Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Your Quick Reference Guide to A Thriller A Day

Welcome to A Thriller A Day! While we've finished our 67-day marathon viewing and reviewing an episode of Thriller a day, we hope you'll come along for the ride after the fact and post your comments on the episodes as you make your way through the series. While you can access all of the entries in the Blog Archive in the sidebar, we thought it would be helpful to provide this index with links to each of the episode reviews, season and series wrap-ups, all of the interviews we conducted, and the image galleries posted.

Some key members of the A Thriller A Day Team met up in Hollywood in March, 2011 (L-R): Peter Enfantino, Steve Mitchell, Gary Gerani, John Scoleri, David J. Schow

A Thriller A Day Introduction

Season 1 Wrap Up
Season 2 Wrap Up

The Pro's Top Ten Lists
A Thriller A Day Awards


Season 1 Episode Reviews
  1. The Twisted Image
  2. Child's Play
  3. Worse Than Murder
  4. The Mark of the Hand
  5. Rose's Last Summer
  6. The Guilty Men
  7. The Purple Room
  8. The Watcher
  9. Girl with a Secret
  10. The Prediction
  11. The Fatal Impulse
  12. The Big Blackout
  13. Knock Three-One-Two
  14. Man in the Middle
  15. The Cheaters
  16. The Hungry Glass
  17. The Poisoner
  18. Man in the Cage
  19. Choose a Victim
  20. Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook
  21. The Merriweather File
  22. The Fingers of Fear
  23. Well of Doom
  24. The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell
  25. Trio for Terror
  26. Papa Benjamin
  27. Late Date
  28. Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper
  29. The Devil's Ticket
  30. Parasite Mansion
  31. A Good Imagination
  32. Mr. George
  33. Terror in Teakwood
  34. The Prisoner in the Mirror
  35. Dark Legacy
  36. Pigeons from Hell
  37. The Grim Reaper
Season 2 Episode Reviews
  1. What Beckoning Ghost?
  2. Guillotine
  3. The Premature Burial
  4. The Weird Tailor
  5. God Grant that She Lye Stille
  6. Masquerade
  7. The Last of the Sommervilles
  8. Letter to a Lover
  9. A Third for Pinochle
  10. The Closed Cabinet
  11. Dialogues with Death
  12. The Return of Andrew Bentley
  13. The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk
  14. Portrait Without a Face
  15. An Attractive Family
  16. Waxworks
  17. La Strega
  18. The Storm
  19. A Wig for Miss DeVore
  20. The Hollow Watcher
  21. Cousin Tundifer
  22. The Incredible Dr. Markesan
  23. Flowers of Evil
  24. Till Death Do Us Part
  25. The Bride Who Died Twice
  26. Kill My Love
  27. Man of Mystery
  28. The Innocent Bystanders
  29. The Lethal Ladies
  30. The Specialists
Interviews
Image Galleries
And please be sure to bookmark our next blog, We Are Controlling Transmission, in which we turn our attention to The Outer Limits.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Thriller A Day Awards



Peter and John's Picks

Thriller's Best Actress

Jeanette Nolan - "La Strega" (Peter & John)

Thriller's Best Actor

Harry Townes- "Dark Legacy" (Peter)

Guy Rolfe- "Terror in Teakwood" (John)

Thriller's Best Director
Ida Lupino (Peter)
Herschel Daugherty (John)

Thriller's Best Writer
Donald S. Sanford (Peter & John)

Thriller's Best Score
Jerry Goldsmith- "Well of Doom" (Peter)
Jerry Goldsmith, "God Grante That She Lye Stille" (John)

Best Thriller Audio Commentary
Larry Blamire, Gary Gerani & David J. Schow "The Hollow Watcher" (Peter)
Gary Gerani and David J. Schow "Well of Doom" (John)

Best A Thriller A Day Review
"The Fatal Impulse" (Peter) what else could it be?
"The Grim Reaper" (John) the one day we were all in harmony

Favorite Thriller Babe

Elizabeth Montgomery (Peter)

Olive Sturgess (John)

Favorite Thriller Stud
Larry Rapchak (and his fabulous videos) (Peter)
John Williams (John) For his soothing voice under the melody of Stranger in Paradise.


Favorite A Thriller A Day Fan Reviewers (that's you guys!)
Larry Rapchak (Peter & John) with special thanks to everyone who took the time to post.



The most popular Thriller reviews (based on web traffic):
  1. Pigeons From Hell
  2. The Grim Reaper
  3. Dark Legacy
  4. The Hollow Watcher
  5. The Purple Room
  6. Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper
  7. The Watcher
  8. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  9. Parasite Mansion
  10. The Weird Tailor

Your votes for the best of Thriller:

Top Ten Thrillers
  1. Incredible Doctor Markesan
  2. The Grim Reaper
  3. Pigeons From Hell
  4. The Cheaters
  5. The Hungry Glass
  6. Terror in Teakwood
  7. La Strega
  8. The Weird Tailor
  9. Well of Doom
  10. The Devil's Ticket
Favorite Thriller Actress
Jeanette Nolan ("La Strega"

Favorite Thriller Actor
Boris Karloff ("The Incrdible Doctor Markesan")

Favorite Thriller Director
Herschel Daugherty ("The Grim Reaper")

Favorite Thriller Writer
Robert Bloch

Favorite Thriller Score
Jerry Goldsmith ("The Grim Reaper")

Favorite Thriller Commentary
Gary Gerani ("Pigeons From Hell")

Favorite A Thriller A Day Review
Pigeons From Hell (The Review you loved to hate!)

Favorite Thriller Interview
Stefan Dziemianowicz

Favorite Thriller Babe
Ursula Andress ("La Strega")

Favorite Thriller Stud
Alejandro Rey ("La Strega" and "Guillotine")

Favorite Thriller Pro Reviewer
David J. Schow

Favorite Thriller Fan Reviewer
Larry Rapchak

Most requested next blog:
The Outer Limits

Honorable Mentions: One Step Beyond, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery.

As we've already mentioned, you'll be able to follow us as we delve into The Outer Limits beginning on 1/1/11. What a great way to start the new year. Bookmark the new blog URL, as We Are Controlling Transmission.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thriller Visions: Publicity and Promotional Materials


While Thriller was not the first show to bring Boris Karloff to the small screen, it was responsible for bringing him to the comic spinner racks in the early 60s. What launched as Boris Karloff's Thriller in 1962 was renamed Boris Karloff's Tales of Mystery after two issues. The comic ran through 1980 (you can check out almost all of the beautiful Gold Key covers here, and several of George Wilson's original cover paintings over at Monster Brains).



What follows is a selection of Thriller publicity stills.

Robert Arthur

"The Big Blackout"

"Child's Play"

"The Devil's Ticket"

"A Good Imagination"

"The Guilty Men"

"Man in a Cage"

"Man in the Middle"

"Mark of the Hand"

"The Incredible Dr. Markesan"

"The Merriweather File"

"The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell"

"Papa Benjamin"

"Parasite Mansion"
"The Poisoner"

"Trio For Terror"

"The Twisted Image"

Sorry you missed our Live Chat!

UPDATE:

For those of you who missed it, check back tomorrow for the results of our A Thriller A Day voting. And our apologies to anyone unable to get in once the chat room reached capacity!

Thriller Three-Way: Peter and John, Your Hosts

Conducted by David J. Schow
Our royally-qualified and faithful TAD participants might not know from whence Pete and John cameth. They may not know that John used to be, once upon a time, a champion of late-80s/early 90s horror at an actual bookstore (he even did a genre newsletter), or that John and Pete make what amounts to a religious hegira to LA every year to troll dwindling brick-and-mortar emporia to seek-and-find pulpish treasures. They may only have seen hints of Pete’s deep expertise in the musty stacks of paperbacks—Pete READS like a demon. They may not know of the illustrious history of your magazine THE SCREAM FACTORY, even though its spinoff, bare•bones, is cited here. They may not know of the various small press endeavors in which you guys have managed no end of grunt work on behalf of the obscure. They may not know of all the hard work you poured into the Ralph McQuarrie mega-book (THE ART OF RALPH McQUARRIE), a gigantic tome dwarfed only by THRILLER correspondent Tim Lucas’ even more massive Mario Bava book.

DJS: So what I mean is... explain yourselves. Why you, to take up this mantle, and why now?

PE: Well, first of all, let me say I am one of the least qualified to take on a project like this. I can barely spell blog. I was in London and John was constantly sending me e-mails about how cheap Amazon was selling Thriller (though if I'd waited a couple months I'd'a saved a bundle more!). It finally got down to a reasonable sum and I bit the hook. Now, I've got hundreds of TV boxed sets in my office that have yet to be opened and I realized this would probably join them. It suddenly came to me (like Richard Carlson with a nylon in his hands) that this could be a chance to do something unique. So I proposed the idea of watching a Thriller a day to Scooter and he set aside his Star Wars toys long enough to listen.

JS: I've maintained a number of blogs through the years, some for the simple purpose of sharing a particular adventure with friends and family. This past summer, I had one to document a trip to a Star Wars convention in Florida where we were presenting a gallery of original Ralph McQuarrie art. Peter was following that from his remote headquarters in London, and that obviously sparked the idea. What's funny is that he suggested doing this in an email on August 31st, and in my darn near immediate response, I sent him the URL with the site already up and running. As you can see by the date of our first post, this all came together very quickly.


DJS: Were you long-distance, third-hand Thriller fans energized by the DVD release?

PE: I'd bought the six vhs tapes and later the laserdiscs and liked a bit of what I saw but I'd heard so much about this show, I thought there must be something better, something maybe a bit frightening? Then Sci-Fi started running them and I taped a good portion of them on vhs but never got around to watching most of them (do you see a pattern emerging?). When the box set was announced, the price was too freakin' high. It took a major price slashing before I considered it.

JS: I knew of the show via Danse Macabre, but had never seen an episode until I blind-bought the LaserDisc set, which was relatively cheap compared to the Japanese imports I used to buy. I thought it was a great selection of episodes, and I was always disappointed they didn't offer more (not knowing they were any better or worse than the rest). In later years, my folks got Direct TV and I had my dad record them off of the Sci-Fi channel, six to a VHS tape. I think I also got a late generation copy of "Pigeons From Hell" from Peter (which I only recall watching the first ten minutes of). While I never did get around to watching the few dozen episodes on VHS, when I was able to pick up the entire series on DVD-R, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, I've got thousands of titles in my DVD library, and I hadn't gotten around to watching Thriller before we heard—from you of all people—a complete series DVD release was in the works, with plenty of commentaries in the works.


DJS: Did Thriller tie into your various loves for writers or genres? Or did you come to it fairly fresh (I can’t bring myself to say “naked,” but you know what I mean).

PE: Oh yeah, I've had a major jones for Robert Bloch's stuff since grade school. The fact that he wrote several episodes had a lot to do with my willingness to sit in front of a TV screen for 67 hours (and a computer screen for an additional 67 at least). And I've loved horror since watching The Revenge of the Creature with my dad late one Saturday night in '66. Scared the crap out of me. I bought my first issue of Famous Monsters soon after.

JS: I've been a horror fan as long as I can remember. While I'm about ten years younger than the average Monster Kid, I grew up with a brother four years older, which benefited me in a number of ways. I was able to get introduced to and ride the coat-tails of Creature Features through him. He had several of the original Aurora models (I caught the tail end of the craze with my Monsters of the Movies Creature from the Black Lagoon kit). And as I mentioned in one of our prefatory posts, I also caught the Famous Monsters bug before the mag died its first death. So I knew Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney (Sr. & Jr.) despite the fact that none of my friends in school did. With all those prerequisites in place, I'd say I was destined to be a Thriller fan.


DJS: Further, having done the spadework and maintained the blog at a miraculous remove from the usual chat-board idiocy, you have accomplished an all-too-rare kind of salon for the Thriller faithful, one where those who comment often provide sparkling asides and intriguing extra info (rather than taking snarky potshots at each other or punning themselves into boring oblivion). What is your greatest pleasure at having founded TAD?
PE: Well, you just said it for me. I never imagined, when we took up what I thought at times might just evolve into a circle jerk between me and John, that this blog would transform itself into a community. I really do picture all of us joining together for a beer (or soda) and talking stock market, Afghanistan, the economy, and maybe Ursula and Boris. You hit a bullseye when you mentioned the snarkyness. Not once did we have to caution anyone or delete any messages. Amazing since so many of us had differing views (on one episode in particular) and these things can get heated. It's only a TV show at the end of the day but a lot of people have memories tied up in this thing and no one wants to be told that their nostalgia is misspent. I trust that Walker Martin, Ultimate Tactical Warrior, Larry Rapchak, and all our other new friends, will keep in touch as we go forward. These guys are what made this blog worth coming to, not me and John.

JS: I agree with all of what Peter says, but for me, that was all icing on the cake. I've known Pete for half of my life, and it's surprising for me to think about it, but he's been living in Arizona for the larger part of that timeframe. We do manage to get together to hang out at least once a year, but this has given us an excuse to be in regular contact—quite often several times a day and God knows at all hours—every single day for the past few months. My wife can attest to the number of times I'd be working on an entry and laughing out loud at what Peter had written, and doing my best to entertain him as well. It was like the early days of The Scream Factory, when it was all about the energy and excitement of doing something that people were responding favorably to. I hope some of that came across in our reviews. I went into this prepared for it to be something that Pete and I did on a lark, and that maybe a few of our close friends and family would find amusing.


DJS: Conversely, what’s the biggest downside?

PE: Well, it's a bit pissy but I would have liked more participation in the comments section from that large percentage of visitors who never commented. I know how many people visited a day. It astounds me we had those numbers. I'd've liked some of those people to put down their thoughts. But I guess the quality of the comments section more than makes up for the quantity.

JS: The downside for me was constantly fighting the clock to get the episodes watched on time. We started off with a bit of a buffer, but the blog really did live up to its namesake. I don't care to recall how many episodes I watched after midnight, or at 5am, in order to get a review up for the day. Or the one morning that our entire post just disappeared moments before posting. I know my schedule drove Peter crazy, but he's too nice to say it (or more likely he just forgot).


DJS: Most frequently, either PE or JS notes that an episode “drags” … that pacing might be somnambulant … that it … just … “zzzzz.” Given the pre-knowledge that many of the more conventional crime shows were deadly (by reputation if not by actual experience, before viewing them for the first time), what did you expect?

PE: But, remember, I didn't know the crime shows were deadly dull until Tom Weaver shouted out a warning. Either Sci-Fi downplayed those episodes or I never got around to watching them. And a couple of the crime shows, to be fair, were pretty good. I believe I had one of them on my Top Ten for the first season and a couple from the second season made it on.

JS: I honestly wasn't too concerned about it. I knew they weren't all horror, and realized they weren't all going to be classics. There's something about 60s television that is just fun to watch. I think the excitement about launching into the blog, and the fact that a couple key folks jumped on board early on, really helped. But I will admit the road to the first 3-Karloffer ("The Guilty Men") was a long one!


DJS: Were some aspects of Thriller not what you idealized or remembered them to be, or were you recalling the show’s “classic” status as something it never was — or was intended to be, given the limitations of 1960s TV?

PE: My memory had them being quite a bit better than reality. "Pigeons from Hell" and"Masquerade" in particular just didn't hold up. Having said that, I can appreciate the atmosphere of the show more now than on the first viewing.

JS: For me, having only seen the original half dozen, I had been longing to sit down and watch them, and just hadn't made the time. Which honestly, was the real reason for doing the blog in the first place. I do think that coming in with an open mind served me well, despite that resulting in a mob of angry villagers coming after us once or twice when our review was counter to popular opinion.


DJS: Nostalgia for 1960s-era TV usually falls into the abyss of “here are some actors from other shows I liked.” That is, it’s generally not very scholarly, and more pop-cultural. Apart from seeing familiar faces, what other aspects of Thriller came to light for you by sitting and watching each and every episode?

PE: Well, it is what it is. I'm more pop-culturally oriented than scholarly. All you have to do is read my stuff to know that. I didn't fall into that "this is a classic because of the camera angles and the lighting and the deep hidden meanings of the animal door knockers" crap. At the end of the episode, was I entertained by a good story? Did it hold up? Did it make sense? How was the acting? Then, after that checklist, I could allow for the atmosphere and shadows. Gotta tell you, directors and art designers may think they're being clever but sometimes I just see shadows on the wall that shouldn't be there. Take, for instance, the opening scene of "Man of Mystery" when the writer is calling the publisher from the phone in the hallway. My mind is thinking "What the hell could make such shadows? A wrought iron gate? A stained glass window?" It's just distracting at times. I can understand why some people dig that stuff all the time but not me. So, to make my answer even longer, I did fall into that "Check out Elizabeth Montgomery. What a babe. Who knew she'd be the most popular woman on TV just a few years later?" trap now and then. One of the negative aspects of Thriller that came through was that there was a paucity, if not total absence, of monsters in this show. I don't count the cutesy-pie vampires of "Masquerade" or the old hag from "Pigeons." How about a werewolf or a tentacled demon (even if in the shadows) now and then rather than the same old white plantation estate on the edge of the same old bayou with the same old weary travelers terrorized by the same old...(fill in the blank). I know that special effects and make-up were limited back then but how about bringing in Dick Smith for a few killer episodes?

JS: I think I was most surprised by how often the show bounced around tonally and thematically. A number of episodes—and I'm not just talking about the bad ones—I could never have picked out of a lineup as a Thriller had I seen them out of context. But oddly enough, some of the ones called out as decidedly non-Thriller ("The Guilty Men," the Edward Andrews black comedies) were episodes that I enjoyed, so it didn't bother me. I think if I had sat down with the specific goal of writing about a horror series, I would have been disappointed how often horror wasn't on the menu. But I was open to accepting each and every episode as a Thriller, and rate it based on whether I enjoyed it, and not whether it lived up to some pre-conceived notion of what the show was supposed to be.

The only other thing that surprised me in retrospect was the overall quality of the transfers. I did try to clarify early on that our focus was reviewing the show itself, and not so much the specific DVD presentation, so we didn't belabor the point. The deltas between some of the nicer transfers and some of the lesser transfers was quite significant, and unfortunately, as one of our regulars pointed out, sometimes the worst transfers were on the most popular episodes. I don't know if that's a problem that could be easily (or feasibly) fixed (through use of different source material or through restoration), but I would see that as the greatest hindrance to a Blu Ray release. I'll assume the best available materials were used, and remain thankful that a) the entire series survived in any condition, and b) that we're not in limbo waiting for the release of the remainder of the episodes (Night Gallery, anyone?).


DJS: What perceived value do you hold as a result of doing TAD? At its best, it is like a free-form, ever-evolving “companion” to others who commit to watching the episodes. To you, was it a lark, a mere diversion or entertainment, or do you see it taking a more lasting, archival form? This is important, since informational websites vanish every minute, taking their data with them.

PE: Well, this won't vanish. We're looking into a few things to keep it from doing so. As I said earlier, I think the values I'll take away from this experience is working with you, David, having you there behind John and I, gently nudging, hauling us back from the pit we may have jumped into; making new friends like the Larry brothers; and maybe, just maybe, creating something that gave people a reason to get excited, every morning, about putting on their computer. It began as a lark but grew into something more...surreal, at times.

JS: What I always hoped, and what we've actually seen over the past few weeks of the original run of postings, was that as new folks stumbled across it, they too could step through it as they work their way through the series. So while we're putting a period on A Thriller A Day for now, it will continue to live on as long as new folks find it and feed the discussion with their own thoughts and opinions. I honestly believe that, despite the novelty aspect of following us as each new review was released daily, the material herein doesn't have a shelf-life. It will remain valid as long as there are viewers discovering the show, and that's pretty cool—not only for Peter and I, but for everyone who lent their voice to the cause. And as new viewers add their comments, that gives all of us another opportunity to revisit and discuss the show.


DJS: A “big miss” on the Thriller boxed set is the complete absence of Alan Warren, the only person ever to do an entire book on Thriller. A perfect capper to TAD would be to hear from the man himself. Have you made any attempt to find or contact him?

PE: No, that's my mistake. When we decided to do this, we just jumped in feet first. If I had to do it all again, I'd contact Warren. I never read his book but a lot of people had complimentary things to say about it.

JS: I've got Warren's book, and at least at the time it was written, he lived not too far from me. While I made a point to not keep it handy early on in the process, so as not to color my perspective along the way, I have enjoyed reading his comments after we had posted our own. I do hope that in time we'll be able to correct that oversight and at a very minimum, get a Thriller Three-Way interview with Warren added to the site.


DJS: No doubt by now you are holding your bellies and slapping your thighs, rolling with mirth (between cocaine hits and shots of Jack) at my apparent seriousness, so …

PE: Are you wearing your black pajamas right now or nothing at all?

JS: Those are Creature from the Black Lagoon pj's, Peter.


DJS: Describe the conditions under which you review these episodes.

PE: Wow! Good question with a hundred different answers. We never started out with a guideline. Things just fell into place. Usually, since I have a lot more time on my hands because my job allows me to get home early in the afternoon, I'll watch the Thriller at about six pm. Afterwards I'd spend about an hour working from my notes to craft it into something readable (no cracks from the peanut gallery). Several times, I'd bounce ideas off my girlfriend on the phone and get a completely different angle on some aspect of the show and go back and do a re-write. I'm usually done with the "first draft" at 8. John then comes in and adds his comments, riffing off mine, and then lays down the graphics (I stay away from that end of the conveyor belt). The next morning at about 5, I then go in and do a "final riff" off what John added. The post usually would go up at 6am.

JS: While most episodes were watched on a 42" plasma screen, we did watch a few special episodes ("The Purple Room," "Pigeons From Hell," and "The Grim Reaper") in our home theater on the 104" screen. I had originally planned to watch some episodes during my commute on a portable DVD player, but didn't feel that would be a truly fair way to assess them. Although if I wanted the real Thriller experience, I probably should have found an old black and white console television to watch them on... Fortunately, my wife was on board for the lion's share of episodes. She somehow managed to miss the first really good episode ("The Cheaters") due to another commitment the day I screened that (she has since seen the opening and closing segments a few times, but never the middle!). I have to give her credit for becoming quite the Thriller aficionado as well, contributing some photos to the Lovely Ladies posts (Cloris Leachman can thank her for being included), as well as yesterday's Handsome Gents post.

I also think it's worth mentioning the one time Peter and I actually watched an episode in sync, simultaneously in California and Arizona, while recording our commentary track for "The Fatal Impulse" (so there's no excuse for your not having been involved in commentaries, Weaver!). That was an interesting experiment that probably wasn't worth all the effort, but we had fun doing it, and at least two people (aside from Peter and my wife) listened to it. Well, one was my sister... but our other listener had no vested interest and actually won a prize for doing so. And everyone else missed out!


DJS: Surely watching the episodes, annotating them, commenting, and whipping it all into website form takes time. Don’t you have a life?

PE: Define life.

JS: There were times in the past few months where that was called into question. As happy as I was that the Giants made it to the World Series, it became one more thing I had to fit in around my Thriller schedule.


DJS: Why does JS like Matheson so much?

PE: Childhood trauma? I'm not sure, but you haven't lived until you've seen the "Matheson shrine" in his living room. I once had a similar thing going for Stevie Nicks. A little more normal for a young boy, I think.

JS: You want the honest answer? I wouldn't be here if not for Richard Matheson. Let me spell it out for you:
  1. Saw Night of the Living Dead at a very young age.
  2. Heard it was inspired by I Am Legend when my brother brought the book home from the library.
  3. Read I Am Legend as an 11 or 12 year old kid, in a single sitting.
  4. Fell in love with reading for pleasure.
  5. Got a job at a bookstore during my senior year in high school.
  6. As a result, met my wife, Peter, and DJS (three different people, just so we're clear).
  7. Voila! A Thriller A Day.
Any questions?


DJS: How did such as JS & PE ever become friends, since they grouse at each other like an old married couple?

PE: We met like most couples. In a book store. He's my oldest and dearest friend and, though we're 800 miles apart and don't see each other too often, we talk nearly every day (especially lately). Having said that...

JS: "...I shant work with him again." I think of it as community service, you know? Help an old fella across the street—that sort of thing. All kidding aside, the fact that we have similar interests and yet different tastes (thank God—or our trips through the used bookstores and video stores in LA would end up in fits of hair-pulling [to which he would have an unfair advantage] as we fought over the same treasures) allows us to always have a good time together, whether it's just hanging out or working on a project like ATAD. I'd go so far as to say we compliment each other. Here's where Peter steps in and says, "You complete me." Or perhaps more likely, "You had me at, 'Do you want this March 1954 Manhunt?'"


DJS: Do you really expect to win a Rondo for all this?

PE: I'm not expecting even to be nominated. The support from that group was nil, which surprised me. But should it have surprised me? I was one of the original members way back in the mid-90s when it was over at AOL but the site as it stands now isn't a lot of fun to visit. Some members piss and moan about dvd commentaries and their commentators (yep, I mean you), aspect ratios (aspect ratio for a flick about a giant moth?), cover variants for $13 monster magazines (yet another revival of a long-dead and smelly corpse), and other important issues of the day. One very well-known and respected (by me, for one) writer cruises the board, like a hall monitor, looking for slip-ups so that he can let the poster (especially newbies) know they've made a deadly blunder. Members snipe at each other over the most idiotic of things. Who was Lugosi's stunt double in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man? Was Alucard really The Son of Dracula? Discussion about these topics is one thing but when it degenerates into name-calling, all participants should be taken off the computer and sent to their room by the mother they still live with (if they're not sharing a room, that is). So, no Rondo, but I expect a Golden Karloff somewhere down the road.

JS: When we set out to do this blog, it was all about having fun. I know that Peter and I have succeeded at that. And based on the comments of our readers, I'd like to believe that others have had fun, too. I learned a long time ago not to choose projects in search of success or reward. Whether it's publishing a book on the art of Ralph McQuarrie, producing a Caroline Munro DVD, or editing a Night of the Living Dead tribute magazine, I always try to choose projects that I really want to do—that I have some passion for. If I'm enjoying it while I'm working on it, anything else that comes of it when it's done is an added bonus. Back to your question—would it be cool to be nominated for a Rondo? Sure it would. But the fact that people for whom we have great respect have already praised what we've managed to do with A Thriller A Day is pretty nice recognition in and of itself.


DJS: And when the final episode is buried alive, do you just … stop?

PE: Nope, thanks to the prodding of several of our new friends, John and I have decided to tackle another icon. John?

JS: Despite all the work involved, I think neither Peter or I were looking forward to this experience  ending. We feel like we've gotten to know a lot of the folks reading every day, and wanted to be able to continue in a similar forum. While we had already resurrected our bare•bones blog, and have seen a lot of crossover traffic there, it's not quite the same as getting together with everyone on a regular basis to talk shop about one thing in particular. So after much deliberation, and after polling the peanut gallery to gauge their interest, all signs pointed in the same direction. We're making a few changes to the process based on what we've learned doing ATAD, for our sanity (and my marriage's sake), moving from daily reviews to 5 days a week (M-F). We also knew we needed to take a bit of a breather before launching right into the next program, both to recuperate a bit during the holidays, and also in order to get some content queued up.

So without further adieu, we're pleased to officially announce that beginning on 1/1/11, We Are Controlling Transmission, as Peter and I take on The Outer Limits. And we're thrilled to have DJS along for the ride as our official Outer Limits Companion.


DJS: What are the realities of preserving TAD for viewers yet-to-come? Is there a plan or does it vanish into the ether? Perspiring minds want to know …

JS: We expect the site to continue to be available for years to come (long life of Google permitting). As to whether there's an opportunity to preserve it in some other form... we'd love to be able to do that if there was a sufficient audience to warrant it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thriller Their Way: Our Celebrity Panel's Picks

We contacted each of our interview subjects and invited them to send in their "Top Ten" Thriller lists. In addition to using those in our A Thriller A Day Awards balloting, we thought you might be interested in how they ranked the episodes. For your convenience, we've also added links back to their Thriller Three-Way interviews.

David J. Schow

  1. The Incredible Doktor Markesan (Top 'O the Heap)
  2. The Grim Reaper (Best overall Bloch)
  3. Well of Doom (Personal favorite)
  4. The Weird Tailor (Next best Bloch; creepiest "monster")
  5. Late Date (Best nail-biter; a perfect expression of Woolrich)
  6. The Terror in Teakwood (it resonates like a feature film)
  7. The Hollow Watcher (an actual "monster movie" ending in madness and death)
  8. La Strega
  9. Prisoner in the Mirror
  10. A Wig For Miss Devore (Perfect example of Thriller as EC Comics)

Gary Gerani
  1. Pigeons from Hell
  2. The Cheaters
  3. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  4. The Grim Reaper
  5. The Terror in Teakwood
  6. The Weird Tailor
  7. La Strega
  8. The Hungry Glass
  9. Well of Doom
  10. The Return of Andrew Bentley

Tom Weaver
  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. The Incredible Doktor Markesan
  3. A Wig for Miss Devore
  4. The Devil's Ticket
  5. The Hungry Glass
  6. Well of Doom
  7. The Cheaters
  8. Pigeons from Hell
  9. The Terror in Teakwood
  10. The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk

Larry Rapchak
  1. Pigeons from Hell (Yeah!!)
  2. Weird Tailor
  3. Devil's Ticket
  4. The Grim Reaper
  5. Waxworks
  6. Terror in Teakwood
  7. Prisoner in the Mirror
  8. Well of Doom
  9. Incredible Dr Markesan
  10. Purple Room

Steve Mitchell
  1. Late Date
  2. Pigeons from Hell
  3. The Grim Reaper
  4. The Hungry Glass
  5. Parasite Mansion
  6. The Purple Room
  7. La Strega
  8. The Poisoner
  9. Terror in Teakwood
  10. The Cheaters

Larry Blamire
  1. Pigeons From Hell (say it loud, say it proud)
  2. Late Date
  3. The Storm
  4. The Incredible Dr. Markeson
  5. The Hollow Watcher
  6. The Hungry Glass
  7. The Purple Room
  8. Parasite Mansion
  9. The Return of Andrew Bentley
  10. The Grim Reaper

Lucy Chase Williams

  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. The Incredible Doktor Markesan
  3. A Wig for Miss Devore
  4. The Devil's Ticket
  5. The Hungry Glass
  6. Well of Doom
  7. The Cheaters
  8. Mr. George
  9. The Terror in Teakwood
  10. The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk

Thriller Season 2 Wrap-Up

It's not over yet! Over the next two days, we still have a few more things to share. Be on the lookout for one last Thriller Three-Way interview that we'll be posting. And before we share the results of your Thriller favorites votes, we're going to host a little online soirée during which we'll announce those results live.

We hope you can join us this Saturday, 11/13, between 1pm-2pm PST (4pm-5pm EST) when we will be hosting a live, online chat to celebrate the completion of A Thriller A Day. We look forward to the chance to talk some more Thriller, as well as getting your feedback on our future plans. A link will be posted on the blog shortly before the start time.

Now to the matter at hand. Before we get to our Season 2 (and all-time) Thriller picks, we thought we should refresh everyone on our picks from Season 1.

Top Ten First Season Shows

Peter
  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. The Well of Doom
  3. The Cheaters
  4. Late Date
  5. The Terror in Teakwood
  6. Dark Legacy
  7. The Devil's Ticket
  8. Parasite Mansion
  9. The Guilty Men
  10. A Good Imagination
John
  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. Terror in Teakwood
  3. The Cheaters
  4. The Hungry Glass
  5. Well of Doom
  6. Devil's Ticket
  7. Purple Room
  8. Parasite Mansion
  9. Dark Legacy
  10. Late Date

Top Ten Second Season Shows


Peter
  1. La Strega
  2. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  3. Guillotine
  4. The Storm
  5. The Weird Tailor
  6. The Lethal Ladies
  7. The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk
  8. The Last of the Sommervilles
  9. Til Death Do Us Part
  10. The Bride Who Died Twice
John
  1. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  2. La Strega
  3. The Weird Tailor
  4. A Wig for Miss Devore
  5. God Grante That She Lye Stille
  6. Portrait Without A Face
  7. The Closed Cabinet
  8. A Third for Pinochle
  9. Cousin Tundifer
  10. The Return of Andrew Bentley

Best Actor: Boris Karloff in "The Incredible Doctor Markesan" (Peter and John)


Best Actress: Jeanette Nolan in "La Strega" (Peter and John)



Thriller Complete Series Top Ten

Peter
  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. La Strega
  3. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  4. Well of Doom
  5. The Cheaters
  6. Guillotine
  7. The Storm
  8. Late Date
  9. The Weird Tailor
  10. Dark Legacy
John
  1. The Grim Reaper
  2. The Incredible Doctor Markesan
  3. Terror in Teakwood
  4. La Strega
  5. The Weird Tailor
  6. The Cheaters
  7. The Hungry Glass
  8. A Wig for Miss Devore
  9. God Grante That She Lye Stille
  10. Well of Doom
Bring on your comments! Let us know how your top ten differed from ours, both here and in our get-together tomorrow. Remember to watch the blog for the link to our live chat!