And welcome back to the shadowy realm of cobwebbed festooned tat that is Tomb of the Trumps! And we start the New Year with a real puzzler!
Oh Sorcerer, how thou dost tantalize us! So familiar and yet so unplaceable! Much like the Slime Creature, many of my predecessors in the field of Horror Top Trumpology have simply thrown up their hands in despair and claimed this is just a generic Bad Wizard pic, one of the those rare original pieces by the artist of these decks.
However there is something nagglingly familiar about the Sorcerer. For a long time I had the feeling that perhaps he was cribbed from a '70s comic book, but alas, despite searching high and low I still have never found a doppelganger for this rogue. But looking at him again recently, another possibility suggested itself - consider those arched eyebrows, that pronounced nose, and that pencil mustache - could this be a very rough image of the great Vincent Price? From the lurid lighting, black robes, and the pustules on his face I'd guess perhaps a still from the classic Masque of the Red Death, directed by Roger Corman in 1964... However unfortunately I can find no corresponding still to match. But, if any of you recognize the Sorcerer, do get in touch!
However to identify the next card we will be delving in the extensive back catalogue of that wizard of low budget film making Sir Roger of Corman!
Now this was one of those cards that instantly rang a bell for me, as I knew I had seen the photo this was copied from before. And after much leaving through tomes by the likes of Alan Frank and Dennis Gifford, I finally found the original! It's a still from an obscure SF/horror flick, produced by Roger Corman in 1958, and scripted by his brother Gene!
Night of the Blood Beast was the directorial debut of Bert I Kowalski, who is now perhaps best remembered by movie buffs for the 1969 disaster movie Krakatoa, East of Java, and by monster movie fans for 1973's killer man-snake flick Sssssss. As the titular beast, this wasn't actually it's first screen appearance - previously it - well, the same costume - appeared in another Corman movie Teenage Caveman, filmed a mere fortnight before! Sadly however after this, the work dried up for 'Talon'... such are the perils of being a B movie monster!