Monday, September 30, 2013

BBC Week: Red Dwarf

Greetings you tossers!!!  Hmm still not sure if I am getting the lingo down but nevertheless welcome to BBC Week and I thought it best to kick this shindig into high gear with some Sci-fi Comedy, so don your space suit, prep our bazookoids and get ready to dive into the smeg.  This is Red Dwarf.

My God, it is the product of man and gerbil.

Holly: It was John Paul Satre that said, Hell is being stuck in a room for all eternity with your spoilers.
Lister: Holly, all Satre’s mates were French.

Far out in the reaches of space, a mining ore vessel known as Red Dwarf passes through the known galaxy raiding mineral deposits and taking on precious cargo to the human race making its demands.  To keep this vessel running tip-top it clearly falls on the shoulders of Second Technician Arnold J. Rimmer (Chris Barrie of Spitting Image, The Legends of Treasure Island, The Brittas Empire, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Back in Business) a hapless doofus with a Napoleon complex that feels that one day he will be up the echelons of command and never again have to clap his eyes on the slobbiest entity on the human race David Lister (Craig Charles of Business as Usual, Captain Butler, The Colour of Funny,  Red Dwarf and Doctors) a slacker that never aspired to do well…much of anything other than smoke, eat Indian food and somehow not create flatulence that would cause the entire ship to vacate with or without space suits.   This nitwit gets sent to a stasis chamber (frozen in time but not in space) because he refuses to relinquish a cat that has not been through quarantine.

What do you say, little buddy?

The whole ship is controlled and monitored by the ship’s artificial intelligence Holly (Norman Lovett of Asylum, Red Dwarf, The Criminal, Feedback and The School That Roared) detects an impending radiation surge and attempts to seal the breach before it is too late.  Alas the entire crew is…no more.
Lister wakes from stasis to find Red Dwarf quieter than a tomb full of mimes and no idea what is going on.  Holly explains that massive cadmium radiation obliterated everyone in its path but Lister given he was sealed away and that it has been over 3 million years before he could be released.   Lister has to know come to terms quite possibly that he is the last human being alive.   Holly in his ultimate wisdom to keep Lister sane resurrects Rimmer as a hologram to nag, nitpick and snark at him every turn. 

The two encounter a humanoid that evolved from the domestic housecat.  Three million years of evolution brings us the being they simply call Cat (Danny John Jules of Labyrinth, Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, The Tomorrow People, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).  Lister demands they return to Earth and get back on with their lives.  Rimmer is not certain of this endeavor but he is still busy being dead and death does have its perks. 

I had a few comments on this series.  BBC’s budget as always has a bit of a stranglehold making writers to come up with creative gags, clever dialogue and interesting stories which most sitcoms cannot muster.  This particular series incorporates Star Trek, Star Wars, Krull and even Hawk the Slayer references so there is something for most of the nerds out there to enjoy.  From a personal note while I love the series and have every episode I do feel it jumped the laser guided space shark around season 3 but that is just one fellow’s opinion.

Dead and still a twit.

BBC Week

This week we give a salute to the folks across the pond, these people brought us Doctor Who, Miss Marple, Hercule Pirqot, Albert Campion and the like.  A land of mystery, fantasy and great legends.   The realm that felt Young Ones and Monty Python would benefit us all and frankly we needed that.

I had this similar problem at Petsmart.

Why on Io, does the rest of the United States seem almost unobservant to the wonders the BBC have brought us?  So this week we take time to acknowledge the fascination that is BBC and for crying out loud people there is a BBC America channel for the past 5 years and counting.  WAKEY WAKEY POLLY PARROT!!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

PSA Week: How to Be Well Groomed

Well teen gang we sure have had a swell time this week with the sexist, homophobic and misconceptions but we gotta end it all on a good note so I thought we would take another look from the folks over at Coronet Instructional Films and see if they didn’t have something nifty for us.  So take a hot shower, make sure to wash behind your ears and comb your hair deep into your skull.   This is How to Be Well Groomed.

Hmm, what would Joan Crawford wear?

Don: Joe called and said he would be a little spoiler. Sayyy, do you look smooth!

This is the story of a brother and sister named Don and Sue.  Both work very hard in school and have afternoon jobs as well as chores around the house that gives them a little extra pocket change.  Yessir these balls of fire are headed out on a double date at the motion pictures when an inquisitive narrator wonders, “Say how did those kids ever learn to be so well groomed?”   Golly that was my first thought as well.  Followed by how do these kids get along that well and why are they so concerned about each other’s grooming habits?  Now throughout the short is a shared narrative of an ethereal voice of both a man and a woman.  Guess they didn’t want to snub either sex but frankly if I were one of those kids I would have called the local priest to perform an exorcism on the house for good measure.

Don prepares his garments of shame.

With health, posture, cleanliness and neatness comes good grooming and great overall appearance.  Why with this ability no one will ever know about Don’s collection of severed animal heads he buried under the loose soil by his bedroom window.    Oops, that was the joke I made while watching this educational short.    The kids go on to do each other favors such as Sue hemming a sleeve and re-attaching a button on Don’s sweater vest and Don in return polishes Sue’s shoes as well as his own. 

It kind of gave me the creeps.  They didn’t even squabble over chores or who was hogging the bathroom. Most of Don’s outfits should be burned. I am glad this film is in black and white because some of his shirts would damage retinas up close.  

Don, stop borrowing my angora sweater.

I have just a few comments about this short.   The grooming and cleansing habits are actually sound minus the terrible face drying soap they both kept using.  I just envision them scaly during their dates and have to explain why they are resemble the lizard creatures from V.   The level of detail on how much Don had to prep and yet no mentioning to Sue that she will have to shave her legs and under her arms?  Was this a practice that was skipped in 1953 and if so how did these girls get a date?    I was not insisting that I get a detailed fog resistant cam show of said shower but the narrator didn’t even cover that to cleanliness.  

Well folks that is all for PSA Week and remember to keep throwing out suggestions, compliments or complaints to the write ups.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PSA Week: How to Say No

Hey kids I am back and welcome to Day 4 of PSA Week.  We sure have covered a lot of topics stemming mostly from ignorance so why not have something supercilious crammed down our throats as the adult “get real” with the youngsters?   I am sure if we follow these helpful hints and tips they will enrich our lives and fulfill our hopes and dreams.   Or it will be incredibly Norman Rockwell and I will see some folks whiter than most vampires from Twilight and just about as hip too.  So grab your poodle skirts, have Mom sew on that letter for your jacket and do gosh darn well at debate.  This is How to Say No.

Just say no to plaid, kids.

“How to say no, that’s tricky one to spoiler, but with practice and confidence you can push on ahead.”

Those happenin’ cats from Coronet Instructional Films are at it again babies and don’t you forget it.   Why, these are the fine people that brought us such illustrious titles like: Joan Avoids a Cold, Good Table Manners, Dating: Do’s and Don’ts and my personal favorite, Communism.   Most of these educational shorts try to give ideas or hints how to better behave in polite society, fend off booze and drugs or just be a good little Capitalist.   Occasionally with this film as an example, they did offer some advice but it was all in the delivery that the message is going to be sneered at.  We have a gathering of kids (All white, of course) that deal with peer pressure from being one of the ball players, the boy looking for second base and (Gasp!) smoking. 
No Johnny, not a hickey!

Such events will occur in a teenager’s life but the open debate format seems a bit hokey in this light.   The message is being able to say no in any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable and not to your liking.  That importance we can take away from this short is the message is clear but I was thinking some self-defense for girls, maybe show the boys to be more respectful to the girls via sensitivity talks and frankly it felt awkward to watch.  I found myself making too many jokes while watching it but I think that is because of the apple pie and baseball days of Leave It to Beaver land.

The discussion goes around this particular clique of the elite kids so you don’t get a feeling about the nerdy guy that got shoved in his locker yet again or the slightly ugly girl that gets hazed every day.    These feasible scenarios are just completely overlooked and not even mentioned one bit.   They vaguely cover how to avoid that heavy petting with changing the subject or mentioning the latest gossip and I felt myself snickering yet again.   Why not a card trick or the ball in the cup trick for a distraction?  

Car handles better after 12 beers, am I right, fellas?

The lack of realism in this film I guess was to not frighten the young ones watching this short but dammit all if this didn’t need to be more plausible and give them facts.   A real mentorship would have been better for them or establish a peer to talk to. 

PSA Week: Danger~ Women at Work

Welcome back sports fans and let us assume that the next PSA has more than its fair share of insulting demeanor not unlike the previous films of insulting our intelligence in thermal dynamics as well as the difference between a gay man and a pedophile.  So why not insult the opposing gender next?  Yes ladies this next PSA is all about bashing those dainty little flowers that have the audacity to serve in the work force.  So put on your hard hats girls, remember to lift with your knees and for gosh sakes don’t break a nail.  This is Danger- Women at Work.

Well these potatoes don't peel themselve, young man.

They’re women. I need hard working spoilers on this site not more women.

Not to be confused with the rather enjoyable Sam Newfield dramatic comedy with a zany three women moving team with a long haul truck; this particular public service announcement was created during the height of WWII and depicts the dangers allowing women more freedoms out of the kitchen and household doing a man’s hard day’s work.   With the complete misogynistic mentality of this PSA I had the hardest time watching this without getting snarly.  With the lady narrative women have to be shown that work clothes and not dresses are the order of the day.  Yes because what woman would understand about snagging clothes in a machine or that long free flowing hair may get caught in a door or possibly hooked on heavy equipment.

Oh dear, I spot welded my coffee cup again.

Women stepping in to do a man’s job and becoming self-reliant and understanding of safety rules is just as important as producing service and merchandise.   Most of the short is showing different walks of life trying to fit in and pushing to get goods and services out for the country to get back on its feet.  Remember this is just getting over the Depression era.   It goes on to state that the ladies from simple farm towns and households have never known such hard work in their lives but gosh these gals give it their all.

Well ma'am this is my unit you will handling. Heh.

That being said the theme of this PSA is condescending and patronizing how women are slow to obtain skills and talents.   Seriously it was painful to hear this bile.   I honestly waited for someone to start ruffling their collective hair and offering a treat for following instructions.   It went further on to warn the Axis how these girls have their fellas’ backs with bullets and bombs at the ready and we don’t know if they are quite up to snuff.

And now I have just a few technical issues with this film.  The camera work was shimming like a hula dancer during a Hawaiian luau event.  I think any photophobic might have some issues watching it from that alone if the material shouldn’t disgust them to great levels.   Ladies I have to say if you feel inclined to watching this that frankly I found this to be more sexist than a beer commercial ad.  That being said I have given fair warning.  

For you fellas giving this a gander, you will see a frame of mind that maybe your great-uncles or grandfathers may behave but most likely nothing to this level given having been in a relationship long enough to share emotions and feelings.   The men that wrote this scandalous pile of excrement have never respected a woman’s opinion let alone bothered with acknowledging women having one worth noting.

We really need to get a union going.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PSA Week: Boys Beware

Welcome back boys and girls and what say we dive right in with the horribly misnomers and misguided ideals in the warnings of pedophilia with the confusion of homosexuality.   What’s that?  You are both shocked and appalled that someone let alone a gathering of people could make such a blunder?  Well baby you ain’t read nothing yet.   So hike out your thumb, look nonthreatening and be alert.  This is Boys Beware.

Yikes Jimmy has Unfortunate Face Syndrome 

Whoa ho ho there Johnny.  That spoiler seems to be up to something.

Created and produced though the Sid Davis Productions, you know the fellow that also brought us the disturbing titles such as: The Dangerous Stranger, Girls Beware, Seduction of the Innocent and Too Tough to Care.    In most of these incidental shorts they do send a message that could put kids on the alert of that random stranger or maybe smoking as a child is not a smart idea but for our fun filled title card of Boys Beware old Sid didn’t bother to get his facts straight.  

Jeepers mister, where's my candy bar?

Little Jimmy didn’t know about that Ralph was sick.  Y’see Ralph is a homosexual.    Okay already I was cringing at this short but mustered through with it.   Apparently in the 1950’s equating homosexual men and child molesters was a common practice of profiling.   One that need be stricken from the record as NOT HOW TO HANDLE THESE SCENARIOS!!!    At 10 minutes and 13 seconds this horrible message points out how to avoid these men from their hairstyles and apparel.    Yes kids all gay men have this Ron Jeremy and John Holmes mustache as well sunglasses and bow ties.   Also if they have a TARDIS stay away as well. 

'Bout time for Hee Haw then the torture dungeon, Johnny.

Throughout the entire film being gay is depicted as a mental illness and I am stunned they didn’t point out how turning to Jesus would have set them on the right path.  Due to their minuscule budget you can see the same car in almost every scenario of which there are three.  I guess they couldn’t even borrow another vehicle for a few shots.   With the cooperation of Inglewood California Police Department and the Inglewood Unified School District this piece of tripe was created.  I just love how the conclusion that gay men are somehow inherently dangers to young boys and our little victim Jimmy claims he was taken to a hotel by one fellow was later arrested and then stuck on probation.  All this said to me was every kid that didn't want to do his schoolwork could easily blame his teacher for the same effect and sully the poor man’s name.

For those of you who are easily offended at this completely tapered view on anything deemed out of what is quote “Normal”, I would point out that simple studies illustrate that 75% of all pedophiles are straight Caucasian males.   Hmm missed that study did you, Sid?  As a straight male I was disgusted at this grossly inaccurate portrayal and blatant hate video.    The irony is the one predator that looked genuinely creepy cruising for young boys was our producer Sid Davis himself.    

Well son, I was raised Catholic so hence my attraction to boys.

Monday, September 23, 2013

PSA Week: Duck and Cover

Well hey there teen gang and welcome to the first round of Public Service Announcement Week or PSA for short. Say let’s start this motif off right with bit of public safety.  Here are a few dos and don’ts on dealing a thermal baric atomic explosion to bring Americans to a safety conscious awareness.    So duck in the basement; get under your desk or just cover eyes from the blast.   This is Duck and Cover.

Jeepers Mom, we left Sparky outside during the blast.

Well we don’t all have a spoiler like Bert the turtle that we can duck and cover in.

Let us journey back to a time a large gas guzzling all metal vehicles, no real safety belts and a Norman Rockwell view of society.    The atomic scare is under way due to the rampant spread of Communism and the threat of a high yield explosion that if the sheer concussive force didn’t snap your bones and liquefy your organs, then the concentrated thermonuclear explosion would atomize you where you stand, sit or play.   Rather than be open and honest with the masses the United States National Civil Defense felt a lofty and delightful cartoon describing the unbridled terror of having your flesh fried from your body.

Bert the Turtle is passing the buck on his misinformation.

Commissioned for the National Education Association in 1951, this iconic character Bert the turtle did not wolf down pizza, beat up ninjas or tell you how things were bodacious but in fact taught you what to do in the event of a nuclear blast.   The need to keep calm, keep cool and just let the atomic flames wash over you like a gentle breeze was the appeal apparently.  You are to walk safely and in even files while getting into a basement or shelter that could hold maybe 500 people uncomfortable.  Hiding under a metal desk was also an acceptable barrier to mass levels of shockwaves of pressure and thermo baric pressure and flames generating heat to the magnitude of 1102 degrees Fahrenheit.    I am no rocket scientist but I dare say the levels of lead paint in a house would not shrug off the radiation of these levels.

Here a few fun facts of the hypocrisy of this “educational” film.  While covering the devastation of the initial explosion of an atomic warhead how the concussion force works, they seem to have skipped the 7.5 mile radius spread of extreme heat that would make 3rd degree burns seem like a day at the beach without sunscreen. Not mention the sheer demolition and defoliation of that area in wide spread disaster.  Not even counting the vast levels of radiation that are omitted around every living thing in the area and taking in account for winds to spread this havoc ensued causing that region of land to be ruined for 80 to 100 years plus. 

Oh good golly this floor needs scrubbing.

Funny, how none of these computations were taken in and handed out to the American households.  So the next time you look to the skies and notice a bright flash, your retinas are not completely burned out.  You too will duck and cover.

PSA Week.

This week we tackle a ridiculous conundrum that swept the nation since the 1950's.  I am speaking of the Public Service Announcement.  Speaking of dangers such as what to do on a date, Atomic War, the worries of homosexuality and of course the trouble with women.   These simple issues are horribly construed and misinterpreted on how to best deal with this trouble scenarios.

Bert enjoys a flower before...the commies win.

With the government standing to keep people safe and free of harm the influences are clearly examples of the creation of the Moral Majority, McCarthyism and general close mindedness that leads to the belief how a girl dresses is the cause for her be raped.  HUH?!!!!  So feel free to enjoy this total lack of tolerance and by all means poke fun at this anal retention.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week: Willow

Welcome back travelers of yore and we shall enjoy Day 5 of Sci-Fi Fantasy Week and we will look deeply into the story arc that brought us excitement and adventure with a compelling tale of good vs. evil no matter your height and made anyone with the last name of Peck a living hell on Earth.  So saddle your horses, sharpen your blades and may your deities look upon in favor.  This is Willow.

Hmm wonder if there will be another Leprechaun flick at the ready.

High Aldwin: Magic is the bloodstream of the universe. Forget all you know, or think you know.  All that you require is your spoiler.

Star Wars creator George Lucas and writer Bob Dolman (Little Shots, Cowboy Joe, Willow, Far and Away, The Banger Sisters and How to Eat Fried Worms) create a ingenious drama about a reluctant hero, a mere dwarven farmer named Willow (Warwick Davis of Return of the Jedi, The Princess and the Dwarf,   Leprechaun, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Unbroken and Doctor Who) with the dreams to be a wizard from a tiny village must journey on a perilous adventure for the sake of a child.  Willow’s species are known as Nelwyns or as the humans call them, pecks.   Yes imagine the joy that could bring.  I guess if you snare four of them you have a bushel.   Moving right along; our young farmer, husband and father of two leaves with 4 warriors and the council magistrate to find a Dakini(Human) to claim the child that brought terrible danger to their village.

Jim Morrison of the Dark Ages.

The village wizard informs the lot the child is prophesied to bring down the tyranny of the heartless Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh of Frenzy, The Changeling and Return to Oz) and they must be wary.    Our party encounters a boastful warrior trapped in a crow’s cage (an ancient hanging gallows that allow prisoners to die of thirst or asphyxiate being high up) calling himself Madmartigan (Val Kilmer of Top Gun, Tombstone, Batman Forever, Heat Kiss Kiss Bang Bang andPlanes) and he states he will watch the baby if they let him out of his cage.  

I tell ya Earl, Helm's Deep looks festive this time of year.

Being passed over by about 300 armored warriors the party feels they have no choice but to trust this man and hands the baby to him.  Moments after such the baby has been snatched by brownies (fairy folk) and Willow chases after them to be led to the fairy queen of the forest who speaks of the child as she will be a force for good in the lands but she has chosen Willow as her protector.   

Just a few notes to make about this film offhand.   Shot with Panavision anamorphic lens and followed up with Vista Vision (a process similar to 20th Century Fox but allows a better widescreen system to shoot onto a larger area giving a finer print) giving a better print for 35mm.  Industrial Light and Magic managed the transition shots, scale model and stop animation creatures.

Don't get short with me mister!

The director of this particular sword and sorcery saga is none other than Ron Howard (Skyward, Night Shift, Splash, Cocoon, Parenthood and Backdraft) and given his area seems to be mostly romantic drama, coming of age and edgy drama this was a real stretch out of his comfort zone to provide the world with a truly clever film with some amusing dialogue and spellbinding creatures.  The classic struggle of righteous vs. nefarious was captured rather well and I would insist that Sci-Fi Fantasy fans give it a viewing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week: Clash of the Titans (1981)

Hail Sci-Fi Fantasy fans and welcome to Day 4 of Sci-Fi Fantasy Week.  Thought we would go a bit old school as if that has not been the theme thus far and head to the ancient mythos of Greece.  From petty and wrathful gods to creatures of unspeakable terror, the lands are froth with danger and wonder but one man dares to shake his fist in defiance against such barbarism.  No not that Kevin Sorbo guy, I speak of Perseus. So grab your mystic shield, DO NOT look at the Medusa and release the Kraken!!!  This is Clash of the Titans.

Hiya folks, I'll have a virgin on the rocks!

Zeus: Perseus has won.  My son has spoiled.
Hera: A fortunate young man.
Zeus: Fortune is ally to the brave.

King Acrisius of Argos proceeds to loathe his daughter Danae for her beauty and has her imprisioned. Methinks the king is a bit of a diva.  When that dirty old god Zeus (Sir Laurence Olivier of Othello, The Shoes of the Fisherman, Oh!, What a Lovely War, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Dracula) comes around for a booty call via Danae and impregnates her, Acrisius has both Danae and newly born grandson Perseus sent to their deaths in a wooden coffin.   Well Zeus took that poorly and calls down the thunder for Acrisius and most of his kingdom by releasing the last Titan, the Kraken to lay waste to all of Agros.  Danae and Perseus make their journey safely to the isle of Seriphos where the child grows to manhood.

Lost my train of thought...

Thetis, the sea goddess (Maggie Smith of Nowhere to Go, Othello, The Honey Pot, Hook and Richard III) so proud of her petty and cruel son Calibos (Neil McCarthy of Zulu, Where Eagles Dare and Time Bandits) is engaged to Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker of The Adventures of Black Beauty, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Ellis Island and Menace Unseen) of Joppa ; in spite of destroying the Well of Moons and slaying several of Zeus’s beloved flying horses with the exception of Pegasus.  For these heinous acts, Zeus transforms Calibos into some hideous devil and exiled by his own people.  Probably through the aid of a few well placed stones and pitchforks.

The land of Joppa is not "faun" of Calibos.

Thetis whisks Perseus in the night with a wind transporting him to an amphitheatre in Joppa where he is befriends by a kind old poet name of Ammon (Burgess Meredith of Twilight Zone, Batman, Mr. Novak, Rocky and Grumpy Old Men) .  Perseus sees Andromeda and is smitten by her but Ammon warns him of a curse she is under on how she cannot marry unless a riddle is solved.  And if that doesn’t work maybe he can twist time like Prince of Persia and start anew.   To give his boy a leg up, Zeus gives Perseus three magical artifacts, a helm of invisibility, a shield and a finely crafted sword worthy of any warrior.     Mutilating Calibos in the swamps, Perseus is betrothed to Andromeda and momma Thetis does not care for this at all and demands Andromeda is sacrificed to the Kraken.  Desperate to save his lady love Perseus and a handful of the king and queen’s men go to search for a way to defeat the Kraken.

I’ve got just a few notes on this particular film.  The stop motion effects are done by creature FX and producer Ray Harryhausen (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C., and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger) with a series of scale models and super imposing.  Yes loads of blue screen effects so I am sure the youngins are rolling their eyes but come on; Ursula Andress was in this flick still looking yummy.  Give credit where it is due.

Just peepin',son. Prop me next to the bed for the real action.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week: Excalibur

Welcome milords and ladies to Day 3 of Sci-Fi Fantasy Week and I am have dusted off my DVD rack to bring you yet another gone but not forgotten gem of the genre.  When I speak of Camelot I do not mean Sean Connery and Richard Gere being silly in armor nor do I mean a zany cartoon with two headed talking dragons and far too many sing along.   I am referring to the key elements derived from Sir Thomas Mallory’s classic Le Morte Darthur.   Capturing all facets and characters from said novel and bringing them to the big screen in 1981.  So don thine armour, sharpen and preserve thy blade and prepare for battle!  This is Excalibur.

Well, at least we aren't fighting over who makes a better Batman.

Arthur: Now, once more, I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the spoiler of what could be.

Writer Rospo Pallenberg (Exorcist II: The Heretic, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, The Barber of Siberia and The Gaul) and writer/director John Boorman (Zardoz, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Excalibur, Where the Heart Is, The General, The Tailor of Panama and The Tiger’s Tail) dare to dabble in a time of romance, chivalry and siege warfare to the days of the kingdom of Camelot. 

The ever mysterious magus Merlin (Nicol Williamson of Of Mice and Men, The Reckoning, Hamlet, Robin and Marian, Return to Oz and Apt Pupil) has secured Excalibur from the Lady in the Lake for Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Bryne of Miller’s Crossing, The Usual Suspects, Ghost Ship, In Treatment and Just a Sigh) with the agreement of Merlin aiding in the seduction of the Duke of Cornwall’s wife through cast illusion.  Sounds a bit shady thus far but we shall move on. 

Bald brothers, hear me! The skull cap is all the rave!

With the Duke on the battle field and slain only sorceress Morgana (Helen Mirren of Hamlet, Caligula, 2010, The Queen, Red and Red 2) can see through Uther’s disguise while he has his way with her mother.    Nine months later, Merlin sneaks in and is off with the baby while Uther injured from the Duke’s knights hurls Excalibur into a stone claiming the man that draws the blade will be king. 

Come hither stare or looks that could kill??

Years later Sir Ector's (Clive Swift of Frenzy, A Passage to India, Keeping Up Appearances and The Old Guys) boys are Kay and Arthur prepare for a jousting tournament when Sir Leondegrance (Patrick Stewart of Dune, Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men, Moby Dick, Safe House and Hamlet) attempts to remove Excalibur and fails.  A thief takes off with Kay’s blade and without any thought other than defending his brother’s honor Arthur draws Excalibur to do battle with the thief.
So the lad is declared king of the realm and all but a few accept this to be but webs are being weaved into what the future may come to be.

I have just a few points to make about the film now.   35mm Spherical captures the action and drama so but this is the year the UK introduced the Arriflex Camera giving almost the same scope as a Panavison anamorphic lens without the same tight consistency.  It is still quite the noteworthy camera to be held to all.   

Now I shall slay Ranuccio!

It is also the film that launched the careers of Liam Neeson, Gabriel Bryne, Neil Jordan and Ciaran Hinds.   Not too shabby in that of its own, this very movie gave SFX credit of now Industrial Light and Magic SFX supervisor Peter Hutchinson.   While this is to be an Arthurian legend told this was primarily shot in Ireland and I am betting they never let the limeys forget that heheh. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week: Captain Kronos- Vampire Hunter

Hello all and welcome back to Sci-Fi Fantasy Week and I found us a Hammer film of some repute.   With the fans of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing a few Hammer films do escape the public eye especially if they are just looking to see Ingrid Pitt nude again. What say we regale stories of a traveling master swordsman and his humpback companion as they campaign against the undead?  Yes strop us some stakes, prep the holy water and gather some garlic flowers.  This is Captain Kronos- Vampire Hunter

Dead toads confuses the vampire you see and...oh forget it.

Heironymous Grost: You see, doctor, there are as many spoilers of vampire as there are beasts of prey. Their methods and their motive for attack can vary in a hundred different ways.

With his village on under siege from a virulent plague, Dr. Marcus (John Carson of Taste the Blood of Dracula, Emma, Oppenheimer, Doctor Who and Survivor) almost dismisses the notion that the plague attack these young girls is actually vampires and sends for his old Imperial Army friend Captain Kronos (Horst Janson of You Can’t Win ‘Em All, The Captain, Shout at the Devil, Storm of Love and Destruction of Silence) an adept swordsman and would you believe it, a vampire hunter?  Travelling with Kronos is his faithful companion Professor Heironymous Grost (John Cater of Orlando, The Avengers, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again,  the Woman in Black and Where the Heart Is) an expert on all things Vampire and how to dispatch them. 

What hump?

Now before you all start screaming not another vampire movie, let us point out a few things.  These vampires appear in hoods even during the mid day and seem to drain not blood but life and youth from their victims.  Most mythology buffs or even Stargate Atlantis fans would be saying wraith about now and I cannot say I fault them.  

Along the road to Marcus’ village Kronos spots a young girl Carla (Carolyn Munro of Dracula A.D. 1972, Star Crash, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The Spy Who Loved Me, Maniac and Slaughter High) in pillory for a meager crime, Kronos chooses to free her and be off on his way when she asks to join him and Grost to their next destination.  Kronos and Grost prep their litmus test for vampire detection using a series of dead toads in the road, forcing them walk around and prepare to waste the creatures but no clue so far to the unspeakable foul beast or beasts’ lair.   The town has been living in fear of this curse and few choose to speak out.  The most influential of the village are in seclusion and have no interest with interaction on the day to day leads Kronos to believe perhaps the vampire is hiding on their property.   I personally thought they were prigs and uptight.

Vampire Hunter and Eye Candy? Bonus.

A few things I wanted to mention about the movie.   Shot in 35mm Spherical and audio done in Mono, writer/director Brian Clemens (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Quiller, The New Avengers, The Watcher in the Woods, Timestalkers and Blue Blood) must have felt the vampire folklore angle being more of a superstitious nature into the story was a nice touch; keeping in tradition that there is always a sliver of truth in every tale.  


Our hooded menace feasting on the local wenches is not revealed until towards the end of the film giving it a bit of suspense.  The dialogue was sharp and clever with a nice leisurely pace of films of its ilk but it certainly did not skimp on the action at all and for the life of me I cannot see how this did not go the same franchise route the Dracula series did.   Guess even Hammer Film fans are fickle.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week: Highlander

Greetings to Sci-fi Fantasy Week!!  I thought we would commence this Monday with a story old as time, men that live and die by the sword for their king and country, money, vengeance or test their skills.  But if I told you of warriors that returned from the final battlefield, living on in secret lives??   So sharpen your sword, hone your skills and don’t get distracted or it’s your head.  This is Highlander.
Immortal slug bugs games are brutal.

Connor MacLeod: Ramirez’s blade did not cut deeply enough. He was right about you. You’re spoiler.

Over 400 years ago, a young Highlander warrior was placed into battle for the very first time. His name was Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod (Christopher Lambert of Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, To Kill a Priest, Fortress, Gunmen, The Hunted and Beowulf) and he faces a clan war when an giant knight in an obsidian helmet with a voice that sounded like something from Hells itself, mortally wounds the lad.   During the range skirmish the two are separated and all looks lost for the young fellow.  The next day he is well and uninjured.  His people claim it to be witchcraft and drive him from their village.  

Now you die, Willow!!

Connor becomes a blacksmith and takes a young woman name of Heather (Beatie Edney of Lost Empires, Wild Flower, Uncle Silas and Highlander: Endgame) and all seems well enough until Connor is visited by an eccentric and outlandishly dressed man on horseback calling himself Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery of Dr. No, Goldfinger, The Anderson Tapes, Hunt for Red October, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Sir Billi).  He knows of Connor’s plight and his resurrection.  Connor finds out that there are others like him. Some good and some evil but to survive he must know the game.  The rules are simple: one on one challenge to the death by taking the other’s head, holy ground can be a refuge and in the end, there can be one.   Yes good and evil alike with battle to the last for the unknown prize.   The combined power of all the other immortals to be used in whatever fashion the winner chooses to.

Alright, Zardoz was a horrible film. Happy now?

Centuries pass and it is 1986 the time of the Gathering when the immortals feel the need to travel to the final conflict.  Connor encounters the black knight of his past, the Kurgan (Clancy Brown of The Bride, Extreme Prejudice, Shoot to Kill, Blue Steel, Earth 2, Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League) is an ancient malevolent man that he delights at mortal suffering.  He must be a huge Darwin Awards fan.  The very idea of this repugnant and soulless man getting the prize would men of reign of tyranny the likes to humanity has never known.   After a battle Connor a.k.a. Russell Nash is questioned by the cops about a headless man in a Versace suit.  They believe Nash’s antique dealings were over a rare sword and he killed a rival collector and to be fair that does sound nicer than the truth.

Will Connor be able to fend off the cops, stop the villain and get the girl??  Find out yourself!  Sheesh go rent it or buy it already…

What's in yer Wallet??!!!

Sci-Fi Fantasy Week!

Sword and sorcery!! Danger and dragons! Good Vs Evil!  These are but a few examples of the genre that we will be tackling this week as we journey into this very realm.  5 days of films that were lost in obscurity to common household names I will try and provide you with as much enjoyment as possible involving realm of magic and mysticism as well as brave souls relying on courage, heart and steel.

Hey the Lord of the Rings set is beyond the cave, guys!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Director of the Week: Don Coscarelli: Bubba Ho-Tep

Howdy boys and girls and welcome to Day 5 of Director of the Week with Don Coscarelli.  Now yesterday was a bit of a stomach turner with Incident On and Off a Mountain Road so let’s end the week on a classy note, and nothing screams classy like an Elvis Mummy movie. So hide your candy, keep a flashlight handy for lights out and tell that orderly where he can stick it.   This is Bubba Hotep.

The King in deep contemplation. 

Elvis: Don’t make me use my spoiler on ya, baby.

In a third rate nursing home in East Texas not much goes on in The Shady Rest Retirement Home.  The staff is ill-mannered and adheres to their schedules and even though they may have more than a few faded celebrities, we are all reminded that death still keeps taking its toll.

The staff of the nursing home does have a bit of amusement what with Sebastian Haff (Bruce Campbell of The Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and Burn Notice), an Elvis impersonator claims to be the actual Elvis that swapped lives with Sebastian Haff in order to live in peace and anonymity.   But if things get dicey he and Haff agreed that if the King gets tired of the quiet life they can swap back but a propane explosion burned all of his proof preventing Elvis to be able to ever return to the old gigs.

Whaddua mean wood tick on my neck??!!

A hip injury happened during a concert causing an infection and a coma leaving him here at Shady Rest wound him into this predicament.  His only friend is Jack (Ossie Davis of Car 54, Where are You?, The Defenders, Cool Red, B.L. Stryker, Grumpy Old Men, Doctor Dolittle and The L Word), a black man convinced he is John F Kennedy that had his brain swapped out into this body to avoid another assassination attempt and was forgotten about.   The two start to notice people dying in numbers around the home and come to realize that a mummy is roaming the halls at night sucking souls from the residents.  Only these two men can stop the madness and bring this undead soul sucking monster down.

Not so good ole boy.

I have just a few points on this film.  Based on the written work of graphic novelist, and Bram Stoker Award writer, Joe R. Lasdale this warped and amusing story holds elements of memories past, regret, sorrow, triumphs and joy.   Yes all that can be found in an Elvis Vs. the Mummy novel.  Bruce Campbell read the script and called Don Coscarelli to make sure than the infected cancer sore on the end of Elvis’ penis was NOT to be on screen.  Once that air was cleared he was on board for the film.  

Phantasm alumni Reggie Bannister makes a cameo in the film and you can just hear the ecstatic cries of Reggie and Ash fans losing their minds over two cinematic monster slayers on the same screen.   In spite of this being an Elvis Preseley film not a single song of his is heard throughout the whole film.  Don Coscarelli when to explain how it would have cost half of the movie’s budget to license even just one of his songs.

The moral of the story kiddies is, “Don’t f&*k with the King, babies!”  

Just a lonesome cowboy, ma'am.