Thursday, March 29, 2012

NaschyCast #26 - SEVEN MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD (1970)


Naschycast brings you SEVEN MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD or WHY ARE THOSE DROPS OF BLOOD ON MY NEW COUCH? For the twenty sixth episode we tackle another Spanish made murder mystery very much in the 'giallo' vein. Since we haven't touched on Naschy's contributions to the genre in a long time we first talk about the standard definition of a giallo, what elements make up one and discuss the question of country of origin as a qualification for inclusion in the official listings. Regardless of dissenting opinions we come down on the side of SEVEN MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD being an example of the black-gloved killer thriller and let our enjoyment of the of the short lived genre show. As for the question of this film representing the best of its type we'll leave that up to you to discover. We know how to tease!

We break into the spoiler area of discussion at about the one hour and twenty minute mark and then dive into the Mail Bag as the clock strikes the two hour bell. In this section listener Mark takes me to task for putting Reggie Nalder in the wrong Argento film, is stunned by the fact that a place called Lookout Mountain exists and gives us his favorite and least favorite Naschy films covered in Year Two of the podcast. Then Troy and I get into a strange dissertation on the definition of 'lick'. Just listen and it'll make a kind of sense. If you would like to give us your 'Best of' list or just mouth off about either of us screwing up information please drop us a note at naschycast@gmail.com or join us over on the NaschyCast Facebook page. You'll be glad you did! Or at least we will. The download link is below and if you get the show through iTunes please review us there in the store. Thanks!

NaschyCast #26 LINK

Friday, March 23, 2012

THE SONS OF GREAT BEAR (1966)


A couple of years a go I watched my first German made western and really enjoyed it. At the time I meant go out of my way to watch more 'Sauerkraut Westerns' but I've only checked out a few sporadically. I've caught a couple of the Old Shatterhand and Winnetou films and really liked those Karl May stories. Each one I've seen has been quite entertaining and I have at least three German productions waiting to be watched so I guess it is finally time to publish this brief review of SONS OF GREAT BEAR that I penned right after my viewing.

"While not perfect I really enjoyed this European take on the
genre. Much has been (and should be) made of the fact that in this
film the Indians are the good guys and the white men are the villains.
This adds a nice layer of nastiness to some of the standard scenes of
treaty negotiations and forced interactions between the two opposing
sides. The story pretty loosely follows events around the
pushing of the natives off their promised reservation in the Black
Hills because gold has been discovered in the are. Because of this there seems to have been a desire to be fairly realistic- within movie limits, of course.

This is a beautifully shot and well crafted film that played very much
like a classic Hollywood western of the 1950s. The only time I felt
letdown was with the editing of the final fight on horseback between
Tokei-Ihto and Red Fox. Some shots were spliced in poorly early on
that belonged in the latter stages of the battle. Having those shots
turn up a second time was off-putting and awkward.

I must say I was very impressed the Yugoslavian actor who played
Tokei-Ihto. Gojko Mitic was an impressive presence onscreen and I can easily see why he went on to star in 16 more westerns of this type."


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

John Carter of Mars covers









My plan is to finally see the big screen adaptation of this tonight. The book series has been a personal favorite of mine since childhood and everything I hear tells me I'll enjoy myself quite a lot. Its a real shame it will never get a sequel because of Disney office politics but it wouldn't be the first film to suffer for no good reason. I guess the chance to write off the production costs of the several failed attempts to bring this story to the screen was more important to the bottom line.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Vote in the Rondos!


The 10th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards are still open for voting. You have until April the first to let everyone know your picks for the best in the fields of monster research, creativity and film preservation. Of course, I'd be thrilled if you voted for the NaschyCast under the BEST HORROR MULTIMEDIA (AUDIO OR PODCAST) selection but there are many fine podcasts nominated so........

Go on over and check out the entire ballot. If nothing else you'll learn about a lot of great DVD releases and fantastic articles you might not have known about otherwise.

RONDO AWARDS!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stelvio Cipriani - Squadra Volante

I've been listening to this soundtrack all day long and now you should hear it as well.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

NaschyCast #25.5 - Year Two Retrospective!


NOBODY EXPECTS A YEAR END RETROSPECTIVE SHOW! Unless you noticed we did one last year. And the Spanish Inquisition hasn't popped by for tea lately. Our year end wrap-up show is finally here and its a pretty fun time. We wax rhapsodic about the joys of our Year Two discoveries and shake our heads in dismay at the films that disappointed us. As we discuss our individual lists from worst to best we take the opportunity to look at each movie a second time and see how our opinions might have changed over the last few months. In some cases there has been some movement and in some cases that movement has been downward. Its a good way to think about Naschy's work and as always we try to consider if each film would be a good introduction for a new potential fan. Sometimes that can be a hard thing to guess.

The mailbag segment once again proves to be a blast. We talk about Mr. Magoo, Lina Romay, American sounding names, the REC movies, porn Dracula and the terrible Bond film A VIEW TO A KILL. We even get to hear sad tales of the unfortunate fates of childhood Planet of the Apes toys. If you want to add your stories of brutalized hunks of cherished rubber and plastic please drop us a line. The email address is NaschyCast@gmail.com or you can visit us on the Facebook page where 'like' means love. And if you get the show through iTunes please think about reviewing the show there. It really helps us get some attention. And don't forget to vote for us in the Rondo Awards! You have until April the first so run over there now! LINK

Naschycast #25.5 LINK

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987)


I have a confession to make. In 1987, while in the company of several friends, I paid good money to see the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie in the theater. You might roll your eyes and ‘tsk tsk’ me for this waste of time and money and I would agree with you. What the Hell was I/we thinking? The cartoon series the film is adapted from was easily one of the lamest Saturday morning adventure shows ever created- dull, superficial, pseudo educational and artless. I can remember mindlessly sitting through a few episodes sometime in the mid-80s and trying to convince myself that they were worth watching. They weren’t. When your main hero character runs around waving a huge sword and never actually cuts, or even attempts to cut anyone, you know the show sucks. I understand that the reason for this pitiful fact is that television was going through one of its periods of dealing with a spasm of over-the-top ‘parental’ concern about violence on TV but it doesn’t make MOTU any less boring. When you can’t have violence in an action oriented show you not only neuter it but you also make all the hardware and activity surrounding the story seem harmless and without consequence. I’d much rather there be a restrained amount of violence permitted in an action cartoon with the often harsh repercussions of it shown as well. This would demonstrate to children that violence has real effects and that there are often unintended repercussions to violent acts. But that is not what we got in cartoons in the 1980s and history has shown it to be a sad, sad period that only squinting nostalgia can make seem grand.

How could a good film be made from such neutered, crippled material? We’ll probably never know because the one attempt in 1987 made so many mistakes that anyone trying again will be saddled with the bad taste left by its massive failure. How bad is the Masters of the Universe film? I’ve heard fans of the show (there are some, trust me) complain that the film was a bad representation of the story. While I agree that the film is terrible the TV show was awful as well, folks. Let’s not fool ourselves.


So why did I rewatch the god-awful MOTU film? Why compound the error of paying money to see this turkey in 1987 by sitting though it again? Simple curiosity is my only defense. I had no hopes that it would be revealed 25 years later to be a hidden gem that time had burnished in a way that was impossible to discern when I was a teenager. I didn’t think the sad-ass story would suddenly be impressive. I didn’t think that I would feel less sorry for the pretty good cast flailing around spouting insipid lines of dialog so juvenile as to make a Michael Bay film seem Shakespearian. I didn’t think the sad plot involving the MOTU cast coming to modern day Earth would somehow be palatable either. No- the reason I watched it again was curiosity. That and the fact that I bought a DVD copy of it for $3 about a year ago and it was just sitting there, laughing at me. Three dollars is clearly about five dollars too much to have paid for a copy of this film but I couldn’t resist. It’s a weakness- a disease! And so, to justify owning the damned thing, I watched it.

Oh, the pain!

One of the worst things about watching MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987) is that you can see the cast trying to make a silk purse here. They are, one and all, throwing themselves into the thing and working to be convincing. They might have had good reason to think this mess would somehow work. If you look at the Enternia sets built for Skeletor's castle its clear that some thought went into the way things look. The use of forced perspective is good and the matte paintings add depth to the colorful interiors. The costumes aren't bad either and Dolph Lundgren certainly looks He-Man-ish enough to make running around with his oiled chest out seem plausible. Frank Langella tries his best to emote evilly through the silly latex skull mask they have slapped on his face. Even the beautiful, pale eyed Meg Foster is creepy as Skeletor's main henchwoman. The problem is that the story they chose to tell never lets you accept the fantasy of what they are trying to sell. I'm sure it was a cost cutting idea to have the MOTU characters jump to Earth and blow up cars but the juxtaposition of the big silly fantasy elements with the mundane world of keyboards and cops deflates any chance of getting into the mind-set necessary to enjoy this sucker. You are constantly being reminded that you're watching plastic crap and silly laser bolts with no chance to get caught up in the thin characters or situations. The film is a dud.

But I have to say that I just might have to listen to the director's commentary included on the DVD. (Yes- that would mean watching the damned movie AGAIN but I have access to beer.) This guy helped write the Bo Derek TARZAN movie! He's got to have some crazy stories and I bet they are much more entertaining that MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. Of course, this is the only feature film he directed so I can't wait to hear why no other such gigs came his way. I anticipate the sound of bitter tears dripping onto the microphone or even the dark tale of an artist misunderstood! Could be good.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Waldemar Daninsky video tribute

Here's a fun, fan created video of scenes from various Daninsky werewolf films set to Arcade Fire's Black Mirror. The Naschy love flows in this one!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What I Read In February



I have really enjoyed finally getting to read the run of Jack Kirby's post-apocalyptic comic book series KAMANDI. It reeks of the 1970s and is repeatedly clunky in its storytelling in a way the only Kirby could make endearing, but its pure energy and constant forward momentum is a blast. I'm loving ever mad issue!

The Real and Demon's Night are two books I would never have read or even known about without the Kindle. Its these kind of discoveries that continue to make that eReader a welcome addition to my library.


DOC SAVAGE: THE DESERT DEMONS by Kenneth Robeson (great new novel)
THE MUGGER by Ed McBain (classic 87th Precinct novel)
THE REAL by James Cole (very good horror/thriller tale)
KAMANDI -Archive Edition Vol. 1 by Jack Kirby (issues 1-10)
DEMON'S NIGHT, a Jason Dark supernatural mystery by Guido Henkel




Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Monday, March 05, 2012

What I Watched In February


Without a doubt the most amazing film I saw last month was THE ARTIST. I’ve been a fan of the movie's director and star because of their pair of brilliant OSS 117 spy comedies but with this ode to silent cinema and the joys and pitfalls of performing they reached a higher level of (dare I say it?) artistry. It's funny, touching, beautiful to look at and perfectly played. I was thrilled that the film picked up as many Academy Awards as it did and even more thrilled to read people bitching about it. I love disagreeing with people who can’t love a film so glorious. This is a throwback to an age of filmmaking that rarely seems connected to what is made today. THE ARTIST is a film for film fans – not movie goers. I can’t wait to see it on Blu-Ray.


I also saw the new version of THE WOMAN IN BLACK from the reconstituted Hammer Studio. It is their return to gothic horror and a fantastically creepy tale told with much atmosphere and style. They stacked the financial deck by casting Daniel Radcliff guaranteeing a big opening weekend but positive word of mouth keeps sending audiences to the theater - and not just screeching, texting teenaged girls. Spielberg's animated THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN turned out to be an excellent adaptation of one of the classic comic strip tales. I've read very few of the original stories but this film was bright, exciting and very fun. I know this was produced with the knowledge that it would have a limited appeal in the US but I was completely charmed even without much background with the character. I would love to see a series of such movies made if the same voice cast could be signed on.

TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL was as good as I had heard it would be. Flipping the standard backwoods slasher tale on its head was a great idea and luckily the writers and director were smart enough to cast well and follow through. It is a slyly funny movie that succeeds with solid performances and a sense of humor and real wit. I was surprised by how charmed I was by a comedy/horror story made in this era of dumbed down writing. Just as fascinating was the documentary MACHTE MAIDENS UNLEASHED about the B-movies made in the Philippines in the 1960s and 70s. I'm always interested in learning more about the history of exploitation movies and this interview heavy film was informative and entertaining. It was made by the same folks responsible for the earlier doc about Australian exploitation cinema NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD so if you enjoyed that one I suspect you'll like this one too.



OPERATION: MANTIS (1985) - 4
TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL (2010)- 9 (very good horror/comedy with excellent performances)
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010)- 8 (great documentary)
OPEN HOUSE (1987)- 3 (amateurish slasher with Adrienne Barbeau)
STRANGE AWAKENING (1957) -6 (pretty good mystery)
THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2011) - 8 (excellent gothic remake)
CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE (1966) - 3 (Larry Buchanan mess)
GHIDORAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER (1965)- 6 (a fun monster bash weighed down by the silly idea of the monsters communicating and cooperating)
THE ARTIST (2011)- 10 (excellent in every way)
NAVAJO JOE (1966) - 6 (Sergio Corbucci western isn't as good as his later efforts)
PSYCHIC KILLER (1975)- 6 (interesting thriller with good cast)
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011)- 8 (great fun - bring on the sequel)
CHAINED HEAT (1983- 4 (nudity & sleaze make it watchable- barely)
TARZAN GOES TO INDIA (1962)- 5 (OK Tarzan tale- nothing special)
DRAGNET (1954)- 6 (the original hard-boiled Jack Webb post radio version)
LAKE MUNGO (2008)- 7 (interesting documentary style horror story)
SEVEN MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD (1971)- 6 (rewatch)


Friday, March 02, 2012

RED MOON (2011)

This amusing short film was an Official Selection at the 2011 Atlanta Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, and 2012 Oxford Film Festival. Its inventive and fun but still manages to capture that tragic edge any good werewolf tale needs.

RED MOON from Sirocco Research Labs on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

TARZAN: LORD OF THE LOUISIANA JUNGLE

If you are a fan of Tarzan films there is always the desire to see the various screen interpretations of the Jungle Lord. The urge to compare and contrast each actor in the role to see if they match up to the image conjured when reading the books is certainly strong for me and it has lead me to seek out most of the films over the years. A couple of weeks ago I finally caught up with TARZAN GOES TO INDIA (1962) and found both Jock Mahoney as Tarzan and the movie itself to mediocre. Mahoney just didn’t have the handsome face, powerful voice or presence I always picture Lord Greystoke having even if his physique was perfect. I might have been more forgiving of this if the movie had been less dull and obvious. The producers of the 1950s and 1960s film series were far too impressed with elephants as a plot element and this entire film revolves around saving a herd of the animals from a newly built dam flooding their home. It’s pretty ho-hum overall even with an ‘evil’ construction engineer sliming up the place. Add in a shrilly irritating Indian child character with his pet elephant and I’m surprised I was able to finish the whole film! It’s a plodding exercise and for an adventure film that is death.

The one area of Tarzan film history that is a real blank space for me remains the early silents made before the first Johnny Weissmuller movies at Warner Bros. I love silent cinema but I rarely go out of my way to find new pictures to watch relying on the fairly random programming of occasional examples on Turner Classic Movies to give me a surprise or two every few months. So I’m thrilled to learn that in conjunction with the production of a new documentary on the subject the very first Tarzan film is being restored and released on disc. Titled TARZAN OF THE APES the movie was made in 1917 and was filmed in a small town in Louisiana. The movie has been talked about for years but rarely seen with its main point of interest being the presence of Elmo Lincoln in the titular role. The production originally had the blessing of Edgar Rice Burroughs and was the first movie to actually feature black actors playing the African native characters. While most of the original running time of the film has been lost to the ages the longest possible version has been pieced together with a newly created score and is set to come out in April.


Just as interesting to me is the documentary about the making of the film called TARZAN: LORD OF THE LOUISIANA JUNGLE. The documentary premieres in April in Morgan City, Louisiana where TARZAN OF THE APES (1918) was shot ninety-five years ago. I will be thrilled to see both the film and he doc when the DVDs are available. I'll post a notice here when its possible to buy them online but you can keep up with new developments on the doc's FaceBook page.


I need to eventually finish watching the last of the Weissmuller movies too! Here's the trailer for the documentary.