Thursday, August 29, 2013

NaschyCast #41 - THE TRANSSEXUAL 919770

In my opinion, unusual is an overused word when discussing Cult Cinema. It is often employed to describe films of any type with little regard for just how far outside the lines the filmmakers tried to color. I don't consider most movies very unusual because is have bathed in every kind of cinema I can find for so long that for me (and I suspect for most Cult Film Fans) unusual is the norm in our regular viewing. Is  CHAINED HEAT (1983) more or less unusual than THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011)? Is a horror film that surprises you with its twist ending stranger than A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL (1966)? All of these are interesting movies but are they 'unusual?

I submit to you a truly unusual movie! THE TRANSSEXUAL (1977) is part investigative mystery, part documentary and part cabaret act. Naschy wrote and stared in this film and although its short it packs a number of very strange sights into its 76 minutes. It showcases many odd thing but the best sight is Naschy displaying his understanding and empathic heart as he talks about subjects society (especially at the time) considers taboo. This is worth your time Cult Film Fans - you haven't seen a movie quite like this.

If you wish to unburden yourself in our direction please write the show at or join us over on the Facebook group. As always the show is available from the link below or through the iTunes store or streaming from Stitcher Radio. If you subscribe in iTunes please consider giving us a review in the iTunes' Store. It gets us noticed in new places by new people. Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - Honest Trailer treatment

This five minute take down of J.J. Abrams' failed experiment in rebooting Trek is brilliant. They found things in the film to dislike that hadn't occurred to me at all. My favorite bit is the insight about space ships now being obsolete in this poorly thought out universe now that J.J. has made the transporter all powerful. Enjoy!

I'll be sticking to the older Trek incarnations. Usually the much older ones.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THE LONE RANGER gets no respect!

I’m not sure at what age I first learned of The Lone Ranger but I think it was when the ads for this line of toys appeared in my youth. My one solid memory of this is of the origin tale of the character as it was related on the packaging for these pieces of sturdy plastic. It was laid out in comic book fashion and got across the story briefly and effectively enough that I wanted the toys and spent hours playing Lone Ranger and Tonto with them.

I lay this out because most fans of the character seem to have come to it through the Clayton Moore television series of the 1950’s but to this day I have only seen a handful of episodes of that much loved show. I don’t dislike what I’ve seen of it but it held no particular appeal for me so…….

I remember pretty well the hubbub that sprang up around the production of the feature film THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER (1981) and remember thinking it had the reputation of being a silly mess surrounding a character I had walked away from around the same time I lost or mangled beyond repair my old toys. Time marches on and cooler things were out there mostly in the form of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Fantastic Four comic books. By 1981 I was occasionally able to get to a movie theater but I never even wanted to catch this incarnation of the Lone Ranger and I even passed up any opportunity once it showed up on pay cable a few years afterwards. What few moments I saw at the time seemed very uninteresting especially when time could be better spent watching THE GODFATHER or SUPERMAN again. In fact, the 1981 LR film made so small a ripple in my movie loving mind that I was only reminded of it when the new Disney produced giant budgeted Summer Blockbuster ® was barreling down the chute to a theater near everyone. Now, I thought, now is the time to finally see that long forgotten and badmouthed western.

“Surely,” I thought, “it couldn’t really be as bad as the press made out back in the eighties. I bet it’s actually pretty good. I’m sure the ham-handed way the film’s producers handled the release and the controversy over letting Clayton Moore wear his Lone Ranger mask in public obscured a quality slice of cinema ripe for reevaluation. I’ll dig the film up and check it out before venturing out to see the new version. It’ll be instructive.”

And my friends, it was instructive. THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER is without a doubt one of the lousiest western movies I have ever seen. I don’t say this lightly. I have seen a lot of B grade westerns from the 1940’s and 50’s but I would recommend even the worst of those oaters over this boring, poorly directed, badly photographed attempt to craft a movie. The film’s only good as a curio of how to have a number of things in place and just not know how to line them up. The script is pedestrian with no energy or verve. It goes out of its way to set up the Ranger’s childhood for no good reason serving only to eat up screen time that could have been better used to tell a story about the freakin’ Lone Ranger doing something!

Much has been made of the casting of the lead and I have to admit that Klinton Spilsbury is no one’s idea of a leading man- except the producers of this film! He isn’t always bad but most of the time his performance is flat and as an onscreen presence he is simply uninteresting. In a genre dominated by actors that the camera loves Spilsbury can't hold his own because the camera doesn't seem to know he's there. Sadly, I don’t even like actor Michael Horse as Tonto either. It was nice to see a real Native American in the role but he has many of the same acting deficiencies as his co-star making things dull every time they are exchanging dialog. After a while I kept hoping the film would descend into deeper depths of ‘bad’ so I could at least start having some fun by laughing at it. But the movie manages to maintain a level of mediocrity that made it hover in the tedious range causing my eyes to glaze over at the paucity of talent being brought to bear on this tale. How could such a well known character become so poorly represented on the big screen? Why was this pretty damned good story being handled in such a lackluster manner? It was just a sad thing to see. The 2013 film was going to be much better than this. Easily!

Woo boy.

I sat down in the theater last month to see THE LONE RANGER (2013) with mixed feelings. The reviews had been harsh but I had heard enough good comments from film nuts to make me think this one might be another of the 'hated at the time but loved later on' movies that I find so endearing. Damn.

I will just start by saying that this film is easily an hour too long. That's right- I didn't mistype that sentence. THE LONE RANGER could have and should have been trimmed by at least an hour and the place to start is the framing story of the old Tonto relating the main tale to a boy in the 1920's. Who thought this was a good idea? I suspect the scriptwriters thought that by couching the story as a Tall Tale told by an Unreliable Narrator they could slide some of their more asinine scenes and uncomfortable juxtapositions by the audience. After all- how do you justify a film that shows the genocide of a tribe of Indians right before it tries to convince you that a man on horseback could ride at a gallop through a passenger train car. One is a terrible, dark moment of real weight and the other is a silly, impossible scene that gets dumber as it goes on. Hell- it started with the Ranger riding his horse on top of the moving train in the first place and just gets more ridiculous as it continues with Rube Goldberg contraptions adding to the visual clutter, confusion and my anger.

Which leads to my second major complaint- the movie cannot decide on a tone. The film jumps back and forth between silly humor and harsh violence and seems to have no idea these two things don't belong together. How could a group of smart people think that a scene in which a man carves the heart out of another man's chest and eats it should be followed up by a scene in which Tonto jokes around with a horse over the man's grave? Yeah, Johnny Depp's delivery is funny as he speaks to the possibly supernatural horse but what are these two scenes doing in the same film? Were two different scripts mashed together?

Which leads me to my third problem- why is there a supernatural horse running around this movie? This beast at one point is standing in a tree and repeatedly magically appears where ever it seems most convenient for the plot. The idea is that the Ranger's survival of the ambush that killed the other Ranger's with which he was travelling is a miracle caused by the gods. What? Why do this? Why can't it just be that he was left for dead and lived because he was found and nursed back to health by Tonto? What is wrong with that story? Why complicate the tale for no good consequence? Adding a supernatural element  is pointless and irritating. Its as if the filmmakers didn't trust the story they were telling and decided to add a lot of nonsense to it to make it more 'interesting'.

And why is the character played by Helena Bonham Carter in this film? She serves next to no function and her steam punk inspired false leg is just more pointless silly filigree on an over decorated set. Ugh. I could go on and complain about the stupid CGI aided stunt work that makes every action scene unbelievable and cartoonish but I'm sick of this thing. They should have made THE Lone Ranger film but they blew it and in the process they have set the character back to zero again. Thanks Hollywood. Fail! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Yellow Razor Blog

I'd like to point readers of this blog over to a new addition to the blog-roll on the right side of the page. This is where I place links to fun sites of interest to fans of strange cinema. I urge folks to check out the list and see what new horizons might be found out there on the World Wide Web. 

Case in point- Brad of the Cinema Somnambulist website and co-host of the podcast Hello! Its the Doomed Show has started a new blog of his own to ramble about whatever film subject comes to his mind. Named Yellow Razor its just an infant, still squirming its way out of the birthing chamber but the post about introducing his neighbor Heather to the joys of THE WOLF MAN (1941) and Master Naschy's WEREWOLF SHADOW (1971) put a smile on my face. Werewolf Wednesdays indeed! Check it out. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bloody Pit #9 - The BEASTMASTER Trilogy

THE BEASTMASTER is one of the most beloved Guilty Pleasure films of the 1980s. Countless screenings of it on cable in the late 80's and early 90's cemented its place in the hearts of film fans all over North America and possibly the world. It easy to understand this movie's place in the memories of wide-eyed young men - if you were looking for a fun adventure tale on a rainy afternoon you could do much worse. The film sports lots of small scale action, pretty women, real animals doing odd things and a sword wielding hero running through the whole thing kicking villainous ass at every turn- what is there not to love!

Sadly, not all of us came to the BEASTMASTER party early but luckily co-host Jeff Nelson is a longtime fan of the film and is willing to defend it from --- those who might sneer. But will Mr. Nelson's fandom hold up as he and I examine all three movies in this series? That's right- there are three Beastmaster movies and we are gonna cover all of them! So sit back, relax, keep an eye out for thieving ferrets and join us as we discuss the madness of THE BEASTMASTER TRILOGY. We even touch on the television series as best we can considering we've never seen a single episode.

If you would like to comment on the show or fill in any of the gaps in our knowledge please drop us a line at and we'll be happy to respond. Maybe next time out we'll talk about the ATOR trilogy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bad Ass Wonder Woman animated short!

Now THIS is how you have some damned fun with a classic character! Woo hoo!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


There is no good reason for STEPFATHER 2 to exist. The first film was a surprisingly effective thriller, with a pretty good script, made a near-classic by a brilliant central performance. Terry O'Quinn does such a good job as Jerry Butler — the psychotic man in a constant search for the perfect family for which he can become the patriarch — that even the crappier actors in the film don't ruin it. But since the first movie ended with Butler absorbing an amount of violence that would've put anyone in their graves a sequel seems not just unnecessary but ridiculous. So why is it so damned good? The fact that Jerry is still alive and living in a mental asylum is silly enough. That the scars on his chest don't really match up to the knife thrust we are shown from the first film in flashbacks is amusing too. That he's able to escape and resume his pattern of hunting for the TV perfect family of his dreams is nuts. So why did I enjoy this unneeded, silly sequel? Once again: Terry O'Quinn. The man is just that good. While onscreen he makes the crazed plotline believable simply by virtue of his performance. And the combination of his smoothness and the plot grinding toward his eventual discovery as a homicidal madman makes STEPFATHER II almost as fun to watch as the original.

After Jerry escapes from his incarceration he sets up a new life in another new town, changes his name to Gene, rents a house near recent divorcee Carol (Meg Foster, looking a bit haggard) and is back in business. Using his experience in the nuthouse as a template, he somehow presents himself as a psychiatrist (this is never explained), setting up a private practice in his home. He begins a group therapy session with several women from the area, including neighbor Carol, and starts worming his way into her life by befriending her skateboarding son. But just as things seem to be going his way the ex-husband reappears, trying to reconcile. Dammit! And then one of his group patients (Caroline Williams) becomes suspicious of him, intercepts some incriminating mail and tells Gene that if he doesn't come clean she'll inform Carol that he isn't who he claims to be. What's a psychotic killer to do? Start whacking folks and covering up their deaths, that's what! Thus begins his slide downhill into the inevitable missteps that make one murder become several and blows his carefully constructed life apart... I can barely believe I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. It has so many things going against it and yet O'Quinn, a straightforward (if familiar) script and a steady hand on the tiller (director Jeff Burr) make for a fun movie. Burr had a hand in making several unneeded horror sequels in his career but in each case (TCM 3: LEATHERFACE, PUMPKINHEAD 2) he managed to craft a movie that didn't feel like it was made by hacks. I've not seen all his work and I doubt he could have ever been a great filmmaker, but damn if he doesn't do a fine job here showing an ability to overcome dubious material.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marvel's Conan comic covers

I can't remember if I read the Marvel Comics' version of Conan before I read Robert E. Howard's original stories and I certainly prefer REH's work- but I will always have a love of these comics. I can remember reading issues 88 through 115 over and over again. I still need to read the run of the black & white magazine Marvel published called Savage Sword of Conan. I have the first volume sitting over there on the shelf right now.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

What I Watched in July

I made it out to see five different Summer offerings last month! They were a mixed bag but with the much anticipated PACIFIC RIM I now have my favorite film of the year so far. I am an unabashed fan of Guillermo del Toro and have enjoyed each of his movies so far and have hopes for him to finally produce his much talked about Lovecraft adaptation THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS as well as one more HELLBOY just to make me smile.

I loved almost everything about PACIFIC RIM from its amazing designs to its stunning action scenes to its heroic sweep. Del Toro knows how to tell an emotionally involving story that also delivers the thrills. Topping this achievement is that he is able to make a great popcorn movie that isn't insulting to your intelligence and or retrograde in its attitude toward women, minorities or anyone else. The humor in this film comes from the characters and doesn't degrade them- it illuminates their nature and shows us how they relate to the world around them. What an idea- use the dialog  in your big monsters versus robots story to make the audience care about the humans being menaced by the world shaking violence being depicted.

I could ramble on and on about how terrible the TRANSFORMERS movies were but I also know that the only reason PACIFIC RIM got Green Lit was because of the massive success of those awful monstrosities. I think that the upshot of this is that those movies now have a reason to have existed- they gave us a GOOD giant robot film!

My dear girlfriend and I caught THE HEAT just to see a comedy and it turned out to be pretty good. The story is nothing more exciting than a standard miss-matched buddy cop tale but the performance of Melissa McCarthy elevates the film. She is the 'slob' cop character more interested in getting scum off the streets than in following the rules while Sandra Bullock is the OCD by-the-book cop forced to deal with this unruly mess. These two clash from the beginning and if you are expecting plot surprises from this sucker you will be disappointed, but if you want some good, R-rated laughs the film really delivers. My major complaint is that director Paul Feig is an incredibly sloppy filmmaker not just in his camera set-ups and blocking but he has a hard time maintaining an energy level. This wasn't too distracting with his last movie, BRIDESMAIDS, but that film had a much better script and it didn't feel like the comedy was added after the fact. THE HEAT is a little too long and unfocused but McCarthy's seemingly improv-ed humor makes it worth watching.

WORLD WAR Z was better than I feared it would be but still only a passable movies. I find the directorial style of the film to be far too chaotic and the action too spastically edited to be engaging most of the time. The lack of establishing shots in the action scenes coupled with rapid-fire chop & spin editing made things far too difficult to understand and had the overall effect of irritating me. By the time the story slows down for the famously re-shot ending things are calmer and more comprehensible so I found that section solid, but it was such a tonal shift it felt like it was from a different film. Much like with the same director's mess of a Bond film QUANTUM OF SOLACE I feel there is a good movie lurking in there somewhere but its currently lost in the editing room. Of course, I'd love to see the original epic ending and I hope it turns up on the Blu-Ray release as an extra. I won't be buying it but I would rent it out of curiosity.

THE CONJURING continues director James Wan's string of excellent low budget horror films. He has found a way to mine classic styles of ghost movies from years past while bringing a freshness to the material. This time out he and his collaborators have very loosely based their tale on real people and real events. Of course, the truth of a film this fantastic is silly to contemplate but I love that the old 'Based on Facts' trope is used to add chills to the spines of the younger viewers and give veteran horror fans a sly wink. This is a supernatural, ghostly tale much in the vein of Wan's DEAD SILENCE and INSIDIOUS. Its not as successful as those two very scary movies - at least not for me- but it is very effective and well worth seeing. I like the structure of the story and that they set it in a very accurate 1970's America. The 70's was an odd time for the collective imagination in this nation with Bigfoot, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle and a host of other unexplained phenomenon being regularly discussed. I remember reading countless books on the stranger things in the world and catching every episode of 'In Search Of' to see what other bizarre things lurked out there to fire my imagination and scare me just a little. Having this film set in that era added to my enjoyment and made the willingness of characters to accept things all the easier to understand.

I also caught the disappointing LONE RANGER film but I want to wait to dig into that one. I have a few things to say. 

THE HEAT (2013) - 6 (sloppy but funny female buddy cop story)
THE LAST EXORCISM (2010)- 7 (rewatch)
LIFEFORCE (1985)- 9 (rewatch)
WORLD WAR Z (2013)- 5
HEAD (1968)- 8 (the mad Monkee movie!)
TRANSATLANTIC TUNNEL (1935)- 7 (fascinating early SF)
TARZAN AND THE AMAZONS (1945)- 6 (standard but entertaining)
CHERRY FALLS (2000)- 5 (not bad slasher film- good cast)
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE (2011)- 9 (very well done comedy/drama)
IDENTITY THIEF (2013)- 7 (very funny and well played)
THE CALL (2013)- 8 (excellent thriller)
DEAD MAN DOWN (2013)- 7
PACIFIC RIM (2013)- 9
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (2013)- 9 (fantastic tale of Liberace and his lover)
THE LONE RANGER (2013) - 4

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Faux Euro-Trash 8-bit Games!

You probably have to be very clued in to the madness of early 80's Euro-Trash horror films to enjoy these brilliant fake video games but, if like me, you know them backwards these will have you ginning from ear to ear. The joy of gory Fulci and Lamberto Bava insanity rendered in 8-bit 'detail' is funny just as a concept! Enjoy- if you can.......

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Superman homage by Des Taylor

This is a fantastic little piece of animatic with artist Taylor using the theme music from the classic Fleischer Brothers Superman cartoons of the 1940's. I love his modern design for the characters and he has a nice eye for facial expressions. Very cool!


Jess Franco poster art - Part 24!

The English title for this 1966 adventure tale is RESIDENCE FOR SPIES. It was supposedly shot right after or before Franco made ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS and is considered by those who have seen it as the lesser of the two. I haven't watched it yet but I have it waiting for the Franco Euro-Spy mood to strike me! Or the mood to see Diana Lorys