Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I noticed just yesterday that Nashville's wonderful Belcourt Theater will be showing this slasher at midnight on January 2nd & 3rd and for just a moment I considered going. Man, would I love to see this bizarre film on the big screen with an appreciative crowd! But life doesn't always give you what you want so I'll have to try to make time to watch it on my own. And if you wish you can do the same because for some reason its posted on youtube! Amazing world we live in, huh?
Monday, December 29, 2014
For the past month or two I have felt the need to curl up and watch some classic Doctor Who stories. This isn't all that unusual a desire on my part and it typically gets strongest during the Wintertime when I most want a quiet night, a mug of hot tea and Whovian adventure. I always enjoy my time spent with Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, either Baker, Davison or McCoy as they whisk me away to odd, wonderful places with strange creatures and bizarre villains trying to rule the universe or at least their little corner of it. These tales always manage to put a smile on my face and I'm thrilled when a previously lost episode is located and released on DVD. I have yet to see every story available and the knowledge that there will (nearly) always be more out there to see is heavenly. Also, as I get older I tend to forget the details of most stories I haven't watched in years so revisiting them is like discovering them anew!
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I just had to jump on here and share this amazing find. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy eventually so that it can be framed and hang over my desk. For my European readers here is the link to buy a print. Will wonders never cease?
Monday, December 22, 2014
Stationed in chilly
Alaska, Captain Pat Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) and
his military aircrew are sent to a research station near the Arctic
Circle. Tagging along is newspaperman Ned "Scotty" Scott
(Douglas Spencer) who's looking for a story at the North Pole and hopes this
call from a scientific research team will be it. Hendry has been sent to the
station after a request for plane transport from the world renowned Professor
Arthur Carrington (Robert Cornwaithe). The scientists are excited because of a
magnetic disturbance and the sighting of a falling object that might be a
meteor. Once the group gets to the landing site of the object they quickly
realize that what they've found sunk into the ice is flying saucer! They
attempt to melt the thickening ice around the craft but accidentally destroy it
only to find the occupant frozen in ice several yards away. They chop the
eight-foot tall biped out of the ground and cart him back to the research
station where Hendry decides to keep their visitor on ice (literally) until
higher brass arrives. But when a storm delays the general's trip and an
electric blanket thaws out the E.T., circumstances change quickly. The visitor
from another world (James Arness) turns out to be an evolved piece of
vegetation that feeds on blood and intends to conquer Earth for its own kind!
Released at the beginning of the 1950s, The Thing's box-office success was the spur that drove the sci-fi/horror film genre for most of the decade. High-minded science fiction films like The Day the Earth Stood Still were pushed aside for an onslaught of invading creatures, slimy mutations and action. All of the various science-gone-mad and giant bug films that marched across drive-in screens for the next 8 years could be traced back to this one movie. All the classic conflicts of science vs. the military, intellect vs. emotion and compassion vs. violence are perfectly articulated in The Thing (even if the military is given an unfair advantage). These conflicts would continue to inform science fiction films, from the best (Them!) to the worst (your choice here), until the ideas were reduced to nothing but clichés. Of course the '50s were fertile ground for the kind of terror these stories thrust into the mass consciousness. The nuclear age was newborn, with no one really knowing what might come of man's splitting of the atom; reports of unidentified flying objects were making the news regularly. The next obvious step was to posit a sinister explanation for the UFOs and link it to the general public fear of invasion (if not by communists then walking vegetables were close enough). Since The Thing is a thriller, the rational scientific men who want to study and learn from the alien are reduced to the role of decrying violence against such a monumental discovery. Somehow I don't think a movie about a friendly alien vegetable seeking peaceful coexistence would have fired the public's imagination as much, but half a century later it's possible to see the scientists' point of view a little clearer.
The Thing was adapted from John W. Campbell's short story 'Who Goes There?' but really only the idea of an alien invader and the arctic setting were used by Howard Hawks and his screen writers. The real joy of the film is in watching another great Hawks ensemble cast enact a sharp tale in the most entertaining fashion possible. It's a shame that Hawks' lack of respect for the science fiction genre is evidenced by the fact that he allowed Christian Nyby take director's credit for The Thing. It's now known that this was done so that Nyby could get into the Director's Guild, but it clearly shows that Hawks didn't take the film very seriously as part of his career. Luckily for us he gave the film his usual 100% when on the job, as did the entire cast. There isn't a weak performance in the film, with my favorite being from genre stalwart Kenneth Tobey. Playing one of the few leading roles of his career, Tobey is simply great — whether he's trying to romance the lovely Margaret Sheridan or giving rapid-fire orders to his men while under attack from the murderous carrot. If you dig this movie and want to see more of the underrated Mr. Tobey I can recommend the Blu-Ray of It Came from Beneath the Sea in which he has another good role up against a gigantic octopus (courtesy of Ray Harryhausen's marvelous effects). The disc offers the film up in a Harryhausen supervised colorized version as well as the original black & white.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
From the Wiki page:In German-speaking Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure. According to traditional narratives around the figure, Krampus punishes children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. Regions in the Austrian diaspora feature similar figures and, more widely, Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas in regions of Europe. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated a pre-Christian origin for the figure.
Better watch out!
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I find myself in the odd place of naysayer about a much lauded science fiction film. By way of NetFlix I finally caught SNOWPIERCER (2013) and after all the hubbub over the past year I was excited to experience its dystopian vision. For the first hour or so I watched and got a few thrills out of the set up and the excellent cast as they laid out the scenario and introduced the plot but I felt oddly unaffected. I thought it might be a case in which the second half would cement things and bring everything into focus so I was patient. After all- the movie looked great and was being rendered beautifully onscreen so surely the story would catch fire eventually.
Instead I found that as the film progresses I was less involved in the story and was simply hanging on to see what the final act would do to end things. The further forward in the titular train the vengeful rebels traveled the less believable the entire tale seemed until I lost all ability to care and my suspension of disbelief evaporated. The space necessary to make this perpetual motion machine seem real was just not portrayed successfully enough for me and all I kept thinking was 'Do you have to pass through all of these train cars to eat sushi?'
Don't get me wrong- I know the whole tale is a metaphor for society and the necessity for the exploited under classes to fight for the rights that the wealthy claim and hold by force. But once the fictional structure becomes silly and implausible it begins to feel like a very pretty economics lecture punctuated by a few well played scenes of violence. Hell! I agree with the class war sentiments of the story but by the end I just didn't care very much about the characters or their efforts because their plight was so artificial and improbable.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Saturday, December 13, 2014
It's December and its time for a new NaschyCast! For years we've thought it would be interesting to have a Christmas themed show for this month. Sadly, we've never been able to arrange it but this
season has us finally deliver such an episode and it's an accident! That's
right- Mi Amigo el Vagabundo turns out to be a kind of Christmas film. Yes!
Synchronicity exists. Or at least blind luck.
Anyway, we talk about this soft-hearted family drama written and directed by Paul Naschy and starring excellent Spanish actor José Luis López Vázquez, Julia Saly and Naschy's son Sergio Molina as the 7 (or 8) year old object of this movie's story. Naschy had a good bit to say about this film in his autobiography and, as an added bonus, I talked with Sergio about his work in this one as well. So, sit back and be prepared for a strangely cuddly Naschy film experience - Well- there is a kidnapping so its only cuddly up to a point.
The mailbag is full to bursting this month so we talk about last month's Godzilla show for a while; answer questions about Spanish horror tropes; relate tales of inappropriate teenage film viewings; ponder podcasting Jess Franco's other Dr. Orloff movies and look forward to the New Year. If you have any comments, cruelty or ideas please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on the NaschyCast FaceBook page. If you get the show via iTunes please rate & review us over there and if you have the scratch and like the show please consider donating to help defray the cost of hosting. Thanks!