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Friday, October 28, 2011

NEW BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT

Very happy to report here that extended family member Christina Buckner has started her very own blog. My wife Karen and I absolutely adore Christina and have come to think of her (and her siblings) as our own flesh and blood. One of my other blogs, http://anddahorseyourodeinon.blogspot.com is dedicated to both her and her brother, Mike.

Having known Christina almost from the day of her birth, it was a total surprise that in some ways she turned out to be very much like me. I’m not sure how this happened because there were huge gaps in time when I wasn’t around her, so I don’t see how my goofiness could have rubbed off on her. However, Karen and I could not possibly be more proud of her if she was our own daughter.

Christina and I share a love of bad movies and all other things absurd. I’m delighted to say that I was able to introduce her to films from my own collection which are universally acclaimed as “turkeys”. You know, films like THEY SAVED HITLER’S BRAIN, ROBOT MONSTER, SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS and THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN (the all-midget Western). It opened up a whole new world for her and for the past 1.5 years or so I’ve been exposing her to more and more films of this type. She’s been having a ball with them!


One of her many talents is her ability to identify the source of a problem and then pound it flat with her commentary until it seems much less like a problem anymore. This is a trait that a lot of politicians have, but Christina is much too ethical to run for political office, so the rest of us get to enjoy her wit sans the restraints of so-called political correctness.

Her inaugural blog entry is her take of last year’s re-make of the movie, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Christina shoots from the hip on this one, so be prepared to laugh. Access her blog here: CHRISTINA BUCKNER'S WORLD

SATAN'S SADISTS

I’ve never really been a fan of the so-called “biker picture” genre. In fact, I can’t even honestly say that I understand why the film “Easy Rider” is considered the finest of its kind – other than the fact that it had Jack Nicholson in it and his classic line of dialogue, “This used to be such a GOOD country.” Even the fact that a very young Toni (“Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, Hey Mickey”) Basil has a small role in the movie leaves me less than impressed. See BORN LOSERS – now THAT was a biker picture!

When Al Adamson decided to do a biker movie, he cast his wife, Regina Carroll, as the female lead. Now there were two reasons, really, why this was a good move, and both of those reasons rested on her chest. Other than the violence factor, Regina’s melons were probably as good a reason as any to plant your male posterior in a theater seat and sit through this movie.

Regina died of cancer quite a number of years before Al himself was murdered by a sleazy associate. Al’s body was buried under some renovations that were being done to his house, but was later recovered.

Mr. Adamson left us a number of memorable “bad” films as a legacy, SATAN’S SADISTS being key amongst them. My personal favorite was DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN. I’ve written about that movie before, but here is the DVD cover for it in case you’ve never seen it on the stands:



Regina’s first on-camera appearance in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN is in a Las Vegas sequence as a showgirl with her own stage production. How she made a living in the story as a showgirl is beyond me; having something like four people in the audience really does not extend one’s credibility as an “in-demand” stage singer. In the movie, she performs a number called “I Travel Light”.

I suppose traveling light is a good thing, because not drawing a decent sized audience would necessitate that she pack up and make way for someone like Vic Damone or Liberace who could pack the place.

HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, NIGHT OF BLOODY HORROR, BLAZING STEWARDESSES and BLACK SAMURAI are other Adamson “Alternative” Classics which I have on VHS, but have never seen on DVD before.

Rest well, Al. They got your killer and he’s someone’s prison bitch now. Sorry you were a homicide victim but I’m happy to think that you just might be reunited with Regina now and are getting to ogle her snack trays again, this time for eternity. Do us a favor, Al, and say “hi” to her jugs for the rest of us.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE MOST DISGUSTING COUPLE IN THE WORLD

For what seems like the longest time, my wife Karen and I have been occasional targets of snide comments, disdainful stares and sometimes just downright hostility from folks. Why? Well it’s because of how well she and I still relate to each other. The honeymoon never really ended for us. Therefore, we are the most disgusting couple in the world to a lot of those with whom we come in contact.

We’ve been married now for 27+ years. Friends of ours have referred to us as “DINKs”, which means “Double Income, No Kids”. The fact that we don’t have children gives us less reason to argue. And, more importantly, opportunities to walk around the house naked whenever we want.

The worst disagreement we have nowadays is which cat will take the blame when either Karen or I fart. I try to pawn the trouser trumpet off on Casey (her tomcat) and she will accuse Indiana (my tomcat) when Karen floats one of her air biscuits.

Specific things that have drawn the ire of people past and present:

a. Visible “passion marks” (also referred to as “war wounds”) on my neck, usually still there for several days afterwards (when Karen works on my neck, one of my erogenous zones, I’m helpless and just give in).
b. Showing affection to each other in public (but not in our respective work environments; usually it’s only people who aren’t “getting any” that would complain about us if we did this there).
c. Using cutesy little terms of endearment to and about each other (example: I call her “Love Princess” and she calls me “Moron” - isn’t that just precious?).
d. Holding hands or having our arms around each other like high school sweethearts.

If these are crimes (of passion?), then I must plead “Guilty”.

Laugh at this if you want or if you must, but living this kind of life ensures that I’ll be riding the “Nookie Train” for whatever time I have left here on Earth. In fact I think I hear the Conductor shouting “Booooooaaaaaarrrrrddddd!” now. Talk to you later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC LIVE: THE ALPOCALYPSE TOUR


Won’t go into too much detail here on the track listing as you can click on the DVD insert above and see everything for yourself on the larger scan.

I did a write-up previously on ALPOCALYPSE, the CD, on another of my blogs when it first came out. You can read about it here:
MIKE'S HOUSE OF WHACKS

It still amazes me that Al and his cast of musical genius idiots (Jim “Kimo” West, Steve Jay, Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz and the newest member of troupe, keyboardist Ruben V ) remain as topical, fresh and funny as they were when I was just a 23-year old kid watching “Like a Surgeon” on MTV (when MTV was still worth a damn). These guys have incredible staying power. The concert is fabulous and you get so much more on this DVD than you did if you saw the abbreviated show on Comedy Central recently.

Up until this point, I had not seen the video for PERFORM THIS WAY, so I’m wondering if Al’s face is digitally inserted onto Lady Gaga’s body in her BORN THIS WAY video.

I wound up buying this at Wal-Mart. To my disgust, Best Buy was only carrying it on their website and did not have any copies on site. Pretty frickin’ ridiculous if you ask me.

However, I encourage you to scoot on over to Al’s website and buy it from there if you can’t find the disc in your local stores. He’s at: weirdal.com.

Keep ‘em comin’ Al!

CHAMELEON #2: IN GARDE WE TRUST

Here’s #2 in a series of books that, unfortunately, had a short shelf life. After the third entry in the series, “The Chameleon” gave up the ghost and went off to book heaven.

“In Garde We Trust” hit the Stars and Stripes (a military book store) shop in Kitzingen, Germany in September of 1979, where I was living and serving at the time. I had not seen the first book, “The Wrath of Garde” for sale there (and would not, in fact, find it until many years later while back here in the States). The third book, “Garde Save The World”, would show up a bit later at the Stars and Stripes and it completed the trilogy.

The “Garde” in all the book titles is Vance Garde, a brilliant Scientific Engineer. Ballou Annis (pronounced “Ah-Niece”; for one’s own sake they’d best not mistakenly call her “Ms. Anus”) is his lovely confidante and professional assistant.

I have to say that I really enjoyed these books and was sorry to see them go. They were written with a lot of seemingly intentional silliness. I got the idea that the credited author, Jerry LaPlante, was sort of giving his readers a wink, saying, “Hey, this is all in fun so come along and enjoy the ride.”

As “In Garde We Trust” starts, Vance is on the run from a hungry grizzly. He escapes Not-So-Gentle Ben, of course, and then heads home. For a little while, seemingly minor things are bugging Vance and Ballou, i.e., parking tickets and horseradish that isn’t spread correctly on roast beef sandwiches. Then they run across an obviously brainwashed cult member who is dirty and has several skin infections. They get the girl to a hospital for treatment where she then takes her own life.

Later, Ballou’s younger brother, Adrian, calls looking for her to release his full share of their trust fund. During their conversation, Adrian says an exact phrase that Vance and Ballou had heard earlier from the now-deceased cult member. Ballou then refuses to give him the trust fund. Adrian goes on to make some threats and thus begins The Chameleon’s interest in the cult, lead by one Solomon Luna.

An interesting villain from the first book, “Handjob”, returns in this story as well, ala the “Jaws” character in the 007 films, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker”. Handjob (you’ll have to read the book in order to learn why he’s given that name), though, doesn’t turn out to be all warm and fuzzy like Jaws was at the end of “Moonraker”.

The rest of the story is pretty much a revenge tale. To add a Mel Brooks/Marx Brothers element to the action here, Ballou stifles a sneeze during a time when she and Vance are trying to escape detection. As a result of the ceased sneeze, Ballou blasts a good, rampant fart, which leads Vance to recall that a preacher once said to him, “He who farts in church must sit in his own ‘pew’.”

Nice cover art, too, from the wonderful George Wilson. Mr. Wilson had done some of the best artwork for covers of Gold Key Comics and also for “The Penetrator” series, among others, for Pinnacle Books.

RAT BASTARDS #2: DEATH SQUAD



War book series kind of flourished once upon a literary time. When they did, you found a lot of them that were inspired by E. M. Nathanson’s “The Dirty Dozen” in toughness and content.

The Rat Bastards certainly fit into that category.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE



Wow, what a treat this was to see!

Frank Hennenlotter, director of such classics as BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER, co-directed this one as well and provides some great on-camera insights/stories on the wonderful Mr. Lewis.

Hershell Gordon Lewis, along with his partner, the legendary David F. Friedman, started out making cheapie nudie comedies and nature (read: nudist camp) films in the early days of their respective careers. They were very successful at this. Then, somewhere along the line, they were looking for something new to do.

They eventually settled on a new type of picture, one which would splatter the screen with blood and realistic wound effects, designed to shock, disgust and horrify. Mr. Lewis christened these films as “gore movies”. With good reason, too.

BLOOD FEAST, the first of these gore films, really delivered on the promised shock value and cemented a place in film history for both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Friedman. With its success, several more of these types of films were made until they felt that their market for gore movies was drying up. The partnership ended amicably and each went off to do their own things.

Mr. Lewis went on to do films occasionally – his own and for others as well. He also is credited for creating what he calls “direct mail marketing”; the rest of us call it “junk mail”. So when the postman delivers “junk mail” to your mailbox, Hershell Gordon Lewis may well have had a hand in it. He probably made more lucre from that than from his films. Either way, these things have provided him a good living.

David Friedman is a fascinating man, too. A former Carnival Barker, he really is a walking Encyclopedia of Hollywood and the art of the “B” movie. I could listen to him talk for hours.

HERSHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE really is a tour-de-force. It clocks in at just over 100 minutes, but the deleted stuff adds nearly an hour to your viewing time. It’s absolutely fascinating and I wholeheartedly recommend it to those who can take all the blood. Oh, and also for those of you who can take all those bare rear ends of the boaters and volleyball players.

Although she is not interviewed for the film, “actress” Connie Mason (she of the “vacant stare”) from both BLOOD FEAST and 2000 MANIACS, is seen at the end of the movie on stage with Mr. Lewis while he sings the lyrics to “Robert E. Lee Broke His Musket On His Knee”.

A very BIG thanks has to go out here from “The Splatting Nun” to Frank Hennenlotter to putting this project together. Also, props go to Mike Vraney of “Something Weird Video” for putting this out on DVD through his company. It’s a marriage made in Gore Heaven.

BLACKENSTEIN (ON DVD!!!)

Recently I wrote a status on my Facebook page which reads, in part: “You all know that too many times life kicks you in the teeth, throws fast curveballs. But, every once in a while, it rewards you, too. My reward? Finally finding ‘Blackenstein’ on DVD. It was…sitting there amongst those unsold copies of all the ‘Friday the 13th’ movies.”

Many moons ago I wrote on one of my blogs (don’t remember which one now) about this movie – which I’d only had at the time on a VERY bad VHS. It was one of those cheap tapes, done in the SLP mode by Xenon Video. Somehow the poor quality of the tape sort of enhanced my “enjoyment” of this film. Well that, and all the “Dolemite” previews, too.

So now we have “Blackenstein” on DVD. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? Now I’ve just gotta find “Black the Ripper” and “Dr. Black & Mr. Hyde”. Already have the “Blacula” movies, so I’m halfway to my goal.

Not much really to say about this movie, except that it’s dumb – almost beyond measure. I’d read somewhere that American International Pictures had planned a sequel which was to be called “The Fall of the House of Blackenstein”, but since the original here layed a big ol’ egg at the box office, plans were subsequently scrapped.

ICE CREAM MAN/JACK FROST 2


Ok, now here’s a momentous double feature for ya!

ICE CREAM MAN works well as a horror movie, thanks in large part to the wonderful but always creepy-looking Clint Howard (Ron Howard’s younger brother and former child star of the TV series “Gentle Ben”).

The story concerns Greg, a former mental patient, who now is kind of like Ed Gein (Google this name if you’ve never heard of him) crossed with the Good Humor Man.

As if that premise wasn’t enough to intrigue you, David Naughton’s head is used as an ice cream cone topper later in the film. How could you NOT love a movie like that?

JACK FROST 2 (Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman) is one I haven’t actually seen yet. I did see the original JACK FROST some years ago, and I remember it being weird and not all that funny, considering that the killer snowman was tossing off one-liners like a serial-killing Henny Youngman. However, I have to admit that I am mildly curious about this one, so I’ll get up one early weekend morning and watch it before my better half rises to greet the new day.

If this movie turns out to be worth writing further about I will certainly do so, faithful ones.