They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky... Man! I love that Vic Mizzy theme song! Originally a syndicated cartoon strip created and drawn by artist Charles Addams, The Addams Family is probably best known for their much beloved B&W television series which ran from 1964 to 1966. Because the channels in
broadcast reruns of this show in the 1970's I only rarely got to see The Addams
Family as a kid, but every time I caught an episode I was thrilled. Here was a
funny and weird group of misfits and freaks living happily together as the
outside world stared in stunned, uncomprehending disgust. The family consists
of the wily patriarch, Gomez Addams, his darkly beautiful wife Mortica, their
mischievous children Pugsley and Wednesday, the slightly insane Uncle Fester,
the roving-hand and all around helper Thing, the giant & much put upon
butler Lurch, wild-haired Grandmama, and world travelling Cousin Itt. I
loved the matter of fact way Gomez and Morticia handled problems and there were
never cooler parents on any television show. The Addams Family is a complete
joy and still holds up to this day as a fun and funny slice of off-kilter,
macabre sensibilities placed within the framework of 'normal' America. I love
the set-up of the show wherein The Addams' are so puzzled by the often evil
intentions of the people who visit them in their creepy home. They can't
understand these bad intentions as what they appear to be, so they have no idea
why these people are acting so irrationally. Sounds like a perfect show to go
watch right now!
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Thirteen suspects trapped in an isolated country house over a long weekend! One of them committed murder! Can you figure out whodunit?
Probably not, but that really is beside the point. This month’s film has a very tiny sprinkling of Naschy but a heaping helping of old style murder mystery a la Agatha Christie and just a soupçon of giallo for flavor. That’s right- there IS a black-glover killer but don’t expect the typical Euro-Trash blood soaked tale or there will be some sad Pandas out there. The story takes place in the English countryside (don’t let the Spanish speaking cast fool ya!) with all the trappings you would expect from a classic mystery film of the type that used to star William Powell. One can merely wish that Naschy had a larger role in the proceedings but he only interacts with three of the cast which means this is one of the least Naschy NaschyCasts we’ve ever done. Still, there is fun to be had as veteran director Javier Aguirre runs his eclectic group of victims … errr….suspects through their paces. Secrets are revealed, love affairs are uncovered, maids are seduced, jealousies kindled and heads are hatched as we narrow down the character list to discover the identity of the perpetrator. Also, there are many familiar faces onscreen including Patty Shepard, Eduardo Calvo and Dyanik Zurakowska to make the 'Spot the Actor' game interesting.
This month's mailbag was overflowing and we even throw in a bonus bit of praise for the Bloody Pit episode covering
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
If it is a given fact (and boy, is it) that Stephen King has had a woeful history with film adaptations of his horror novels, what do we make of the film fate of less famous contemporary horror authors? Have they faired better or worse than the ‘King’ of horror. Pretty much everyone knows King’s name but few members of the general public are aware of his bookstore shelf-mate Dean Koontz. Among horror readers he is well known if not particularly well admired as someone who has been incredibly prolific over the years but has never really been a great writer. Not that King is a ‘great’ writer either but he is reliable as a genre storyteller and one who almost always delivers the goods in a way that satisfies. I may bitch for the rest of my life about how many of his novels seem to choke in the final third, but overall he has given me enough thrills and excitement to coast on goodwill for decades.
Now, for Dean Koontz, I have to admit to having read only one of his novels years ago. It was during a period in which I wanted to branch out in the horror field sampling a number of writers and I met with a very hit and miss result. I was not impressed by Koontz or John Saul or Bently Little and so never read another of their books. On the other hand Robert McCammon, Ronald Kelly and John Farris drew me in and I have pursued their work ever since. This means I am certainly no expert on Mr. Koontz work but that shouldn't stop me from enjoying a good movie made from his stories, right?
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I have been finally watching the third season of Game of Thrones (Yeah- I know I'm still a season behind) and found that somehow no one had told me the Dame Diana Rigg appears in the show. What the Hell? I should be alerted when a lady so much a part of my youthful coming of age is about to pop up on my screen. Even at her age I still find her alluring and as Olenna Tyrell she gets to chew bloody chunks of scenery while wielding a sharp tongue. The scripts (and indeed the books) gift her character with dialog built to razor through flesh as her victim is still returning her sly smile. It is such a joy to see Miss Rigg again sinking her teeth into a good role!
Friday, July 18, 2014
Given all the time in the world I would make a project out of running through every James Bond inspired Euro-Spy film that exists as quickly as possible. Visions of a book few people would buy dance through my head -'My Journey with Rip-Off Secret Agents' might be the title. Or not. As it stands, I get to see about two a year so I have to be happy with that. The other night I watched AGENT 003: OPERATION ATLANTIS which has to be one of the wackiest entries in the genre. Playing out like a particularly nonsensical Republic serial the story has our American spy George Steele in route to
Japan for a vacation but stopping off in Italy just long
enough to be asked to help out with a mission. It appears that uranium has been
found in North Africa but it is under the
hidden city of the survivors of ancient Atlantis. I'll stop there and let that
No one bats an eye at the idea that a) Atlantis existed, b) there were survivors that settled near Egypt, c) there is a hidden city that can't be accessed but we know there is uranium underneath it and d) that the best idea to obtain this valuable substance is to send in a guy who has no experience with any of this stuff. Do I need to say anything more to explain why I want to watch ALL of this mad genre? The plot is threadbare to the point of being impossible to follow and the budget is marginal at best but I loved ever minute of this little lost effort. Recommended to anyone who read this description and smiled.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Anyone else see this crazy thing?
Sunday, July 13, 2014
As was true of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS two years ago, the new X-Men film is the best of the summer season - so far. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST had a lot to live up to as it was attempting to adapt one of the greatest storylines of the best creative run the characters have ever had. The filmmakers set themselves up with several problems by not really being able to tell the tale as originally written, but they cleverly found ways to make one of the best superhero movies of recent memory without crapping on the comic book source.
This is one of the most satisfying comic book movies of the past ten years and even manages the trick of fixing the problems left over from the miserable, muddled last half of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND from several years ago. Of course, the usual things one looks for in one of these action adventure tales is here and done brilliantly- the adrenaline pumped battles; the amazing special effects; the big villainous plots; the dangerous characters and the great eye candy of all kinds. But the best thing this film has going for it (other than a great time travel idea) is that nearly all of the characters are allowed time to shine. These X-Men films have always been well cast and this one is no exception with great turns from a dozen actors who have to carefully balance their personas against a huge story. I loved this movie and its the first of the these superhero films to make me cry in the theater - and I cried tears of both sadness and joy which is even more impressive.
I have to admit that Tom Cruise has been on a roll for the last few years. JACK REACHER, OBLIVION and now this Summer's EDGE OF TOMORROW have been excellent entertainments that I know I will return to again in the near future. EOT (which could have used a better title) is a smart, exciting science fiction variation on GROUNDHOG DAY that is unrelenting in its desire to put Mr. Cruise through dozens of hellish situations. I knew the film had a good chance of being worth seeing when I learned Doug (THE BOURNE IDENTITY) Liman was behind the camera and he didn't let me down. This is a very good Summer movie and has the added benefit of being more clever than it has to be to make the story work. It's not as interesting as OBLIVION but it is pretty close and that is very cool.
I got the rare chance to see a small release film last month and I was pleased to catch the Australian made THE ROVER. The film is set in a post apocalyptic world just ten years after a never detailed disaster and stars the always excellent Guy Pearce as a very tightlipped man attempting to catch up with the trio of men who stole his car. If this sounds like a version of THE ROAD WARRIOR you would be far off the mark. This film goes out of its way to paint Pearce's character in harsh shades of gray as he uses anything and anyone he can find to help him get what he wants. He is never presented in a flattering light and even when he is dishing out violence it is hard to get behind his actions because the violence is so rough and almost random. This is an impressive movie and I liked it very much but I will have to be careful when I recommend it - not everyone will enjoy this bleak tale.
MARY, MARY, BLOODY MARY (1975)- 6 (not bad thriller)
X-MEN : DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)- 9
THE CANDIDATE (1964)- 5
DR. JEKYLL AND THE WOLFMAN (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (1976)- 8 (rewatch)
PACIFIC RIM (2013)- 9 (rewatch)
JOHNNY GUNMAN (1957)- 3
THE 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER (1960)- 6 (Harreyhausen effects add spice)
I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014)- 2 (CGI mess of poor....everything)
EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)- 8
SPIES (1928)- 8 (Fritz Lang thriller)
JOHNNY HANDSOME (1989)- 7 (rewatch)
AVENGERS CONFIDENTIAL: Black Widow-Punisher (2014)- 7 (well done animated addition to the Marvel world)
KILMA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE (1975)- 6 (rewatch)
THE BATWOMAN (1968)- 4 (Mexican wrestling silliness- fun but often slow)
THE ROVER (2014)- 8 (Australian post-apocalyptic tale- downbeat to say the least)
YOU'RE NEXT (2011)- 8 (excellent variation on the slasher film)
THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 (2013)- 5 (mediocre follow up)
INSIDE OUT (1975)- 6 (caper tale about a hunt for Nazi gold- good cast)
FACE OF FIRE (1959)- 7 (interesting period drama)
Saturday, July 12, 2014
I cannot find an English language release title for this one but it looks quite interesting. IMDb has it listed as Une Cage Doree from 1976 this is one I'll have to see with fan made subtitles if i want to understand what the Hell is going on! Here's a viewer's synopsis from the inter-web--
"Mr. Winter (Roger Darton) sees his
Kong prostitution ring threatened by the police and a rival gang.
Consequently, he decides to move his organization to Paris, where he specializes himself in
satisfying the requests of clients with very peculiar types of perversions,
punishing the prostitutes who dare to rebel against him shutting them up in a
cage with golden bars."
Sounds interesting to me!
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Umberto Lenzi's mad horror film
can be accused of many crimes but
it will never bore you. The movie has the forward momentum of a runaway freight
train (which makes it a blast to watch) and it also has the brains of a
decapitated chicken (making it maddeningly idiotic). But it presents such a
spectacle that all critical faculties just seem to melt away in the warm glow
of watching a piece of junk cinema just drop all pretense and go for the
jugular every few minutes. As a matter of fact, it would seem that the idea in
the editing room may have been "Never let more than five minutes go by
without something outrageous or violent occurring". If you asked Lenzi in
his later years about this movie he would often try to claim that the story had
an anti-military or anti-nuclear energy message but we all know that the real
thing to be learned here is that murderous, rage-driven, radiation infected
killers can only be put down with a bullet to the head! And they are clearly
not aliens. And they get you when you sleep. Wait! Wrong movie. NIGHTMARE CITY
Anyway- I am joined this time by returning podcast partners Troy Guinn and Jeff Nelson. This is the first time the three of us have recorded together since our epic Yor, The Hunter From The Future episode and I think this one is more entertaining. We have a great time talking about our favorite moments in the film and somehow find more than one way to relate
to the classic TV series All In The
Family. I am not kidding. We discuss the finer points of running zombies; the
question of infected vs undead; the problem of emoting when Hugo; and whether
this film is more of a rip-off than other Italian horror movies of the same
era. Also, Jeff has once again provided a nice piece of artwork to grace the
show for which I am eternally grateful. He always goes out of his way to help
us out over on the NaschyCast and his addition to this show only improves the
entire affair. NIGHTMARE CITY
If you wish to comment the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org so feel free to let us know your thoughts on the episode. Thanks for downloading and listening.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
The modern Suicide Squad (created by John Ostrander in the aforementioned Legends #3) is an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States government, undertaking high-risk black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, under the directorship of Dr. Amanda Waller. Thus, the Suicide Squad's existence helps to explain why many convicted villains in the D.C. Universe roam free without having heroes tracking them down—until they, inevitably, attempt or commit another crime.
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Lee Van Cleef is one of the most recognizable actors in the spaghetti western genre. If he'd done nothing more than turn in his fantastic performances in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad & the Ugly he would have cemented his place in fans' hearts. But those two genre-defining films were just the beginning for Lee Van Cleef. A bit player in Hollywood for years, he had never been able to land any really big starring roles but a movie fan with sharp eyes can spot him in dozens of films starting in 1952's High Noon. He was the man tasked with shooting a radioactive bullet into The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, a gangster in several 1950s Noirs and seems to have appeared in at least one episode of every western television series produced in the '50s and '60s. His one starring role in '
was as the deluded scientist who helps an alien from Venus attack our planet in
Roger Corman's It Conquered the World in 1956. I'd love to know what
he thought his chances for career enhancement were when he signed on to make
westerns with crazy Italians but I bet Clint Eastwood's sudden rise to stardom
caused him to think big things were possible. It certainly turned out well for
him! After the huge success of the Leone films worldwide LVC went on to star in
at least a dozen more westerns including two Sabata films, the brilliant Death
Rides a Horse, the western/mystery hybrid The Grand Duel and even a Magnificent
Seven sequel. With Take a Hard Ride Van Cleef entered into
another sub-genre, the western/blaxploitation combination - a bizarre
amalgam that deserves a book written about it though it was woefully
short-lived. This was also his second collaboration with veteran Italian
director Antonio Margheriti with whom he'd made The Stranger and the
Gunfighter just the year before and would work with again in 1983 for Codename:
Wild Geese. While Take a Hard Ride wouldn't rank near the top of
either man's resume it is a solid movie even if its flaws are all too apparent
and, all too often, silly.
Since they get the lion's share of screen time one could argue effectively that the real stars of this film are Jim Brown (Black Gunn) and Fred Williamson (The Inglorious Bastards). Indeed, after a brief sequence at the very start of the film to set up Van Cleef as cold-hearted bounty hunter Kiefer, it becomes clear that the focus of the tale will be Brown's character, Pike. Pike is the trusted right-hand man of rancher Morgan (Dana Andrews), who has just gotten a herd of cattle to market. The herd was a communal project for the small Mexican town Morgan is hoping to help become a stable ranching community. Sadly, the night after the sale the old man dies of a heart attack and with his final breath asks Pike to make sure the $86,000 gets back to the town. Pike takes this responsibility seriously and sets out to keep his pledge even as every criminally minded scumbag within 100 miles starts making plans to rob him. Among these dastardly folks is professional gambler and card cheat Tyree (Williamson). Being smarter than the average crook he meets up with Pike and first helps him fight off a group of bandits before informing him he wants the money just as much as anyone else. But having formed a mutual respect the two men decide to work together until they get to
Mexico when all bets will be off.
Bounty hunter Kiefer decides to make a grab for the money but after witnessing the gunplay skills Pike and Tyree possess he opts to pull most of the criminals hunting for them into a group to have a better chance. Offing the few that don't want to join up or running them off the trail he follows along while the two black men trade verbal quips and sniff after the other's possible breaking points. In their trek across the desert landscape the two partners come across a stage under attack by some bandits. Killing the bad guys they rescue ex-prostitute Catherine (Catherine Spaak) but are too late to save her good hearted husband. She elects to travel with them until a town can be reached and in tow is her servant/bodyguard Kashtok (Jim Kelly), a half-Indian mute who appears to have studied under Bruce Lee. Will this group of four be able reach civilization alive and with the money or any combination of the two?