and it wasnt called the wolfman no one would even think this was a remake. this is a plus. as a werewolf movie it was highly enjoyable even though a bit long. there are shortage of good werewolf movies as it is so im glad this one added new scenarios reather then sinply remaking the 1940s version.
Terence [16-02-2010 16:01] 
....as if thats its main selling point. like "its not your grandads old creaker of a horror film kiddies. now you can watch a wolfman film and not get bored!" whatever. they should be focusing on how amazingly shot the whole film is and how beautiful and eerrie the sets are. thats what I I thought was the most impressive thing about the film not the gore.
Terence [16-02-2010 15:59] 
I agree with Nolan that Wolfman is at the most 3 stars. it enjoyed it more than I expected to. the main problem I had with it and one where I think Nolan is completely off the mark about is the gore. it was way out of place and was in fact cheap. every other scene had to stop to focus on a torn off limb or guts on the ground or the wolfman with a liver hanging out of his mouth. some guys liver was haning out of his mouth as he looks up for the next victim....um hows that restrained. Most horror movies that get theatrical releases now a days dont have that much gore!!! I dont know if we were even wathcing the same film. thats being said I dont hate gore but only when the movie goes out of its way to stop and focus on it. any of the intereviews from the actors or director of Wolfman all seem to think its just so damn clever and ground breaking and say things like "yeah its a remake but ours is more intense and gory" thats all they seem to care about when talking about it. cont...
Second In Line Lisa [16-02-2010 10:25] 
Second! -- DOH!

Re: this past weekend's box office -- It doesn't matter what other movies open on Valentine's Day weekend...the "date movie" will always win. Always. Them's the rules.
Terence [16-02-2010 09:21] 
first! ha!
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

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