The great Kimberly Lindbergs penned a blog entry over at FilmStuck in 2011 that I only now discovered. She points readers toward a fascinating book on a truly bizarre subject - celebrity records! This was a phenomenon of decades past in which a television or film actor would be convinced to record an album of music to cash in on their fame. These were usually disasters - artist failures of epic proportions that embarrassed the actor and delighted the fan of huge entertainment mistakes. Depending on your taste or ability to absorb the stranger end of recorded music you might enjoy this article and the music she introduces. Here are a few of my favorite examples -
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
Once I'm finished babbling about the DC Comics animated films for video
and I discuss the film's comedic tone, creepy setting and it's stalk & kill
plotline while marveling at the cast. Where else are you going to see the classic
western sidekick actor Fuzzy Knight running around a gothic castle? We talk
about the production history, the sick day that cost the film it's final scene
and the clever use of left over sets. There is some examination of the idea of
how difficult it would be to quickly get in and out of a suit of medieval armor
and we wonder about well timed crossbow bolts. This is a movie that throws a
lot of things at the wall and not all of them stick. Troy
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Saturday, May 11, 2019
But the strange thing is that I actually pretty much enjoyed this version of Hellboy. It's never going to supplant the two Del Toro pictures in my heart but even with all my reservations walking into the theater I found myself really enjoying this slightly harsher, much more R-rated version of the Hellboy Mythos. I especially like the fact that they managed to incorporate one of my favorite stories from the initial run of Hellboy - The Wild Hunt - into this film. Also, I'm very happy with the way the film revisits Hellboy's origin so that we get Lobster Johnson thrown into the mix. Having that character pop up onscreen for the first time is an absolute joy. So this isn't an out of the park homerun but I have to admit this film found a way to be a solid triple. To shame that it's a big box office failure because I actually wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to it or maybe even two. Seems that no matter what happens Hellboy is a bit of a doomed franchise.
I can compliment the film for something other than its brevity - the cinematography is phenomenal. The best thing, in my opinion, about this film actually is its excellent cinematography followed by its really sharp sound design. This is a beautiful looking, well-lit, shadowy, creepy film that is coupled with a very textured audio mix to make this one of the better-looking and sounding horror films of the past few years. The movie only has one really good standout performance and that's the central role of the working mom played by Linda Cardellini, an actress I'm beginning to wish had more time on screen in cinemas. She's very good but sadly the script gives only her anything interesting to do occasionally. All the other characters might have had a better chance at some quality acting time but either their abilities aren't there or the script isn't interested. So not a bad little movie; not a particularly good little movie, but it's okay.
THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD (1983) - 7 (rewatch)
TERROR IS A MAN (1959) - 8 (rewatch)
JESSE JAMES VS THE DALTONS (1954) - 5
JIGOKU (a.k.a. HELL) (1961) - 8 (surreal Japanese horror)
GREASE 2 (1982) - 4
MASTERSON OF KANSAS (1954) - 7
THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM (1967) - 6 (rewatch on Blu)
CURSE OF THE VAMPIRES (1966) - 5 (slowly paced Pilipino horror tale)
THE CRIME DOCTOR (1943) - 7 (rewatch)
HELLBOY (2019) - 7
THE UNDYING MONSTER (1942) - 6 (rewatch on Blu)
THE THING (1951) - 9 (rewatch on Blu)
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019) - 5
THE BASTARD (1968) - 7 (fascinating Euro-Crime)
BLACK DRAGONS (1942) - 4 (rewatch)(interesting but terrible Poverty Row Lugosi film)
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) - 8
KING RICHARD AND THE CRUSADERS (1954) - 8
DOCTOR BLOOD'S COFFIN (1961) - 6 (rewatch on Blu)
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Saturday, May 04, 2019
For a brief few years after the second film I thought that the series might become one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. The high quality of the script of Empire opened up the world giving the characters nuance and detail beyond the broad hero/villain outlines of the first movie. But then the third film came along with it's rehash of the first movie and made-for-toy-shelf characters and my enthusiasm was tempered again. Since then I've occasionally read some Star Wars fiction or comics that recapture the original feeling of wonder from when I was ten or twelve years old but it's still those first two movies that continue to do the trick.
Even after the horrible prequels and the weakly realized Disney follow up trilogy films I still enjoy those movies. I end up being able to enjoy new Star Wars films and tales only in that they find a way to rekindle the feeling of wide-eyed discovery I felt reading that novelization or seeing the first film. It's become something, for me, that causes nostalgia more than anything else. I guess that may have been the inevitable fate of a story originally conceived out of nostalgia for a man's childhood love of science fiction adventure stories. But it's a shame that there have been so few of the films since 1977 that have been able to make Star Wars more than what it's detractors said it was from the beginning - big budgeted children's scribbling. It's better than that but now it has become much more difficult to argue for the tale's higher qualities because you must start each defense with caveats about the obviously bad things attached to it.
Thursday, May 02, 2019
This is the rarely seen and not often discussed Universal Horror film that Troy and I will be talking about in the next episode of The Bloody Pit. This is the easiest way I know to catch the movie even if the DVD set it's included in is pretty darned cheap. Plus the DVD set has the next film we'll cover after this one too!
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Inside was a feature article on this insane film that captured my imagination.
and rereading this piece made me so hungry to see the movie that it became a
mildly unhealthy obsession. The article was very clear about the film's
failings and even poked fun at some of the more embarrassing bits of dialogue. It
pointed out that the plotting was clunky and made it very clear just how inept
it was. In fact, it was made sure to detail the bizarre ways in which nearly
everything in the damn thing makes no sense. Reading
At barely an hour long it has such a confused story that it's almost impossible to accurately recount what happens. I suspect that there could be a fun parlor game of only allowing new viewers to see the first 20-minute segment (or actually any random 20 minutes section) and then ask them what they think the film will ultimately be about. I seriously doubt that anyone would be able to guess where things end up and I think we might have more party game fun just imagining the crazy films that people would imagine. They would probably be more entertaining then BLACK DRAGONS ends up being. Not that it's not an entertaining little mess!
Let me be clear - I find this film completely fascinating in the same way that I find almost all of Bela Lugosi's poverty row horror films fascinating. It's illogical; it's silly as can be and because it's so short and because it features Lugosi it's kind of absorbing in just the same way as a slow motion car crash can be attention-grabbing. I know almost no one other than me is mesmerized by this film but if you've never seen it and you want to see something completely nuts - something that I guarantee will confuse and amuse - check out BLACK DRAGONS.
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
In BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS John Agar plays Steve March, a geologist working with his partner Dan (Robert Fuller) in the desert southwest. They’ve been getting odd fluctuating gamma radiation readings (!?) centered miles out in the desert and Steve insists they check it out. Once there they track the readings to a newly formed cave and are attacked by Gor-the titular brain from another world.
Almost too fun to be believed this is a classic so-bad-its-good movie. The story is incredible with characters doing hysterically illogical things simply to advance the plot. I’m still trying to figure out why a geologist would be given clearance to attend a major nuclear test or how (or why) geologists were monitoring ‘gamma radiation readings‘. But honestly the rest of the movie could be totally boring and would still be worth seeing for the insane final scene. The sight of John Agar ax-whacking an oversized brain dangling from clearly visible wires is one of the most hilarious things this side of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE. The film had to be fun for Agar as well since he gets to play two roles- good guy and bad brain. He does a good job as both but it’s the evil moments that really shine. Rarely is he more entertaining than in the sequences in which he convinces assembled world representatives of his power and issues his mad orders complete with diabolical laughter. Brilliant! Highly recommended for these who like their popcorn movies spiced with cheese.