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Reader Feedback '04

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Gunnysack O' Goodies

Kevin writes: I have been reading your column for a few years now. Just wanted to throw my hat in the ring for some free stuff like many others are no doubt doing in a shameless attempt to get something for nothing. Your unapologetic swiping of Joe Bob's gimmick always sat well with me. Any ass kissing aside, you are probably the only thing I still actually read at dvdtalk. Place became far too elitist and whiny for me to stomach. But I always check out the newsletter I get each week or so from you. I pretty much have the same tastes as you. We even posted some similar remarks about the unwarranted blind paise Anchor Bay used to receive and their shifty business practices during that Re-Animator rights thing a few years ago. I even almost bought your original Elite NOTLD disc off once ... You probably don't hear that often, huh? Heh. Anyway, I have wasted enough of your time I'm sure. If I get something from you, cool ... if not, cool as well. I will still keep reading your stuff. Keep up the only thing worth a damn at dvdtalk.

Noel responds: You're clearly an astute fellow, Kevin! Although I'd encourage you to give the larger DVD Talk family another chance -- if only to have another voice in the mix. Really appreciate the note. If I'm ever in doubt if people are paying attention, I need only to haul out the Gunnysack O' Goodies, as I've been just plain BURIED in emails. Congrats for being quick on the draw and with your kind comments. Most of all, thanks for reading! For those who missed it, there was a short note tacked to the end of my Ice Cream Man column offering two free DVDs to the first 10 takers. Following the good Lord's example, I actually chose 12 -- further congrats to Jeremy, Fred, Sam, Gregory, Phil, Christine, David, Matthew, John, Gabe and Frank.

Ice Cream Man

Philip writes: Read your review about Ice Cream Man this morning and had a nice early chuckle. I also have to give it to you and Mr. Kleinman for really sticking it out in trying to do right by a marginal title that you both obviously love so much. Nice to see such dedication for things that most folks would be content to let slip through the cracks. I've never seen the film myself, but you certainly raised my curiousity about it... I enjoy your section of DVDTalk very much. Thanks for keeping up interest in all things Schlock.

CineSchlocker idol Clint Howard writes: Just read the article. It's sweet. You did a really nice job ... This is no b.s. I think it's one of the best articles I've read where I've been quoted. Thank you. Listen, if anything else comes up feel free to ring me up. If I have something I think you might be interested in, I'll do the same. Once again, really nice piece.

Stanley squeezed

Ed writes: I've been wanting to see Grefe's STANLEY ever since viewing the trailer on Something Weird's DEATH CURSE OF TARTU/STING OF DEATH disc...but now that I read in your most recent CineSchlock-O-Rama report that it's a shoddy, cut TV print, should I even bother? Is this one of those cases where an elusive big-box VHS from 20 years ago would be a better option? What other films are on the set? Are they all similarly mistreated (I'd assume so from your description; 8 films on one disc...even BRENTWOOD wouldn't stoop that low)? I'd like to hope Rhino would step in and do the right thing, but alas...that's their music guys that put out the awesome releases. The title of the set and their obsession with MST3K box sets shows where their b-film hearts lie...

Noel responds: I'd advise against the Rhino release for the very reasons you state. I'm quite content with my 16-year-old VidAmerica tape. Shame the box art isn't NEARLY as, um, evocative as the original movie poster, which I also proudly showcase here at CineSchlock-O-Rama HQ!

Re: Lost Al Adamson film

Kier-la writes: One of your readers asked about a lost Al Adamson film, "Carnival Magic." The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is playing a 35mm print of it in Austin, TX on Dec. 1st at midnight, for free.

Noel responds: Now there's a blast from the past! What excellent news. I'm half tempted to make the drive down from Dallas just to take a gander. Tell you what, I'll forward your note on to Al's buddy and frequent collaborator Sam Sherman. Maybe we can get that print transfered to DVD! (Update: Mr. Sherman says he isn't the rights holder for Carnival, but to expect Hell's Bloody Devils soon.)

Bring on the Night

Andy writes: I don't know if you've mentioned this one before but why hasn't the TV "The Night Stalker" (starring Darren McGavin) been released on DVD? With seemingly every mediocre show in the history of television being given the grand DVD treatment these days, why isn't one of the finest horror TV shows from being considered? I know they've released a couple of "The Night Stalker" movies on DVD but I want the episodes! This show scared the crap out of me when I was a kid and I watched it religously. This one definitely tops my DVD want list.

Noel responds: I'm not sure what's kept the brakes on a complete episodic release. Hopefully, if the MGM double feature sells well, our wait time will be significantly shorter! Have you heard spooky Frank Spotnitz is developing a Night Stalker retread for ABC? I thought he already did that show -- The X-Files.

Really, really Unrated?

Eric writes: You mean to tell me the R-rated DVD version of Blown Away and the "Unrated" VHS version are ACTUALLY one and the same. Please confirm this. Did you play them on two TVs side by side or what? I've been wanting to buy the DVD version but have hesitated because I thought something was cut out of it. There is so much speculation on the internet. I don't know what to believe. Please get back to me as soon as possible. Thanks for your time.

Noel responds: You're clearly unfamiliar with my tragic breadth of knowledge pertaining to dubious cinematic achievements. In fact, I have a tattered VHS copy of Blown Away to attest to my formidable familiarity with the material. So, when I say it's Unrated, by The Coreys, it's UNRATED! And, yes, I ran 'em side-by-side just to be extra, extra certain. After all, this is my professional reputation we're talking about here!

Only 3 stars for Orca?

Corey writes: Gotta say you need to give Orca one more star. This is the horrible truth about Free Willy. We rented it the other night and it truly is a work of greatness. The filmmakers didn't even try to wuss out and make the killer whale and Richard Harris both perish in their struggle ... It is a damn shame they didn't do any bonus stuff -- making of and oceanographers.

Noel responds: Now if they sub our ornery Orca into the next Free Willy sequel -- that'd be a four-star feast for sure! Your position's well taken, but I gotta stand by my rating.

Impulse. Ahead slow.

Kyle writes: I have another suggestion for the Most Wanted: a relatively obscure flick from 1974 called IMPULSE. It stars William Shatner as a man who marries wealthy women, bilks them of their cash with an insurance scam, and then kills them. However, the next woman who he's planning on marrying has a young daughter who catches on, and tries to stop him. Not only does Shat star, this also stars Harold "Odd Job" Sakata (yay!), Ruth Roman, and, Fuad Ramses himself, William Kerwin in a cameo. Here is the link to the Agony Booth review of the film.

Noel responds: Great suggestion! I actually met Bill Grefe, director of Impulse (a.k.a. Want a Ride, Little Girl), four years ago at a Fangoria convention in Orlando. He shared his favorite clip -- a sweet shot from INSIDE a car sliding in and sinking into water with an all-too-pleased Shatner on the bank. Even explained exactly how the shot was done (using a junker car and an underwater camera). My guess is that our friends at Something Weird Video would be on the case in a hurry if the rights and a salvageable print were available. Unfortunately, it seems many of Grefe's Floridia-lensed flicks are MIA, including one of my all-time faves -- Mako: Jaws of Death (also featuring Odd Job!) Oh, and I gotta correct you, Bill Kerwin PURSUED the crazed caterer in Blood Feast. You're thinking of Mal Arnold who had no where near the illustrious career Kerwin enjoyed.

Making movies in hell

Frequent Doris Wishman cinematographer C. Davis Smith (a.k.a. CHUCK!) writes: I read your review of A Night to Dismember and I LOVED IT! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! [Doris' final film] Each Time I Kill has gone through three editors SO FAR. One guy from Texas wanted to do it because he was a Doris fan...didn't happen. Then it went to New York to be edited by an Emmy Award editor...not being familiar with Doris pictures...The the producers tried a crack at it themselves...I saw the first version and complained that they missed all the the re-cut to some of my suggestions and the second cut didn't hit the mark either...Now an editor who was a big Doris fan in Germany has it...but still no picture.

Noel responds: I'm honored! Thanks for the latest on Each Time I Kill and for your efforts to preserve her unique style. You're the best!

Most Wanted suggestion

Bruce writes: May I suggest Michael Crichton's "Looker"(1981) starring Albert Finney, James Coburn, and Susan Dey. Dr. Larry Roberts (Albert Finney) is a top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who finds himself embroiled in a sinister mind-control conspiracy run by James Coburn when several of the women Roberts operated on are murdered.

Coopersmith speaks!

CineSchlocker idol Clint Howard writes: I was forwarded your wonderful review of a film I did a long time ago "Evilspeak" and I just wanted to drop you a quick e-mail expressing my gratitude for your kind words. It brings a smile to my face when somebody takes the time to revisit Evilspeak in such a celebratory way. I've been very fortunate in my career to do a lot of unique work. Evilspeak is one of my favorite experiences and when it got re-released on DVD, I was tickled. Once again, thanks for the kind words.

Noel responds: Thank me? Thank YOU! What a thrill to receive your note. It's ridiculously easy to yammer gleefully about Evilspeak and your continuing contributions to wonderfully entertaining films.

Where's Andy?

Gabe writes: Do you know if they are still planning to release the rest of the Andy Sidaris Collection?

Noel responds: Fear not! Just heard from Arlene who assures me she and Andy have the extras for the last four titles all ready to be pressed and are in the midst of finalizing some distribution dealings. In the mean time, grab a copy of Bullets, Bombs and Babes: The Films of Andy Sidaris and treat your peepers to 100-plus pages chock full of eye-popping photos, cast interviews, photos, movie info, photos, Andy's autobiography, photos and more photos. It's certainly holds a place of honor on MY coffee table!

The Bride of Frank

Jeff writes: Hi. I read your reviews faithfully. We wrote back and forth a year or two ago talking about ROCK N ROLL FRANKENSTIEN and I think I found a film you might like. It's called BRIDE OF FRANK. It was made in New Jersey and it's about the funniest thing I've seen in a while. These guys who work for a trucking company take in a street person (Frank), let him live in the depot office, then try to get him laid. One of the liner notes on the DVD box is "If Frank says he's going to rip off your head and shit down your throat, you'd better believe him." I found the DVD at the Diabolik web site, an all region DVD site, but I think FRANK is a region 0 or 1. Diabolik is the only place I've seen the DVD for sale, for some reason. Great stuff. Thanks for listening.

Noel responds: Always nice when readers take time to recommend a flick for ME to check out. Sounds like you've run across quite the chestnut there! The title sounded familiar and, sure enough, The Bride of Frank is distributed by my friends over at Sub Rosa and is available at Amazon. Thanks for reading! For being so faithful and all, be sure to send along your mailing address so I can send you a thank-you disc from my Gunnysack O' Goodies.

Filthy thank you

Filthy writer/director Andy Lalino writes: Hi! Just wanted to say thank you for granting a review of "Filthy" on CineSchlock-O-Rama. It was a real thrill receiving it in my e-mail subscription. I just placed news of the review on the official "Filthy" website. I'm a little behind due to the hurricanes (I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida), so I'm sorry if this note is being received a bit later than I intended. I always enjoy my latest issue of CSOR. I hope we can keep in touch over time. Let me be the first to wish you Happy Halloween!

Noel responds: Always a pleasure to clue folks in on a title they might not have run across if not for my fool column. Surely wish I'd enjoyed Filthy more, though. But I also pinched my gutter-dwelling nose through Lord of the Rings and Kill Bill, so you've probably got a goldang hit on your hands. Please extend Meatman my warmest regards! Ingenious bit of filmmaking there -- combining craft services WITH your boogeyman. Stay filthy and no more hurricanes!

Creature features

Van writes: I read your review about "Boa Vs. Python," and now I've got to see this snake movie. I saw the two "Python" movies and they really sucked. I saw "Boa" and it was marginally better. Of course, "Anaconda" topped "Anacondas," too. As a published film critic myself with an appreciation for the warped, "Boa Vs. Python'' looked interesting, but I hesitated to bite after "Boa" and the "Python" movies. Thanks for that alert on the other movie. Keep up the good work.

Noel responds: I consider myself a critter cinema connoisseur, so like you, after being thrice suckered by giant CGI snake pictures, Boa vs. Python was a welcome surprise. Hope you're amused as well. But Spiders and Komodo still top my list of the post-Anaconda creature crush.

Cuffs off, please

Nick writes: I start with the usual expression of gratitude for your part in pointing me in the direction of so much quality Schlock. Now to my enquiry: I recently watched Something Wild on DVD, and am perplexed by an apparent cut in the film. I am sure that I remember from my viewing at the time of its original release that there is a scene near the beginning, just after they have had sex in the motel, when Jeff Daniels's character begs Melanie Griffiths to remove the handcuffs and she refuses. It is not a big scene, nor an extreme one, but this makes its removal all the more peculiar. My memory could be at fault here, but looking at the VHS edition online, it would appear to be 2 minutes longer at 116 minutes vs 114 for the DVD. In addition, towards the end of the film Melanie Griffiths removes the handcuffs, and the significance of this gesture is marked, suggesting that it should have been signposted in some way earlier in the film. So, there we go. Perhaps you or one of your readers can explain this oddity. I know this isn't the usual line of questioning you get, but I figure that with cameos from Charles Napier and John Waters among others, and an ample screening of Melanie Griffiths' breasts, Something Wild should qualify for comment in your column.

Noel responds: Quite the mystery there. In my mind, and it appears you'd agree, handcuff hanky panky is ALWAYS integral to the plot. I'll post your note for the public consumption of our fellow CineSchlockers in hopes it might provoke a definitive answer. Wouldn't be the first time MGM made a boo-boo. I don't think we'll ever see an uncut Swamp Thing again!

Comic-Con correction

James writes: Just thought I'd mention Comiket, the Japanese Comic Market event held in Tokyo twice a year. Recent attendance has reportedly been around 300,000 or more over the course of 3 days, with maybe 10,000 or more vendors/tables. I don't know if it qualifies as a "funny book and pop culture conclave," but if so, it's clearly bigger than Comic Con. Not a big deal really, at least not to me. I'm not going to try to argue which one is better. I've never been to either one. (Poor, poor, pitiful me. sniff.) But just going by the raw numbers, Comiket sounds much bigger. For what it's worth, the official site is , but it's in Japanese, with an English site reportedly "under construction." Like I said, just thought I'd mention it. Oh, and thanks for the report on Comic Con. Entertaining and informative reading, as always.

Noel responds: Can't 300,000 folks accidently wander through just looking for a BATHROOM over in Tokyo? Figures they'd top the charts. I'll amend my intro in the interest of accuracy. (Not that I've let such an arcane journalism tenet stand in my way before.) Glad you enjoyed the travelogue! You'd be surprised just HOW MANY bloggers are troubled by the cut of Corey Haim's jib these days. So much so that even MY green getup gets an automatic pass!

Pre-Predator 2

Nick writes: A great Predator review. Just one thing to mention. You don't have to change it, but I figured I'd inform ya that the Aliens vs. Predator comic came out in 1989, a year before Predator 2. So it was actually that single comic that spawned the single frame in the movie, videogames, more comics, and the media that it has today.

Noel responds: Ah, yes, but who gave Dark Horse Comics permission? How long had the P2 script been swirling around? Sounds like one of those goldang chicken verses egg scenarios. My faith is in the power of FILM! Speaking of said power, or lack there of, I just got back from Alien vs. Predator and can't seem to shake this feeling of underwhelment. There's 3-stars worth of critter clamity in there somewhere, though, I'm sure of it. But if the Big P couldn't abide Ah-nold or Danny Glover, just how the heck did Sista Ripley pull off that final reel? While I reflect on this further, let me send you Blue Underground's Zombie from my Gunnysack O' Goodies for paying enough attention to RAISE your comic book quandary.

Return, I will, to old Brazil

Luciano writes: My name is luciano. I live in the brazil. I am studying movies. I saw your pictures with the two coreys and reggie bannister and do I want to know if I have how to communicate with them? I am a great fan of them !! Please help me !!

Noel responds: Greetings my Brazilian brother! I don't know about Mr. Haim, but Corey Feldman and Reggie Bannister both have official websites. Curiously, BOTH are frustrated musicians. Mr. Feldman even has his own celebrity photo gallery featuring his grinning mug alongside Paul McCartney -- TWICE! Guess we all have our earthbound idols.

Most Wanted nominee

Gene writes: Is there any trace at all of the made-for-TV movie, The Tenth Level, starring William Shatner. A movie that shows the brutality of regular people who would shock people who answer a question incorrectly. The more they miss the higher the voltage until they're too fried to take the walk of shame or any other walk for that matter. By the end, we learn that it was all just a psychology experiment to see how many people would really follow instructions to zap people at increasing levels of voltage just because they would told to do so. I was in Kindergarten when this aired, and it really bothered me to think that people were being shocked to death just because they were answering questions wrongly. I remember leaving the room and not watching the last half of the movie because it bothered me so much. I would love to actually see the whole movie. I'm going to guess this movie aired 1973 or 1974. I'd appreciate anything you could do to get this movie back out.

Zombi 2 or Zombie?

Steve writes: I love your reviews and can only hope you know the answer to my question. Which version of Zombi 2 is the one I should purchase? I have never noticed 2 different versions of the same film being released on the same day by different company's. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Noel responds: It's a bit of a pickle, isn't it? Media Blasters is releasing a two-disc special edition touting "four hours of extras." While, Blue Underground's polished up the transfer and modernized the audio. Without the two in hand for comparison, I can only tell you how I'd vote with my credit card, and that'd be in favor of the BU release. They've got serious skins, especially when it comes to Fulci, and I'm STILL steamed over MB's mistreatment of the great Herschell Gordon Lewis.

A CineSchlocker is born

Ryan writes: I just wanted to thank you for the incredible job you do on the reviews. I actually get excited when your review newsletter hits my inbox and of all the reviewers on dvdtalk it is your opinions I put the most stock in. So a great big thanks from all of us who love campy cinema!

Noel responds: You're most kind to say so! I'm always humbled to learn my earnest pursuit of what the overwhelming majority of cinephiles consider an utter waste of time is appreciated beyond the confines of my padded screening room. I intend to post your email on my fridge next to an autographed photo of Bernie Kopell. You keep reading, I'll keep pecking this malarky into my laptop. Deal? Ah, shoot, I'd do it anyway. Send me your mailing address and I'll send ya something from my Gunnysack O' Goodies.

You ... boob!

Carl writes: First things first, I love the newsletter and often enjoy the humor of the reviews. You recently, however, made a comment on WILD THINGS 2, something to the extent of "if anybody watched the first WILD THINGS for any thing other then the sex scenes, you're a moron!" Now, I'd be lying to you if I told you that I didn't have a copy of WILD THINGS in my T-and-A pile, but I also did think that the movie had a pretty good lurid thriller plot to it. Is it Oscar writing? No, but it's fun. It's like the argument over BASIC INSTINCT, that nobody watches it for any thing but the sex. The sex is good, but the thriller plot is cool, too. I hate to gripe, but you should give b-movie fans more credit than just " Check out the boobs! " mentality, because some of us still think that the story, however slight it may be, is worth watching.

Noel responds: I'm prone to hyperbole. It's true, many perceive Wild Things and Basic Instinct as plot-rich thrillers. Just as I reckon Showgirls, at its little black heart, is the tender tale of a young woman's struggle toward a dream -- to pick herself up by her g-string and put her lap-dancing days behind her. However, where we'll have to disagree, sir, is the fastidious notion that a "Check out the boobs!" mentality is disparaging. To paraphrase one of our forefathers, also apt to exaggerate, "Gimme ogle-liberty or gimme death!" But let me attempt to smooth things over by offering you a free copy of Wild Things 2 or another gem from my Gunnysack O' Goodies.

Save the music

Ron writes: Was glad to see your wonderful review of STARSHIP TROOPERS II, a totally terrific sequel. You passingly mentioned the soundtrack..which is part and parcel of this movie's zest..and it was penned by my two good pals, John Morgan and Bill Stromberg. These dudes deserves ton more Hollywood gigs, their music is epic.

Noel responds: Surely John and Bill have no more devoted friend than yourself. I find that incredibly remarkable nowadays. Yet my review was neither favorable nor complimentary of the score. Perhaps I was remiss in the latter. I do recall due back-patting amongst the commentary participants, though. I promise to keep an ear open for their future collaborations.

Static about static

Seth writes: I was reading your review of the Police Academy Collection and you were saying: "Part 3 suffers static consistent with an audio transmission from Mars!" Is there anything we can do so Warner Brothers will correct this problem. I thought the dvd was defective at first but then watched it at my brothers house and it suffered the same way. To me the noise is completely intolerable. No dvd should have audio so poor, especially something from the mid 1980s. Thank you for advice.

Noel responds: Pretty crummy, eh? Wish I could point you directly to the folks who done us wrong, but all I can offer are Warner Home Video's digits ... 818-954-6000. Now, if you need to know the name Fred Olen Ray rassles under or why I once collapsed at the feet of Linnea Quigley like a sack of taters, well, I'm always subject to bribery. Lemme know if you get anywhere with Warner.

Mr. Metaphor

Gregg writes: I just read your excellent interview with David Cronenberg, but was *deeply* disturbed to hear the news about The Fly Special Edition DVD. How recently was this interview conducted? In it, Cronenberg says "Fox once phoned wanting me to do a commentary for The Fly." The "once" implies that this was some time ago (Film historian Tim Lucas, who wrote an article about The Fly for Cinefex, told me that he was contacted several years back to provide his own recollections about the film for a Special Edition that never materialized. Could this aborted effort be what Cronenberg was referring to, or did he indicate that this was more recent? Peter Staddon of Fox has made overtures over the past year or so that a Fly Special Edition was in the works, and that "Good things come to those who wait. You should be happy sometime in 2004". Could it be that Fox plans to bang out a half-hearted Special Edition (with the deleted scenes and a few other token extras), perhaps to promote the upcoming Todd Lincoln-directed Fly remake? Or has Fox not yet contacted Cronenberg about their latest SE effort? A Fly "Special Edtion" without Cronenberg would be worthless, even with the dangling carrot of the infamous deleted scenes (which I've hungered to see for years). Let's hope this gets resovled soon! Links of note: The Fly SE petition, The Fly Film Archive and my latest work-in-progress, The Anotated Fly, as posted at a Cronenberg newsgroup.

Noel responds: My Cronenberg chat was on May 5th and, yes, he was referring to Fox's current double-feature disc. He made it clear he'd only heard "rumors" of a special edition and that any such release wouldn't meet his approval or garner his commentary without a fresh transfer. If I've got David's digits, you can bet Fox does as well, so continue to "bring pressure to bear" as he suggests. I'll gladly share your links with my readers.

Ted writes: As always I enjoy your mailings. I can't wait to read your Cronenberg interview -- I'm at work so I'm gonna' print it out & read it later. I did notice though when scanning over it I didn't see any mention of Blue Underground's recent release of FAST COMPANY. I'm sure that's a film you've been waiting to come out on DVD (& deserves a write-up from you - Smith, Saxon & Jennings oh my!!!) along with many other Cronenberg fans (like myself!). I was especially excited to be able to get my hands on his pre-feature films that were released on a second disc in the Limited Edition versions of the release (I've been wanting to see those shorts ever since I read about them long ago in an issue of Cinefantastique devoted to Cronenberg!). Anyway I'm disappointed you didn't get a chance to chat with him about Fast Company's release since it sticks out in his filmography like a sore (oozing...) thumb!?! Take Care & Keep Up The Good Work...

Noel responds: I surely was remiss in mentioning Fast Company. I blame a mixture of Fly fervor, hero-worship delirium and the simple fact my audience was arranged for the discussion of Rabid (released by a competing company).

Will writes: That's a fantastic interview with Cronenberg you did. I've kind of lost track of him over the years, but this interview has kicked me into gear to see some of his films I've missed. Thanks, keep up the great work.

"24" opinionated people

Waii writes: I didn't think 24: Season Two was all that great. 24 on widescreen was just too weird looking for me also. Widescreen made it look too compressed, and during the scenes when the whole screen was turned to boxes or rectangles, it just didn't look right. 24 S2 was kinda dumb too. I just couldn't believe how stupid some characters were. And, there's way too much sadism in the show. S2 also had too much talking for my taste. It seemed S2 also had a smaller budget than S1. Most of the action (what little there was) was lame and cheap appearing. S1 had more action, more excitement, a better climax, and more emotion. Plus, even the character Kim Bauer looked way way WAY hotter with that sexy outfit than the clothes she wore in S2. Plus, there's lesbianism too. Yeah, Kim's storyline was kinda outrageous seeming, but the whole show is a bit like that. There's just no way all that could happen in 24 hours (to Kim and Jack). But, I did like Laura Harris. She's fine and always looked so adorable even when she's bad. Kim always looked good even after all that. Her french manicured nails remained perfect throughout, and her skin and clothes always looked neat. Always, it's just my opinion. Just wanted to share it. Thanks! Were you being sarcastic about the Kim-meter thing?

Noel responds: Moi, sarcastic? Surely you jest, sir. Opinions are always welcome, especially when they provide an opportunity to fire back my own. Namely, how incredibly L-A-M-E the sum total of Season Three turned out to be. Taken individually, most every episode was harrowing, even occasionally reaching out and grabbing audiences by the gizzards, yet the OVERALL storylines were absolute Yawnsville! As Willy Shakespeare opined: "Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing." They clearly forgot their own goldang mantra of setting up viewer's expectations and thwarting them. Beyond Kiefer's gravel-gutted brilliance, the joy of 24 is really in those twists on typical spy/action conventions. However, the third time out, they roared right along with them with every thunderous tick of the clock. Even punching the tickets of two maddeningly major characters was more of a RELIEF than a jaw-dropping, "Can you believe that!?!" experience. They didn't even BOTHER bridging the first and second halves of the season this outing. Let alone they invoked the Monty Python "I got better!" defense to that CRIMINAL cliffhanger from Season Two. But dang it if I wasn't willingly reeled like a trout through every single episode! If I were to bother to formally review the season, I'd chart the illegal activities of Jack and President Palmer, who very nearly lap the bad guys! Two-and-a-half -- wait! -- Three stars. Enjoy the ride. Just don't expect to go anywhere.

Lost at sea

Elsa writes: I read your review of Godmonster of Indian Flats and wondered if you had any idea if E. Kerrigan Prescott is still around. I met him on a freighter going to Europe in 1952. We were new college graduates. He was heading to drama school in London and I was having an adventure. As those things happen, we lost touch but I would love to hear about him. I am now 74 and he would be a few years younger.

Noel responds: Trying to track down a fellow transatlantic adventurer more than 50 years later? The wonders of the internet never cease! I surely wish I could offer you a fruitful lead, however I'll share your quest with my readers and perhaps they'll shed some insight on Kerrigan's whereabouts.

Stiff suggestion

David writes: Don't know if this has come up, but it is from the "crappy idea for a comedy" genre that works. The beauty that is Jeckyl and Hyde: Together Again is a must watch. The plot is that Dr. Jeckyl has created a potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde. Nothing new here, but the side effect is.....VIAGRA, but long before viagra was around. Notable quotes are:

Mr. Hyde: Nurse, what can you give me for this erection?

Nurse (looking around): I can give you $40...and.....and....

A great movie from the anals of Schlock. Check it out and keep up the great job.

Noel responds: It's a wonder my trusty SPAM filter didn't 86 your email just based on the keyword VIAGRA! Good thing it didn't, as I'm quite intrigued by this "reinterpretation" of the classic tale. Surely they didn't work in a schoolgirl tag team bout like those sultans of sleaze at Seduction Cinema.

Re: Re-Animator

Guido of Germany writes: I finally found time to watch and compare both Beyond Re-Animator DVDs (the US and the European). There are only some minor changes. The US-DVD is CUT by 8.5 seconds and one 2-second scene is edited in a different way. But the main difference in running time is because of NTSC vs. PAL. I've included a Word document which shows the differences:

Noel responds: Thanks, buddy. You came through again! Your analysis confirms a previous report I spotted online, though yours is infinitely more detailed. It's baffling that such minute changes were required to pass muster stateside. That eyeball's simply too much to bear? I'll never understand the MPAA! Thanks for putting both flicks to the test. I know fellow Re-Animator fans will greatly appreciate your time as much as I do.

Clandestine commentary

Andrew Warren writes: I'm the writer, director and co-producer of St. Andrew's Girls (I also played Trout Razor.) Just wanted to thank you for the review. We appreciate the attention. Also, had a funny story you might appreciate. We recorded a commentary track for the Canadian DVD, but when we saw the box art, it made no mention of it, so we figured they just didn't use it. When we got our sample copies, we were amazed to find it was actually there, on audio track 2... but the damn canucks played it at DOUBLE SPEED. So, if your disc matches ours, you can go to audio track (2) and listen to three aspiring young filmmaker chipmunks chirping about their weird Catholic School girl movie! Oh well, at least we got to be on CineSchlock-O-Rama! Thanks again!

Noel responds: I reckon that isn't the first such "accidental" easter egg, yet it might be the wackiest. Sure enough, I just checked the disc and there you are chattering away with cinematographer Greg Nash and editor Kip Brown. Not quite Chip and Dale territory, though y'all do sign off a full seven minutes before the very last credit. I can think of a fistful of OTHER tracks I'd much prefer to have been in fast mo! You keep making weird beard schoolgirl flicks and I'll keep watching 'em. Deal?

Texas Chainsaw Redux

Julie writes: So what was Kosar's original ending he had planned? I would love to know, as that is my main gripe with the film. Or since I have the dvd, where exactly does he mention it? What scene/chapter? That would make it less of a hassle, since I don't feel like listening to the entire thing right now.

Noel responds: Ah, the Kosar ending! Well, if I were come right out and tell ya, I'd probably get hate mail. But I guess it IS sorta cruel to tease folks and make 'em suffer through all that audio chaos for the juiciest nugget. (That's MY job, right?) Give a listen when the kiddos come upon lil Jedidiah and lemme know what you think. Scott's my kind of people. Sick! He wrote Christian Bale's latest, The Machinist, and now he's got Amityville up on blocks.

Rypro writes: Noel in regard to your comment: "I most certainly DO demand realism in breast acting. Jessica spends the whole flick oiled up and jiggling all over Texas, yet never once did her nipples strain against the confines of her wifebeater. NOT ONCE!!!" Look at screencap 5 and the last one, maybe not as gratuitous as you would like, but it's there. Oh, and is the picture a little bright or is it my computer screen?

Noel responds: You have a more active imagination than myself, senor. Squinting is again' nature, especially in that goldang meat locker! As for the brightness, I probably over-corrected as my Mac screencaps tend to go all inky on PCs.

Most Wanted nominees

John writes: Abel Ferrara's "MS. 45" is DEFINITELY deserving of the same preservational desire as any of the other movies, simply for the fact that I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE IN MY LIFE AND I WANT TO NOW! It's all about the daughter of Paul Kersey speaking softly and carrying a loud pistol. This is enough to make me melt! A couple of other titles I would love to share with you: "THE BURNING," the 1981 summer camp slasher film which is available through on MGM VHS but not yet available in widescreen splendor on DVD. This needs the "Special Edition" treatment immediately! This contains some classically gory Tom Savini FX, the most convincingly hideous burn victim in horror villain history (Cropsy!), and also the early film debuts of Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Brian "Rat from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'" Backer. Another potential candidate: VISITING HOURS, 1982 Canadian horror starring the one-and-only Michael Ironside, the bad-ass villain from "Scanners," "Watchers," and "Total Recall." Every time I see him play a homicidal killer or viciously-tongued anti-hero ("Starship Troopers"), I smile. In the meantime, whilst we hope these long-lost movies get the DVD upgrade (MGM definitely needs to bring back "The Stepfather" with a vengeance), I sit twiddling my thumbs hoping that Paramount deliver on their promise of the restored "Friday The 13th" trilogy, the greatest story about a hockey-masked mongoloid with a machete ever told, with all the gore we've been craving ever since the "Unrated Editions" of [email protected]#%& teen flicks became a hot commodity. Keep the drive-in alive!

Toilet talk

Monsturd writer/director/actor Rick Popko writes: Wow, Noel, I don't know what to say. Thank you for the kind words. Your review had me in stitches and totally made my day. As for RetarDEAD, we've shot about 20 minutes of the movie so far (two distributors, including Elite have expressed interest in picking it up when we're done). Thanks again for taking the time to review our movie.

Toni writes: Use of the word "Fecalicious" is just WRONG. Other than that, keep up the funny good work. I really enjoyed your trip through "Saw" land.

Noel responds: OK. OK. So I might've gotten carried away there. But if there ever WERE a "fecalicious" finale, well, then Monsturd'd earn that dubious distinction. It's the [email protected]#% in every meaning of the term. I hold high hopes for Rick and Dan's next cinematic excretion.

"Lost" hurrahs

Claudio of Chile, South America writes: I'm utterly delighted with the release of my favourite TV series : LOST IN SPACE. I must say that at the age of 44, I am enjoying every episode in the pack as the child I was more than 30 years ago when I used to watch this series on tv. It has been absolutely rewarding to go back in time, and enjoy every episode the same way I used to in those days! I have read your review and couldn't agree more on every word you wrote. It is funny to see when people in different places around the world may share this feeling of true nostalgia evoked by a series like this one. Many thanks for the review, and for the nice feelings evoked by this great series, which reminds us that sometimes just some silly fantasy may leave such a wonderful memory in all of us!

Dave writes: Good reviews are nice, but a review that is both glowing and fun to read? Bravo!

Jeanette writes: I just wanted to thank you for the article on Jonathan Harris. I am a huge fan also. As I was reading, I could picture him on stage saying all those words. I was very sorry when I heard of his death; it seems like we lose the great ones too soon.

A.L. writes: Just read your review of the "Lost in Space" boxed set of DVD's, then went out and bought a copy ($29.79 at the 20th Century-Fox company store. Can't beat the price). I've been especially eager to see the un-aired pilot, but was disappointed by what they put on the disc. I'd always heard that Fox had shot a 90-minute pilot to the series in color. Do you know what happened to this version, and whether it will be on the Second- or Third-season boxed sets?

Noel responds: A 90-minute pilot? In COLOR, no less? Boy, that'd be news to me and I can't imagine the Lost in Space boards wouldn't be squawking about it if such a rumor were true. Sounds to me like you've got a lot to be thankful for already. The entire first season, commercial free at a buck an episode. Enjoy yourself! If sales persist, expect Season 2 late summer and Season 3 in the fall. That's the latest from

Jason jumble

Robert writes: I recently read the reader's letter about the Friday the 13th box set. The reason the set is only containing 8 films, aside from there being two studios involved, is because there are only 8 "Friday" movies. The final two are Jason films. Reportedly, New Line does not own the "Friday" name...only the Jason character. When I recently reviewed Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X for, I believe I uncovered this on one of the DVD commentaries...I could be wrong though.

Noel responds: Uh huh. Like you say, the naming of the movies marks the studio division. But to most fans, an 8-flick "Friday" set simply wouldn't be complete, regardless of who owns what. It'd be akin to releasing a Star Wars boxed set and leaving out Revenge of the Ewoks or whatever that last one's called. I'd wager we'll wind up duct taping New Line's Voorhees epics to Paramount's box, though. It's enough to make you wanna bark a sleepin' bag or two against the nearest tree.

Disappointing capture

Scott writes: I don't know what took me so long, but I just got around to reading the reader mail for CineSchlock-O-Rama from early January, and I noticed something. John (from the first letter) asked about the presence of The Monster Squad on DVD. I'm a contributing writer at DVD Angle and I've been pushing hard for this disc for a long time. I wrote an I Want My DVD! article for them on the film. As for the film, it has found a home on DVD, albeit a horrendous one. Pacific Family Entertainment put out the disc in October. Don't get your hopes up though. I have yet to be able to find the disc at any retailer, e-tailer, or anywhere other than eBay. It is, however, a legimate disc, not a DVD-R or VCD. The disc is basically a VHS port in DD 2.0 stereo sound and a Pan&Scan 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer. Horrible. Pacific Family Entertainment has a habit of doing this with their DVDs. They put out horrible VHS ports of their discs. I have yet to be able to find any contact info for PFE, but I'd love to send them an email to tell them what a disservice they're doing to customers. So, yes, the movie is finally out. But not in any way we'd want to watch it. And, it seems, impossible to get a hold of, other than for eBay bidding. Just thought you'd be interested. Keep up the great work with CineSchlock. I love it.

Noel responds: I get more mail on Monster Squad than any other potential Most Wanted candidate, so I'm sure my readers will greatly appreciate your angle on this one, even if the news isn't as cheery as we'd like. I too have had other favorites gobbled up by rather dubious distributors. Maddening to say the least. Is it too much to ask for a decent copy of Corey Haim and Nicole Eggert's OTHER triumph -- Just One of the GIRLS!?! Apparently, yes, it is. But I, nay, we ALL must soldier on!

Boxed brutality

Ricardo writes: I recently saw Freddy vs Jason, and despite the absence of Kane Hodder, the movie turned out to be A LOT better than what I expected. I mean, after watching the trailer and seeing WITH MY OWN EYES that Kelly Rowland was in the cast, I was positive that this was another teen-horror piece of garbage! Turns out I was wrong. I agree that it was a fixed match, but being both a Freddy fan and a Jason fan, I would've been satisfied with either result. Anyway, my question is this: is it true that Paramount is preparing a "Friday the 13th" box set? Man, that would REALLY be great! What have you heard about it? Will it include the movies from 1 through 8 (the ones that Paramount produced at the time) or all 10 films? What kind of features are we talking about? Why did they take so long? I read about this issue in an Internet discussion forum, but maybe you have a more reliable source.

Noel responds: You bet your machete it's true! But, last I heard, the Paramount box set isn't due til forth quarter this year. Presumably, Halloween. As many as "nine" discs are rumored. Odd considering there's TEN goldang flicks. Not so odd given that not all were made under Paramount. Various stars have reported being approached to record commentaries. Fans are feverishly clamoring for "uncut" releases. Heck, we've got at least nine more months to speculate on what the set'll be like and even then we'll likely STILL be surprised once it streets. Regardless, thank Freddy vs. Jason for lighting a fire under the folks at Paramount, so much so, that they had a video crew at Fangoria's recent Weekend of Horrors ode to Mr. Voorhees and foes. Bet we'll see some of that footage as part of the set. Now, if they'll just figure a way to get Part 3 back into 3-D.

Midnight clarification

Wayne writes: How does one address you? G.? Noel? Mr. Gross? Just wanted, first of all, to tell you how much I enjoy your column every time. Question about your review of "Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies," however. I quote you as saying "From REEFER MADNESS to MIDNIGHT COWBOY..." I just wanted to ascertain that you did indeed mean to say MIDNIGHT COWBOY since, at least in the decades since its initial release, it is not immediately thought of as schlock or exploitation cinema...

Noel responds: Ah! I should add a parenthetical in there. The documentary asserts that the "mainstreaming" of the X rating signaled the end of the heydays of exploitation cinema. Thanks for bringing that to my attention as all my blathering generally makes a lick a sense TO ME if no one else. Oh, and I generally only answer to "Noel" -- so long as you don't pronounce it the girly Christmas way. Glad you dig the column!

Missing leg?

Jeff writes: Having read your Return of the Living Dead 3 review, before watching the movie, I was looking for somethings you mentioned. The zombie character "Julie" burned her hand with the lighter in the begining of the movie. I could find no place where anyone burned their leg as, you mentioned under notables. I thought you would want this input. If I am mistaken and missed it, please excuse me.

Noel responds: Early in the flick, when Julie and her beau are snooping around the military base, a zombie's severed leg gets tossed into an incinerator. I've wasted YEARS of my life noting such things, so don't feel bad for missing it. Besides Mindy Clarke is mighty DISTRACTING. Still pains me this classick's only available in its R-rated form.

Best of Schlock 2003

John writes: Great List, Noel...'Squirm' has become one of my favorite DVD's and one of my favorite movies. I had the opportunity this past August to sit Indian-style on a large patio and watch 'The Hills Have Eyes' DVD with Michael Berryman present at this year's 'Horror Find Weekend' in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Needless to ruled! It was the first time I had seen the film in all of it's crystal clear gory, glory... I wonder, will 2004 finally see the release of 'The Monster Squad' on DVD? Also, any movement on any of the Universal Monster releases or movies that have yet to be released on the U. Monsters label? Seems there's been a horror rush and now we're back in a lull? I find that scary. Take care and as always love the schlock.

Noel responds: Berryman's the best, isn't he? He spoke very highly of Horror Find's shindig when I once asked him about his favorite fan shows. I'm glad you connected with some of the titles on Best of Schlock 2003, especially Squirm, which I really credit, along with Food of the Gods, as being the seeds that blossomed into my ravenous appeitite for such schlock. Squirm's writer/director Jeff Lieberman, who graciously indulges my occasional gushy email, tells me he'll be stumping his latest opus, Satan's Little Helper, at the first Chiller-hosted Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors (Jan. 9-11). As for Monster Squad? I'll believe it only when it's in my hot little hands.

Scribes reteamed

Screenwriter Jeff Hause writes: Hey, thanks for the "Once Bitten" review and the nice plug for my "online musings." I love your reviews, and your opinion means a lot! If only all critics were actually into movies as much as you are! I just finished another movie, which I co-wrote with Dave Hines and co-produced, called "BachelorMan." It's won 14 film festival awards so far, and should be released theatrically in May or June. The stars are Missi Pyle and David DeLuise. Missi's terrific and DeLuise could be the next Jim Carrey if he catches the right breaks (i.e., like Carrey, he never works with us again). Anyway, just wanted to say thanks, and Happy New Year.

Noel responds: Such a treat to hear from you! Every fan of Once Bitten should definitely avail themselves of your witty memoir. Wish MGM had thought to include it or ANY extras on their recent release. Congrats on BachelorMan! The trailer's GREAT and I eagerly look forward to seeing and sharing the flick with my readers come DVD time.

Movie movement

Gene writes: Wondering if you could please help me. Sometime this year, a schlock horror movie came out on DVD where the monster was created by and therefore made up entirely of excrement (or, if you prefer, dooty or feces or just plain shit). I can't remember the name of this movie. I want to say it was "The Sewer Monster", but I'm sure that's not it. Can you help?

Noel responds: I usually refer such questions to the website of my idol Joe Bob Briggs. His long-running Find That Flick feature has been a godsend for many a perplexed cinephile such as yourself. In fact, I even served a tour of duty as its organizer for about a year. So, anyway, I understandably get light-headed when folks say, "Hey, do you remember ... " But it's not often I get to jot emails about crap monsters, so what the heck: I'd wager you're thinking of MONSTURD, which was originally distributed on DVD by Spectrum and is due for rerelease by Elite Entertainment this February. Someone should really do a book on sewer cinema. What better bathroom reading could there be?

For Your Consideration

CineSchlockers weren't shy about praising their favorite genre DVD of 2003. While 28 Days Later ran away with the majority vote, there were plenty of other enthusiastic nods:

Richardo writes: While movies like Soylent Green and The Hills Have Eyes are finally getting the DVD treatment they deserve, I think that in a time of silly teen-horror films, a movie like May stands proud as one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, and a must among genre fans. We should give importance not only to the classics, but also to newcomers who can still shock us... in a good way.

Rich writes: The Mondo Cane Box Set fits the schlock category extremely well. Here is the weird, surreal view of life - exploited in a 8 disc collection. People from around the world, all cultures and geography showing off their strange rituals ... what's not to like. Hard to know what segments were faked, but some were. This bit of exploitive film-making just adds to its schlock nature. Extra points for presenting films that are history. and recalls a time when some of these films were the news. The films are well presented with extras with something for everyone. I enjoyed the 8 mm documentary of "behind the scenes" footage. Extra points for the well-done and space-saving slim cases. Points could be deducted for a poor external case but it is my understanding that Blue Underground will be replacing them - so no harm, no foul.

R.G. writes: I saw The Hills Have Eyes during it's initial release and was a member of a very "unprepared" audience. I watched people literally bolt and run from the theater. One couple had two children in tow (I presume they couldn't find a sitter) .... all four were screaming like banshees. On a personal level, I was in severe "ass lock" for a solid week. Fond memories.

Thomas writes: Day of the Dead is a great zombie flick that was (finally) given the royal treatment on DVD. From the attractive packaging, to the pristine transfer, to the boatloads of extras, this release makes a worthy companion to Elite's Night of the Living Dead: ME disc. (Awaiting the last piece of the puzzle with Anchor Bay's Dawn of the Dead: SE in 2004)

Jon writes: Whether one likes rats or not, Willard was, by far, the most underrated 2003 film (and luckily I caught it in the theatres). The disc sports one of the better DD 5.1 mixes and one of the best documentaries ever made. If you ever wanted to know about every facet of pre-production, filming, and the crew's reaction to the film's theatrical release reception, look no farther. And to top it off, a nice bonus for Willard and Crispin Glover fans, the Ben music video.

Alfred writes: The Crazies is a widely overlooked film by George Romero. It is a small cult classic, but because of the themes found in it, (distrust of authority, insensitivity of our leaders, humans' instinct for survival,, it should be considered a true classic in filmaking. Perhaps because of the elements of violence and moderate gore it is not considered with milder dramas that make some of the same statements. It does take repeated viewings to catch every idea presented. This was a great offering for 2003. I am so glad it is a part of my vast and growing collection of movies. I am also happy that it is available for others to experience.

Tony writes: El Enmascarado De Plata: Infratrerrestre. Here is a movie - nay, a series that is just screaming out for CineSchlock recognition. Aside from being the most recent film in a hugely successful and long running series, aside from being a movie with Wrestling - as we all know is the lowest common denominator of sports, Santo is great cheesy monster fun. A masked Mexican wrestler who battles aliens from the Earth's core attempting to take over the world? Clearly this flick personifies everything the Bad Movie genre strives for!

More letters: 2005 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Send your comments to [email protected]

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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