Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Night of the Living Trekkies

I'm not sure I'll ever read this book but I have to admit that I found this pretty funny.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Synapse goes Blu & Warner Archives goes Slime-y

Two pieces of DVD release news in the past week have made me happy to be a film geek in the new millennium. Don May Jr.'s Synapse Films is finally entering the high definition field by rolling out the amazing Hammer film VAMPIRE CIRCUS as their inaugural Blu-Ray disc. Slated for a December drop it'll be the perfect gift for the fan of sexy bloody horror on your shopping list. (Consider that a hint.) The film is reason enough to excited but look at this list of extras--

THE BLOODIEST SHOW ON EARTH: “Making Vampire Circus” - An all-new documentary featuring interviews with writer/director Joe Dante, Hammer documentarian Ted Newsom, Video Watchdog editor/author Tim Lucas, author/film historian Philip Nutman and actor David Prowse
GALLERY OF GROTESQUERIES: A Brief History of Circus Horrors - A retrospective on circus/carnival themed horror productions
VISITING THE HOUSE OF HAMMER: “Britain's Legendary Horror Magazine” - A retrospective on the popular British horror/comic publication featuring author Philip Nutman
VAMPIRE CIRCUS: Interactive Comic Book" - Featuring artwork by Brian Bolland; Poster And Stills Gallery; Original Theatrical Trailer.

Can. Not. Wait!

Also, the Warner Archive selection gets good and funky with three of the incredibly fun Italian produced science fiction epics from the 1960s. WILD WILD PLANET is one of my favorite films of all time and THE GREEN SLIME is easily the greatest Italian/Japanese SF co-production ever made. (Not that this is a large sub-genre of film, but you get the idea.) If you have not yet seen either of these movies I pity you and I envy you because you will soon be able to see them in what should be the best possible way - unless someone can get these screened at a theater- in which case please let me know where and when. This is great news and the answer to many 'wish list' prayers so lets all be thankful that these are coming soon. Finally.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I've been getting the feeling lately that its time to rewatch this movie and its not just because of Miss Vickers or her co-star the lovely Allison Hayes. I'm in a 1950s science fiction kind of mood. Fall is on the way!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Michelle Rodriguez - Damn!

After catching the incredibly fun MACHETE today I must say that I think Miss Rodriguez has moved further up my personal list of 'Most Sexy Women Alive'. Wow! I present some evidence for your approval.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guillermo del Toro comes to Trailers From Hell!

Another of my favorite directors starts doing commentaries over classic film trailers and his first two are a couple of my favorite movies! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

THE BRAIN (1962)

I must confess that I’ve never read the book DONOVAN’S BRAIN by Curt Siodmak nor have I seen the 1953 movie adaptation. I want to do both and if NetFlix is up to the challenge I’ll at least get to knock the film out this weekend. I’ve known of the story for years due to a radio adaptation I listened to years ago – so many years ago that I was listening to a cassette tape! That adaptation was quite good but my take away from it was the repeated phrase ‘Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure’ that the dead but still lingering criminal utters as a clue to when he’s in control of events.

Until a few weeks ago I wasn’t even aware that there was another film adaptation of the tale and when it turned up I jumped at the chance to see it. That the fantastic cinematographer Freddie Francis directed it told me the movie would at least be visually interesting and that it was in black & white meant he was really in his element. From what I’ve read this is more noirish than the 1953 film and perhaps a bit more reserved in its style but I think it’s a fine movie and I doubt the earlier version could be better. I suspect DONOVAN’S BRAIN wasn’t originally set in London but moving the narrative there does no harm at all as far as I can tell. It’s the same story- a scientist takes advantage of an accident to extract a human brain from a plane crash casualty and keeps it alive for study. Over time the brain begins to be able to communicate with the scientist and his research team demanding action to discover who was responsible for the supposed accident. Eventually the brain is able to control the scientist forcing him to investigate the mystery but as he gets closer to the truth people start being killed in violent fashion.

This is a slick science fiction/mystery story that kept me absorbed for the full 83 minutes. The cast is packed with faces familiar to fans of British films of the late 50s and 60s and every performance is great. I should mention that very surprisingly there is a brief bit of nudity from the gorgeous Anne Heywood that caused me to choke on my tea. Very nice! THE BRAIN seems to have never been released on video and I suspect the version I have is from a TV broadcast. I consider this to be one of the best but most rarely discussed British SF films of the 1960s. It’s a cracking tale and petitions should be started to get it released to home video. Maybe in a Freddie Francis boxed set? There are worse ideas out there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Columbia Classics on DVD - sort of....

Sony is following in the footsteps of the successful Warner Archive 'Burn On Demand' DVD-R releases. The focus for their initial batch of offerings is more than 225 films from the Columbia back catalog including some real classics, a few obscure oddities and several TV movies of dubious distinction. Is anyone out there really pining for DVD-Rs of the 'Hart To Hart' reunion movies?

Among the many movies I'd love to add to my collection are THE 27TH DAY, THE BLACK ARROW, DUFFY (with James Coburn!), THE MAD ROOM, THE SOUL OF A MONSTER and THE TAKE (1974) but I'll be holding off due to the far too steep price. I'm sorry but $20 for a DVD-R is just a bit too much to ask. Still--- I could be persuaded if there was some kind of deal offered......

Check it out HERE.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Whistler

"I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes ... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak."

The Whistler was a radio show that started in 1942 and continued for 13 years until about 1955. It was a simple anthology program with a new story each week almost always focusing on the details of a murder and the eventual downfall and/or capture of the criminal. This downfall was usually because of some forgotten detail about the crime or sometimes a cruel twist of fate intervened in events to even the scales of justice. That often the justice meted out would never be known to the authorities was part of the thrill of the show which traded in suspense and heightened tension for its punch. Incredibly popular the show spawned a series of six films produced by Columbia Pictures starting in 1944 with THE WHISTLER and ending in 1948 with THE RETURN OF THE WHISTLER. Four of the series were directed by future gimmick king William Castle who was learning his craft at Columbia and churning out whatever project he was assigned. I've yet to see any of the Whistler movies but I recently got a set of four of them so a marathon viewing is probably in my near future.

If you've never listened to a Whistler radio show I recommend it. I've heard dozens over the years and always enjoy the experience. Here's one to start - LINK.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


I was excited to see this rare Blaxploitation action film for many reasons. Starring the fine actor Paul Winfield and directed by another fine actor Ossie Davis I had high hopes for a tough tale of vigilante justice on the mean streets of Harlem. I really liked Davis' COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (1972) and I considered this the next in a possible string of engaging and sly urban stories helmed by him. Looking at the cast I expected a film with often underused actors getting to show their talent and having fun playing badasses doling out harsh judgment to scum of every type. Sadly, I found GORDON'S WAR to be a disjointed, sloppy and ultimately frustrating film. I can't completely dismiss it because of some good scenes, excellent New York location shooting and its cool score but it never really works. The storytelling is confused leaving the feeling that parts of the film were cut out or never filmed making things jump forward randomly and then pause unexpectedly.

The truth is that its not an exciting film for the most part. Several action scenes that would sound great on paper are rendered in a flat, dull way with no tension or spark. For this I have to lay the blame at the director's feet. I don't think Ossie Davis was cut out for this type of story. I'm not sorry I caught up with the movie but its not an unsung classic of the era.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

NaschyCast #8 - COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE (1972)

Proving that there are no obstacles that we won’t overcome to bring you Naschy film discussion here is number Ocho. One of the most talked about of his non-Daninsky films COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE is an amazing mix of the clunky and the sublime. In a way, this film is a succinct summation of all that is usually praised in a Naschy film and all that is usually criticized. A mangled mess of a story with elements that don’t come together it still shines as an atmospheric horror piece with some truly brilliant moments that often distract you from a script that seems to be running in two directions at once. This film might be the perfect Rorschach test for fans- What do you remember from the film when it’s over?
We discuss vampire tears, non-existent sequels, the variable speed of vampirism, mad voice-overs, active vs. passive film viewing and the relative merits of a script with too many contributors.

You will find the sound quite variable as I had to cull the entire show from multiple sources. I apologize for the occasional distortion and changes in sonic quality. The uphill battle to get these shows made is often surprising for us untutored computer illiterates. Drop us a line at

You can download the show from HERE.

iTunes LINK

Friday, September 03, 2010

New (to me) poster art

In my travels I occasionally stumble across art work for a beloved film that I have never seen before and that's the case for both of these 1980s beauties. I think if these had been used instead of the more well know poster art these movies might have done better at the box office. Especially LIFEFORCE!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What I Watched In August

Not as much time spent in front of a movie/TV screen this month. It was very hot out so staying inside and moving as little as possible seemed like the best thing to do. Unfortunately this brought on naps instead of insight so......

PREDATOR 2 (1990)- 7 (rewatch)
BLACULA (1972)- 6 (rewatch)
SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM (1973)- 5 (comes to life in the final minutes but poorly directed)
BRICK (2005)- 8 (rewatch) (fantastic)
ADVENTURELAND (2008)- 6 (good but not great coming of age tale)
THE NAVY VS THE NIGHT MONSTER (1965) – 4 (interesting mess of a monster film)
COP IN BLUE JEANS (1976)- 7 (Euro-Crime with Tomas Milian)
ANGEL OF DEATH (2009)- 7 (damned good modern crime/action tale)
HOWL OF THE DEVIL (1988)- 6 (barely released Naschy is interesting if not great)
COMMANDO LEOPARD (1985)- 8 (excellent Antonio Margheriti action film)
DEATHSPORT (1978) – 4 (not good at all but I enjoy it) (rewatch)
WARLORDS OF THE 21ST CENTURY (1982)- 6 (surprisingly good post-apocalyptic tale)
ROBOCOP (1987)- 9 (rewatch)
ROBOCOP 2 (1989)- 7 (rewatch) (not as cruel as the first but good)
THE EXPENDABLES (2010)- 5 (not too great but not awful)
008- OPERATION EXTERMINATE (1965)- 6 (fun Euro-Spy nonsense with a dumb final scene)
KNIGHT AND DAY (2010) – 5 (affable enough but needlessly ridiculous)
THE IGUANA WITH THE TOUNGE OF FIRE (1971)- 5 (not as bad as I’d heard)
THE TRIUMPH OF ROBIN HOOD (1962) – 6 (fairly juvenile but entertaining Italian version)
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009)- 9 (excellent mystery)
HOLLOW MAN (2000)- 4 (giving the director’s cut a try- still a mess with a crappy script)
SHIP OF MONSTERS (1960)- 4 (so bad its great Mexican sci-fi/comedy/musical)
COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE (1972)- 6 (confused Naschy horror)
FORMULA 51 (2001)- 7 (pretty good action comedy)
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946)- 8 (rewatch) (black & white proto giallo)
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (2010)- 9 (insane fun)
PIRANHA 3D (2010)- 6 (fun, blood & boobs guilty pleasure)
JILL THE RIPPER (2000)- 3 (flat mystery)