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Showing posts from 2016

Turkish Star Wars: What Madness is This?

Remember as you watch Turkish Star Wars that the only limitations in film are dictated by budget and imagination. Not that there’s a ton of imagination here, but the thing has gumption, at least. Actually, Turkish Star Wars is the unofficial, affectionate title given to a 1982 film called The Man Who Saved the World. Quite blunt, that title, like the rest of the movie, but it makes its point. And the Star Wars connection? A bunch of footage, mostly cribbed from the Death Star battle scene at the end of A New Hope, used without permission, of course, at the beginning and end of the film. In between is one of the weirdest, most convoluted, most fun movies you’re likely to see. With all of the wall-to-wall action in this thing, it’s certainly not boring.

The movie opens with a long voice-over. Part of it is as follows: “Going into space, the space age begins.” Well yes, that’s kind of how it works. The rest of the narration, as well as the plot, is just as blunt and the story makes no se…

Let's Have a...Blood Feast!

Hershell Gordon Lewis accidentally invented an entire film sub genre. He wanted to make a little cash, so he invented the “gore” movie. The first of these movies, Blood Feast was released in 1963 and it kinda sorta changed the entire direction of horror movies as they transitioned from the gothic and mad scientist flicks that had been popular since the beginning of film.
Starting with with nudie movies, Lewis moved into gore films when the nudie market became, uh, saturated. When the same thing happened with gore films in the early 70’s, he left moviemaking entirely. Over the years, while working in advertising and writing books on direct marketing, his reputation as an important cult filmmaker slowly grew and he finally returned to filmmaking in 2002. He died on September 26, 2016 at 90, having lived quite the varied life.
Mal Arnold plays the grey-haired killer in Blood Feast, the first of Lewis’s gore films. We open with Arnold, as Fuad Ramses, stabbing a woman in her bathtub. Yup, …

The Amazing Transparent...Plot?

Well, yes, so of all the Invisible Man ripoffs, The Amazing Transparent Man of them. Directed by pulp-maestro Edgar G. Ulmer from a script by Jack Lewis and starring Douglas Kennedy, The Amazing Transparent Man has everything you want in a movie. Well, provided that what you want is a movie with disappearing gerbils, a lot of bad invisibility stunts, bad acting, and a silly plot. Well, that’s usually what I want out of a movie. But I don’t exactly have my finger on the pop culture pulse.
The Amazing Transparent Man was shot back to back with another very low budget flick called Beyond the Time Barrier. The total allotted time for both films was two weeks, with Time Barrier given top priority. So The Amazing Transparent Man might have been shot in less than a week, but a week at the most. The movie did come with a cool poster that the exhibiting theaters displayed: “WARNING! Joey Faust, escaped convict, the Amazing Transparent Man, has vowed to “appear” invisible IN PERSON at …

Moon of the Wolf - Made for TV Werewolf Madness without a Werewolf

As a kid in the 80’s and early 90’s, I loved staying up with my mom and watching a silly made-for-TV movie. Moon of the Wolf was released in 1972, so I wouldn’t have seen this one. Probably would have scared me a bit, even though we don’t really see a werewolf until the final act of the movie. I got spooked easy after the sun went down.
David Janssen, who played Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, stars as the sheriff in a one-horse Louisiana town who has to solve a grisly murder. A wolfy murder? Anyway, a woman is dead and mauled and it looks like a dog did it. Luckily, Janssen is on the job and he’s ready to solve the case. He’s a hardscrabble fella with a scratchy voice, so you know he means business. Also, it’s very hot in Louisiana, so the good sheriff has to leave his shirt open so that he can air out his ample chest hair. I don’t have chest hair. Just a patch of the stuff in the middle of my titties. I sometimes wish I was more hairy, but then I wonder if I would just lose food in …

The Wonderful Weird World of Doctor Strange

I love weird movies. Anything that takes me drastically out of my element. Throw in some bizarro mystical stuff and make it psychedelic and I’m doubly there. I’m not religious or likely to join a cult anytime soon, so it’s all fantasy to me.
So, Doctor Strange. Been waiting on this for a while. I’ve been following the comic relaunch since its first issue and I’m vaguely familiar with the mythology created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the mid-60’s. I was excited for the movie for the same reason I read the comics: I wanted to see some, ahem, strange things.
I don’t normally write about first-run stuff, preferring to see movies from my big puffy chair and take notes where I have light enough to see my writing. But another reason I don’t review these things is that, well, everyone else is. Who needs another asshole’s opinion? As of this writing, there’s three hundred critic’s reviews linked on IMDB. And I’ve read...well, a handful of them. Some of them, but certainly not all, have compl…

Paradisia's Haunting Pop Folk

Paradisia is a relatively new group. Very slick and polished production here, so you know they're veterans in the studio. There's not much more to know about them, at least with a cursory Google search. They're only credited with first names: Sophie-Rose on vocals, Anna on harp, and Kristy on keys. So they seem to like mystery, if not anonymity.

So, "Warpaint." How would I describe this song? Kind of pop folk, I guess. Pretty heavy on the pop. The song is a kind of reverie, hinting, and not very subtly, at the vulnerability that lies beneath a tough exterior. On a quest to lose it all, go the lyrics. The idea is that it's pretty difficult to let your guard down and reveal what's underneath. There's also a sad lament that desire must be repressed underneath the masks we wear.

Do I Sleep: Ben Gallaway's Soulful Nightmare

Ben Gallaway’s songs are always soulful, though “Do I Sleep” has a bit more of a traditional R&B vibe than some of his other songs. There’s a kind of ache to this sound, a doubt that it’s possible to fully satisfy another person. And yet there is that longing for transcendence. As always, though, there’s a wonderful sense of mystery about his words and music.
Is it cold and lonely beside me? Have I kept you safe or left you in fear?
Great lines, these.
Ben doesn’t put out a lot of material. He waits until he’s inspired and has the time. It’s a wonderful surprise when he posts something to his Soundcloud page. He’s a busy man, running Z-Sound Recording in Austin, TX where he’s a sound engineer, mixer, and producer. Hopefully he’ll surprise us with another track soon.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed: A Worthy Sequel to the Hammer Original

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is the fifth film in Hammer’s Frankenstein series. Directed by Terence Fisher from a script by Bert Batt, the film continues the mythology that made Hammer Horror a cult favorite film factory. Peter Cushing plays the good doctor for the penultimate time. The movie came out in 1969, during the waning years of gothic horror. The film’s producers thought that the movie didn’t have enough explicit sex and violence, so after the film was already shot, they ordered a rape scene be inserted. Cushing and Veronica Carlson, who played Anna, the female lead, were both extremely uncomfortable with the gratuitous act, but complied anyway. Luckily, the scene is about as tasteful as these things go, although it makes absolutely no sense in terms of plot.

We begin as a thief finds Frankenstein’s lab, which has somehow remained a secret, despite being filled with bodies and a severed head. I suppose none of this made any noise or aroused any suspicion from the neighbors.…

The Corpse Vanishes: Wonderful Wacko Naive Surrealism

Well, okay, so here we have another movie where a guy uses the, er, fluids of younger women to make his old wife or girlfriend look young. Just scroll down to my review of Nightmare Castle and you’ll see what I mean. Weird. Guys and gals, aging happens. Nothing to get worked up over. I mean, not to this extent, at least.
So, yes, The Corpse Vanishes. What to say, what to say? Well, okay, so there’s this, I guess: It was released by Monogram Pictures in the 40’s. That should tell you a lot. Monogram was a Poverty Row studio that had the idea that you should just slap together a script, maybe get a genre-favorite actor who’s down on his luck to say a few words, point the camera at some hapless actors and call it a day. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not knocking the process. Wonderful things can result. Wonderful things like The Corpse Vanishes.
The film was directed by Wallace Fox, who made an incredible 84 films in his career, four of which were released the same year as The Corpse Vanishes. H…