Saturday, July 30, 2011

Werewolf for Hire

I've been doing a lot of reading this summer and almost all of it has been fun, pulpy style stuff. Oh sure- I read a couple of non-fiction books about Roger Corman and cult movies but my main diet has been horror, action, mysteries and crime fiction. I love it! I've got a stack of such books waiting for me to get to them and I only wish I could read them faster.

One book I jumped to the top of the pile was Nic Brown's first Werewolf For Hire novel 'Blood Curse'. Nic is the co-host of the B-Movie Podcast and his job on that show is to summarize the movie under examination each week without losing his mind. Some weeks he wins and some weeks he loses. The good news is that he is quite funny and his views on the films under discussion are always entertaining. Nic also maintains a website called The B Movie Man which features more reviews and several interviews with cult film stars and creators of various ages. But for me his best contribution to the world of Cult Entertainment (so far) is his first Werewolf For Hire book. I finished it a couple of days ago and I’ve been fighting the desire to buy the just released second one called 'Blood Sacrifice' immediately.

If you have any interest in supernatural fiction mixed with the private eye genre I can heartily recommend picking up ‘Blood Curse’. It’s a damned good book and well worth your dollars. Tell Nic that Rod sent you!

Werewolf For Hire LINK

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Under the Moons of Mars

Earlier this month I wrote a bit about my lifelong love of Edgar Rice Burroughs' fantasy novels about the Martian adventures of John Carter. I lamented that there were only eleven tales to read and enjoy (if you don't count the various comic book stories) and talked about the joy of re-reading the first three books. Imagine my surprise when a buddy emailed me news of a new book of short stories inspired by the ERB Mars tales! Due out next year it has a pretty great list of writers including Joe Lansdale lined up to tell new stories of Barsoom! Called 'Under the Moons of Mars' each story will be illustrated by a different artist making the entire package a great way to see other's ideas of what the planet and its creatures look like. This is amazing news! Why has no one tried anything like this before? I'll provide a pre-order Amazon link below and you can check the full contents at this LINK. 2012 might be the year of John Carter of Mars, huh?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1950s Science Fiction Poster Art

It's not often I find a science fiction film from the 1950s that I've never seen much less one I've never heard of but these three movies are completely new to me. Not sure when I'll get around to watching them but the poster art does intrigue me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

NaschyCast #18.5 - Tim Lucas Interview!

One of the best things about doing a podcast of this type is the chance to discuss in detail the more obscure movies we love. From the start Troy and I felt that it would be great to get others to join us in digging into Paul Naschy’s films to add to the overwhelming wall of our babble. We’ve been trying to get more folks in the mix in various ways including reading and responding to emails as part of the show but the opportunity to sit down and talk directly with other fans of Naschy is always preferred. With episode 18.5 we present what we hope will be just the first in a series of interviews with notable fans speaking about their encounters with Naschy’s movies, Spanish Horror in general and whatever other films that get brought to mind.

Tim Lucas is the man we generally refer to as the Video Watchdog if, for no other reason, he is the prime mover (along with his charming wife Donna) of the 20 year old magazine of that name. He is the man I can most blame for my repeated dips into the Jess Franco pool of sinema because without his strong defense of the man’s work I’d have written him off long before I encountered many of the films I’ve grown to love. Although Tim’s contributions to genre film criticism can’t be underestimated the work he’ll no doubt be remembered for is his massive book about the life and films of Mario Bava. Entitled ‘Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark’ it was truly a labor of love. This gorgeous tome was the result of decades of research and interviews but it is brilliantly boiled down to a thousand (!) pages of fascinating reading. It really is a must for any fan of the maestro’s films. The book has so much information about so many movies that at times it seems to be almost too much. I like that!

Luckily Tim also loves Naschy and his work although, as you’ll hear, he often has a very different take on certain movies than your humble podcasters. So join us for about ninety minutes of geeky horror talk about Waldemar Daninksy, Spanish Horror and whatever else seems remotely connected. Let us know your thoughts at or in the comments below. Enjoy!

NaschyCast #18.5

Flesh & Blood - graphic novel coming in October!

I am so excited about any new comic work from artist Neil Volks and especially his horror stuff! This trailer gives us a look at his upcoming new book and (YES!) he's back to working with writer Robert Tinnell with whom he crafted the excellent comics Black Forest and The Wicked West. If you've never read either of those books I highly recommend that you find them. Both are fantastic horror tales with their roots in the Universal Monsters, Hammer films and my beloved Euro-Trash movies as well. Great stuff!

Flesh & Blood looks like its going to be yet another home run from these two and I cannot wait to get my paws on it! I love that this trailer works in the classic Wilhelm scream! Double click to see the entire image!

Trailers for movies I can't wait to see!

Steven Soderbergh has two films slated for release later this year and I can't decide which I'm more excited to see. Why is this guy planning to retire from directing cinema? I mean DAMN! Check these out!

Double click for the full image.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Planet of the Apes - The Remix!

There are about a dozen reasons I should hate this but I just can't.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jess Franco poster art - Part 10!

THE CORPSE PACKS HIS BAG? This is supposedly an adaptation of Edgar Wallace's story "Secret of the Black Suitcases" but I have no idea how close it stays to the source. Hell! I just learned of this film's existence at all so it'll be a while before I get to see it! The poster looks great, though.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932) coming to DVD and Blu-Ray!

Well, well, well. Fans of the classic 1930s era horror classics can smile in satisfaction that the fantastic first film adaptation of H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau is finally coming to DVD. The bonus information is that its also coming out on Blu-Ray at the same time and its all being done by the folks over at The Criterion Collection. I'm thrilled about this but I have to admit that I'd rather Universal or Paramount were handling the release. I've never been happy with Criterion's overpricing for their product- more than double what others charge seems a bit much. I've never been unhappy with their discs' quality so you might feel you get what you pay for but I can't help but remember that their prices for Laser Discs back in the 1990s were $100 or $125 and that pricing structure still seems to be in place. I think that they might sell more if they charged a bit less. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing the film again and not on my old Universal VHS copy. The extras look pretty good with the commentary track being the item I'll probably play first.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Santo poster art

I've been in a Santo film watching mood lately. I picked up a couple of subtitled bootlegs at Monster Bash and have been wallowing in the joys of cool mystery/horror stories padded with even cooler Mexican wrestling scenes. I must say though that the extra padding of numerous musical sequences in EL SANTO AGAINST THE STRANGLER (1965) tested my endurance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Fantastic Art of Zach Bellissimo

I was pointed to Zach Bellissimo's site yesterday by the fellow who does our NaschyCast images- Jeff Nelson. A graphic designer by trade, Jeff has an eye for art of the fantastic and he often links me to cool things he discovers around the web. The artwork of this New York based cartoonist is some of the most impressive stuff I've seen in a very long time. The piece above, illustrating the climax of THE BLACK CAT (1934), is pure genius capturing the madness of that dark film brilliantly. Check out his site Snaggle-Tooth Salad for more examples of his amazing mind. Wish I could get this image from Hammer's THE MUMMY (1959) on a T-shirt!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

NaschyCast #18 - THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (1976)

NaschyCast 18 is coming right at ya! We dip into director Leon Klimovsky’s work again for this very good film that just seems to get better with the passage of time. A strong story is ably assisted by a strong cast including Alberto de Mendoza, Antonio Mayans, Maria Perschy and the luminous Julia Saly. Also in the film as our ‘Final Girl’ is Nadiuska who exudes sexuality and went on to play Conan’s doomed mother in John Milius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN. I meant to bring that up in the podcast and completely forgot! Our man Naschy plays criminal businessman, gun runner, drug trafficker and all around jerk Borne/Bruno/Warner or whatever his character is called in whichever version of the film you see. Even as a member of a talented ensemble he stands out and, one could argue, comes off as a better actor than in some movies he scripted himself.

Troy and I ruminate on possible Drive-In co-features, the wisdom of overdressing for the apocalypse, living through the Cold War, rooting for unlikable characters, the history of the phone as a communication device, black & white giant ants and the satisfaction of a non-happy ending. If we ever had doubts about covering this film they were quickly dismissed when we were able to compare the shorter English language version with the longer Spanish cut. We both feel the extra scenes strengthen an already good movie and are curious to hear what others think on the subject. To weigh in drop us a note at or pin a message to the NaschyCast Facebook page.

Hey! We've been doing this for a year and a half now! Wow.

NaschyCast #18

Mystery of the Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost solved!

I'm stealing this straight from Boing, Boing because I love the Haunted Mansion and had heard about this long lost Ghost years ago. So cool to have the questioned answered!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What I Watched In June

A trip to the Drive-In netted one great Super-Hero film (X-MEN) and one lousy pirate mess (do I need to type out the title?). I always love watching movies under the stars while eating food that’s incredibly bad for me and I hope to repeat the experience at least one more time before the summer is over.

I finally delved into a huge stack of the great Roy Rogers westerns he made for Republic studios in the 1950s. I’ve only ever seen a couple of them but each one left a good impression so I’m looking forward to checking out the entire run. They all (so far) are sturdy B-movies of the fast, fun variety. Although I like Roy quite a bit and find him to be a good presence on screen the real draw for these films is that they were filmed in a strange color process called TruColor. This was an odd three strip film process that was Republic’s own form of Technicolor. You can always tell that you’re watching a TruColor movie because the colors seem just a little bit off. They aren’t wrong, but they often seem a shade to one side or the other of what they are supposed to represent.

I can recommend the sharp NICK CARTER film from 1939 to anyone interested in budget programmer mysteries of the period. It is very well done and Walter Pidgeon as the master detective is perfect. MANFISH is a very rare low budget movie filmed in Jamaica. Believe it or not it’s a cock-eyed adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short stories ‘The Gold Bug’ and The Tell-Tell Heart’ with both stories actually meshing together pretty well. It’s not a great movie but it’s worth a look for Lon Chaney Jr. fans. At last I checked THE BIG GUNDOWN off my lengthy Spaghetti Western list and it was fantastic. I should be used to being impressed by director Sergio Sollima but I had some doubts because this was a film made so early in the SW cycle. I should not have worried as Lee Van Cleef brings his A game and so does Tomas Milian- highly recommend.

Sadly, GREEN LANTERN was a mess of a missed opportunity. This had everything in place to be a really strong superhero film but it feels like it got second guessed and ‘created by committee’ to death. The movie has a lot of problems- it has a confused storyline that is poorly integrated with the character’s origin story; the villain is big cloud; somehow everyone knew each other as children; Hal Jordan /Green Lantern comes off as an ass instead of a brave pilot and they never give the other Lanterns enough screen time to make an impression. The biggest problem is that a lot of the fiddling with the story seems to have been done after the filming was completed. Evidence of this narrative tampering pops up constantly when characters repeatedly reference things that we are never shown as if we saw or heard it happen earlier in the movie. Sloppy.

MACISTE CONTRO I MOSTRI (1962)- 6 (a.k.a. Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules- goofy fun)
CASINO ROYALE (2006)- 9 (rewatch)
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011)- 9 (now THIS is how you ret-con a series!)
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (2011)- 3 (overlong, over done and boring)
SUSANNA PASS (1949)- 6 (Roy Rogers TruColor western)
MYSTERY SUBMARINE (1963)- 6 (British WWII tale)
DON’T GO IN THE BASEMENT (1973)- 4 (low budget Texas exploitation film)
NICK CARTER, MASTER DETECTIVE (1939)- 7 (fast, fun mystery)
WINTER’S BONE (2010)- 7 (modern Ozark noir)
MANFISH (1956)- 5 (low budget Caribbean adventure with Lon Chaney, Jr.)
SUPER 8 (2011)- 9 (excellent film)
THE BIG GUNDOWN (1966)- 8 (Lee Van Cleef/Tomas Milian western)
THE FILE OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE (1969)- 5 (flatly directed police thriller)
DETROIT 9000 (1973)- 7 (cool Blaxplitation)
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)- 9 (rewatch of the longer cut)
THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (1976)- 7 (rewatch)
CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA (1961)- 4 (silly comedy from Corman)
GREEN LANTERN (2011)- 4 (doesn’t quite have what it takes- feels done-by-committee)
MATALO! (1970)- 2 (sad, dull spaghetti western)
BAD TEACHER (2011)- 6 (good but not great comedy)
THE MURDER CLINIC (1966)- 8 (very good Gothic mystery)
THE NIGHT THE WORLD EXPLODED (1957) – 5 (glad I finally caught up with this)

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Phantom Skull Ring!

I would LOVE to have this ring! I would hold and pet it and wear it every day. I've been a major fan of The Phantom since I was a kid reading the comic strip in the Chattanooga newspaper each day so having this ring would be one of the greatest things of all time. But, sadly, I don't live in Australia or New Zealand. And I can't really afford the price tag right now. What is the exchange rate from US dollars to Australian dollars, anyway? Damn! I want this!

Here are the details----

* Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Phantom with “The Phantom Skull Ring”, exclusively only from The Bradford Exchange
* Fully authorised and official Phantom memorabilia
* Exclusive Phantom edition is a stunning recreation of the Skull Ring worn by The Phantom
* “The Phantom Skull Ring” is hand-cast in shimmering 24-carat gold-plate
* “The Phantom Skull Ring” showcases a bed of pure black onyx from which rises the one symbol criminals fear most: the dreaded skull!
* ‘The Ghost Who Walks’ is carefully engraved on the inner band adding more authenticity to this officially authorised edition
* Arrives in a custom crafted gift box – Great Gift for a Phantom fan
* Available in ring sizes 8-15 (whole sizes only) - Please use the conversion chart to find your correct ring size.
* 120-day money back guarantee
* 4 instalments of $44.99 or $179.96 (plus shipping and services) - available only in Australia and New Zealand.

And the entire story is HERE.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

John Carter of Mars

When I was kid I read quite a few Edgar Rice Burroughs novels starting, as most people do, with the Tarzan books. I love the jungle tales but my favorite by far was ERB’s first fantasy creation John Carter of Mars. I read the first three books of this series of eleven tales several times soaking up every detail and reveling in the action and adventure of a long dead Martian world being visited by a Civil War soldier from Virginia. The story was so much of a different time and a different place that it captured my imagination in a way that a lot of other stories just could not. I stopped reading the series and re-read the first three so often because they formed a complete little trilogy that told of John Carter’s mysterious trip to ancient Mars, his meeting with the fierce Green Men, his befriending of the mighty Tars Tarkas and his rocky romance with the gorgeous Princess Dejah Thoris. The third book ends in classic fashion with a fantastic battle and the saving of the entire planet. What more could you want from early 20th century pulp science fiction? I still have my original copies of the first four books in the series and they are still in pretty good shape. I try not to be too rough on my paperbacks knowing that someone else may one day get to enjoy them. The reason I never read the rest of the series when I was younger is because after the third book Burroughs shifted focus from John Carter to other characters starting with a couple of his and Dejah Thoris’ children- son Carthoris is front lined in the fourth book and daughter Tara in the fifth. I wanted more of the adventures of John Carter so had to satisfy myself with the then just wrapping up Marvel Comics series that told more of the stories I wanted at the time. Good stuff!

A few years ago I decided to read the rest of the series and started trying to track down the other seven books- with one caveat. I wanted to have the entire run from the same printing I bought my first four. The reason for this is simple- I love the Michael Whelan covers for all eleven. They were how I visualized the stories and characters (complete with nudity!) and I wanted to have them as the reference art as I read these new-to-me Martian tales. This was pretty easy to do as I frequent used books stores regularly but one book has remained out of reach for almost ten years now. I can’t find a copy of the eighth book ‘Swords of Mars’ with the Whelan cover to save my life. I don’t know if this one was printed in lesser numbers or if there was some great destruction of them at some point but I have yet to find even a ragged, water-stained copy anywhere. Well, I finally gave up last week in Pittsburgh and picked up a copy of that book from an earlier paperback printing so I could finally read it and then finish the other three to complete the series. I’m still on the outlook for a Whelan cover version so if you spot one for a good price let me know.

The first Martian Tales book was serialized in magazine format in 1912 and first published as a complete novel in 1917 so it is kind of exciting that next year on the 100th anniversary of the story a live action film of John Carter is coming out. There have been a number of attempts to bring these stories to the big screen but all have ended in failure before anything was even filmed. The visualization of ten foot tall, four armed green warriors and six legged beasts of burden can now be realized with modern CGI so technology has caught up with ERB’s imagination. Let’s just hope they find a way to do the story justice and not turn it into some kind of knock-off of whatever is ‘hot’ right now. Done well this could be a film for the ages but done poorly it might be just another forgotten failure. My fingers are crossed.

Oh! In the meantime there is a new comic book adaptation of the first story that I’m really enjoying. It's called 'Warlord of Mars' and expands on the original tale giving more detail for each character and motivations. Usually this kind of thing would irritate me but its done quite well and after seven issues I’m still loving it. If you’re a fan I recommend this series from Dynamite Entertainment. I can’t wait for issue #8.