Welcome dear friends once again to the Tomb of the Trumps! Tirelessly tracking down the image sources that were ripped off, I mean, provided inspiration for the Unknown Artist who created the art for the two Horror themed packs of Top Trumps back in the late 70s.
First up, we have quite a tricky one...
...which has bamboozled many other searchers over the years, with some pointing to the bony-faced killer in 1964's The Phantom of Soho as the true identity of the Living Skull. However the source for this grinning ghoul is actually not quite that obscure, but is very easy to overlook all the same. It is in fact a character named Dr Death who appears in the 1974 AIP flick Madhouse which starred Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. In this movie, Vincent Price plays an aging horror star, Paul Toombes, who made his name appearing in a series of movies which had the character of Dr Death as the main hero/villain. However when the franchise is to be restarted with Toombes coming out of retirement to play the role, the good Doctor seemingly steps off the silver screen to commit a series of bloody murders... Anyhow the mystery killer appears in the movie like this -
And you can hear more about this movie, alongside some other Vincent Price gems, on my podcast here
But moving swiftly on! We have another card that proved to be a bit of a challenge but for entirely different reasons!
Now this scaly fellow I more or less recognised straightaway back when I was a nipper, for I recognised it from a still I'd seen in a monster movie book I'd had out from the library. It was in fact copied more or less exactly, with the only artistic flourish on the card being the deliciously over-the-top dribbles of blood. The still in question was from the classic 1958 SF horror It! The Terror From Beyond Space. However when I came to write this week's edition of Tomb of the Trumps, could I find that picture anywhere? Could I hell! I was beginning to think I'd imagined it, when a good friend offered to go through his collection of monster movie tomes, and thankfully for my sanity, we discovered the elusive still in Dennis Gifford's A Pictorial History of Horror Movies, a fantastic tome that has many rare stills reproduced within.
Anywho, what of the movie? Well, It! The Terror From Beyond Space is a smashing tale of some brave astronauts who after touching down on an alien world to mount a rescue mission, discover they have picked up an monstrous hitchhiker, which lurks in the bowels of the ship. The unwelcome guest proceeds to chomp down on the crew one by one. And it... I'm sorry, I mean... It! nearly scoffs the lot of them until our heroes come up with the cunning plan to blow the ugly bugger out into space through the airlock!
And if you are thinking old Mr Jim is getting a bit befuddled and confusing a '50s monster flick with a certain Ridley Scott classic, think again! For It! The Terror From Beyond Space was indeed a prime influence on Alien - indeed I recall reading reviews of that movie back in 1979/80 which didn't hail Alien as a modern classic but actually dismissed it as merely a gorey remake of It! The Terror From Beyond Space. How times change! Anyhow you can hear more about the movies that were ripped off by, I mean, which inspired Alien here