Sunday, August 30, 2009

Star Trek - The Motion Comic

I've seen a few motion comics over the years and have enjoyed them for what they are while being not very impressed. I just don't like having my reading speed controlled by the crawling pace usually adopted by these projects. This one hasn't got that problem even if I do wish the story's pace were quicker in a few spots. Overall though, this is fun little mash up of two very different science fiction tales that shows some real talent. I would love to see more of the same as soon as the creator can spare the time. This one took four months of free time so who knows when more might show up. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Poster art for movies in my 'To View' pile

Not sure when I'll get to these, but I wish I could watch them right now!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enzo G. Castellari interview

One of my all time favorite Italian directors, Enzo G. Castellari, is interviewed to talk about his cameo acting part in Tarantino's INGLOUROUS BASTERDS and his own directorial career. Even though QT only took the title and WWII setting for his film from the 1978 Italian action movie directed by Castellari the debts he has to the director are numerous and varied. I can only wish for Tarantino to tackle each genre his hero has tried and conquered. Can you image the 1980’s style post-apocalyptic movie made today with a $50 million budget? I drool at the prospect!

Of course, I may be one of the very few.


Monday, August 24, 2009

The Ballad of Jonah Hex

California songwriter Ian Frazier was inspired by the current Jonah Hex comic book series written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. His song is in narrative form and includes a third verse that retells Jonah's origin as depicted in the current series in issues 13-15. This well produced video illustrates the song very nicely with panels from the series. My year of westerns powers on!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rosalba Neri - Euro Babe

For the second time in two weeks I was innocently watching a Euro-Cult film and there she was. Rosalba Neri! An absolutely gorgeous actress who pops up just often enough to remind me how evil & beauty can flow together with ease & grace. She makes me fear all attractive women just a little. I first noticed her in her starring role in the amazing LADY FRANKENSTEIN but this close-up from the poster art doesn't do her justice at all. Tonight I caught her in UPPERSEVEN - a Euro-Spy film from 1966 that was good fun and the last time I saw her she was a prostitute in Steve Reeves' final movie, the western A LONG RIDE FROM HELL. In both of these movies she is onscreen for a short while and then gone, but her presence lingers on for the entire running time. It has something to do with her eyes. Much like Barbara Steele there is just something riveting about those large, pretty eyes. They draw me in and make me long to be ensnared in her (probably) evil plans.

Looking over her list of credits I see that she was in many more movies that I've seen over the years. She was in Bava's Hercules in the Haunted World, Hercules Against Moloch, Hercules and the Black Pirates, Johnny Yuma, Slaughter Hotel, one of the original OSS-117 films, The French Sex Murders, Franco's 99 Women and Castle of Fu Manchu. She has a featured role in Hercules and the Black Pirates with the poster art for this one sporting an image in the top left corner that looks a lot more like the lady in question than any other artwork from her movies I've been able to find. The artist certainly captured her profile very well.

But enough of my blather. Feast your eyes on the lovely Miss Neri. A true beauty and a sign that the movie she turns up in has at least one good element to entertain the viewer.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Me & Jabba

I can't remember the first time I met Jabba. He was always a cheerful addition to any gathering and I'm sure he was around long before I ever really got to know him. By the time he and I had struck up a friendship over our shared interests of scantily clad slave girls and cruel revenge I felt like we were brothers under the skin. He's helped me through some hard times and I like to think I've helped him through some as well. He's always been willing to send out his minions to rectify bad situations or settle old (sometimes forgotten) scores. Jabba's kind heart often makes him seem like a big ol' softy especially when he does things to make his friends lives easier. Hell! I once complained too loudly about the crappy service in a particular restaurant and the next day it was a pile of rubble. Good times, good times!

I know that among the public at large there are mixed feeling about Jabba. Most folks love the Pod Races he sponsors, the gambling halls he maintains and the dancing girls he has trained for display. But Jabba has always been more than just a savvy business creature and a patron of the arts. Those few who are close to him know of his wonderful sense of humor and openness to hiring anyone regardless of race, creed, religion, ethnic background, planet of origin or capacity for honesty. He's really a sweet guy.

Lately he and I have been talking a little about advancing age and the 'middle age spread'. Jabba feels as if he's starting to put on a bit too much weight even for a Hutt and no matter what I say to the contrary he won't stop worrying. So I made a deal with him. We've decided to become weight loss partners! We're going to see who can lose 100 pounds the fastest and the winner gets to throw their least favorite bounty hunter into the Sarlacc Pit! It's very exciting! Of course, I expect Jabba to win- but it can't hurt to drop some of my excess fat. I don't need it all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Evelyn Ankers - black & white beauty

Last night I watched a Lex Barker Tarzan film and was surprised to find the radiant Miss Evelyn Ankers in a supporting role as a kind of surrogate Amelia Earhart. I shouldn't have been so surprised, really. This lovely lady has popped up in so many of my favorite movies from the 1940s that I should be more shocked when she isn't in one. This newest encounter prompted me to go on a google search for pictures of the actress and also finally to check out her list of credits on IMDB. It's an impressive list! She was in THE WOLFMAN, HOLD THAT GHOST, THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR, CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN, SON OF DRACULA, THE MAD GHOUL, THE INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE and a couple of the Inner Sanctum films. She is someone I'm always glad to see in a film. It's like spotting an old friend in a photo someone else is showing me.

And speaking of photos--


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Romero was right!

If and when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives we are all doomed! Canadian mathematicians have calculated the possible devastation caused by an attack by zombies and have discovered that unless mankind struck back quickly and aggressively then we would be finished. Using models developed to study other (less horrific) pandemic diseases they looked at classic slow-moving zombies such as those in Romero's Dawn of the Dead and divided humanity into three types: the living, zombies and the “removed” – zombies who had been killed by decapitation.

They concluded there was no point trying to cure those infected or live with them - the best thing was to destroy them as quickly as possible.

“A zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly,” they write in the book

“While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often.

“As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.”


I know what I intend to do when I see the shamblers coming toward me! BLAM!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hammer Glamour - Barbara Shelly interview

Daily Express reporter Stephen Griffin conducts an interview with the lovely Barbara Shelly and takes the opportunity to detail some retirement information about a number of her fellow Hammer beauties. Shelley starred in seven of Hammer's movies in the 1960s including The Gorgon, Dracula Prince Of Darkness, Rasputin The Mad Monk and Quatermass And The Pit. Unlike the raven haired lady herself, I wish she had 'bared all' onscreen. Clothed she was the center of some fantastic dreams- nude she might have become an obsession!

"THE SEXY stars of the Hammer movies caused many a young man's heart to beat that little bit faster and are now celebrated in a new book. Stephen Griffin takes a look at the history of Hammer's curvaceous scream queens and Barbara Shelley, one of the greatest ladies of the genre, spoke to him about her horrifying roles."


Monday, August 17, 2009

Spaghetti Western poster art

Why am I showing you this poster? Several reasons! "It's awesome" would be the most obvious but the best reason is because I loves me some Italian westerns! And this one sports a title that could have been used for a spy movie- which I find amusing. For One Thousand Dollars Per Day? Maybe even a detective story. I guess in 1966 the really interesting titles were still a few years away.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Superman peanut butter commercial

I somehow never saw this broadcast when it aired regularly circa 1981. I can't imagine how I didn't unless it was during the two years I caught very little TV while attending boarding school in Chattanooga. I didn't see nearly anything for that period and this is the first time I've had real reason to regret it. I don't even remember seeing this product in stores! But this guy has a few memories.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The flood of barbarian movies that stormed across movie screens in the early 80s was at best a mixed blessing. A direct result of the big box office of CONAN, the slew of rip-offs was inevitable as was the variable quality level from production to production. Barbarian movies don’t require much in the way of big budgets and if you’re fairly clever it is possible to create a moderately believable fantasy realm with sword wielding men and women saving oppressed people from evil warlords. If you want to include a wizard slinging around magic spells the price tag might go up a little (‘Find me a cheap FX man, now!’) but there were ways to make that pay off well if it made the film stand out from the crowd.

To be completely clear, none of these movies are classics of cinema. In fact, I would say that most of them are actually bad movies to varying degrees. But when you get the desire to see muscled non-actors swing swords and flatly toss out poorly scripted dialog about their beloved princesses and nefarious evil plans there is nothing you can do. You simply must watch a barbarian movie from the 1980s! The crazy costumes are a big plus as well with the evil characters often wearing objects that a lively audience can spend the film’s entire running time trying to identify.

Over the past few months I’ve finally caught up with the first three ATOR films and found them to be fairly dull affairs except for the bizarre third one that seemed to aspire to be Lynchian in its sparse, affected and obtuse approach to storytelling. This style was the result of an extremely low budget but its effect is still amazing viewed twenty years later in a post LOST HIGHWAY/MULHOLLAND DR. world. The movie is damned near an art film in barbarian dress! Granted, it would be hard to get a lot of folks to appreciate this fact, (much less the film itself) but what are you gonna do? A lot of people don’t like Lynch’s films either.

One of my favorites of the barbarian rip-off genre is Umberto Lenzi’s IRONMASTER. I picked up a copy of this little gem a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot but it wasn’t until this week I finally showed it to anyone else. I’m not sure why it took me so long because the reaction was everything I could have hoped for- stunned amusement coupled with giggling disbelief followed with a smile of pure joy. Perfect! Another IRONMASTER fan is born!

This film is a cut above the average of its type with a good story, some impressive South Dakota scenery and a good amount of well integrated stock footage of dangerous animals. The battle scenes are well done and usually believable in their harshness as the actors work hard to sell the physical nature of their characters. And only a group of mad Italians would have the audacity to conclude such a gory, violent movie with a call for non-violence and pacifism. Icing on the cake, says I.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Poster art

Classic. Now I just have to find the film!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE at the Belcourt

Nashville’s Belcourt cinema is in the middle of a month long festival of director Sergio Leone’s amazing spaghetti westerns. One could quibble that they are showing them out of order with FISTFULL OF DYNAMITE (a.k.a DUCK, YOU SUCKER) slotted before ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, but why complain? I missed last week’s screening of FISTFULL OF DOLLARS but caught Sunday’s noontime show of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and was thrilled to see it projected for the first time. I have seen the film at least 10 times over the years but finally witnessing the power of Leone’s cinema on the big screen was wonderful. It was also exhausting! These films wear you out- but in a good way.

Of the remaining three movies in the series I definitely plan to see ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST but the other two don’t call my name quite so loudly. I love them all but OUATITW and FAFDM are my favorites of the maestro’s westerns.

I just wish they would show the uncut Leone gangster epic ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA as well!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A SERIOUS MAN (2009) trailer

I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers and, with a few caveats, have enjoyed all of their movies. Of course, I still haven't seen their remake of THE LADY KILLERS so understand that I often dodge bullets that might harm my appreciation of someone’s skills. But I look forward to a new Coen film the way some look forward to the sunrise- as a new chance to see the world in a fresh way. With this trailer I am officially ‘merely waiting until opening day’!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Apocalypse soon!

This amusing article caught my eye recently dovetailing nicely with my abiding interest in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales. Josh Levin has compiled every fictional way he can find related in either film or book form in which the old U.S. of A. buys the big one. He's even included a few reality based ideas to sweeten the pot! The result is a listing of 144 potential causes of America's future death. The best part is the Apocalypse Matrix that allows you to choose the ways you think are most likely to actually happen. The matrix reveals if your preferred (?) end times scenario will be bloodless or violent, and whether your choice points toward blaming man or nature for the country's downfall.

Fun stuff- if you’re crazy like me!

Monday, August 03, 2009

What I Watched In July

An eclectic month ranging from spy movies to science fiction to gangster flicks to crazed Asian action/horror/WTF movies. I also finally finished off the second season of Mad Men and although I know its nothing more than a well written soap opera I loved every minute.

The hands down best movie watching experience of the month was a trip to the drive-in for a double feature of two terrible films that we managed to enjoy anyway. Nothing could make TRANSFORMERS 2 worth a crap but seeing it outdoors with friends was fun.

MEGA-SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS (2009)- 2 (I don’t mind bad but I do mind boring)
NIGHT VISITOR (1989)- 3 (dull horror effort)
FLIGHTPLAN (2005)- 4 (not too great- at all)
COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK (1958)- 4 (muddled script and a bad score)
TRANSFORMERS 2: RISE OF THE FALLEN (2009)- 2 (someone please kill Michael Bay)
YEAR ONE (2009)- 3 (not very funny but it has a few moments)
THE BLUE BIRD (1918)- 7 (beautiful silent fantasy)
VIGILANTE FORCE (1976)- 7 (fun modern dress western)
LAND OF THE DEAD (2006)- 7 (rewatch)
ALMOST HUMAN (1974) – 8 (rewatch)
DEADWOOD PARK (2007)- 5 (very low budget, ambitious horror film that doesn’t quite get the ball in the end zone)
THE MAD EXECUTIONERS (1963)- 8 (excellent krimi)
ENTER THE NINJA (1981)- 6 (good but over long)
THE BROTHERS BLOOM (2009)- 8 (con movie more about the people than the con)
THE BOXER’S OMEN (1983)- 7 (madness from the east)
FUCK: A DOCUMENTARY (2005)- 6 (interesting but rather surface look at our favorite swear word)
PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009)- 7 (good but not great new gangster film)
MOON (2009)- 8 (very good, smart science fiction)
THE BLAME (2006)- 7 (Spanish horror)
DEATH & DIAMONDS (1968)- 6 (Jerry Cotton EuroSpy fun)
THE BLACK CAMEL (1931)- 7 (early Charlie Chan film)
LE SAMOURAI (1967)- 8 (finally caught up with this fantastic film)
SUPERFUZZ (1980)- 3 (terrible but I kind of liked it)
TROY: director’s cut (2004)- 8 (impressive even with a miscast Pitt and a lousy pieced together score)

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I suspect I should be sad and weepy to learn that Hollywood will be pumping out another remake of a horror movie classic-- but I'm not. I've gotten numb to the constant onslaught of crappy films using genre greats to limp to box office success. If the crappy Stephan Sommers' MUMMY films are any indicator then Breck Eisner's attempt to craft a worthy film of another of Universal's iconic monsters will fail on every front-- except the financial return on investment for the bean counters running the studio.

Still- I'm nothing if not curious so I was happy to see the early concept art for the look of the Gill Man posted on Monster Island News. Not bad looking, really. Let's hope they write a script that is more than a half-assed Indiana Jones rip-off wrapped in pathetic, juvenile humor. For more info and another good image follow the LINK.