Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Naschy birthday cake!

Naschycast listener Brad had a very 'Naschy' birthday celebration recently and sent along this photo of his cake. When I say he had a Naschy celebration I don't mean he turned into a werewolf and went on a killing rampage under the full moon. Instead he asked for and received a number of Euro-Trash bootleg movies most of which featured Senor Molina. Ya gotta love that! And you really gotta love his wife for indulging and sharing this request for bizarre movies. There are wonderful ladies out there folks and Brad seems to have found one. Happy belated birthday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jess Franco poster art - Part 4!

I just can't stop! Until last week I had never seen this ad art for THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF and I'm starting to wonder if there might be even more images for this film out there to be discovered. I'll do some more hunting. This film is one of my Franco favorites and every time I see Howard Vernon in another film I always think of him as Orloff carrying out his mad plans.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

El Santo with boobies?

Well- El Santo doesn't have the boobies. He's just onscreen with the boobies. If you understand what I'm trying to say. Back in June of last year it was noted at the Vampiros and Monstruos blog that the legendary nude version of SANTO Y EL TESORO DE DRACULA (1969) had been found confirming its existence. At that time there was no news about anyone having the chance to SEE this version of the film but that it had been located made Mexican Wrestling movie fans and monster movie fans extremely happy as they lurked in their basement bunkers.

Now it appears that lucky fans in Mexico City will be the first to actually get to see Santo leer at nude ladies while kicking Dracula's sorry ass. The film will debut next week in Guadalajara's International Film Festival as the centerpiece of a selection of vampire movies chosen by famed director Guillermo del Toro. This print of the long sought film was found by chance when producer Guillermo Calderon Stell's grandniece was researching her family's film making past. We live in exciting times my friends. I can only hope that one day I will be able to walk out of my basement with a copy of this movie clutched fiercely in my hands so that I can shout to the Heavens "We got another one!" Last year the missing footage from METROPOLIS turns up in South America and now this.

So with EL VAMPIRO Y EL SEXO off the 'lost' list I can start asking where a print of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT might finally turn up. Might I suggest Argentina or Peru? The southern hemisphere seems to be where all the cool missing movies are being found these days.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monster Bash-ing!!

After much discussion with a buddy it appears that I'll be attending this year's Monster Bash convention in Butler, PA! This will be my first visit to the con in five years (I think) and I'm really looking forward to it. The dealer room at this show is a cult film lover's dream come true and it's always a blast to meet like minded movie fans to discuss the geeky things we love. I can hardly wait! Two of my long time crushes will be there- Dawn Wells and Caroline Munro. I have to take up meditation or something to keep me calm when I meet them. Gotta stay cool. Gotta be composed. Breathe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tina Louise - TV dream girl

She wasn't my favorite female cast member but Gilligan's Island was a much prettier place with Miss Louise than without her. I especially loved her turn as Count Gilligan's evil bride lurking around that creepy castle! That particular episode should have been a TV series on its own.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Old Dark Round Table Episode 1 - "The Mummy's Curse"

About a year and a half ago illustrator, filmmaker, screenwriter and actor Frank Dietz (yes, he's all of these things and more) used the opportunity of a gathering of Monster Kids to create something fun. Getting everyone seated and comfortable (hard enough) he presented his opinions on various subjects and then asked the rest of the assembled geeky brain trust to 'discuss' as cameras rolled. That what he was asking about were a number of films considered the lessor lights of the classic horror genre prompted all of us to voice our thoughts with considerable vigor. Indeed, I think the level of defense many of the movies in question received took Frank a bit by surprise. That none of us were above making fun of even those films we loved certainly made the conversation entertaining... at least for us. And it was one hell of a good way to pass a couple of hours with friends.

Frank has started editing some of the footage together for the rest of the world to check out. He's done a fine job of pulling clips from the film under discussion to illustrate points and making most of us sound much more coherent than we have any right to after the large dinner we had all just eaten! The first video focuses on a film I love but that Frank is right to pick apart. His dim view of THE MUMMY'S CURSE turns out to be a minority opinion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

NaschyCast #14.5 - Beyond Naschy- THE STRANGE LOVES OF THE VAMPIRE (1975)

We’re back with our second Beyond Naschy mini-episode in which we talk about…well… a lot of things actually, but we try to stay on topic. The IMDb lists THE STRANGE LOVES OF THE VAMPIRE as a 1977 release but it turns out that Phil Hardy’s guide to horror films claims it as a 1975 film so your guess is as good as ours. I think it is likely that the film debuted in the US in 1977 and Europe two years earlier making both dates accurate depending on your location. Further complicating things is that in the US the film was given the misleading title of NIGHT OF THE WALKING DEAD! I suspect that drive-in patrons in ’77 expecting a zombie movie, maybe even a sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, had to feel disappointment but I can’t imagine the sight of the frequently nude Emma Cohen made the men in the audience unhappy. Wowsa!

Only available as a bootleg sourced from a Dutch VHS tape (I mistakenly say Turkish in the show!) with subtitles hardcoded onto the screen this turns out to still be a film well worth hunting down. Although we complain a lot about the crappy print quality the film’s strengths win us over and it joins my long list of movies that need a good DVD release. Settle in and listen as we try not to spoil the movie while praising its finer points, and we don’t mean just the several sets of impressive nipples on display. Write us at and let us know what you think of our efforts.

Naschycast 14.5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spy Smasher - Chapter 1

Among fans of the classic Republic Studio serials there is little argument over the best two they ever produced. THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL is often listed as deserving first place but I have to side with the group that puts SPY SMASHER above it. An incredibly thrilling chapter play it lopes along at an astonishing pace and has one of the best, most involving stories ever stretched over 12 parts. Some kind soul has posted the first (and longest) chapter on youtube and I recommend watching it to get a sense of how fun these relics of the past can be. Here's the first 10 minutes to get you started---

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jess Franco poster art - Part 3!

This was the film that made me realize that not all color Franco films were going to suck. TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS (1969) was so much lighthearted fun done with a 1960s pop art sensibility that I fell for it immediately. That a smiling Rosanna Yanni was onscreen for most of the running time helped too! This may have been the film that turned me from dismissive of his work to curious about what other goodies might lurk in Franco's long list of credits. I need to rewatch this soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yvonne Craig - TV dream girl

The fact that she only popped up on the Batman TV show on rare occasions made her all the more alluring. The short hair, bright smile and determined attitude would become the shape of almost every woman I chased after in adulthood. What a beauty!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

In praise of Nicolas Cage

This confession may make me ridiculed or the object of derisive laughter among my fellow film fans but I really don’t care. I like Nicholas Cage and, on the whole, I’ve enjoyed more of his films than I’ve disliked. There. I’ve said it and I’m not ashamed. Over the past eight years or longer it has become the standard line to sneer at Mr. Cage for one of two reasons. Either it is felt that he appears in far too many movies each year and/or he chooses to appear in a high number of genre movies that are generally looked down on by the kind of pseudo-intellectual folks that take the Oscars as the benchmark of quality. I think these two complaints are actually only one complaint. I think one often hides within the other pretending it’s the real cause for criticism. Let me explain.

Last year Cage appeared in Werner Herzog’s film BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS and received mostly glowing reviews. His work was labeled as a return to form, a brilliant performance and a host of other accolades were piled high in service of praising a film that wallowed in gritty crime, sleazy activities, outrageous images, bizarre characters and a sick ends-justifies-the-means wrap up that was an almost perfect deus ex machina on its path to a ‘happy’ ending. I caught the film theatrically and loved it but I never thought it would get the kind of critical bolstering it received. After all- bashing Cage has become second nature in the film press and this movie had all the markers of another derided release. So why was this film lauded while other Cage movies are laughed at or ignored? Two words- Werner Herzog. When Herzog announced his intention to remake/reimagine/whatever Abel Ferra’s ferocious BAD LIEUTENANT the sneers were numerous and catcalls loud. Why would such a respected filmmaker lower himself to remake another’s work? And why make such a sleazy story again? Why cast Cage? What was the point? The answer seems to be that Herzog is a fan of films of all types and took the opportunity to make a certain type of movie that appeals to a wider audience than his usual efforts. As a director Herzog likes to do lots of different types of stories and so doing a police/crime thriller, although a strange move wasn’t too odd when you examine the man’s back catalog. He IS the guy who remade NOSFERATU after all. So I attribute the BAD LIEUTENANT accolades laid at Cage’s feet by mainstream critics to be solely because of the ‘respected director’ factor rather than because of any change in the actor’s skill level. One of the best things I heard while BAD LIEUTENANT was in general release was one critic twisting himself into a veritable Mobius strip trying to explain ‘good’ over the top Cage performances versus ‘bad’ over the top ones. That writer may be many things but a keen observer of what makes up various parts of a film is not one of them. Here’s a hint- the script might be an area to examine.

One of the things I admire most about Nicholas Cage is that he applies himself with steely determination to every role he undertakes. I never see him giving less than his full attention to the character even when it may be lesser material or even require him to do embarrassing things. This kind of commitment should be applauded but often is not – and that brings me to reason number two for the critical brickbats – Cage often puts his skills and name in service of genre pictures. Say what you want about how much money is made year in and year out by science fiction and horror movies but the industry continues to afford them all the respect of a valuable dog that pees on the new rug and humps the neighbor’s leg. They’re glad to have the money but would much rather talk about the high-minded period piece about the poor man overcoming terrible odds to provide for his family instead of the slick summer film about a guy in tights punching masked jerks. Dammit! If I wanted real life I’d look out the window or at my bank statement! I watch movies to be entertained, to be transported to some other place and so do most people. But no matter how well regarded a genre film might be the Hollywood intelligentsia and their acolytes will never give credit to the creative people involved in such films. If you have any doubts ask yourself why Christopher Nolan wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award for his last two movies. Super hero stories and science fiction tales aren’t REAL movies. They’re the trash, not be taken seriously. You don’t give awards to a man for making a Batman movie. And by this same token you don’t take seriously a man who makes a lot of genre films. To do so would be to open yourself up to the kind of sneering snobbery of folks that consider a film like GHANDI one of the best of the year but ignores BLADE RUNNER.

As a genre fan I love the fact that Cage likes these types of movies and seems to want to make them. If it weren’t for him I’m sure a good number of very interesting movies wouldn’t get made at all. And one of the worst aspects of this dismissal of his films is that several really good movies that aren’t of the horror or science fiction genres seem to get missed as well. I think ADAPTATION, LORD OF WAR, THE WEATHER MAN, and MATCHSTICK MEN are fantastic movies that almost any reasonable person would enjoy but I hear almost no one talking about them – other than me. Do yourself a favor and see these movies. And then look at some of his other recent movies with a less jaundiced eye. There are good things there.

Now I come to the reason for this far too long rant. Cage has had two films come out so far in 2011 and I’ve been excited to see them both. One is a period swords and demons film called SEASON OF THE WITCH and the other is bizarre sounding film about a man let out of Hell to save his daughter called DRIVE ANGRY. If I could preorder my tickets I would have! But having seen SEASON OF THE WITCH the other day I have to report that it falls on the side of a slight thumb down from me. I didn’t find it to be the disaster that the usual suspects in critical circles labeled it but it had too many things that detracted from it overall to be recommendable. The biggest problem is the too contemporary dialog and use of modern turns of phrase throughout. These anachronistic elements irritated me and added up to a big negative that the things I liked couldn’t overcome. The film looks good, I like the cast and the story is solid pulpy fun. The characters were interesting enough but there was little energy to the piece. It felt a little off at times with shifts in tone that were not as well handled as they should have been. It’s a shame too, as I really liked the idea of ex-Crusade soldiers being forced to transport a dangerous and possibly possessed girl to monks who can exorcise the suspected witch safely. It just never convinced me so it ends up being a 4 out of 10 for me.

But I plan to see DRIVE ANGRY soon! And I was excited about his upcoming film TRESPASS until I learned that Joel Schumacher directed it. Ugh! That’s a river I will not cross. Until Schumacher personally apologizes to me for 8MM, BATMAN FOREVER, BATMAN & ROBIN and THE NUMBER 23 his work will not get my money.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Jess Franco poster art - Part 2!

Franco's Fu Manchu films are not the best work from that period of his career but I do enjoy this one. I've never seen a print with the KISS & KILL title but its not at all a misleading name for the story.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

NaschyCast #14 - THE HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973)

The good, the bad and the primordial! Naschy called HUNCHBACK ‘one of the best Spanish Fantastic Films of all time’ and who are we to argue? Among the many awards heaped on this standout film was Naschy’s first acting prize- the George Melies Award for best actor and his beautiful, sensitive performance is only one of many reasons to see this classic. Of course, this being a horror film, Naschy’s sad character Gotho is more than able to dish out the violence when pushed. This leads to some of the strongest gore of any of his movies with heads flying from shoulders, intestines spilling across floors and medieval torture implements doing what they were designed to do. And did I mention the unrequited love and unexpected romance angle? Ah, yes! This one has something for everyone so gather the family around the screen and lets enjoy this tale of sad outcasts, mad scientists, ineffectual cops and Lovecraftian monsters. It’s one of the best tasting stews that Spain will ever cook up!

The show can be grabbed at the link below or subscribed to over at the iTunes store. Drop us a note at and give us your rankings of the the films we've covered so far. The mailbag segment is really turning out to be one of the most fun sections of the show! And thanks to Dan for the cool image below. If only we looked that good while recording the show.

Naschycast #14

Friday, March 04, 2011

Thursday, March 03, 2011

What I Watched In February

February was a strange month that had me watching several short, older films instead of venturing out to the theaters much. This usually happens to me in the winter when my desire to nest gets really strong and working up the energy to go out is hard to do. I tend to snuggle down onto the couch, drink a lot of hot tea and watch black & white films as a buffer against the cold weather.

Of the films I saw last month I had one good surprise – SOLOMON KANE – and one bad one- HOWARD THE DUCK. Holy crap! I had heard for years that HTD was a terrible film but I had no idea just how awful it would turn out to be. There is nothing good about the movie. Nothing. The only moment I don’t want to flush completely out of my memory is the sight of Lea Thompson in her panties. What a total waste of good source material. Had anyone involved even read the damned comic books?

On the plus side was THE INVISIBLE which I almost didn’t watch because I thought the trailer had given the entire story away. I was quite impressed that there was a good deal more to it than I had assumed and ended up very happy with it. I need to eventually see the film it is a remake of to compare them. On the other hand, the remake of IT’S ALIVE was only so-so. It has a number of points of interest but the film is directed in a deliberately flat way that muted the story’s highlights. The ending is good but the pace and tone were too slow and off putting. THE OUTFIT is another adaptation of a Richard Stark ‘Parker’ novel and it’s a good one. It screws around with the book a good bit, adding unnecessary characters and presenting a series of crimes in a different manner but overall its fairly close to the book and sometimes lifts whole scenes straight out. Walter Hill’s spare, sharp modern noir THE DRIVER was fantastic. I love 1970s crime movies and the fact that I only just got to THE OUTFIT and this one proves that I haven’t seen them all yet. I think that’s a good thing! It means there is more good stuff out there to track down.

I was able to finally see the fourth season of 'Dexter’ and really enjoyed it. The final reveal in the closing moments seemed a little off but it didn’t spoil a brilliant run. Bring on season five! I also got in a Tarzan movie, three westerns, a Charlie Chan classic and an Arabian Night’s style film with an heroic Rock Hudson working hard to convince us that he’s …….. of Middle Eastern descent. (You thought I was gonna say something else, didn’t you?) Ah yes- variety is the spice of life.

FULL HOUSE FOR THE DEVIL (1968)- 5 (OK spaghetti western)
THE INVISIBLE (2007)- 7 (damned good- now I need to see the Swedish original)
MEGAMIND (2010)- 7 (good and quite funny animated film)
VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1972)- 8 (rewatch)
THE DRIVER (1978) – 8 (amazing 70’s crime film)
THE LADY IN THE MORGUE (1938)- 6 (fun B-mystery)
THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953)- 6 (fun, colorful Arabian nights adventure)
THE CASE OF CHARLES PEACE (1949)- 6 (interesting if slightly flat telling of a mostly true tale)
SOLOMON KANE (2009)- 8
OUTLANDER (2008)- 8 (rewatch) (went up a notch on second view)
HUNDRA (1983)- 6 (rewatch)
IT’S ALIVE (2008) – 5 (unnecessary remake – not bad but not good either)
CHARLIE CHAN’S SECRET (1936)- 7 (rewatch)
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)- 9 (rewatch)
TARZAN TRIUMPHS (1943)- 7 (Tarzan vs. nazi)
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
ARMY OF SHADOWS (1969)- 8 (excellent- the ending snuck up on me)
HOWARD THE DUCK (1986)- 1 (poorly conceived, overlong, unfunny, stupid and a defilement of the source material)
THE TOURIST (2010)- 4 (middling, silly piffle)
THE MOMENT TO KILL (1970)- 8 (damned good spaghetti western)
THE MALTESE FALCON (1931)- 6 (the story reduced to a short programmer)
WILD BILL (1995)- 8 (rewatch)
THE PATIENT IN ROOM 18 (1938)- 6 (fun mystery B movie)
LA MOUSTACHE (2005) – 7 (fascinating trip into a man’s mind)
THE VELVET VAMPIRE (1971)- 4 (slow, kind of pointless and not scary)
THE OUTFIT (1973)- 7 (good crime film with great cast)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jess Franco poster art

I think I'll start posting artwork from Jess Franco films from time to time. This image for his excellent DIABOLICAL DR. Z (1966) is a great piece of advertisement and really should have been used as the cover for a DVD release at some point.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Justified trailer

One of the very few shows I watch on television these days is the excellent 'Justified' on FX. Indeed, FX has several shows I watch -'Archer', 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' - I meant to watch 'Terriers' but now its been canceled so I'll catch up to it on DVD eventually.

'Justified' is the only cop show on TV I care about. It's smartly written, funny and the producers know that the reason people come back week after week is for the characters and their interactions. This show sports some of the best characters around and I love it. This clip shows the humor and knowing wit laced throughout every episode.