Monday, December 5, 2011

Charles Dicken's A CHRISTMAS CAROL read by Mark Redfield

My audio recording of Charles Dickens; A CHRISTMAS CAROL is now available at CDBaby!


Here's the description:


A CHRISTMAS CAROL
performed by Mark Redfield, music by Bill Dickson

Since 1843, A Christmas Carol has delighted millions around the globe and has come to embody the spirit of Christmas for all who have been touched by its magic. Your favorite characters come vividly to life in this rich performance by Mark Redfield. With wonderful music by Bill Dickson, gather ’round this holiday season to hear the beauty and timeless art that is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

"Redfield's meticulous diction, perceptive phrasing, excellent transitions and impeccable timing make his Scrooge the finest we have heard. His is a classic interpretation that is almost Shakespearean."
- The Baltimore Sun


Download A CHRISTMAS CAROL now HERE!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

VINCENT PRICE POSTER NOW AVAILABLE!

  • Monsterpalooza Magazine is offering this beautiful, exclusive poster of the great Vincent Price!
    Printed on high-quality, glossy poster stock, it measures 18" x 24" and is perfect for framing.
    This rare, candid photo of the actor visiting Edgar Allan Poe's grave at the Westminster Burial Grounds was taken by Jeff Jerome, the curator of the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, when Mr. Price was on tour with his one-man show Diversions and Delights, in 1977. Not seen for 34 years until it was published in the pages of the premiere issue of Monsterpalooza Magazine, readers began asking immediately if a poster could be made available--and now it is!
    While in Baltimore on tour, Mr. Price stopped at Westminster Hall to pay his respects at Poe's grave, and paid a visit to the near-by Poe House and Museum. While at the Poe House, the veteran actor, known for his wonderful portrayals of Poe's heroes and villains in the AIP/Corman films, was quoted as saying, "This place gives me the creeps!"



    Fans of Vincent Price and Poe will love this poster, and a portion of every sale (after production, shipping and handling costs) will be donated by Damfino Media to help support the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, keeping it's doors open so that the public may enjoy the historic site, as it is currently under the threat of closure by the City of Baltimore, after they cut the funding to sustain the House in 2010. (To find out more about the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore please visit www.poeforevermore.com)

    Celebrate the Vincentennial and support the Poe House and Museum! Get one for yourself, and one for the Price and Poe fan who you know will want to display this poster in a place of honor-- before they're all gone!

    Your VINCENT PRICE POSTER comes rolled in a sturdy cardboard tube for shipping, which is included in the cost of $19.95.

    Makes a great gift for birthdays, special occasions--and for the holidays!

  • Cost includes mailing tube, shipping & handling. Please allow 10-14 days after processing your payment. etc. Use the PayPal shopping cart or send check or money order in US funds to
  • DAMFINO MEDIA
    P.O. Box 19428
    Baltimore, Maryland 21206
    USA

  • Make check or money-order payable to Damfino Media

    BUY IT NOW DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER HERE!

The Premiere Issue of Monsterpalooza Magazine--Available Now!

The premiere issue of Monsterpalooza Magazine is available now and ships immediately!

Order direct from the publisher's website and get your copy!



















  • IN THIS ISSUE:
  • FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA at 80!
    The VINCENTENNIAL: A Report from St. Louis!
    The John Chambers Interview!
    A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN!
    DARE YOU SEE IT? FRANKENSTEIN AT 80!
    Who Put The ‘Monster’ In Monsterpalooza? We answer : Chaney and Pierce, of course!
    THE THING(S) FROM ANOTHER WORLD!
    KNB:EFX FrightNight! ! Jimmy Sangster Remembered
    THE HAPPIEST HAUNT ON EARTH!
    AND MUCH, MUCH, MORE!
Order your copy HERE!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Remembering Vincent Price: October 25, 2011

Vincent Price passed away on this day in 1993.

This year has marked the centennial of his birth. In honor of that, we've asked Raymond Castile  to sketch a portrait for Monsterpalooza Magazine of the incredible event that took place in St. Louis in May of this year, when Tom Stockman moved heaven and earth to create an event called the Vincentennial.

Here's a sneak-peek at the opening pages of Castile's lively report in the premiere issue of Monsterpalooza Magazine. Order your copy today!

Friday, October 21, 2011

MONSTERPALOOZA MAGAZINE GOES TO MONSTER BASH! OCT. 22 AND 23, 2011 IN BUTLER, PA.!

Hope to see you at MONSTER BASH and while you're there, say hello to publishers Michael Heisler and Mark Redfield and pick up a copy of MONSTERPALOOZA MAGAZINE!



Here's the link to the October, 2011 Monster Bash show in Butler, PA: MONSTER BASH

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

POE'S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN--BALTIMORE OCT. 30, 2011!



POE’S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN!
At Westminster Hall
519 W. Fayette Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201 (corner of Fayette and Greene Streets)
Sunday, October 30, 2011 6PM to 9PM

$10 (adults) ($3.00, 12 & under). No advance ticket sales. Tickets available at the door on the night of the event. (Cash or checks only. Sorry, we cannot accept credit cards at this time)

Continuous Live Entertainment!

Party with Poe as he plays Ghost Host With The Most at the most ghoulish and ghastly fun event this Halloween!

All proceeds go to support THE POE HOUSE AND MUSEUM IN BALTIMORE!

Listen...

...to undead music by THE WESTMINSTER HALL RESURRECTIONIST QUARTET!

Laugh...

...like maniacs to the improv comedy of THE CRYPT KICKER COMEDY TROUPE!

Thrill...

...as your host Edgar Allan Poe introduces special guest H.P. Lovecraft—who will read The Rats in the Walls! Live!

Shriek...

...in horror at the The Tell Tale Heart performed by Mark Redfield!

Poe’s creeptacular COSTUME CONTEST! Prizes given!

Free cider, popcorn and Halloween treats! Walk the catacombs and the graveyard! It’ll be a night to remember!

Added attractions include:
Lauren Silberman reading wicked tales of old Baltimore from her new book “Wicked Baltimore”. Signed copies by the author will be available for purchase.
By special arrangement with author Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank Zappa) his children's book “The Monstrous Memoirs of Mighty McFearless” will be available for purchase!
Mark Redfield will display new cartoon art and his new publication Monsterpalooza Magazine will be on sale—perfect for Halloween!

And remember! Proceeds go to support the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore! We thank you for your support and generosity!

Please note that the program is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. No alcohol will be served or will be allowed on the premises. Children are welcome (under 12 is $3) but must be accompanied by an adult. Costume contest note: proper footwear is required on the premises ay all times, and no weapons (swords, etc) will be allowed.

SEE YOU AT WESTMONSTER HALL, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 6-9 PM!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Click the link below for more info and directions!

POEFOREVERMORE!

JEWEL SHEPARD FUNDRAISER

Our friends at the Dark Delicacies bookstore in Burbank are helping Jewel with her mounting medical costs as she fights cancer. 
Jewel, as you remember, starred in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. She's fighting cancer with her wit and candor, but needs our help. 
Please click on the link below, and thanks for anything you can do to help off-set her medical bills. Thanks. And please re-post!
Dark Delicacies Bookstore
 
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BALTIMORE: MEET “THE RAVEN” DIRECTOR JAMES McTEIGUE AND STAR LUKE EVANS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011 AT WESTMINSTER HALL!


BALTIMORE: MEET “THE RAVEN” DIRECTOR JAMES McTEIGUE AND STAR LUKE EVANS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011 AT WESTMINSTER HALL!

Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans, The Hobbit), star of Relativity Media’s highly-anticipated film The Raven and the film’s director James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) to pay special honor at Baltimore’s Westminster Hall on the 162nd Anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe. Come on out on Friday and support The Poe House and Museum, and show your love for Poe!

On Friday, October 7th, 2011 Poe and film fans are invited at noon, promptly, on a first come, first admitted basis. Meet one of the stars and the director of The Raven and participate in a Question and Answer session about the up-coming film. A wreath-laying presentation at Poe’s grave will take place at 2:30pm.

Westminster Hall, where Edgar Allan Poe is buried, is located at 519 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. This event is free and open to the public. Limited space available, so arrive promptly at noon. First come, first admittance. 


About The Raven: In this gritty thriller, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack, Being John Malkovich) joins forces with a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans, Immortals) to hunt down a mad serial killer who’s using Poe’s own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta), the film also stars Alice Eve (Sex and the City 2), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster). The Raven opens nationwide on March 9, 2012.


About Edgar Allan Poe: Edgar Allan Poe (19 January 1809 - 7 October, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and critic. Best known for his Gothic and horror stories and poems, Poe championed the short story as a literary form, contributed to the growing science fiction genre emerging in his day, and is the inventor of the modern "detective story" as we now know it. Poe lived a brief life of continued financial hardship sparked by flares of creative and critical success. Born in Boston to David and Elizabeth Poe, working actors, his father's disappearance and mother's premature death forced him into a pseudo-adoption by John Allan of Virginia, where he grew to consider himself a "Southern Gentleman" for the remainder of his life. As a student at West Point, poetry captured his fervent imagination, and he became a writer, winning his first monetary prize for his writing in Baltimore, Maryland. Shuttling between Richmond, Philadelphia and New York through-out his turbulent life, jumping between newspaper and magazine editorial jobs while gaining notoriety for his Gothic short stories, Baltimore became more of a home for him than other cities. His paternal grandfather and brother lived in Baltimore, and it was in Baltimore that he lived for many years with his Aunt, Maria Clemm, whom he considered more than anything else to be his "mother", and his child-bride, Virginia. It is in Baltimore that he died under mysterious circumstances in the autumn of 1849, and it is in Baltimore where he is buried, along-side Clemm and Virginia Poe.
 



Monday, October 3, 2011

On the Anniversary of Poe's Death, October 7, 2011

Edgar Allan Poe (19 January 1809 - 7 October, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and critic. Best know for his Gothic and horror stories and poems, Poe championed the short story as a literary form, contributed to the growing science fiction genre emerging in his day, and is the inventor of the modern "detective story" as we now know it. 

Poe lived a brief life of continued financial hardship sparked by flares of creative and critical success. Born in Boston to David and Elizabeth Poe, working actors, his father's disappearance and mother's premature death forced him into a pseudo-adoption by John Allan of Virginia, where he grew to consider himself a "Southern Gentleman" for the remainder of his life. 

As a student at West Point, poetry captured his fervent imagination, and he became a writer, winning his first monetary prize for his writing in Baltimore, Maryland. Shuttling between Richmond, Philadelphia and New York through-out his turbulent life, jumping between newspaper and magazine editorial jobs while gaining notoriety for his Gothic short stories, Baltimore became more of a home for him than other cities. His paternal grandfather and brother lived in Baltimore, and it was in Baltimore that he lived for many years with his Aunt, Maria Clemm, whom he considered more than anything else to be his "mother", and his child-bride, Virginia. It is in Baltimore that he died under mysterious circumstances in the autumn of 1849, and it is in Baltimore where he his buried, along-side Clemm and Virginia Poe.



Order Mark Redfield in The Death of Poe HERE

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MONSTERPALOOZA MAGAZINE


Michael Heisler and I are pleased to announce a new quarterly print 'zine called MONSTERPALOOZA MAGAZINE.

No.1, Autumn, 2011. 96 glossy pages. Full color (unless the subject dictates beautiful black & white!)

The premiere issue is being assembled now, and we ship No. 1 in mid-September, 2011. You can pre-order your copy at www.monsterpaloozamag.com

Our cover, "The Pumpkin Master" is by Jeff Preston. Our contributors this issue include: Jeff Baham, Matthew J. Bowerman, George Chastain, Frank Dietz, Scott Essman, Pierre Fournier, Daniel Griffith, Michael Heisler, Matt Lake, Joe Moe, Caroline Munro, Joe Nazzaro, Mark Redfield, Gary Don Rhodes, Eric Supensky, and Anthony Taylor. Monsterpalooza Magazine is published and edited by Michael Heisler and Mark Redfield.

Check out the website HERE

We're still adding things to the website, so come back often. As of today's website launch, you'll notice that we can only take pre-orders for orders in the US. But don't worry, friends in Canada, the UK and overseas--we'll be adding those very soon!

We hope you like it! It was made with loving care by folks like you--who love the art of monsters!

Copyright Damfino Media. All Rights Reserved. Monsterpalooza is a Trademark of Rubberroom Headhunters Corp., used by permission and under license. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Redfield's Cartoonarama: "Grymsyke's Smile"



 "GRYMSDYKE'S SMILE" (2011) by Mark Redfield. Acrylic on canvas board. 18x24.

A cartoon of Peter Cushing's character Arthur Grymsdyke, smiling with sweet Valentine's Day revenge from the film TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972).

The segment, called "Poetic Justice", is from a story that originally appeared in the HAUNT OF FEAR comic in 1952.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore: FOREVERMORE, Print Sale And Artist's Reception Benefit

FOREVERMORE
An event & installation celebrating the gift of 100 signed prints by artist, Gaia to benefit Baltimore’s Poe House & Museum

MICA trained artist, Gaia, has generously donated a numbered special edition of his print, The Raven (Forevermore) for a sale to benefit Baltimore’s Poe House & Museum so that they may continue to keep their doors open.  There will be a Preview & Print Sale gallery event
at Urbanite@Case[werks] and hosted by Baltimore Heritage on the eve of Artscape 2011, July 14th from 6 to 8 pm.  To attend the Preview, please RSVP.  An Artist’s Reception will follow from 8-10 pm to celebrate the gift with an installation by the artist and is open to all.


THE RAVEN (FOREVERMORE), 2011 by Gaia. Block print on Mulberry paper, 66x91 cm
(26 x 35.8 inches)

Actor John Astin will host the event, and introduce the artist, Gaia. Later in the evening, Tony Tsendeas will perform a reading of Poe's famous poem, The Raven.

Only 100 prints will be offered at a cost of $400 each with all proceeds going directly to the Poe House & Museum.  Framed prints (per the artist’s specification) will also be available for $600.  Sales tax and/or shipping is additional.

Urbanite@Case[werks]
1501 St Paul Street, Suite 116 (Railway Express Building)
Baltimore, MD  21202
urbanite@casewerks.com
410-332-4160

Sponsor:

  • The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artist Awards.
Event Organizers:
  • Artist, Gaia
  • Baltimore Office for Promotion and the Arts (BOPA)
  • Baltimore Heritage
  • Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation (CHAP)
  • Case[werks], LLC
  • Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
  • Station North Arts & Entertainment District (SNEAD)
  • URBANITE Magazine
For more information about this very special project, visit www.poeforevermore.com or contact the gallery via email, urbanite@casewerks.com.

Monday, June 6, 2011

PLEASE, NO TALKING OR TEXTING IN THE THEATER!



The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin has the right idea.

We should take no pity on the chicken-brained, selfish "self-entitled" generation.

Bravo Alamo!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vincent Price: Happy 100th to The Master of Mayhem!



The Poe House and Museum Tribute to Vincent Price. Screened at the Poe January Birthday event in 2011 at Westminster Hall, Baltimore. Includes stills of Price visiting Poe's grave in 1977. Price and Poe. Perfect.
Written by Max Berring. Edited by Sean Paul Murphy. Narrated by Mark Redfield.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Vincent Price Centennial

Vincent Price was born on May 27, 1911. This month I'll be celebrating Vincent Price here at AN ACTOR'S NOTEBOOK, so drop by as often as you can and spread the word!



PRICE AS PROSPERO (2010) Acrylic on canvas (18x24) by Mark Redfield.

LESSON I LEARNED TODAY? DON'T LET THE BLOCKHEADS DISTRACT YOU

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Harry Houdini March 24, 1874 -- October 31, 1926

The Great Houdini

Remembering the great showman, magician, escapologist, foe of phony spiritualists and mediums, and the first man to fly across Australia!--on this, the 137th anniversary of his birth.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CARTOONARAMA: W.C. FIELDS

"W.C. Fields" (2010) by Mark Redfield. Acrylic on canvas board. 16x20.


This cartoon is one of my "blotter pieces", meaning that when I'm painting and have paint I've mixed left over, I'll use it up without any plan or thought.

I started with just round shapes and swirls, and somehow what decided to manifest itself was this caricature of the great comedian!

-Mark Redfield

Monday, March 21, 2011

9th ANNUAL RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARDS

It's the last week to vote in the fun and fan-driven RONDO HATTON AWARDS. Click the link below, follow the simple directions and email your vote before the Saturday, March 27th deadline! You don't have to vote in every category, just the ones you know or feel strongly about.


This year I'm honored to have been nominated in the BEST INTERVIEW (#13 on the ballot) category for my talk with Hammer Films star Veronica Carlson (which you can read here at An Actor's Notebook).

Veronica Carlson and Simon Ward in "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed"

I'm also pleased-as-punch to be "nominated by association" with the noms for Larry Blamire's movie DARK AND STORMY NIGHT (in Best Indie Film category) and the live performance of Ted Newsom's TOO MANY CREEPS at the 2010 Monsterpalooza show (in Best Live Fan Event).

The Cast of "Dark and Stormy Night"
DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, the latest Blamire comedy, was released on DVD in 2010 after traveling the globe playing theatrical and festival dates. The murder-mystery-old-dark-house romp has a great cast, and I was lucky to be included among the stellar talents of Dan Roebuck, James Karen, Brian Howe, Fay Masterson, Jennifer Blaire and so many others!

TOO MANY CREEPS was performed live in a truncated form for an audience at Monsterpalooza last year. I had the cool opportunity to voice Boris Karloff in this, acting along side Brinke Stevens, Perry Shields, Frank Dietz, David Skal and David J. Schow!

I've already voted (in fact, I cast my ballot an hour after the nominations were announced!) but if you vote, I'd like to urge you to look at my favorite horror-related blog FRANKENSTEINIA and consider voting for it this year in the "Best Blog" category.

I've been following this fascinating "Everything-Frankenstein-Under-The-Sun" blog almost since it's debut on the web, and this labor of love from Pierre Fournier just can't be beat for information regarding Mary Shelly's towering and influential creation.
Karloff as The Monster

FRANKENSTEINIA is now a virtual encyclopedia of all thing Frankensteinian, and is always outstanding and entertaining. Pierre has done a marvelous job, and continues to make it fresh and exciting on a weekly basis.

That's my simple but heartfelt endorsement. I love Frankensteinia and would so like it to win this year!

Thanks for you consideration and votes! Here's to Rondo 2011!

-Mark Redfield

The Rondo Awards are HERE.

Frankensteinia is HERE.

Friday, March 4, 2011

3rd ANNUAL POE WINE TASTING EVENT AT WESTMINSTER HALL IN BALTIMORE

3RD ANNUAL THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO WINE TASTING AMONG THE BONES

Join us on Saturday, March 12, 2011 from noon to 4PM at Westminster Hall in Baltimore of our 3rd Annual CASK OF AMONTILLADO WINE TASTING AMONG THE BONES!

CONTINUOUS ENTERTAINMENT through-out the day while you sample great wines from WOODHALL WINE CELLARS! Also returning this year is Baltimore’s popular RAVEN BEER!

LEARN ABOUT THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WINES!The ever-popular LAURIE FORSTER,THE WINE COACH returns to give a spirited talk on wines, and Poe House favorites DAVID KELTZ and TONY TSENDEAS will be LIVE performing selections from Poe’s poems and stories!

THE DROP THREE COMEDY IMPROV TROUPE will be presented for the first time at this event, performing multiple times through-out the day. DROP THREE plucks THE RAVEN, drains A KEG OF ARMADILLOES, and patently parodies Poe with love and laughter!

BRING YOUR CAMERA and have your picture taken with POE, or with your host MONTRESSOR, with YOU dressed as FORTUNATO, or BOTH!

MARK REDFIELD will be showing new POE-INSPIRED ART with new drawings, cartoons and painting for sale! And rounding out the festival atmosphere will be a return engagement of SADIRA, brought back by popular demand because YOU asked for her, with her exciting display of ORIENTAL DANSI—it’s educational AND entertaining! SADIRA will also offering fortune-telling sessions, along with THE MYSTERIOUS MYKITA, who see’s all and tells all!

DATE AND TICKET INFO: Saturday, March 12, Noon to 4PM. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for “designated drivers”, at the door. Cash and checks accepted. Sorry we CANNOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS. Admission includes 3 wine samples and all entertainment. Additional wine samples may be purchased. Children under ten not admitted.

Come for the wine and the friends! Stay all day for the entertainment!

More info and directions HERE!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

REDFIELD'S 2011 OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Okay, let's see how I do after the big broadcast tonight.

Here are my 2011 Oscar predictions:

UPDATE: Well, at least I won the Oscar pool I annually contribute to. 17 out of 24 categories. Enough for a tank of gas and a couple dinners-for-two at Olive Garden.



BEST ACTOR: COLIN FIRTH
SUPPORTING ACTOR: CHRISTIAN BALE
ACTRESS: NATALIE PORTMAN
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: MELISSA LEO
ANIMATED FEATURE: TOY STORY 3
ART DIRECTION: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
CINEMATOGRAPHY: TRUE GRIT INCEPTION
COSTUME: THE KING'S SPEECH ALICE IN WONDERLAND
DIRECTING: DAVID FINCHER TOM HOOPER
DOCUMENTARY: INSIDE JOB
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: STRANGERS NO MORE
EDITING: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
FOREIGN FILM:IN A BETTER WORLD
MAKE-UP: THE WOLF MAN
SCORE: THE KING'S SPEECH THE SOCIAL NETWORK
ORIGINAL SONG: 127 HOURS TOY STORY 3
ANIMATED SHORT: NIGHT AND DAY THE LOST THING
LIVE ACTION SHORT: NA WEWE GOD OF LOVE
SOUND EDITING: INCEPTION
SOUND MIXING: INCEPTION
FX: INCEPTION
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: THE KING'S SPEECH
BEST PICTURE: THE KING'S SPEECH

Sunday, February 20, 2011

RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL opens March 5th, 2011 in Hollywood



WHAT: "Re-Animator - The Musical." World Premiere engagement.
WHO: Book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris. Music and lyrics by Mark Nutter. Adapted from the story by H.P. Lovecraft. Based on the film "H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator" produced by Brian Yuzna. Musical director: Peter Adams. Choreography by Cynthia Carle. Directed by Stuart Gordon. Produced by Dean Schramm and Stuart Gordon.
WHERE: Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027. Parking lot behind building.
WHEN: Previews February 18- March 4. Opens Saturday, March 5, 2011, runs through March 27th. Fridays through Sundays at 8 p.m.
ADMISSION: $25. Previews $20. Student preview tickets $10 (with I.D.).
RESERVATIONS: 1-800-595-4TIX (595-4849).
ONLINE TICKETING: www.steveallentheater.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THE VERONICA CARLSON INTERVIEW

THE VERONICA CARLSON INTERVIEW
by Mark Redfield

Imagine Truly Scrumptious, played by Sally Anne Howes in Roald Dahl’s adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (1968), trapped between the lethal black thorns of Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein, and you have Hammer heroine Veronica Carlson.

Born in Yorkshire, England and discovered by Hammer honcho James Carreras and swiftly cast in three of the studio’s films in the late 1960s, Veronica Carlson was the embodiment of the classic English Rose for the studio and is fondly remembered for her beauty and appealing screen presence. Pitted against the feral vengeance of Lee’s Count and the cold cruelty of Cushing’s Baron (and helping launch Ralph Bates as an all new--and very different – Baron, in 1970), Carlson would appear in only a few more films before leaving a burgeoning career behind to marry and raise a family. Considering that most women’s roles in genre films of the time were written as foil-like supporting characters in order to develop the themes as played out by the script’s male protagonists, Carlson’s portrayals in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1969), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) are considered by Hammer critics as nuanced and richly played.


Today she lives in the United States, painting and quietly considering offers to return to the screen.

Mark Redfield: You liked to draw from a very early age. 

Veronica Carlson: Yes! I never stopped drawing. I don’t remember ever starting, but I’ve never stopped!
Redfield: Is that what you wanted to be, an artist?



Carlson: You know the options for me when I was going to school were limited. I remember standing up in class—we always had to stand when we spoke to teachers—the question was “what would you like to do?” I said, “An archeologist” because my father had a friend who was and I was fascinated. I was eleven years old. And the whole class laughed and sniggered. I was just told to sit down again. I think my options then were secretarial, something like that. It was a teacher in my high school who rescued me when I was 16. She told my mother “Your daughter has a gift and I think this is what her life should be.” And to my relief, I was taken out of school, while the others went into their final two years in high school. I went into college and got through because of my work and I’ve never looked back, really. It was wonderful for me, and it’s something (as my mother has said) that will sustain you for the rest of your life, whatever else you choose to do. She was right.


Redfield: What medium do you work in?

Carlson: Pastel, watercolor, oils—I use all media. Portraits are my love!

Redfield: When did the acting bug bite?

Carlson: It was always there. When I was in college we did some stage work. The music director, a man named Godwin, started a group who wanted to sing. I went down and auditioned. We did operettas--all different kinds of things. And also, a dear friend, David Alder, he was in fashion design, he started a group that did revues and he choreographed everything. We rehearsed whenever we could, in between classes and evening times. 

Redfield: How did your modeling career start and how did that lead to films?

Carlson: I was walking around town one day and two guys took a photograph of me who said they were working for The Daily Mirror. They had a girl in it every day and they wanted me to be one of the girls. Father wasn’t very happy about that! In fact, he was quite ticked off. But I begged and pleaded and he said, “Well, don’t use my name”. I didn’t. I had one other photograph taken—that lead to small roles. I auditioned for a film at Pinewood Studios called The Magnificent Two. They wanted a girl who knew judo and I just happened to know a bit. I was still in college and I went to the soundstage where the audition was being held and I was dressed in these olive green slacks, very simple looking, and a lacey white knit sweater—and I went in and there wasn’t a girl in there that wasn’t in a bikini! I cringed! I thought—oh my god—I’ve got this wrong! ‘Cause I thought they wanted somebody who knew something about judo! (laughs) So I slunk back against the wall when the producer beckoned me forward. He said, “Now, show us what you can do.” And there was a girl there dressed as a bona fide judo person, so, knowing some judo moves I threw her over my head—and I got the job! And I just went on and on. Had a photograph taken down on the south coast somewhere, by a lovely photographer called Ben Jones. That was on the front page of the Sunday Mirror, a very important tabloid then. Jimmy Carreras saw it and said “I want her in my next movie” and that was it. 

Redfield: So that story about Carreras seeing your picture in the paper is true?

Carlson: Absolutely. He said, “I want that girl in my next film.”

Redfield: There’s a similar beginning with Caroline Munro.

Carlson: Oh yes! She was a model. She’s beautiful.

Redfield: With her it was an advertisement--

Carlson: --for rum.

Redfield: Lamb’s Navy Rum—that’s right. Tell me about your audition for…

DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)  Director: Freddie Francis; Producer: Aida Young; Screenplay: John Elder; Director of Photography: Arthur Grant; Supervising Art Director: Bernard Robinson; Music Composer: James Bernard. CAST: Christopher Lee (Dracula), Rupert Davies (Monsignor), Veronica Carlson (Maria), Barbara Ewing (Zena), Barry Andrews (Paul), Wean Hooper (Priest), Marion Mathie (Anna), Michael Ripper (Max), John D. Collins (student), George A. Cooper (landlord). 

Carlson: I auditioned with Barry Andrews. I was SO nervous. (Producer) Aida Young was there and (Director) Freddie Francis was there. The audition went very well and then we all went to a little diner place and I had an omelet—I can’t remember what was in the omelet –and I was still nervous. I didn’t want them to have to say, “Look, it’s been very nice meeting you, but we really don’t want you.” So, to save them that embarrassment, I suddenly got up, paid for my meal and rushed out without a word!  And then I walked and walked and walked, and thinking that I’ve suffered the biggest embarrassment of my life, ‘cause I loved Hammer movies so, and I rang home very late. I thought my mother would be worried about me because she knew I’d gone to the audition.

“Where on earth have you been?” she asked and I said I didn’t know. I really didn’t remember where I’d been walking… She said there’s been a ‘phone call. They want you for a film role! Of course I nearly dropped the ‘phone and had tears just running down my face. “They want me! They want me!” That’s all I could think! 

Redfield: You were a fan of Hammer films before you worked with them?

Carlson: Oh, very much! We were all like that in college, our crowd that did all the musicals and revues. When something new was on at the Odeon, we’d all skip class to see it. We loved them so! Once, when the lights came up I looked over and saw our lecturer was sitting there, too! 

Redfield:  What memories do you have of your first days on the set? It must’ve been like the first day of school. 

Carlson (laughing): I was so nervous. I had NO experience of being the person of note in a movie. I’d always been in the background but this was so different. And—all eyes were on me and I had my special make-up and hair and everything. I was fitted for my clothes…I was somebody. The whole beauty of Hammer was that it was like a big family. You were cherished. Freddie (Francis) was fantastic. I was fortunate to get him as my first director because I’d had very little confidence and experience, really. He trusted me. And I trusted him. See, I was alright after that. Working with Christopher (Lee), a gentleman who I adored, well, I’d looked up to him for so long, I was nervous that he was going to be aloof and unapproachable—he was the EXACT opposite of all that. He was absolutely delightful and Marion Mathie, who took the part of my mother, could not have been kinder. She took me under her wing. She was lovely. Rupert Davies--I used to refer to him as ‘Uncle Rupert’.  All these people were marvelous. 



Redfield: How directly did that film lead to… 


FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) Director: Terence Fisher; Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys; Screenplay: Bert Batt from an original story by Bert Batt and Anthony Nelson Keys; Director of Photography: Arthur Grant; Supervising Art Director: Bernard Robinson; Music Composer: James Bernard. CAST: Peter Cushing (Baron Frankenstein), Veronica Carlson (Anna Spengler), Freddie Jones (Professor Richter), Simon Ward (Karl Holst), Thorley Walters (Inspector Frisch), Maxine Audley (Ella Brandt), George Pravda (Dr. Brandt).
Carlson: They offered me the script and of course I read it and I thought-- oh working with Peter (Cushing)—here are my two heroes! Christopher and now Peter, and I thought this can’t be happening! So obviously they liked me in Dracula (Has Risen From the Grave). I had a different director of course, Terry Fisher, who was SO different from Freddie. A little bit intimidating at first because he expected me to know what I was doing! Thanks to Freddie, I almost did! 

Redfield: What do you remember about working with Terence Fisher?

Carlson: The first day of that movie I was dressed up, all ringlets and everything, and my first scene was in the cellar with Peter.  And Terry just matter-of-factly sat us on the edge of the set and he asked, “Exactly how would you like to kill her, Peter?” And they had this bizarre conversation about me as if I was not there! How Peter thought he would like to secure my demise after me damaging his creation. And it was very surreal and I was looking between Terry and Peter and I thought, oh I love this game! I was in my element. Just like when I was in art school. 

Redfield: Did you watch how Cushing prepared and how he worked?

Carlson: He came so prepared. But his preparedness enabled you somehow. We’d always do a walk-through or maybe a couple of rehearsals. Terry reminds you what’s just happened before, what you’ve just done, what you just must’ve been feeling. Armed with that, and armed with what you know Peter’s going to do… he was just flawless. We often only did about one take—two was okay—three, you’re pushing it. Do it right the first time. That’s how it had to be. We had to do it in 6 weeks. 

Redfield: A brisk schedule but never rushed.

Carlson: Brisk, but never compromised. That was not an option. We had to get rid of that set as soon as possible, you see, because it would cost money just to stand idly by. It would have to be right and so that really kept us all on our toes, which was a good discipline. If you cried, you had to cry the first time. You had to die right the first time and everything else. (laughing) 

Redfield:  Freddie Francis, your first director, was a good teacher, then?

Carlson: He was an excellent teacher! He taught me gently, carefully. He never stamped on my feelings. If I’d had a director that had done that I’d have been totally crushed. Freddie was kindness and gentleness itself—and that helped me to deal with Terry, and not because Terry was nasty, not by any means. In fact I wanted so much to work with Terry Fisher again because he really gave me “my lead”. He gave me reign. He loved to see how far I could go. But of course when I did another Hammer it was with Ralph Bates and Jimmy Sangster. Each person I worked with I learned from. 

Redfield: Is it true that someone other than Terrence Fisher directed the notorious rape scene, because he found it distasteful? 


Carlson:  We were all disgusted with it. Jimmy Carreras came onto the set one day obviously upset because he’d had word from the higher-ups, the distributors, that there wasn’t enough sex in the movie; there had to be a rape scene. Terry thought he was quite cross—I remember that—and I thought that was out of character for Jimmy, ‘cause he was a lovely, all-fatherly figure.

Peter Cushing said, “Darling, I don’t like this any more than you do”. So we worked out how to do it, between us. They wanted him to strip me, to take hold of my neckline and tear it down to my waist, you see. Peter said, “I’m not going to do this.” That’s why we worked it out between ourselves. We assured Terry that we knew what we were doing. He let us do what we were comfortable with. After we shot the scene, Peter just held me. I was trembling and HE was trembling. We were both so upset. We just stayed there, very, very still until we composed ourselves and then we got up and walked out. It was the only time that I felt such a somber atmosphere on a Hammer film. It was terrible to remember, actually.

Redfield: When in the schedule was this thrust upon everybody?

Carlson: This was the final week!  I said, “Terry, if I’d KNOWN this was going to be---my reactions to Peter would have been so different all the way through, and I’m going to look like a terrible actress!” It would’ve made my performance SO different, and that’s what I regret, too. You know what I’m trying to say, Mark?

Redfield: I do.  You would have chosen to react to Frankenstein differently in the scenes you’d already shot. But you don’t come across as a “bad actor”; in fact, the way it’s cut into the film, your very next scene with him, with you avoiding any eye contact, works very well. But it’s out of character I think, to have Frankenstein rape somebody, even if it is to terrorize them or control them.

Carlson: Oh. Peter was furious about that. He researches the psychology of the people he is portraying. And he KNEW that this wasn’t in character and he remonstrated with Terry and Terry said “What can I do? WHAT CAN I DO?”  And it was sad but I certainly don’t hold it against Jimmy Carreras. I have nothing but respect for Jimmy.

Redfield: On a happier note, what are your memories of the premiere?

Carlson: Well, I nearly didn’t go.

Redfield: Oh!?

Carlson: Yeah. Now, you see, not many people know that. Peter (Cushing) wrote my parents a beautiful letter, complimenting me and my mother called me. I was working in Rome on Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You with Ian McShane. I felt I’d come across as a person “trying to act” and I felt I just let everybody down. I was scared to death! My mother said, you’ve GOT to come. You’re the leading lady! Of course I did go. I am proud of that movie. 

Redfield: Sounds like your parents were supportive, your mother especially.

Carlson: You’ve got that right. You’ve nailed that, Mark. My father…I think he was in denial about my career. He said to me one day, “Oh, gosh had I known that was what you really wanted to do I’d have sent you to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).” And mother looked at me as if to say “like hell he would” (laughing).

I don’t know father’s opinion of me. I don’t really know. I adored him. And I know he loved me, unreservedly. I was very close to my parents. But I think he was a bit Victorian in his way. And certainly going on stage is not what one did. He had very strict ideas.

Redfield: Did he ever see any of your films?

Carlson: Oh yes! Well, he had to! He had to come to them! 

Redfield: Tell me about Simon Ward a little bit since you spent a lot of time acting with him in that film.

Carlson: Yes! Yes! Well, of course he went on to become a most amazing stage actor. And he went on to play Winston Churchill, and of course these were early days for Simon and he went on to do these wonderful things. A remarkable actor…Sometimes I wish I’d never left the industry, I really do. Sometimes I think “What could I have done? How far could I have gone?” But we’ll never know now, will we? 

Redfield: Why did you leave the business after these films? 

Carlson: It was never my intention to. Because I thought I was really going places. The film industry changed for one thing.  There was a lot of nudity introduced and I wasn’t into that, because I’d had a very strict upbringing and my father was a retired air force officer. He worked in the Ministry of Defense. It was all very—I had a very strict upbringing. I wouldn’t think of taking my clothes off. But it seemed at the time that was going to be the only option, for certainly any more Hammer films. Although I did a nude back view in The Ghoul, working with Freddie Francis and Peter Cushing again. But that’s all beside the point I suppose…So my options were limited. 

But I’d met somebody, a gentleman who I’d grown to love; it took me a long time to learn to love him, because I…I don’t know…

Redfield: If you don’t want to talk about that…

Carlson: No, no, no—it’s no secret. You don’t trust people sometimes in this business so well, do you?

Redfield: No…

Carlson: And we got together. We were going to be married and I was working on a movie, Vampira with David Niven, a spoof thing. But my husband became very ill, and he’d had a history of stomach problems before but they’d not affected him. But this time it was different. 

This illness affected him and I was becoming exhausted—I didn’t realize it at the time because he had become so ill and I was there to make sure he made it through the night. And his illness, it sort of dogged him and it took me further and further from the business and I – I don’t know, maybe people just forgot me; maybe I withdrew.  And it was just a gradual thing. A different lifestyle with him in Coventry, rather than London. See, I used to go to the studios, travel 100 miles each way everyday to film a series I’d got called A Spider’s Web. Every day, 100 miles there and 100 miles back and I never thought anything of that. But it became problematic. People knew I wasn’t living nearby in London. It was sort of a step by step moving away from this business—until I didn’t realize that maybe it was too late. I married in ‘74. Had my first child in ’76. And of course then I became a fulltime mother, and…

Redfield: ..and life takes over.

Carlson: I took up my painting again. I used to take my sketchbook onto film sets and I’ve got lots of sketches and, oh, dear, yeah, so that’s what happened.

Redfield: How quickly did HORROR come on the heels of DESTROYED?

Carlson: It was quite fast. I did Pussycat, Pussycat and I had another interview for something else, one of the Bond films. I can’t remember which one that was now. I think I was exceedingly fortunate to have three Hammer movies offered me.  And of course then I met Ralph Bates. Jimmy Sangster who’s the biggest load of fun you could ever hope to work with. He knows I didn’t think he took that movie seriously enough. I took Hammer very seriously.

Redfield: But Hammer didn’t always take Hammer seriously. Let’s touch on…


THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1970) Director: Jimmy Sangster; Producer: Jimmy Sangster; Screenplay: Jeremy Burnham and Jimmy Sangster; Director of Photography: Moray Grant; Art Director: Scott MacGregor; Music Composer: Malcolm Williamson. CAST Ralph Bates (Victor Frankenstein), Kate O’Mara (Alys), Graham James (Wilhelm Kassner), Veronica Carlson (Elizabeth Heiss), Bernard Archard (Professor Heiss), Dennis Price (grave robber), Dave Prowse (The Monster).
Redfield: Was it supposed to be a black comedy? Or did that happen on the floor while you were making it?

Carlson: It happened on the floor as we were making it! Because Jimmy and Ralph had a great sense of humor. They just ran with it (the humor). But I like them both so very much. It should have been played straight. And Jimmy knows I’ve said this but, he shouldn’t have sent that film up. You see, a person would never pass out while watching that movie. For example, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed was showing at a nearby town and my mother said, “Hey, let’s go. You and me.” So we went. And a woman passed out during the scene where Peter was doing the operation on the head and was sawing the skull! (laughs). She fell off her chair and had to be taken out! In an ambulance. And that wouldn’t have happened in Horror of Frankenstein (laughs)!


Redfield: It’s those grisly sound effects that make that moment gruesome.

Carlson: Exactly. It’s what you don’t see that’s scary, right?

Redfield: Do you watch the newer horror films? Would you like to do some more films?

Carlson: They’re too scary for me! I like to be “safely” horrified—that’s how Christopher Lee used to say it. Today the horror films are much too real. I think my kids like ‘em. Too much reality nowadays, isn’t there? As for more films? I’d love to do some work again, of course I would!  With the right script. I don’t want to do anything silly. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I did? Oh, I’d just love to get back into something like that!


Redfield: We’ll see what we can do about that! Thank you very much, Veronica. You’ve been delightful and generous and it’s been great to get to know you a little this way!

Carlson: I hope I haven’t been too dusty—or repeated myself too much. I’m very enthusiastic about Hammer and I’m torn between the way I’d been brought up-- not to talk too much about myself-- and yet I’m delighted to talk about these films, ‘cause I’m so happy to have been a part of them!

Redfield: A final question to you, Veronica, strictly as a fan: do you prefer Dracula or Frankenstein?

Carlson: Frankenstein!

End.
Photos courtesy Richard Klemenson. 
© 2010-2011 Mark Redfield. All Rights Reserved.