Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kara Package!

Supergirl  (TriStar Pictures, 1984)

I owned this poster back in the day. I also noticed a HUGE BLOOPER on it.
Do you see the problem in this big budget movie's poster?

Before the Camera:

Helen Slater  (The Legend of Billie Jean)
Peter O'Toole  (Lawrence of Arabia)
Hart Bochner  (Die Hard)
Mia Farrow  (Rosemary's Baby)
Brenda Vaccaro  (Capricorn One)
Peter Cook  (Bedazzled '67)
Simon Ward  (The Monster Club)
Maureen Teefy  (Grease 2)
David Healy  (Patton)
Sandra Dickinson  (Superman III)
Robyn Mandell  (My Stepmother is an Alien)
Jenifer Landor  (La Ronde)
Diana Ricardo  (Morons from Outer Space)
Sonya Leite  (Cold Enough for Snow)
Nancy Wood  (The Pirates of Penzance)
Matt Frewer  (TV's Eureka)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Jimmy Olsen

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Produced by Timothy Burrill and Ilya Salkind

Written by David Odell

Supergirl created by Otto Binder

As part of their deal to make Superman movies, the Salkinds - father Alexander and son Ilya - also negotiated in rights to Supergirl. Originally they planned to include her in one of the regular Superman movies, but after part III and Christopher Reeve’s bristling at putting on the tights for a fourth flick, the never-daunted producers decided to exercise their rights by making a full-on Supergirl movie. As usual, Alexander immediately started casting in his head, envisioning Brooke Shields as the Kryptonian lass. Ilya, on the other hand, felt that they should again go with a relative – or complete – unknown, just as they had with Reeve in the 70’s. Eventually they went with Ilya’s idea, hiring Helen Slater for her first movie. They proceeded to surround her with some fine actors, big sets and production design, and some typically well done special and visual effects, as they were wont to do on their big productions. But would the Girl of Steel be able to soar as high as Superman did in his first two movies?
Supergirl's 1st appearance in comics.

In the comics, Supergirl arrived on Earth, was met by Superman, explained she was his cousin Kara, and proceeded to tell him how and why she’d come to Earth – her hometown got knocked off Krypton when it exploded, intact, and the Argosians – including Kara’s father Zor-El - Superman’s uncle on his dad’s side – managed to build a dome with recycling air and resources, and to line the streets of Argo City with lead foil because like all of the chunks of the destroyed planet, the ground of Argo City was turned to Kryptonite. Eventually, the lead foil failed, and Zor El and his wife Alura - who just happened to have a small rocketship much like the one that Jor-El had built - quickly shoved Kara into it and launched her to Earth as the entire city succumbed to Kryptonite poisoning. The Els are glad their daughter will live on Earth, where she too will gain super powers and can live with her cousin. Having digested this, Superman then proceeds to justify the website Supermanisadick.com as he promptly tells his cousin why she cannot live with him in Metropolis because no one would ever believe she could be his cousin recently orphaned and needing a place to stay, which is to say, mostly the truth. I understand why he didn’t suggest she could live with the Kents in Smallville as at this point in comics’ continuity they were deceased. No, instead, good ol’ Supes sticks her in an orphanage and forces her to wear a crappy brown wig under the name Linda Lee and not use her powers. Yeah, real nice there, Clarkie.
Kara in Argo City. She can make big bugs with The Wand,
but no shoes...

We get off to a slightly different start here as we open up in Argo City, not flying through space, but suspended in some kind of movie limbo. It also doesn’t look like the Krypton we saw previously, as the angular crystals and shards are now rounded foamy looking shapes and squiggles. These are the product of resident smart guy and Big Name Movie Guest Star Zaltar (O’Toole), who forms these shapes with The Wand and something called the Omegahedron, the principal power source of the city that keeps the air flowing and the lights on. Kara thinks he’s ginchy and hangs out with him, and their dialogue gives us the background of how Argo City here was not blown off the planet into space when Krypton exploded, but instead shunted into a parallel dimension right next door to the Phantom Zone, where Zaltar’s and Zor-El’s genius has kept them alive ever since. Moments later a lot of plot kicks in as Kara’s parents turn out to be Simon Ward and Mia Farrow; the Omegahedron is lost out into that limbo surrounding the city; and Kara leaps into a conveniently handy plot device…er…I mean one person transport globe…and takes off after the OmegaMcGuffin. Up to this point the movie is okay; the actors are a little guest-starry, and a different production designer doesn’t really justify completely changing the look of what is a Kryptonian city, but those are quibbles. We cut to Earth, where we join a picnic in progress and meet wannabe witches Selena (Dunaway) and comedy relief sidekick Bianca (Vacarro), who are novices at the Black Arts and chafing under the tutelage of Selena’s warlock boyfriend Nigel (Cook).

The producers spent a big part of the film's budget on hairspray
and soft focus filters.
Then the Omegahedron falls into their cheese dip, and the movie starts its own slide into cheesy territory too. For some unknown reason, Kara comes flying up out of a nearby lake, bone dry and in a complete and fully fetching supersuit just like her cousin’s, though with a short skirt to show off her coltish legs and a more three dimensional chest emblem – if you know what I mean and I’ll bet you do! After this WTF moment Kara flies around in a mostly wire-rigged air ballet that is kind of cute and endearing, if a little long. Back over at the bad guys’ picnic, a barely heard radio report indicates Superman is in “another galaxy” on a “peacekeeping mission” as Christopher Reeve refused to show up for the expected cameo he'd verbally agreed to when this movie began preproduction.

This leaves Kara to find her own way to Midvale and give us another WTF moment as she sees a softball game being played in Midvale, a small comic book city outside Chicago. Kara then decides to disguise herself as a student at the boarding school, coming up with her Earth disguise by walking behind some trees (!) (?) and emerging in a matching schoolgirl outfit and with brown hair. (!) So, with her city back in limbo running out of air, she takes the time to assimilate and hang out with her new pal Lucy Lane (Teefy), another student at this boarding school whose sister is - c'mon, you know who! Lois Lane! What a small world it is! As Selena uses the Omegahedron to become the mother of all witches; the movie becomes a bit of a teen soap as both ladies become infatuated with handsome but vapid gardener Ethan (Bochner) and give us a few kind of well mounted but still cheesy effects setpieces as they wield their powers at each other for the remainder of the flick’s not inconsiderable running time.

Selena had incredible magic power...and lousy aim...

I saw this movie in the theater back in 1984, and was not much impressed. Apparently neither was Warner Bros, who didn’t even bother releasing the finished film, instead turning it over to TriStar, who promptly cut the 138 minute movie into a trim but nearly incomprehensible 105 minute version, which is what unspooled before my eyes 27 years ago. Back then the movie was just not that great, not even the equal of the worst of the Reeve Superman movies. Watching it now in a 124 minute director's cut edition - still 14 minutes shorter than what is now called "the European cut", but what the hey - the movie was better in some ways, but in others, you're just getting more mediocrity. I think I'm just going to have to list the good points and the bad or this review could get very long indeed. The good - Helen Slater is gorgeous as Supergirl. By the way, I'm not nearly as creepy saying that as you might think, as the young lady was around 21 when she slipped into the spandex. So, continuing - she looks adorable in the costume, and the costume looks good, with the skirt and bare legs adding some va va va voom, and a little strategic engineering (read: padding) up top adding some ba ba ba zoom...
    I digress.

The fate of the world rests with this giant glowing stickpin.

    On with the good - the idea of pitting Supergirl against witches is okay, as Kryptonians are susceptible to magic, meaning our heroine faces danger, and not just from another chunk of kryptonite laying around. Most of the cast is fine, though Faye Dunaway doesn't chew the scenery nearly as stylishly as Gene Hackman. Brenda Vaccaro is pretty good - but to be honest, I'd like to see what would have happened with the role if the producers' first choice had said yes: Dolly Parton! The production design and effects are actually really good - with some wire work flying that is well nigh incredible considering they had no digital effects guys with computers to erase the wires in post. And lastly, it's nice to see Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen to give us more than a picture of Christopher Reeve on a wall to tie us to the other movies, even if I'm sure he wasn't all that thrilled to be there. Then again, he got a paycheck and a trip to England out of it, and moved from this into the Back to the Future movies, so maybe he was having the time of his life.
Marc McClure, Helen Slater, and Maureen Teefy.

    Then there's the bad, which is pretty much everything else. The fantasy elements of Kara's dry emergence from the lake in costume; and her unexplained simple dissolve costume changes back and forth from Linda Lee to Supergirl don't work. I kind of understand that you probably don't want what is supposed to be a teenage girl yanking her shirt open to expose her Big Red S and her Large Blue T's, but you could handle everything behind something - she goes behind a tree and emerges in the other outfit - superspeed is the explanation - let's move on. But here, she goes behind a tree and emerges 20% changed - another tree, another 20% change - and several of the other changes are just on camera dissolves. It just looks silly. The other big problem is that the bad guys are fairly boring - some of the scenes with Selena and Bianca noodling around with Nigel are interminable.

By far, though, the biggest albatross around the movie's neck: the villainess has no big Earth shattering plan up her sleeve. She gets some magic powers and basically uses them to fight with Supergirl over a boy like a junior high school student. And on top of that - after setting up what is practically a disaster movie plot with Supergirl in a desperate race to find this Kryptonian power source before her city rolls the dice to decide on freezing to death or suffocating; Kara just meanders around for the middle third of the movie before finally getting back to finding the damned thing.
    In the end - weirdly - I kind of like this movie now. I have to admit, though, that I think it's a nostalgia thing. It's certainly skippable on most levels, and I can only really recommend it to Superman completists who want to see everything the Salkinds did in the Super Universe.

Bonus Super Extra!

I don't normally include video clips or trailers in my reviews - but here is a fun Public Service Announcement starring Helen Slater in new Supergirl footage, along with some effects shots from the movie:

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At roughly 37:49, Faye Dunaway doesn't want to fight with Brenda Vaccaro over Hart Bochner.

Eye Candy ?


I love attractive women in superhero costumes! Welcome to the list, Helen Slater!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Supergirl is the least in the Super Canon. And
that includes the one from Cannon."

Summed that one up nicely, Buddha me Man! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #70!

Foxtrap  (Po' Boy Productions, 1986)

I haven't seen this actioner starring and directed by Fred "The Hammer" Williamson - but I plan to one of these days. I find everything with The Hammer is a smashing good time!

It Conquered the World  (American-International Pictures, 1956)

I love this Roger Corman epic - I mean, look at that cast! And when the army shows up at the end, it's like three guys - and one of them is Dick Miller! This is the British Quad poster, hence the Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors, and the "X Certificate" as the Brits didn't think movies like this were for children, whereas Americans didn't think it was for anyone but children.

Battle of the Amazons  (American-International Pictures, 1973)

Made in Italy as Amazzoni - Donne D'Amore E Di Guerra, this was brought over to America a couple of months later and slapped with this moniker - I haven't seen this one either, but if it becomes available I'd certainly give it a watch!

And that will do it for this week! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies 5/26/12!

Who cares what picture we see?

I would think after all my research the Ronee Blakely most definitely would....and this weekend is not just any weekend...this is Crazy Movie Weekend-Friday/Freddy: 30 Years of Dead Teens...and after all the love Jason's gotten on this blog...it's time to get ready for Freddy!

I was supposed to see this movie in Harrisburg, Illinois (south of my town McLeansboro) with some friends soon after it opened, but the evening started at Pizza Hut, and ended in the emergency room when a friend visiting from Oregon stepped off the curb at the restaurant wrong and twisted her ankle badly. She tried to press on and we actually paid and went in the theater, but she was in agony, so we left (I don't remember if we got refunds, but I'm thinking no) and took her to the hospital. She'd cracked a bone and was off her feet for the rest of her trip. After she got on the plane to go home, we went to see the movie finally over in Harrisburg. We were all wowed by it but I'm kind of glad she didn't see it with us - she was a very 'interesting' young lady who had a lot of belief in dreams and the spirit world - she believed she was the sister of then-recently deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads, and that his ghost was with her all the time, even taking over her body at times to write letters and such - so I'm not sure what kind of an effect this movie would have had on her. I'm sure she saw it later, but we lost touch not long after that, so I don't know how it ended up affecting her. I liked the movie though, a lot.

And it now resides in the video vault in a fine Blu-Ray edition - and it kicked off Freddy's first round in this movie marathon weekend. But you could still come by and we could check it - or whichever sequel we're up to when you arrive - out. I'll bring the popcorn, you bring the you.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Project Terrible: The Telling!

For this sixth round of Project Terrible (the first for LGOOH) - there are four participants - meaning everyone got three movies - one from each of the other participants. But "bonus" PT movies have popped up on each of my colleagues' blogs, including Maynard's review of Goth - the movie he assigned to Alec at Mondo Bizarro - so in the same vein - here's my "bonus" PT movie - the flick I assigned to Maynard  - The Telling!

The Telling (Prometheus Entertainment, 2009) I found myself becoming a fan of the cheesy 'reality' show The Girls Next Door on E! after one of the girls, Bridget Marquardt, participated in the 2007 show The Search for the Next Elvira. I don't think anyone expected Bridget to be chosen as the new Mistress of the Dark, her appearance on the show was more for promotional value for both shows.
Bridget "trying out" for
The Next Elvira

    And she was so cute and funny on TSNE that I started to watch her and her pals Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson as they cavorted around the Playboy Mansion with the ancient (and rather endearing) Hugh M. Hefner doddering after them. One of the episodes dealt with the production of a horror movie that Bridget was producing and acting in, along with Holly in a featured role. This is the movie that resulted.

    We open with a poolside party hosted by Brianna and her mom to celebrate her pledging Omega Kappa Kappa, the hottest sorority on campus. Then Stephanie (Holly Madison), fetching in a bikini and the leader of the Om Kaps (my nickname for them, by the way) proves herself to be less than a nice person (rhymes with twitch) and reveals that although she and the other sorority sisters have enjoyed the party, Brianna is most certainly not what the sorority is looking for. Brianna runs off crying, and moments later is found dead, a suicide.
Holly's on the right, wearing the Jolliest Roger ever.

"One Year Later" the film begins in earnest as Omega Kappa Kappa pledges three new girls chosen (at the Dean's insistence) for their minds instead of their looks. The Om Kaps, still led by Stephanie, treat the pledges shabbily, with lots of insults and catty chatting before settling down to the final test for the new girls: each must present a treat, then tell a scary story to the sorority sisters. After each has a chance to wow the judges, two pledges will make it into the sorority. The first girl brings pretzels, then tells a story of a young woman living with her boyfriend, and much to her consternation, the boyfriend's ex who has come back to town and is looking for a new place to live. After spending a fair amount of its brief running time on this soap opera, the story remembers it's supposed to be scary so the boyfriend brings home a creepy doll that talks when you pull a string, and you can pretty much see where this one is going from that point. The second sorority pledge has wine, and tells a story of an aging actress (Bridget, brave to be acknowledging the years) who travels to Romania to meet with a fabled foreign film director for a part in his new project. Things get really weird after this, with absinthe-fueled hallucinations and a film crew who all share a sinister secret. The third girl baked cookies, and she tells the story of a trio of young women whose prank phone calls bring a serial killer to their house. Finally, the wraparound story becomes a wrapup story and the movie ends.
Bridget - actress, producer, Girl Next Door.

    Well, I liked the episode of The Girls Next Door about the making of this movie, anyway. Before I ever put the DVD in the player, I dialed my expectations rheostat all the way down for this one. But turns out it couldn't go low enough. I don't mind that the movie is low budget. I don't mind that the stories are all well worn, to say the least. I don't mind that the acting is adequate at best. I do mind a horror movie with no scares, no gore, and precious little nudity! Especially one with a Playmate producing and several Playmates onscreen that was shot in and around the Playboy Mansion! As far as the stories go, the first one is best, at least setting up some potential scares with that doll, but it ends up going nowhere. The second story is weird and little else, despite Bridget's presence. The third story is tired, and acknowledging you're ripping off I Saw What You Did by having a character say "I heard what you did" into a phone does not excuse you. The wraparound story fares best, but it's also wearyingly on the nose, and if you can't see where it's going early on, get a new hobby. As far as the production goes, the script is rote the and direction is adequate, no more, no less. The acting all seems pretty good while everyone's healthy and happy, then becomes far less so when anyone has to be upset or scared. It's a horror film, so mark that as "not good." I think everyone wears their own clothes, so no marks for wardrobe, and the makeup and special effects are both so minimal they can't even be judged. Sad to say, but mark this one as a total loss. Sorry girls!

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pre-Release Screening Room: Pieces of Talent!

Pieces of Talent  (Shutter Blade Media, 2012)

Before the Camera:

Kristi Ray
Barbara Weetman
Jon Stafford
Nate Panning
Shaun O'Rourke
Taylor Kowalski
Donna Stamm
David Long

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Joe Stauffer

Produced by John Marchioni, Joe Stauffer, Eric Hollenbeck, and Dustin Lewis

Written by Joe Stauffer and Dustin Lewis

I was lucky enough to get invited to a cast and crew screening of a new horror movie shot here in Wilmington, NC. I'm acquainted with the filmmakers, and several of the cast members, so it was very cool to be allowed to join them for the screening. Thanks guys!

Charlotte (Ray) spends her days waitressing at a strip club, fighting with her horrible mother (Weetman), and dreaming of a better life. One night, she meets David Long when he gets his clocked cleaned by a bouncer outside her strip club. Taking pity on the bloodied man, she stops the beating, and by the next morning - after a trip to the beach, a shared coffee, a shared joint, and a lot of talking - Charlotte and David are friends. He's a filmmaker; she's a wannabe actress - it seems like a friendship made in heaven. David tells Charlotte he wants her to be in a film project he is working on. She's excited and willing to wait while he finishes the first part of the production before getting to her role.

But David Long is a filmmaker unlike any she's ever met - and people who meet up with him in the hopes of working on or being in his movie...well, they seem to...disappear. Unfortunately for Charlotte - she's just been cast in the lead of David's movie...and if he has his way, she just might end up another of his...pieces of talent...

Charlotte and David Long - friends to the end.

This film started out as a short entitled The David Long Story. I got to see it at the Shutter Blade Media HQ a couple of years ago when we were noodling over some writing I was working on for them. It was a very nicely done short - with good performances and a nice twist. That short was added as a special feature to the DVD release of the movie Butchered (2010) which Joe Stauffer had shot some footage for. While the project I was working on with them went into development hell, Shutter Blade Media moved ahead turning The David Long Story into a feature titled Pieces of Talent.

I thought the movie was terrific. When I heard they were expanding the short I wasn't sure what direction they were taking it in - and a couple of vlogs from David Long posted during the movie's production didn't seem to show the story moving out from the original short all that much - and I feared the feature was going to come off as a padded expansion of the short - just repetitive scenes of David Long pursuing his art with a new colleague each time.

But the feature's script is so much more than that. And they even worked in the original short - albeit a reshot version matching the feature's mise en scene with a different actor joining David Long's camera crew. The movie acutally starts off like a lot of indie dramas, with put upon people in crappy houses smoking a lot and arguing. But then Charlotte meets David Long, and after their rather sweet opening scene together - the horror comes. In fact, it moves in, sits in your favorite chair and snatches the remote out of your hand. I don't want to be spoiler-ish, so I'm not going to say much else about that - but there are horrific moments of violence - and top notch gore effects supplied by Tony Rosen. Kristi Ray and David Long lead a terrific cast - both are absolutely marvelous in their roles - and the other standouts include Weetman - toxic and nasty as the Mother from Hell; Jon Stafford as a TV producer who doesn't want to work with David but who is then...persuaded...and Shaun O'Rourke as the incredibly sleazy strip club owner Ricky.

Kudos to director Joe Stauffer - who has a real eye for cinematography - with terrifically composed shots full of visual delights throughout. But in addition - he also draws solid performances from his cast, and keeps the movie boiling on the front burner throughout once the movie gets up to speed.  He is matched and supported by a fine crew - who've all worked to bring together a very solid horror movie to the screen.

I had such a good time watching this with the crowd - it plays great with an audience. Now I'm itching for Pieces of Talent to be released. I think horror fans are going to embrace this movie... I know I did! See it as soon as you can!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

I'm not sure of the time code - but David Long can only bowl so long...

Eye Candy ?

Oh yes! She's a lovely young lady - whether rocking some fishnets at the strip club - or lounging around her room in a nightie t-shirt with her headphones on...

Welcome to the list, Kristi Ray!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Pieces of Talent is a terrific horror picture that
deserves a wide release ASAP - that's the David Long and short of it!"

I didn't even realize you'd come along to the screening, BM! Sneaky golden devil! Okay then - until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #69!

Road Games  (Avco Embassy, 1981)

This is another fine Hitchockian thriller from Australian director Richard Franklin (Psycho II). In fact, it's the reason he got the job directing Psycho II!

Dr. Terror's "Gallery of Horror" / The Wizard of Mars  (American General Pictures, 1967/1964)

What a double feature! Two of David Hewitt's budget-challenged flicks back to back! Dr. Terror's is a five story anthology flick - and you can make a hobby out of guessing the "surprise endings" of each and every one! The Wizard of Mars is a science fiction retelling of a classic Hollywood fantasy - try to figure out which one...four people set out on a lemon-tinted footpath to find a powerful being who looks like a big floating head so they can get the thing they most desire. Hmmmm....what could it be? While we're puzzling it out, I'll point out that it's the great John Carradine appearing as The "Wizard" - and he's in Dr. Terror's too!

Private Lessons  (Jensen Farley Pictures, 1981)

Ah, one of my most fondly remembered movies from my youth. If I told you the circumstances involving my first viewing of this movie - on cable, not in the theater - you honestly would not believe me. Or at least you would think I was building the story up. But I had a heck of a time watching this movie - and that's all I'm going to say about that.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies 5/19/12!

Who cares what picture we see?
Sadly, I kinda doubt Burt Young does, but even so - we will pick this one:

Here's another horror flick from back in the day that I simply missed! Didn't see it in the theater; it didn't play any cable channel I had; never saw it available to rent on VHS. What a great tagline on the poster - playing off the tagline for Jaws 2 - and as the trailer shows, it's even in the movie's dialogue!

This flick's got the great John Saxon, the lovely Marianna Hill, and the always good for a chuckle Burt Young in it, and I've just added it to the video vault, so we could be watching it as soon as...tonight! If you wanted to come over and watch it with me, that is!

Like they say, life's a beach, man. Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Project Terrible: Creature!


Well, I chickened out again - and let Buddha Man take this one - go BM!

Creature  (The Bubble Factory, 2011)  When I first saw the poster for this movie in a theater - I was interested - an old fashioned monster movie playing theatrically? With Sid Haig in it? Then I saw a trailer for the movie the same day - and I admit my interest waned a bit - as the trailer did nothing to build on those two cool factoids.

Still, I wanted to feel positively towards the movie and thought I might still try to catch it in the theater - as you don't get all that many chances to see Sid Haig on the Big Screen these days. But in the end I skipped it - and now my Austrian blog buddy Maynard from the incredible Horror Movie Diary has put it on my Project Terrible plate.

Okay, the movie kicked off with an attractive young woman and some full frontal and backal nudity - so off to a fine start, I'd say! But then we cut to our main characters, and ostensible leading man Oscar (Dillon Casey) is driving like a jerk and does nothing to lessen his d-baggery when we move inside the vehicle and he starts talking. In fact, none of the six characters came off as particularly likable in this opening scene, which started the movie sliding downhill for me. The six are headed for a few days of drinking and partying in New Orleans, and Oscar is taking them through a shortcut. Next up, they stop at a gas station/souvenir store run by Sid Haig and his cronies.

Please don't leave, Mr. Haig! The movie will start tanking again when you're gone!

After the usual warnings about the dangers of the swamps around them - the guys find a lot of the stuff in the store that revolves around a legendary half man/half gator monster named Lockjaw who has been menacing the locals for decades. Haig peps the movie right up across this scene, which ends with the kids heading for Grimley's house - the home built by Lockjaw back when he was a human, and around which he still legendarily still hunts in his monster persona. Once they get out to the swamp, it turns out the legends are *surprise!* true - and Lockjaw comes a'callin'. And the kids start dyin'.

Am I supposed to be able to see that much of his face through the eye hole?

But that's not the end of the story - as the night of horrors continue - there's more going on out in the backwoods bayou - promises made, secrets kept, and dangers maybe even worse than a humanoid crocklegator that wants to eat your face off. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

In the end, the answer was kind of "Who cares?" This wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen by any means - and it was watchable throughout - but the swampy locations reminded me too much of the superior Hatchet series, and the monster  - a good old fashioned man in a rubber suit - is kept too much in the shadows as it turns out he's really a man in a kind of cheap rubber suit with an unfortunate facial resemblance to the Spider-Man villain Venom. I'm still not sure why the characters started off in their opening scene as jackwagons - because the movie then had to work overtime trying to get the viewer on their side later.
Oscar had already "spied her" but he arachnid all
surprised about it.

One character has an arc that I will admit surprised me and explained some head scratchers from the early going - but the rest are pretty generic - from the kids in the SUV to Haig and his crew. Pruitt Taylor Vince stops in long enough to make sure you know his character is really weird before promptly getting killed in his second scene. Co-writer and director Fred Andrews gets in a few effective moments - but the movie seems ragged - and I suspect the editor's tool of choice was a chainsaw. There are kills that seem to be about to get really gory - then they cut away abruptly. The characters move all around the swamp and locations - and sometimes pop up far from where we last saw them with no explanation of how they got there. However, the patchwork storytelling started before post-production - the script wasn't any great shakes to begin with. Plots and subplots jump in and out of the movie with wild abandon - and two of the six main characters are brother and sister - but I'll be damned if I could tell you which two - as the dialogue had me thinking it was nearly every possible combination of boy and girl from the six at one point or another. On the positive side - there are some fine moments of nudity - and there are a couple of good scenes here and there. Mainly there is Sid Haig, who is worth his weight in gold adding value to this flick.

I will also say that these two ladies in the movie also added value - as they made my little golden eyes happy..

Serinda Swan

Amanda Fuller

An interview I read with Fred Andrews indicates the movie was edited against his wishes to achieve an R rating - and that he hopes to bring out a director's cut someday - with all of the gore and subplots and cool stuff restored. There's enough here that I would watch that director's cut to see if it made the movie any better. But I'll tell you this - if it turned out only to be a longer, bloodier, and equally mediocre movie - I'll give Fred such a pinch!

I can recommend this one only to Sid Haig and man-in-a-monster-suit completists. All others need not apply.

Maynard - I can't say I liked it - but it wasn't torturous either. Chalk this Project Terrible entry up as meh.

I thank you for taking the hit on this one again, Buddha Man! Well, that will wrap up this episode of Project Terrible - I'm really planning to take on the next assignment myself...we'll see - and until we do, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #68!

No theme this week...

Salsa: The Motion Picture (Cannon Film Group, 1987)

I haven't seen this dancesploitation flick from Cannon's heyday - but I'd give it a look for nostalgia alone. And just think - if you put this together with Hot Dog: The Movie and Hamburger: The Motion Picture - you'd have a heck of a meal!

Mr. No Legs  (Cinema Artists Productions, 1979)

I haven't seen this one either - but wow do I want to! And I'm actively working on making it happen! This crazy exploitation flick is one of those 70's Florida oddities - directed by Ricou Browning - who was the swimming version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon - and starring Richard "Florida's nice this time of year" Jaeckal. It's also got Lloyd Bochner, John Agar, and stunt work from the amazing Joie Chitwood and his crew, who handled the automotive mayhem for Diamonds are Forever and Live and Let Die!

Barracuda  (Republic Pictures, 1978)

Our random third pick almost forced us into a theme - as it's the second Florida-lensed flick this go-round! I think this was originally shot as a mostly land based pollution conspiracy thriller called The Lucifer Project - then reworked after the success of Jaws with a few new scenes involving angry barracudas attacking a couple of guys after being driven mad by the pollution over in the original movie. Consequently, this ends up a pretty bad Jaws cash-in. But you gotta love a cast that includes the incredible Wayne (Jake Speed) Crawford, Jason (The Brain That Wouldn't Die) Evers, William (Blood Feast) Kerwin, and Bert (Billy Jack) Freed. I saw this one on TV not very long after it was made - wouldn't mind a new uncut viewing to see if it's any better than I remember it.

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies 5/12/12!

Who cares what picture we see?

Without a doubt William Redfield would, so let's take a trip with him and this movie:

I've always loved this old fashioned science fiction adventure flick since I first saw it on TV as a kid. When the inventor of a wild new shrinking process is injured in an accident and left with a terminal and inoperable blood clot in his brain - it is decided to use his "not quite perfected" shrinking process to send a surgical team in to remove the clot - from the inside! It's got a cool cast, amazing special effects, and Raquel Welch!

In fact, Ms. Welch was a pretty important aspect of the movie - I mean, take a look at this teaser poster Fox had the gumption to send out:


Now that's what I call a teaser poster!

I have this one on DVD and we could be watching it tonight if you care to make the Fantastic Voyage over to my house!

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

Friday, May 11, 2012

PSA A Go Go 5/11/12!

In the public interest, LGOOH and artist Rob Kelly bring you another fine public service announcement!

I can't add anything to that!

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Some Assembly Required!

The Avengers  (Paramount, 2012)

Before the Camera:

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2)
Jeremy Renner (Thor)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Clark Gregg (Iron Man 2)
Cobie Smulders (TV's How I Met Your Mother)
Stellan Skarsgård (Thor)
Tina Benko (Photo Op)
Jeff Wolfe (Drive)
Arthur Darbinyan (X-Men: First Class)
Donald Li (Big Trouble in Little China)
Dieter Riesle (The Good Shepherd)
Kenneth Tigar (The Happy Hooker)
Samuel L. Jackson (Amos & Andrew)
Nick Fury

Look fast for:

Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Powers Boothe (Red Dawn)
Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London)
Jerzy Skolimowski (director - The Lightship)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Stan Lee  (Avengers co-creator)

And listen up for the voices of:

Lou Ferrigno (70’s TV Hulk)
Paul Bettany  (Iron Man)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Joss Whedon

Produced by Victoria Alonso, Avi Arad, Louis D'Esposito, Jon Favreau, Kevin Feige, Patricia Whitcher, Alan Fine, Jeremy Latcham and Stan Lee

Written by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon

The Avengers created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

First teased in a post credits tag scene in Iron Man in 2008, The Avengers Initiative was name checked in four more flicks – The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger usually by guest star Samuel L. Jackson – playing Marvel’s resident spymaster Nick Fury, and usually only showing up at the very end of each movie. Amazingly, all of those films were pretty darn good – with no misfires among them. Iron Man 2 was a bit of a sophomore slump – and the least of the five movies, but it was still pretty good. Now, all of those heroes - roll call: Iron Man (Downey), Captain America (Evans), Thor (Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Ruffalo) are brought together in The Avengers – and they are joined by quasi-superhero spies Hawkeye (Renner) and Black Widow (Johannson).

The story picks up the threads from each of the previous movies – some of which contributed more than others – with The Incredible Hulk being the least necessary to the story tapestry, due to Nick Fury being a no-show, and especially since that movie’s Bruce Banner – Edward Norton – has been replaced in this movie by Mark Ruffalo. The Cosmic Cube from the comics - here called the Tesseract, as Cosmic Cube is a little too 70’s comic book alliterative – serves as this movie’s McGuffin after appearing in Thor and Captain America. Thor’s adopted brother Loki pops up on Earth after his cosmic exile at the end of Thor – and he’s been driven more than slightly mad by his dimensional travels. He’s come to Earth to find the Tesseract and use it to open a dimensional portal that will allow his new allies – an army of aliens ready to conquer the Earth – passage through to this world. Nick Fury – the top dog of SHIELD – by the way, just to show off the geek feather in my cap - that used to stand for Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law enforcement Division (1965-1991); then it became Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate (1991-present) in the comics; and that has since been changed in the Marvel movies to Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division for no good reason I can discover – anyway, Nick Fury discovers that his SHIELD forces are not going to be enough to go up against Loki and his crew of aliens and super-hypnotized good guys – and he dusts off his mothballed Avengers Initiative. With our old pal Agent Coulson (Gregg) and new face Agent Hill (Smulders) assisting, Fury brings in Iron Man, the Black Widow, and Captain America – along with Bruce Banner as a scientific consultant – with no one thinking it a good idea due to the brutish green Other Fellow Banner brings with him in in times of stress. Unfortunately, Thor is off planet, and Hawkeye has been mesmerized into working for Loki, so the heroes are a little shorthanded. Eventually Thor does join in on the fun – wanting to put a stop to his brother’s machinations; and you just know someone is eventually going to tick Dr. Banner off – and when all of the heroes get past their personality conflicts – settled with some good old fashioned Marvel Comics’ style brawling – they assemble as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – the Avengers – but can even their combined skills and powers stop a madman with Asgardian might and magic – and an alien fighting force that may number to infinity?

In all their glory - Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Hulk.

I had been looking forward to this movie from the moment I saw Sam Jackson in the movie theater in 2008. Four years is a long time for a movie to get built up in your head – and with all those heroes to juggle – could even a self proclaimed comics fan like Joss Whedon make an Avengers movie that fired on all cylinders for this longtime fan?

I’m afraid I have to admit –


The Avengers is a rollicking rollercoaster ride of a movie right from the get-go – with a terrific setpiece involving Loki’s arrival on Earth and first battle with the forces of SHIELD – right through each hero’s introduction – everybody gets some prime moments for their character – and on to the epic final battle in and above the streets of New York City. All of the actors are up to the game – no one is phoning it in because they’re part of an ensemble – and you get some fun cameos, including, I’m thrilled to report – Stan Lee himself. The storyline is a fine mix of simple and complex – complex because of bringing in all of the elements from the various movies that led to this one – and if you’ve watched none of the other movies you might find yourself a little lost in the early going – and simple because it’s really just a race to the McGuffin with an epic final battle – but there are lots of little character bits and funny lines throughout and every hero gets to save the day or someone’s bacon at least once. Downey leads the funny line count – which is to be expected – but there are several other humorous bits scattered around as well. Kudos must also go to Tom Hiddleston - who perfects his villainous act from Thor here with a great glint of madness in his every smirk and sneer. Everything to do with the visual side of the movie is spectacular – the sets, the costumes, the effects are superb – and surprisingly – this was mainly shot in New Mexico and Ohio, of all places. And after three attempts to do a CGI Hulk - this movie finally gets it right - with a Big Green who actually looks like the actor who he's based on, and just generally more "there" in the scenes than in either previous movie. Add in Marvel fanboy elements like getting to see the SHIELD flying base - the Helicarrier - and finally getting to see Nick Fury getting in on the action – plus a couple of interesting moments worth waiting through the end credits for - and you have a summer movie that is Marvelous (pun intended) in nearly every way.

In the end – I’m not going to call this the best of all time or the greatest ever made – I think movies need a little age on them before such labels can be applied – but it’s a heck of a movie and I give it my highest recommendation – check this one out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

I couldn't pinpoint the time - but I'm pretty sure I heard it while the baddies where sweeping through one of the office buildings near the end of the movie. Further research is required.

Eye Candy ?

Yes and yes again!

Cobie Smulders (in my heart)

Scarlett Johannson

Welcome to the list, ladies!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says: "The Avengers have definitely assembled -
a kickass Summer movie for everyone to enjoy!"

Thank you BM, and until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!