Sunday, July 29, 2012

Janet Leigh - A Class Act

I was always impressed with Miss Leigh's great beauty but as I get older I realize just how good a screen actress she could be. And she put up with Tony Curtis for years! What a gal! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


The other night I cracked open the Hammer Icons of Suspense DVD set and settled in with a buddy to watch CASH ON DEMAND. The main reason was that the film starred Peter Cushing but I had also heard very good things about it online. As the film began we were surprised to note that the story takes place a couple of days before Christmas and as the opening credits rolled there were some interesting visuals that made both of us think that the director was referencing Dickens' classic 'A Christmas Carol'. Then as the first few minutes ticked by, and the fantastic Cushing proved to be playing the priggish head officer of a regional bank, the echoes of that tale began to be stronger. Very Scrooge-like in his attitude and mannerisms Cushing is unbending in his adherence to rules and quite cruel and condescending to his subordinates. The one difference from old Ebenezer seems to be that this haughty, self-important man has a wife and son for whom he clearly cares deeply. It is this variation from the literary template that will be used against the character to drive the tasty crime tale forward.

When Andre Morrell makes his appearance as a government bank security inspector the sharp dialog between these two fine actors shows the story's debt to Dickens' original and (for me and my buddy) doubled the enjoyment of this very good movie. I am a huge fan of 'A Christmas Carol' and have spent years seeking out film variations on both TV and at the movies . How did I miss this one?  The credits explain that the story is based on a play and since the action takes place over the hours of a single day I can see how well it would have played on stage. I refuse to give any more away but will simply recommend catching up with this gem as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tarzan Art!

I was in the mood for a Tarzan tale and started looking around. Then I got caught up looking at all this fine artwork and I still haven't read any ERB!

Monday, July 23, 2012

PUNISHER short film

I don't like the CGI blood but otherwise I love this and wish it would spur a new film.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gulliver of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold

For years I held onto a cheap paperback copy of this novel knowing that eventually I would read it to see how close it was to ERB's John Carter books. I was under the impression that it was a rip-off of Burroughs' classic Mars tales and expected to be mildly amused by the book. I still have that cheap copy but the version I finally ended up reading this week was a free Kindle edition (all praise free e-books!) and just before I jumped into it I did a little research on its publication date and found it was first printed in 1905! Holy Crap! That is seven full years before ERB turned out A Princess of Mars! WTF?

So I dug into the history and learn that this novel is considered the probable inspiration for Burroughs' and now that I've read it I can say it most certainly HAD to be. In the story Lt. Gulliver Jones, a US navel officer in debt to a tailor and other creditors, obtains a strange rug and while standing on it wishes he were anywhere - why not Mars! Said rug then whisks him off to the Red Planet where he proceeds to have many adventures learning the mores and custom of its very human inhabitants. True to expectations he falls in love with a beautiful princess and has to go off in a mad rescue attempt when she is kidnapped by nasty barbarian type folk. Sounds a lot like ERB minus the multi-colored races, huh? There are a number of other differences and overall I think Burroughs is a more entertaining writer but this is pretty enjoyable pastiche of Gulliver's Travels. I think I'll eventually have to track down the Marvel comics adaptation in Creatures on the Loose with art by Gil Kane. I understand its not a very faithful version of the tale but  it should be interesting.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

NaschyCast #29 - DEATH OF A HOODLUM (1975)

Episode #29 focuses on a lesser known Naschy crime film that turns out to have quite a bit in common with a couple of other of his non-supernatural thrillers. Even with several familiar elements the film turns out to have more than a few surprises in store for us including some shocking slow-mo violence. I guess the influence of Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH was still playing out in the mid-1970s - and I have no problem with that!

In this one Naschy plays a hearing impaired thief with a nasty mother fixation and the sexual charisma of Sean Connery. I'm not kidding. His character seems to be able to have his way with almost any and every woman he sees- which isn't all that different from most characters he played, but in this story its a little scary. He's a cold bastard and the film's violence always stems from the relentless nature of his drive to get what he wants.

The film boasts good direction from our old friend Leon Klimovsky, Julia Saly in a red bikini and an excellent performance from actress Carmen Sevilla. The performances are actually very good in every case in this one. DEATH OF A HOODLUM is a pretty good combination of crime tale and domestic drama with just a twisted touch of a distressing coming of age story. Its a strange stew but in general it works so join us as we talk our way through it discussing all points large and small.

You can write us at to give us your thoughts on all things Naschy or Spanish Horror in general. If you don't want us to include your email as part of the show please be sure to let us know. You can also find us over on The FaceBook at the NaschyCast Fan Page as well so there really is no excuse not to contact us!

NaschyCast #29 LINK

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I Read in June

DESERT PLACES by Blake Crouch (fascinating serial killer tale)
THE AVENGERS: The Korvac Saga by Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Bill Mantlo, etc. (very fun 1970s adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy)
BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS: Showcase Vol. 1 (the first 19 plus issues of this 1980's comic book)
SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD by Robert McCammon (excellent but long novel)
The Sun Never Rises in the Big City by Jeremy Shipp (pretty good SF tale of misogyny)

The biggie of the month was Robert McCammon’s excellent SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD novel. Most readers aware of McCammon know of his excellent novel BOY’S LIFE but his hard-core fans think of him as a top-notch horror writer who retired to get away from the horror publishing ghetto. When he returned to the book world there was an expectation that he would go back to his horror roots but he seems to have had a more ambitious plan for his brand of genre fiction. I have been meaning to read his new work for years as I’ve heard nothing but praise over the past decade for this series that focuses on a character named Mathew Corbett. This is the first in the run, is set in 1699 and tells the fascinating story of a newly established Carolina township that has become convinced it harbors a witch. This being a book written by a former horror novelist I was curious to see if the witchcraft element would ever bring the supernatural into the sharply drawn reality the author paints. I won’t spoil things for those who haven’t read it yet but I must say the book has more than a few surprises and McCammon shows himself to be a fine writer more people should learn of. I look forward to reading the further adventures of Mathew Corbett.

Of the comic book collections I read the Korvac Saga was the more fun. I have a big love for the 1970's era Avengers tales and this sprawling story was well worth the price. The BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS collection was a pretty entertaining read as well but it suffers a bit from the staleness that was a part of a lot of DC's books at the time. I still enjoyed most of the 20 plus issues but it was really Jim Aparo's artwork that made it of value to me. I'm not sure I'll read past this point in the series.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Ernest Borgnine, RIP

I won't lie. The first film in which I took notice of Ernest Borgnine was ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981). As the sadly deluded and slow-witted Cabbie he was wonderful and his character's death is one of the darker moments in the action filled finale of that film. Soon afterwards I had my life changed by the violent, meditative THE WILD BUNCH (1969) and then had my pulp story loving heart filled with joy by THE VIKINGS (1958). Ever since then I've known that Mr. Borgnine's name in the credits means at least one solid performance is going to be in the movie. I think the most recently made film in which I saw him was the excellent science fiction film GATTACA (1997) and he was typically great.

I guess as a genre fan I didn't get to see most of his more acclaimed work until I went far out of my comfort zone to seek them out. His Oscar winning role as MARTY (1955) was something I had to dig into the videostore shelves to see and, if it hadn't starred Ernest Borgnine, I might have never caught it at all- but I'm glad I did. And just last week I finally watched FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) where he plays a nasty stockade guard with a hate-on for Frank Sinatra's character. Strangely, I have to also admit I have never seen a single episode of McHale's Navy. Should I? And I ask this as someone that just saw him in DEADLY BLESSING (1981) and thought he was awesome!

I looked around for a scene that makes me think of this great actor when I hear his name but the moments in THE WILD BUNCH that came to mind involved several other of the great actors in that classic. This scene from THE VIKINGS is just Borgnine brilliance!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Andy Griffith, RIP

I have made my fair share of Matlock jokes over the years but I was always a fan of Mr. Griffith. I discovered the joys of Mayberry at a young age and as I grew older that fictional town remained a safe place to visit when I needed some calm moments to figure out my next move. It was clear that the charming Southern tone of The Andy Griffith Show came primarily from its star and although I feel the series lost its uniqueness when production switched to color its great blend of homespun humor and heartfelt emotion still shined more often than not. I'll miss Mr. Griffith in the same way I miss the mythical Mayberry - wishing that they were around to remind me of a better way that life could be led.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Bloody Pit #2 - YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983)

The often derided, demeaned, sneered at and insulted YOR THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983) is the subject of the second Bloody Pit podcast. This great and glorious Italian slab of muscled joy deserves much better attention than it has received over the years and, even if it has been recently issued on DVD (sort of), not enough people living in the 21st century are aware of the magnificence of this classic. For this epic movie I begged super-fan Jeff Nelson to join me and Yor newbie (and NaschyCast co-host) Troy Guinn sat in as well so that we could have a variety of viewpoints. Its always fun to introduce people to this bizarre barbarian adventure and if we accomplish only that one thing I would thrilled. But I also hope that we can educate some of the Negative Nellies out there as to the brilliance of what YOR brings to the table. At the very least this show will clue listeners in to the facts about what they have and have NOT seen. Far too few folks are aware that if all they have ever seen is the theatrical version, then they missed over two hours of monster filled awesomeness. So, until you see Yor fight a one-eyed, multi-tentacle lake monster you haven't really seen YOR!

This show grew to epic proportions -just like the full length version of the film- and many odd subjects are discussed. I spend a long while praising director Antonio Margherti and his sterling miniature work while, in an embarrassing turn of events, Troy confesses his love for Telly Savalas. It gets a little strange. I was impressed that Jeff noticed that, in a way, a better title for the film would have been YOR- AGENT OF GENOCIDE and that the last section of the film could have been called DARTH KENOBI AND THE DOOM TROOPERS. We all three agree that the title used was a poor choice but would one of ours be any better? We'll never know.

Remember that you can subscribe to the show through iTunes or pull it down from the direct link below. Please write to the podcast at to let us know what you think.

The Bloody Pit #2 LINK

iTunes LINK 

Monday, July 02, 2012

What I Watched In June

THE WAY OF THE GUN (2000)- 9 (rewatch)
BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981)- 7 (very good evil kid movie)
MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012)- 8 (way better than I thought it would be)
SOLOMON KANE (2009) - 8 (rewatch)
THE ISLAND (1980)- 7 (rewatch) (completely mad but entertaining)
A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD (1967)- 7 (damned good version of the tale)
DEATH OF A HOODLUM (1975)- 6 (Naschy crime story)
PRIEST (2011)- 4 (too obvious post-apocalyptic, western vampire tale)
PROMETHEUS (2012)- 8 (fascinating religious sci-fi)
CONTRABAND (2012)- 6 (well directed and acted but very predictable with a far too happy ending)
YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983)- 7 (rewatch of both versions)
30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007) - 8 (rewatch)
CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012)- 5 (not bad but nothing special)
DEADLY BLESSING (1981) - 4 (dull horror tale)

A very busy month meant fewer chances to relax and watch some movies. Between work becoming an overtime gig and trying to get packed for my move in July I just didn't have as much time to delve into the weird, wonderful world of film. Still, I did get out to the theater three times and for that I am grateful!

MEN IN BLACK 3 turned out to be very good fun and was actually impressive enough to almost make me forget how bad MEN IN BLACK 2 was. They managed to find a good story to tell and the fact that it wraps around to the first movie in a clever way made it easy to forgive it the occasional sloppy moments. The cast was top-notch with Josh Brolin taking the prize for a solid performance while impersonating Tommy Lee Jones. That had to be hard to do but he makes it look effortless. I can only hope that thy leave well enough alone here and don't try o make a fourth film. Please Hollywood film producers- let this series die an honorable death and become something we can look back on with a smile. You pulled out the near impossible with this one. Let MIB lie fallow and be content in the knowledge that eventually some idiot will attempt a remake.

PROMETHEUS was a very entertaining film and a welcome return to the ALIEN universe for director Ridley Scott but it wasn't quite as impressive as I had hoped it might be. A friend explained his mild dissatisfaction by saying that the movie seemed to promise the equivalent of a fancy steak dinner but in the end only offered a hamburger and fires. He said -"It's a really GOOD hamburger, but because I was expecting steak it felt a little disappointing." I can see what he means as I was a little letdown that the religious aspects of the story were so obvious and needlessly underlined by the script. I mean- did the film really have to take place at Christmas time? Was there no less leaden a way to get across the hints about the genesis of humans?

A bigger problem for me was that the movie feels as if there are chunks missing as the narrative jumps forward in odd places with some characters making choices that are not fully explained. I suspect that we are once again witnessing a movie that was cut down for theatrical release only to have the full length version issued on video. This is happening far too often these days and its starting to interfere with my ability to enjoy going out to pay big bucks to see a film in the theater. I'd like to have the option to see the ENTIRE movie instead of an approved short version that serves as a simple preview of the whole tale. I'm beginning to feel a bit cheated now that ticket prices are creeping over the ten dollar barrier. I'm glad to saw PROMETHEUS theatrically as it is a glory to behold but when they announce the 'Director's Cut' I'm going to be pissed off.

CHERNOBYL DIARIES is a pretty good try at a modern horror movie that just doesn't quite make it across the finish line for me. It isn't poorly produced or badly conceived but it just didn't connect with me in a way that made it more than an OK exercise in creepy dread. I think that if it had been filmed in a smoother, more 'filmic' style rather than the handheld camera method chosen it might have been more effective as a movie. I say this even as I must acknowledge that some of the movie's best scares are accomplished through the use of this style. Its a hard call. It's not a bad film and I can understand how someone might like it quite a bit but it just didn't make it for me.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

1970's Science Fiction poster art

I think the poster art for SF films was much better in the 70's than today. Am I wrong?