Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hammer film cuts


For any fan of Hammer horror movies there is a real fascination with the various cuts made to many of their output. Legendary tales of excised scenes of sex or violence have floated around for decades often turning out to be lies and/or exaggerations. At this LINK you will find Tim Rogerson’s carefully created list culled from Wayne Kinsey's book Hammer Films - The Elstree Years. With its exhaustive reproduction of BBFC correspondence with Hammer on their later films (which is where the heavy cuts were made) it appears to be the definitive piece laying out what was cut, if it has been restored and where to find the uncensored versions today.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain, why is he climbing a mountain?


William Shatner explains STAR TREK V:THE FINAL FRONTIER- whether he knows it or not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

DEADLY FRIEND (1986)


I finally caught up with Wes Craven’s 1986 horror film DEADLY FRIEND recently and was stunned. I had heard for years that it was …. Well….I actually hadn’t heard that much about it. Other than chuckles over some scene that involved a basketball most veterans of the film just referred to it as a typical 80s misfire from Craven and moved on. That may be why it took so long for me to watch the damned thing.

Let me say right up front that it is a terrible movie. Awful, in fact. In a career that has produced such crappy movies as CURSED, SHOCKER, VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS and THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART 2 I would have to go to the mat for this on being the worst. Well- HILLS HAVE EYES 2 is probably worse technically but this thing really sucks. It has everything I learned to hate about movies in the 1980s. It has a cute and unbelievably advanced robot played as a ‘cute’ character; it has the obvious (for the 80s) child abuse subplot; it has the teenage scientific genius (known as Wesley Crusher syndrome); it has the quirky/crazy neighbor character who might just go too far and it has the hot girl (literally) next door that is way out of the main character’s romantic league. It’s a rolling clichĂ© machine in movie form and for the first 20 minutes or so I could kind of enjoy it for the ‘trip down crappy movie memory lane’ that it is. But then the big stupid stuff starts to happen and it became completely terrible and sadly entertaining in the wrong ways. If you never watch this movie (and I’m suggesting you don’t) you should at least see the much talked about basketball scene. It’s the pinnacle of the film’s unintentional humor and shows perfectly what is so wrong-headed about the entire affair. Completely physically impossible and poorly done to boot it is a moment of guilty movie madness. Insane and ridiculous.


So, I don’t recommend this film to any but the most masochistic of horror movie aficionados and I’m sure you know who you are. It’s the kind of film that makes me regret my desire to see nearly every horror movie made. Almost.

WEREWOLF SHADOW (1971) trailer

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Robert Culp RIP

I first knew Robert Culp because of the 1970s TV show THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. He was the irascible FBI agent who wished the super suit had been given to him rather than the wussy who owned it. I then spotted him in the single best Outer Limits episode ever made ‘Demon With A Glass Hand’. Then I learned of his brilliant 1960s TV show I, SPY. And after seeing him do all kinds of things on my television screen I realized one thing very clearly- I would believe anything Robert Culp said. Anything.

Mr. Culp died today and I wish he was still with us. I never met the man but I would have liked to shake his hand. I now have to step up my hunt for a copy of Hickey & Boggs, the film he directed and in which he played the lead. Its been a bad week for actors from my childhood but this passing hits me the hardest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

THE WICKER TREE is coming


I seems that Robin Hardy's decades delayed follow up to his classic THE WICKER MAN is slated to come out sometime later this year. Originally entitled COWBOYS FOR CHRIST it stars Christopher Lee reprising his role as Lord Summerisle and I'm intrigued by the inclusion of a character named Reverend Moriarty. The film may well suck but I'll be there opening weekend (if it gets an actual release). Follow this LINK to sign up for email updates as it winds its way to a screen of some sort near you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NaschyCast email address


Although we should have done this more than a month ago we have finally now set up an email address for The Naschy Podcast. Please use this modern communications marvel to let Troy and I know what you think of the show, ask us questions, make suggestions or berate us mercilessly for forgetting something. We will also accept praise if such is offered. Please send your missives to naschycast@gmail.com

We'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Academy Award winning movie trailer

I laughed at this until I cried. 'Catchphrase!'

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES (1968)

I got my hands on CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES recently just because it was a Spaghetti Western I had yet to see. I had heard the title before and knew that it had been released under the alternate title THE ROPE AND THE COLT but beyond that it was a blank slate. I was not expecting a minor masterpiece but that is what I found.

As the film begins the three Caine brothers are riding for home after a raid on their rivals the Rogers family. They have failed to regain their stolen herd but have gotten by force the money paid for the animals. One brother is separated in the pursuit, caught as he pulls up at home and hung by the Rogers’ right in front of his wife Maria. The other two Caine brothers return later and divide the money but Maria persuades them to stick around to help her before they run off to Mexico. Contacting the mysterious gunfighter Manuel in a nearby deserted desert town she gives him her part of the cash to help in her plan to make the Rogers family pay for her pain. From there it’s a typical but smartly played vengeance tale with more style than any half dozen westerns being produced in Hollywood at the time. The entire movie is steeped in a dark inevitability – a melancholy that everyone seems to feel regardless of their role in the drama. This is a story in which rage burns with a cold, white fury words cannot express and greed is life’s sad constant. Everyone feels justified in their actions and emptiness is the final emotion available after everything else is used up and gone. That much of the movie's action including its final scenes takes place in a dusty ghost town is no casual choice.

Directed wonderfully by the star of the show (Robert Hossein) the movie feels like a classic piece of mythic, tragic art. There is very little dialog with instead careful, expressive glances from one character to another communicating whole paragraphs of meaning. Long shots are the norm isolating individual characters in the frame and showing their small and often cruel natures in just a single image. The film feels like a classic tale that has been told before (as it has) but with a dread momentum that keeps you fascinated for its 86 minutes. Hossein also had a hand in the script as apparently did Dario Argento. I have to think that if Argento had ever made a western it would have felt like this one if not really looked the same. It certainly has the kind of dark ending that would have felt right at home in a horror film.

This was a real surprise. I highly recommend this film to anyone curious. There is much more here than just the standard revenge tale and it’s nice to be so pleasantly impressed by a film I expected so little from.


Monday, March 15, 2010

THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS (1961)

In the 1960’s Italian filmmakers tried their hand at every genre of film imaginable. Western, horror, crime tales, melodrama, war stories and comedies were churned out as fast as financing could be obtained. The general modus operandi for gaining financing was to capitalize on the big success of a Hollywood film to make similar movies in hopes riding lucrative coattails to big box office returns. In 1958 Kirk Douglas produced the giant sized comic book of a film called THE VIKINGS and made a boat-load of money. It wasn’t long before the Italian copies and knock-offs started to appear. None of them reached the dizzying heights of THE VIKINGS but they still entertain in a big way – and there is nothing more fun than a full (or even half) scale Viking battle scene!

THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS (1961) has all the ingredients needed for a great Viking epic- beer drinking, sword & ax fighting, pig-tailed wenches, nasty back-stabbing villains and violent bloody battles. The story follows the return of two brothers, Harald and Gunther, to the Viking village of their birth after ten years of travelling and raiding in far away lands. They are devastated to find their home in ruins, their people scattered and their father traitorously murdered by a rival king. Harald vows to rebuild the village and kill the man responsible. His plan involves infiltration, kidnapping and (best of all) a huge attack on a fortified castle.

This is a fun example of the genre that smartly hides most of its budget shortfalls with crafty filmmaking techniques. Its been reported by Tim Lucas that Mario Bava was brought in to do some work on the film when production went over schedule and he makes a good argument. Certain scenes bear a rather distinctive Bava flair for the atmospheric and creepy. In an interview with Lucas star Cameron Mitchell made no bones about the fact that Mario worked on the movie and since he was the star (playing Harald) it’s hard to ignore his testimony.

I hope that one day a good DVD of the film is available as I think a sharp, clear version would go far to raise the film's reputation.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

WILD WILD PLANET (1965) poster art


Of the four Italian-made science fiction films of the mid-'60s, War of the Planets, Wild, Wild Planet, War Between the Planets, and Snow Devils this one has always been my favorite. Everything promised on this poster is actually in the movie. Amazing.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A moment of perfect horror beauty


A screen grab from Mario Bava's brilliant BLACK SUNDAY a.k.a. THE MASK OF SATAN that shows the amazing skill of the director and the amazing beauty of Barbara Steele. She almost glows.....

Thursday, March 04, 2010

DEATHSTALKER poster art!





I will soon be force marching my way through this series of films. For no good reason. I wonder how far I will actually get before I give up and run screaming away? They look fun/bad in that way I love so much! (And there's nudity!)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What I Watched In February


A short but busy month for movie watching. Some great views in the Belcourt theater this past month as I took in a couple of older films as part of their Noir Fest 2 series. I was especially happy to get to see the fantastic FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG which has yet to be released on video in any form. I was also happy to welcome back LOST for its final season. BSG follow up CAPRICA started off well but is mired in some truly boring stuff by just the second regular episode. It took me three tries to make it all the way through that one 45 minute chunk of TV entertainment and that is not a good sign. On the other end of the spectrum FX spy comedy series ARCHER is fantastic every episode managing to be as un-PC as possible and screamingly funny at the same time. There is some very sharp writing going on with this animated show but its tastelessness and mean-spirited nature will turn off many.

RAZORBACK (1984)- 7 (good monster film from down under)
CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTER (1968) – 7 (glad to finally catch up with this)
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)- 8 (rewatch)
SILK (2006)- 7 (Hong Kong ghost tale)
SUPER SEVEN CALLING CAIRO (1965)- 6 (Euro-spy goodness)
EVIL FACE (1974)- 5 (Kinski elevates a mess of a film)
THE TERRORNAUTS (1967)- 3 (silly/cheesy pulpish sci-fi that plays as a kiddie show)
THE WOLFMAN (2010)- 9 (MUCH better than I thought it would be)
FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG (1955)- 8 (wow! What a dark, twisted tale)
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1972)- 8 (insane Naschy tale with everything thrown in)
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1971)- 7 (George Lazenby plays a burnt out mercenary who goes hippy)
QUAI DES ORFEVRES (1947)- 9 (Clouzot at his brilliant best)
WINNETOU AND HIS FRIEND OLD FIREHAND (1966)- 6 (a.k.a. THUNDER AT THE BORDER- fun German made western)
ROCK’N’ROLLA (2008)- 8 (rewatch with some buddies)
A SERIOUS MAN (2009)- 8 (The Coen’s do their thing quite well)
GIVE’EM HELL MALONE (2009)- 5 (not bad attempt at a modern tough guy noir)
DER ZINKER (1963)- 7 (more krimi goodness)
MANSION OF THE DOOMED (1976)- 4 (mad doctor Richard Baseheart goes eye-happy)
INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (1968)- 7 (Alan Arkin does a pretty good Peter Sellers)
FANTOMAS (1947)- 8 (fantastic French adaptation)
SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME (1978)- 7 (Carpenter’s REAR WINDOW variant)
THE LADY EVE (1941)- 8 (Preston Sturges was an amazing writer/director)
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT (1974)- 7 (good little comedy)
THE FEAR CHAMBER (1968)- 2 (pretty awful Karloff Mexi-mess)
SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)- 8 (well done and creepy- Scorsese's VERTIGO?)
THE CRAZIES (2010)- 6 (pretty good remake with a good cast)
EDMOND (2005)- 6 (interesting Mamet tale)
SAVAGE ISLAND (1985) – 4 (your average crappy women-in-jungle-prison film)

Monday, March 01, 2010

NaschyCast #2 - HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1973)

Troy and I are proud to present the second episode of The NaschyCast! This time we run through HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB and discover even more madness than we had though might be there. How did we manage to link THE EXORCIST, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DIRTY HARRY to this film? Were we able to pronounce the actor’s names any better this time out? Did we get distracted by the copious nudity on display? How much does religion play a part in the symbolism used in the film? Were we able to make sense out of the jumble of crazed ideas tossed around in this Euro-horror classic? All of these questions and more will be answered (or at least mentioned and picked at) in this show!

Truly, HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB is one of the most enjoyable of Paul Naschy’s movies and was part of an amazing string of entertaining pictures that showed him and his collaborators working at the top of their game. In the end I have to agree with Troy that this may be one of the best to introduce newcomers to the joys of the Mad Spaniard’s horror output. It’s certainly impossible to be bored by the movie.

Keep in mind that this is a spoiler packed Podcast and that we discuss the entire film from start to finish so if you haven't seen HRFTT yet you might want to be wary. And once again feel free to give us your thoughts on the Podcast –pro or con. We’re still working on adding new elements for the third episode to improve the experience and are more than willing to listen to criticism from our fellow film fans.

The NaschyCast #2!