Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Celebrity Endorsement: Jeff Goodwin!

He may not be a household name, but if you're a movie buff of any kind you've definitely seen his work...and he's my pal of nearly twenty years now...so this trip into The Video Vault of Mora Tau involves more kudos for the blog...with a namecheck...I'll let him introduce himself...take it away, Jeff...

And although he might appear to be heading for the hills there at the end...don't worry...he'll be back...Watch This Space...

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The real terror? Finding sand in crevices three days later...

Terror on the Beach  (20th Century Fox Television, 1973)

Hey, it was a TV movie - they don't usually have theatrical posters...

Before the Camera:

Dennis Weaver  (TV's McCloud himself!)
Estelle Parsons  (Bonnie and Clyde)
Kristoffer Tabori  (Making It)
Susan Dey  (TV's The Partridge Family)
Scott Hylands  (TV's Night Heat)
Henry Olek  (Rollercoaster)
Roberta Collins  (Death Race 2000 - she's Matilda the Hun!)
Jacqueline Giroux  (Drive In Massacre)
Walter Beakel  (Little Cigars)
The Fisherman

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Paul Wendkos

Produced by Stanley Bass, Walter Beakel, Alan Jay Factor, and David Knapp

Written by Bill Svanoe

Once again we delve in to the glory days of the TV movie. Boy, when they got geared up in the early 70's they started cranking these suckers out like there was no tomorrow. And sadly most of these movies are not much seen anymore, despite a certain level of quality inherent in network broadcast - meaning you're not going to see cinema sludge made by someone's Uncle Joe with a camcorder - which was a very real possibility when renting movies on VHS in the 80's. The TV movies also had a lot of good actors and celebrities in them. Here's one that had a fairly stellar TV cast.
    Three years after he'd starred in the TV movie Duel for director Steven Spielberg, Dennis Weaver was hired to play the same basic role in this teleflick: the button down businessman who can't understand why his staid life is suddenly under attack by an unknown assailant. Eventually, pushed to the limit, he snaps and fights back. Weaver was already well known for his role as TV's McCloud - the laconic cowboy lawman in New York City he'd play for seven seasons; so here was a chance for the actor to cut loose a bit. And unlike Duel, this time he's not alone. This time he's Neil Glynn, who has a wife - Arlene (Parsons); a son - Steve (Tabori), and a daughter - Dee Dee (Dey) (say that three times fast!). They're the typical family - typical for 1973 that is - out for a family vacation on the coast in California. It will be sun and fun and fishing and - arguments. Neil wants Steve to go to college; Steve wants to go out and see the world. Dee Dee wants to explore women's lib; Arlene wants Dee Dee to help her make egg salad. Then they meet up with Jerry (Hylands) and his band of followers. Faster than you can say Manson family, this bunch proves to be fairly psychotic as they begin to methodically terrorize the family. A 1973 lack of cell phones and a little judicious automotive sabotage strands the Glynns there by the beach, and things go from bad to worse. Eventually Neil is going to have to man up, but even with the help of his son, will they be able to survive...Terror on the Beach?

Thankfully the director instructed the cast to amp up their performances after this;
otherwise the title might have been Mild Consternation on the Beach.

I like watching the old TV movies - they all have a particular feel about them; and sometimes I saw them as a kid and seeing them again brings back vague memories of the first viewing. I'm pretty sure I watched this one as a tyke, as I'd already discovered scary movies thanks to the Universal Studios monsters, and something with the word Terror in the title would be catching my eye as I scanned the TV Guide. I also like Dennis Weaver - a very good actor who found his niche on television and worked across several decades, from Dragnet in the 50's to the ABC Family series Wildfire at the time of his passing in 2006. Here he's surrounded by a very good cast - it's rare for all four actors playing a family in a TV movie from this period to be known quantities - usually one of the kids did a couple of acting jobs in the day and is a chiropractor now or something. All of the actors are at least adequate, and most are pretty good. Admittedly not all that much happens - the bodies are not stacking up like cord wood - but there's some solid tension, and some good creepy moments during the night scenes when the family camp is surrounded by pitch black darkness and the creeps are out there somewhere lurking. Director Paul Wendkos keeps events moving smoothly across the 74 minute running time, so this one ends up with a qualified recommendation. If you enjoy movies that are more about drama and suspense than a body count and gore, you might find enough here to warrant a look. All others need not apply.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

We have a partial winner around the 39:00 minute mark when The Line has "this stuff in the camper and get" added to its middle section. But then we get a clear use closer to 56:00 when the baddies start to have a McCloudy night thanks to Dennis Weaver and family going on the offensive.

Eye Candy ?

Well, though playing younger in the movie, Susan Dey was 21 at the time of filming, and thanks to some judicious use of a red bikini -

 - she makes the list! Guess we can call her Eye Can-dey!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Terror on the Beach is Dennis Weaver,
delinquents, and dune buggies and will tide you over until
the next flick."
 Thanks as ever, Buddha Man. And til next post here, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #32!

Hercules in New York  (Trimark Films, 1970)

I'm amazed "Arnold Strong" didn't go on to a long career in movies after this one.

Oh, wait - he did! He just went back to his real name.

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Murder Gang  (Independent International Pictures, 1976)
I haven't seen this Al Adamson potboiler - despite its several releases under several different titles...

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers  (American Independent Productions, 1988)

One of director Fred Olen Ray's best - over-the-top fun!

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

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 8/27/11

Who cares what picture we see?

That nasty witch Hurricane Irene sure doesn't, I can tell you! So we're going with this flick, which starts off with stock footage of a hurricane!

Now here's a movie! Low budget filmmaking at its low budgetest! The hurricane at the opening is all stock footage, and it serves to sink the heroes' boat (offscreen) and strand them on the flick's island location. We are told of the sinking by a voiceover news report over the storm shots - make no mistake - that is some minimalist cinema gold right there!

And the movie resides in VHS form, and hosted by Elvira, in the video vault. We could be watching it tonight...if you care to come by...and Irene leaves the power on!

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

Phillip Marlowe? No thanks, I have plenty of wine in my glass...

Welcome once more to

Bookworm's Book Club!

The Big Sleep (Pocket Books, 1958)   Although I've seen several movies based on his books, this was the first Raymond Chandler novel I've ever actually read. It was a lucky start, as I managed to pick up his first novel featuring his famous detective Philip Marlowe. As this introductory adventure gets underway, Marlowe is hired by old rich guy General Sternwood. The general is being blackmailed for shenanigans one of his two daughters is mixed up in, and he wants Marlowe to look into the matter. Marlowe takes the case, and it starts to get complicated pretty quickly as it turns out each of the Sternwood girls is a wild child with plenty of interactions with the seamy side of life in Los Angeles. As more and more people come in to the case through myriad connections to the principal players, Marlowe finds himself working an incredibly complex case. Then, the murders start, and he also realizes it's incredibly dangerous. Can even a smart and tough cookie like Philip Marlowe solve his first case or will he wind up pushing up daisies in an unmarked grave?

Raymond Chandler
This was a very cool read, and I'm not even referring to the story - yet! The paperback I have was printed in 1958 (pictured above) so the book was swaddled in 50+ years of history before you even opened it. The novel itself was written in 1939, but seemed at leasr relatively timeless, which is a very good thing. I was quickly captivated by Chandler's writing. There are a lot of spoofs of hard boiled detective fiction, and it's Chandler's prose they're parodying. But the real words have a quiet poetry to them, with evocative descriptive passages that I would stop and re-read a couple of times because they were so good. The characterizations are solid, if not spectacular, with Marlowe's first person narration obviously providing the most insight to him. The mystery is very complex, and here's where we'll turn the corner and hit the points that haven't held up so well. First off, the mystery is so complex, even Chandler didn't know who committed one murder! And as can be expected for a book written in the 1930's, and though he does a pretty good job of working around it - the limits on the salty language (that he obviously wanted to use) and even the plot points (pornography, homosexuality) work against him a bit. And while we're on the subject, his treatment of homosexuality is not very enlightened either - it's not that he has seedy or perverted characters who are gay - it's that he has characters who are seedy and perverted because they're gay. That was the time. There's not much in the way of "it was the time" racism adding in, at least. But looking past those points - if you can - this is a crackerjack old time detective story full of twists and turns and tough guys and tawdry gals, and you really should check this one out!

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 8/24/11

Would you like to play a game?

Then check out these choice game commercials from back in the day!

And because I will never miss a chance to feature this amazing gentleman - here's another campaign for the same game - with a familiar face, shall we say?
Here's another one burned into my brain by my incessant TV watching as a kid (but I DID play outside a lot too! I really DID!):
"Pretty sneaky, sis" is still a phrase I use in my everyday life! I loved when Atari and Intellivision duked it out in the 80's too! Here's George Plimpton "Plimping" for the Mattel video game and touting their "greatest visual effect ever...destruction of a planet!" I think Transformers 3 stole this effect and used it this past summer. It's that stunning.

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #31!

Almost Human  (Joseph Brenner Associates, 1975)

Boy, that looks like one scary horror movie, doesn't it? Too bad it's really an Italian crime flick, for some reason presented like a scarepic in the American advertising when it was released here a couple of years after it had played the rest of the world...

House on Sorority Row (Artists Releasing Corporation, 1983)

Recently remade as Sorority Row, this slasher was one that passed through my VCR back in the day, but didn't leave much of an impression. I may need to check them both out, again and for the first time.

Batman  (20th Century Fox, 1966)

One of my very favorites - a great piece of pop culture camp - with big studio gloss all over it. Sadly, that big studio gloss did not prevent a typo from appearing on the poster...

While we work that one out, I'll just say until next post you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 8/20/11

Who cares what picture we see?

I know in my proud American heart that Evel Knievel would, which means the movie has got to be...

Wow! Look at that supporting cast! It looks like an All-Star Cast from one of the 70's Disaster Movies! It kind of ended up being an All Star Cast Disaster Movie, if you take my meaning and I'll bet you do! But is it ever entertaining, and it is on DVD, ready to go should you care to stop by and watch it with me. We could even do that tonight!

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Son of Buddha Manstein!

Buddha Man is back with a new pair of feature films -
back to back!

Ring of Fear (Warner Bros., 1954) Now here's the kind of movie they truly do not make anymore: how about a circus-set revenge flick starring lion tamer Clyde Beatty and author Mickey Spillane as themselves? The story has Beatty as the owner of a circus (which he really was in addition to his big cat duties). Former circus employee Dublin O'Malley (Sean McClory - Them!) - and no, that name is not supposed to suggest a specific ethnic origin for this guy - well, Dublin is first seen meeting with a board of psychiatrists who find that he might have homicidal tendencies, a slight understatement in diagnosis. In fact, seemingly moments later, O'Malley kills a guard, escapes from the "rest home", and then kills a railroad worker for good luck. And it is good luck, because as is always the case in sequences like this, he takes the dead guys clothes, and they fit. He then heads back to the Clyde Beatty Circus, having carried on a one-sided long distance relationship with aerialist Valerie (Marian Carr - The Indestructible Man), who is now married to her partner. O'Malley coincidentally also wants revenge against Beatty for laying him off.

Sean McClory - the best dressed psycho in the business.
 As the bodies pile up, Beatty is at a loss to figure out who it could be. Certainly not the guy he previously fired who just happens to have shown back up just as the murders started? So Beatty asks Mike Hammer creator Mickey Spillane to drop by and look into the situation, and the show's general manager, Frank Wallace (Pat O'Brien - Fighting Father Dunne), agrees it's a good idea so he can stop having to be the lead in the picture since Beatty knows that as an actor he makes a good lion tamer. Spillane brings in his pal - little-known tough guy actor Jack Stang - since he always wanted Stang to play Mike Hammer - but they couldn't use the Hammer name here because the rights were tied up with other producers, so Stang plays himself as well. Eventually O'Malley turns loose a man-eating tiger and everyone is in danger of being eaten by the big kitty. Can Spillane solve the mystery before the lunatic spills any more blood?

Jack Stang hopes the audience might help him wrestle the cone
away from Mickey Spillane.

Man, that's some movie entertainment right there - watching real people play themselves not particularly well, and watching the bad guy chew on the scenery like he hasn't eaten in weeks. The script here was co-written by Paul Fix - the marshall on TV's The Rifleman - and the picture was directed by James Edward Grant with an uncredited assist from William Wellman. Also uncredited as a producer is John Wayne - if only he had cameoed, this might have been an absolutely essential flick. As it is, it's still some finely overwrought melodramatic nonsense done to a T in very widescreen and Technicolor, and it is well worth a watch for those so inclined.

Zipperface (Shiman Productions, 1992)  In a non-descript looking Los Angeles, a crazed serial killer terrorizes the nights. Unfortunately, due to the bondage headgear he wears, he is stuck with the name Zipperface, and I think people's reactions when he introduces himself are the reasons he kills... 

Meet Zipperface. Stop laughing.
 A lady cop (I'm not naming the actors in this flick - most, if not all, only have this movie on their resume - so let's save them the embarrassment nearly twenty years later...) ahem. Excuse me. A lady cop is assigned to the case with her older male partner, and they soon find themselves embroiled in the kind of murder case where everyone they meet has undercover connections to each other and/or secrets to hide, meaning any of them might be the psycho. Who could it be, and what will it take to make him stop killing night after night after night...?

Man this movie bites. Make up your own joke.
 Simply put, this is a lousy shot-on-video serial killer flick starring no one famous and used to pad the broadcast day on Showtime in the mid 90's where somehow it ended up in my collection by having the incredible luck to air right before a "Roger Corman Presents" movie I was capturing with the VCR timer.
 I set that sucker an hour and a half earlier, and now I own one of the worst slasher movies ever made! Awesome! In any case, there are no cool character actors, there's no gore, and there's only a smidgen of nudity showcased here; and as a result not a lot of hook to hang your entertainment hat on . The cheap look of the videography puts the final nail in this thing's cinematic coffin and leads me to zip this one up with a loud SKIP IT!

And that's as far as I'm going with this post. Everyone take the rest of the night off too, and always remember... Zipperface really sucks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fieval Destination!

Final Destination 5  (New Line, 2011)

Before the Camera:

Nicholas D'Agosto  (Psycho Beach Party)
Emma Bell  (Frozen)
Miles Fisher  (Superhero Movie)
Ellen Wroe  (3 TV guest spots and 1 short film - first feature!)
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood  (TV's The Bold and the Beautiful)
P.J. Byrne  (Horrible Bosses)
Arlen Escarpeta  (Friday the 13th '09)
David Koechner  (Piranha 3DD)      <-----I invaded the set of that one!
Courtney B. Vance  (Ambushed)
Tony Todd  (Final Destination)
as Bludworth

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Steven Quale

Produced by Craig Perry & Warren Zide and 6 other assorted executive, line, associate and co-producers

Written by Eric Heisserer

Based on characters created by Jeffrey Riddick

    I cannot deny it. I like sequels. Or perhaps I should say I like the idea of sequels. I certainly don't like all the sequels out there, and there are movies that I don't want to see any -quels for, like oh, say 1982's The Thing (I'm looking at YOU, 2011 prequel/requel The Thing!) And oh yeah - requel? That's my term for a supposed continuation of a movie that really just tells the exact same story again. You know, a rehash. So a rehash sequel is a requel. I have more of those "other kinds of sequel" things...someday I'll break them all down for you, but I wouldn't want to digress.
    And yet, I did.
    So, when I hear there's a third, or fourth, or even fifth or sixth movie in a series on the way - most of the time I'm perfectly happy with the idea. I lower my expectations a bit and wander in to the theater (or pick up the DVD - more likely in these direct-to-video days).
    All that said, I have not missed a Final Destination movie in the theaters, because the first one remains one of my very favorite horror movies of all time. It was a very clever flick, not a standard issue slasher or monster movie; it was well written, directed, and acted, and it featured some wonderfully scary and gory moments. I have found each succeeding sequel a step down from the previous, and after #4 - which tried to hide its position in the lineup by calling itself The Final Destination - turned out to be a very slight continuation which just barely made it past the entertainment finish line thanks to being in 3-D - still a newly returned thing when it was released in 2009 - I felt if there was a part 5 that took another commensurate step down the Quality Stairway, I might finally be finished with the series.
    Then I went and saw Final Destination 5.
    First off, it calls itself Final Destination FIVE - loudly and proudly! Point one for the movie! It has an opening disaster setpiece that barely comes in second to the series winner  - Final Destination 2's - and only because it doesn't have quite as much chain of cause and effect, but goes for more of a series of setpieces that are horrific but which stand apart from each other. I'm not even going to say what the theme of the disaster is, because if you can manage to go see this completely spoiler free you will be doing yourself a favor.
    Suffice to say, just as in the other movies from the series, there are survivors from the terrible accident that opens the film and which claimed the lives of several dozen people, and before they can even begin to put their lives back together, Death - which has been cheated by their survival - comes a'calling, with gleefully graphic and nasty "accidents" that are positively Rube Goldberg-ian in their intricate complexity. Can anyone defeat the specter of Death when it returns to draw you into its lethal tapestry with whatever happens to be laying around at any given moment?

Does death even come in human form for this fifth go-round?

     If you haven't guessed it yet, I thoroughly enjoyed FD5 - it was a very cleverly written series entry, well directed and shot in native 3-D, with the third dimension utilized for a lot more terrifically gratuitous in-your-face grue than the previous entry managed. The actors are a mixed bag, as often happens in movies like this, but I'd say everyone is at least adequate for their roles, with old pros Koechner and Vance helping a lot. Thanks to second lead Miles Fisher, I spent a few minutes thinking about the studio contract player days, when the studios would hire not-quite-as-talented actors and actresses who were lookalikes for their big box office draws, then threaten their stars with replacement if they got out of line. If that system was in place now, Miles Fisher would be serving double duty as the B movie Tom Cruise and the B movie Christian Bale! 
Miles Fisher, Bale-ing on the left
and Cruise-ing on the right.

     Of course series regular Todd, who sat out part 4 and only did a vocal cameo in 3, returns here to give his third dose of menacing exposition as the ever-mysterious Bludworth, though his scenes did feature him saying two things I had minor quibbles with - one less so after seeing the rest of the movie and one more so after seeing the rest of the movie. But that's all I can say about that. If you've seen the movie and want to compare notes about these two things comment with an email address and we'll discuss it "off camera," so to speak. To wrap this one up - the death sequences are positively squirm inducing, and I'm going to say three words to give you an idea what I mean - we won't call this a spoiler, since it features prominently in the trailer.

Laser Eye Surgery.

If you've enjoyed any of the previous Final Destination movies, even only the first one, and you're in the mood for some wicked suspense, thrills, and some graphic mayhem, shot in 3-D and not added as an afterthought in post production, you should definitely go to the theater to see this one. You won't be sorry that you did.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

Seems like I might have heard it on the bridge...stand by for updates...

Eye Candy ?

Yes, for her nerd glasses and for wrapping her willowy body in a succession of short skirts and fetching hosiery, welcome Jacqueline MacInnes Wood to the list!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Final Destination 5 happily won't be the
disaster escaped in Final Destination 6!"

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #30!


TerrorVision  (Empire Pictures, 1986)

I've always liked this purposely goofy flick from the heyday of Charles Band's Empire Pictures, with a great cast and scads of 80's-ness!

Destination Inner Space  (Feature Film Corporation of America, 1966)

The movie's not bad, and it's got a pretty cool monster suit, so what more do you need?

The Bees  (New World Pictures, 1978)

I haven't seen this one, but oh boy do I want to - released by Roger Corman's company, in that magical span 1977-1980, and starring that trio! How have I missed this over the years?

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 8/13/11

Who cares what picture we see?

I'm not sure if John Candy would or not, unless it was one of those "finer nudie pictures...from Sweden!" But this week marks the one year Blogoversary for Let's Get Out of Here!, and way back in post #1 there was a reprint of the very first movie review I ever wrote, which was published in my local newspaper!

So let's wrap up a celebratory week here with the same movie:

I went to see this movie in the theater, not expecting much, although it did have that guy I liked from TV's Bosom Buddies, and that girl I thought was so sexy in Blade Runner. But then I saw it, and I absolutely loved it - it was funny, and romantic, and it featured one of those perfect fantasy girls I liked to daydream about in school.

I was such a fan of this movie I tried to rent it to watch again on the first day it came out at my local video store - where they knew me so well I just kind of fell into working there a couple of years later - but the movie was already rented by a guy who worked at the local supermarket. And of course, in those days when the purchase price for a rental copy was $70-$80-$90, you know the store only had one! Well, I dutifully waited for him to return it two or three days later - whatever the rental period was in those early VHS days - and on the day it was to return - he didn't bring it back! I couldn't believe it!

And now you're not going to believe it - but this is absolutely true: From the video store I drove over to the grocery store where the guy worked and cajoled him into giving me the keys to his trailer, where I went and retrieved the tape, then took his keys back before taking the tape back to the store to rent it myself! And he went along with it! Does that tell you how small a town I lived in? And that this was several years ago?

I also managed to glom onto a life size poster of Madison the Mermaid from the same video store - as they had almost no room to display such things. It filled the wall at the head of my bed for a good long while - here is what it looked like:

Wow, I wish I still had that poster - and six feet of open wall space to hang it on!

In any case, the 20th Anniversary DVD version of Splash sits near at hand, ready to watch at any time - even, say, tonight? Should you decide to come over, that is.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Yes, the very first post in this crazy compendium of pop culture nattering went online on August 11th, 2010!!!

Happy Birthday to Let's Get Out of Here!

I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a quick trip into the Video Vault of Mora Tau for this little number...

Isn't that amazing! They slur a bit on the "Let's Get Out of Here," but otherwise a wonderful tribute from the Fab Four!

I'm not sure a blog can be considered "human," but thanks for the sentiments!

Uh...okay...thanks, computer generated Roddy McDowall-as-Cornelius!

Now let's break the first year down...by the numbers...

Across 234 posts, this blog has featured the following:

Movie Reviews: 118

TenLists: 19

Book Reviews: 11

Random Stewpots: 8

Video Clips: 57

Features: 12

Saturday Night at the Movies Poster/Trailer combos: 32

Mondays' Maniacal Movie Posters: 84

Set Invasions: 1


Celebrity Endorsements: 1

Now Let's Get Out of Here!

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

If you want to live, better let the machine get it...

Don't Answer the Phone  (Crown International Pictures, 1980)

Before the Camera:

Nicholas Worth  (Swamp Thing)
James Westmoreland  (Stacey)
Ben Frank  (Hollywood Vice Squad)
Flo Gerrish  (Superchick)
Denise Galik  (Humanoids from the Deep '80)
Stan Haze  (Alligator)
Gary Allen  (The Hudsucker Proxy)
Michael D. Castle  (Galaxina)
Pamela Jean Bryant  (Scorpion)
Ted Chapman  (Bananas)
Chris Wallace  (New Year's Evil)
Dale Kalberg  (Scavenger Hunt)
Tom Lasswell  (Free Willy)
Don Lake  (Super Mario Bros.)
Gail Jensen  (Future Zone)
Victor Mohica  (Diplomatic Immunity)
Paula Warner  (Shampoo)
Susanne Severeid  (Van Nuys Blvd)
Hugh Corcoran  (The Manitou)
Corinne Cook  (Malibu Hot Summer)
Peter Fain  (The Cycle Savages)
David Osterhout  (Private Duty Nurses)
Jon Greene  (Maniac Cop)
Chuck "Porky" Mitchell
Sam Gluckman

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Robert Hammer

Produced by Michael D. Castle, Robert Hammer, and Michael Towers

Written by Robert Hammer and Michael D. Castle

Based on "Nightline" by Michael Curtis

From the heyday of the Post-Halloween Horror Boom comes this seamy entry, with top billed cop Lt. Chris McCabe (Westmoreland) taking a back seat to killer Kirk Smith (Worth). We start off watching Smith showing us he's a hands-on kind of killer, as he forgoes the blades wielded by so many of the screen psychos of the time and strangles his first victim, a nurse who made the mistake of not listening to the title when her mom calls. 
The first victim (Dale Kalberg), showing the kind of
contempt for buttons that can get you hired for a movie,
and the kind of contempt for cautionary movie titles
that can get you killed in a movie.

After that we crosscut between watching Smith as he lines up, stalks, and then kills his victims, and police duo McCabe and Hatcher (Frank) as they investigate the murder of the first girl in the rather slow and methodical way these things were done before forensics went super high tech and editing went CSI-showy. Smith eventually sets his sights on radio psychologist Dr. Lindsay Gale (Gerrish), who also just happens to be consulting on the serial strangler case being investigated by...yep, you guessed it - detectives McCabe and Hatcher. And even as the two plots bump into each other coming and going, bad ol' Kirk Smith is leaving a string of throttled bodies across the city. Can the madman be stopped before he strangles again?

Nicholas Worth moments after being told there wouldn't be a "The Phone's
Still Ringing: Don't Answer It 2"

Wow - this is horror at its most sordid - the kind of movie that prompted the phrase "I wanted to shower after I watched that movie" to spring up. 1980 was a pretty good year for this kind of movie, as the equally squalid Maniac came out that same year. But DAtP is nowhere near as graphically nasty as William Lustig's opus - there is a fair amount of nudity, and some violence here, and a lot of it is violence against women - but it's not buckets of blood and money shots by any means. On the negative side, it's not a thrill a minute; it truly does have some distasteful moments; and it must be said that none of the characters come off particularly likable, even the ones you're supposed to like.

Not like this.
Nonetheless, thanks to a locations list that must have read like a skid row tour schedule (see pics),

Like this.
a mise en scene that works overtime going for the grimy, and especially actor Nicholas Worth, who pulls out all the stops playing this character, this ends up a movie that rivals Maniac for sheer sweaty sleaze. Add in killer Kirk's lengthy monologues showing off his misogyny and racism and you have a movie that probably could not be made today, and perhaps a movie you might think shouldn't have been made in 1980. But one-shot filmmaker Robert Hammer brings something to the table that makes this a watchable example of a true grindhouse flick, and it garners a slight recommendation based on that and the late Nicholas Worth's committed performance. So, if you don't mind a bit of a cinematic wallow, by all means check this one out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At roughly 1:10:00, James Westmoreland no longer cares for the company of Chuck "Porky" Mitchell. And at approximately 1:15:00, James Westmoreland feels bad they harassed the mousy toy salesman.

Eye Candy ?

There are some attractive women in his flick, and to offset the squalid nature of the movie I will bestow Eye Candy status on one cast member in celebration of all the lovelies in the cast - welcome aboard Pamela Jean Bryant!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says: "Don't Answer the Phone makes its
connection, but there is a little static on the line."

Yep, you pegged that one, BM. And until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #29!

And we are back to blissful, blissful randomness...

The Night Walker  (Universal International, 1964)

This one kind of creeped me out a bit as a kid - when Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? started the "older actress horror film" craze in the 60's William Castle contributed two entries - this one and Strait Jacket starring Joan Crawford. Both are over the top melodramas but both also have eerie moments.

Land of Doom  (Manson International, 1986)

I haven't seen this Mad Max/Road Warrior ripoff...yet...

Game of Death  (Columbia Pictures, 1979)

Oh boy! Shades of Ed Wood! Six years after the death of Bruce Lee, his unfinished final film The Game of Death was finished...sort of. Taking a whopping 11 minutes and 7 seconds of the 100 or so minutes shot Game of Death (chopping off the "The") features a couple of doubles acting out new scenes, interspersed with Lee's fighting scene footage. This jawdropper was finally released in America in 1979. The original film was to have a very simple story of Bruce Lee's character being recruited to battle his way through a pagoda with increasingly more difficult martial arts opponents on each level of the 5 story building, trying to reach a unidentified final goal on the top floor. (This does of course mean that Bruce Lee managed to invent the 1980's video game before his untimely death). The only non-Hong Kong actor in the original was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a student of Lee's playing the 5th level opponent.

When Game of Death was finished, it was a hodgepodge about a martial arts actor named Billy Lo (Lee and several "doubles") who is nearly assassinated on set by a mob headed by Dean Jagger and Hugh O'Brian. Eventually Billy fakes his death, allowing for disguises like sunglasses and beards to try in vain to make you think you're still watching Bruce Lee instead of guys who rival Ed Wood's wife's chiropractor's resemblance to Bela Lugosi in their ability to stand in for Lee. Somehow they got a couple of Academy Award winning Best Supporting Actors (Jagger and Gig Young) to be in it, and John Barry did the musical score! Despite this, Jabbar refused to come back for the reshoots so he is also doubled, and nearly as poorly.

The film reaches its nadir when they have an actor sitting before a mirror and superimpose a still picture of Bruce Lee over his face for a moment. Here's what it looks like, though you have to imagine the absolute stillness of the picture and the actor's twitches and little movements that further give this shoddy excuse for an effect away:

Wow. I'm ashamed for them.

I've gone on long enough about this one - after all, I'll be properly reviewing it at some point, I'm sure!

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

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 8/6/11

Who cares what picture we see?

Rip Torn would give a rip, and he wouldn't be torn - when he wants us all to get in on the action - it would be this one...

Video removed - and no one else has put the trailer up. I'm leaving the post up with this movie because I really like it - maybe I'll be able to put the trailer back up one day.

Now this is one heaping helping of 80's style action! It's one of my faves from the decade - I mean, look at that cast! I would watch anything starring any one of them - here's all five in one flick!

And this choice balances our last few Blu-Ray picks - as this one resides in the video vault in VHS form only, just like the poster says...and it's ready to be popped into the VCR at any time - even tonight, should you decide to come over and watch a movie with me!

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

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Know Where the Hell Matt Is!

Sometime back in the depths of history - like around 2008 or so - someone sent me a video link. It was on MySpace. Now do you understand how long ago I'm talking about? ;) The link was to a video that was at that time burning up bandwidth all over the internet. I'm usually a little iffy on these, but I decided to give this one a look. Here is what I saw:

Now, I don't know if you already seen that several (dozen?) times or if that was your first viewing - but I have to tell you, without getting too sappy - this video really made me happy. I immediately found this Matt guy pretty engaging with his very distinctive dance that wouldn't make Astaire or Kelly look over their shoulders and sweat, but which was nonetheless fun to watch as he seemingly set foot in every corner of the earth, and sometimes above and below it. I watched it a few times over the next few months, and then instead of moving on to other things, my usual MO with these things, I found myself going back to it once a month or every six weeks or so.

The array of places visited by Matt awakened in me a renewed sense of wanderlust, and seeing all those disparate people coming together and just living in the moment and dancing made me a little hopeful. (I did say I wasn't going to get sappy, right? D'oh!)

(There is another video, by the way: an earlier one that is more just Matt dancing alone in various places. Don't get me wrong, it's cool - and he does manage to appear in some amazing spots - but it's the second one - bringing in others to dance with him and share that simple joy - that really works for me.)

After a while, I checked out his website wherethehellismatt.com, and eventually ordered his book, which chronicled his adventures travelling the globe and shooting his videos. I was at that moment just finishing up a horror movie script for some producers and the script format was large in my mind when I asked Matt to inscribe it to me.

And that seemed to be that. I still watch the video occasionally, not as often as I did that first year. I also hadn't actually read the book - my wife, the wondrous Suze says I'm far too into delayed gratification for my own good, especially as I get older. Then, out of the blue, the weekend of July 23rd, 2011, I get an email in my inbox - here is what it said:

Where the Hell is Matt is coming to Fayetteville, North Carolina!

If you're getting this email, you've either written to me or signed-up

on my site to be notified when I'll be in your area. Well, I'm coming

to North Carolina to include it in my new dancing video. This is an

invitation to come out and join me.

In this new video, I'm actually learning how to dance, so I'll be

showing some easy moves and asking people to follow along. But don't

worry. I'm still not very good at dancing so you don't have to be

perfect either. Just remember to smile and have fun.

Dancing Event Info:

PLACE: Fayetteville Market House

DATE: Wednesday, July 27th

TIME: 6:30pm

Here's a Google map of the location:


The photo at the bottom of this email shows exactly where to meet. You

can also view the image here:


I know Fayetteville is a small town and kind of far for a lot of you.

We looked around to find a suitable spot to dance and this one ended

up at the top of the heap, despite being out of the way. I understand

if you can't make it, especially on a weekday evening and with short

notice, but I hope you can find the time.


If you want to pass this around to friends, there is a Facebook event

page with all the information included in this email. You can view it



Meet-up Info:

When you get to the spot, look for the guy who looks like the guy in

the dancing video. Just come on over, say hello, and ask if I am Matt.

If I'm not Matt, I will let you know.

Before we dance, I will need to get your legal permission to appear in

the video. I'll shout some legal-sounding stuff on camera and you can

just nod and give me a thumbs up if you're okay with it. Kids under

18, please bring a parent or guardian, or at least bring a photo of

one of their thumbs to hold up (just kidding, don't do that)

I can't guarantee the clip we shoot will end up in the final video.

There will be a lot of footage to choose from and some of it will not

be used.

Wearing distinctive clothing will make it easier to spot yourself in

the video, but please do not dress as a licensed character (Mario,

Spider-Man, Sarah Palin) or I will have to blur you and that will make

everyone think you showed up naked or something. Also, please do not

show up naked.

After the event, I'll be selling shirts and books. The T-shirt says "I Danced

With Matt" (so you'll have proof) and the book is about the travels

that went into making the previous "Where the Hell is Matt?" videos.

Everything is $15. Cash only, please. You can also view and order both

items here:


You're welcome to bring your own camera. After the shoot, I'll stick

around for as long as anyone is waiting. I'm happy to dance with you

in your own picture/video, so don't hesitate to ask, but I do request

that you wait until we're finished shooting because I'll be very busy

until then.

If you can, please click "I'm Attending" on Facebook if you plan to

attend, so we have a rough

idea of how many dancers to expect. If you're not on Facebook, don't

worry about it. You're not missing anything.

We're planning to put the final video up on the Internet before the end of 2011.

Want Matt to Come Dance With Your Group?

I'm trying to include all sorts of dances with all kinds of groups

this time, so if you or someone you know is part of a dance group that

is willing to meet up and perform with me, please reply to this email

and I'll see if I can fit it into the schedule. I may not be able to

set something up on this visit,

but if it's a really great opportunity I may try to get in touch with

you later on.

Please understand, though, that my schedule won't allow me to meet up

with everyone, as much as I'd like it to.

Okay, that's everything.

I look forward to dancing badly with you!


Sad as it is - the very first thought to cross my mind was "hoax?" But eventually, I couldn't see the profit in it, so I decided it must be real. I mentioned it to Suzie, who is also a fan of the video. I didn't know if she'd be interested, as Fayetteville is a couple of hours' drive away, and this was a "school night" as we call the evenings through the work week. But she jumped in - raring to go! So, I made plans by taking off a half day so we could have time to get up there. Suzie couldn't get coverage to take a half day, but she managed to schedule an hour off - and on Wednesday July 27th off we went!

The drive was pleasant and uneventful - and we arrived at the spot - the Fayetteville Market House - about a half hour early. Suze and I walked around the area a bit, but it was very hot, so by 6:10 or so we settled in under the shade of the open area of the market house.

Market House, Fayetteville NC

Already present was one couple, an older gentleman, and one younger guy off to the side. After we had sat down the older gentleman introduced himself as Alex and started chatting everyone up - asking where they were from and the like. As we chatted, over the next 10 minutes or so another dozen people arrived, and then in the next five minutes probably double that stepped into the Market House too.

We were joking that it was a hell of a punk if it was a trick, but then, at almost exactly 6:25, Matt Harding came strolling in to the Market House.

There the hell is Matt!

Everyone gathered around as he thanked us all for coming. He had brought his pal Ray to shoot the video - something he hasn't always done, relying on strangers standing nearby to shoot his dancing sequence for him. As Ray walked around the Market House on the opposite sides of the circle street, looking for a suitable spot to shoot from, Matt told us what we'd be doing: dancing! Surprise! Actually he did lay out the rules - the biggest of which was everyone was welcome to appear on camera or watch from the sidelines, but if you chose to be on camera you had to dance. He said he'd done clips where 99 people of 100 would be flailing away, and the 1 not dancing would invariably draw the eye, suck all the life out of the shot, and kill the clip. Luckily we had a good group, and nearly everyone was ready willing and able to...well, maybe not dance, exactly, but try to dance, anyway!

Ray's on the neat portable ladder;
Matt advises from street level.
Ray got set up with the sun at his back, so the prevailing light would be directly on us. (That this also increased the already unpleasant heat bothered us not one bit!) It took a little while to set up, but Matt kept us entertained by mostly hanging with us and riffing on what we were going to do. One problem we had was that the Market House is surrounded by a fairly busy traffic circle, so throughout we were trying to time our dance shots for the moments when there were no cars around. Surprisingly, the longer fifty people dancing were there, the more the traffic increased...I wonder why that was?

Finally it was time to shoot! We had agreed for the first go-round to simply try to do his signature move - which I'd tried at home after a rewatch of the video, ending up with an Epic Fail. However, an evening or two earlier that week I came home to find Suze pulling it off flawlessly, and with her guidance I was already armed with a decent reproduction of The Dance by the time we got to Fayetteville.

We completed that first shot, and Matt took suggestions as to what else we might do. The one thing we did not try that had been suggested and liked was for the crowd to hide around the pillars and supports of the open air market house, then run out into shot to join Matt. I think the multiple levels around the outside scared Matt off - as having fifty people boiling out into shot on three different levels would inevitably have lef to someone crashing and burning. We did have one fall, but she jumped back up with alacrity and I'm not sure Matt even knew it had happened - wonder if he'll see it in editing?

We ended up doing five or six different shots with different dances. I will leave out descriptions of the rest, so that if the clip makes it into the video, perhaps the mad moves we all demonstrate will be a massive surprise for the viewer...

Here are some crappy cell phone pictures of the shoot:

The crowd X 3

Suzie in her dancing finery.

The Man of the Hour, ready to boogie.

The T-Shirt logo.

After we'd finished, Matt told us that while Ray did some huckstering on T-shirts and books, he would be happy to take pictures or videos with anyone who wanted them. We purchased two T-shirts, and then joined the line for pics and vids with Mr. Harding. There were so many people Suze and I didn't want to monopolize the man, so although I mightily wanted a video of the three of us dancing, we settled for a couple of pictures, these taken with Suze's real digital camera. She'd slid into her souvenir shirt as well; Matt and I were making do with our dancing shirts, complete with 90+ degree NC summer sweat stains...

After the pics, Susan and I headed back to the car for the two hour drive back to Wilmington.

We had a great time - and we're thrilled that we might be spottable for a split second in the third Where the Hell is Matt? video if our clip makes the final cut - yeah, not a lot of 'ifs' there! But we had a good time nonetheless. We danced with Matt, and we know where the hell he is. That's plenty.

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