Showing posts from October, 2008

Happy Halloween, Pals And Gals!

And a special Happy Halloween to our buddy Steve, from Chipper and Raw Meat! (And Gojira, of course…)

Rik-O-Sound: Bohemia’s Haunted Disc, My Haunted Past

It’s sad that the mixtape has largely come to be known as something only a conniving would-be boyfriend or girlfriend makes for their prospective target of affection. I used to make them for just about any of my friends, male or female, and often my brothers or parents, anytime that I had some cool or interesting songs to share. And yes, I did make them for those more “stalker”-style moments of mine as well, often attempting to be a conniving, would-be boyfriend on far more occasions than I care to remember.
It was all different at Halloween and Christmas. For several years, I would make annual collections – and this is all in the time before I had CD burning capabilities – on audio cassette of various scary or wintry seasonal songs that I had discovered during the course of the year, duping and passing them out to a large variety of my friends and family. And on the pretext that these gifts were based around my two favorite holidays, I could give them to just about anybody. These tape…

Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Halloween Free-For-All, Pt. 7: Return of the Best Buy Exclusives!

Once more, a trip to Best Buy caused me to happen upon new discs which I had not seen discussed elsewhere. Warner has released a pair of discs exclusively to Best Buy stores, and one of them (featured below) was a no-brainer purchase for me. Some would contend, such as my girlfriend, that I would have to possess little in the way of gray matter to purchase such a thing in the first place, and this would not be a statement based solely on its content… the deeper truth is that we have little or no more room for such items in our relatively cramped abode, and my predilection for purchasing books, music and movies constantly has her making the odd comment here and there about the situation.

But she should put down the knife -- at least, she can after Halloween -- since I actually did show a small measure of restraint, as I did not purchase the twin disc to this set, a double feature of the Lovecraft feature The Shuttered Room and a Roddy McDowall golem flick called, simply, It! Since I ha…

Psychotronic Ketchup: How I Met "Please Don't Eat My Mother" (1973)

Director: Carl Monson
Boxoffice Int'l, 1:38, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 3

This post started out as a completely different post altogether. Tying it up with this film, Please Don't Eat My Mother, a “nearly hardcore" softcore porn version of Little Shop of Horrors, I started to construct an elaborate treatise on how people of the past couple of generations have largely replaced the versions of films with which I grew up instead with knowledge only of a vast supply of recent remakes, with little or no recognition that the original films existed at all. I was going to use the 1986 musical remake (by way of the stage adaptation of the original Corman-directed classic) of Little Shop as a near-perfect example, where the copy has replaced the original in the minds of the current public, almost to a point where most people are no longer aware that the 1986 one is a remake, but see it as an original work instead. (Heck, most people that I talk to, outside of my theatrical family, didn…

Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Halloween Free-For-All, Pt. 6: Hammer Down!

With the near completion of my Universal horror collection over the past few years (there are only a handful of the obscurer titles still outstanding, with all of what would be considered the true "classics" covered), comes the time to pay attention to my Hammer collection.
Almost more influential to me in my youth than the Universal versions of the famous monsters were the Hammer versions of the same. Once I discovered that these films even existed as a near-teen, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (and to a lesser extent, Oliver Reed for his role in Curse of the Werewolf) became my gods for a number of years. I have recounted my devotion to a late night ABC affiliate program called The World's Most Terrible Movies a couple of times before; Lee and Cushing were the chief reasons that I tuned in week after week. With scant few references at hand in my local small town library and an absolute lack of internet in those days, I had little knowledge of Hammer Films except for …

Psychotronic Ketchup: Nothing But the Night (1973)

Director: Peter Sasdy
Charlemagne/Rank, 1:30, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

What spells terror to you? How about a fat whore wearing a Ronald McDonald style wig-do and a bright red leather jacket crawling across the Scottish countryside? Yep, that’s what I thought. It’s horrible to even consider it…

She would be far scarier if they didn’t show her panting desperately for air every few steps, and if they also didn’t show her stopping for a sandwich break halfway through her supposedly epic crawl across the breadth of a remote island as she angrily tries to reach her young daughter, supposedly to do her great bodily harm. I know the English must have their tea time, but this is ridiculous. And this is in the midst of incredible, frenetic violence going on all around her – helicopters circle overhead, police teams leading dogs comb the hillsides looking for both her and a little boy who has disappeared, and a boat gets blown to smithereens, killing five more trustees of a place called Inver House…

Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Halloween Free-For-All, Pt. 5: Elvira

Count Dracula’s Great Love [El Gran Amor del Conde Dracula] (1972)
Director: Javier Aguirre
Spanish, 1:25, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven’t seen yet

The Doomsday Machine (1972)
Director: Harry Hope & Lee Sholem
Cine-Find, 1:23, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven’t seen yet

Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks [Terror! Il Castello delle Donne Maledette] (1974)
Director: Dick Randall
Boxoffice/Aquarius, 1:29, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven't seen yet

The Werewolf of Washington (1973)
Director: Milton Moses Ginsberg
Diplomat, 1:30, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven't seen yet

As nostalgic as I seem at times, it is generally only about movies, books and music, and never about anything so ridiculous and abstract as "the good ol' days." And speak to me of my teenage years, outside of some friends I made in my last couple years of high school to whom I have remained more or less loyal in all this intervening time, and you will find that I hold remarkably little regard for that period of extreme failur…

Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Halloween Free-For-All, Pt. 4: Midnight Matinees

OK, so I treated myself. Halloween rolls around, and I get all crazy with the DVD buying. Specifically, horror and science fiction movie buying. You may have noticed already from the fact that this post is Part 4 of my Halloween Free-For-All, with at least three more posts in sight.

Here's the deal: Amazon often has a big horror movie sale on their site at this time of the year, and for once, I was prepared. Instead of going for the bigger ticket items which are often on some form of sale throughout the year anyway, I decided to jump into their pile of 5.99 or less DVDs, and see what I could roust out of there. The first things that popped out at me were a quartet of discs from MGM's (and occasionally, 20th Century Fox's) ongoing (and seemingly popular, at least with psychotronic freaks like me) Midnight Movies series. A few years back, I grabbed about a dozen of these discs from Wal-Mart for 5 bucks a shot, finishing off my Corman Poe collection in the process. Now, it'…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Berserk! (1967)

Director: Jim O'Connolly
Herman Cohen/Columbia, 1:36, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

"I had to kill him! I had to kill them all! I had to destroy your circus! KILL, KILL, KILL! That's all I feel inside me!"

In the interests of not "pulling an Ebert" (i.e., giving away the end of a movie almost immediately within a review), I'm not going to reveal which person says the statement above. You will, upon watching the film, figure out who the killer is once this appears for the first time. This still means just about anyone in the film could be the revenge-bent murderer who wreaks happen upon the Great Rivers Circus, which appears, through the use of footage of an actual circus, to be a rather extensive big-top affair even though the small cast gives it the initial appearance of being nothing but small-time. And when this line is delivered -- badly, so very badly by a performer who should clearly no far better given their experience -- you will find the only moment in …

Knott's Very-Not-There-y Anti-Recycling Farm

My stepfather Stan remembers Knott's Berry Farm, but I sincerely doubt that what we encountered there on Thursday was anything like he remembers. Actually, I am quite sure of this, since his memories of the place are from a full fifty years ago, and the place has drastically changed in that time. Still, even with my assurance that the place was mainly loaded with rollercoasters, something that both he and my Mom were most likely not to even get close to riding, they wanted to treat me to a day at Knott's while they were in town. Since Rollercoaster-Mad Me has been craving at least a single visit to the place since I moved here, I said two things: "Really?," and then, "Sure."

Regrets, regrets, regrets... not about the rides -- I only rode four, but I loved them all -- but just about the place in general. Gripe all you will about the corporate overkill at Disney's parks, but there is one thing that I sorely miss anytime I go anywhere else, whether it be zo…

Recently Rated Movies #66: Lost in Two Different Jungles

Five Came Back (1939)
Director: John Farrow
Cinema 4 Rating: 7
Notes: I've heard this film mentioned in a highly positive vein so many times over the years, both in books and from the lips of film fanatics of my acquaintance. So, I just had to jump at the next chance I had to see it. Luckily, TCM is around to fulfill this need. A surprisingly tough little thriller, with an even dozen victims, er, passengers on a small plane getting lost in the Amazon jungle, who then have to hash it out for several weeks until they can, hopefully, get their plane fixed enough to hightail it out of there. And when they tell you that five will come back in the title, you had better believe it. How they arrive at this number can still prove a little shocking to audiences, even of today's jaded nature. Absolutely worth seeing for an economical (perhaps a little too, at times) script by future blacklister Dalton Trumbo and for an early, layered supporting role by future queen of comedy Lucille Ball (p…

Blues to Greens, and Back Again...

My mother arrived in town today, and in three days, she will be entering the front gate at Disneyland for the first time in her sixty-three years on this planet.

Obviously, going to Disneyland was never much of a priority in her life, but now that she is going to finally be down here where I now live -- and also because Jen can get us into the park for free – she is going to take advantage of the opportunity. My stepfather Stan has not been to the park in well over forty -- closer to fifty -- years, and recalls Walt Disney landing in a helicopter outside the park and stepping out to greet the park-goers, shaking hands with dozens of patrons, my stepfather included. (Reminds me of the time I ran into Salvador Dali just after my clock melted…)

Disneyland was always a priority in my life, or rather, a dream for me, since I never got to go there as a kid, though I was constantly obsessed with doing so. Since I was but a wee one, I owned (and actually still do) a Little Golden Book about Don…