Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dream Drive -In Double Feature.....

People keep asking Yvette and I to go to the drive-in this weekend and that would be great- but this is the double feature I wish was playing. Ah, the Summer time madness of low budget monster movies.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jess Franco coverage in Fangoria


I should have alerted readers of the blog to this a while ago- even before the magazine hit the stands- but better late than never. The latest issue of Fangoria magazine has a wealth of reading for fans of Spanish Horror and Jess Franco. It even has Lina Romey on the freakin' cover! Check out the lineup- 

*FEATURE: REMEMBERING JESS FRANCO, PART ONE Producing the director’s DVDs gave David Gregory intimate access to the man himself.
*FEATURE: REMEMBERING JESS FRANCO, PART TWO Tim Lucas helped popularize the Spanish auteur while discovering him. Plus: A backyard Franco-fest!
*INTERVIEW: JACK TAYLOR Playing good or bad, he was a constant in Franco’s supernatural and sexy features.
*INTERVIEW: MARIA ROHM The leading lady of many Franco flicks remembers the director and her legendary co-stars.

That's right! Not only a piece by friend-of-the-NaschyCast Tim Lucas but an interview with the ever elusive Jack Taylor! Woo hoo! Go grab your copy today folks - I got mine at Barnes & Noble last night.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

NaschyCast #40 - THE NIGHT OF THE EXECUTIONER (1993)

THE NIGHT OF THE EXECUTIONER was the last film Paul Naschy directed before his decision to helm EMPUSA in 2010. By the 1990s he knew the most fruitful days of his career were behind him and I'm sure the opportunity to be back in the writer/director/star position was exciting.  He explains the dual genesis of this tale of vigilante justice in this autobiography so its clear that he felt inspired to create the film even if, in the end, it is a bit too much like other movies in the genre.

Troy and I discuss this low budget excursion into the dark heart of Spanish criminal life while touching on the justifications a victim has to exact vengeance. We even attempt to wrestle with the moral complications that come with living in a society where justice is handled by the government and the liberal vs. conservative arguments on the subject. But not to worry- we spend much more time talking about DEATH WISH, DIRTY HARRY and our mutual love of 1970s Charles Bronson movies. Somehow we are also prompted by this movie to talk about the gender structure of criminal gangs in SUDDEN IMPACT and CLASS OF 1984! Don't ask why- just listen and all will be made clear. And for those interested, my cat Katie makes her presence known multiple times throughout the show as she tries to distract us from our podcasting and/or influence our opinions. She's a good cat but a bit of an attention hog.

The mailbag section is great this month with a few good points made by listeners and a much deserved correction made on my sad mispronunciation of the lovely Nadiuska's name in last month's show. I can only throw myself on the mercy of the Naschy fans and promise to do better next time. As always the show is available from the link below or through the iTunes store or streaming from Stitcher Radio. We do prattle on! You can drop us a line at naschycast@gmail.com or join us over on the Facebook page and leave us a review in the iTunes store. Thanks!



Saturday, July 27, 2013

ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971) poster art


I only recently found this amazing poster art for my least favorite of the Apes sequels. I love these modern variants on classic film ad art in general and this one is superb capturing the start of the tale perfectly without giving much away to the new viewer. More, please! 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Star Trek comics

I don't think Star Trek was well served by the comic book industry until the pretty good run DC had in the 1980s. Marvel's brief 18 issue run was OK but suffered from following the dullest of all Trek movies - The Motion-less Picture (1979) which hung a pall over it that all the good intentions in the world couldn't raise.

The first Trek comics were the Gold Key run that lasted 11 years from 1967 to 1978 but produced only 61 issues. Not that those issues were particularly good- indeed every time I found one as a Trek loving kid I was disappointed enough to feel cheated out of my money! But in the past couple of years I've gone back to look at those almost indifferently produced books and I've found some joy in the pages. Usually that joy is in laughing at the banal, silly or often bone-dense stupid nature of the stories being told, but occasionally I have fun in a way that reminds me of the feeling I had watching the show as a kid. Not often, but often enough.

If nothing else, the covers were always fantastic!














Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Tarzan Animated Show

In our last NaschyCast Troy and I talked a bit about how we first became aware of the character of Tarzan and I confessed that my first encounter might have been the Filmation cartoon. The show was first aired on Saturday mornings (remember that, fellow old folks?) in 1976 and a full 36 episodes were produced. I have great memories of the show I haven't seen an entire episode in years. It seems that only one has ever been released to DVD on the Saturday Morning Cartoons Vol. 1 set but I would love the chance to get the whole run. I love that this is the rare presentation of the character that attempts to adapted him as written by Burroughs. Here Tarzan comes of as an intelligent, thoughtful man instead of a grunting moron. If you've never seen this animated version of Tarzan here are some clips from YouTube. First, the intro of the show- 



And now for the first part of one of the regular episodes- 



Wait! I think I might have that DVD set! I gotta go look on the shelf! 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Star Trek images

I've been thinking about how little joy I got from STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and trying to reason out what it is about the original series that keeps me interested all these years later. I am sure a part of my enjoyment of ST:TOS is that I saw it as a young boy and it became an ingrained way that I think about SF and entertainment itself. I mean- what else explains me getting real fun out of watch 'Spock's Brain' or 'The Way to Eden' other than the show shooting past my usual BS alarms? But I think there is something thoughtful in the old Trek that just hasn't been there in these new movies. They lack - for want of a better word- soul. Whether you think of older Trek as cheesy, silly overly simplistic tripe or as thoughtful attempts to bring science fiction to television I think we can all agree that in the beginning the characters mattered and the effects were just icing on the cake - not the other way around. I'd like to see TREK return to that one day.









Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jess Franco poster art - Part 23!


I have not yet watched this much praised Franco effort but it is in the 'On Deck Circle' begging for a swing. I have a subtitled copy and the cast list is very tempting so maybe sooner rather than later. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE (1987)

Make no mistake — ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is a terrible, terrible film. But it's terrible in a way that almost dares you to ignore it. I was introduced to this low budget mess a few years ago by a longtime friend who had come across it on a non-chain video store shelf. He rented it out of curiosity and none of his friendships have really ever recovered. His desire to repeatedly show it to unsuspecting victims at every opportunity has caused threats of drunken violence against him, his family and his pets. I think I had the same reaction that anyone would've had... minus the wish for the sweet relief of death but plus the numbing influence of alcohol. By turns bored, incredulous, amused and flabbergasted, I came away simply stunned that this thing existed much less that a cult had grown up around it and its star John-Mikl Thor.

The film tells the story of a small rural farmhouse that apparently resides atop a gateway to Hell. As the film begins we witness an attack on the residing family by a vicious Oven Demon (derived from the Latin demonicous magicus chefis) that renders the place an impossible sale for real estate dealers for the next 10 years. Then, in a series of never ending shots, we watch Jon Triton (Jon-Mikl Thor) drive his band's van to the remote house to utilize its seclusion to his creative advantage. Bringing his band The Tritonz here he hopes to use the newly installed 24-track recording studio in the barn to record a new album while also recharging the band's inspirational batteries. Along with the band members are wives, girlfriends and enough interpersonal angst to fuel an after school special. The band settles into the farmhouse and right away we are given floor level monster-cam shots of something lurking in the house with evil designs. I assumed that the cast would just need to stay away from the kitchen and they'd be safe but I was wrong. It seems that possession is a trick these demon-types have mastered so as soon as they attack/kill/eat (whatever-the-hell they do off camera to save money), the rotting corpse is then used to lure the next sucker to their doom. The first victim is dorky Tritonz manager Max (David Lane). He acts as cook, recording engineer and all-around cheerleader but is too dumb to recognize the danger signs right in front of his eyes, such an incredibly hot but snooty babe disrobing for a quickie in the barn's basement. (The fact that the barn has a basement is pretty silly, of course, and they do such a poor job of faking the location that it just adds to the fun.) This converts Max into one of the house's possessed creatures, lurking around slowly (slowly!), picking off the other characters one by one. I was amused that when the band's drummer is taken over by the spirits/demons/whatever the only discernible changes are better skills in bed and on the skins — and the loss of his astoundingly bad English accent. Maybe this possession thing isn't so bad, huh? Until that demonic hand rips through your chest to grab your naked girlfriend, that is.

As the cast disappears Thor becomes more and more angry that so little practicing is getting done. In an attempt to keep viewers awake, liberal amounts of nudity are spread throughout with the clichéd (required?) shower scene thrown in for good measure. Of course, since the best looking person on screen is Thor, the shower involves him and his girlfriend Randy (Teresa Simpson). Nice to know they included something for the ladies but I could've lived my whole life without seeing Thor's wet ass.


    After the shower Thor sits down in the barn to work on his new love song, seemingly unaware that the rest of the cast has been eaten/possessed/pulled down to Hell. The devilish creatures that have been sliming around the place show themselves in full and to top things off, Beelzebub himself puts in an amusing appearance. To give away any more of the climax would be to rob the film of its one truly inspired bit of madness so I'll just smile and have another drink. Suffice to say that if you can make it to the end you will barely believe how the story wraps up. It may not be genius but it is jawdroppingly insane and well worth the wait for lovers of cheesy badness.
    Steeped in that most atrocious of all decades, the 1980s, ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is like a low budget time capsule of things that made life insufferable during the Reagan years. The worst elements of music, horror films and fashion are on display as if one of the script's appendices were a checklist of 'things that will embarrass us in five years'. Neither scary, interesting nor entertaining on the level it hopes for, this is a film that most folks would be smart to skip. It's poorly done on nearly all fronts, with the aforementioned crazed ending being its only saving grace. Having said that I can now admit that on a certain level I actually enjoy this movie. In the PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE range of so-bad-its-good fun this actually scores very high. Preposterously silly, with terrible acting, hysterically bad dialog and some of the worst screen monsters this side of H.R. Puffnstuff, this would have been perfect for an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Indeed, the small spud-like puppet demons that appear in ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE are so funny that I began to suspect the effects crew weren't told they were making a horror film. The little one-eyed creature's quivering, gape-jawed reactions to Thor are incredibly funny reminding me of Beaker from The Muppet Show — and that's not the way to scare anyone! By the time Satan shows up things are so off the rails that the only possible reaction is incredulity. I can attest that most people watching this for the first time look like they've been smacked with a baseball bat. By my second viewing I was wondering if the special effects budget was less or equal to the cost of hair spray for the cast.
As you would expect in a story about a rock band there are several songs performed, and as the title would indicate the songs are ROCK! (Or should that be spelled RAWK?) The Tritonz are a typical late '80s hair metal band with peroxide taking the lead over musical complexity in the performer's bag of tricks. Each song is a by rote slab of cheese with very few lyrics, reliant on a simple repeated chorus to bang its way into your head. Turn your brain off and the tunes can be fun but no ones ever going to mistake this stuff for good music. And the film doesn't help itself by scattering extra metal songs over every other scene as a form of sonic wallpaper. It's as if they were trying to get as many songs in as possible to give them some exposure. Less would have been more, I think.
    With a film this bad it would be tempting to excoriate the creative force behind it, namely Jon-Mikl Thor. After all, he wrote the script, produced and starred in this mess. Except that once you've seen the film it becomes hard to dislike the man. He is so earnest in his desire to entertain that in the end his enthusiasm is contagious. And even if the songs he writes are crap, the film sucks and he is little more than an overly made up clown posing in silly outfits- its really just all in fun. No one's taking this stuff seriously, least of all Thor. So you've been warned. Enter with the right mindset and you'll find gold but otherwise you’re in for a long ride. I won't force it on anyone but I can recommend it for anybody wanting to have his or her own night of Mystery Science Theater-style fun. You won't lack for straight lines with this film!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Euro-Crime Poster Art







I'm feeling like its time for some gritty 70s crime and police stories! 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Doomsday +1 returns as Doomsday.1


I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories of all types and I'm always on the lookout for them in any form. Years ago, while rummaging through the bargain boxes in a local comic shop I spotted an issue of the mid-1970s Charlton book called Doomsday +1 and picked it up. The cover featured one of my all time favorite post-apocalyptic images - a destroyed Statue of Liberty- so even if the comic sucked I knew I wanted the cover in my collection anyway! I was surprised and happy to note that the artwork was by then unknown but soon-to-be superstar John Byrne. The issue was very good and certainly up my alley so I sought out a few more issues as I could over the next couple of months and then, as things do, it dropped off my radar.


Well, now I have learned that Byrne has resurrected this short lived series and is revamping it for the 21st century. The newly entitled Doomsday.1 has begun publication from IDW and I couldn't be happier to have this tale return. I've read the first two new issues and so far I'm loving this more realistic take on the post catastrophe story. I am fascinated by the idea of revisiting a story first told as a younger artist to see if age has brought wisdom to the creator or if the spark that made the thing shine can't be reignited. With that in mind, Byrne has made some changes to the original scenario that are pretty interesting. Here's what he had to say-

"I’ve been thinking for some time that I would like to revisit a post-apocalypse kind of scenario, such as was seen in my very first ‘dramatic’ work in comics, but this time without the more obvious fantasy elements of that original series (mermaids, alien robots, frozen mammoths, etc.). When bits and pieces of this new series first started to percolate around in my head, I knew almost at once the shape that ‘revisit’ would take; something in the ‘All-New, All-Different’ vein. And the first time I doodled some images of my ‘crew,’ I knew I was there!"

So, I'm looking forward to the third issue due out soon. If you find these kinds of tales in the least interesting (and you read comics!) I think you might enjoy it. Let's see if it last more than the seven issues the first try managed!


Saturday, July 06, 2013

What I Watched in June


Two trips to the theaters last month with one big budget film and one much smaller. MAN OF STEEL is the newest attempt to bring Superman to the big screen in a way that pleases both long times fans of the character and the general public with only the slightest idea of who Kal-El might be. The filmmakers seem to have found a way to please large portions of both types of ticket buyers but not all of either. Since I am a longtime comic book fan conversant in most things Kryptonian I am most amused by others of my tribe as they whine away. The FanBoys (as expected) are complaining about the liberties taken with the origin story and the terrible violent action that Superman is forced into taking near the end of the film. I was very happy with the modifications to the story of the baby alien being sent to Earth by his rebellious parents. I might have opted for less action during this segment of the film but the alterations to this part of the origin were very smart, I thought, as they immediately created the conflict for the second half of the story.


Also, I liked the fact that Lois Lane knows who Superman really is from the beginning. To have a supposedly world class reporter track this mysterious man to his home makes perfect sense and brings the two characters closer together for the future. Amy Adams was great in the role, moving to the top of the list of actresses saddled with this usually thankless part. Also fantastic was Diane Lane as Ma Kent. I've become a big fan of this lady over the last decade as I've seen her rise above some middling material to give strong, nuanced performances repeatedly. She is very good in MOS and deserves to be thought of at awards time. Both actors in the father roles are very good as well but I have to admit that I had a strange feeling watching them onscreen. It had nothing to do with the actors or their work but I saw MOS on Father's Day weekend and if you know the Superman story you know that the relationships between fathers & sons play into a few plot points along the way. I'm not above saying that I teared up a couple of times.

I liked MAN OF STEEL very much and can't wait to see where they go for a sequel. I would love to see Brainiac, the Parasite or even Bizarro pop up to make life difficult for Clark in his new home. 


THE PURGE is being marketed as a horror film but I think its more of a cautionary science fiction tale in the tradition of 1984, GATTACA or CHILDREN OF MEN. I can't claim its as good as those movies but it has more than a few fascinating ideas folded into its narrative that stick with you afterwards. Its near future tale of a United States that has 'controlled' its violence problem by making one twelve hour period each year a time when no laws are enforced is interesting on many levels. The obvious ability to get away with murder - literally- is the most acted upon desire which I found most telling. I have no doubt this would be the way of things in such a scenario but its truly awful when the probable aftermath is considered. The film hints at some of these ideas but not too much- it has other things on its mind.


Its these other ideas that I was most intrigued by in THE PURGE. By the time of the story we are watching this annual Hell Night has become so ingrained in American culture that certain ceremonies surrounding it have become very structured. The moments when people are enacting these ceremonies make it clear that this yearly releasing of the public id has started to take on the trappings of a religion with the 'New Founding Fathers' as high priests in a terrifying kind of secular church. And much like so many organized religions, it looks like this hierarchy is in place to keep the lower classes under control. I wish the movie had spent more time on this aspect of the story but what is there is very strong stuff for the observant viewer. This isn't a great film but its worth seeing.

THE FINAL DESTINATION (2009)- 6 (rewatch) (the weakest of the series)
HAYWIRE (2011)- 7 (very good spy thriller)
RED (2010)- 6 (rewatch)
THE BLACK ROSE (1950)- 9 (excellent 13th century epic tale)
TARZAN IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1974) - 5
BEASTMASTER 2: THROUGH THE PORTAL OF TIME (1991)- 2 (starts out well then sleds downhill quickly)
SHOCK TREATMENT (1981)- 6 (follow up to Rocky Horror is pretty good)
BEASTMASTER 3: THE EYE OF BRAXAS (1996)- 2 (ugh!)
WESTWORLD (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
MAN OF STEEL (2013)- 8
WIZARDS (1977)- 3 (15 minutes of story stretched out to feature length)
DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012)- 9 (rewatch)
THE MILLERSON CASE (1947)- 6 (The 8th Crime Doctor film)
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN  (1999)- 3
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION (2009)- 7 (great, harsh action film)
THE PURGE (2013)- 6
SHEENA (1984)- 6 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fighting American comic covers!






I had never read any of these amusing Simon & Kirby tales until just recently but better late than never! I have been loving the tongue-in-cheek character names, over-the-top satire and (of course) the dynamic action artwork you would expect from Jack Kirby. I was lucky to be given as a gift the entire 1950s run packaged in one great hardcover book. These fun and funny slices of crazed anti-commie patriotism are entertaining pieces of pop culture from an age best remembered warts and all. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013