Saturday, July 26, 2014

NaschyCast #47 - THE KILLER IS AMONG THE 13 (1976)

Thirteen suspects trapped in an isolated country house over a long weekend! One of them committed murder! Can you figure out whodunit?

Probably not, but that really is beside the point. This month’s film has a very tiny sprinkling of Naschy but a heaping helping of old style murder mystery a la Agatha Christie and just a soupçon of giallo for flavor.  That’s right- there IS a black-glover killer but don’t expect the typical Euro-Trash blood soaked tale or there will be some sad Pandas out there. The story takes place in the English countryside (don’t let the Spanish speaking cast fool ya!) with all the trappings you would expect from a classic mystery film of the type that used to star William Powell. One can merely wish that Naschy had a larger role in the proceedings but he only interacts with three of the cast which means this is one of the least Naschy NaschyCasts we’ve ever done. Still, there is fun to be had as veteran director Javier Aguirre runs his eclectic group of victims … errr….suspects through their paces. Secrets are revealed, love affairs are uncovered, maids are seduced, jealousies kindled and heads are hatched as we narrow down the character list to discover the identity of the perpetrator. Also, there are many familiar faces onscreen including Patty Shepard, Eduardo Calvo and Dyanik Zurakowska to make the 'Spot the Actor' game interesting.

This month's mailbag was overflowing and we even throw in a bonus bit of praise for the Bloody Pit episode covering NIGHTMARE CITY so things get entertaining as we stumble through the letters we received in July. If you would like to tell us what you think please write us at or join us over on the Book of Faces NaschyCast page. Thanks for downloading and listening. Oh- and I end the show with a an old HooDoo Guru's tune inspired by a chance comment during the podcast. Enjoy! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Batman Covers by Jim Aparo!

My favorite Batman artist! Happy 75th birthday to the Dark Knight Detective. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dean Koontz's ODD THOMAS (2013)

If it is a given fact (and boy, is it) that Stephen King has had a woeful history with film adaptations of his horror novels, what do we make of the film fate of less famous contemporary horror authors? Have they faired better or worse than the ‘King’ of horror. Pretty much everyone knows King’s name but few members of the general public are aware of his bookstore shelf-mate Dean Koontz. Among horror readers he is well known if not particularly well admired as someone who has been incredibly prolific over the years but has never really been a great writer. Not that King is a ‘great’ writer either but he is reliable as a genre storyteller and one who almost always delivers the goods in a way that satisfies. I may bitch for the rest of my life about how many of his novels seem to choke in the final third, but overall he has given me enough thrills and excitement to coast on goodwill for decades.

Now, for Dean Koontz, I have to admit to having read only one of his novels years ago. It was during a period in which I wanted to branch out in the horror field sampling a number of writers and I met with a very hit and miss result. I was not impressed by Koontz or John Saul or Bently Little and so never read another of their books. On the other hand Robert McCammon, Ronald Kelly and John Farris drew me in and I have pursued their work ever since. This means I am certainly no expert on Mr. Koontz work but that shouldn't stop me from enjoying a good movie made from his stories, right?

But what is Koontz's track record with films made from his work? From what I can find he has had twelve of his books adapted and while I've not seen all of them the few I have viewed have been less than stellar. I liked DEMON SEED (1977) which had the distinction of being both insane and oddly compelling but WATCHERS (1988) I remember as being pretty damned awful- what little of it I can still dredge up from my VHS memory bank. And I never saw the sequels but just the knowledge of their existence means I will one day wonder about them. (Damn my desire to see crap!) I never saw WHISPERS (1990) or SERVANTS OF TWILIGHT (1991) but I did see HIDEAWAY (1995) and it was..... a movie. My memories are that it was OK but nothing too great. Maybe a revisit is in order? Oh! And I saw PHANTOMS (1998) because it starred Peter O'Toole and I figured it had be interesting if he was in it. Clearly I had forgotten that O'Toole was in SUPERGIRL (1984). Whew!

Skipping over the various TV movies of his books (because who cares) we come to 2013's Koontz adaptation ODD THOMAS. If I had known before pushing play on NetFlix that this sucker was directed by Stephen Sommers I would have skipped it completely. This is the same hack that farted out VAN HELSING (2004) and THE MUMMY (1999) so expecting quality filmmaking was off the table. And within the first few minutes my darkest fears were realized as I watched supposedly normal people engage in a running fistfight that would have killed any ten human beings. They tumble through outdoor parties, they run through houses and they break effortlessly through door after door as if they were made of notepaper. I was waiting for the super powers to be revealed but there are none! But that idiocy could have been winked at, I suppose, until the general plot becomes clear. It seems that the main character can see and communicate with dead people so he spends his off time tracking down killers. That would be fine except that he only does this in his small southwestern American town - but he speaks in the film's incessant voiceover about the dozens of killers he has helped the local police catch.  All of which means this place has more murderers per capita than any place on earth! What the hell? Plus, the film's tone is jokey and overly cute in a way that immediately puts me off so I was unimpressed from the start. Did I mention the annoying voiceover that is supposed to make us care about what is happening but only served to make me say "I get it" about fifteen times as the film unspooled. Ugh!

So, Stephen King has had by my count about a 40% good to 60% bad ratio in his adaptations but Dean Koontz has had one good one? Maybe one and a half depending on how you count HIDEAWAY? Am I being too harsh? Are there more good Koontz films I just haven't seen?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Diana Rigg - Avenger of My Dreams!

I have been finally watching the third season of Game of Thrones (Yeah- I know I'm still a season behind) and found that somehow no one had told me the Dame Diana Rigg appears in the show. What the Hell? I should be alerted when a lady so much a part of my youthful coming of age is about to pop up on my screen. Even at her age I still find her alluring and as Olenna Tyrell she gets to chew bloody chunks of scenery while wielding a sharp tongue. The scripts (and indeed the books) gift her character with dialog built to razor through flesh as her victim is still returning her sly smile. It is such a joy to see Miss Rigg again sinking her teeth into a good role!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Euro-Spy viewing- AGENT 003:OPERATION ATLANTIS (1965)

Given all the time in the world I would make a project out of running through every James Bond inspired Euro-Spy film that exists as quickly as possible. Visions of a book few people would buy dance through my head -'My Journey with Rip-Off Secret Agents' might be the title. Or not. As it stands, I get to see about two a year so I have to be happy with that. The other night I watched AGENT 003: OPERATION ATLANTIS which has to be one of the wackiest entries in the genre. Playing out like a particularly nonsensical Republic serial the story has our American spy George Steele in route to Japan for a vacation but stopping off in Italy just long enough to be asked to help out with a mission. It appears that uranium has been found in North Africa but it is under the hidden city of the survivors of ancient Atlantis. I'll stop there and let that sink in.

No one bats an eye at the idea that a) Atlantis existed, b) there were survivors that settled near Egypt, c) there is a hidden city that can't be accessed but we know there is uranium underneath it and d) that the best idea to obtain this valuable substance is to send in a guy who has no experience with any of this stuff. Do I need to say anything more to explain why I want to watch ALL of this mad genre? The plot is threadbare to the point of being impossible to follow and the budget is marginal at best but I loved ever minute of this little lost effort. Recommended to anyone who read this description and smiled. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Random Behind the Scenes Images



One of the Lon Chaney 1940's era Mummy films from Universal - not sure which one. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Brief Thoughts - THE COUNSELOR (2013)

Holy crap! How do you have so many good elements in place and still make such a terrible film? This sucker has Ridley Scott behind the camera and a cast that I would have thought could elevate anything but this is a dud. This might be a future touchstone for film nuts to judge against when projects go awry. Everyone certainly gives it their all and I never thought I'd see Cameron Diaz hump a car windshield or Javier Bardem get shot in the ass or that much arterial spray outside of a samurai film but....... what the hell were they thinking? I suspect the fact that legendary author Cormac McCarthy penned the script may have blinded the filmmakers to the ludicrousness of the entire thing. How can something be both half-baked and overcooked? Here's an example sure to curl your toes.

Anyone else see this crazy thing?