Monster of the Day #1604

Sad weekend, with both veteran character actor Martin Laundau and director George Romero passing away. I’ve probably already covered this guy, but so what? Romero literally redefined the horror genre with Night of the Living Dead, it’s the exact demarcation because the classic and the modern horror eras. I can’t think of another genre work that so thoroughly tore down the old rules of an established genre (although sadly it was mostly to instantly erect a new set of rules).

RIP, gentlemen. Those looking to honor Landau could do a lot worse than Without Warning and the fun slasher flick Alone in the Dark.

  • Gamera977

    Oh wow, I was on a self-imposed news blackout over the weekend, had no idea. RIP Mr. Landau and Romero.

    I become a big fan of Landau from his work in ‘The Outer Limits’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’ plus his small but very memorable role in ‘North by Northwest’. Funny thing is I still have only seen one episode of ‘Space 1999’- something I really have to do something about one day.

    Romero, well though certainly a talented film maker i’m a bit less of a fan. I think I’ve groused here about his ‘radiation’ type zombies being to ‘true’ voodoo zombies what Twilight ‘Sparkly’ vampires are the ‘real’ thing. Taking the voodoo out of zombies is like taking the Christianity out of vampires- it might still be a monster but it’s not a zombie or vampire anymore.

  • Ericb

    I love it when an actor like Landau, whose career seemed to be on the skids at one point and seemed limited to a future of tv guest roles (I can’t imagine that he was thrilled staring in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island), manages to get some meaty mainstream film roles in his latter years and earns some critical acclaim and even an Oscar!. Jack Palance was another one.

  • bgbear_rnh

    I can’t think of Landau with hearing James Mason saying “Leonard”. Recently aught him on “Wanted, Dead or Alive” as a guy who was robbing/killing people with the help of an elephant. Quite imaginative. also playing Doc Holliday on “Tales of Wells Fargo” very good.

  • zombiewhacker

    That’s right. On that note, I can’t think of a better way of honoring Landau (and Jabootu, for that matter) than a screening of Ed Wood.

  • Ericb

    Space:1999 really only has one good episode, Dragon’s Domain, which has a nice and very creepy monster that freaked me out as a kid.

  • Gamera977

    Lol, yeah the one episode I watched was pretty awful which is why I hadn’t watched it further. I’d consider watching it today just for Landau and Barry Morse (who I believe left in the second season?)

  • sandra

    On the subject of today’s monster, how many people noticed that he turns up again, in the final credits, as one of the bodies being cremated ? I have always thought he resembles a youngish Boris Karloff.

  • Max von Sydow comes to mind….

  • bgbear_rnh

    I am sure he and Barbara Bain wanted better roles but they do play the part of GI villains with enthusiasm. Real pros.

  • Gamera977

    BTW: Over on Plaid Stallions they’ve commemorating Landau with a collection of Space 1999 toys including a Landau parachutist (!?!?!)

    I have to wonder if anyone ever made a Dan D.B. Cooper parachutist toy. A guy did point me toward a Cooper bobble-head (sadly out of production).

  • Beckoning Chasm

    He actually showed up in the director’s chair for a couple of horror movies.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    I know it’s nowhere near Jabootu but my favorite role for Landau was in “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” As for Romero, his early stuff was terrific, his later stuff was bogged down by way too much “Deeper Meanings, Man” stuff.

  • Ericb

    Yeah, Morse, and many others, were gone for the second season which took a different direction than the first. To paraphrase Georges Clemenceau, Space:1999 went from being boring and pretentious to being campy and ridiculous without an interval of being good.

  • Ericb

    Do check out Dragon’s Domain, it is genuinely good and not just on a sliding Space:1999 scale.

  • Ericb

    Take away the absurd Moon-wandering-in-interstellar-space premise of the series and it would have made a nice Outer Limits episode.

  • Rock Baker

    My favorite Landau memory has to be his quick cameo on an episode of Get Smart, in which Max has had his identity blown and goes in for instant plastic surgery. Landau briefly plays Max as he shows off his new face to the Chief, who feels the face is too recognizable as a spy. When Max questions who the Chief is referring to, and he is answered “Martin Landau” Max/Martin shrugs “Never heard of him.”

  • zombiewhacker

    Ken, how about devoting this week’s MOTCs to these two fine gentlemen?

    IIRC, you’ve never done the Headless Horseman from Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (Landau was a cameo victim.) And I’m pretty dang sure you could milk a MOTC or two from a few of Romero’s non-zombie pics (like Creepshow.)

  • bgbear_rnh

    They got an atmosphere for one episode but I recall no recreational or emergency skydiving.

  • bgbear_rnh

    There are a few more but, it has been to long to put up much of an argument ;-)

    You can catch one episode from the 2nd season from the “zero” season of MST3K.

  • Flangepart

    Hummm…wonder how many ‘He’ll be back’ jokes George will get today?

  • All of them if my Book of Faces is any indication.

  • zombiewhacker

    My favorite was, “Darn, I always wanted to meet George Romero, and now if I do I’ll have to shoot him in the head!”