Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaschyCast #42 - THE LAST KAMIKAZE (1984)

It is that time once again! After two months of talking about Jess Franco and Amando de Ossorio your humble podcasters return to the films of Paul Naschy with a vengeance. THE LAST KAMIKAZE was the last of the Japanese co-productions our Spanish cinema hero directed and, although we were upset that that it isn't a horror film, we are happy to take whatever Senor Molina offers. The 1980's was a period in which he stretched his creative muscles in new directions and he seems to have succeeded more times that not. Let's just say that because of this movie I am willing to forgive the scandal that was OPERATION MANTIS. This film may have some problems but it does not make the viewer cringe in embarrassment- well- maybe only in one scene involving dressing in drag.

I must apologize for the nearly three hour running time of this episode. Part of the reason for this excessive length can be put down to both Troy and I being so thrilled to talk about Naschy again that we went a bit too in depth. But, in truth, we also ramble off topic on several occasions with discussions of Wonder Woman and Earth 2 comic books being completely my fault. Sorry about that! But the real off topic rambling comes in the mailbag section when a couple of longtime listeners raise very interesting ideas and ask our opinions on a wide range of things. We talk about the early films of Lucio Fulci; give our opinions on the Friday the 13th series of movies; talk over Christmas wish lists; get excited about the impending Blu-Ray release of DEMONS and DEMONS 2 and we even spew forth a rant or two. That's right- both Troy and I have a bone to pick with certain people and it comes out in the mailbag discussions. I may have cursed a bit too much in this one. Whew!

So join us for an entertaining film as we deal with some great dummy destruction, contrasting murder methods and ponder the possibility that Naschy is actually Batman in #42 of the NaschyCast. The show can be downloaded at the link below or subscribed to in the iTunes store. And if you get the show from there please take the time to rate and review it - it helps make other fans aware of what we're doing here. We can be contacted at or through the Facebook page. Thanks!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Godzilla Games

I have never owned a Godzilla game of any type. How did I get to my age without at least one? 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

MST3K Turkey Day returns!

Yes! One of my all time favorite television shows marks its 25th Anniversary with the return of its much missed Thanksgiving tradition of a marathon of episodes. This is a welcome thing to make the family festivities slightly less awkward for those unfortunate gatherings that turn into uncomfortable attempts to shut Uncle Loony up about the Illuminati and Chemtrails. Of course, this marathon is only online at this address so fire up that streaming device and get ready for 12 hours of pure uncut funny!  If you need a taste to get you through this short but busy week here is the entire Space Mutiny episode complete with Reb Brown screaming. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Buck Rogers comic covers

I have never read any of the Gold Key Buck Rogers comics but these covers are wonderful. This reminds me that I need to finish my rewatch of the old TV series to see if my memories are better than the show's reality. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MANIAC (2012)

Via NetFlix streaming I recently caught the remake of the seminal trashy horror film MANIAC (1980) and I must admit that I found it to be quite well done. I have to confess that I have never been much of a fan of the original film. Its grungy, filthy look and its generally unpleasant tone always put me off and made it hard to easily enjoy the excellent effects work and the fine performance by star Joe Spinell. I can admire the 1980 film without really thinking very highly of it and I think I'm far from the only horror fan that feels this way. Its a dark, oppressive movie that generates a depressive state in the viewer that makes it difficult to think positively about the work.

By all rights, the same should be true of the remake. It tells the same tale of a tortured man guilt-ridden by his sexual urges, driven to commit hideous murders to calm the horrors in his own head. The ways in which this new version is more impressive (and, for me, more compelling) is in that the story is better structured and the agonized suffering of the main character Frank is more sharply detailed. Part of this is because the film is told completely from the point of view of Frank as he stalks and kills his victims and then deals with his own shame and revulsion at his actions We see him in mirrors and other reflective surfaces as he tries to control his emotions while obsessively scrubbing his hands with steel wool in a Lady Macbeth style attempt to wash away his conscience. We see his home in the backroom of his family's manikin store where he tries nightly to create a world where he is loved and cared for in the ruins of the early life that warped him into his present state. In both versions Frank is a man with serious Mother issues but in this film we see her actions in flashbacks that show specific moments that make her son's adult existence hellish. He can't trust women once they arouse him sexually and this horrific fact makes his burgeoning relationship with a French photographer all the more tragic.

It is in this odd courtship that the 2012 film stands well above the 1980 version. In the first film the scenes of Spinell's Frank and the luminous Caroline Munro out on restaurant dates were out of place and completely unbelievable. In the new film Elijah Wood as Frank is able to get across a convincing sense of being barely able to string sentences together well enough to talk to the beautiful lady come to admire his restoration work on manikins. Her flirtatious nature is sexy but not so aggressive that it triggers his migraine-like need to kill and her careful conversation about a subject he knows well makes the bond they begin to share quite convincing.

Of course, this tale is never going to end well but the 2012 version ends in a way I think is very satisfying. I'm glad this film was produced by the brave French filmmakers that tackled the project as I'm sure that if done by an American team it would have failed quite badly. I'm curious to learn what fans of the 1980 film think about this updated approach. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scooby-Doo in The Mystery of the Missing Santa

For reasons that passeth all understanding, I have been watching several Scooby Doo Christmas shows this week. I had no idea there were so freakin' many of the damned things! I have a bundle of ten to check out and I'm not sure that's all that have been produced over the years. In a quiet moment I decided to see if any of them were available on YouTube but instead turned up this old record album with the Scooby gang involved in a Santa themed mystery. Amazing! I'm not sure what year this was released but I got a kick out it and I hope you do too.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jess Franco poster art- Part 26!

I haven't seen this Franco film yet but it appears to star Lina Romay, involves a South American prison and seems packed with nudity. It is on the Watch List!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Comic Book Subscriptions!

The first comic book to which I ever bought a subscription was Marvel’s The Avengers. My one year of home delivery of this precious commodity ran from issue 188 through 199 and I still regard those issues with real joy whenever I spot a cover or a reference to the tales told therein. I also remember being disappointed at having to buy the double sized issue 200 off the rack and lamenting that I hadn’t continued my subscription. At this late date I can’t remember why I chose The Avengers as the one comic to have guaranteed access to, but I guess it was because of the team aspect of the book. You were sure to have at least five cool superheroes per month with Captain America or Thor being a good bet each time.

The reason I bring this up is that I now have at my advanced age subscribed to a comic book again. As a matter of fact I have subscribed to two! A few months ago I took advantage of the deal of a $15 price to pick up a year of the Geoff Jones scripted Aquaman book and just last week I plunked down the same price for 12 issues of Batman: The Dark Knight. Both of these are books I’ve enjoyed for the past year or so and this is a great way to have them painlessly drop into my ‘to read’ pile. Of course, these comics are part of the current, controversial revamping of DC Comics entire line of superhero books so many fans would wonder why I am bothering with them at all. A number of older fans hate the ‘New 52’ approach to these beloved characters and to a degree I can understand their anger. The classic tales of Batman, Superman, etc. are such a big part of what makes these characters important to a lot of people and to have those stories discarded could be considered an insult. But I can’t feel that way. I’m thrilled to have a new version of these old tales and having good, creative folks come in and tackle these icons is refreshing to my eyes. Anyone that can turn Aquaman into a badass again is doing the right thing and the only way to make the current series any better would be to magically have Jim Aparo do the artwork as he did in the 1970’s.

That’s not to say that DC has done a good job across the board. In fact I think that, from the books I’ve read, they might have more misses than hits in this massive recreation project! Their Hawkman book was completely awful – incoherent, sloppy and just a total waste of time. Likewise, the new Teen Titans run started out with some strength and potential but degenerated quickly into a confusing mess of cross-over madness and pointless plot complications that left whole issues feeling like a waste of time and money. The entire first year of the new Firestorm comic was a disaster of stupid plots and poorly defined direction with too many creators trying to control the book. It improved greatly in the second year with Dan Jurgens’ take over of the title but by then too many readers had written the revamped Nuclear Man off to keep the book afloat.

It’s never going to be easy to recreate the origins of characters this well known, but in too many cases DC seems to have broken things that didn’t need to be fixed and, in Firestorm’s case, fixed things too late to matter. With Aquaman and most of the Batman titles I have been happy to see a level of quality that makes fifteen bucks for a year’s run seem like a pretty good gamble. We’ll see.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Video: Ten Worst batman Villains?

These are pretty bad but I can think of some that I like even less.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Avengers covers!

Is it wrong to already be wishing to see the next Avengers film? I haven't even seen the Thor movie yet!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What I Watched in October

Caught only one new horror film in the theaters this October but it was very good. James Wan continues to show that he is a master of the creepy supernatural tale with INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2. I really enjoyed the first film and do not have the problem so many have voiced about the later third of the story. I found the trip into 'The Further' quite compelling and the nasty ending very wrenching.

The sequel picks up right after the terrible events of the original so I'll tread lightly in  my remarks. Suffice to say that this is a logically plotted and smart sequel that folds itself brilliantly into the narrative of the first film. At least once we are shown events from a different angle which gives depth and complications to the story we know and urgency to this new addition too. Again, the performances are very strong and Wan's ability to keep his audience on edge is a wonder to behold. He really can play the viewer like a musical intrument and it is a joy to watch him find new ways to creep under my skin. I also love that we get more background and information about the secondary ghost chasing characters and I think the direction the ending of Chapter 2 takes is fantastic. I actually would like to see another sequel in this series.

I also got to see GRAVITY, the latest from Alfonso Curon and it was a phenomenal experience. I refuse to pop for the 3D ticket price any longer but I'm happy to say that this film plays just fine in 2D, thank you very much. Sandra Bullock is very good as the out-of-her-depth astronaut forced to deal with a catastrophic disaster in Earth orbit but its the amazing visual spectacle and adrenalin rush of excitement that drives the simple story. I was impressed repeatedly by how the script keeps things moving and pushed you into trying to think of ways that Bullock's character might save herself before time runs out.

Of course, as a movie geek I was thrilled by the small, sly nods to classic science fiction films as well with my favorite being the nice BARBARELLA moment. GRAVITY is a smart, effective thrill ride and it also has the distinction of knowing that it doesn't need to be any longer than about 90 minutes - that is a big plus in this day of bloated running times. And Curon can keep making those incredibly long single shot scenes as long as he wants too, for my money. I thought his use of that technique in the superior CHILDREN OF MEN was mind bending but his seamless sequences here show he has many more emotional tricks up his sleeve.

TRAUMA (1978)- 6 (Leon Klimovsky thriller -proto-slasher)
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 (2012)- 7 (well realized sequel)
SPACEFLIGHT IC-1 (1965)- 4 (cheap libertarian SF)
ROOM 237 (2012)- 8 (incredible documentary about Kubrick's THE SHINING)
EL VAMPIRO (1957)- 8 (wonderful Mexican horror tale)
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (2013)- 7 (well done follow up)
CARRIE (1976)- 8 (rewatch)
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)- 8 (rewatch)
RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD (1973)- 8 (rewatch)
DEEP RED (1975)- 9 (rewatch)
CITY OF THE LVING DEAD (1980)- 7 (rewatch)
THE HAND (1981)- 6
CANDYMAN (1992)- 8 (rewatch)
THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)- 7 (rewatch)
BODY SNATCHERS (1993)- 8 (rewatch)
MOONTIDE (1942)- 8 (excellent noir)
GRAVITY (2013)- 8
THE MUMMY (1932)- 8 (rewatch)
TOWER OF EVIL (1972)- 6 (rewatch)
SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS (1988)- 3 (terrible but in a very fun way
SLUGS (1988)- 3 (rewatch) (so bad its good!)

Monday, November 04, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Ghost Stories for Young People

Wish I had found this in October! Here is a 1962 album of several Ghost tales introduced by Hitchcock and read by expert voice actor John Allen. This is from a bit before my time but I seem to remember something very like this being in a childhood friend's record collection in my 1970's youth. None of these sounded familiar to me so I bet there were other such LPs out there and now I think I'll have to find some of them for next Halloween season. Enjoy!