Monday, November 28, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #45!

Stark Fear  (Ellis Films, 1962)

I haven't seen this one, but I've always liked Beverly Garland, so it would certainly be worth a look...

Cemetery Girls  (Motion Picture Marketing, 1979)

This is a retitled re-release of 1974's Count Dracula's Great Loves. For this second go-round it was paired with 1968's Brides of Blood which was also retitled to Grave Desires. Exploitation at its finest!

The Five Man Army  (MGM, 1970)

This spaghetti Western is a bit of a cowboy Mission: Impossible, thanks to the heist plot and star Graves. But it's a lot of fun, and for horror fans sports a script co-written by Dario Argento!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies 11/26/11!

Who cares what picture we see?

There's not an iota of doubt in my mind that Michael Ansara does, so in his honor I've gone with this one:

In the decade before he became the cinematic Master of Disaster, Irwin Allen could still get a good screenful of calamity going as this old fashioned adventure flick shows! It's also the kind of movie that used to play on Thanksgiving and the day after on local channels.

And now it resides in the video vault in a fine remastered DVD form. You are there - if you are here - like say, tonight - to watch this one with me!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 11/25/11

Happy Black Friday!

Though around here, this is the only Black Friday we usually enjoy...

If you're going out - you probably already are - and I hope it goes well for you! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everyone at LGOOH - which is exclusively me - and I am unanimous in that - wishes you and yours a very happy holiday! Artist Rob Kelly joins me and The Morlocks from 1960's The Time Machine with some healthy (?) menu suggestions for your Big Meal:

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shrewed Reawakening!

Okay folks, I told you about this exciting bit of news back in June - there was a sequel to 1959's The Killer Shrews in the can - well, while the post production phase is still underway, director Steve Latshaw has unveiled the sequel's trailer - in gorgeous HD! And here it is - The Return of the Killer Shrews!

Wow - is that gorgeous or what? I love the crisp cinematography, the lush locations - and that cast! I have to point out again that in returning as Captain Thorne Sherman, the great James Best must have set a new record - as this second performance comes 52 (!) years after he first played the role!

And if you don't get the in-joke when Bruce Davison says "Tear 'im up!", well, then, all I can say is: Rats!

I'm jazzed to see this - there's no firm release date yet - Mr. Latshaw has advised they are still working on the final sound mix - but you can bet when the word is given - you will find it here!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #44!

Thanksgiving edition!

Planes Trains and Automobiles  (Paramount, 1988)

Yeah, it gets a little sappy, but holiday movies are kinda supposed to, you know? And either one of those two leads is worth the price of admission - but together? Fugheddaboudit!

Thanksgiving Day Mirthquakes  (Walt Disney Productions, 1953)

A package of holiday-themed Disney shorts re-released to theaters (by RKO, weirdly - ?), but in a big enough way to rate its own poster!

Thankskilling  (In Broad Daylight Films, 2009)

Yeah, we had to get weird - this is LGOOH, remember - so here's a wacky little indie with a budget in four figures and a well earned R rating. Watch at your own risk, kids!

Have a happy holiday - eat what you want and in the amounts you want! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies 11/19/11!

Who cares what picture we see?

Can't say for sure if Baragon would or not, but regardless, this is the pick:

Although there have been a few scattered references to the Big G throughout this blog's postings, I've not truly featured Godzilla and his kaiju breathren nearly as much as I should considering my deep and abiding affection for them. So let's blow it out with the biggest collection of giant monsters ever collected in one movie (up to the time - I think the more recent Godzilla: Final Wars may outstrip it in numbers - we'll see when it makes it to the top of my DVD To Watch pile.)

But this flick is a lot of fun, with something like 18 beasties from the Toho Studios line showing up before it's all over. That's a lot of men in rubber suits running around dodging each other's tail wires! In fact, let's celebrate with an extra clip of those darling little Shobijin (aka The Peanuts) singing the Mosura (Mothra) song! (These clips and pics are not necessarily from Destroy All Monsters - I just like those pint sized cuties!)

I just picked Destroy All Monsters up in a brand new special edition DVD for the video vault, so it's right near the door should you decide to come see me and ask to see it - possibly this evening...?

And until Monster Island gets its own reality TV series, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Yeah, they're dead...they're all messed up...

Night of the Living Dead  (Image Ten, 1968)

Before the Camera:

Duane Jones ... Ben
Judith O'Dea ... Barbara
Karl Hardman ... Harry
Marilyn Eastman ... Helen
Keith Wayne ... Tom
Judith Ridley ... Judy
Kyra Schon ... Karen Cooper
William Hinzman ... Cemetery Zombie
George Kosana ... Sheriff McClelland
Bill 'Chilly Billy' Cardille
as the Field Reporter

Behind the Camera:

Directed by George Romero

Produced by Karl Hardman and Russell Streiner

Written by John Russo and George Romero

Of course, there had been movie zombies before George Romero and company produced their low budget shocker in 1968. But the previous movie zombies had been closer to cinematic representations of “textbook” zombies – slow moving, sluggish slave labor sometimes used as humanoid weapons against the living. They also usually come off as though they could be living people deep under the influence of weird drugs even though movies like White Zombie and I Eat Your Skin were showing them to be reanimated corpses. But then along comes the crew at Image Ten and they bring us the first of what would turn out to be an extremely popular and durable paragon of filmic fear – the so-called Romero zombie - still a slow moving and somewhat sluggish thing, but now a full-on monster out for one thing and one thing only: a constant search for living people to kill and eat. Singly they are weak and completely defeatable, but their strength lies in their numbers, and as you’re fending off one or two, that becomes three, then seven, then nine, and finally….AIEEEE!
    The movie begins with brother and sister Johnny and Barbara delivering a wreath to their father’s grave one Sunday evening 200 miles from home. Johnny seems to be a bit of an asshat with his nonstop litany of complaints and his leather driving gloves. Barbara dutifully multitasks, putting the wreath on the grave while putting up with Johnny; until her brother remembers her childhood fear of the cemetery where their father is interred.

Putting on a creepy voice, Johnny discovers she’s still scared as he claims “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” As she hightails it back towards the car – Johnny points out a lone fellow shambling rather strangely across the graveyard a short distance away. “Look! There comes one of them now!” Johnny exclaims. Only – it turns out he’s right, and the guy is out to get Barbara! And Johnny!

    Soon, a handful of survivors barricade themselves in an abandoned farmhouse nearby. While the people inside argue over what course of action to take – should they move down to the basement with its single, easily defended door; stay upstairs and keep watch in case some kind of help comes by outside; or try to get to a working car and flee - outside, more and more of the zombies gather, surrounding the place by the dozens. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

Interestingly, by the way, the movie totally avoids the word zombie. The few times they are referred to in dialogue, “thing” or “ghoul” is usually the appellation of choice. This was a scarepic that managed to avoid me for about 18 years – it never played on any of my local Creature Feature shows, and even after home video had premiered, it wasn’t released for a long while – more on that in a minute. I finally managed to see it for the first time at my senior prom, of all places (!), as it was the movie shown between our dance and the breakfast that served as the prom’s finale. So, although it took a while, at least my first viewing was projected on a screen! I thoroughly enjoyed the movie that night, and some choice audience comments made the movie all the more fun. When the big “eating setpiece” popped up and had been running on for a few minutes, my old pal Tracey called out “Man, they’re running that eating s—t into the ground!” A few other such exclamations kept me chuckling when I wasn’t creeped out that night.

    Not long after that viewing, someone decided the movie was in the public domain, and it started to pop up on cheap VHS editions all over the place. I had a pretty good one, a little washed out and murky but in relatively good shape. When VHS gave way to DVD of course the movie started to pop up on cheapo discs as well. I had a spare copy on DVD given to me, but I don’t think I ever even watched it. Finally the film started to appear in special editions as the various factions that had split off from the original Image Ten group tried another attempt to make some money off the movie, since the original distributor ripped them off and they made nothing from all those public domain releases. I now have the movie on four separate DVD sets – two special editions with different commentaries and making of documentaries and two different discs hosted by Elvira! The two with the Mistress of the Dark look okay, but the most recent special edition is a revelation – a completely remastered picture that looks like the movie was made yesterday. I don’t normally make much of a fuss over the disc presentation – but this is startling after seeing the movie in all those grimy VHS dubs from 16mm prints for all those years.

    Watching it now – 43 years after it was made, and 25+ since I first saw it - the movie holds up completely. It is quite simply a classic. Though the scads of movies inspired by it may have gone bigger with the kills and the gore, and sometimes feature more polished performances – this is another Gold Standard horror movie. It is stark and grim, and comes down to a powerful ending that is chilling in its matter of fact horror. There are almost no attempts at humor - though a sheriff describing the ghouls by saying the title of this post usually provokes a laugh. Romero and all of his colleagues knock this one out of the park. It is a trim and lean movie too - no long boring parts, or "waiting to get to the good parts." It starts off quickly and hums along with no dead spots right through the last frame. If you’ve watched dozens (hundreds?) of zombie movies inspired by it; if you’ve watched all the sequels and split off sequels; if you’ve made your own zombie movie or dressed as a Romero zombie for Halloween; but somehow you’ve never watched this one – you owe it to yourself. See it.

Let's Get Out of Here ?
At around 1:11:55, Keith Wayne notices the truck is on fire.

Eye Candy ?

Judith Ridley! Welcome to the list!


Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Night of the Living Dead is one Movie
Classic that still completely deserves that title!"

Absolutely spot on, my golden headed friend. And until next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #43!


Truck Stop Women  (Manson International Pictures, 1974)

The late great Claudia Jennings stars...and that's all I need to say.

Secret Agent Fireball  (American International, 1966)

Richard Harrison - the poor man's Roger Moore - playing at Bondage 7 years before Roger...

The Ice Pirates  (MGM/UA, 1984)

A very 80's movie - and the second movie I ever reviewed - with the piece appearing in my hometown newspaper!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies 11/12/11!

Who cares what picture we see?

I have it on good authority that Geoffrey Palmer does, and since this is...

LGOOH's 300th Post!

...and the week the next Bond film (Skyfall - due out 11/9/12) started production - we're going with this one:

Pierce Brosnan doesn't get a whole lot of love from the online 007 fan community - but I thought he was just fine, and this is my favorite of his four Bond adventures.

I have this one in the video vault several times - of course I have the fully loaded Ultimate Edition DVD - no Blu-Ray release yet - but I also have a cool VHS special edition box set of just this one movie. I also have the first version I bought on Digital Versatile Disc - it was in fact the very first DVD I ever purchased - before I even owned a DVD player!

But this edition - trumped in special features by the later release - will never be jettisoned from the video vault for one very special reason...

I worked with Teri Hatcher on an independent movie in 2001 and she signed my copy!

So, if you want to watch this one with me, I could probably have at least one in hand within 10 seconds - even tonight - should you decide to visit!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

PSA A Go Go! 11/11/11

With this historic date - complete with rumors - upon us, let's fulfill our civic duty again with a cool celebrity and artist Rob Kelly...

And when Dr. Cyclops tells you that...you can believe it!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nine Days of the Ninja: The Finale!

When I first heard about this blogfest, I was already gearing up for 31 straight days of posting through October, and my first thought was to say no - I couldn't possibly go nine more days, could I? Well, it was the first direct invite to a blogfest I ever got; it was from my blog buddy Steve Miller, who maintains a hell of a Blogging Empire over at Cinema Steve, and it was ninjas. I love ninjas. So the answer was yes!

You could still hit the last day, just go here.

The Video Vault of Mora Tau!

We're going to finish up this blogfest with some relatively random ninja video clips...starting off with Ninja III: The Domination, as ninja-spirit-possessed dance instructor Lucinda Dickey (*sigh*) goes on a mission...of death!

Here's a clever editing job that juxtaposes scenes from Ninja III: The Domination with a Godfrey Ho Ninja Epic called Clash of the Ninjas, made two years later and which seems like it might possibly have been...er...inspired...by the earlier flick, shall we say? See what you think...

My review for Ninja Death Squad on Day Four featured the only picture from that movie on the entire internet, but I was thrilled that it showed the ninja umbrella battle. Well, now here's that battle...only in motion!

And we'll keep the lights on in the blog with a little ad time - this time for a very appropriate motion picture TV trailer...

I want to thank Steve Miller for conceiving of this Blogfest and inviting me to join him in celebrating those whisper-quiet minions of doom known as ninjas...and I want to thank anyone who dropped by to check out these nine posts, or in fact, any of the other 200 or so lying around here at LGOOH.

I think I'm going to kick back for a day or two after 40 straight posts - but I'll definitely be back for Saturday Night at the Movies!

Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Eight!

Steve Miller. Cinema Steve. Me. Let's Get Out of Here. Ninjas.


Join us. Go here.

Buddha Manja!

Stealthily not finding these movies that great...

Unmasking the Idol  (Celebrity Home Video, 1988)  Oh my, the epic 80's phenomenon that was Duncan Jax. Wait, you've never heard of the incredible action hero Duncan Jax? I mean, the guy headlined TWO movies in the late eighties! TWO! And this is one of them! So, for those bare few who don't have their walls papered with Duncan Jax movie posters, I'll fill you in. Duncan Jax is the world's greatest baboon owning ninja spy who greatly fears head injuries. You may wonder how I know all of these things about Duncan Jax. I will show you. See the caption under the picture.

Note - Baboon, and Ninja mask, made of chain mail. For
those times when protecting your head far outweigh the
clanking sound of your head armor negating your ninja
stealth skills.

He is played by Ian Hunter, who has on his IMDB page his entire filmography, which consists of BOTH Duncan Jax movies. Ian Hunter brings a formidable presence to Unmasking the Idol, although that formidability does not include a full head of hair or a British accent that does not come and go from scene to scene. But he does bring a monkey to the table, so slack is cut and we move on. The movie begins as all 007 ripoffs must, with their version of the precredits sequence. Of course, any actual Bond precredits sequence probably had a budget higher than this whole movie's, but so what - let's get off to a start with a building assault that features a big gas balloon and dummy stand-in for Duncan Jax at a key moment. (And, no, not a prop dummy to fool the bad guys - I mean the actor is doubled by a stiff armed dummy instead of a human stunt performer for part of the opening action.) We also get to meet Boone (Boon? Whatever the spelling, my movie pal nephew James started calling him Bubbles, which had us all bubbling with giggles), the incredibly talented baboon sidekick. Then we settle in for some plot as Duncan is briefed on his archenemy Goldtooth, (!) who together with Johnny-come-lately baddie Scarlet Leader, plans to buy a bunch of nuclear weapons from somewhere and use them to start World War III - you know, the one where the Earth will end up a burnt out cinder? Seems like a plot that will leave its instigators in straits as dire as their victims' if they pull it off, but who are we to judge?

Scarlet Leader shows off the lair to his archenemies - the
old folks who live down the street.
 Duncan then decides (or maybe it's Boone/Boon doing the thinking - not sure) to assemble a team and go after Scarlet Leader and Goldtooth. He proceeds to do this in the strangest way possible - he assaults the stronghold of each prospective team member, laying waste to their security staff and then asking for help. "You kill three guards breaking in, and you want me to come with you to kill some guy? Sounds reasonable." The best of these involves Duncan and the new team member having to sneak/fight their way back out of the headquarters, perhaps because the guards were really close pals and wouldn't take kindly to the boss chumming it up with the guy who just killed several of them. Don't lose sleep over why, actually. The filmmakers certainly didn't. In any case, waaay into this thing Duncan and his team (including a really overweight guy named The Whale - no carpenter has ever hit a nail as squarely as these filmmakers do...), anyway, Duncan and Boone/Boon finally take off after Scarlet Leader and Goldtooth, infiltrating their lair on Devil Crown island and letting the monkey take care of most of the bad guys with his penchant for throwing bombs.

Goldtooth and his Nazi sub captain pal marvel at my caption font.

I had seen both of the Duncan Jax movies on video store shelves somewhere in my travels - most likely either in Florida in 1988 when they were New Releases, or in the early 90's in North Carolina. I don't think they had spread to Illinois or Indiana while I was still there - they certainly weren't on the shelf when I worked at Box Office Video in Indiana from 1990-1991. I avoided them when I found them at the time - possibly due to a lack of rental money, or possibly due to a moment of Bond fan snobbishness - nonetheless I never ended up seeing either one back in the day. I know now that they were the work of director Worth Keeter (L.A. Bounty), a director who got started with producer Earl Owensby in the late 70's and who proceeded to rack up a pretty long list of action fare, including a lot of Power Rangers episodes. I found both of the Jax movies available to be added to my instant Netflix queue, and I watched UtI along with a couple of my regular movie pals late one night recently when the rest of the household had settled down to sleep. I would assume (and I have to assume as there's not much info on the web about these movies) that both Jax movies were shot at Earl Owensby's EO Studios in Shelby NC, which is pretty awesome. And I will say that most of the time Unmasking the Idol has the look of a movie shot in bigger locations than the woods in North Carolina. But other than that, this is an awesomely silly movie that ends up being a laugh riot. Obviously, with villains named Scarlet Leader and Goldtooth there's a certain amount of tongue in cheek - but not enough to explain some of the jawdropping nonsense that goes on in the movie. I'm not sure how well it would go down by yourself on a slow evening, but with friends, and mind altering substances of choice (including the one we used - lack of sleep into the wee hours) this could well be the highlight of a Movie Night for you and yours. And when you end up Jax or better to open - you might find this one is worth checking out!

Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (Full Moon Features, 2010) Wow it pains me to write this, but after about a year of buildup by Charlie Band, videocast after videocast from the set in China, and a special trailer screening at the 2009 Full Moon Roadshow, the movie finally hits DVD, and its...

...not much, I'm afraid. We start off with a bunch of scenes from the first Puppet Master movie mixed in with a little new film shot in China on set reconstructions. Storywise it's 1939, and it's the Bodega Bay Inn in California. The new stuff seems to consist of one to two minutes of lead Danny (Levi Fiehler) almost being present when the Nazi baddies arrive to kill Andre Toulon (the late William Hickey returning via old footage), then in the aftermath taking the puppet trunk from its hiding place and heading back to his place with it.

William Hickey joins the pantheon of actors appearing in movies long
after they died.
 Stop Right There! (as the lady in Paradise by the Dashboard Lights says). That trunk has to be present for the team of researchers to find in 1989 for the rest of the first Puppet Master movie to take place. (Not to mention the other eight or nine sequels). Now, my first assumption was that we're going to come full circle and end this movie with the lad returning the trunk to the wall where it was hidden...some secrets man was not meant to know and all that... but that's not exactly how it worked out... So, anyway, all this videocast noise about reconstructing the Bodega Bay Inn sets, and all we get is about 111 seconds of it? They could have taken the money and digitally inserted Fiehler into one of the first movie's scenes, built one small wall section to pull the trunk from, and achieved more, quite frankly. But okay, we're past that and now Danny has the trunk back at the little house he shares with his mom right next to their city's Chinatown section ('cause it was shot in China, see, and it's easier to explain the Chinese extras!). He pulls the puppets out, looks them over for a moment...then goes downstairs to piss and moan to his mom, brother and girlfriend Beth (Jenna Gallaher) about not being allowed to go to war due to his bum leg for about thirty minutes.

Jenna Galleher
 Stop Right There! The first movie establishes Toulon's death as happening in 1939. You're using film from that movie in this movie. Danny came home with the trunk, went upstairs, came back downstairs, and America is somehow in the war? Two years early? This could have been explained with about another hour of script writing, but it wasn't. Anyway, we're now almost halfway through the movie, and the puppets haven't moved in any footage shot after 1989.

Villainess Ozu and her two henchmen.
 Eventually, we get a smidge of plot about the two young Nazis who killed Toulon teaming up with three Japanese spies (the leader a woman in full geisha gear and full dragon lady mode) to blow up a factory nearby where Danny's girlfriend Beth works. Both Germans use their impeccable American accents to infiltrate the factory - accents so impeccable they never stop using them, even when alone or hanging with their Japanese buddies - and the Japanese provide them a bomb they apparently got from the Acme company, as it appears to be several 8 inch sections of sawed off red broomstick taped together with an old clock attached.

And here's the reason this review features in Nine Days of the Ninja: The Blogfest.


Eventually somehow the Nazis realize Beth is shmoozing with the guy who has Toulon's puppets stashed away and since they're really in America to get the secret of Toulon's magic in bringing the puppets to life, they divert from the factory bombing to kill Danny's family and kidnap the girl. Danny somehow figures out everything that took Toulon decades to learn about transferring the souls of recently deceased pals into puppets in about three minutes, and with new puppet Ninja containing some of his dead brother Don's life force, takes Blade, Tunneler, Pinhead, and Leech Woman along as well with him to the easily found spy hideout in a local theater to get revenge. Stop Right There! Hmm, a new puppet created days after Toulon passes, which we haven't seen again in any of the sequels? You guys are digging a pretty big hole scriptwise, fellas! In any case, the puppets finally go to work, and a few dead bodies are soon scattered about the theater. At this point it's time for the climactic showdown between Our Hero and the Last Remaining Villain. No - instead - cut to credits.

Yes, [spoiler alert] the movie ends on a freakin' cliffhanger! Sorry to take the plot description through to the end, but I couldn't avoid mentioning that this movie stops instead of ends.

Having met Charles Band, and finding him to have been a very likable fellow, I so wanted to really like this. Sadly, despite enough positive elements to have made a decent little horror pic, this just doesn't cut the mustard. I put 85-90% of the blame on the script. I don't know who this "August White" person is who writes all of Full Moon's screenplays these days, but speaking from experience, you can still make a movie entertaining and fun no matter the budget if you write it correctly. August White puts enough words on enough pages for the script to be passed through into production. I could have taken all these same elements and made it work better, quite frankly. The first thing I would have done?

Blade. The Puppet. The Legend.
Well, as Dr. Evil might say "Get the frickin' stars of the frickin' movie into the frickin' movie!" We're putting this disc into the player to watch little puppets move and do things. They don't have to move in giant ballets of motion and light, and they don't have to do things involving large budgets and giant production values. If a second camera and the puppet effects people could have on their own worked on just popping off shots of the puppets peering around furniture, listening, moving, turning, brandishing their weapon(s), scaring the family cat, ANYTHING, these shots could have been edited in all around and through those long dialogue scenes and would have at least added more puppetduction value to the flick. Then the script needed a rewrite where the puppets show Danny how things work with their magical chemicals and injectors and neck holes. They also could have been spying all around town (again, a couple of shots of them on the streets looking around, maybe another low-to-the-ground puppet-cam shot or two) and they could be the reason Danny goes to the theater. The puppets lead him there so they can all seek revenge together. Making our little pals from eight other movies a little more proactive makes them more sinister while still being heroic by default. It works. If the effects people weren’t up to these tasks I’ve described, then Charlie needed to invest more money and hire different effects guys. Period. End of story.
And end of review.
No, kidding, I don’t leave my readers with abrupt endings and cliffhangers. But I do need to wrap this up soon, or the reading of it will take longer than watching the movie. Yipe! So, script - mediocre. Direction? Well, David DeCoteau has made three other Puppet Master movies. He made the best (Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge), but he also made the worst (Curse of the Puppet Master). His other effort was Retro Puppet Master, which falls in between the previous two in quality. (and I think it's telling that he used his own name for part 3 and pseudonyms for the other two). And Axis of Evil is on a par with RPM direction wise. It's well shot, but bites off more than its budget can chew. The acting is fair, with lead Fiehler coming off as a second tier Chris Klein, and Gallaher an attractive (if awfully slender and boyish) girl-in-danger. The effects are okay, but as noted before they are far too sparse. And since they didn't shoot another movie with this one back to back, that cliffhanger ending is inexcusable. If announced the day after this one was released and produced in the same timeframe as this one, the next Puppet Master movie would be released in late 2013.

If you've watched all the other movies in the series, you might as well rent this one, but this is certainly no place to start watching them. The first Puppet Master movie had the tagline "No strings attached." I wish that was true of this latest sequel, and it was referring to Charles Band's purse strings.

Tomorrow we finish the Nine Days of the Ninja, and until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Seven

The way I heered it...Let's Get Out of Here and Cinema Steve have teamed up on a Nine day Ninjafest in November...

Two more chances to pitch in.
Start by going here.

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #42!

Pop quiz - what is the theme for today's three posters? Yep, you guessed it - ninjas! But we're heading east for this post - because I've been circling mostly around the American offerings to the genre for this Blogfest it's time for balance - always important for a ninja, so here's some wild posters from the Asian side of things!

Challenge of the Ninja  (Shaw Brothers, 1980)

The Deadly Silver Ninja  (Joss Films, 1978)

Super Ninjas  (Shaw Brothers, 1982)

I haven't seen any of these movies, but I would in a heartbeat - you know, if you have one or more and want to invite me over...

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Six!

Steve Miller - now, this is the one not in charge of the same named "-------- --------- Band" but the media guru managing the whole Cinema Steve blog franchise - well, he invited me to post daily for the first third of November about the silent killers that make heart disease look like a piker - and with my agreement we find ourselves making our way through:

It's not too late to join us by simply going here.

Enter the Ninja  (The Cannon Group, 1981)

Before the Camera:

Franco Nero  (Street Law)
Susan George  (The House Where Evil Dwells)
Sho Kosugi  (Nine Deaths of the Ninja)
Alex Courtney  (Looking for Mr. Goodbar)
Zachi Noy  (Lemon Popsicle)
Constantine Gregory  (GoldenEye)
Will Hare (Mob Queen)
Dale Ishimoto  (Ninja III: The Domination)
Joonee Gamboa  (Missing in Action)
Leo Martinez  (Vampire Hookers)
Ken Metcalfe  (Firecracker)
Subas Herrero  (Black Mama, White Mama)
Christopher George  (Grizzly)
Charles Venarius

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Menahem Golan
Produced by Judd Bernard, Yoram Globus, and Menahem Golan
Written by Dick Desmond

Story by Dick Desmond and Mike Stone
Ah yes. The Ninja. Let us contemplate this most secretive martial artist. An assassin adept in weapons, concealment, and striking from the darkness in silence. Perhaps Japan's deadliest invention, Godzilla notwithstanding. So how perfect that this Ninja flick should be such a shining example of this particularly Japanese genre, since it was directed by an Israeli, stars an Italian, and features mostly Europeans and a few Americans in the supporting cast! Thank goodness Sho Kosugi is in attendance!
     We drop right in on the action as a white suited ninja with what appears to be a small dachsund under his face cover battles his way through a wilderness full of ninjas while being pursused by ninjas. His objective: a building full of ninjas. So we know the movie's not going to be stingy with the ninjys. In fact the first ten minutes forgoes dialogue of any kind, supplanting it with wall-to-wall action and bloodletting.

He didn't have a car antenna, so
the foxtail went under his mask.

His porn name was Salsiccia Grande.
 Eventually we discover three things: all is not as it seems; the white clad ninja is Cole (Nero); and that Cole isn't smuggling chinchillas under his mask - no, even better - he's rocking a porn stache! Cole graduates from Ninja Academy, but all is not giggles and laughs as fellow ninja Hasegawa (Kosugi) voices his displeasure: he feels Cole is more an Occidental Tourist than Neenja (as he pronounces it).
    Cole is supremely unconcerned with this, throws his ninja diploma in his luggage, and takes off on a world tour. First stop: the Phillipines - to see his old friend Frank Landers (Courtney) and Frank's new wife Mary-Ann (Susan George). But Cole suddenly finds himself in a movie plot when he discovers the Landers are being stalked by Siegfried (Noy), the hook-handed henchman of reclusive nutjob businessman Charles Venarius (Christopher George). Venarius wants the Land's lander, er, Landers's land to expand his criminal empire. The Landers don't want to sell.

"I want a ninja! Find me a ninja!"
 As Venarius struts around his sumptuous digs concocting art displays of synchronized swimmers (!) and passing orders to his lackeys through his right hand man Mr. Parker (Gregory), Cole thwarts those lackeys at every turn, not even needing to resort to his ninja gear to clean their clocks and keep the humiliation kettle on a slow boil. Eventually the baddies discover - despite a lack of internet in 1981 - that Cole is a ninja, leading to Venarius spouting a hell of a line as he decides to fight fire with fire:    -------------->

Of course, Mr. Parker - again, with no internet whatsoever - manages to offer the job to none other than that nasty pisspuss Hasegawa - who is only too happy to suit up and start ninjanating everyone around the Landers place. This leads to our big climax - Cole gets his ninja back on as he and his pals have to take on Venarius and his men and Hasegawa with the stakes the entire world! No, wait, I mean, a few acres of Filipino soil. Ahem.

It is a little hard to tell the combatants apart in the final battle...

Although this was preceded in theaters by the Chuck Norris ninja opus The Octagon (sure to show up around here eventually), which was released the previous year - this was the movie that really got the ninja going in 80's American Pop Culture. And what a movie it is! Nero's always fun to watch - even if he is dubbed by an extremely generic American voice. All of the actors bring a lot to this buffet table - Kosugi makes for a well drawn villain; Christopher George gobbles the sets in every scene he's in; Susan George is her usual sexy, pouty self; Courtney spends the whole movie channelling late 60's Charlton Heston, including his voice, either dubbed, or layed in later as it sounds dubbed and Heston-y.

Susan George contributes gun fu.
The action is plentiful, and there's just a lot of goofy fun on display. It's not hard to spot Nero's fighting double in any shot that widens out to show Cole's knees, though the editing is pretty well done between actor and double. It's also very fun to see Zachi Noy - Hughie himself - playing the equivalent Peter Lorre part at the age of 28. Golan keeps everything moving well, and the violence is vivid and comic booky, just as it should be. I was surprised Susan George didn't contribute a nude scene - like in the film's one ill-advised moment, when Cole and Mary-Ann sleep together while Frank dozes in another room - but the scene blacks out as Mary-Ann slides into Cole's bed in a nightie - not the most heroic action I've ever seen, to be sure, but what do I know? I just work here. Summing up - as a confirmed fan of this movie's two sequels, I used to relegate this movie to third place based on one VHS viewing in college. I now say it ties with part 3 for a close second place finish! I mean, look at this final shot:

What more do you need? Check this one out!


Let's Get Out of Here ?

At approximately 32:00, Susan George tires of the company of "The Hook."

Eye Candy ?

Oh wow. I went gaga over Susan George back in the late 70's, so it was only a matter of waiting for one of her movies to show up here. That is a longwinded way of saying "Welcome to the list, Ms. George!"

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Enter the Ninja - right through
the door marked Fun Movie!"

Thank you, Mr. Man. Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!