Castle of Frankenstein

Castle of Frankenstein was an American horror, science fiction and fantasy film magazine, published between 1962[1] and 1975 by Calvin Thomas Beck's Gothic Castle Publishing Company, distributed by Kable News. Larry Ivie - who also was cover artist for several early issues - and Ken Beale edited the first three issues. Writer-artist Bhob Stewart edited the magazine from 1963 into the early 1970s. Although promoted and sold as a "monster magazine," readers were aware that Castle of Frankenstein, at the time, was the only nationally distributed magazine devoted to a legitimate and serious coverage of B movies. In addition to its central focus on classic and current horror films, Castle of Frankenstein also devoted pages to amateur filmmakers and fanzines. Its advertising pages sold full-length silent feature films such as The Lost World and The Golem.

Following employment as an editor for publisher Joe Weider, Calvin Beck (1929–1989) entered the monster magazine arena in 1959 with his one-shot issue Journal of Frankenstein, which had only a small circulation. As an experiment, Beck printed part of the run on slick paper. After a hiatus and a title change, Beck returned with the debut issue of Castle of Frankenstein in 1962.

Beck claimed that since his magazine carried no outside advertising, a standardized schedule was unneeded. Issues were published whenever they were completed, leading to an erratic, irregular schedule. Distribution also varied; while many well-stocked periodical outlets did not carry the magazine, some less-likely outlets (such as grocery stores) did.

The magazine ran 25 issues, plus one annual (the 1967 "Fearbook"); the final issue was published in 1975. Beck cancelled his magazine not because of poor sales but to devote his energy to writing books. During its primary run, Castle of Frankenstein outlasted the majority of monster magazines that filled the market for two decades, with the notable exception of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

In 1999, publisher Dennis Druktenis revived both Castle of Frankenstein (releasing 10 more issues) and the original title Journal of Frankenstein (releasing five more issues).

Castle of Frankenstein (issue 10 - front cover)


In addition to book reviews by Charles Collins and Lin Carter, contributors included Barry Brown, Richard A. Lupoff and William K. Everson.

Inspired by the ratings and reviews of films in Cahiers du Cinéma, Stewart introduced a similar system with the "Comic Book Council," the first critical coverage of comic books to appear in a national magazine. Commentary and ratings of underground comics were juxtaposed with reviews of mainstream comics. Another key feature was the "Frankenstein Movieguide," an attempt to document all fantastic films seen on television with "mini-reviews" written by Joe Dante and Stewart. Unlike some genre commentators, these reviewers were not limited only to monster-style films. Instead, the many brief, tightly-written fantasy film reviews also covered experimental and foreign art films. The capsule review format enforced a brevity and economy that inspired many younger writers.

With new art and reprints of vintage fantasy art, the magazine published such artists as Aubrey Beardsley, Hannes Bok, Harry Clarke, Virgil Finlay, Jim Steranko, Wally Wood and Weird Tales illustrator Matt Fox. To cut costs, color photos rather than paintings were used on the covers of issues six through 14. With issue 11's cover photo of Leonard Nimoy, Castle of Frankenstein was the first magazine to feature Star Trek as a major cover story. Other issues displayed cover paintings by Robert Adragna, Marcus Boas, Bok, Frank Brunner, Maelo Cintron, Larry Ivie, Russ Jones, Ken Kelly, Los Angeles painter Tom Maher, and Lee Wanagiel.

Interior art included graphic stories by Ivie, Brunner, Bernie Wrightson, and the team of Marv Wolfman and Len Wein, plus the first published comics page by Marvel artist-writer-editor Larry Hama. Castle of Frankenstein also carried an unusual original comic strip, Baron von Bungle, by Richard Bojarski, who gave a humorous twist to the world depicted in Universal horror films.


The Frankenstein Reader (front cover)
Calvin Beck edited this anthology for Ballantine Books in 1962.

Beck, with an editorial assist by fantasy fiction scholar Haywood P. Norton, assembled the paperback anthology, The Frankenstein Reader (Ballantine Books, 1962). The two brought together a roster of vintage horror-fantasy tales by E.F. Benson, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chambers, Ralph Adams Cram, Charles Dickens, Amelia B. Edwards, Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Richard Middleton, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.G. Wells.

In Heroes of the Horrors (Macmillan, 1975), Beck wrote illustrated biographies of six leading horror film stars (Lon Chaney, Sr., Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price) and writers such as Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson. The book reworked information previously unearthed for Castle of Frankenstein articles.

Bhob Stewart and Beck then collaborated on a companion volume, Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors (Macmillan, 1978), illustrated biographical profiles of 29 fantasy film actresses and directors. The book included an article by actor Barry Brown, plus research by Drew Simels, author of the TV movie entries in early editions of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide series. With articles on Alice Guy-Blaché, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, Elsa Lanchester, Agnes Moorehead, Mary Philbin, Barbara Steele, Vampira, Fay Wray and others, Scream Queens also incorporated material from the Castle of Frankenstein files of manuscripts and still photographs.

Beck's fourth book, Sense of Wonder, about fantasy films of the 1940s, was never published.

See also


  1. ^ "Castle of Frankenstein No.1, 1962". Zombo's Closet. 31 July 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2017.

External links

Bhob Stewart

Robert Marion Stewart, known as Bhob Stewart (November 12, 1937 – February 24, 2014) was an American writer, editor, cartoonist, filmmaker, and active fan who contributed to a variety of publications over a span of five decades. His articles and reviews appeared in TV Guide, Publishers Weekly, and other publications, along with online contributions to Allmovie, the Collecting Channel, and other sites. In 1980, he became the regular film columnist for Heavy Metal.

Charles I, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels

Charles I, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels (also: Charles I of Podebrady, Czech: Karel z Minstrberka, German: Karl I. von Münsterberg; 2 or 4 May 1476, in Kladsko – 31 May 1536, in Frankenstein) was a member of the House of Poděbrady. He was Duke of Münsterberg and Duke of Oels as well as Count of Kladsko. From 1519 to 1523 he held the office of the bailiff of Upper Lusatia, in 1523 he was made Obersthauptmann of Bohemia and in 1524 Landeshauptmann of Silesia.

Clark Dimond

Clark Dimond is a guitarist, composer and author who runs the Dimond Studios, a recording company in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Born into a musical family in 1941, Dimond started playing piano at the age of five, learned the guitar when he was 17 years old and added the banjo at age 30. He attended Grinnell College in Iowa and then moved to New York, where he worked as an editor on True Experience for McFadden-Bartell while writing scripts for Warren Publishing and Web of Horror. In addition to contributions to Castle of Frankenstein, he was an editor for publisher Martin Goodman's magazine For Men Only.

Famous Monsters of Filmland

Famous Monsters of Filmland is an American genre-specific film magazine, started in 1958 by publisher James Warren and editor Forrest J Ackerman.Famous Monsters of Filmland directly inspired the creation of many other similar publications, including Castle of Frankenstein, Cinefantastique, Fangoria, The Monster Times, and Video Watchdog. In addition, hundreds, if not thousands, of FM-influenced horror, fantasy and science fiction movie-related fanzines have been produced, some of which have continued to publish for decades, such as Midnight Marquee and Little Shoppe of Horrors.

Frank Brunner

Frank Brunner (born February 21, 1949) is an American comics artist and illustrator best known for his work at Marvel Comics in the 1970s.

Hannes Bok

Hannes Bok, pseudonym for Wayne Francis Woodard (July 2, 1914 – April 11, 1964), was an American artist and illustrator, as well as an amateur astrologer and writer of fantasy fiction and poetry. He painted nearly 150 covers for various science fiction, fantasy, and detective fiction magazines, as well as contributing hundreds of black and white interior illustrations. Bok's work graced the pages of calendars and early fanzines, as well as dust jackets from specialty book publishers like Arkham House, Llewellyn, Shasta Publishers, and Fantasy Press. His paintings achieved a luminous quality through the use of an arduous glazing process, which was learned from his mentor, Maxfield Parrish. Bok shared one of the inaugural 1953 Hugo Awards for science fiction achievement (best Cover Artist).Today, Bok is best known for his cover art which appeared on various pulp and science fiction magazines, such as Weird Tales, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Other Worlds, Super Science Stories, Imagination, Fantasy Fiction, Planet Stories, If, Castle of Frankenstein and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Horror fiction magazine

A horror fiction magazine is a magazine that publishes primarily horror fiction with the main purpose of frightening the reader. Horror magazines can be in print, on the internet, or both.

Jeff Burr

Jeff Burr (born 1963, in Aurora, Ohio) is an American film director, writer, and producer best known for his work in horror sequels, such as Stepfather II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Puppet Master 4 and 5, and Pumpkinhead II.

Ken Kelly (artist)

Ken W. Kelly (born May 19, 1946, New London, Connecticut, United States) is an American fantasy artist.

Over his 30-year career, he has focused in particular on paintings in the sword and sorcery and heroic fantasy subgenres.

Kelly is the nephew of Frank Frazetta's wife Eleanor “Ellie” Frazetta (1935-2009), whose maiden name was Kelly. Early in his career he was able to study the paintings of Frank Frazetta in the latter's studio. In the early 1970s he did a couple of cover paintings for Castle of Frankenstein magazine. Throughout the 1970s he was one of the foremost cover artists on Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie magazines.

He has depicted Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan and the rock groups KISS, Manowar, Sleepy Hollow, Rainbow and Ace Frehley.

His work often portrays exotic, enchanted locales and primal battlefields. He recently developed the artwork for Coheed and Cambria's album, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, and a painting of his was used as the cover art for Alabama Thunderpussy's 2007 release, Open Fire. In 2012, one of Kelly's paintings was used for the cover of Electric Magma's 12" vinyl release Canadian Samurai II.

Kelly has been a guest at the Kiss by Monster Mini Golf course in Las Vegas, Nevada, doing autograph signings of prints for the classic Kiss albums he has drawn cover artwork for.

Larry Ivie

Larry Ivie (1936–2014) was an American comics artist, writer, and collector who was active in comics fandom in the middle part of the 20th century, described by comics historian Bill Schelly as "the closest thing to an authority on comics that was available in the 1950's." He provided painted covers and other editorial material for early issues of Castle of Frankenstein magazine, then self-published the seven issues of his own newsstand magazine Monsters and Heroes, for which he drew comic stories of his own superhero Altron Boy, in the mid-to-late '60s; had his art published in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction and If, co-created the comic book T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and wrote several stories for Marvel Comics and the horror magazines Creepy and Eerie. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to biologist Wilton Ivie and his wife Aleen, he moved to New York City in the mid 1950s to attend the School of Visual Arts, and with a large personal library of comic books and correspondence via fanzines became a prominent part of New York comics fan culture. He also made amateur films of superheros, influencing the amateur films of Donald F. Glut and appearing in two of his films. Ivie died of lung cancer in January 2014, aged 77.

Norman Bates

Norman Bates is a fictional character created by American author Robert Bloch as the main antagonist in his 1959 thriller novel Psycho; portrayed by Anthony Perkins in the 1960 version of Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock and the Psycho franchise. He is also portrayed by Vince Vaughn in the 1998 version of Psycho, and by Freddie Highmore in the television series Bates Motel (2013–2017). Unlike the franchise produced by Universal Studios, Norman is not the principal antagonist in Bloch's subsequent novels and is succeeded by copycat killers who assume Norman's identity after his death in 1982's Psycho II. Despite wide-ranging assumptions, the character was not inspired by Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein. Bloch later revealed that he was nearly finished writing Psycho when he first became aware of Gein, and was struck by "how closely the imaginary character I'd created resembled the real Ed Gein both in overt act and apparent motivation."

Odd John

Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest is a 1935 science fiction novel by the British author Olaf Stapledon. The novel explores the theme of the Übermensch (superman) in the character of John Wainwright, whose supernormal human mentality inevitably leads to conflict with normal human society and to the destruction of the utopian colony founded by John and other superhumans.

The novel resonates with the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche and the work of English writer J. D. Beresford, with an allusion to Beresford's superhuman child character of Victor Stott in The Hampdenshire Wonder (1911). As the devoted narrator remarks, John does not feel obliged to observe the restricted morality of Homo sapiens. Stapledon's recurrent vision of cosmic angst – that the universe may be indifferent to intelligence, no matter how spiritually refined – also gives the story added depth. Later explorations of the theme of the superhuman and of the incompatibility of the normal with the supernormal occur in the works of Stanisław Lem, Frank Herbert, Wilmar Shiras, Robert Heinlein and Vernor Vinge, among others.

The book is mentioned by Julian May in Intervention, part of the Galactic Milieu Series. It is also responsible for coining the term "homo superior".

Olaf Stapledon

William Olaf Stapledon (10 May 1886 – 6 September 1950) – known as Olaf Stapledon – was a British philosopher and author of science fiction. In 2014, he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Planet of the Vampires

Planet of the Vampires (Italian: Terrore nello Spazio, lit. 'Terror in space') is a 1965 Italian science fiction horror film, produced by Fulvio Lucisano, directed by Mario Bava, that stars Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell. The screenplay, by Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Callisto Cosulich, Antonio Roman and Rafael J. Salvia, was based on an Italian-language science fiction short story, Renato Pestriniero's "One Night of 21 Hours". American International Pictures released the film as the supporting film on a double feature with Daniel Haller's Die, Monster, Die! (1965).The story follows the horrific experiences of the crew members of two giant spaceships that have crash landed on a forbidding, unexplored planet. The disembodied inhabitants of the world possess the bodies of the crew who died during the crash, and use the animated corpses to stalk and kill the remaining survivors.

The film was co-produced by AIP and Italian International Film, with some financing provided by Spain's Castilla Cooperativa Cinematográfica. Ib Melchior and Louis M. Heyward are credited with the script for the AIP English-language release version. Years after its release, some critics have suggested that Bava's film was a major influence on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and Prometheus (2012), in both narrative details and visual design.

Russ Jones

Russ Jones (born July 16, 1942 in Ontario) is a Canadian novelist, illustrator, and magazine editor, active in the publishing and entertainment industries over a half-century, best known as the creator of the magazine Creepy for Warren Publishing. As the founding editor of Creepy in 1963, he is notable for a significant milestone in comics history by proving there was a readership eager to read graphic stories in a black-and-white magazine format rather than in a color comic book.During the mid-1960s, Jones also pioneered the presentation of original comics formatted directly for paperback books, such as Christopher Lee's Treasury of Terror (Pyramid, 1966).

Spirits, Stars, and Spells

Spirits, Stars, and Spells: The Profits and Perils of Magic is a 1966 history book by L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp, published by Canaveral Press. The book sold slowly, and the remaining stock was taken over by Owlswick Press and sold under its own name with new dust jackets in 1980. It has been translated into Polish.

The Exorcist (film)

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name, directed by William Friedkin, and starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller. The film is part of The Exorcist franchise. The book, inspired by the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe, follows the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempts to win her back through an exorcism conducted by two priests. The adaptation is relatively faithful to the book, which itself has been commercially successful (earning a place on The New York Times Best Seller list).The film experienced a troubled production; even in the beginning, several prestigious film directors including Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Penn turned it down. Incidents such as the toddler son of one of the main actors being hit by a motorbike and hospitalized attracted claims that the set was cursed. The complex special effects used, as well as the nature of the film locations, also presented severe challenges. The film's notable psychological themes include the nature of faith and the boundaries of maternal love.The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. The film was initially booked in only 26 theaters across the U.S., although it soon became a major commercial success. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, winning Best Sound and Writing (Adapted Screenplay). It became one of the highest-grossing films in history, grossing over $441 million worldwide in the aftermath of various re-releases, and was the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.The film has had a significant influence on popular culture, and several publications have regarded it one of the greatest horror films of all time. It was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999, in 2010, viewers of AMC in 2006, and the editors of Time Out in 2014. Prominent film critic Mark Kermode named it as his "favorite film of all time." rated it as the 10th best film of all time in 2014. In addition, a scene from the film was ranked #3 on Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected the film to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". On January 22, 2016, 20th Century Fox Television announced that they were developing a television series of The Exorcist. It premiered on the Fox TV network on September 23, 2016.

The Year's Best Fantasy Stories (series)

The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories was a series of annual anthologies published by DAW Books from 1975 to 1988 under the successive editorships of Lin Carter from 1975 to 1980 and Arthur W. Saha from 1981 to 1988. The series was a companion to DAW’s The Annual World’s Best SF, issued from 1972 to 1990 under the editorship of Saha with publisher Donald A. Wollheim, and The Year's Best Horror Stories, issued from 1971 to 1994, which performed a similar office for the science fiction and horror fiction genres.

Each annual volume reprinted what in the opinion of the editor was the best fantasy literature short fiction appearing in the previous year. Carter's picks tended to be idiosyncratic, concentrating on long-established authors in the field and reflecting his own particular enthusiasms. He also habitually padded out the volumes he edited with his own works, whether written singly, in collaboration, or under pseudonyms. Saha’s editorial choices more closely reflected the contemporary field and highlighted more emerging authors.

Under Carter's editorship surveys of "The Year’s Best Fantasy Books" and "The Year in Fantasy" rounded out each year’s collection, continuing the annual surveys of the year's best fantasy fiction he had formerly contributed to Castle of Frankenstein before that magazine's 1975 demise. Saha contented himself with a general introduction.

Virgil Finlay

Virgil Finlay (July 23, 1914 – January 18, 1971) was an American pulp fantasy, science fiction and horror illustrator. He has been called "part of the pulp magazine history ... one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time." While he worked in a range of media, from gouache to oils, Finlay specialized in, and became famous for, detailed pen-and-ink drawings accomplished with abundant stippling, cross-hatching, and scratchboard techniques. Despite the very labor-intensive and time-consuming nature of his specialty, Finlay created more than 2600 works of graphic art in his 35-year career.The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Finlay in 2012.

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