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In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

In Memoriam: Basil Gogos

It is with a heavy heart that House of Tortured Souls announces the passing of another horror icon - acclaimed artist Basil Gogos. If you don’t know his name, you certainly know his work. Gogos was responsible for nearly 50 Famous Monsters of Filmland covers, with the first being the late, great Vincent Price in House of Usher on issue 9, November 1960. His work in and influence on horror and horror art ultimately led to a 2006 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award in Special Monster Kid Hall of Fame .Basil-Gogos-Famous Monsters of Filmland-November 1960-09 / Fair use doctrine.
Egyptian-born to Greek parents, Gogos and his family emigrated to America when he was only sixteen. Gogos attended several art and design schools and studied at the Art Students League of New York under acclaimed illustrator Frank J. Reilly. His professional career began when he won a Pocket Books competition to illustrate the cover for Pursuit, a paperback western, in 1959. Following this, Gogos worked on covers for men’s adventure magazines as well as Eerie, Creepy, and other horror comics. Gogos was drawn to horror art both because of the challenge in painting the unreal and also because it allowed him to experiment with a variety of techniques. He is most known for offering a unique view of his subjects, using bold, striking colors which seemed to bathe them in several lights. He also embraced his subjects, striving to render them sympathetic as well as horrifying. Because of this, he had the honor of painting many horror icons, such as Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and, as mentioned earlier, Vincent Price.
Although he decided to focus on fine art in the 1970s, he continued to work occasionally as a photo retoucher and movie poster illustrator before moving into advertising for a while. Gogos returned to horror art in the 1990s, painting CD covers for The Misfits, Rob Zombie, and Electric Frankenstein.

A Small Gallery of the Art of Basil Gogos

If you would like to see more of the art of Basil Gogos, check out the 2005 Vanguard Productions publication entitled Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos on
Basil Gogos died on September 14, 2017, at the age of 78, and the world became a little bit darker.Basil Gogos / Image: LuigiNovi

Thank you for everything, and rest in peace, Mr. Gogos.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HEROES, OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Haruo Nakajima

TRIBUTE: Haruo Nakajima

1954 gave us a lot of things. First RCA color television. First TV dinner sold by Swanson. The beginning construction of Disneyland. But, most importantly, 1954 gave us Godzilla (Gojira). And the man behind that classic monster was legendary stunt actor Haruo Nakajima.
Haruo Nakajima and Godzilla's Hollywood StarHaruo Nakajima donned the green suit for a dozen films from 1954 to 1972. In interviews with The Times, Mr. Nakajima said he studied many animals at the zoo and their walks to perfect his Godzilla manner. His original suit was over 200 pounds and he was quoted saying that “At the end of a day’s shooting he could wring enough perspiration from his undershirt to fill half a bucket.”
Who was Haruo Nakajima? He was born in Yamagata, Japan, on January 1, 1929. As a black belt in martial arts, be began his acting career started as a stuntman. At 23, Haruo had his first credited role in Sword for Hire, a 1952 samurai movie. Then, the moment came that changed his life. He stepped into the big green suit and made history. His last role as Godzilla was in 1972’s film Godzilla vs Gigan.
But, Mr. Nakajima was a not a one trick kaiju. In 1967’s King Kong Escapes, he traded the green scales for brown fur and portrayed the iconic King Kong. Other lesser known monster credits he can be seen depicting are The War of the Gargantuans, Latitude Zero, and Matango*. There are many more uncredited roles he had under his belt before retiring.
I had the honor and privilege of not only meeting this legend, but, having breakfast with him and other famous wearers of the green suit. It was FandomFest 2016 in Louisville, KY, and I was doing my normal volunteer duties. I came in early that Saturday to see if I could help and boy it paid off. The convention photographer was on his way to take pictures of the Godzilla breakfast (a special moment that some had paid to enjoy) and they asked if I wanted to join him. Of course, I said yes. And it was amazing. I spoke with everyone via a translator. Told them I had brought my #1 issue of Godzilla to be signed. And they invited me to their tables after my shift for pictures and autograph...for free. I was floored.
Haruo Nakajima and HoTS' own ZombieGurl at breakfastI went back and finished out my day counting each minute. As soon as I was released, I went to visit them. I got pictures and talked with everyone but saved Haruo Nakajima for last. He was all smiles and a mere two inches taller than me. I couldn’t believe it. I am a huge Godzilla nerd and I was hugging the original. He hugged and then bowed to me. He also signed my classic Marvel Godzilla #1 comic. It was an amazing day.
Haruo Nakajima and HoTS' own ZombieGurlHaruo Nakajima may be gone but his legend will live on forever. With each new installment of Godzilla, we will always think back to that first Gojira. The original kaiju. The true one. May you rest in peace and I hope you finally made it home to Monster Island.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: I saw Matango as a child and didn't eat mushrooms for years! True story.
-Woofer McWooferson, Editor-in-Chief
Posted by ZombieGurl in OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments


RIP - The Godfather of Zombies
George A. Romero

georgeromero-zombielove / Fair use doctrine.George Romero meant so much to me personally. He created my love, my obsession with zombies. I cannot tell you my exact age when I first watched Night of the Living Dead, but it sparked the fire that is my love for horror and, more importantly, zombie stories. George A. Romero opened the door for many to follow, pushed the limits of horror further than anyone dreamed, awakened future directors and storytellers, and educated the world on the zombies (how they move, groan, react, and how people would react in a zombie apocalypse).
I'm not sure if Romero went for black and white to blend in with the classic horrors or because makeup and prosthetics aren't what they are today. All I know that it was a genius move! Night of the Living Dead was meant to be b&w. When I first turned on the movie (in my foolish youth) I wanted to immediately change the channel, after all b&w movies are just boring (back in the 80s when everything was neon). I'm not even sure now what kept me watching, but I am ever so thankful! George Romero was such a creative intelligent fellow in his time.
Romero was one of my first articles for HoTS when a little over a year ago Mr. Romero finally received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. It blew my mind that only just now was he receiving a star! After all his movies and work?!?!? Night of the Living Dead had several sequels (almost all 10 years apart), and he made several other type of horror movies, directed much of Creepshow, and participated in many documentaries, and specials. Romero is so loved by so many that The Walking Dead has had many tribute Easter eggs to Romero.
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Romero even had a part in the zombie mode on Call of Duty: Black Ops.

George Romero left his mark and 'infected' so many of us. I, personally, will truly miss him.
In Remembrance of Bill Paxton

In Remembrance of Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton was a tough loss... He will forever be a cinema icon.
I am honored to be given the opportunity to write about the life and career of Bill Paxton and to say some final words in remembrance of one of my favorite actor/directors.
Born on this day in 1955 and raised a good ol' boy in Fort Worth, Texas, Bill first wanted to make movies but not necessarily star in them. His desire was reinforced by his father who supported his children's imaginative and artistic spirit.
After graduating high school, he and a friend studied abroad at the private University of Richmond College in England. When they returned to Texas, they began making Super8 films with another friend they had met while away at school.
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In 1974, Bill decided to make the move to Los Angeles and work his way into the film industry. With the help of a friend of his father, he got his first job as a production assistant. He later worked in the art department as a set dresser on super low-budget films for Roger Corman, which is where he first met and became friends with James Cameron.
At the age of 21, he moved to New York and enrolled at NYC in order to study under famous acting teacher Stella Adler. He completed 2 years, but never earned his degree. He returned to L.A. in the pursuit of putting all he had learned to work for him, and he has said that he didn't think he needed a degree to do that.
In the 1980s, Bill was steadily getting small roles, some of which were in some important cult classic films, such as the blue haired punk in the opening of The Terminator (1984) and the biker vampire Severen in Near Dark (1987). In 1986, he met, fell in love with, and, less than a year later, married his wife and mother of his two children, Louise Newbury.
Regardless how small the role, Bill always left an impression. The first movie role he really stood out in for me was as the tyrant older brother with the goofy laugh, Chet Donnelly in Weird Science (1985). Even though we hated that guy, we still couldn't help but like him. One of his most memorable character roles is the young and cocky marine with the witty one liners, PFC William L. Hudson, in Aliens (1986). He also played the role of Patrick Swayze's brother, whose death is avenged in Next of Kin (1989).
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In the 1990s, Paxton continued to steadily get acting roles. He teamed up with the other Bill, Bill Pullman, in the twisted horror sci-fi film Brain Dead (1990) and played LAPD detective Lambert in Predator 2 (1990). Another memorable character, though maybe not as well known as others is Graham Krakowski, the young up and coming professional who is framed for murder by a crazed squatter in the hilarious horror comedy The Vagrant (1992).
In 1993, Bill Paxton had finally risen to well deserved fame co-starring along side Sam Elliot, Kurt Russell, and Val Kilmer as Morgan, Wyatt Earp's younger brother, in Tombstone.
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Throughout the 1990s, he continued to work alongside some of the most iconic actors of our time and under the direction of some of the best in the business in films like True Lies (1994) opposite Jamie Lee Curtis and, once again, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And directed by longtime friend James Cameron. The Academy Award-nominated Ron Howard film Apollo 13 (1995) co-starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon in which he was nominated and won a SAG award and One of my personal favorites, the natural disaster thriller Twister (1996) He worked again with friend James Cameron on Titanic (1997) and starred opposite Billy Bob Thorton in A Simple Plan (1998), with whom he also co-starred in his first starring role back in 1991s One False Move. Paxton received his first Golden Globe nomination in 1999 for his work in the HBO miniseries A Bright Shinning Lie (1998).
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In 2001, Paxton directed his first feature film Frailty in which he co-starred with Matthew McConaughey and Powers Booth. Rightfully he was nominated and won the 2003 Filmmaker's Showcase Award. A few years later he directed his second feature, Disney's biographical film The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) starring Shia Lebouf.
Between his two directorial debuts, Bill Paxton played the free loving musician/ resort owner, Coconut Pete in the Broken Lizard slasher comedy Club Dread (2004).
In the last decade of his life, Bill seemed to only take on more serious roles, starring in the HBO series Big Love in which he portrayed a Utahan polygamist and which explored his relationships with his multiple wives. He received three Golden Globe nominations for that role.
In 2012, Bill won a well-deserved, SAG award for his role as Randall McCoy in the History Channel's miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. He continued to stay busy with several film projects throughout the next seven years, including the horror sci-fi The Colony (2013).
He had a substantial supporting role as crooked ex-black ops CIA agent Earl in the Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlburg action comedy 2 Guns (2013). Paxton always did play a good bad guy.
He had a recurring role on Marvel's Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. as a vengeful member of Hydra, John Garrett, and he played Joe Loder, Louis Blooms' (Jake Gyllenhaal) main competitor in the pursuit of gruesome accident/crime scene footage, in Nightcrawler (2014).
Bill did a superb job of portraying Sam Houston in History Channel's miniseries about the Texas revolution, Texas Rising, alongside Jeffery Dean Morgan, Chistopher McDonald, Ray Liotta, and many others.
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In 2016, he co-starred as crooked cop Det. Keenan in Term Life opposite Vince Vaughn and Mike Epps as well as another crooked cop and abusive father Wayne Carraway in Mean Dreams.
At the time of his death, Paxton had completed filming 13 episodes of the CBS spinoff of the 2001 film Training Day. He even got to work alongside his son James in an episode of the series.
Looking back at his life and works actually makes saying farewell to this beloved actor even more bittersweet. Laughter and a few tears went into this article, and I think that's fitting for a man like Bill Paxton who, by all accounts, was a friendly, and joyous person in life and seamlessly and fearlessly let that, as well as everything else he was or was just pretending to be, get absorbed by the cameras for his fans to enjoy. Thank you for the many years of entertainment that will continue.
RIP, sir.
Fair use doctrine.
May 17, 1955 - February 25, 2017
Posted by Tabitha Harvey in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, OBITUARY, 2 comments
TRIBUTE: In Remembrance of Sir John Hurt (Updated)

TRIBUTE: In Remembrance of Sir John Hurt (Updated)

On the 25th of January 2017, the world lost one of the most prolific and iconic actors to grace us with their presence on the silver screen. Sir John Hurt publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Dedicated to his craft, he continued to perform while undergoing treatments. By the end of that year, he announced that his cancer had gone into remission. So, it was surprising and sad to hear that he had passed away, three days after his 77th birthday, in his home in Cromer, Norfolk.
If you grew up in the 80s, like me, you may have been introduced to John Hurt in the classic science fiction/horror film Alien. He played Executive Officer Kane in one of the most unforgettable scenes in film history: the alien chest-buster scene. He even replayed this scene in Space Balls, the Mel Brooks parody of science fiction films. After that, I always recognized him in any role, and he always brought a smile to my face – regardless of the type of character he was playing.
Hurt's career spanned over 60 years, with over 129 films and dozens of television appearances. Some of his films are of massive importance, from films that advanced the art of filmmaking (Midnight Express, The Elephant Man, and Perfume) to the films that affected the global social conscience (Watership Down, 1984, and V for Vendetta) to his appearances in films based on “geek” culture (Hellboy, the Harry Potter films, and Indiana Jones) to his contributions to the horror genre (The Ghoul, Alien, and Frankenstein Unbound). One thing that I had always noticed about him is that he always took his roles seriously. Even when comedy was called for, John never failed to give his best performance.
In one of his final performances, he portrayed an incaration of one of the most important British characters in television history – a character that has existed for about the same length of time as his own career. He played the War Doctor, a version of The Doctor from the BBC series Doctor Who, a role which is of ultimate importance to the plot of the main character and his background.
John Hurt has left behind some of the most impressive works in film history and will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors of all time. I hope you rest well, Sir John.
Sir John Hurt
(22 January 1940 – 27 January 2017)

Good-bye, and thank you.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to replace an image of Gary Oldman.
-Woofer McWooferson Woofer's Paw Print microscopic
Posted by Alf Benny in EDITORIALS, OBITUARY, TRIBUTE, 0 comments