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November 29, 2017

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - The Punisher: Season 1 (Netflix, 2017)

Frank Castle returns following his run-in with Daredevil to face old friends, new enemies, and an ally he didn't expect.

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November 21, 2017

Movie Review: Orgy of the Dead (1965)

Directed by Stephen C. Apostolof, aka A. C. Stephen

“Are you heterosexual …?”

A most original tagline used to promote this quintessential “nudie cutie.” Better yet, listen to what Criswell, the fabulously unreliable prophet has to say – “I am Criswell. For years, I have told the almost unbelievable, related the unreal and showed it to be more than a fact. Now I tell a tale of the threshold people, so astounding that some of you may faint.”

Hip couple Bob (William Bates) and Shirley (Pat Barrington, Agony of Love, 1966) head out to the local cemetery to dig up inspiration for a ghost story. Tipping its hat to its Edward D. Wood Jr.- penned script, these scenes alternate between day and night in the manner of his Plan Nine from Outer Space (1959). Pulling up to the boneyard, they are introduced to the “Emperor” (Criswell under any other name) and the “Black Ghoul” (Fawn Silver, a Vampira wannabe) who tie the two up for an evening of supernatural fun ‘n’ games.

What we get in Orgy of the Dead is a series of “interpretive dances” from some cut-rate dancers in what amounts, to what another scribe described as just a “tasteless tit show.” This forgotten author, from a long forgotten Eighties fanzine added another bon mot worth repeating: That all the strippers gave the transvestite Wood the unfettered opportunity to squeeze his big business into their discarded costumes.

We get a Slave dance, a Mexican dance, a Skeleton dance and the piece de resistance: the Buxotic Barringer doing double duty as a dancer gilded in gold, in yet another no-budget homage to Shirley Eaton’s turn in Goldfinger (1964). Some brutally unfunny guys dressed as the Werewolf and the Mummy crack some lame jokes and everything clears up with the coming of the dawn.

It’s a term that’s overused in describing older films, but Orgy of the Dead is definitely a “relic” of a bygone era. The film, along with Apostolof’s other films came at a time when any film where a girl dropped her top had paying theatrical audiences lining up around the block. Apostolof’s other films, Suburbia Confidential (1966) and Office Love-In (1968) benefit from a camera mounted on a tripod and pretty gals, but little else. His films lack the depth and manic appeal of his contemporaries such as Joe Sarno and Russ Meyer. Scenes of men with firmly belted pants climbing into bed with topless girls who then mimic unconvincing lovemaking make up the bulk of his film’s runtimes. Since Apostolof kept Wood on payroll and vodka, some unconventional sexuality would pop up every now and then in his features, but overall his cinematic conservatism reflected his humble roots as a Bulgarian expatriate trying to make good in America.

There is a bit of history between this writer and Apostolof. Under the recommendation of filmmaker Anna (The Love Witch, 2017) Biller, who I likened to Apsotolof with her frequent use of medium shots, a film crew all the way from Bulgaria traveled to my abode for a filmed interview. The resultant documentary, Dad Made Dirty Movies (2011, directed by Jordan Todorov) has received extensive cable TV play in such far-off places such as Australia and Hong Kong. My interview segments are interspersed throughout, usually humorous asides surrounding the innocuous nature of Apostolof’s output. I’m ashamed that my usual chatty self was not up to the task. To this reviewer, Apostolof was never good or bad enough to warrant study.

Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-Ray/DVD combo of Orgy of the Dead transfers all the scorching colors of the original intact, making for an ocular orgy unto itself. The chief extra is a commentary track with Ed Wood biographer Rudolph Grey and director Frank Henenlotter. Most of the material trod upon will be familiar to most sleaze film fanatics, although one tidbit – that Bela Lugosi’s Dracula cape from Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is worn by Criswell in the film, is new to this reviewer. An interview with dancer Nadejda Dobrev, “Impressions of Nadejda,” tells of how she was essentially tricked into appearing in the film, but who now has no regrets. “Orgy of the Ted” is a less-than three minute interview with the late exploitation maven Ted V. Mikels about his brief association with the feature.

A product of bygone burly-cue productions and American’ then current “monster craze,” Orgy of the Dead continues its samba through the graveyard before the startled eyes of a long-jaded public. Criswell, who heavily promoted the film on Johnny Carson’s late-night chat program “The Tonight Show” – imagine being a befuddled TV viewer being admonished to see something called Orgy of the Dead? – sums it up verily: “Torture, torture, it pleasures me.”


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November 14, 2017

Cinema Head Cheese: The Podcast! #147 - Cinephiles

Kevin, Jeff, and Dalyn discuss the horrible stories of abuse coming out of Hollywood, stand-up comedy, and the adult film industry. They also discuss Tucson Comic-Con, a podcast mini-series from Jon Ronson, and a "comedian" that stops in for a thankfully short visit.

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November 13, 2017

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel/Disney, 2017)

The third movie in the Thor series features Hulk, Doctor Strange, and a completely different tone than its predecessors.

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November 11, 2017

Movie Review: Space Boobs in Space (2017)

I actually volunteered to review this. I just don’t know who I am anymore...

Space Boobs in Space begins with a blonde, busty, plastic-bustier wearing crew person, I guess, reviewing a missive from...wherever. The message is pretty clear: don’t watch the file we’ve included on this disc.

THEN WHY INCLUDE IT???

Anyway, she watches it. It’s basically a copy of an alien talk show, Space Talk, hosted by the green skinned Zee Zee Poof. This particular episode is all about the film, Space Boobs in Space, a collaboration between her species and Earthlings. But not just that! Included are a handful of short films, again made with the Earthlings, as well as interviews with cast and crew.

SBiS tells us the alien race is desperate for human breast milk because their own green titty drink makes them live longer with less fine lines and wrinkles. They’ve had to curb their sexual reproduction, for crying out loud! They lure Earthlings to their planet where they reap the benefits of Earth’s dirty pillows and in exchange, Earth gets the Irilidian green boobie juice and all its health benefits.

The short films in between the talk show’s interviews include: "Operate" (a woman hires a hooker to play the game, Operation, against her hoo-ha), "A Killer Deal" (real estate agent trying to sell some land to Jason Voorhees), "Horror Hands" (woman gets a call from a killer in her house then her hands create dramatic music with everything she touches), "Cheesecake" (woman eating cheesecake seductively in a bathtub shot exploitation style), "Horror of Sandy Creek" (guy filming a documentary about a mud monster), "Ghosted" (dead woman helps living woman NOT become a victim), and finally "Lapdance at the Gates of Hell" (stripper gives vampire a lapdance).

Then we return to the opening mammary madame, she finishes watching the file, grabs some kind of laser rifle, and walks off screen.

I, uh...yeah.

Oh, wait. Can't forget the final wrap up with Grand Dame Muff Tit (Ming Vase Dynasty) with 10 minutes of absolutely annoying, useless, rage-inducing filler of bullshit just so she can have more screen time (that's my guess anyway because there's nothing funny or entertaining about it at all).

The entire premise is completely ridiculous, silly, asinine, campy, tongue-in-cheek, satirical, and boobilicious. But there’s no nudity. If you’re looking for full-frontal, simulated sex, or anything above PG-13, you won’t find it here. I couldn’t find a lot of info on the cast of SBiS but I’m 98% sure they’re all Burlesque performers. It’s all about the tease and the titillation, not the reveal.

Starring actresses like Dee Flowered (also one of the writers), Pandora Disaster, Tittiana Sprinkles, and Cocquette De Jour, you just KNOW this is gonna be fun. Mostly, anyway.

While the acting is horrendous, especially from Ming Vase Dynasty (the lone drag queen as far as I could tell), the stories were mostly enjoyable. My favorite had to be "A Killer Deal". Best acting and probably the funniest premise of all the shorts. "Ghosted" was a little predictable and "Horror Hands" just made me shake my head. The rest were pretty good.

The overall film’s pace was decent but it did start to slow down around the Mud Monster vignette. I found myself getting a bit bored as the same style played out over and over in each section (short, major film, talk show). I mean it’s nice to have ice cream every night but what would be even better is to throw in a brownie or maybe some pie (heh) every now and again.

Overall, this was kind of fun to watch. The jokes were silly, the ideas playful, and the titties WERE glorious. 

2.5 hatchets (out of 5)


(Sorry - can't find a trailer anywhere for this. It's basically just on Amazon Prime.)




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November 4, 2017

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - aka Wyatt Cenac (Topic, 2017)

Comedian Wyatt Cenac becomes a vigilante hero in this digital web series set in Brooklyn.

Watch it here: https://www.topic.com/aka-wyatt-cenac

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