Sunday, February 27, 2011

Julie Newmar - TV dream woman

I'll not get into the debate about who was the best Catwoman on television as I think each of the ladies have their pluses but Miss Newmar was incredibly sexy. I won't say puuuurrrrfect but you can.






Thursday, February 24, 2011

Behind the Scenes pictures

Rarely do I feel the desire to simply repost images I've spotted on another website but these two pictures really made me smile. Over at Ain't It Cool News the daily feature of an image from behind the scenes of classic and not-so-classic movies is something I regularly check out. Recently they posted these on consecutive days and because of my hectic schedule I saw them at the same time. I love both of these movies!


The chance to see the fairly rare image of James Arness without his THING mask/appliance is fantastic and I don't mind getting this neat peek behind the magic of LIFEFORCE either. Both of them remind me that the good old days were really great. Back then special effects were mostly practical and tactile things that had to be physically built and handled. Those were amazing days and these are amazing films.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DRAGONFLY SQUADRON (1954) - 3-D?


I have never seen this film and don't know if I ever will but I'm fascinated by the fact that it was produced in something called Monogram 3-D. This was apparently some sort of dual-strip 3-D process but that's all I can discover. I wonder if it was a good or bad 3-D process? Was the film shot with things coming right at the camera or was it just used to create the illusion of depth? Is the film any good or just an excuse for silly effects?

Ah, crap! Maybe I'll try to track it down. The poster art is pretty cool.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Double Feature Poster Art


How I wish I could have attended this double feature back in the day. Hell! I'd attend it right now if someone would screen both films back to back.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Riverboat TV series

Until recently I had no idea that this series existed. If someone had tried to tell me that a show once played on the old Boob Tube that starred Darren (Kolchak) McGavin and Burt Reynolds as the owner/operators of a Mississippi riverboat in the late 1800s I'd have laughed. "There can be no such show because its very awesomeness would cause a hole in reality." That's what I would have said. But damn if it doesn't actually exist! I have now seen the first episode (thank you, beloved internet) and it was pretty much as cool as I thought it would be. McGavin's Captain Grey Holden is a strong, commanding fellow with a sneaky side that I hope gets brought more to the fore over the rest of the 44 episode run. Wow! It lasted two full seasons from 1959 to 1961 and I've never even heard of it until 2011? I'm one of the world's biggest Darren McGavin fans and I missed this one? I hang my head in shame. I have much to learn and something new to add to the Wish List.



Friday, February 18, 2011

NaschyCast #13.5 - Beyond Naschy - I HATE MY BODY (1974)


In our first ‘Beyond Naschy’ episode we take a look at Leon Klimovosky’s bizarre gender switch film I HATE MY BODY (1974). To call this a strange film is to undervalue the concept of weird cinema. I have no idea how folks who might have seen this movie at a drive-in theater in the 1970s actually reacted but I can guess that stunned shock would be at least a fairly common response. Until I can dig up a detailed interview with director Klimovsky we will just have to speculate on the reasons for choosing such an outlandish story but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves and it shouldn’t stop you either. We make sure to not spoil too much of this hard-to-find bit of sleazy Euro-trash even as our discussion rambles all over the place. We talk about the use and misuse of voiceovers, the definition of lesbian sex and the choice of pet names in a relationship. Please forgive my occasional cough as I work my way through a headcold and be glad that, unlike Troy, you weren’t in the room when I had to blow my nose. We can be reached at naschycast@gmail.com and the podcast can be found on iTunes. We look forward to your thoughts.

Naschycast 13.5 - Beyond Naschy

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Planet of the Apes comics!!


Woo hoo! Starting in April Boom Studios will begin publishing a new series of comic books based on the original PLANET OF THE APES films! Officially listed as a prequel, these stories will apparently take place before the events of the 1968 movie while the Ape society was at its height of strength and influence. The focus will be on tension between the human and apes races that lead to the friction seen between separate factions of ape scientists. Somehow I suspect that the nastiness of the war-loving gorillas will play a role in events as well, but that's just a guess. ;-)


Of course, this is happening because of the imminent release of the new Ape film RISE OF THE APES which is supposed to also be a prequel to the original films. I have high hopes for the film but even higher hopes for this series. Fingers crossed that both will be good!

I've got to eventually complete my collection of the old Marvel Apes magazine series.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Barbara Eden - TV Dream Woman!

The question of which magical sitcom woman you preferred always raged when I was a kid. Barbara Eden was the hands down favorite for most of my schoolyard friends but I still give the edge to Miss Montgomery. Its only a slight edge but...... I think if I'd seen the bottom image before the age of thirteen my head would have exploded.





Sunday, February 13, 2011

SOLOMON KANE (2009)


I recently got to see the film SOLOMON KANE and it was a pleasant surprise. It is a fine sword & sorcery film, beautifully shot, well acted and very exciting. I enjoyed it immensely and find myself now recommending it to friends who like the occasionally story of this type. The one area in which the film fails is the same one that other movies of its type have failed in the past- it is not a very good adaptation of the source work. Much like Conan, Solomon Kane was created by pulp writer Robert E. Howard and over the course of nine short stories we are told a fair amount about the character but huge portions of his past life are left purposely shadowy. This may have been because Howard had no interest in relating more such information or was holding certain details in reserve for future tales he never got to write. Because of this enigmatic aspect of the character the crafters of the film decided to build their own back story for Kane to give the audience a full arc showing a bad man who turns from evil but is still a damned soul. Much as the people behind CONAN THE BARBARIAN picked and chose elements from half a dozen Howard stories to make their film story, Michael J. Bassett takes the character of Kane, stays close to his nature, beliefs and fate while making a more cinematic adventure. This could have easily been a disaster but the film is pretty damned good and I couldn’t be happier. Normally I would be pissed about the liberties taken with one of my favorite characters but the movie is so well done I really can't complain. It’s not the Solomon Kane of the page but as a film it’s great.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Elizabeth Montgomery - TV dream woman!

I grew up watching reruns of a lot of different 1960s era TV shows - this was one of the things you did as a kid in the 1970s. I'm sure if cable hadn't come along kids in the 1980s would have been watching shows from my childhood as after school television too, but now that there are a billion channels and a million cheap-ass reality TV shows the days of seeing into the past via decades old sitcoms and dramas is a relic never to be resurrected. I'm not sure that's a good or bad thing but it does make me think about the women I watched on the boob tube and how they shaped my burgeoning interest in the fairer sex. Several lovely ladies became symbols of female perfection for me (and I'm sure many others) and over the next few weeks I'll spotlight a few of them. First up the gorgeous Miss Montgomery, star of the amusing magical comedy Bewitched. I still get a tingle when she twitches her nose!






Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Joy of giallo


Our podcast about Naschy’s BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL got me thinking about gialli again and thinking specifically about how I got interested in them. It started, I guess, because I'm a huge fan of mystery thrillers in both book and film form. As a young lad my love of Hitchcock's movies fueled my interest in mysteries and every few years something comes along that re-ignites my love. Often it's a newly discovered writer (James Lee Burke, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connolly, Christina Faust, Pete Hamill, etc.) but lately it's become strange niches in film history. My love of Charlie Chan books and films flowered in 1998 when AMC showed many of the old movies in long marathons that I taped. Until the Chan movies began to be released in great DVD sets I would return to those tapes about once a year for the pure pleasure of Warner Oland unraveling a tangled black & white web. Now I explore the DVDs and the copious extras with a big grin on my face. Well, about 16 years ago (just before the Chan obsession kicked in) I discovered the giallo genre of film. For the uninformed, giallo is the Italian word for 'yellow' and because it was the practice in Italy to publish mystery novels with loud yellow covers the color came to be a slang description of the genre. So when Italian filmmakers started turning out lurid murder mysteries in the late 60's they too became known as giallo or (the plural) gialli. I love these movies not just because they are mysteries but because they are so often completely over the top in their desire to keep ahead of the audience. Bizarre clues, nearly forgotten images, half-heard words, childhood drawings and style over substance were often (always?) the rule of the giallo. And if they occasionally flew out of control there was pleasure to be had in that as well. Often bloody and exploitative, the entire genre is often dismissed because of its violent murder set pieces but there's nothing in them that Hitchcock wouldn't have given his left arm to put on screen in the 50’s or 60's. Indeed, the gloriously inventive scenes of murder are the gialli calling card and without at least one crazed scene of this type fans will question its stature in the genre or even its ability to be named part of the genre. The best know are the works of Dario Argento (TENEBRA, BIRD WITH CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE, OPERA, etc.) but dozens of them were made in the 70's and 80's by a slew of directors.


I started hunting down bootlegs of these amazing films years ago spending way more than I ever should have. One of my great joys was stumbling across one unexpectedly and even if the overpriced 3rd generation tape looked like you were seeing the image through oatmeal, it didn't matter. The thrill was there-- usually with a freaking fantastic soundtrack! Needless to say the advent of DVD's has made a lot of the best gialli available in near perfect video form often for much less than I paid for the damned bootlegs. If you’ve never delved into this mad cinema world let me recommend you give them a try. I learned the other day that one of my favorites of the genre is about to be released on Blu-Ray here in the states and I couldn’t be happier. DEEP RED is always the one film I use to demonstrate the best that a giallo can offer and with Blue Underground’s late April release of it in 1080p sharpness I think it might gain even more fans. I’ve mentioned a few others above and I’ll provide links below as well for the curious film nut. Happy hunting!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

NaschyCast #13 - FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (1970)


Rarely have we been as confused, flabbergasted and frustrated as we were by FURY OF THE WOLFMAN even though we went into this one with our eyes wide open, knowing full well that Naschy himself hated the film and decried what was done to his script. We weren’t completely surprised but it is still a kick in the head to watch the film ramble itself apart. Trying to figure out what might have been intended is kind of fascinating which probably explains why we babbled for over two hours about what has to be labeled the weakest of the Waldemar Daninksy films. We attempt to understand what the hell is happening as ideas are brought up and dropped, characters slip in and out of the film randomly and crypt orgies are popped indiscriminately throughout the second half. Plant monsters, werewolf sex, Nazi scientists and the question of crazy love possibly being ‘true love’ are all topics that we discuss as we navigate this muddled misadventure. You'll hear the film start to take its toll on us near the end as our stated goal of mentioning the good things in the movie begins to wear us down. But there is a female werewolf! Strap in and join us if you dare! The email address is naschycast@gmail.com.


Naschycast #13 LINK


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Tarzan Poster art

Each of these advertises a Tarzan film I have not yet seen. I feel a jungle prowl coming on in the Bloody Pit!




Thursday, February 03, 2011

What I Watched In January


I really packed them in last month. I also kept up my apparent plan to watch films in as many genres as possible too. Whew! Westerns, noirs, science fiction, pirate tales, a Tarzan movie, 1950's horror films, krimis, 1970's TV movies, a Korean mystery and even a musical were all in the DVD player in January. Fun, fun!

The Coen's new version of TRUE GRIT was the best thing I saw theatrically with the fantastic giallo-like BLACK SWAN being pretty damned impressive as well. In the classic film category I finally caught up with THE HEIRESS with the magnificent Olivia de Havilland. This is a great, harsh film that refuses to give you an easy villain to dislike. It shows its stage origins but is so masterfully done that it becomes perfectly cinematic on emotional terms alone. THE PUBLIC ENEMY proves that I have been depriving myself of Cagney's gangster films for far too long. Raw and shocking it's an amazing movie that begs for rewatches at regular intervals. I need to see much more Cagney and soon.

BEFORE I HANG (1940)- 6 (good Karloff chiller)
STOLEN FACE (1952)- 6 (early Hammer noir directed by Terence Fisher)
SHANE (1953)- 8 (excellent if slightly overlong western – deserves its rep)
THE AMAZONS (1973)- 6 (full length cut of Terence Young’s fun peplum)
HIGHLANDER 2 (1991)- 3 (rewatch) (insulting and stupid but as fascinating as a slo-mo car crash)
THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944)- 7 (rewatch)
ROBERTA (1935)- 7 (wonderful musical)
CENTURION (2010)- 8 (brutal period action film- too much CGI blood)
FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD (1950)- 6 (a good variation on the classic Flynn version)
ARCANA (1972)- 7 (supremely strange but fascinating Guilio Questi film)
CREEPERS (1990)- 2 (amazingly bad- from the makers of TROLL 2)
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS (2010)- 2 (crappy attempt at a family comedy)
BEOWULF (2007)- 4 (good start but a crappy second half and it looks like a video game)
THE BLACK SLEEP (1956)- 5 (OK chiller with an interesting cast)
TRUE GRIT (2010)- 10 (excellent)
THE OXFORD MURDERS (2008)- 7 (fun Spanish made mystery)
THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931)- 8 (Cagney is brilliant)
PHARAOH’S CURSE (1957)- 5 (mildly diverting chiller)
BLAST OF SILENCE (1961)- 6 (interesting noir but the voiceover does not work)
TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD (1966)- 7 (Tarzan in Mexico)
EAGLES OVER LONDON (1969)- 6 (decent Italian made WWII film)
BLACK SWAN (2010)- 8 (ballet madness)
THE HEIRESS (1949)- 9 (excellent drama that overcomes its stage origins)
FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (1972)- 4 (a Naschy mess)
COLD PREY (2006)- 7 (very good slasher)
EYEBORGS (2009)- 6 (solid low budget sci-fi action)
THE SPY WHO LOVED FLOWERS (1966)- 7 (fast, serious Umberto Lenzi Euro-Spy film)
FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG (1959)- 7 (great little krimi)
THE ZOMBIE WALKS (1968)- 6 (fun color krimi)
THE HUMANOID (1979)- 4 (fun, silly, daft Italian Star Wars rip-off)
MOTHER (2009)- 8 (slow, deliberate Korean tale of love & murder)
GENESIS II (1973)- 5 (goofus failed TV pilot from Gene Roddenberry)
EARTH II (1971) – 4 (dull TV movie)
DESERT WARRIOR (1988)- 2 (awful post-apocalyptic Lou Ferrigno mess)
ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS (1957)- 5 (rewatch) (I love this mess of a film)
BLOOD ON HIS SWORD (1961)- 7 (great French costume drama/swashbuckler a.k.a. THE MIRACLE OF THE WOLVES)
I HATE MY BODY (1974)- 6 (rewatch)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Movie list update


A little over a year ago I posted a list of classic movies that I was ashamed to admit that I hadn't seen. I vowed at the time to watch as many of them as possible during 2010 to further deepen my knowledge of film and broaden my palette. Left to my own devices I will wallow in trashy films for weeks on end with only the occasional 1930s thriller or gangster film or serial thrown in to break things up. I love many types of movies but digging deeply into the various forms of Euro-Trash is what I'll always feel the most desire to do. It was not always so for me, but in the last 15 years or so that is the turn my viewing habits have taken - witness this blog! So I set out to tackle about one from my list of shame each month and.... I almost succeeded. Not that I finished the list---

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949)
SHANE (1953)
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
42ND STREET (1933)
THE LADY EVE (1941)
NASHVILLE (1975)
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
GIANT (1956)
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945)
LA STRADA (1954)
8 ½ (1963)

...but I was able to knock a few off of it. Unsurprisingly I enjoyed each one even if I didn't find all of them to great movies. GONE WITH THE WIND was an overlong slog through a nasty woman's life redeemed by magnificent Hollywood filmmaking and some excellent performances. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was likewise too long but its pleasures were fascinating and overall I liked it more than I thought I would. 8 ½ was amazing and just as mesmerizing and amusing as its reputation had lead me to expect. THE LADY EVE is a truly funny and charming movie that I know I'll return to in the future when I need a good laugh. MIGHTY JOE YOUNG was a good, solid film but easily one of the lesser of its type. SHANE was a standout western that really is a classic deserving of the accolades heaped on it over the years.

But of all the films I checked off this list the best was the wonderfully beautiful, bittersweet BRIEF ENCOUNTER. I was not prepared for such a touching story and I'm not too proud to admit that it had me welling up with tears on more than one occasion. A simply brilliant movie I can only encourage anyone interested in good movies to watch and see what good dialog, nuanced acting and sharp direction can create.

So the movies that are left on my list are--

ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
42ND STREET (1933)
NASHVILLE (1975)
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
GIANT (1956)
LA STRADA (1954)

..and to that I want to add THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, ARMY OF SHADOWS, EL CID and ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS. I don't know how many of them I'll see in 2011 but I promise to try to get to them all.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The United Kingdom Explained

I have to admit that this video has nothing to do with films other than being a film itself. The reason I'm posting it here is that it neatly explains the differences between England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom and I found it be pretty damned fun. To see the entire image double click to enlarge it and it will fill your magic computer screen.