Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It's always fun to watch a film make that fatal misstep that takes it from passable entertainment to insane embarrassment. Sometimes this moment can elevate a movie to the level of 'alternative classic' (i.e., so bad its good); most of the time this plunge off the cliff is its only real bit of energy. Sadly, this is the case with The Alligator People. Though most of the cast tries to invest the story with emotion it just doesn't work. Beverly Garland is the picture's solid center, doing a good job drawing us into her dilemma, and Lon Chaney, Jr. chews scenery like a mad dog, but both are undone by the film's lethargic pacing. Still, this movie does boast that moment of nuttiness that makes the final few minutes a real hoot — for all the wrong reasons. Alligator People kicks into gear and self-destructs at the same moment.

1950's Science Fiction poster art

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

THE FLY (1958)

This film is a little slowly paced, it has rather dated special effects and even the actors in the movie had a hard time keeping a straight face when filming its most famous moment. Of course, for a modern audience another odd thing about THE FLY is that Vincent Price is neither the monster nor a villain in the story. Hell, most of his screen time is taken up with him doing nothing more than worrying about his brother or his sister in law. How did such an atypical monster movie become so well known and well remembered? I believe it is quiet qualities like literate dialog, solid acting and a horrifying central idea that make THE FLY a great old science fiction film. Those elements and the somewhat staged, mannered way in which the film (and its sequel) is shot, makes it both a product of the '50s and a fascinating snapshot of an attempt to make a science fiction/horror flick something more than just ray guns and things from another world. THE FLY isn't much more than a step above earlier giant bug movies, but it's a significant step. Even though I've seen this movie 20 times or more, the film's charms always grab me so that whenever I watch it, I'm caught up in the tale all over again.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss

Gatiss' long list of credits both in front of the camera and behind it should have told me he would be a huge fan of Horror Cinema but I had to see this series to have it sink in. This is well worth your time if you have an appreciation for Hammer Films!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

STARCRASH (1978) images!

Because I love this mad film with all my heart here are some images to show you why. I'll have to pull out the Blu-Ray again soon. I don't think I finished ALL the extras! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What I Read in July

The Dead Love Longer by  Scott Nicholson (good supernatural detective tale)
THE CON MAN by Ed McBain (another 87th Precinct novel)
THE LAST HEROES by Steven Grant (artist Gil Kane's final superhero comic series)
THE DEAD MAN #3: Hell In Heaven by William Rankin an Lee Goldberg
ANIMAL KINGDOM: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel by Iain Rob Wright
Marvel Visionaries: Roger Stern - SPIDER-MAN Vol. 1 (sadly mediocre tales of the wall-crawler from Peter Parker, The Spectacular SM) 

I decided that all of my reading for the month of July would be done on the beloved Kindle. I have a growing list of books on that thing that I can't wait to get to and it seemed a good time to dedicate a full four weeks to plowing through as many as possible. Of course, I still ended up reading several comic book collections, but I didn't see that as stepping outside of my parameters. After all, there is still no good way to read a comic book on a screen be it Pad or computer. I suspect that will eventually change but until then I will continue to love the trade paperback collections that line my shelf waiting for my time.

The comic collection THE LAST HEROES is the final super hero work of the great artist Gil Kane but I have to admit that I didn't much enjoy it. The story was unfinished when Kane passed away leaving writer Steven Grant with only the first part of a three part tale told but that is only one of the reasons it isn't a satisfying read. I actually found Kane's page layout overly complicated and often confusing. He is still one of my favorite old school comic artists but this was not his finest work.

The 87th Precinct novels continue to be good cop dramas an I wish I had started reading them years ago. Then I might have a chance to read them all before I die! The DEAD MAN series of modern pulp adventures is still going great guns with the thrid entry. I found this one to be the weakest of the run yet but I still enjoyed it. I need to race through several back to back soon just to try to catch up- I think there are ten already!

ANIMAL KINGDOM is a pretty good bit of gruesome apocalyptic fiction. Set in Britain it has many of the faults I associate with the trashy horror fiction of Guy N. Smith but I love this type of book as much FOR those faults as for anything else they supply. I felt the book was a little overlong but well worth reading for fans of nasty horror trash. You know who you are! 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

NaschyCast #30 - TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF (2004)

You got your werewolf in my soft-core pornography! No- you got your soft-core pornography in my werewolf! Or something like that. Episode 30 takes us to the Hollywood Hills where we encounter lots of hot naked women, lesbian sex, a Daninsky descendant, a fantastic painting and a pretty bad film. The 21st century was not a good period for low budget werewolf movies and this ‘final’ Waldemar Daninsky film is no exception. Shot in English TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF is one of our few chances to hear Paul Naschy’s actual voice in a film but, as he speaks less than a dozen words total, this is a bittersweet delight. Indeed, Naschy’s role in this production is little more than a glorified cameo so the joys for fans are slim. That being said Naschy is still the best/only reason to see this sucker and he does a fine job with the little screen time he is afforded.

We struggle through this short but painful direct-to-video time filler while trying to maintain our good humor. I’m not sure we succeeded as I can remember a few tears on my show notes but hopefully the podcast is helpful to the Naschy loving masses. If you have the strength and desire you can join us as we work our way through TOTW and try to keep our sanity intact. As usual the discussion veers from subject to subject with a brief look at the various porn titles in the cast’s background; share some info about the location where the film was shot; point out the ever-present sound of crickets on the soundtrack; and wonder what Naschy made of the film before and after it was made.

Please drop us a line at anD join us on the Facebook page. As always the show is available through the link below or from iTunes and can be streamed from Stitcher Radio.

NaschyCast  #30 LINK 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Flesh and Blood issue #2 arrives!

For those unaware- the second issue of Bob Tinnell and Neil Volks' amazing monster comic book series has hit the shelves and is well worth your dollars. I stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago and finally read the entire thing over the course of a couple of late night fanboy sessions. These stunning mash-ups of elements from both the Universal and Hammer horror film cycles is the kind of near perfect monster fan joy that only rarely appears in any form of modern entertainment. The character list in this fast paced tale reads like a dream 'vs.' list made by a delirious kid right after a marathon viewing of a dozen assorted classic monster movies. "What if Van Helsing met Baron Frankenstein?" "What if the female vampire of THE VAMPIRE LOVERS got mixed up with the characters of the Dracula story?" "What if a tragic Wolfman was part of the vampire hunting team?" "What would Baron Frankenstein do when presented with vampires as a reality?"

And what if it was all done in bright glowing colors with all the sex and violence placed front and center? Maybe this isn't for the little ones but I think any mature fan of the classic horror films from the 1930s through the 1970s will love this ongoing series of graphic novels. I can't wait for issue three! For now I'll just re-read the first two and post things over at their FaceBook page.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

What I Watched in July

A few trips to the theater made for a surprisingly pleasant time at the movies last month. I actually really liked all three ventures into the darkened palace which was a little shocking. Am I becoming easier to please as I get older or am I just choosing my films more wisely? Tough call.

The trailers for SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN had me curious about this slightly gritty take on the classic fairy tale. I was less than thrilled with the fact that Kristen Stewart was the star as I think she is a very limited actress but over the past year I’ve become a fan of Chris Hemsworth and I can’t say enough good things about Charize Theron. The surprise with the performances is that Miss Stewart was not too bad in the film as long as she wasn’t asked by the script to stretch too far outside her small range. That means that the one moment in which she needs to bring some real gravitas to bear pretty much fails and as it is the third act ‘rally the troops’ scene that is a shame. The good news is that there is so much done well that it doesn’t harm the film overall. And I was stunned to see who they got to play the dwarves! I had no idea that Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost and Toby Jones were even in this film so when they showed up and were seamlessly integrated as little people I was surprised and thrilled. Good choice and very well done.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was a very good ending to Chris Nolan's Batman story even if I felt it wasn't quite as good as the previous film. The only real complaint I can lodge against it is that the third act feels a bit too rushed. Its as if they were trying to keep the film from stretching to the three hour mark. Interestingly, they manage to use this problem to good effect to keep you from asking one important question that would have cast doubt on a particular character's loyalties. I've been thrilled with all three of these movies and its great to have this version of the character and his world wrapped up so well. I love the fact that Batman is a character that can be interpreted in so many different ways and still be identifiably the same person. I can't wait to see how he is portrayed the next time a group of creative people decide to try their hand at the task.

And color me surprised by how good THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN turned out to be. I had lowered expectations for this unnecessary retelling of the origin story and I was of the opinion that after the disaster that was Raimi's third Spider-man it might be time to let the franchise lie fallow for a decade or more. But as I saw more bits of the film in trailers I had to admit that I liked the actor playing Peter Parker much better than the previous guy. I have always felt that Toby McGuire was pretty over-rated as an actor so the chance to see Andrew Garfield emote as my favorite wall-crawler was enticing. The rest of the cast was interesting too- Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben; Sally Field as Aunt May; Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy (nice to have that character brought in correctly) and Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. Wonderfully the film gives each of these actors several moments to shine. They all felt like real people reacting to events in a realistic way. This is a well done film and one that I truly hope spawns at least a couple of sequels with everyone reprising their roles. Oh- and bonus points for bring back the mechanical web-shooters and making Spidey a joker as he always was in the comics. Thumbs up!

SUPERSTITION  (1982) - 5 (not bad haunted house gore-fest)
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)- 9 (Fantastic)
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012)- 8 (excellent version of the fairy tale)
THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE (1938)- 8 (fascinating crime tale with a great cast)
THE BROTHERS GRIMM (2005)- 8 (rewatch)
HARPER (1966)- 9 (there's a reason Paul Newman was a major star)
WILD BEASTS (1984)- 7 (trashy, exploitative, gory animals on the loose madness)
COP HATER (1958)- 4 (flat, low budget adaptation of an 87th Precinct novel)
TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE (2008)- 1 (terrible, half-assed try at a film)
TWINS OF EVIL (1971)- 8 (rewatch)
BIG FISH (2003) - 10 (rewatch)
INK (2009)- 7 (well made low budget fantasy film)
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967)- 8 (very fun film)
CASH ON DEMAND (1962)- 9 (brilliant Hammer thriller)
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)- 6 (over-the-top, hyper-violent exploitation throw-back)
THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS (1944)- 7 (excellent European set mystery with the fantastic Peter Lorre)
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)- 8 (very good retelling of the origin tale)
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TARZAN (1935)- 5 (hour long version of the serial)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

WILD WILD PLANET (1965) - trailer

I love this film so much I would gladly watch it every week if I could spare the time.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Science Fiction Films from Italy - Poster Art!

Because nothing beats cool Science Fiction made in the 1960s! Nothing.