Jack writes: I have always loved They Live from the first time I ever saw it. I never saw it as a treatise against greed of the 80's (I actually think the 90's were a better example of unchecked greed). I went much broader in its interpretation: all of mankind in all of time. Money is the subject most talked about by Christ in the New Testament (or second, can't remember for sure; either way, it's on up there). Money is important, but it's not the main thing. Where do we draw the line? Are we willing to sell our soul for money or power or prestige (or any combination thereof)?
For fun, if you haven't done so, read This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, both by Frank Peretti. Then watch this movie again, and it will give you a whole different perspective on this movie.
And, yes, that was a rollicking good fight scene. I think I need to get a region-free player one day when I have money so I can get the Region 2 edition and get the commentaries. Why would they go to all the trouble to produce those commentaries (or even just one) and NOT put it on the U.S. (pardon me, Region 1) edition?
I don't mean to preach at you with my missives, but my beliefs inform the rest of me and are the lens through which I filter everything. Even if you don't believe as I do, I'll at least give you a different perspective occasionally.
Noel responds: I always welcome alternate opinions! Especially on the social significance of They Live! What a rich flick indeed. While I agree the larger theme of greed applies, Carpenter, a carded Hollywood hippy, has never been shy about his fury over Reaganomics and filthy, filthy yuppies. However, I'm intrigued by the two Peretti novels you mention. I'm a great fan of the evangelical exploitation cinema (a la Thief in the Night, Judgment) and look forward to checking out Hangman's Curse, the first film translation of one of Peretti's popular Christian books.
Gary writes: I love this fight and I'm not alone. The South Park Guys took the fight scene and redid it with the crippled kids on the show. If you watch the cripple fight episode you see that it is a frame by frame homage to the fight, they even use the same dialog. This is just a fun fact I thought you'd dig.
Noel responds: Oh, those wily guys, now I'm gonna have to watch that Timmy vs. Jimmy episode again! "Wow, what a great audience."
David writes: Who are the literary equivalents of say Roger Corman or Lloyd Kaufman? I love psychotronic/B movies, but I also love extra-cheesy pulp-type fiction as well, though it's much harder to discover and learn about, etc. I've already read all the Ed Wood novels and short stories that I could get my hands on ... any other suggestions for me?? I figured that maybe people who are into B movies are into B fiction as well, and it wouldn't hurt to ask.
Noel responds: You pose an interesting question. I know of some fantastic books ABOUT such cinema, most recently Joe Bob Briggs' Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History, which would make an excellent holiday gift for any discerning film fan. There's also been a few reverse novelizations of B-flicks such as Brain Damage. I'll post your note in my letters section, so maybe our fellow CineSchlockers can offer some literary suggestions.
I took another trip to Cineschlock O-Rama and decided to share a trio of movies that I think should be in the Cinescholcker's Most Wanted. First up is Mitchell (1975), a perennial Mystery Science Theater favorite starring joe Don Baker (of Walking Tall and The Living Daylights) as Mitchell, an overweight, slobby, unkempt detective who solves his cases usually by accident (due to a low IQ). He winds up landing both smack dab in the middle of a drug deal headed by lawyer John Saxon and millionaire Martin Balsam, with aid from his butler Merlin Olsen, and a foxy hooker played by Linda Evans (the same Linda Evans who married Yanni). A truly horrible film would be made even better with a Joe Don Baker commentary (so we can find out why the hell he did this). I put in a suggetsion to Anchor Bay about this one, and decided to see what you thought. Next is Paperhouse (1989), a psychological horror-thriller from the UK. It is about, to put it in a summary from the Internet movie Database, a girl called Anna who falls ill with glandular fever on her 11th birthday. She draws a house on a shred of paper from her exercise book and falls into a dream in which the house is real. Each subsequent dream that she has is altered by the presence of whatever she adds to the picture. In her third dream she meets a boy she thinks she has created called Mark. She befriends him and their relationship becomes stonger as the dreams become darker and scarier. The UK has a rather bare bones version but no DVD in the US. The last (hopeful) inductee is Masterminds (1997), a great Die-Hard knockoff set at a prestigious school, where security chief Raif Bentley (Patrick Stewart) has taken control, planning to take the children of the 10 richest people hostage, and hold them for a ransom of $650 million. A former student (Vincent Kartheiser), who just dropped by to drop off his little sister, is trapped inside, and using his hacker skills must free the school from Bentley's grasp. These movies deserve DVDs (as my VHS copy of Masterminds is wearing out, and the MST3K DVD of Mitchell has no uncut version sans commentary).
First off...love the column. Never before have I seen a better list of truly awe-inspiringly bad movies that I so fondly remember from my days as a yard monster.
Secondly...while skimming through the 'CINESCHLOCK-O-RAMA'S MOST WANTED' I couldn't help but notice one of my all-time 80's favorites, namely Just One of the Guys.
However as much of a true classic of campy 'crap cinema' as 'Guys' is, the film cannot hold a candle to the sheer gleeful lunacy of 1986's MODERN GIRLS.
Also starring that Hero Among Men, Clayton Rohner.
In case you can't recall this one...it's a slice of life tale of the vapid, neon-colored L.A. singles scene in which two night time party dolls (quintessential 80's babes Daphne Zuniga and Cynthia Gibb) hoodwink a hapless, sweater sportin' driving instructor (The People's Rohner) into driving them to and fro under the guise of helping him look for their coked up gal pal (Virginia Madsen, adding the required 'blond' to the mix) who he somehow scored a date with earlier in the week at her job in a pet store.
But while that synopsis alone could stop most modern cinema dead in its tracks, what really cements the film's greatness is the subplot involving Cindy Gibb's character fallin' for shitty 80's British nu metal icon Bruno X, also playing by God Rohner complete with over-styled hair and fool Billy Idol accent.
All while the straight-laced Rohner gets some deep soul lovin' from the "bitchy" Zuniga in the movie's required standard/sub-standard 'true love' emotional core.
Course the "zany" slapstick-y rescue from an attempted rape in a fountain third act smackdown fills my heart with warm feelings too.
I write you all this in hopes of correcting the woeful injustice of not including the film in the famed
'Most Wanted' list alongside not only 'Just One of the Guys,' but also that other Clayton Rohner classic among the greats...'The Kid With The 200 I.Q.'
Yes, that's Rohner standing among the evil frat punks who marvel at Gary Coleman's Defender skils.
Also would like to toss out a sizeable shout-out to YET ANOTHER Clayton Rohner masterpiece, 1988's DESTROYER.
Which just happens to feature his 'April Fool's Day' co-star, Queen 80's Cult Cinema Deborah Foreman.
I know...I have problems.
Will writes: I'm a big fan of your Cineschlock column, and was excited to read in your Chiller Theatre piece that Sledge Hammer! was on the way on DVD. I really enjoyed this show, and I can't wait to see it again.
Keep up the good work, I've been reading your stuff since you used to run The Fake News. I'd also like to make a recommendation. If you haven't seen Darkwolf yet, run to your nearest video store. How can you not like a film with Kane Hodder, unbelievably bad special effects, and a completely superflous lesbian scene with the girls painted to look like werewolves?
Noel responds: The Fake News? You DO go back awhile! I'm pleased my absurdly prolific Norm Macdonald online fan zine survives today under its THIRD quite capable editor-in-chief. Who knew? Anyhoo, I too was pleasantly surprised to hear about Sledge. What a weird bit of TV that sucker is! Surely "Misfits of Science" or some Saturday morning weirdness like "Benji, Zax, and The Alien Prince" can't be far behind! As for Darkwolf, one of my DVD Talk colleagues got to that before I could, but I promise to check it out before year's end. You're among a growing list of folks who've suggested it's a can't-miss gem.
Jack writes: I have been wanting this for years. I only saw about 15 episodes altogether, but that's enough to know how great a show it was. And my father would be particularly happy, too. I remember my father telling me about one episode where McCall was talking with an alcoholic who saw demons running around doing their jobs, and who had seen hell, too. Many would dismiss that as just the rantings of a drunken stupor, but the description I heard was particularly stirring. Of course, one would have to believe in hell and satan and all that, too. So, where do we start to drum up interest in getting this out on DVD?
Noel responds: I know there was an episode of Lance Henriksen's Millennium that dealt with the daily doings of demons. Can't quite recall McCall's similar interfacing though. I'll put this in the feedback file and maybe we'll hear back from a CineSchlocker with more Equalizer mojo than us. Thankfully, my trusty TiVo snags weekly episodes from Hallmark Channel, of all places, and I think it's aired on A&E or Bravo before that. I've never had any success lobbying for DVD releases, however, I'd recommend registering and voting for your faves at TVShowsOnDVD.com (where The Equalizer has earned just 230 votes).
More Chiller chatter
Bob writes: Hey! Your photos and coverage of the CHILLER made me feel as though I'd been there. Oh, wait...I was. Saturday! I was showing my pix (well, the ones my best friend took of me meeting
Margot Kidder, Noel Neill, and Marc Singer, to name a few) around at work today, coincidentally, and to get to read your reportage this afternoon was a real treat - and thanks for supplying a link to that terrific clay miniaturist - could you believe his rendition of "Dr. Julia Hoffman?" it was only my budget haunting me that kept me from bringing her home.
Noel responds: Glad you enjoyed the piece! That Clay Guy rules! Although his bare nekkid ode to Jenna Jameson creeps me out. With Christmas just around the corner, someone should really commission Barry to make ME a sculpt of Clint Howard as the Ice Cream Man. If only I'd been a good boy this year.
Gurgle, Gurgle, Gurgle
Shannon writes: The interview with Austin Pendleton (who I swear I thought was dead, since I haven't seen him on film in a while!) was one of the more enjoyable interviews I've read online recently. Great job!
Noel responds: Thanks! I'm glad someone else out there in Internet Land appreciates Austin! I actually passed over Albert Brooks, Geoffrey Rush, Willem DaFoe and had a copy of Nemo FedEx'd to me on a Saturday just to chat with him. Did you click thru to the two MP3s? (Clip 1, Clip 2) You'll get a big kick out of those! He's as much a gentleman as he comes across in the interview. Even made a big point of inviting me to phone him the next time I'm out his way. Whata pro.
Slay bells ring ...
Davey writes: I read your review on the new Anchor Bay dvd of Silent Night Deadly Night Part 1 and 2. I noticed the running time for part one is listed as 85 minutes.
My unrated Vhs copy lists the running time as 92 minutes, is this a mistake?
My understanding is the new Dvd version is the most uncut version available. I've yet to buy the dvd, i'm having a hard time finding in stores so i will probably order it online.
Noel responds: I have a VHS release with "previously unreleased footage" from International Video Entertainment that claims a running time of 92 minutes as well. However, from first title to credits copyright, it's actually just 85 minutes, as is Anchor Bay's DVD. Now I haven't run them side-by-side, but I definitely remember alternate footage being on the DVD, typically just quick shots of harder grue. Good luck finding your copy. Whata charming holiday classick! I'd have bumped my recommendation up to "DVD Talk Collector Series" if only the original picture had a feature-length commentary.
Texas Chainsaw Cha-ching!
John writes: [Regarding column promo: "Whilst Ms. Jessica jiggles for her life in the dead-on-arrival retread ... "] Whoever was stupid enough to make this comment, must not have seen the movie. So, why make stupid comments when they come back and bite you in the ass with a number #1 ranking, and $30 Million in three days? I really like your column, but try not to put your foot in your mouth before a film is released!
Noel responds: I've long been a victim of foot-in-mouth disease, but rest assured I had indeed SEEN the flick before declaring it dead on arrival. While it's great to see any horror picture succeed, I'm certainly not a proponent of today's school that equates boffo box office with quality entertainment. To me, this Saw remake was a cut below in almost every regard, except perhaps if viewed as another quasi sequel, where R. Lee, Leatherface and Ms. Beil clearly lift it to a new level franchise wise. Just not one that offers anything we haven't beheld ad nauseum over the last three decades.
Texas Chainsaw Road Trip
Scott writes: I've been reading and enjoying your CineSchlock-O-Rama writing for awhile but finally felt compelled to write and say kudos for your Texas Chainsaw Massacre Road Trip. Great stuff. I really enjoyed it and sent the link to about 20 people. Thanks for the entertainment.
Have a great Halloween!
Noel responds: Twenty people!?! That's what I love to hear. Spread the infection far and wide! Tell ya what, pass me your mailing address and I'll send you something from the Gunnysack O' Goodies.
TexasChainsawMassacre.net's Tim Harden writes:
Thanks SO MUCH for the great article!!!! It's absolutely wonderful! I just posted a link to a copy of the article to my news section. I really enjoyed the way you wrote it, the pictures, and everything. Just absolutely wonderful. I'm seriously considering framing the copy you
gave me [which was published in The Dallas Morning News]. I really appreciate what you've done. It's priceless! If there's anything I can do for you at some point in time, please let me know. It turned out AWESOME!!!
Noel responds: I'm so glad you enjoyed the piece. I surely enjoyed writing it. Feels great to be able to give a little something back after having enjoyed your Saw site for so long now!
Legacy of laughter
Jeff Pillars writes:
I was doing a little wandering down memory lane and saw your kind words
about my dear friend, Jim Varney. I co-wrote "Ernest in the Army" and played the General.
I have wonderful memories of Jim and was pleased to see your kind words. I
thank you. And I know that somewhere, Jim thanks you.
Noel responds: You're most kind to say so. Losing anyone to an illness like that is tragic, but especially someone as creative as Jim that has and continues to give so many such joy. Congrats on Ernest in the Army. I definitely enjoyed its satirical subtext and your character was especially amusing while feeding that flame.
John writes: Howdy,...been a loyal fan for a couple of years now, before a purchase (I'll rent most anything if it looks semi-entertaining) I'll recall what you said about a particular title before plunking down the hard-earned cash. I have yet to be disappointed in a title you've recommended. Recently, your review of 'Once Bitten' got my interest piqued to see Jim Carrey as a vampire?! The result was an entertaining little Halloween flick, and as always watching to see what Jim will do next (and what has happened to his brunette girlfriend from the movie? She actually removed my attention for a few minutes from Ms. Hutton)
One last thing, Noel: I really enjoyed your convention coverage a while back. After having recently attended the Horrorfindweekend in Maryland, my first horror convention ever, I have become really interested in the convention circuit. Do you attend a lot of them, or maybe some roving Shlock reporter could attend them for you and give feedback? Just a thought, I'm sure both maintaining your top-quality reviews and doing your regular career you have enough on your plate but thought I'd mention it maybe other readers are interested?
There's just so much weirdness to Once Bitten, right? Glad you were sufficiently inspired to check it out. In college, I was among a half-dozen journalistic pups who got to sit down with Jimbo at the swank Crescent Court Hotel overlooking downtown Dallas. It was just about a micro-second before he EXPLODED into a huge, huge star as Ace Ventura. (Although I'm most partial to The Cable Guy). He practically put on a one-man show for us right there in his suite. Spontaneously bursting into operatic caterwauling. The whole schtick. Whata great guy. He and I connected as fans of Jimmy Stewart. Then I think I asked him what it was like to kiss Alex P. Keaton's girlfriend. So, you can see my interviewing skills haven't greatly improved. As for the delish Ms. Kopins, well, she did a lot of TV. I mean she hit 'em all: The A-Team, Knight Rider, Riptide, The Fall Guy and even a short run on Dallas as a Washington temptress who could've deep-six'd Bobby and April's wedding if she really wanted. Don't ask me how I know that.
As for conventions that'd enrapture genre nuts like ourselves? There can be only one: Chiller Theatre Expo. Accept no substitute. This Halloween, the greatness of Clint Howard, Sid Haig, David Carradine, Fred Olen Ray, Sybil Danning, Lynn Lowry, Kevin VanHentenryck, Traci Lords, Bill Moseley and countless more are due to meet and greet the unwashed masses. It'll be my third trip as a member of the leering press. Chiller's recently teamed with Fangoria as the new organizers of the mag's "Weekend of Horrors." Their first show is a star-studded ode to Freddy vs. Jason and all flicks in between.
Harry writes: From what has to be legions of "24" fans who have "intuited" from very near
the start of the first season that "Kim" was a dead-end character, I thank
you profusely for your insightful review of the second season as viewed
through her august persona!
Not only is your review well written but so very true.
My feeling for sometime now is that the writers quickly figured out that her
character was a mistake and now use her for low-level comedic relief to
break the ongoing tension of the show and a temporary, mindless respite for
Your column will become an icon for those of us who would want to see her
painful demise but would miss her terribly if that were to happen.
Could possible institutionalization by her father for her own good and the
safety of the Free World be on the horizon?
Maybe then she could break out after two years and have an affair with
Great work and very much appreciated.
Like many enduring screen sirens Kim is as vexing as she is alluring. Glad my musings weren't completely idle. You're not far off with the Sydney Bristow/Jennifer Garner angle. Well, no lesbian tongue rasslin, but I sure wouldn't put it past FOX to go all "Alias" with Ms. Bauer. That'd sure up the personal stakes for Jack a la Season One.
Elvis lives! ... and has voicemail
Stephen writes: Hey Noel, nice subversive link to Bubba Ho-Tep in your last column [For a good time call: (310) 228-3665]. I'm dying to see this and hope it gets at least some distribution outside of major centres.
Just had to throw that out there for eagle-eyed CineSchlockers such as yourself. Hard to believe Big E was right there with me in East Texas all the time. Sure sounds good on the phone. Can't wait to see the flick, especially after hearing raves for two years now. Coscarelli and Campbell couldn't be cruel to we genre hound dogs even if they tried.
Joe writes: What the [email protected]#%? How could you give The Core three and a half stars? This was by far one of the biggest pieces of garbage I've ever sat through. The script was atrocious and the acting did little to save it.
Noel responds: It's against my very being to ever let dodgy performances or writing obscure a flick's sheer entertainment value. However, neither are notable knocks against The Core, which I consider among the best big-budget B-pictures of recent memory. (And, actually, I gave it four stars.) Sorry your experience wasn't remotely the same.
May wins friends
Ricardo writes: I just wanted to say thank you for recommending "May." My brother and I (big fans of all fine garbage) rented it yesterday and we were absolutely amazed! I mean, what a great movie! So twisted, so sick and yet so intelligent and well-made. It reminded me of the early works of John Waters. The almost unknown cast and the weird and unique style more than make up for the "lightness" of the story's development. I recommended this movie to all my friends. I also recommend your column, thanks to which I also "discovered" precious little gems like "Ginger Snaps" and "Dog Soldiers," two new cult favorites that could've just been collecting dust on the lower shelves of my local Blockbuster Video. Keep up the good work, man!
The drive-in will never die!
Anthony writes: I was reading through your emails when I came across the one about the demolished theater in Dallas. Made me take a trip on the Way Back Machine. My Mother, Sister and I lived in a little town in west Texas called Lamesa during the times my Father would go off to fight in Vietnam. There is a Drive-in theater there called, well, I don't know the name and I am too lazy to look it up. It is still in operation. I spent many an evening there. I would go and play on the playground just in front of the screen while I watched the movie.
There is one movie that made an intense impression on me. It was a spy/sci-fi hybrid about some secret agent that discovered something so terrible that he completely lost all memory about it. So they recreated his childhood home to give him a safe place and proceeded to try and unlock his memory. I don't remember much about the movie, except for the premise and it's climax. Some kind of fight on-board a helicopter (I think it is in flashback and they are dosing the hero with an LSD-like drug to "open" his memories) where the bad guy screams out the secret before he falls to his death. He has vials of smallpox that he is going to release all over the world. Now that scared me then, when I was a child and the idea still scares me as an adult. I have seen the official WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations for a smallpox outbreak. They showed it in the film Virus (which I have never seen except in trailers). No one leave the area. Period. And if the local country's government can't do, others will. Way before it's time in story. However, it was your classic drive-in fodder.
I don't remember the film's name. Maybe you and your fans could help?
We went to a lot of drive-ins while we lived in Texas. I used to watch the other screens at the multiplex at Dallas Stadium (?) while everyone else in the car watched the Disney film. My parents once took us to a drive-in double bill of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and 2001, a Space Odyssey. Only in Texas! Keep up the good work.
Noel responds: I checked Drive-Ins.com and the surviving theater in Lamesa is the Sky Vue. They have a lot of great photos you'll probably really enjoy perusing. Four bucks to see Freddy vs. Jason on the big screen! Now that'll have your Way Back Machine firing on all cylinders. As for your amnesia/doomsday flick, I'm maddeningly stumped, but I'll post your letter in case one of our fellow CineSchlocker's memory is better. If not, I highly recommend submitting your description to Find That Flick at JoeBobBriggs.com.
Craig writes: Thank you for the heads up on the redhead. Definitely
an eye-catcher. I've been watching Squirm on TV
and cable for years and never saw THAT scene.
Noel responds: Just doing my sworn duty! Not only were MGM and Lieberman kind enough to resurrect some mild peepage, I think the new transfer is much more flattering for Ms. Pearcy. But I'm naturally quite partial given she's a fellow Texan.
House of 1000 Snores
I generally agree with you on your reviews. They're always insightful and specific, without giving away too many plot points. But your review of "House of 1,000 Corpses" was way off. Did we see the same movie? Because the movie I saw was the lamest horror movie to come out in at least a decade. Seriously, the most entertaining part of this DVD was the trailer for "May", which was an exquisite movie that didn't get a major release, but was 100 times better than Zombie's piece of garbage.
To me, a horror film should first make you care about the people involved. To this day, "Dawn of the Dead" is my favorite horror movie, because Romero spent time developing the characters before unleashing the horror. The characters in Rob Zombie's movie were so one-dimensional they were almost transparent. Also, I found nothing "visceral" about this movie. A lot of strobe lights, split-screens and cackling is annoying, not visceral. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was an unnerving experience, because it was so incredibly lo-fi, you felt you were experiencing it for real, like a documentary. I think you're doing a disservice, recommending this movie. I wasted 4 dollars on it, and I'm telling everyone I know to give it a wide berth. It's not even worth 4 cents. I feel embarassed for Sid Haig, Karen Black and Michael J. Pollard. They all deserve a lot better than this, and so does the audience.
Your opinion is certainly shared by many. I don't find my House review particularly glowing, but I do find the flick noteworthy and stylistically interesting within the context of today's horror scene. Mostly, as maybe I should've emphasized more, for its characters and its aggressive attitude. However, being the polarizing slice of cinema (or [email protected]#%) it's been for moviegoers, we'll just have to disagree. Where we can lock hands is around the May pole, so I'll gladly remind you of my 5-star review for that unexpected gem. Looks like we'll next see Ms. Angela Bettis in The Toolbox Murders remake with May writer/director Lucky McKee as the killer! How bizarre that, even has we're in such a tizzy over the audacity of a Texas Chainsaw remake, Tobe Hooper's busy retooling another '70s favorite. Anyway, thanks for sharing an alternative perspective, those are always encouraged. In fact, pass me your mailing address and I'll send you something from the Gunnysack O' Goodies.
Re: House of 1000 Snores
PWebb writes: In regards to the recent unabated bashing of House of 1000 Corpses on a certain wussified forum. Listen up you tit fed babies, you haven't seen a real $%&*ing horror movie in your sheltered lives. Readers of CineSchlock-O-Rama must know that casting Bill Moseley and Karen Black is the first of what type of material you are taking a "stab" at. If you weren't thrilled to see "chop-top" in a bleach blonde hippie wig espousing about the revolution with a "burn this flag" wife beater on, well then this picture ain't for you. For everyone who didn't like it shut the hell up, get on back to the dorm, sell your copy on your little computer or return it to blockbuster, and pay your late fees like good little sheep.
You don't belong in the HOUSE.
Guido writes from Berlin:
Do you still remember me? I am the guy with The Convent DVD problem. I solved it and I wanted to let you know my results. I ordered a second copy and now have the CANADIAN and the US release (the US is distributed by Lions Gate, the CAN by Remstar). The US DVD has TWO commentary tracks, while the CAN DVD has one commentary track (cast and crew) and a French 2.0 soundtrack. (The Lords of Hell commentary is missing on the canadian release.) The more important point is this: The commentary track on the CANADIAN release is 20 seconds out of sync with the picture and the reason is very simple. The US-DVD, for which the commentary was produced, is 20 seconds shorter -- meaning the US version is an R-rated cut of the movie missing 20 seconds and the CANADIAN release is UNCUT!!!! So the CAN DVD is superiour over the US DVD even though a commentary track is missing. I spotted the missing 20 sec and have attached a detailed list.
There may be more cuts, but the others might be hard to spot. Most are 0.5 sec to 1sec long. But for me as movie maniac it is important to have UNCUT versions of movies. It is hard for me to believe that I am the only one in the whole wide world who knows about these things about the convent!!! Let me know what you think about my list!!!
Noel responds: Excellent detective work, buddy! Especially that shot list of typical MPAA-minded trims. I was ready to blame the addition of Remstar's logo for the difference in running time. Way to go. I'll certainly share this with my fellow CineSchlockers. The distributors made matters further confusing by listing the Lords commentary and French track on the covers of BOTH releases when each is missing one or the other. Grrrrr! If memory serves, The Convent debuted theatrically in Germany, so you're certainly keeping the good will alive.
Critters 2 director Mick Garris writes: Thanks for your kind comments on my first movie. Glad to see it perceived as it was intended. ... I have yet to get a copy of the disc for myself, and haven't seen the film in many years. You make me want to watch it again.
Vampires who don't suck
Steve writes: Love the column. Have you seen Sangre Eterna (Eternal Blood)? This is a vampire flick out of Chile that I saw at the San Diego Latin Film fest this year that I thought was very cool. It appears to have been released on DVD recently. You might want to give it a shot.
Noel responds: That's one of Fangoria's foreign acquisitions and, like you, I think they might've landed a winner. Unfortunately, the US distributor has a habit of sending me movie-only screeners rather than what consumers will receive, so I hesitate to dive into a proper review. I do recommend the movie, mostly for its outrageous vampirific gore sequences. Kudos to the San Diego Latin Film Fest for casting a net wide enough for American audiences to actually SEE this flick as it was intended -- in a theater. Something that just won't happen as long as the industry insists on crowding the vapid likes of Gigli onto 2,215 screens. Imagine Sangre Eterna opening nationwide on just 15 of those!
Most Wanted double bills
Garo writes: MGM is putting out some fun double features. Gotta get that POLTERGEIST 2 and 3 DVD. But there are two sets of movies I believe they have the power to release, and hopefully they will do them widescreen. Please add these to your most wanted. They are... KING SOLOMON'S MINES and ALLAN QUARTERMAIN AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, These are the adventure films starring RICHARD CHAMBERLIN and SHARON STONE that were released in 1985 and 1986 by Cannon films. These NEED to be on DVD. Also, Lou Ferrigno starring in HERCULES and THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES. These are the sword and sandal epics where Lou battles robot monsters and the evil King Minos. There is a rip off of the medusa sequence from CLASH OF THE TITANS in THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES that needs to be seen to be believed. Also, your eyes will behold the vision of Lou battling a robot monster that looks like a flying electric razor in HERCULES. These films feature some stunning stop motion effects from the same people who brought us STAR CRASH. Oh yeah, and STAR CRASH needs to come to DVD. Marjoe Gortner and David Hasselhoff battling animated robots with light sabers and Joe (Maniac) Spinnel as the evil count out to control the universe. You haven't lived until you heard Christopher Plummer utter the classic line, "Imperial Battleship! Halt, the flow of time!" Awesome! If any studio will put this to DVD, it is BLUE UNDERGROUND. Here's hoping, and thanks for listening.
Noel responds: If I were wearing a fetching chapeaux, I'd tip it in deference to your excellent double-feature suggestions. In fact, I'll share them with my fellow CineSchlockers, because you never know WHO might be nosing around out there. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Catherine writes: I read your review of The Hitcher and I have to point out my favorite scene. After C. Thomas runs out of the diner because he almost ate a finger, watch as the 2 cops grab him and knock him face down to the hood of the car. First, they search his pockets. Then, he struggles back up to declare his innocence. They then force him back down on the hood so hard that his foot shoots up behind him and kicks the deputy on the back of the head. My friend and I LOVE that scene. Ever since then, whenever we watch a martial arts movie and someone does a kick similar to that, we always shout out "Look, he/she did the C. Thomas Howell move!"
Noel responds: Catherine, you're a gal after my own heart. Don't ever change! And don't ever see Hitcher II lest you sully that cherished Crouching Thomas, Hidden Howell memory of yours.
I wanted to thank you for turning me on to some of the greatest films that have been made. I was looking through your reviews and came across The Toxic Avenger. Where being the huge horrorfan that i am and being the fact that I've actually have never seen it. So being that you are the only reviewer (or critic) that I religiously read and listen to and actually give a rat's ass what you have to say about films, I thought I'd go rent it. Well, the only video store that carries it is over in Louisville (and my opinion is the best video store ever, www.wandwvideo.com, Ray Harryhausen even said it was one the best he's seen) Well i watched it and once again your reviews did not let me down. I plan on going to get the tox box when i have the cash.
I also wondered if you have seen a movie called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. A guy i know from horrorspeak worked on it so i rented it and it is something that seems right up your alley.
But again thank you for reviewing stuff like toxie when others probably wouldn't touch it.
Noel responds: It warms my heart to have played even the smallest role in facilitating your Toxic film experience. Especially one that led you to a fine establishment like Louisville's Wild and Woolly Video! I've only heard tell of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, but I'll certainly check it out on your recommendation. By the way, the mileage varies wildly on the second and third Toxic Avenger flicks, so much so, that Troma actually APOLOGIZES for them during the opening frames of Citizen Toxie! Yet neither is more psychologically damaging than your average Mandy Moore flick. Pass me your mailing address so I can send you a small token of appreciation from my Gunnysack O' Goodies.
Flesh on the menu
Real Cancun DVD designer Mike Quinn writes: [RE: " ... Kudos to designer Mike Quinn for sensitively capturing the film's essence by nuzzling the menu options betwixt pert American breasts."] Just wanted to say thanks for the plug in your latest column / review of the The Real Cancun. Glad you enjoyed it (though probably not as much had you seen what was originally intended to be included on the disc). It's good to see that there's someone out there who actually cares about engaging menu design (in addition to the usual ramblings about compression, audio quality, etc.) Keep up the good work!
Always glad to sling credit in the general direction in which it is due. It's a blessing not to want to STRANGLE a menu designer for once! No fair only hinting at what we missed. What's the skinny?
The way we were
Jim writes from Atsugi Naval Air Facilities in Japan: I have enjoyed reading your many tongue-in-cheek DVD reviews & interviews over the last 2+ yrs. However I don't like the new review format at all: 5 reviews every 2-3 weeks, but with only a short paragraph devoted to each title (albeit the 1st
one of the group is long and adequate). I like the old format more: 1 long
review for each DVD with categories divided under Notables, Quotables, Time
Codes, Audio/Video, Extras, and Final Thoughts. I even printed out the
reviews and inserted them into the cases for the DVDs I bought after reading
your reviews. You sure know your DVDs back then. These days, the reviews
are so short, they barely whet my appetite. I have to go to DVDVerdict.com
to get lengthier funny reviews now.
I hope more readers will feel like I do and convince you to go back to your
old style. Newer isn't always better.
But regardless, I really enjoy your reviews and look forward to more
outrageous commentaries on lesser known titles.
You've obviously put considerable thought into this and I'm truly touched that anyone, especially a member of our armed services, would so respectfully demand MORE of my ramblings! Unfortunately, I don't anticipate returning to the long-form format. Maybe sometime down the line I'll scale back to a weekly review, but for now, I'll gladly continue whetting appetites for as much schlocky goodness as I can bear to muster. Always appreciate constructive criticism, so let me offer you a small consolation prize from my Gunnysack O' Goodies. Thanks for reading so faithfully.
Double your pleasure
Just wanted to drop a line .. Something about Salon Kitty seems VERY familiar .. Oh yeah, that's it ! That cover photo looks almost EXACTLY like the one for Texas Chainsaw: Next Generation. Hmmmmmmmm
Noel responds: I bet ol' Freud would've had a thing or two to say about that! You've got an eagle eye there, fella. Thanks for bringing these twins to the attention of the class.
Name that tune
Kelly writes: I've seen "The Naughty Stewardesses" and have just enjoyed reading the review on your website. I thought the soundtrack was great -- any ideas on where I could get hold of any of Sparrow's music?
Noel responds: Not really sure. I dug a little on the net and now wonder if "Sparrow" may be the same outfit as John Kay and The Sparrow. Kay, of course, went on to Steppenwolf. Sorry I'm unable to be more helpful, however I'll post your note on my website in case one of our fellow CineSchlockers can set us straight.
Jon writes: I read your piece on American Psycho and its sequel. I haven't seen the sequel but I thoroughly enjoyed American Psycho....well up until the ending which left me completely flummoxed (sp?). Did Bateman really kill Jared Leto's character? Or was it a fantasy? Did the killing spree continue for years, or did Patrick Bateman finally get caught? The ending was so unsatisfying that I got a copy of Brett Easton Ellis' book by the same name. Unfortunately, the book's ending was very similar to the movie and it didn't answer any of my questions. I was hoping that someone would make a true sequel to finish the story of Patrick Bateman. But at this point they would never get Bale to take the role.
Noel responds: The ending stumps lots of folks. Not quite up there with the "What's in the briefcase?" quandary of Pulp Fiction, though still fun to noodle over. I prefer believing Bateman did everything, including parting Paul Allen's hair with an axe, but the '80s yuppie crowd just couldn't be bothered by such unpleasantness. They'd rather white wash and re-lease Allen's apartment, overlook Bateman's unseemly behavior or even ignore his existence entirely. The ultimate insult for poor, poor Patrick. While Mila Kunis sequel kills him off straight away for its own selfish purposes. Really wish they'd truly taken up the Bateman torch.
Shooting fish in a barrel
Blaine writes: Just after you make the classic and eagerly-anticipated by all (okay, yourself and me, anyway) THREE O'CLOCK HIGH the cineschlock-o-rama's most wanted pick, guess what was announced today? Thank you obi wan.
Noel responds: Uncanny isn't it? Just 10 days on that one. This may well be the Most Wanted's greatest year with pending captures of Squirm, Silent Night Deadly Night, The Hills Have Eyes, The Omega Man, Once Bitten, ffolkes and Soylent Green! Let's hope this run of good luck holds.
Greetings from Ogden
Ben writes: Just a bit of trivia about the school in Three O'Clock High. It's the same school used in the other schlock film, "Drive Me Crazy". It's Ogden High School, and obviously, it's in Ogden, Utah, on Harrison Boulevard. It's an Art Deco style building that was built in the late 1930's. It was slated for demolition at the time the movie was filmed there. The local buzz of the movie production brought the school to the public awareness, and after a successful campaign, the school was saved and placed on the register of historic places. All of my grandparents went to school there. I've visited all the places that were filmed in the movie, even after 16 or so years they are pretty much unchanged.
Noel responds: Appreciate for the 411 on Ogden High. Too cool about your Three O'Clock High site safari. I'm always amused by such adventures, so it's excellent to know such landmarks still exist for fans who find themselves in Ogden!
Seduction Cinema siren Julian Wells writes: I loved your review of Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde -- and not just because you described me as deliriously gorgeous (although I enjoyed that tremendously). Your writing is hilarious -- so clever. Worthy of much loftier and visible venues.
I read your review of Eight Legged Freaks and all ur other reviews and...UR REVIEWS SUCK !!!...look at Aarons and those other guys...urs is a joke in comparison..u review them like porn movies....oooo "2 breasts...gratuis urination....balh...blah"! Be more serious man!
Queen for a day
Kathy writes: OK, you've convinced me to check out "Queen Kong." Sadly, Netflix doesn't carry it. Odd that, since they have a lot of movies that don't sound half as interesting. Do you have a demented source that regularly stocks shlock?
Noel responds: E-mail those Netflixers and tell 'em they'd better get with it and stock Retromedia's titles! Fred Olen Ray's been a big hero of mine ever since Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, so you can bet the farm on the man's cinematic taste. Flicks like Queen Kong and The Manster just gotta be seen. Retromedia's making that happen. Can't wait for their release of David DeCoteau's classic Nightmare Sisters which teamed scream sirens Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer. Tell you what, I'm feeling generous, so pass me your mailing address and I'll send a copy of Queen Kong and something else from my Gunnysack O' Goodies.
Jack writes: I really enjoyed American Psycho. It turned me on to Christian Bale, so to speak. I had read Mr. Ellis' first two books way back in the early 80's, but somehow missed this one. After I saw this movie, I found the book in a bookstore (good place to find a book, dontcha know), flipped to the middle, and after two paragraphs had to put it back on the shelf. As with Rules of Attraction, I'm amazed this movie wasn't pure porn. I'm not admitting to having read some really raunchy stuff in the past, but these two paragraphs far surpassed anything I had ever read, I mean would have read if I had actually read anything. Not that I did. Well, I did read Rules of Attraction, and that was pretty bad, but all of that and all of Less than Zero combined don't add up to these two paragraphs from American Psycho. Well, back to Kingpin soon.... Thanks again for all of your hard work.
Noel responds: Stout stuff indeed. Most fans of Bret's book lament the considerable punches pulled by the movie. But I truly admire what writer/director Mary Harron was able to do with the material. It's akin to the equally "unfilmable" Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas even though that's been more warmly received by fans of the good doctor. You're right to be struck by Christian Bale's often stellar performance. I especially recall sitting awestruck in the theater during that climatic voicemail confessional. Tragic that he followed the role with a muddled turn in Shaft. Thanks for writing and remember there's never shame in seeking solace among the Farrelly brothers.
Jason writes: I drove past where the old Astro Drive-in used to be in south Dallas yesterday, where I saw the opening of Predator and made-out to The Lawnmower Man. It is now a parking lot. Made me want to almost cry...and I saw a movie on TV that used to freak me out as a kid and I can't find it on DVD. I believe it's called "The Land That Time Forgot" I think it's an adaptation of an Edger Rice Burrows book, but I don't read so I wouldn't't know. Anyway it's got dinosaurs and cave people who communicate by psychic powers. You know the one I'm talking about. If it ever comes out on DVD I hope you'll do a story about it. Don't stop doin what you're doin. There are many out here that still appreciate watching late night horror,sci-fi, and undefinable crap on TV and DVD.
Noel responds: The Astro stood 30 years before that tragic concession fire sealed its fate. The loss of the landmark, especially its 140-foot screen, left such a hole in the hearts of Texas moviegoers that it made the front page of The Dallas Morning News when it was bulldozed in 1999. In the Piney Woods of East Texas, my home theater was Longview's Twin Pines, but another, the Cherokee, with its towering mural of an indian chief in full headdress made the most lasting impression even though it closed a full decade before I was born. My idol Joe Bob Briggs is right when he says "the drive-in will never die!" Even as decaying hulks and converted parking lots, their spirits live on as do the movies that called them home. Check out Drive-ins.com and its spectacular database of theaters. As for The Land that Time Forgot, we're currently out of luck DVD wise, but you can rather cheaply confirm it as the source of your childhood terror by picking up a used VHS tape on Half.com or Amazon.com. I'll keep chasing the undefinable crap if you'll keep reading.
Elite Home Video is scheduled to release "The Hand" this summer.
Thought you'd be happy to know.
Noel responds: That hadn't escaped my radar. Although, I'll wager that, rather than Michael Caine's one-armed opus, it's the 1960 AIP flick that Elite's pairing with I Bury the Living as the third double-feature of their "Drive-In Discs" collection. Still good news, eh?
Casting in Coweta
James writes: I agree with your Murder in Coweta County review. For a time, I have entertained the idea that someone needs to write a biography true to
the life of Lamar Potts. Although, if it got to the big screen, I don't know who could portray Sheriff Potts now. Maybe Billy Thornton?
You might be onto something now that Billy Bob's got his head cleared of Angelina Jolie. Heck, I only see her in MOVIES and can't think straight! But I've tastelessly digressed from your intriguing hypothetical. How 'bout recent Oscar-winning character actor Chris Cooper? Lone Star's Sheriff Deeds is certainly cut from the same stoic, tenacious, salt-of-the-earth cloth as Potts. Glad you enjoyed the review.
Benson writes: Am I the only person in the world who loves Hercules in New York? Even better, as its alternate version, "Hercules Goes Bananas"? The DVD features Ah-nold's authentic voice, but the dubbed track is what
makes this movie for me. Have you all seen this movie? Help me not to feel alone in my love for Hercules!
Buck up buddy, you're not alone. In fact, I reviewed and highly recommended the flick a couple years back. Folks who HAVEN'T seen this resurrected gem haven't the foggiest inkling as to what they're missing. I fear for Ah-nold, though, as anyone who's seen the T3 trailer will. He sounds most defeated when he grunts the line "Zeye-am obsolete model." Poor fella. Just how are we NOT going to root for a smoking-hot robochick with 360-degree pelvic rotation!? Ain't technology grand?
I don't know if this counts as CineSchlock, but Fantoma has a 4-disc set called Educational Archives. It's a collection of campy school educational films from the '40's to the '80's that deal with all sorts of topics from Drivers Ed to Sex and Drug Education. I just watched a few of them at a friend's house over the weekend and they were hilarious! Kind of like MST3K shorts without the commentary. Keep up the great work! Save the Ice Cream Man!
Noel responds: That set sounds like a certain winner! Gotta get my hands on the sucker -- in a lunch box no less. I knew Mystery Science Theater wasn't for me when they ran a reel on grocery refrigeration and I nearly had an aneurysm when those robotic urchins (beloved as they are) kept zinging over the narration. Fortunately, Something Weird Video is excellent about including terrific themed shorts on its releases. And right you are -- DO save the Ice Cream Man! Ardustry can't get to the Clint Howard classic soon enough for me. Although, it makes me nervous that I haven't spotted their Jack Frost reissue which was due last month.
Jack writes: The nutria spot was my favorite from the times I had cable and was able to catch Insomniac. I grew up in New Orleans and know that it's more inhumane to let those suckers live. Giant Rats is all they are. Nasty, mean, blech. Good riddance. I was at a friend's house, and this particular episode happened to come on. I made everyone there watch the Nutria trepanning. They were grossly (no pun intended) interested.
And I really liked The Transporter. Lots of fun. Mr. Statham rocked big time. Though I heard he hated that they used his topless shot to advertise the movie.
Anyway, thanks for your column. I always enjoy reading it.
Maybe we should lobby Pecs Statham to rid our lands of them varmints once and for all? Thanks for reading (and writing)!
Daniel writes: I have just received Night of the Living Dead: Millennium Edition and I noticed a slight blemish. I'm not quite sure if this is on all the copies or if mine is just defective, but here it goes:
The scene transition right after Harry has gotten beaten up by Ben and the zombies start heading toward the burning truck, there is like, a slight pause. It's like a piece of the beginning of the scene where the zombies are walking was accidentally appended to the end of the fight scene or something. It shows the zombies walking toward the truck in a few milliseconds, then pauses for a second, and continues playing. However, when I view this in slow motion, following the scene where Harry gets beat up is a flicker of light. I found this quite odd. I have been told that it was something like a trigger for a layer change. I was wondering if you could verify if this same thing is on all of the copies rather than just mine.
I'm fairly certain the sort of hiccup you're describing is due to one of a couple instances of missing frames. Lore is that the flick's original elements were damaged and portions lost during a flood, which unfortunately made a 100 percent restoration impossible. Hence the jitter. Besides, every CineSchlocker knows the frame-by-frame feature is STRICTLY for perusing errant nekkidness.
Va Va Va ... HUH!?
Hey, this is probably the lamest email you will get today...
But a buddy of mine got a reply from you, so I thought I would shamelessly petition for one.
Not to be accused of sending email with absolutely no informational content, I do believe One Million Years BC is now on DVD - no wait, that was Caveman (1981), I get those two confused all the time.
Noel responds: Readily confusing a buckskin'd Raquel Welch with SHELLEY LONG isn't something I'd recommend confessing to random internet yokels like myself. You'll probably find yourself getting a lot of "alternative" spam for testosterone supplements -- or worse. So let's pretend this conversation never happened.
How is the weather?
Big AG writes:
Would you happen to know the name of the song that Ernest sings in Ernest Goes to Camp. I am not sure the name of it but I really like the song.
Noel responds: It's either the '60s hit "Happy Together" by The Turtles, or one of the half dozen songs written for the flick by Alice and Shane Keister. Probably "Gee I'm Glad It's Rainin." Incidentally, Slam Dunk Ernest is scheduled for an August release!
Web surfers routinely express their enthusiasm for CineSchlock-O-Rama's fugitive flick picks:
Blaine writes: i can NOT believe my astonishment at stubmling across your fantastic web site/column/heaven-sent "most wanted" list"! i think we may just be twins seperated at birth, given the incredible similarites of movies on our respective "most wanted" lists... wow! i mean "meatballs part II"? easily one of the most underrated movies to come out the 80s - i dream of that sucker finally making its way to dvd! and "ice cream man" with uber-god clint howard? please - that is primo quality stuff there! a full column on "ernest" movies - wow... a man after my own heart. finally - "bill" - i even forgot (burned?) that movie from my memory - now i'm scrambling to find a VHS copy to watch again... unbelievable - thank-you so much for such a wonderful treasuretrove of memories!
I have been doing some hard research in my spare time for (in my opinion) some important and beautiful B-rate movies on DVD. I am beginning to find more people who are sick of the current movie industry and are looking to the vintage shelves for movies with a different atmosphere. Ones that are not limited to VHS format. Your website gave me alot of hope, especially with the words "Victory over VHS Oblivion." Yours is the only one to really hit the nail right on the head! ... Thanks for seeking the lesser known B-rate gems for the format of DVD salvation!!
Kevin writes: What, no Suspiria review? I caught this on Sci-Fi the other night (or should I say very early morning) and was surprised to see no CineSchlock-O-Rama mention....Surely this is worthy of a belated review...
Noel responds: Oh, there's HUNDREDS of such discs that certainly fit my milieu. Far too many to keep up with, actually. In fact, at the first of the year, I restructured my column in an effort to touch on more titles each month. As for Suspiria specifically, well, Dario's much too much of an ar-teest for my everyday tastes, but I do enjoy his work and that of his Italian colleagues. Good to see the Sci-Fi Channel featuring Argento even in the wee hours!
Murder in Coweta County
Susan writes: I'm so glad you liked this movie. It was filmed in my hometown of Griffin GA my senior year in high school. The scenes in the old country church were filmed in my church. I must say that Johnny Cash was much nicer and infinitely more gracious than Andy Griffith (where is Aunt Bea when you need her?)
Noel responds: I saw one of what may be Johnny's last concerts at the historic Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas. Hung out at the stage door to get his autograph and, like you say, Johnny was everything you'd want him to be. What a class act! Being a huge Mayberry nut, I'll just plug my ears about Andy being a crab. You're right, though, Bea would've snapped him into line. I'll have to get out to Griffin sometime. Would love to get my photo taken in front of the courthouse and other "Coweta" landmarks.
Most Wanted sighting?
Dave writes: I was checking out your new "Most Wanted" and I am happy to say that COMBAT ACADEMY is (was) on DVD! It was pressed by Top Ten Media in Asia. It's Dolby Digital, AC-3 5.1, and ALL REGION COMPATIBLE (catalog number: TDVD-0038)! If you are not familair with Top Ten Media, they are an absolute favorite of mine. They have pressed such memorable titles as Girls Just Want To Have Fun (before the US version), Fraternity Vacation (before the US version), Angel, Avenging Angel, Combat Academy, and others. They are often found in FYE music stores for around $5.99-$7.99. Surprisingly, the picture and sound are FANTASTIC! I have looked for their website for years, but never found one!
Noel responds: I've seen those on eBay and a couple Canadian sites. I guess I should add a caveat to the Most Wanted, because I really mean for releases to be readily available to mainstream, stateside shoppers. Get lots of "Hey! It's available in Region 492" emails. But you've got some good news if they're at someplace like FYE. Haven't been able to turn it up at any of the typical online retailers, though. Keep an eye peeled.
Ricardo writes: I read your column religiously. Like you, I'm also a fan of any shlockfest that crosses my way and I consider myself a big enjoyer of what other people call "fine garbage". I recently found out that one of my guiltiest pleasures, "Xena Warrior Princess", is finally getting a decent DVD treatment. It's up for April 29th, as you know, and I just wanted to say that you are THE MAN to review it. I hope you get to.
Noel responds: Appreciate the vote of confidence. Twenty-four, one-hour episodes documenting the exploits of a towering Frisbee slinger and her perky blonde sidekick? Hard to go wrong there. Not sure I'll tackle it, though. I'm currently in keister conditioning for Jack Bauer's next case of the Mondays. But let me know what you think of the Xena box set when you get it.
Gerald writes: I resent you having placed Dr. Phibes Rises Again! into
the "Rent It" category (whereas you gave the unbearable Time Machine
remake a "Recommended" rating). It should be at least "Recommended"
for the following reasons: The scorpion scene. The sand dashboard. The snake phone. The clockwork orchestra always moving to a different beat than the
tune which is being played. The last words spoken in the movie, which have been sampled several
times in modern pop music. Darius Biederbeck's girlfriend Diana (Fiona Lewis) in her mostly
translucent nightgown, generally looking stunning. Biederbeck MORPHING into an old man (IN 1972!!!) But most of all: The fact that MGM finally did the Right Thing, went back to the
vaults and restored the original soundtrack to this movie (previous
home video versions had a different soundtrack due to rights
issues -- among other things, it omitted Vincent Price's immortal
rendition of "Over The Rainbow" from Wizard of OZ. Sorry for the rant. But this if this film isn't Schlock, what is
(besides the Landis film of the same title...).
Noel responds: An unfortunate pitfall of assigning "Ratings" and "Recommendations" is that sometimes you look like a real bonehead. Neither the first or last time in my case. I'm a huge Vincent Price fan, but unlike many, wasn't as enchanted by the hyper-camp turn of the Phibes sequel. But I certainly understand where folks like yourself would disagree. In penance, here's a half dozen Price flicks I'd rather watch: The Tingler, The Fly, The House on Haunted Hill, The Fall of the House of Usher, House of Wax and The Last Man on Earth.
Join the cult!
I appreciate reading your "most wanted" list, and I'm
amazed that I remember seeing many of these movies
(I'm not usually big on monster or slasher movies, but
I did appreciate Addrienne's Barbeaus.
I noticed that some of the movies on your list are not
strictly schlocky (Time After Time being the prime
example). So perhaps I could get you on the bandwagon
to lobby for one of my favorite movies that's missing
Split Image. This was an 80's movie that starred Michael O'Keefe,
Karen Allen, James Woods, and Peter Fonda. O'Keefe
was lured into a cult by sexy-sweet Karen Allen.
Fonda was the cult leader, and Woods was the
deprogrammer hired by the parents to bring O'Keefe
back. I remember Woods being particularly gnarly, and
Fonda was spacey as the Rajneeshie-like cult leader.
It was an interesting movie in that both the cultists
and the deprogrammers were portrayed as both good and
bad. I remember it fondly and wish it were available
Noel responds: Gory, gory hallelujah! Sounds like someone's on the verge of CineSchlocker salvation. Come on down the aisle, Steve. We're all brothers in the gutter, and remember, the Kool-Aid's always free. Thanks for the excellent suggestion. I'll pass it along to the congregation.
Reach for more stars
Martin writes: I am very pleased to see Shape of Things to Come finally graduate to DVD immortality. However, I
feel that you have failed to appreciate its schlocky goodness.
To this day I clearly recall seeing this film in the
theatre (it opened at the dollar theatre and didn't stay long). I have a special fondness for the scene
in the early stages of the film where the moon colony is about to get waxed by a swarm of asteroid weapons. The frightened colonists/moon-men rush to
LOMAX the super computer and explain the situation.
LOMAX's response - "take all appropriate action". Talk about mind blowing! Those are words to live
As our heros race to the evil planet to stop the menace, they see more asteroids on their way to
wreak more havoc on the already-shattered moon. The
crew discuss all the super weapons that they could
use to stop these hurtling juggernauts, but mumble something about why they don't work and casually let
them pass their cargo of death to the remaining survivors. Translation - no budget for special
Once on the evil planet, the heros are spotted by evil robots who stand a mile away on a ridge (of undetermined malevolence). However, our protagonists outwit the robots by simply crouching down in the grass and let the robots walk right by them. That's suspense!
In short, H.G. Wells was a frickin' genius to write this script and you do him great disservice by
giving it a paltry 2 stars. I trust you will correct your mistake and restore Wells' honor when you review the Criterion edition.
Noel responds: You make a strong case, Martin, but I gotta stand by my review. What I will do is post your letter on the site, because I'm certain there are other CineSchlockers who are right there with you on this one. As for H.G., well, that poor fella gets his name attached to all sorts of big-screen shenanigans. My personal fave, beyond the obvious choices, is AIP's Food of the Gods. It came out three years prior and features a giant, murderous chicken. Somehow I'm certain Mr. Wells' long-crunchy corpse wouldn't have approved of that either.
Chiller Theatre Expo
Jenn writes: Just navigating around your website and I must say those are the finest photgraphs and stories from a Chiller show (well, two!) that I've ever come across! Very good job, I really enjoyed it and felt like I was right back there. Two more months until the next show!
Noel responds: Chiller is something every genre fan should experience at LEAST once. I'm glad you enjoyed poking through my coverage. So kind of you to say so. I understand the great Angus Scrimm is headlining the spring show. Both he and Linnea Quigley were at the first horror convention I ever attended and remain two of the nicest, most personable folks I've encountered at any venue since. Chiller goers are in for a real treat! Not to mention it's Rowdy Roddy Piper's first expo! Wish I lived closer. I'm already feeling drawn to the next Halloween extravaganza.
Tag me! Tag me!
First off, I love your site. Especially the reader emails section.
I had a nominee for your Most Wanted listing. The 1982 Nick Castle directed film TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME. This was the one with Robert Carradine, Linda Hamilton, Bruce Abbott, Kristine DeBell and Michael Winslow (of Police Academy) as college students playing the game of tag with dart guns, until Abbott becomes too serious and starts using a real gun.
New World released it in 1982. It was very popular on cable in the mid 80's and got a small video release by Embassy in 1985 (very hard to find today).
I don't know who has the rights for it today. I haven't seen it on cable or even broadcast TV since the mid 80s. I guess in today's post Columbine times, it might be hard to show a film of kids at a school running around with guns, but it was a fun film when it came out.
Thought I would pass that along for a nominee. Keep up the good work.
You've been foraging through my laptop, haven't you!? Tag's definitely due for Most Wanted induction. Stay tuned. Some confuse the flick with Gotcha! starring big-screen nerd turned ER grouch Anthony Edwards. And, hey, if you tag an extra copy of the flick, drop me a line.
Reading your Lightning Round, I found myself
trying to purchase two of the titles afterwards. However, Series 7 doesn't appear to be sold in Region 1 at all... what happened to that movie? Initially, I had a similar problem with Death Bed -- which I was also
unable to find, where the IMDB doesn't even list a DVD release at all and Amazon basically buries it by offering the same DVD twice, once as "out of stock" and once
with no useful information but a
Incidentally, the film is listed as Deathbed in the IMDB and at
Amazon. Before you consider me utterly anal retentive, there is a
reason for this rant: According to some web sites, the DVD contains a
double-feature -- the second feature being Castle Freak starring
Jeffrey Combs. Have you had a chance to look at "Castle Freak"? Any
good? Are there two Deathbed DVDs on the market or whatever happened?
Inquiring minds would like to know. And since you seem to be in the
know... please let me know.
Noel responds: I'm fairly certain that "Lightning Round" column is cursed. Series 7 has yet to be re-issued since Universal acquired USA Home Entertainment, so the flick is "technically" out of print as I understand it. The discs ARE out there, though. Try Half.com.
As for Deathbed, unfortunately, I reviewed that from a movie-only screener (which I'd be glad to send you). The distributor didn't provide any of the bonus materials, or even the cover artwork. I've also heard, as you have, that the actual release includes a commentary and Castle Freak as a second feature. This would definitely be in keeping with Full Moon's new marketing approach. As for Castle Freak, I used to say anything with Jeffery Combs was hard to beat -- that was before Feardotcom.
One final bit of proof the Lightning Round curse exists. Days after reviewing Vols. 1 & 2, the fellas at The DAMN! Show had to pull both discs because of music rights issues. But, never fear, Yucko the Clown and pals will return!
Todd writes: I really enjoy your website, newsletter, and columns. Like you I have a list of films I would like to see get a DVD release. The top title on my list is "The Nightmare Sisters". I just thought I would breifly bring this movie to your attention. It stars 3 great scream queens: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer. The scene were they frolic in a bathtub together is classic. The plot is simple. These three ladies are succubuses who fellate frat boys to death for fun.
Right you are, Todd. Nightmare Sisters is really a B-picture of GREAT significance! CineSchlocker idol David DeCoteau was barely 25 when fate smiled and aligned him with those three lovely ladies who'd define the genre as Queens of Scream. But DeCoteau hasn't slow'd long enough to properly revisit his previous films. I've bugged him and the folks at Full Moon Entertainment more than once about a special edition of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (which obviously inspired the title of my chicken scratchings). His Rapid Heart Pictures is truly among the bankable success stories in fringe cinema today. THREE of his brawny Brotherhood flicks are regular fixtures at Blockbuster. His Voodoo Academy sequel was recently snatched up at MEFED and starts shooting soon. He just finished a stab at the box office smash The Fast and the Furious called Speed Demon with his own unique style that puts beefcake before cheesecake. Personally, I'm looking forward to his giant bloodsucker flick, which as only DeCoteau could, pits a hunky swim team against huge, rubber oven mitts, er, deadly LEECHES! Trust me, David adores his early pictures and is just as anxious as we are to see them polished up on DVD. We've just gotta be patient.
Blood Feast 2: SE
Mark writes: Thanks for the great article! The master is back! Any idea when they'll be releasing that to DVD ( I assume it won't really hit the theaters...)
Noel responds: Funny you should write when you did. It's been nearly two years, and just recently, I've learned Media Blasters plans to release a special edition DVD of Blood Feast 2 in the months ahead! I don't have the specifics and am playing email tag with Herschell to ascertain his level of involvement. He's off in Kiev being a globetrotting sophisticate. As you may well know, I've also been covering a fan-made flick, Hunting For Herschell, that had its world premiere last month at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in New York City. Mr. Lewis, who appears in the film, was among the guests of honor. The initial cut is being called the "Tame Version," as goretuer Joe Castro has signed on to inject even more Herschell-esque grue into the flick. As you know from my on-set report, Joe worked very closely with Mr. Lewis on what have proved to be BF2's strongest, most memorable scenes. Beyond that, it appears the Godfather of Gore has truly reemerged, as he's currently developing Grim Fairy Tale (a.k.a. Uh Oh!) with our Floridian friends at Bride of Hamlet. Anyway, glad you enjoyed the story and photos. But don't count out a theatrical release. Media Blasters routinely books its acquisitions throughout the country.
Ed writes: Hey Noel, read your most recent newsletter and your research/exclusive news (at least I haven't heard it anywhere else) that the rights to A-Pix's catalog has been picked up by "Ardustry Entertainment" made me very happy, because I've never seen/owned "Ice Cream Man" and Simitar's DVD of "Jack Frost" is long out of print and generally barebones and sucky (although I'm probably in the minority that I like "Jack Frost 2" a lot better). Anyway, I did a Google search to see if I could find out more, but could only find one other mention of the company, from the website: "The independent film was in contract with Las Vega based "Revolution Film Distribution" in 2002 and has reached a new distribution agreement with Ardustry Entertainment (formally known as UnaPix) and is set for a July 2003 release." Interesting quote. Seems as if A-Pix somehow got the money to resurface, and just changed their name. Kinda like how Full Moon has changed their name several times over the past decade (most recently to Shadow Entertainment). Anyhow, keep up the great work as always. Actually, before I go, how were you researching the copyrights? Just browsing through the U.S. Copyright office's online database?
Noel responds: I'm fairly frequently good for an exclusive bit of news of intense importance to at least a half dozen other people in the world. How Santa Kleinman and I came across the A-Pix development is personally somewhat distressing as it'd been our dizzy dream to craft a "CineSchlock-O-Rama Edition" of Clint Howard's immortal Ice Cream Man. When they're not handing out Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is an excellent resource for tracking down movie information, including rights holders. Detective Kleinman traced the lineage of Ice Cream Man and its A-Pix brothers to a bank legal eagle who, instead of talking business, preferred to have him keep phoning back every two weeks for months. Presumably, we were the fall back option if a buyer for the whole catalog wasn't found. That turned out to be Ardustry. Still good news. Just not what we'd hoped. As for UnaPix merely changing its name? Nope. They're history. And, Ed, there's certainly no shame in holding a special place in your heart for the Jack Frost sequel. I'm certainly tempted to agree.
The Once Bitten Story
Justin writes: I just wanted to tell you that I totally agree with your choice of Once Bitten as a Most Wanted title. I do believe MGM has the rights to it so maybe it'll come out next time they tap their catalog...
Here's a really interesting article from the writer's website.
Patrick writes: One movie that I think should be prepped
and primed and released on DVD ASAP is
the 1981 TV-movie classic Dark Night Of The Scarecrow!
I remember seeing this when it first aired back
in the chilly November of 1981, and to this
day it still creeps me out! B-movie favorite
Larry Drake's Bubba character is one of the most
creepy characters ever to grace a TV-movie.
(Although I also enjoyed his performance as
the psychotic Santa Claus in Robert Zemeckis's
Tales From The Crypt episode "And All Through The House".)
And how about the great Charles Durning as a bigot
postman who NEVER removes his postal uniform throughout
the entire film! Well, he gets his just desserts in
the end with that tractor-trailer. (Hey, Chuck, did
you ever think about running AWAY from it?).
I also have never been able to look at garden gnomes
the same way again without thinking of this great film.
I was so excited when I saw that Turner South was airing
this on Halloween night, and I got my VCR all ready
to go when my cable went out! Darn, should've gone digital!
Oh well. So, Oh Great Cine-Schlocker, have you heard anything
about a possible DVD release of this masterpiece? There are
bootlegs aplenty floating all over eBay, but this appears
to be a title that Anchor Bay could get its hands on and
have fun with. How about a Larry Drake/Charles Durning
commentary? Or an isolated score maybe? Eh well, maybe
that's going to far. Thanks in advance, love the site,
and remember, "Bubbaaaa didn't doooo it!"
Noel responds: Sounds like a winner! Hate to say I haven't heard a peep, though. But titles like that have a funny habit of popping up when folks least expect it, so let's not give up hope. Until then, I'll alert my trusty TiVo to keep its electronic eye peeled.
Anthony writes: I have to agree with you about "Return of the Living Dead." I bought that DVD tonight, also. My two oldest boys saw the VHS of the movie when they were younger (I think they were in middle school). For weeks afterward, they would wander around the house saying, "Brains, Brains" in their best zombie voice. Yeah, I know. A lot of people would frown upon my letting the boys watch those kind of movies. However, from the time they could sit and watch a TV show, I explained to them the difference between real life violence (very bad and real, people cry out in pain for their Mommies) and screen violence (people who get paid to play the games that you and your brother play outside for free).
Noel responds: My hat's off to you for properly schooling those youngsters of yours in the joys of fringe cinema. How ELSE are they supposed to learn proper zombie disposal and the mystical art of nekkid tombstone dancing? That's one family movie night I'll bet few of us would miss! I get choked up just thinking about it.
For Your Consideration
True to form, CineSchlockers said it all when it came to their favorite genre DVD of 2002. MGM's Return of the Living Dead special edition won the majority vote, but here are some other terrific nominees:
Rags writes: Quite possibly the greatest vampire movie of the last 20 years, the DVD release of "Near Dark" rescues this deserving film from near-obscurity. A great cast (featuring Bill Paxton, Lance Henrikson, and a luminously lovely Jenny Wright), a terrific story excitingly told by director Kathryn Bigelow, and rich cinematography...this film has it all. I had my fingers crossed for three years waiting for this gem, and it was worth the wait.
Jay writes: Just like Ginger Snaps was a surprise last year, same with Dog Soldiers this year. Too bad we had to suffer through the crummy edited version on SciFi before we got the DVD. However, when the flick is still excellent *despite* the censoring, you know you've got a good one in the bag. Dog it up for Dog Soldiers!
After reading all the hype over the Re-Animator: Millennium Edition and not having seen it before, I happened upon it one day while browsing the horror titles at my favorite DVD retailer. I laughed my ass off during this film and immediately understood why the film has such a huge cult following. This will remain one of my most prized DVDs for many years to come. The performances, especially by Jeffrey Combs and David Gale are hysterical, and some of the scenes from this film will remain forever etched in my consciousness.
One reason-DTS 6.1 ES! Plus Blade II features an excellent, well-made documentary that actually shows us how everything was made;not a fluff piece. Also, sports a great audio commentary, interesting set-up to the deleted scenes, and many other fun features. New Line outshines themselves again (personally, I think it's better than LOTR DVD).
Resident Evil! Hot babes with plenty of firepower, fast pacing, good make-up effects and an interesting story make for a compelling action/horror movie. The ending is perfectly dismal. Just right for this genre of movie.
This year featured so many classic films -- 8 legged freaks, Jason X, Time After Time - it was a tough call. However, of them all only one springs off the list from the depths of my childhood: Them! I cant tell you how many Saturday afternoons were spent watching channel 11's Sci-Fi Theater and this film. Giant ants -- 100 percent guaranteed to scare the pants off any youngster within the creepy sound of those terrible insects. For the trip down memory lane, I gladly choose Them! over the others.
Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers rules! Outstanding movie along with my first glimpse of future Supervixen Denise Richards! You can't go wrong with this movie, it's got it all: Action, Gore, and even a little bit of Romance with the proverbial nit of Nudity. And let's not forget the sublte humorous references to Fascism! A SciFi landmark film. Bring on the Sequel!!
I have been waiting for Time After Time to come out almost as long as Noel has! Besides, what other film on the list can claim 3 schlocktacular fave actors (that would be Corey Feldman, Malcolm McDowall, and David Warner from youngest to oldest), as well as archaic optical effects that still looked better than this year's The Time Machine? 'Nuff said.