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vague memories finally answered by Cartoon Network
for many years, I had this image of a flying caveman superhero, stuck in my head. Other folk only ever came up with "Captain Caveman", when asked about it, but I knew it wasn't that. The first time I ever got to see Cartoon Network, there Mightor was, amongst similar Hanna-Barbera heroes of the time, and it all made sense again. Honestly, my vague memories were more fun, because this was mostly leftover sound effects from "Jonny Quest", and the typical vocal processing of the day, for the hero
Still, it's a painless 12 minutes or so. Don't remember "Moby Dick" at all, though my fond memories of "Mightor" could be clouding my memories. My favorites at the time, would have been "Shazzan", and an obscure "Lone Ranger and Tonto" cartoon, featuring Tonto's trained hawk, "Taka". Cartoon network would earn an even more special place in my heart, if they ever excavated this Lone Ranger, since I had an inflatable hawk for years, also named Taka. But I haven't seen a hint of that show, since I was 8, and am prepared to survive on my memories. Still, in this modern age, I can't believe Cartoon Network/Boomerang, hasn't brought these back yet. I think this "Lone Ranger" was a Filmation product, but can't be sure. Maybe one day....
Children of Men (2006)
recycled, over-hyped "ZPG" retread
I had great hope when I first saw the reviews. really should have known better. Hadn't seen such juvenile SF fluff since the glory days of my youth. Eerily reminiscent of junk like "ZPG", but possibly even more empty, and pointless. I just watched the DVD an hour ago, and really, all I can call to mind is Michael Caine smoking a joint of his "Strawberry Cough" marijuana. good laugh, Michael...
Junk SF doesn't die, it just waits 20-30 years, until we forget how stupid, and boring it was, and tries again. This was all bluster, with the most pedestrian "Action" scenes I've ever seen. I always enjoy Michael Caine, but his part in this was brief, and rather minimal. (he's much better as "Alfred" in "Batman Begins"). It tries to present a true Dystopian vision, but it's absolutely nothing we haven't seen done better, before.
a truer portrait of it's time than many might care to see, but it does feature "Angel"
I was just a bit young for this one, but I had to see it. There's some excellent music, which many folks have mentioned, but no one seems to notice a very rare appearance by "Angel", a now mostly ignored but once quite popular musical outfit. Wearing their trademark white outfits, they grind through "20th Century Foxes", and apparently all try to cram into the camera's field of vision. Keyboardist Gregg Giuffria remains the bands highlight, and has apparently never gotten much of a haircut, ever! Cherie Currie (ex-Runaways singer) begins a brief, but notable, acting career here, and is quite memorable alongside Jodie Foster, and the rest. (Her topless 3-D scenes in "Parasite", and her UFO sighting, in "Wavelength" kept us all watching her for a time).
It's not a masterpiece, but it preserves a chunk of its period, for all to gaze upon, and wonder.
Up the Academy (1980)
classic 80's trash
back in my high school days in Salina Kansas, they filmed something called "The Brave Young Men Of Weinberg" locally, and the film crews were rather prominent for weeks. eventually, we learned that the film was "Up The Academy", and was a bit ummm, "lower brow" than we had been led to believe.
I had to see it, since I was there, and the local audiences seemed less than pleased at the showing. I was 17, and thought it was a rather artless attempt at a post "Animal house" type of comedy, right down to the fart jokes.
Watched it many times since, and my opinion has mellowed a bit. it's dumb, but at times it catches a bit of the "mad" magazine humor, at least as well as most "Mad TV". Ron Liebman might hate it, but he is nearly perfect, and unforgettable. For me, my favorite moment would have been a brief scene on Santa Fe avenue, where I had parked my car, while I was buying some guitar strings. Too bad my Pinto's brief appearance, usually seems to get cut for TV. haven't seen the new DVD, but if my old pinto is visible, they've got a sale.
make sure you see it uncut!
Caught this at an Arizona drive-in, back about 1983. It truly bothered some of my friends, but we all thought it was better than the co-feature, "Happy Birthday To Me". I hunted for quite a while looking for this, and finally found it at a Pawn shop in St. Paul, on VHS. Guess some folks have also been looking, and it is on DVD as "Nightmares In A Damaged Brain". But the disc runs about 94 minutes, and is missing some gory highlights, as well as a few touches of plot. the one you want was just "Nightmare", and runs about 98 minutes. the version you want came from 21st Century releasing, and is worth the hunt, if this is your sort of thriller. I wish everyone good luck, but I'm not giving mine up.
not very scary, but it has some great moments
everybody remembers this one for Moe Howard's appearance, and his brief cameo is truly a hoot. but, for aging denizens of horror who remember the classic Horror host, "Seymour", his brief appearance is heart wrenching. Unlike other films like "The Incredible 2-headed transplant" where he's just another actor, his brief moment in this film, has him in his "Seymour" character, hosting a horror film on TV! brought a tear to my eye, since I never missed his show, and wish they could dredge some of it up, like they have done with "Ghoulardi" and others. Seymour allegedly ran for President at least twice, and his stickers, buttons and posters, were nearly ubiquitous throughout Southern California, for years. Before Elvira, Commander USA. the Phantom of the Opry, and others, "Seymour" presented old horror classics with a bit of respect. I'm sure I am not alone with my fond memories of this great horror host. Just too bad that his appearance in "Dr. Death", is so brief
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
by the time MST3K got around to this film, I'd already seen it in a theater, and many times on California TV. Prolonged viewing generates a blissful non-attentiveness, that can be quite enjoyable.
It is extremely rare to come across an American film, so lacking in any Hollywood influence. Rather then emulating the technical competence of others, this has the rough-hewn feel of constant improvisation, similar to the cheaper Turkish films. It's a real shame that the days of such bizarre, independent films showing up at 4:00 a.m. on TV, are long gone, replaced by the constant stream of commercials, and infotainment. The children of Ron Popeil control that viewing time now.
Il castello dei morti vivi (1964)
finally found this one on TCM
well, I've been looking for this for years, another film lost in the NAFTA/GATT shuffle. Amazingly enough, and with little fanfare, Turner Classic Movies dredged up a "restored" print and sneaked it in late night on Halloween, 2005.
Christopher Lee is his usual charismatic self, despite smudges around his eyes as the only real makeup. The plot isn't much of a mystery, but it's fun to watch the cast run through the paces. Often confused with "Blood Castle"/"Torture chamber of Doctor Sadism" in reference works, it's easy to see that many never saw it, since it isn't all that similar except for the star.
The two reasons that kept me looking are writer/1st assistant director Michael Reeves, and the debut role for Donald Sutherland. Reeves did his first direction on this, and some things will seem rather familiar to fans of "She beast", and "Witchfinder General", his later works.
Sutherland plays 2 roles: an unintelligent soldier, and an old hag who speaks prophecy in rhyme. The hag is voiced by another, but Sutherland did his own dubbing for the soldier. Luciano Pigozzi turns up to add his own charm to the proceedings.
Despite comments by others about there not being a huge need for restoration, I have to thank TCM for a lovely job, though the letterbox seems a little tight on top. it's old fashioned, and somewhat obvious, but definitely worthy of preservation.
Kappa no Sanpei (1993)
water goblins and evil
this is one of the great strange TV series, as our kid hero allies himself with some sort of water spirits, and fights the evil threat. the spirits can travel along any water, which makes for some truly bizarre chase scenes. always reminds me of "Akuma Kun", another Japanese show with a hero assisted by powerful, occult allies, fighting against the spread of Evil threats to our freedom and liberty. Makes excellent use of the moody possibilities of it's B&W production values. I don't speak Japanese, but this kind of stuff is simple to follow, and a whole lot of fun. enjoy it, if you can find it. the entire series had been released on Laserdisc, but I don't know if they've made the switch to DVD
The Final Programme (1973)
Fun, confused 70's Moorcock romp.
I saw the ads for "The Last Days Of Man On Earth" well before I could watch "R" films, but I was always wanting to see it. It dropped into a bit of obscurity stateside, and it was years before I found a copy. Shortly after I saw it, Anchor Bay issued the uncut original in limited quantities, and I managed to grab one.
well, the book is better. But Jon Finch is the perfect Jerry Cornelius, and this may be his best work. Jenny Runacre is every bit as good as "Miss Brunner", though her character doesn't quite embody the written character to the degree of Finch. Ron Lacey also shines, in a brief turn as the sun glassed assassin, "Shades", walking straight out of the books pages.
The low budget is disguised well, but the film needed a bit more for effects, relying on a lot of color tinting, sound effects, and old style inflatable "sculptures", to fill the screen.
Moorcock hates it, but this embodies the spirit that fueled "New Worlds", the science fiction magazine that brought Moorcock to the worlds attention, rather well, invoking much classic British entertainment of the recent past. The original cut is preferable, but "The Last Days Of Man On Earth" is a completely different edit of the film, not just a retitling. The differences aren't major, but the US removes everything that even borders on superfluous, with much minor trimming being done to almost every scene. In an odd parallel with "A Boy And His Dog", it follows the overall story arc acceptably, but adds a joke in poor taste to the conclusion, and many have found that alone, was enough to sour their perceptions.
It comes close to bringing Moorcocks world to the cinema, but isn't quite there. Here's hoping that someone might make another attempt.
Bloody Mallory (2002)
odd mixture of Japanese and Amercan influences, with odd French tinting
lets blend enormous chunks of "Blade", "Vampires", "Buffy", "Vampirella", and every other movie with armed Vampire hunters. But lets also toss in the whole Japanese girl superhero tradition, and slather it all with odd color tinting, and Hair. There is quite a bit of influence from stuff like "Eko Eko Azarak", and "La Blue Girl", but without the extreme sexual touches. And the odd coloring hearkens back to French pop product of the 60's, like the "Fantomas" series. but the kidnapping of the Pope, and his discussions with his rescuers, are almost priceless. Surprisingly for such a derivative project, it's rather fresh, and even occasionally inventive. it will sell more in America, when it gets re-dubbed, and receives a standard hard rock soundtrack. it pulls some unexpected touches more frequently as it goes along, and is quite enjoyable. the "Kill Bill 1" crowd, should just love it.
Mil gritos tiene la noche (1982)
a special 80's horror classic that had my friends thinking I was nuts!
By now, the hideous technical aspects of this film, have been rendered legendary by the years. but, 23 years ago, I was able to convince about 6 of Tucsons's early hardcore punk rockers, to go with me to see this at the Mall, because the ads had promised a severe gore fest! We'd had good luck with 'Basket Case" (still have some "Basket Case" surgical masks, "To keep the blood off your face!"), had a fine time drinking heavily, and stopping in on "Night Of The Zombies", which truly amused us with it's fake Mondo approach to native zombies. I dragged their skeptical butts in for this, even though they hadn't been too impressed by the ads, or the early mentions in "Fangoria".
The opening sequence, with the kid's mom burning his porn and being killed for it, quickly produced some riotous laughter from my group, and a lot of bizarre looks from the rest of the theater. When Chris and Lynda Day George wandered in, the laughter continued, but you could feel a bit of shock and surprise, creeping into it. After the mysterious Kung Fu attack, blamed on the now legendary "Bad Chop Suey", the tears started to fall, and never stopped! Most of us were laughing so hard, we had problems breathing! Luckily, no permanent injuries resulted.
On the way home, I was grilled by the whole crew who were just astounded at the bloody crudity, and savage ludicrousness, of the whole thing.
The George's starred in some good, some average, and some quite terrible projects over the years, but only this one somehow combined all it's faults, into a grand tapestry of unforgettable cinema, even if it wasn't all that good! I've no idea how these things work out, but none of us will ever forget this movie. You may hate it, you may love it, but it leaves a bit of a stain in your head, that nothing can ever remove, safely. If only these folks had pulled off another film of similar intent and execution, but lightning like this, really only does strike once. Some friends never seemed to forgive me for exposing them to it, some thought I was just nuts for dragging them to it, but we all walked out with a little bit different view of the world, and you have to treasure such wonders when they occur!
Terminator II (1989)
Classic Mattei hodgepodge
Everybody was bootlegging this one for years, as "Aliens 2", "Terminator 2", and the classic "Alienators". In a near future Venice that is sinking away, various soldiers for "The Tubular Corporation" try to cover-up and destroy evidence that the art museums are being looted for their treasures. Nearby genetic scientists unveil their latest mutant creation, which promptly escapes and hides in the ruined city. Eventually, the soldiers get help from the mysterious "Samuel Fuller", quickly revealed as a cybernetic soldier, out to capture and exploit the mutant creation. Soon, it's all-out chaos with the monsters fighting soldiers,with cyborgs out to profit from it all, for the Corporation. Jenna Ryan is great as the prerequisite tough soldier, and should really get better roles. It's got a piece of everything, and pits it all against each other, until a spacey psychedelic climax of cosmic proportions. I have it as "Shocking Dark", with a brief shot of a still that says "Alienators"
Penitentiary III (1987)
a Jamaa Fanaka classic!
After beginning in a very sort of "afro-Rocky" way, unsung berserk exploitation director, Jamaa Fanaka, return to his blaxploitation roots with this one. Tony Geary, former "General Hospital" star, returns to his roots as well, with his strangest film since he got raunchy with future "Ilsa" Dyanne Thorne, in "Blood Sabbath" (1972). Leon Isaac Kennedy returns as "Too Sweet", and ends up boxing, in prison, again. But this time he meets an eventually helpful, mystical dwarf,"The Midnight Thud", who teaches him Kung Fu when not smoking crack. Geary gets all strange as the nasty "Serengeti", and seems to be channeling Chris Walken throughout. Fanaka knocks this out of our normal dimension, but doesn't quite equal some of his other, less profitable work, like "Welcome Home Brother Charles" (aka "Soul Vengeance"), where other mystical midgets also assist the "hero".
Wonder Showzen (2005)
Wow! never seen anything quite like it before
I'm disabled, and I watch a LOT of TV. The network stuff is usually pretty bland and tedious to me, re-running the same routines they've been milking since I was a little kid. The sitcoms are still telling the same jokes! So, I wander into all sorts of odd corners of cable, usually to little result. stumbled into "Wonder Shozen" on MTV2, and was quite impressed. Edgy, daring, weirdness from another zone entirely. it's often more strange, than innovative, but they are actually trying to create something here, and you gotta respect that. the "Kidshow" parody is an old idea, (heck, goes back to "Groove Tube" and such, at least), but having little kids asking Stockbrokers who they exploited today, was truly strange, (though I'd have liked to see more reactions from the brokers.) It's quick, and a lot of it falls flat. but the constant barrage of attempts, guarantees something will fly, eventually. Scattershot, but dedicated.
mostly seen on video, make sure you get the full deal
Most have experienced this incredible document, on videotape. Just wanted to point out that there have been various editions of this thing over the years, and there have been several different cuts. Haven't got mine handy, but the easiest thing to look for, is the British female band, The Ladybirds. Later seen in small appearances on "The Benny Hill Show", (fully clothed), they built their original reputation by playing Nude, and appear in several versions of this, buck naked. The most common tape removes them entirely, though the first release has all the footage. I have been told that other, unauthorized re-issues, fall somewhere between these extremes. but if your copy doesn't have a naked band, it is cut. While not the most rewarding, or educational film around, it definitely deserves to be seen in it's entirety at least once.
La bestia y la espada mágica (1983)
odd fusion of Japanese legend, and Naschy mythos
Japanese werewolf movie, with Spanish cult legend Paul Naschy, cross-blending his ongoing Waldemar Daninsky werewolf mythology, with Japanese scenery, and alleged legends. Naschy remains the most barrel-chested werewolf in cinema history, and continues his ongoing tributes to the Lon Chaney Jr.film that started it all, "The Wolf Man". English subtitled copies have emerged from the Grey market, but they remain rare. A fun, gory, little film, that is worth seeing. if you can locate it. Naschy must have made this, and "Human Beasts", around the same time, if not during the same extended sojourn in Japan. The 80's must've been a rough time in his career, as he extended his range of financing options. Still working, with new additions to his filmography occurring frequently!
De Sade (1969)
Dull, but not worthless
I wish they had saved the German version of this one, but alas, only the AIP version seems to turn up, though most versions are barely longer than the one USA network ran in their infancy. What was once given an "X" rating, barely rises above PG-13 standards for this new millennium. Dullea, fresh from "2001", is out of place amidst the tame exploitation, but gives it a good try. John Huston, in the midst of a long string of aging weirdo roles, steals the show easily. The script by Richard Matheson, is well done, but manhandled by the multiple directors different approaches, and the different exploitation requirements of the various producers. It easily extends the normal AIP formula, but falls short of it's goal to cross into more "Adult" film-making. Not worthless, but not all that thrilling, with much "dead Air"
Zhi fa xian feng (1986)
Different Endings for different areas!
"Righting Wrongs" is a great showcase for all involved, with solid martial arts action throughout. Yuen Biao shines, and I've never seen Cynthia Rothrock, and Richard Norton do better. But, I have to point out that there are 2 quite different versions available.
The original HK version is available subtitled as "Righting Wrongs". but, there is an English-dubbed UK version, known as "Above The Law". This is not just the usual re-dubbing. Most of the film remains extremely similar, but the conclusion has been extensively restructured, and ends quite differently from the original! either film is just amazing, an early showcase for Corey Yuen's skill, exploited so well by Hollywood, now.
Evil Alien Conquerors (2003)
it infests my cable. help me!
Been a fan of Diedrich Bader since he first showed up on a number of attempted Fox sitcoms, before settling in on "Drew Carey". This is closer to his earlier work. it's too long, and too repetitive. Despite this, there are moments of brilliance, shining through the product placement (do they even still make "Crystal Geysers"?). Mike McShane, a fine member of the original "Whose Line is It Anyway" crew, pops in for about 3 scenes, and adds nothing, unfortunately. The cheap effects add to the cheese factor, but it is no classic, never matching the "Bill and Ted" films the director wrote, years ago. (what happened to Alex Winter, anyway?).
The Mask (1961)
the best 3D movie to date
saw photos from this in the Re/Search "Incredibly Strange Films" issue. taped it when shown locally, and later snagged the Elvira edition. oddly enough, the 3D works a little better from the EP recorded tape of the local broadcast. why? no idea. I disagree with the comments about how bad the film is. Other than the 3D. it's a typical, thriller of the time. No better or worse than much else. But, when the narrator says, "Put the mask on now!", it really comes alive, with beautifully composed 3D hallucinations that hang in the mind for a while. Among the best 3D movies ever made, aided by the fact that the glasses are only needed part of the time. Only a perfect showing of "Flesh For Frankenstein" in a local theater, ever even came close, and it was mostly just gore. Not to be missed, if you get the chance.
Typical witch hunter action, but takes a more political stance.(*Spoilers)
Following the success of "The Conqueror Worm", and the "Mark Of The Devil" films, Naschy steps up, and adds another "monster" to his resume, with "Inquisition".
'Tis a bad time in this part of the world. The tyrannical rulers, are draining the public, there is little sustenance for the poor, and witchcraft is blamed for many troubles. Naschy enters as the resident witch hunter, and is soon torturing confessions out of many locals. In the dubbed, American version, there is a surprising amount of nudity, and many of the local women cluster together, as the girl who Naschy fancies, sells her soul, to catch a glimpse of the face of the man who killed her lover. There is reasonable 70's gore, and nudity, but this is no "Mark Of The Devil", though it ends much the same. When they shave Naschy's head, and burn him at the stake, he looks uncannily like the final immolation of "the mole", in Jodorowsky's "El Topo", yet seems prescient of Brando, in "Apocalypse Now".
Fatal Attraction (1987)
alternate version not included?
A little mom and Pop video store near me ran into real problems with this film, because they originally purchased an alternate Canadian version with a different cast.It had Stephen Lack in the Douglas role, and I forget the rest of the cast. Anyone know why this would have been made? I always figured it was some rule about "canadian content" or something, but never found details. Anyone have any information? it's been bothering me for years, and that store is now a storage area for a nearby convenience store, and no one seems to know where the owners of the video store went.
Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969)
Finally able to see the legend
the review in the "Psychotronic Encyclopedia Of Film" had me looking for this one, for years. Finally found it in 2003, and wouldn't you know, it has ended up on USA cable here a year later. (Showtime Beyond is really exhuming the hard to find AIP stuff regularly) So, what to say. The casting is positively bizarre, with Jennifer Jones, modeling the same outfit she later wore in "Towering Inferno"; Protest singer Holly Near as her troubled fat-girl daughter; Charles Aidman as the rich, secretly gay, father; Jordan Christopher as the freaky rock singer/producer,currently working with his new band "The Rabbit Habit" featuring Lou Rawls (who never sings?), and Roddy McDowell in his freakiest psychedelic film. It starts with Christopher appearing to be a liberating force, but by the end, the drug use/criminal activity leaves no one liberated, and some dead. It's fairly pointless overall, but there are some classic moments to be treasured. Favorite dialogue award goes to Jones, with the classic:"In my heart of hearts, I'm a sexual clam", though Roddy's mini-rant about sexuality, ending with his description of being "turned on" by a carrot comes real close. Hardly classic, but rewarding for the curious! Good companion piece to similar epics from that time, from "LSD, I hate you", on back to "Skidoo", and "Gas-s-s-s, or it may become necessary to destroy the world in order to save it!"
Santa sangre (1989)
a disturbing classic from a master
Am I the only one who has read Jodorowsky's comments on this film? The comments here are almost uniformly complimentary, but it seems that nobody has ever seen Jodorowsky's comments. He holds that this film was inspired by Tod Browning's "The Unknown". The armless woman is the most obvious link between the two, but there is a good deal more, for those who care to look. "SS" is a lovely, complex film, and while it is filled with disturbing imagery, it does not require it, or openly exploit it. Those who know "The Unknown", will find many similarities and references. "Unknown" remains one of the most perverse films ever made (featuring a very young Joan Crawford). "Santa Sangre" doesn't quite match its level of perversity, but it comes about as close as you can, without a remake.