Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/31/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

For my money, Ted Danson would on most days, so this will be the pick for this week:

Saw this one in the theaters thanks to a pal with a driver's license (Dave - you da man!) and loved it from first frame to last. Five stories inspired by the old EC comics and marshalled to the screen by the dream combo of George Romero and Stephen King aided and abetted by a wonderful cast and crew! I've watched it dozens of times since - and I'll add another to that count any time - even this very evening, if you wanted to trek over and chek it out with me!

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

PSA A Go Go 8/29/13!

In the interests of serving the public through an announcement - LGOOH and artist Rob Kelly bring you the following:

After all, you know the man who played every police inspector in every Universal Studios Monster Movie has your best interests at heart, right?

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #130!

Fighting Dragon vs Deadly Tiger  (aka Call Me Dragon) (Fury Films Ltd, 1982)

This chopsocky effort was filmed in 1974, waiting eight years for a retitling and a US release. I'll bet it was totally worth the wait, too. Mr. Lee and Mr. Chiba probably weren't too worried, either.

Enter Laughing  (Columbia Pictures, 1967)

I haven't seen this Carl Reiner comedy, but I like Carl Reiner, so I'd probably enjoy it.

Survival Run  (aka Spree)  (Film Ventures International, 1980)

I had the chance to watch this on Showtime back in the day - and I think I had it on while I did something else in my room - but I can't really say I've seen it. Now of course I really want to.

And that makes a hat trick for this post - three for three, three I did not see.

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/24/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

Myron Healey would, dammit...he would! So here is the choice:

I have gone on record previously saying this movie is underwhelming - but as time passes - I am forced to admit a great fondness for it after all. It's chintzy and goofy and cheaply made - but the idea is gruesome, and the effects by young Rick Baker are pretty awesome. That's also one of the strangest movie trailers ever. I carp a lot about trailers that give away too much - but this one picks some weird shots trying to keep the monster's appearance under wraps in the first half of the preview - then gives up and starts showing him a lot in the second. WTH?

I had managed to glom onto a VHS copy of this - and then was astonished to hear it was coming to Blu-Ray.

Guess who bought the Blu-Ray?

We could have this one in the machine in seconds - if you wanted to prepare yourself and come over  - even tonight!

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Video Vault of Mora Tau 8/21/13!

Let's look over a choice video clip, shall we?

This blog's buddy Beverly Gray posted this week over at Beverly in Movieland about a new movie "In a World," written and directed by Lake Bell. In it Ms. Bell plays the daughter of a well known voice over artist, which led Ms. Gray to chatting about Don LaFontaine - the guy behind that portentous voice heard in scads of movie trailers often featuring the words "In a world..."

Well, here's an incredible short film featuring not just Don LaFontaine, but four other very well known voices you've no doubt heard dozens or hundreds of times.

I used to watch Nick Tate when he played a supporting character on Space 1999 back in the day! Love this video!

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #129!

The Young Doctors  (United Artists, 1961)

In all honesty I might not ever see this one - but it's a cool poster - and it does feature the first feature film work (but not the last) of Dick Clark!

Bath Salt Zombies  (MVD Entertainment Group, 2013)

I have no info on this movie or its quality - but it's probably the newest movie poster I've ever featured in this column - the movie came out in February - and you gotta give the guys points from trying to ride a recent news story to movie success. Still, it's no War of the Satellites - that's the movie Roger Corman took from idea to finished film on movie screens exactly two months after the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1957!

Return of Sabata  (United Artists, 1972)

I haven't seen this spaghetti western with Lee Van Cleef - but I'm ready when it is!

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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/17/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

Conan Lee would care - no doubt in my mind. So you know it's gotta be:

Man, this has always been my kind of movie - disparate comic book character types teaming up against the bad guys. This played at the University Mall theater when the theater was still in the mall and just four screens - I wanted to see it, but it just didn't work out - and I don't know why, as I was there for school anyway in early 1986 when this played. It may have been lack of motor vehicle; not sure.

Nonetheless, I grabbed it up as soon as I could on VHS - and I quite liked it. It's not a Timeless Classic - but it's a solid hour and a half with a cool cast - Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Roy Dotrice, and the indefatigable Conan Lee. I grabbed up a copy on tape some years later for the video vault - but that VHS might be on its way out the door - because Eliminators has finally coming to DVD - and it's another bargain set with three other sci-fi action movies included! (For the record, the other three movies are America 3000, Arena, and The Time Guardians.)

If you felt like coming on by - even tonight - we could load this one up - and after enjoying the main feature, cruise on through as many of the other three as you could stand!

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrity Endorsement: Peter Jason!

Here's a guy with over 200 acting credits to his name - as perfect an example of "oh, that guy!" as ever there was. His name may or may not be known to you - but you're bound to have seen him in something - Heartbreak Ridge, Arachnophobia, Dreamscape, The Karate Kid - or dozens of  other movies - plus he's been a guest star on seemingly every TV show from the 80's or 90's.

He's also worked several times with a certain director - but I'll let him tell you about that - and his good taste in movie blogs:

Thank you Mr. Jason!

I think?

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #128!

Dracula - Prince of Darkness / The Plague of the Zombies  (Hammer Film Productions, 1966/1966)

Four movies - but still only three posters - that's like a 33% bonus! Sweet! Dracula - Prince of Darkness was Hammer's second movie in their series - and it's famously the one where Christopher Lee never speaks as Dracula because he thought the scripted lines were silly. Plague is old school pre-Romero zombies - slave labor at a tin mine; consequently, I think this Hammer flick is a bit too slow.

Trog  (Warner Bros., 1970)

I enjoyed this one as a kid on the Late Show or Sunday afternoon's monster movie - but all reports say it's actually not a very good movie. If the chance arises to see it again I will definitely give it another look.

Hillbillys in a Haunted House  (Woolner Bros. Pictures Inc., 1967)

You just know this one is going to get ranked on in every reference book and website review - but it is what it is - a silly comedy with old school country and western music, and you got John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr, and Basil Rathbone (in his next to last movie) plus George Barrows in his gorilla suit. I don't want to make a career out of watching it - but I enjoyed it when I saw it.

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

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/10/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

If I get the chance I'll ask Peter Jason if he does - in the meantime this seems WATCH to be the choice:

This was one of the 125 movies I watched in that incredible two months from mid September through mid November in Florida in 1988. I saw this one in the theater in ealry November - and thoroughly enjoyed it. I know I saw it again a year or two later on cable or VHS - and I haven't seen it since.

I did recently add the Blu-Ray edition to the video vault - and I'm all ready to chew bubblegum, kick ass, and watch this movie...and I'm all out of bubblegum and I'm a lover, not a fighter...

You could join me for that watch - and we could slap that sucker in to the player in second if you felt like joining me - even tonight!

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shark! The Herald Buddha Man Sings!

He's been missing from the blog for far too long - so let's turn this post right over to him for a little review fun!

The Last Shark   (Film Ventures, International, 1982)   I first encountered this movie under the title of Great White in 1982 – when I think Siskel and Ebert made it the Dog of the Week, and certainly when Uncle Bob Martin wrote about it in his cool Castle Fango newsletter – which was printed on the yellow wrapping paper they mailed subscriber copies in – it was his as-close-to-up-to-the-minute-as-possible column where he was a little more free to write what he wanted – as no one at Starlog Press was looking over his shoulder for this one segment. What he wrote about Great White was that Universal had successfully sued it off American movie screens where it had been having a solid if unspectacular run for two weeks.

Of course, making the movie unreachable just increased its already sky high cachet in my eyes – a Jaws ripoff, and apparently a Jaws ripoff so close to the original a US judge agreed to remove it from theater screens. I wanted to see it so bad I could taste it.

Ron "I'm not Quint" Hamer and Peter "Could be Benchley"
Benton meet Mayor William "Where's my anchor blazer"

I worked for one of the actors in it for most of the 90's. I've had dinner with its director more than once. And it still took decades, but I finally saw it.

I hope the judge from 1982 spent the money Universal gave him wisely – or spent it wildly, depending. While it certainly copies a few scenes from Universal’s franchise – and those bits are cribbed more from Jaws II than Jaws, by the by – no way could this be considered such a plagiarized copy that it should have been withdrawn as it was.

So that aside – how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

In the small American beach town of Port Harbor, trouble rises when a 35 feet long Great White shark shows up in the waters off shore, eating a couple of windsurfers as an opening salvo. It doesn’t take long for local author Peter Benton - not Peter Benchley, mind you -  (James Franciscus – imported American star #1) and local salty sea dog Ron Hamer (Vic Morrow – imported American star #2 - complete with variable Irish/Scottish accent) to start ringing the Shark Bell – but wouldn’t you know it? No one believes them, especially not the mayor, who wants to make sure the forthcoming windsurfing regatta goes off without a hitch.

Vic Morrow considered this all the rehearsal he needed. Let's roll those cameras!

After the shark gives its presence away, the town encloses the harbor area in shark proof netting/fencing and proceeds with the regatta. However, this is no ordinary shark – this is The Last Shark (Or the Great White, or the Last Jaws, whichever title it had in your neck of the woods) and it bites right through that barrier, which serves as a tasty appetizer for the main course – windsurfer tartare. Once he’s munched the regatta to pieces, it’s open season on anyone in, above, below, or near the water, because this shark proves White Sharks CAN Jump. He eats the mayor, a helicopter, a dock, and several huge pieces of chummed meat – and that’s not counting the neverending stream of youths led by Franciscus’s daughter Jenny (Stefania Girolami Goodwin – the director’s daughter and one of my former bosses in the industry on several projects) who keep trying to catch or kill him. Once he lunches on Jenny’s leg, Benton has had enough, and he sets out with Hamer for a last stand at sea. But will anything be able to stop – The Last Shark? Or Great White? Or The Last Jaws?

This turned out to be a typically entertaining Italian shark flick. Its reputation has grown a bit past its reality, but it’s got nearly everything you’d want in a movie like this, lacking only some gratuitous nudity to seal the deal – although the director’s daughter does perform one scene in a wet white shirt with no bra – which makes her screen father hard pressed to maintain his paternal parental persona. The shark is performed by a fair amount of real shark footage, especially in the early going. Finally, this fellow turns up:

No, not the nattily dressed fellow in front!

And the movie kicked into high gear, as for the rest of the running time the shark is alternately played by the big head, the real footage, and a miniature shark that I estimate to be between 12 and 24 inches long – which is just how I like Italian shark movies to do it. Director Castellari hits all the right notes with workmanlike skill – and the locations – Savannah Georgia for the town and Malta for the ocean – add visual appeal. If you like movies that certainly have an…awareness, shall we say, of movies that have come before – and you especially don’t mind when they have an aroma of fresh oregano and garlic about them – I highly recommend this flick. Of course, its rarity may mean you have to come watch it with me – but that’s fine – I can sit through it again!

2-Headed Shark Attack  (The Asylum, 2012)    The Asylum gives us another of their by-now formula creature features, this time with a side by side double headed mutant shark swimming the seas and eating twice as many people as your average movie shark! After an opening appetizer of a couple of SCUBA divers, the shark(s) take a powder to allow us time to “get to know” (read: recognize the stock character types of) our main cast. Charlie O’Connell and Carmen Electra are married college professors taking a class of students including Brooke Hogan (daughter of the Hulkster) and the requisite number of guys with post-collegiate hairlines out on a “Semester at Sea.” It doesn’t take long for the shark(s) to find their boat – and of course it is damaged in the hubbub. Now the ship’s aground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle – wait, that’s not right, that’s the lyrics to Gilligan’s Island – sorry – the ship stays offshore with Electra and two crewman attempting repairs while O’Connell and the kids explore a nearby atoll. From that point forward, like clockwork – someone goes for a swim (initially) or falls into the water (later when they know the shark(s) is/are around) where the mostly CGI beastie(s) make short work of them. Running, boating, jumping, swimming, and screaming all ensue. Who will survive and what will be left of them?

While it doesn’t break new ground or try to reinvent the wheel, this is a satisfying “chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out” flick, thanks in no small part to director Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray (son of LGOOH Fave Director Fred Olen Ray), who keeps the movie moving and wisely supplements the CGI with some big foam rubber shark heads in the attack scenes. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cinematography is crisp. Speaking of gorgeous – roughly 2/3 of the cast is nubile young women in bikinis – and we even get one scene where two nubile young women are OUT of their bikinis!

The acting is adequate – O’Connell has come a long way since his 90’s performances; Electra still looks amazing and handles her underwritten role with aplomb; Hogan is at least as good an actor as her father; and the other cast members range from okay to pretty good. Perhaps my only quibble is the lack of a veteran actor anywhere in the cast – a cameo from someone like a Jay Richardson or Corbin Bernsen – grizzled old guy on the atoll – easy exposition if needed – or harbormaster worried about the boat and her crew – something like that. It’s something that always seems to turn up in the elder Ray’s movies – Ray junior could add a little extra spice with someone like that here.

In the end this was a comfort food movie – maybe not great for you – but filling your entertainment belly pretty painlessly. If you’re inclined to enjoy such movies by all means check this one out. If you’ve grown tired of these CGI monster movies you might not enjoy this as much as I did.

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #127!

Mata Hari  (Cannon Film Distributors, 1985)

I never saw this softcore spy drama with our erstwhile Emanuelle taking on the role of the WWI spy - but I do know my movie buddy Richard watched it on HBO with his pop - if he happens by this post, maybe he'll comment his memories of it - because I don't remember what he had to say about it!

Valley of the Zombies  (Republic Pictures, 1946)

Another one I never got the chance to see - I'd definitely watch it given the chance!

Malibu Beach  (Crown International Pictures, 1978)

Now this one I DID see - a fondly remembered T+A beach movie I watched on Showtime - two points worth mentioning - the character of Dugan (James Daughton) - a jackwagon driving a sweet van - was also a character in The Van (1977) - making this a semi-sequel to that flick; and of course I have to mention the dog trained to run onto the beach and steal the bikini top from any unsuspecting female - good doggie!

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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/3/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

Gloria Hendry would I do believe. So you know that has to mean this one:

The eighth James Bond movie and the first for Roger Moore - it's the blaxploitation 007 flick - and it's a typically entertaining entry in the series. This year marks the movie's 40th anniversary as well! It of course resides in the video vault on the 50 Years of 007 Blu-Ray set - so we could be marvelling at it in hi-def in seconds - if you felt like coming over to watch it with me - even tonight!

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