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“On Set with John Carpenter” is my Halloween Treat

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John Carpenter is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time, directing two of my top-ten movies with The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China. While even I have to admit he’s lost his mojo of late, there’s no denying his impact on horror cinema.

So what better time than right before Halloween (the holiday, not the film) to release “On Set with John Carpenter,” a new book full of set photos by photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker, who chronicled the making of many of Carpenter’s most famous films.

From the official book blurb:

As a hot new maverick director/writer John Carpenter invited photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker onto the sets of some of his most iconic films: Halloween, Halloween II, The Fog, Christine and Escape From New York. This book collects together the best of that on-set photography, accompanied by exclusive interview material with those involved, including key cast and crew.

The book will be released on October 21, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now.

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A VW Beetle Towing a Fifth Wheel Camper

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Love camping? Hate big, clumsy trucks? Just try this ingenious contraption! It’s 360 degrees of nimble travel adventure!

A friend just sent this along. I have no idea who made it or where the clip comes from. Anyone familiar with this contraption?

I did find this clip of a similar trailer being offered as a prize on Let’s Make a deal. Look at that Buick move!

(NOTE: The Retroist, Inc. does not warrant the roof of a VW Beetle as a load-bearing structure. )

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Pee-wee’s Playhouse on Blu-Ray!

The wonderful people at SHOUT! Factory are bringing us Pee-wee, Cowboy Curtis, Konky, Magic Screen and Jambi in eye-popping hi-def neon with a Blu-Ray release on October 21. The set includes all 45 original episodes and four hours of brand new extras.

I dearly loved this show and take a sort of sadistic pleasure in showing to younger folks who didn’t grow up with it. A lot of them just don’t quite “get it” if they didn’t grow up in a time when everything kid-related seemed to be so in aqua and hot pink. But watching the bafflement on their faces and the inevitable “What IS this?” questions always brings a smile to my face.

“You just don’t get it kid…”

So pop Pee-wee in your Blu-Ray player and remember, whatever you do, don’t to say the secret word.

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Godzilla vs the Tricephalon Monster Playset

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Godzilla never had a super-robust line of toys when I was kid, at least that I had access to. So naturally, I treasured the few “official” kaiju toys I owned. Perhaps my favorite was this amazing “Godzilla vs the Tricephalon Monster” playset. I’m not sure if it was actually licensed from Toho or anything, given that Tricephalon looks to have been invented just for the toy. I dimly recall that I just thought it was some version of King Ghidorah (Monster Zero)!

I played with it until it wore out, with most of the tiny army men and jeeps going to their doom in air vents or my mom’s vacuum cleaner. The main monster figure were pretty robust, and lasted for years.

More pics and details can be found here at Midnight Monster Spookshow, but I can’t really find a whole lot more info. Did anybody else live out their giant-monster-stomping fantasies with this set?

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Jean-Claude Van Damme as The Predator

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Believe it or not, JCVD himself was once cast to play the infamous alien hunting the most dangerous game in the now-legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger film. When the late Kevin Peter Hall was eventually cast in the role, the suit changed quite a bit, as well. The original was quite a bit goofier to be sure, but van Damme apparently didn’t realize that the red monochrome suit used to film the “cloaked” scenes wasn’t going to be the onscreen suit.

Newly-released footage from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts shows the more insect-like (and wholly inferior) original design. Be prepared top giggle as a giant red beetle hops around the jungle in search of his prey!

[via] The Stan Winston School of Character Arts

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15,000 Golden Age Comics for Free

The Digital Comic Museum has over 15,000 pre-1959 comics available for download for free. All the titles are in public domain and free of copyright restriction. There are books from just about every genre imaginable, from horror to romance to two-fisted war stories. Beyond getting caught up with the Korean War adventures of Captain Steve Savage, it would be a great resource for creative/artist types to snag some cool vintage graphic elements for projects.

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Quentin Tarantino was once an Elvis Impersonator on the Golden Girls

Director Quentin Tarantino’s attraction to rockabilly is pretty well-known. What most probably don’t recall is that he tried his hand at being an Elvis impersonator for a while. Alas, he was not, apparently, a very good one, and couldn’t land much work. One of the few jobs he got, though, was red meat for any Retroist fan: a brief appearance in a 1988 episode of The Golden Girls.

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According to an 1994 interview with Playboy, Tarantino preferred a less-flashy version of the king.

Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job. I was one of 12 Elvis impersonators, really just a glorified extra. For some reason they had us sing Don Ho’s Hawaiian Love Chant. All the other Elvis impersonators wore Vegas-style jumpsuits. But I wore my own clothes,because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis. I was the hillbilly cat Elvis. I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.

Maybe that’s just not the Elvis people wanted to see in the 80’s.

[via] the Open Culture Institute