The Making of The Lords of Flatbush by Stephen Verona (2008) / Z-View

The Making of The Lords of Flatbush by Stephen Verona (2008)

Paperback: 155 pages
Publisher: Creative Book Publishing International; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (June 15, 2008)

First sentence…

When I was single and dating I would regale girls with these stories of my childhood and the guys I hung with.


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Stephen Verona, the writer and director of Lords of Flatbush, takes us on the amazing trip to get Lords of Flatbush, one of the first truly independent films made.  Along the way, we’ll learn how Verona got started (becoming friends with John Lennon and working with Lennon to animate the Beatles song I Feel Fine) and the long process to get Lords of Flatbush made.

Verona worked with many big names [Lee Strasberg, Janet Leigh, The Beatles, Chicago, Barbara Steisand, etc.] prior to writing and directing Lords of Flatbush and those stories are fun but the heart of the book is of course getting LoF made.  Verona provides many anecdotes and behind the scenes photos and trivia.  (Did you know that Richard Gere was originally to play Perry King’s role? Stallone and Gere had a falling out and one had to go!]

Verona writes in a conversation style that’s easy to read.  Fans of LoF will love the behind-the-scenes peek and prospective film makers will learn from the mistakes Verona as a first time film-maker made.


11 Nightmarish Facts About “Nosferatu”

Mark Mancini and Mental_Floss present 11 Nightmarish Facts About Nosferatu. Here are three of my favorites…

Little is known about Max Schreck’s life and film career, a fact to which his biographer, Stefan Eickhoff, can attest. According to Eickhoff, the actor’s colleagues regarded him as a “loyal, conscientious loner with an offbeat sense of humor and a talent for playing the grotesque.” The star of over 40 motion pictures, Schreck is best remembered for his haunting portrayal of Orlok in Nosferatu.

Fittingly enough, the man’s last name is the German word for “terror.” Schreck’s performance was so effective that some viewers wondered if the mysterious thespian was an actual vampire in real life. Film critic Ado Kyrou popularized this idea in 1953 when he wrongly claimed that the name of the actor who played Murnau’s monster had never been revealed. “Who hides behind the character of Nosferatu?” Kyrou wrote. “Maybe Nosferatu himself?” That suggestion was subsequently used as the premise of Shadow of the Vampire (2000), which features John Malkovich as Murnau and Willem Dafoe as a bloodsucking, coffin-loving Max Schreck.

The idea that vampires burn up when exposed to direct sunlight is traceable to this movie. In Dracula, the villain casually walks around outside in broad daylight. According to the novel, solar rays can slightly weaken a vampire, but Stoker never implies that they could kill one. Yet for the sake of a more visually compelling climax, Grau and screenwriter Henrik Galeen decided to make the sun’s light utterly fatal to poor Count Orlok, who disappears in a puff of smoke when he’s lured into a well-lit room. Thus, a resilient horror cliché was born.

If she’d gotten her way, this movie would have joined Dracula’s Death in the dustbin of film history. Shortly after Nosferatu premiered in Berlin, Florence Stoker—Bram’s widow—received an anonymous package containing one of its promotional posters. Displayed upon this placard was the inflammatory line “Freely adapted from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

An outraged Mrs. Stoker immediately took legal action. Upon receiving the poster, she joined the British Incorporated Society of Authors, which hired a German lawyer to go after Prana-Film. At first, the plan was to sue Grau’s company for copyright infringement. However, a string of terrible business decisions—not the least of which was Nosferatu’s recklessly expensive marketing campaign—had already bankrupted the studio.

When it became clear that Stoker would never make a dime off of Nosferatu, she did everything in her power to have all copies of the film destroyed. In 1925, a German court sided with her and ordered that every copy within that nation be burned. And yet, just like Count Dracula, Nosferatu proved very difficult to kill. Over the next few years, surviving copies made their way to the U.S. and UK. Thus, the undead picture haunted Florence Stoker until the end of her days. Before she died in 1937, a handful of screenings took place—usually in the United States. Stoker relentlessly tracked down wayward copies of the movie and incinerated those that she got her hands on. But despite her best efforts, Nosferatu lived on in the form of pirated bootlegs.

Diablerie by Walter Mosley (2007) / Z-View

Diablerie by Walter Mosley (2008)

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

First sentence…

The apartment reeked from the acrid odor of roaches – a whole colony, tens of thousands of them, seething and unseen in the walls and under the dull, splintery floorboards of the vacant apartment.


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ben Dibbuk is a middle aged computer programmer with a successful wife and a daughter headed to college.  Life should be great… but it’s not.  His wife has become distant and may have a lover which would only be fair since Ben has a young mistress.  Ben knows that he’s at a crossroads and needs to sort things out.

That becomes more complicated when a woman from his past approaches him with the knowledge that years ago he killed a man in a drunken stupor.  Ben is a recovering alcoholic and remembers much of what the woman tells him but not the murder.  Did he kill a man?  Why is the woman approaching him now?  And why is his wife having him investigated?

Craig says: While Mosley is probably incapable of writing a bad book, Diablerie isn’t in the same league as his Easy Rawlins novels.  I enjoyed the story but didn’t hate to see it end.  Be aware that this is one of Mosley’s “erotic” novels.


Ace Atkins & Marco Finnegan: Last Fair Deal Gone Down Interview!

Ace Atkins [writer] and Marco Finnegan [artist] the team behind the graphic novel Last Fair Deal Gone Down recently were interviewed by Alex Dueben for The Beat.

Last Fair Deal Gone Down…

It’s Christmas in New Orleans. For many, it’s the best season of the year. But instead of spending time with the people he cares about, Nick Travers is searching for the killer of his friend, Fats, one of the best saxophone players you could find in the Crescent City. At first it appears that Fats took his own life, but Nick quickly discovers that the saxophone is missing from Fats’ apartment and he hits the streets to track it down. He soon learns that there is more to the story than a simple suicide, and the woman who Fats had been paying to keep him company may hold the answers.

Last Fair Deal Gone Down will be the first in a series of Nick Travers graphic novel adaptations from 12-Gauge Comics― introducing the character and his stories to a brand new audience.

David Morrell’s Ruler of the Night

Word on a new David [First Blood] Morrell novel is always welcome here!

On November 15, 2016, we’ll get the third part of Morrell’s Victorian mystery trilogy featuring Thomas De Quincey with Ruler of the Night.

Like David Morrell’s previous De Quincey novels, Ruler of the Night blends fact and fiction to an exceptional degree, this time focusing on a real-life Victorian murder so startling that it changed the culture-in this case, the first murder on an English train. The brutality of the crime stoked the fears of a generation who believed that the newly invented railway would “annihilate time and space.”

In Ruler of the Night, readers feel they’re actually on the harrowing fogbound streets of 1855 London as the brilliant Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey, and his irrepressible daughter, Emily, confront their most ruthless adversary. The stakes couldn’t be greater: both the heart of Victorian society and De Quincey’s tormented soul.



The fast-paced narrative matches the speed with which the railway changed Victorian life. It brings back Scotland Yard detectives Ryan and Becker, along with Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert, and introduces a host of new characters from this fascinating era. Master storyteller David Morrell transports readers back in time, away from the modern world and into the dangerous shadows of the past.

Sinner Man by Lawrence Block

A lot of folks are going to love Sinner Man.  It’s Lawrence Block’s first crime novel that had been lost for nearly 50 years!

To escape punishment for a murder he didn’t mean to commit, insurance man Don Barshter has to take on a new identity: Nathaniel Crowley, ferocious up-and-comer in the New York mob. But can he find safety in the skin of another man…a worse man…a sinner man…?

It’d be a sin to miss this one.

Miami Blues (1990) / Z-View

Miami Blues (1990)

Director:  George Armitage

Screenplay:  George Armitage from a novel by  Charles Willeford

Stars:   Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Napier and Paul Gleason.

The Pitch: “How about a crime movie based in Miami?”

Tagline: “Real badge. Real gun. Fake cop.”


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ex-con, Frederick J. Frenger Jr. [Baldwin] heads to Miami for a fresh start.  A fresh start means stealing and conning.  When Frenger ends up with a cop’s gun and badge, he finds that it makes stealing and conning easier.  The cop [Ward] makes it his life’s mission to track down the thief using his identity.  Oh, and there’s a sweet prostitute [Leigh], too.


High Sierra (1941) / Z-View

High Sierra (1941)

Director:  Raoul Walsh

Screenplay: John Huston and W.R. Burnett from a novel by W.R. Burnett

Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis, Henry Hull and Cornell Wilde.

The Pitch: “Raoul Walsh. John Huston. WR Burnett. Ida Lupino. Bogart.”

Tagline: “The Blazing Mountain Manhunt for Killer ‘Mad-Dog’ Earle!”


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Roy Earl [Bogart] an infamous bank robber [think Dillinger] is sprung from prison by an old crime boss who wants Earl for a big robbery.  Obligated for his freedom, Earl drives west to check out the set up.

Once he meets up with his old boss, Earl discovers the robbery plan is good and the money is right, but his partners are young, inexperienced thugs looking to make a name for themselves… plus they have a woman [Lupino] with them and everyone knows women weaken legs and crime plans don’t work out.

Before it is over there will be a robbery, people killed, double-crosses and a manhunt for the “Mad Dog Killer” Roy Earl.



EW’s First Look at Pennywise from “It”

Image Credit: Marco Grob

Entertainment Weekly provides a first (and much bigger look) at Pennywise from director Andrés Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel, It.

I like the look of Pennywise and the creepiness of the photo.  The bar has been raised, now it is up to the movie to meet or exceed expectations.

Bob Peak Takes Sly to “Paradise Alley”

The drawings above are of Sly from Paradise Alley and were created by the legendary Bob Peak.  The sketches appear in The Drawings of Bob Peak.  The book was offered through a successful Kickstarter campaign and I can’t wait to get mine.

If you missed the Kickstarter for The Drawings of Bob Peak, you can still order a copy from The Art of Bob Peak website.

Source: Thomas Peak.

Tarzan of the Movies: Ranking the Lord of the Jungle’s Greatest Films

Tarzan by Rafael Kayanan

Tarzan has appeared in more than sixty films played by over twenty actors since making his first appearance on the big screen.  When I think of Tarzan, the first actor that comes to my mind is Johnny Weissmuller.  Of course I grew up watching Weissmuller Tarzan movies.

Over the years, I’ve seen and enjoyed many other Tarzan portrayals including those by Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Denny Miller, Jock Mahoney, Mike Henry, Ron Ely, Miles O’Keefe and Christopher Lambert.

When I think of Tarzan movies, again, it is the Weissmuller ones that come to mind. Other versions remind me of Hercules of the Jungle, Tarzan as James Bond, Tarzan has to be here so we can justify Bo Derek as Jane, etc.

Tarzan expert Ron Marz selects his favorite Tarzan flicks in Tarzan of the Movies: Ranking the Lord of the Jungle’s Greatest Films.

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

What do you do when the power goes off?


  • Terrorists have acquired a terrible new weapon that can crash the power grid and plunge America into a new dark age. A coordinated attack is planned to shut out all lights and emergency services to ten major cities. Planes will fall, hospitals will go dark, no help will come.
  • And in that terrible darkness, a dreadful plague will be released. If the lights go off, nothing can stop the bioweapon from killing millions.
  • At the same time, the intelligence services are being torn apart from within by a plague of betrayal, murder, and suicide. Even the Department of Military Sciences is stumbling in its response to the growing threat.
  • Time is running out, and Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers. Where can you turn when there’s nobody left to trust?
  • Joe Ledger faces his deadliest challenge as friends and allies become enemies and all of the lights begin to go out…

Maberry puts the DMS in the worst place yet against perhaps their toughest adversaries.  The clock is ticking down to an bio-weapon attack on ten cities.  The terrorists have the ability to take over the minds of anyone to do their bidding and the DMS has been ordered to stand down by the President.

You know that’s not going to happen.  Sadly people we have grown to know and care for are going to die trying to save our country.  Maberry creates characters that feel real so when we lose them (and we do throughout the course of the series) it hurts.

Kill Switch mixes just the right amount of actions (tons), suspense (much), and humor (as needed) to propel you to the bloody climax.  I can’t wait for Ledger’s next mission!

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