Thursday, May 30, 2013
I have the first few issues of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby's adaptation and expansion of the Kubrick film 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) and I wish I had them all. It only lasted ten issues and after number six he took it into a more comic book friendly direction but the brain-bending vistas and bizarre concepts he tossed around in this short run are wonderful. I don't think Marvel can reprint these books so I will continue to haunt shops to eventually complete my collection.
Monday, May 27, 2013
We are back and episode 38 brings us back to the roots of our fascination with Naschy's work - the 1970s! Yes! We cover A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (1974) with all the joy of old friends reuniting after a long separation. Naschy plays a tough Italian cop ruthless in his devotion to his job and lucky enough to be backed up by a smart, resourceful wife played by the fantastic Erika Blanc. This is the only film the two made together and considering how well their scenes play its a damned shame. In a better world they would have starred in a series of thrillers like this one throughout the next decade. But, to focus on the positives, we have Leon Klimovsky back in the director's chair, a script co-written by Naschy and a host of returning faces in the cast. It may be a sign of just how far we have come in our love of Spanish Horror but the sight of names such as Eduardo Calvo, Maria Kosty and Ramon Centenero in the cast list is an electrifying thrill. Having these actors pop up in our discussions again is a chance to note how much they add to the film overall and we take our time to marvel over the range they were afforded in their career's prime. In this film Kosty especially is asked to play a wide range of emotions and is a joy to watch.
This movie is generally referred to as a giallo and, although it certainly displays many of the hallmarks of that genre,
Troy and I talk about its
points of divergence as well. Is a mystery a giallo if the main character is a
police officer? Do such distinctions matter? We touch on this and a host of other ideas as we walk through this well paced and exciting thriller. I, of
course, get caught up in some of the bizarre elements like Naschy's tie
collection and his amazing mustache while Troy
seems to be more intrigued by the various ways Erika Blanc can seem both
beautiful and scary depending on the camera angle.
We hope you enjoy this one folks. We are happy to be back to talking about Paul Naschy! Please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us over on the Facebook page. If you subscribe through iTunes please rate and/or review us over in the iTunes Store. It would really help us out. Thanks for listening!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
I was thrilled to see my friend Ethan Black set up a table at last weekend's Wonderfest Convention in Louisville, KY to sell his work. This was the first time he had done such a public offering and it was long overdue. He offered a combination of original pieces and prints and did pretty well for himself. I have posted his excellent short Halloween themed cartoon here before but I thought it was time to show you some of his painted and penciled art as well. Enjoy and you can see more over at his Facebook page - The Dark Art of Ethan Black.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The packaging of MGM's DVD release of Hammer's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES carries the critic's quote, "The best Sherlock Holmes film ever made." That may be stretching the truth a little but I'm willing to go along with the hyperbole when the film is this good. The movie begins with Holmes and Watson being told the tale of Sir Hugo Baskerville by Dr. Mortimer (Francis DeWolff). It appears that hundred years earlier, Sir Hugo kidnapped a young girl servant for the debased pleasure of himself and his house full of scummy friends. When the girl escaped across the moors Hugo gave chase with a pack of hounds, caught her and stabbed her to death. Moments later he was attacked and killed by a giant hound and ever since that day every male Baskerville heir has died a mysterious death on those same moors. Dr. Mortimer, a friend of the family, also informs Holmes that just weeks before, the most recent Lord of Baskerville Hall was found dead under strange circumstances. Mortimer asks Holmes to help him protect the life of the last male member of the family, who is arriving soon to take over the estate. The detective meets with the new Lord and agrees to help in this matter of the "Hound of Hell".
This is the best known and most often filmed Holmes story, even though no version has ever been able to overcome the difficult problem of having Sherlock absent from the middle part of the tale. One of the strengths of this version is that when Dr. Watson and Henry Baskerville take center stage, the film doesn't suffer for it. Andre Morell is an excellent Dr. Watson, avoiding the horrible trap of earlier adaptations of making the character an idiot. Watson was never supposed to be a bumbling fool and Morell shows us a competent man caught up in mystifying circumstances, doing his level best to solve the case. Christopher Lee, as Baskerville heir Sir Henry, is given a rare opportunity to play a romantic lead and does a fantastic job. At the time Lee was petitioning for better roles at Hammer and this film had to feel like a step in the right direction for the actor. As Henry he is urbane, sophisticated, and a true gentleman — things that cannot be said of Dracula in the sequels he was being asked/forced to make for the studio, but the real acting laurels have to go to Peter Cushing as Holmes. He wonderfully captures the many facets of Doyle's beloved character. He is at times arrogant and pompous but always most concerned with finding and stopping evil. He doesn't suffer fools gladly but you never doubt his innate goodness or his desire to unravel the mystery at hand.. Cushing is, in many ways, the perfect Holmes and it's a shame that this fine film is his only big screen interpretation. Some of his BBC TV Sherlock adventures have been issued on DVD in recent years but those production's low budgets and cramped sets are all too often a distraction from the fine acting. It is a shame Hammer did not produce more Holmes films with their excellent production design and this movie's overall level of high quality. What a missed opportunity!
Monday, May 20, 2013
After finally seeing KILMA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE (1975) I find myself in a Jungle Girl mood! I might have to seek out more examples of the sub-genre for Summertime viewing. Luckily there are a few I haven't seen although I don't think I'm going to be impressed with a high level of acting. Just sayin'.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This one is better know under - well, a LOT of other titles. THE LUSTFUL AMAZONS (1974) seems to be the most common, but I like KARZAN. I need to catch up with this one to see just how lustful things get!
Saturday, May 11, 2013
For the first time in decades I have just read a DonPendleton Executioner novel. I picked this particular one up because it takes place in
and it was only 5 cents! Can't go too far wrong at that price. I hadn't read
one of these since about ninth grade and I was surprised by the thinness
of the story. There is very little story in this and as a narrative its so
brief as to constitute only a couple of chapters in a tale of any serious
length. Of course, that is the standard for these kinds of books. Short,
violent and to the point would be considered good traits for Men's Adventure
Fiction and this one delivers. These kind of book series seemed to have reached
their pinnacle in the 1970s and I might have to occasionally dip back into them
for the pure fun of reading something so much a relic of its time. Also, I had
forgotten about the continuing storyline in the first 38 books. After the thirty-eighth book
Pendleton left the series and it moved in a different direction with Bolan and a picked team of bad-asses fighting
international terrorism instead of just the American Mafia. I read a number of
those original 38 books years ago and it was fascinating to walk down this
memory lane and be reminded of the elements that had slipped my mind while also
noting the bizarre things that the author used to stretch the books to more
than 150 pages. For instance- there are at least two whole chapters in which
nothing happens except Bolan thinking about his life and his holy Mafia War.
The story stops dead for this!
Another thing that makes it fun reading these quick page turners now is noting the extreme ring-wing attitude of the main character. Dirty Harry was a wuss next to Mack Bolan! Kill all the scum! Law and Order- without so much of the law stuff getting in the way. I really did not pick up on this aspect of the character when I was younger. It simply flew past me as I gobbled these books up in search of thrills. I guess part of my fun now is laughing at the over the top ideology espoused by Bolan and wondering at the cognitive dissonance necessary to act as a self-proclaimed (and self-righteous) Law Man while breaking so many laws in the process. I suppose sometimes you just gotta kill a bunch of people to punish a murderer or two!
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I just learned that famed stop-motion special effects man and filmmaker Ray Harryhausen has passed away at age 92. Although not unexpected this is very sad news for me and any fan of classic fantastic cinema. I have spent hundreds of hours being entertained by Mr. Harryhausen's brilliant work and I will spend many more in the years to come. I will never be able to fully thank him for the joys he crafted that fired uncounted imaginations around the world. I got to meet the Great man in the late 1990s and got him to autograph my Laser Disc of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and a lobby card from the film as well. He was a wonderfully nice gentleman and fielded what I'm sure were a series of silly fanboy questions with wit and generosity. I wish he had been able to make at least ten more movies.