Lupoff and Chabon Talk John Carter of Mars at ERBzine

Those TC readers who have bothered to check the links I’ve posted in my ERB-related entries probably already suspect that I hold Bill Hillman’s ERBzine website in high regard. Such suspicions would not be unfounded. Mr. Hillman hath builded a mighty temple to the Lord of Tarzana that hangs amidst the æther in erudite splendor. 

This last January, Bill presented to his readership a most excellent symposium betwixt two major Edgar Rice Burroughs fans: Richard Lupoff and Michael Chabon. Mr. Lupoff, a long-time Friend of The Cimmerian, authored the first serious look at ERB and his works, Master of Adventure, as well as editing ERB volumes for Canaveral Press. Michael Chabon (a past recipient of the Pulitzer Prize) is on record as being a fan of of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. In his ERBzine interview (conducted by Lupoff), Chabon reveals his life-long love for the fiction of Burroughs.

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HPL’s “The Silver Key” on Youtube

Lovecraft was no fan of the cinema, and it could be argued that his disdain for moving pictures has been returned by a seemingly endless torrent of laughable and unfaithful film adaptations. Still, HPL was always a champion of the amateur artiste. Keeping that fact in mind, perhaps it is not too far-fetched to think that “Uncle Theobald” (as REH called him) would approve of the ten-minute film recently posted to Youtube which adapts his tale, “The Silver Key.”

One would have to look hard for a more fitting story to commemorate the anniversary of the passage from this mortal coil by the Man from Providence. Lovecraft always seemed fond of the tale, and Robert E. Howard expressed his deep admiration for it at least once. While an “update” in temporal terms, the short film seems to capture a bit of the atmosphere that the Great Old One strove for.

Blood and Sand

Any of you been watching Starz’s series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand?

It’s kind of rekindled my interest in the man, and I’m reading Howard Fast’s novel and wondering what I did with my copy of the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie based on that book.

As some of you know, Howard was familiar with the story of Spartacus. In his poem, “A Son of Spartacus” he opens with a line from Reverend Elijah Kellogg’s “Spartacus to the Gladiators” speech. In Almuric you can also hear the echoes of this speech.

As someone who grew up in the age of the Comics Code, when censors suppressed Captain Kirk every time he tried to open-mouth kiss an alien girl, it’s kind of startling how much nudity, sex, violence, gore and profanity they cram into each episode. The storyline is interesting, though they’ve totally recreated Spartacus’s origin from previous versions. Although historians differ, it seems their version is more accurate than Fast’s, who has him born into slavery.

Owner of the gladiator school Batiatus is played by John Hannah, from the Mummy movies, and former warrior princess Lucy Loveless plays his scheming sexy wife. Those who want to see Xena naked are prettty much in luck. The other members of the cast are unknown to me, except for Peter Mensah, who was in 300 and Hidalgo. He plays Batiataus’ trainer.
But the acting is good.

Speaking of 300, it seems every fight is inspired by the 300 style; slow/stop/fast followed by a burst of blood, even if the blow struck would not really have produced much blood. It’s like they think 300 is the best movie ever. But I think it’s an enjoyable series so far, though I feel like a decadent Roman while watching it.

Christopher Lee: Metal God (and so much more)

“…the older Christopher Lee gets, the cooler Christopher Lee gets.”

— Steve Tompkins, “The Voice of Saruman, Speaking the First Age Into Being”

While I’d heard whispers of a new Christopher Lee project on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum,* it was this fine blog entry by Jeff Sypeck on the Quid Plura? site which motivated me to get up off the parliamentary side o’ me arse and compose a blog entry of my own.

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John Carter of Mars Is Coming to the Silver Screen

[redacted]’s impassioned post regarding Almuric got me to thinking about that novel’s primary inspiration and the fact that The Cimmerian has yet to even mention the forthcoming screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, A Princess of Mars.

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Weird Yuletide Tales, Past and Present

Yukon versus the Bumble

Those who hunger for Yultide fables with a different spin can find such here in the archives of The Cimmerian.

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Solomon Kane — the Movie

I’ve been reading up on the Solomon Kane movie, and watched the trailer.

From Moviephone:

Based on the character created by Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), Captain Solomon Kane is a brutally efficient 16th Century killing machine. Armed with his signature pistols, cutlass and rapier, he and his men unleash their bloodlust as they fight for England in war after war on all continents.

His men?


“Solomon Kane” – The movie “Solomon Kane” tells the origins of Solomon Kane and is hoped to be the first of a trilogy of movies. When the story opens Kane is a mercenary of Queen Elizabeth I fighting in Africa, but after an encounter with a demon, The Reaper, he realizes he must seek redemption or have his soul damned to Hell. He returns to Engand and lives a life of peace, converting to puritanism, but soon the doings of an evil sorceror upset his plans and he must take up arms again. James Purefoy stars as puritan swordsman “Solomon Kane”. “Solomon Kane” is a 16th century soldier who learns that his brutal and cruel actions have damned him but is determined to redeem himself by living peaceably. But he finds himself dragged out of retirement for a fight against evil.

You know, it might be a pretty good sword & sorcery flick, and it has a nice grim feel to it.  Too bad they only took the look and the name of Solomon Kane, and basically made their own character.  Damned instead of pious, bloodthirsty instead of on a mission, the Robert E. Howard they call “legendary” in the trailer would have a hard time recognizing this as his creation.

Picacio Tapped for ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ Calendar







According to Missions Unknown, San Antonio-based artist, John Picacio, has been chosen to illustrate the 2011 calendar devoted to George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’ Also mentioned in the article is the fact that Martin has been in the UK since late October, where he is keeping an eye on the filming of the HBO series based upon his epic fantasy novels. Read more about it here.

John Picacio also provided the cover painting for [redacted]’s Howard biography, Blood and Thunder.

“Pigeons From Hell” Coming to DVD in 2010

pigeons-headRobert E. Howard’s seminal Southern Gothic horror tale, “Pigeons From Hell,” continues to go from strength to strength in the pop-cultural arena, bloody axe in hand. During the last week of October, a stage adaptation of “Pigeons From Hell” was performed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Now, as I just learned from Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions, the television adaptation filmed for Boris Karloff’s Thriller will be released in 2010. Here’s the blurb straight from Bill:

Boris Karloff’s THRILLER – Coming to DVD in 2010!
Boris Karloff’s THRILLER anthology series was aired from 1960 to 1962. The series featured a wide variety of stars such as William Shatner, Mary Tyler Moore, Rip Torn, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, Elizabeth Montgomery,  Leslie Nielsen, John Carradine, and Ursula Andress. Stories were based on the works of Robert Bloch, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert E. Howard. The entire remastered series will be released as a deluxe collectors box set featuring all 67 episodes of the show. Extensive special features are being developed including audio commentaries as well as never-before-seen extras.

Included in this release is Robert E. Howard’s “Pigeons From Hell.”

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Possible Conan TV Production From Carlton in the UK


Over on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum, this was just posted by a member with the handle of “TortolaBVI”:

28 years ago, British television company Carlton Television, which was (and is) part of the massive ITV network, paid an extremely large sum to be one of the first terrestrial channels to be able to broadcast the motion picture Conan The Barbarian. An additional clause in the deal stated that Carlton television would have complete right to adapt for the television medium original works by Robert E Howard under the proviso that said work was in the public domain. Bearing in mind that this deal was made in 1981, The rightsholders to Conan really were not concerned with a date that was a quarter of a century away. Carlton Television did not have the rights to create original material. Everyone got that? They could create original material provided it did not make up more than 10% of any adaptation of an original Robert E Howard public domain story.

Which is where we are at, at the moment. The production has finance firmly in place to the tune of £7m, has a new director onboard (Mr Graham Harper has left due to scheduling commitments but was outstanding in helping find his replacement) the script has undergone revision to tighten the narrative, and a number of locations have been scouted.

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