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September 2, 2014

Movie Review: "Deadly Eyes" (1982; Golden Harvest/Scream Factory)

...going into Shout/Scream Factory's recent release of the 1982 Canadian-produced 'nature-gone-amuck' horror chiller, "Deadly Eyes", sight unseen (...I missed it, when it was originally released theatrically, having instead been intensely engaged in the ol' 'hut-one, hut-two' 12-week-plus military boot camp 'game', at the time), this ardent and devoted viewer of the genre, to be quite honest, really didn't expect much. In fact, given the Fortune Star/Golden Harvest opening logos, I almost thought that I had inadvertently plugged in one of those cheezy chop-socky flicks, which for years, Golden Harvest was best known for. Sure, for a long time, it was dimly known by this unsuspecting fright film fan, that the movie had something to do with killer rats...that the film was based upon a best-selling page-turner, by genre author James Herbert...that, in a surprising genre switch, cult film director Robert 'Enter the Dragon' Clouse, handled the reins of the film. Heck, this viewer was even a bit privy to the concept, that inspiration for the outrageous special effects...especially those depicting the rats...was picked up and taken from that ol' class, notorious known as 'Killer Shrews 101'. Later on, even the dark and somewhat vague box art, displayed on the video shelves, didn't phase nor mesmerize this mega monster movie mogul, who often picked up said video rental from the shelves, took a quick & casual look at it, and with a shrug of the shoulders, placed it back, with an uninterested sigh. I mean, really...a killer rat movie?? What could I see in that, which I had not already seen in, say movies like 1971's "Willard" (...also based on a novel), it's 1972 follow-up, "Ben", or even the 1976 drive-in-flavored creature feature, "Food of the Gods"?? (...I could also mention the 1972 Andy Mulligan stinker, "The Rats are Coming...the Werewolves are Here!"...I could, but naw, scratch that...I won't even go there. Eh, forget I even brought it up...)

...boy, was I in for a big surprise...an understatement, to be sure...
...a wave of gnawing, voracious terror is sweeping through the streets of Toronto, as several of it's citizens...including a helpless little toddler...are attacked and, in some cases, partially devoured by...well, something...something very large, and very hungry. One of the attacks comes to the attention of high school teacher and recent divorcee, Paul Harris (Sam Groom), who in suspecting that one of his students might have been bitten by...well, something, calls upon a collegiate friend of his...a Dr. Spencer (Cec Linder), the local expert in rats. At the same time, Paul makes acquaintance with a rather attractive woman...Elly (Sara Botsford), a health department official, who recently secured a large shipment of steroid-infused grain, and had it burned, under suspicion that the grain was harboring a possible rat infestation. Between the three, it is theorized that the suspected rats...now super-sized by the tainted grain...had moved into the city, as the result of grain shipment having been burned. Of course, possible press on the suspected rat infestation of the grain, as well as the underlinging investigation being conducted, doesn't bode well with the city's mayor, who openly suggests that the theories proposed by Paul, Elly and Dr. Spencer are preposterous, and that those involved in the investigation, shouldn't stick their noses where they didn't belong...
...when the unexplained deaths of one of Elly's field inspectors (Scatman Crothers)...whom she had sent down into the sewers, in the midst of the ensuing investigation...as well as that of Dr. Spencer, shed further light on the theories behind the attacks, Elly orders the complete fumigation of the sewage tunnels, beneath the city; once again driven from from the darkness, the rats lay siege upon the patrons of a local movie theater, as well as a bowling alley. As the investigation continues, it becomes conclusive that the main nest, harboring the majority of the monster rat population, is in the vicinity of the city's subway tunnel system...a system which is about to expand, via a newly constructed tunnel section, personally inaugurated and opened up by the city's mayor, himself. And the heart of the invading, voracious rat population?? Well, by gosh, it just happens to lie just beyond the new section of tunnel...right in the path of the subway train...
...pretty standard stuff, right?? A mysterious and destructive force of nature, striking relentlessly, coldly and without mercy...the ensuing, and quite graphic attacks on the locals...the prerequisite, unorthodox, rag-tag investigation and/or hunt...the self-serving, stiff-shirted, opposing political 'suits', whose monetary interests and political reachings far exceed that of anyone's personal safety, even in light of further attacks. Seems we're hardly a beat missing, in this quirky little horror thriller (...here, under it's original title, "Night Eyes"), which seems to take it's cues right out of the 'Jaws' playbook...albeit in an inner city setting, and a menace...much furrier, and in greater numbers. So, why all the fuss, right?? How has this trashy little ditty of a 'nature strikes back' flick, achieved such a beloved 'this so unbelievably bad, it's dammit-to-all-hell good' cult status??...
...it's those freakin' super-sized rats, man...plain and simple. Understand, it's one thing to see the rats, at times during this film, depicted as nasty-looking, mega-fanged puppet heads, shaken menacingly at the camera, in close-up. However, when hapless viewers of "Deadly Eyes" get an eyeful gander of the giant rats, galloping frantically across the screen, in hordes (...and for the sake of those un-privy to 'Animal Planet' savvy...uh, rats don't normally gallop), the initial reaction might well be, "...uh, what the @#$%??" And they'd be right, in reacting that way...especially after knowing that there's nary a real rat, in the course of the whole film, and in truth, the rats are actually costumed dachshunds, with a few terriers thrown into the mix. Yes, folks, it's seems that the creative powers-that-be couldn't help but inspirationally hearken back to old-school effects, especially that of the 1959 horror schlocker, "The Killer Shrews"...a film where (...hopefully) trained canines were draped in curtain-like fur, and affixed with finger-length, elongated teeth, in order to depict what was supposed to be enlarged mutated killer rodents. And you know something?? Given the darkness of the majority of the film's shots, which shed a certain vagueness of the creatures...as corny and campy as such scenes come across, in the film...amazingly enough, the special effects ruse genuinely works, here...and in the end, that's a good chunk of the overall embraceable, irresistible charm of this little trashy mongrel of a film...
...the cast is amiably capable, throughout these horrific proceedings, though it's no so much the performances themselves, which are particularly stand-out; instead, it's the fact that those cast in the varied roles, with the exception of way-too-recognizable movie & TV veterans Scatman Crothers and Cec Leder, are the type of performers that, when seen, one might well recognize the face, but can't quite place the name. Actor Sam Groom, a veritable and recognizable staple in television roles, stemming back to the '50's...taking a break from TV roles here, as teacher and coach Paul Harris...deftly fending off conspiring high school girls, one minute, and the next, crawling around the sewers, decked out in a contamination suit (...and in the film, such a vocational transition happens...how??). Sara Botsford, as our intrepid and gung-ho, albeit beautiful and attractive health department official, Elly Leonard, has also woven an impressive career in television, with occasional diversion, as far as movies (...for this viewer, I was immediately struck by a sense of familiarity, reaching as far back as a character performance, which she did in 1986's "Jumpin' Jack Flash)...
...even the smaller roles might well invoke the thought of 'hey, I remember seeing that person in...now, what was it??' Those closely privy of the genre might well remember actress Lisa Langlois in the same year's "Class of 1984", or the previous year's "Happy Birthday to Me"; in "Deadly Eyes", she's one of the aforementioned 'conniving female high school students', Trudy, who has a penchant for chasing older men...especially, ahem...a certain high school teacher. Lesleh Donaldson, here playing Trudy's best friend, Martha, may also strike a familiar cord with seasoned genre fans, having also starred in "Happy Birthday to Me", as well as 1983's "Curtains" and 1980's "Funeral Home". And Joseph Kelly...here, as Trudy's frustrated boyfriend...well, does anyone recall the doped-up high school student, dizzyingly climbing the flag pole, in "Class of 1984"?? Yep, that was him...
...Shout/Scream Factory...to the delight of us all, who relish and eagerly anticipate each and every one of their releases...has, as usual, pulled some respectable stops, in giving this film it's misfit-monikered honored due, with a rather striking and vivid 1:78:1 ratio print, despite the fact that most of the film is shot at night, or in an underground setting...which, to a small...though fortunately, not distracting nor diminishing degree, amplifies the campiness and corniness of the special effects. Multiple interviews are included, herein, including some interesting, humorous and waxrapsonic meanderings, regarding the making of the film, as well as their respective careers, by actors Lesleh Donaldson, Lisa Langlois and Joseph Kelly; special effects contributors Allan Apone and Alec Gillis, as well as art director Ninkay Dalton, and writer Charles Eglee also add to the creative and resourceful behind-the-scenes amusings, with regards to the making of the film...
...for this viewer, being a self-claimant auteur of the horror and dark fantasy genres, and yet, humble enough to admit to have not seen everything, it's always an absolute delight to be blown away by a film, which had otherwise slipped by; such candid admission cannot help but be rendered, with regards to having been afford the opportunity to finally see "Deadly Eyes", and...oh hell, let's just go ahead and say that I'm presently kicking myself resounding in the ass, for having passed this one up, so long ago. One can only hope that there are others, much like myself, who for whatever reason, are just now indoctrinating themselves with this deliciously cheezy flick, and as such, in advent, are also kicking themselves in the butt, (...hey, misery loves company, right??). And for those already well "Deadly Eyes' seasoned...well, feel free to strap yourselves in, and prepare to enjoy the ride, yet again.....

September 1, 2014

Movie Review: Caligula (1979)



I am not a Tinto Brass fan, but I always wanted to add this film of his in my collection. The problem was the shit quality and cut editions of it floating in the market. That was until the 4-DVD Imperial Edition (Region 2 - PAL) came out and I bought it immediately.

The first disc offers the uncut version which I saw when I bought the box-set; the second disc contains an alternative version which I haven’t seen as yet, the third disc offers the theatrical version which is the one I watched for the purpose of this review, and the fourth disc is full of extras.

Now, on with the theatrical version... It doesn’t contain all the excessive violence and the explicit sex, and with so many scenes missing the whole thing doesn’t make as much sense as the uncut version does. Anyway, the whole thing about the history behind the cuts of this troubled production has been studied extensively elsewhere, so here I would like to focus on the impression the film made to me.

Interracial Sex Havoc #6: 1978



The Interracial Sex Havoc project is trying to catalog as many films as possible that contain at least one interracial sex scene. Not all films included here are pornographic, but they had to have at least one interracial sex scene in order to qualify.

This chapter is about movies released in 1978 and I wrote about golden age porn [one film by Alex deRenzy], and a Joe D’Amato sleaze-fest. So, enjoy!

Pretty Peaches (1978)
The title’s girl [Desiree Cousteau from Caged Heat (1974)] is wearing red t-shirt and matching shorts (so short that half her ass cheeks are out for everyone to see at the car service parlour she stopped for a while) on her way to her father’s wedding to a black woman [Flower]. After some gambling (it’s a proper Las Vegas ceremony after all) and some shots of alcohol, she leaves, driving her fancy jeep. But she loses control of the vehicle and crashes on a tree. She gets out of the car and falls on the ground unconscious. Two opportunists find her and rape her. When she wakes up properly, she realized that she has amnesia. Her journey to remember her name begins and the trio drives to San Francisco.
Peaches is soon introduced to a bogus doctor/friend of the rapists, who places a paper bag on her head and tries to perform oral sex to her, she refuses, but she happily proceeds to some anal play which ends up with some impressive ass squirting.

August 31, 2014

Movie Review: The Man from Laramie (1955; Columbia/Twilight Time)

...hypothetical question time: What makes a good western, a great western?? Is it the sweeping, spansive view of the prairie, stretching out almost endlessly across the dusty frontier?? Not necessarily; one can find that in just about any well-shot oater. How about the prerequisite conflict between the dedicated lawful, and the self-serving, greedy & corrupt...invariably culminating in the ol' cliché of meeting in the middle of town, at sun-up, for the prerequisite gun-slinging showdown?? Naw...call such things, a dime-a-dozen, in the common western film tradition. The fleeting, hero versus villain, horse-galloping pursuit, with guns a-blazin'?? The free-for-all, barroom brawl, instigated by too many aces in the deck, during a 'friendly' little game?? The grizzled ol' drunken geezer, 'teched' in the head by too much sun, and too many crazed illusions of tapping into that ever-evasive gold vein?? Same old, same old, for those who are ardently devoted to the flicker of the celluloid western film fervor...

...so what exactly makes for a superior western epic, as opposed to something more generic, routine and derivative?? Depth and complexity of character, perhaps?? Motivation of said character, hiding a much more determined, albeit underlining purpose?? Both suppressed and exposed levels of strengths, weaknesses, jealousies and insecurities?? Basically, knowing what makes such characters, tick?? 1955's "The Man from Laramie"...one of Twilight Time's most recent limited edition releases, and the fifth & final western-themed collaboration between actor James Stewert, and director Anthony Mann...brilliantly balances a more psychologically inclined study of it's varied characters, amidst the backdrop and routine staples of high western drama, culminating in a somewhat unconventional and much more compelling approach to the genre, than typically rendered...

August 29, 2014

Movie Review: A Survey of an Open Space (2013)

Directed by Peat Duggins

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

In 2009, bicyclists Zach Hall and Michaela Duggins (the director’s sister) set off to span the breadth of our nation, from the Mexican border of their hometown of Austin, Texas, to the furthermost reaches of the Alaskan border. Ninety days and 4,000 miles later, both Hall and Duggins successfully completed their mission. What did they learn? Many things, chief among them the fact that America is still a place of wide open spaces and startling beauty. Touching three oceans before reaching the Arctic, the duo saw much natural wonder and desolation.

A Survey of An Open Space is as sparse and beautifully simple a documentary as one could hope for. While it would be expected that this project would have some sort of agenda, it has none other than objectively capturing the trip. It’s ironic that the film’s chief virtue works against the film’s favor: the two protagonists are just too gol-durn good natured and focused! One would think that Hall and Duggins would erupt into a big fight somewhere along the way, but it never occurs. Duggins in particular is so virtuous and pure she verges on the fringes of Pollyanna. Both bicyclists face bad weather and unfortunate situations but greet it with good ol’ fashioned American optimism. The audience is kept waiting for a big blow-up that never occurs … one wonders if any of this was edited out.

Movie Review: Curtains (1983, Blu-ray)

Directed by Richard Ciupka

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Overbearing stage and screen director Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) seems intent on casting his longtime star and erstwhile lover Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) in his new production of “Audra.” Said hot property is about a woman who murders her lover for infidelity and is then sent to a sanitarium. Adherents to the “method,” both Stryker and Sherwood plot to have Sherwood committed to an insane asylum to add authenticity to the role. Sherwood at first adapts to the “snake pit,” but it turns out that it was all a ruse on Stryker’s part to keep her out of the way in order to ogle some fresh new starlets in a most unorthodox audition process at an isolated countryside mansion. Left languishing, Sherwood is sprung from the nuthouse by a friend (in a quickly done single-take scene) and meets Stryker and his chorus line of bimbos at the house. Slowly but surely, a killer in an old hag mask (perhaps symbolic of Eggar’s status as an aging actress?) begins to thin out the cast. A surprise ending that MAKES NO SENSE follows.

As gorgeous and as hopeless as its victims, Curtains is a mess of the first water. Filmed around 1981, then shelved, with additional scenes filmed and inserted later, Curtains was shot on a not-inconsiderable budget of $4 million and is as disjointed and nonsensical as any shot-on-video cheapie. Let us count the ways: one character plunges out a second story window and somersaults through a first floor window; a young male character is introduced in the first scenes at the mansion and then inexplicably disappears; and so on. Slasher films generally are very poorly plotted with ample plot holes but compensate with energy and clever kill scenes. Other than its classic scene of an ice skating session cut short – literally, Curtains is slow and tame even by 1981 standards! It does feature the first example of a severed head found-in-a-toilet, but is otherwise dull and lifeless.

Movie Review: Born Yesterday (1950, Twilight Time)

Directed by George Cukor


Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The classic tale! Corrupt, kind-of gangster Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) breezes into Washington D.C. to buy a congressman – or two to facilitate his growing junkyard empire. Renting out the top floor of a luxury hotel, Brock becomes concerned that his unpolished chorus line girlfriend Billie (the incredible Judy Holliday in her Academy Award-winning performance) may not go over well with the local intelligentsia. Hiring journalist Paul Verrall (William Holden) to school her in the finer things, Billie hits the books big time. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Billie goes from dumb blonde to an increasingly aware, socially responsible woman. No longer blind to Brock’s corrupt dealings, Billie decides to take a stand. Confronting the bully, and hatching a scheme to keep herself immune, Billie confidently sails out of Brock’s life with Paul on her arm, in order to marry.

No doubt about it, Born Yesterday is one of the most wonderful movies ever made. Based on playwright Garson Kanin’s hit Broadway play, the celebrated movie adaptation is above all else a tale of redemption. Movie audiences in the past had long laughed at a long parade of dumb blondes and gangster molls before. Born Yesterday was among the first films to suggest that intelligence and wise decisions are available to the least aware, provided they set their minds to it. It also offers a timely message to the viewer as well: In order to defeat bullies, it’s essential to educate yourself and then follow through on what you know is right.

In this sense, Born Yesterday is a far more radical film than My Fair Lady (1964), to which it is frequently compared. In My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is transformed from a hardscrabble Cockney to regal lady-in-waiting under the tutelage of Dr. Henry Riggins (Rex Harrison) – but remains a common girl at heart. Not so in the case with Billie, whose slow transformation ultimately dismantles Brock’s ruthlessly constructed fiefdom of corrupt lawyer, for-sale politicians and gun thugs.

August 28, 2014

TV on Blu-ray: The Walking Dead - Season Four (2013/2014, Blu-ray)

The Walking Dead is undeniably one of the most popular shows on all of television -- for good reason, of course. When Robert Kirkman unleashed The Walking Dead on the comic book world a few years back, possibly the last thing on his mind had to be that it would be one of the most popular shows (on American Movie Classics of all places). Well, it is even with some imperfections, this thrilling story of a group of survivors battling a zombie apocalypse has easily amassed a loyal fan-base and continued on to where it is now going into its 5th season of production.

After releasing the three previous seasons on Blu-ray and DVD Anchor Bay and AMC has now gone forth with season four with this packed, 16 episode, supplement filled Blu-ray set that should put zombie fans in a frenzy for what could very well be the best season of The Walking Dead to date.

Following a brutal showdown at the prison with the Governor (David Morrisey), Rick, Herschel and the crew lick their wounds and call it a minor victory over the now beaten down aggressor. The Governor retreats with what’s left of his gang of goons vowing revenge but it aint that easy because soon this once super intimidating villain becomes a weak, bearded hobo roaming the streets for shelter. He does find his way to a family who just sees a new kinder gentler Governor.

August 26, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Bernie

Kevin discusses the biopic about a mortician turned philanthropic murderer starring Jack Black.

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Movie Review: Man Hunt (Blu-ray, Twilight Time)

Reviewed By: Hal Astell

I've seen a lot of Fritz Lang movies, having been stunned by M and Metropolis and so deliberately seeking out as many more as I could find. I was impressed to no small degree by films like Hangmen Also Die!, Scarlet Street and The Big Heat. I even thoroughly enjoyed 1956's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the most recent film of his that I've seen thus far, though the quality of his films generally decreased as time went on, other films from the fifties like The Blue Gardenia, Moonfleet and While the City Sleeps leaving me surprisingly disappointed. The problem is that while some of his films are perennials on TV, my supply of Fritz Lang movies dried up at sixteen and I've only managed to see one more since 2007: Human Desire, again not one of his best, especially now I've seen the far superior original French movie that it remade. This one thankfully is much better.

Shortly before the war, as close as late July 1939, a British hunter called Alan Thorndike is holidaying in Bavaria and there is gifted with the biggest game of them all: Adolf Hitler, right there in the sights of his Hammond & Hammond. He even shoots him dead from 550 yards, or at least would have done had he a bullet in his rifle. When he loads that bullet, he's still only doing it to play the game, because it's the thrill of the chase that drives him. If he can get close enough to a game that doesn't want him to get close enough, then he knows he can kill and so actually doing so isn't necessary. Given what we know from history it won't surprise you too much to find that Hitler lives and we'll never know if Thorndike could have made the shot or not because he's interrupted by a patrolling German soldier, this being one of the most guarded buildings in the world, after all, and he's promptly delivered into the care of George Sanders.

The Billy Bagg Double Feature (The Violation of Claudia/Hot Honey) DVD


Label: Distribpix Inc / Sweetheart Theaters

Prebook: September 9, 2014 Streets: October 7, 2014 SRP: $19.99

UPC: 828320020016 Cat: 2001 Run Time: 134 Minutes Language: English

Color Widescreen 1.85:1 Dual Mono All Regions

Production year: 1977 / 1978

Genre: Adult Erotica / Drama Not Rated

Director: Bill Lustig

Stars: Jamie Gillis, Sharon Mitchell, Serena, Heather Young, Long Jeane Silvers

Before he became one of the most famous and important horror filmmakers of the 1980s, Bill Lustig(Manic Cop, Vigilante) directed these two X rated oddities. Both films have been newly restored in 2K from their original negatives and each audio commentary with Bill Lustig is moderated by Danish film director, Nicolas Winding Refn(Drive, Only God Forgives, Valhalla Rising, Bronson).

August 22, 2014

The Corpse-Banging Classic Debuts on Blu-ray! NEKROMANTIK Coming this October from Cult Epics!


NEKROMANTIK Premieres on Blu-ray (dual-layer) and new 2-Disc Special Edition DVD


 Los Angeles, CA (September 2014.) The controversial horror film that shocked the world in 1987, when it was banned in Germany, censored in Japan and simultaneously became a huge underground hit in the US (now long out of print.) Nekromantik tells the story of Rob (Daktari Lorenz) who works at a street-cleaning Agency, and visits roadside accidents to clean up the scene. Incidentally Rob collects the body parts and shares them with his girlfriend Betty (Beatrice M.) When Rob presents a complete corpse taken out of a swamp, their undying love reaches its peak, but soon after Betty gets a more liking towards the corpse and leaves Rob, which takes him to the sick end of his destruction. Cult Epics is proud to release Jorg Buttgereit’s horror classic in High Definition and with 4 hours of extras, including Jorg’s debut short film Hot Love. First 2000 copies include original collectible artwork by Johnny Ryan & Nekrophilia photo of Beatrice M.


Movie Review: All the King’s Men (1949, Twilight Time)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Earnest reporter and spoiled rich kid Jack Burden (John Ireland) asks later in this feature, “Doesn’t good come out of evil?” The occasion is marked by Governor Willie Stark’s (Broderick Crawford) nakedly aggressive attempts to quash his rivals during a time of extreme crisis. All the King’s Men, the Best Film of its year as dictated by the Academy Awards, offers a succinct introduction to the United States political system.

When we first meet Stark, he’s a poor but honest rube who wants to make life better for his fellow sustenance farmers. He’s not afraid to tear down idols in high places, and accuses his government of taking bribes in order to build the new school house. Running for office, he’s defeated – until a terrible tragedy at the school house brought on by faulty construction propels him back into the spotlight. He’s recruited by the local corrupt government in order to draw “the hick vote.” Ruthless political flack Sadie Burke (Mercedes McCambridge) pours liquor down the usually teetotaler Stark and is duly impressed the next day when he’s able to deliver a rousing speech on the plight of the working man. No turning back, Stark rises to the echelons of big government in his state, building roads and schools – but resorting to dishonest methods in order to do so. Do the ends justify the means?

August 21, 2014

Movie Review: Grindhouse Trailer Classics Vol. 1 (Intervision / Nucleus Films)

A few years back the U.K genre specialists at Nucleus Films produced their first of four volumes (up to now) of cult film trailer compilations entitled Grindhouse Trailer Classics. At the time it wasn't available for anyone outside of England unless you had an all-region DVD player...that is, until now. Severin Films’ sleazy little brother, Intervision have now locked their teeth into the region one debut of this collection with their new release making it even more available to the masses. If you have yet to see it, it’s a deliciously diabolical compilation of trash that shows some major love for the lost art of the trailer and grindhouse theaters of yesteryear.

This particular collection is pretty exhaustive as there are well over 2 hours of trailers with the different genres often associated with the grindhouse -- horror, sexploitation, kung fu, Blaxploitation, Nazisploitation and so on. Here's a list of most of what you’re going to catch on this first volume:

August 20, 2014

Movie Review: Motel Hell (1980, Blu-ray)

...ya' know?? For years, "Motel Hell" was a sort of a flavor-of-the-moment 'holy grail' film, for this ardent fright film fan. It was 1980...the year that this viewer 'crossed over', having just turned 17, and now able to, at least legally, partake in 'R' rated film fare, all by my butt-squirmin', horror-movie-lovin' lonesome. That year, of course, was overwhelmingly dominated by the splatter classic, "Friday the 13th", which was hacking and slashing it's way through enormously huge box office bank, much to the dismay of countless distractor critic reviews. For this undiscriminating genre lover, who had always kept a constant finger on the pulse of horror films, via magazines and TV snippets, even at a young age (...uh, without the aid of internet, might I add), this little upcoming, mad-looking oddity, called "Motel Hell", seemed right up my alley. Articles in Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, whetted my appetite for the film...a panning review of the film, offer by stuck-up critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, on their then-relegated-to-PBS 'Sneak Previews' show, only goaded me on, as far as seeking the film out...and a lovingly displayed movie poster of the film, hung up on the wall in my bedroom...scrounged up by my dad, who serviced a number of the local L.A.-based movie distributors at the time, only served to stir my imagination, as to what I might expect from the film, and at the same time, agitated my fearful sense of anticipation, whereby I would daringly ask myself, "...do I really want to see this??" Uh, dumb question...

......it's late, and Vincent Smith...a middle-aged farmer, juggling a renowned and successful smoked meat business, along with a roadside hotel... is restless. Finally, he gets up out of the rocker, seated on the hotel manager's porch, and giving the neon hotel sign the stinkeye (..."...damn flickering second 'O', in 'Motel Hello's got a dang short...gonna have to fix that...people liable ta' think that..."...), Vincent shrugs his shoulders, goes inside the office, grabs his hunting rifle, fires up the pick-up truck, and barrels down the road. Pulling off to the side, turning off the truck lights, and finding a hidden, inconspicuous spot, he looks across the dark fields, barely lit by the moonlight, and...Wait!! What's that, up ahead?? Taking careful aim, Vincent fires off a couple shots...

Article: The Men (and Women) of Steel - A Retrospective

With the May 2015 opening of It’s a Bird, It’ a Plane, It’s… Superman, the 1966 musical, at the Community Theatre of Howell in Howell, Michigan (of which I am proudly serving as director), I thought it appropriate to tie together the cinematic, silver screen and stage appearances of the Man of Steel in one retrospective. Out of all of our comic book heroes, Supes has gotten the absolute most screen time (far more than Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc.). Still, with the thousands of comic book adventures, feature films, television shows and stage productions there are only a handful of people that have donned the tights and represented truth, justice and the American way in the media.

I know I say this all the time, but it is an incredible honor to be able to work in Superman’s world. Being part of that small handful of artists that populate Metropolis, Smallville and Krypton is something I will cherish for the rest of my days. How will we stack up against the following roll call of the world’s biggest Boy Scout? Join us at The Blog of Steel and watch the journey unfold. Until then… this looks like a job for, well, for me.

August 19, 2014

Movie Review: Save Your Legs! (2012, Twilight Time)

Directed by Boyd Hicklin

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Lovable loser Edward “Teddy” Brown (Stephen Curry) lives for his local neighborhood cricket club and his two best friends, Rick (Brendan Cowell) and Stavros (Damon Gameau). Teddy’s world is shaken when the substance-abusing, drunken Rick announces his impending marriage to a girl he recently knocked up. In lieu of thinking there may be more to life than getting pissed on the weekend with his fellow Aussie mates, Teddy leads his “D-string” team to a tour of India. Setting up a three match tour, coupled with the chance to meet cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, the usual “fish-out-of-water” shenanigans take place. Rick remains a surly, drunken piece of work, Teddy samples some of the local Indian cuisine and spends the majority of finding serviceable areas in which to defecate. Unaccustomed to the chaotic civilization of modern-day India, there is lots and lots of gags surrounding cultural differences. Local lovely Anjali (Pallavi Sharda) is thrown into the mix, and gives the boy something to ogle to perhaps draw away attention from Teddy’s, uh, somewhat inappropriate fixation on Rick. The clueless Australians stumble and fall adorably, and they take up a challenge from an arrogant Bollywood star to take on his cricket team. Everything turns out alright at the end … was there any question it wouldn’t?

Visiting Hollywood’s Amoeba Records DVD section, this reviewer saw a shelf full of discs with the title, “Sports Team is led by a Caring Individual to Victory.” Save Your Legs! Is one of those, and is exceptionally plain and unremarkable in spite of the many exotic locales and unique situations. The cricket team is a bunch of middle-aged losers who spend their weekends drunk and “attempting” to play the game (it doesn’t matter if the viewer doesn’t understand cricket as it doesn’t appear that any of the characters do). Well into their thirties, they cling to youthful hopes and ambitions, but must accept the fact that “the train has left the station” at this point. The guys get into scuffles, patch up their differences, and find plenty of time to look with startled expressions at the culture of India. Save Your Legs! Is painfully predictable, and is intended solely to provide diversion on a weekend night. The closest thing it makes to a statement on the team’s “Peter Pan” syndrome is when Teddy confronts the boozing Rick on what type of father he’ll make for his forthcoming child.

Movie Review: See You Next Tuesday (2013)

Directed by Drew Tobia

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Declared “The Most Effectively Offensive Film” of the 2013 Boston Underground Film Festival, See You Next Tuesday takes no prisoners. Described as a film that “the whole family can enjoy cutting themselves to,” there are plentiful laughs to be found here, just be warned that it has several sights and sounds that shocked this most seasoned reviewer …

Mona (Eleanore Pienta) is a verging-on-psychotic check-out girl at a Brooklyn market. Days away from giving birth – no word on the father or medical treatment, as Mona hates those doctors putting their fingers in her vagina, she stumbles from her colorless job to her shithole apartment in a daze. Put upon by her ghetto fabulous coworkers, Mona turns to her immediate family for solace. There’s her mother May (Dana Eskelson), a selfish, verbally abusive woman who lives for her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and the gossip opportunities it brings.

August 18, 2014

Movie Review: The Sacrament (Blu-ray, 2014)



Reviewed by: Jimmy D.

Ti West is one of those directors that horror fans are torn on, some love his slow-burn style of storytelling and others just wish he would get to the horror and ditch the long drawn out story.  This time Ti trades in the supernatural for a religious cult leader. The film opens with Sam and Jake who are reporters for a magazine that specialize in stories that go under the radar for publications. Patrick is a photographer who receives a letter from his sister Caroline. The letter states that she is staying in this cult like commune outside of the United States. Patrick invites the two reporters hoping for a good story for the magazine.

As soon as the trio arrives they encounter men armed with guns and seem very confrontational. Well, once they get past this they meet the people in this community, and each person goes on and on about how great it is there, how there are no problems or issues and that the leader looks out for them, his name is “ Father”. After, an interview of sorts with this leader Father, the guys soon discover he is not what he seems on the surface. After the interview, a few others in this commune start to ask the guys to let them leave with them.

August 16, 2014

Movie Review: Purely Physical / Cat House Fever

Vinegar Syndrome seems to be digging more and more into their already massive library of adult films for 80's porn titles. Much of what's been released has been from the 70's so it's definite plus seeing titles from the era where porn on film soon became porn on video. Their double-bill of Purely Physical and Cat House Fever come from director Chris Warfield (aka Billy Thornberg, Garters and Lace, Sheer Panties) and are still thankfully on film.

First up, we get Purely Physical starring Laura Lazare (who also narrates) as Kathy, a young woman just starting a new job at a hotel that caters to people who just like to show up and bang. She likes fantasizing about the guests so it's a perfect fit for this horny young lass. There’s a nice variety of clientele: from virgins enjoying their first time, a chubby rich guy and his whore and even a business woman (Played by the legendary Aunt Peg) who likes to diddle her lady parts while peeking in a make-up mirror.