JOHNNY ORO (1966)

JOHNNY ORO (aka Ringo and His Golden Pistol) (1966)

Directed: Sergio Corbucci

Starring: Mark Damon, Valeria Fabrizi, Franco De Rosa, Giulia Rubini

Viewed on Amazon Prime

Transfer quality: Bad

oro

I was excited to watch this movie because its directed by Sergio Corbucci and I just really loved watching Navajo Joe, and The Great Silence.  This though… not good in my opinion, don’t waste your time. The action sucked, the story was boring, the heroes were shitty, and the villain was not scary.  Oh, and the theme song was just not catchy at all.  We all know that a good Western always needs a great theme song.  Sergio blew it on this one.  I watched it on Prime… another bad transfer with terrible dubs.   (NW)

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Nate Wilson: NW  DC: Devon Cahill  HR: Heath Row   MA: Matt Average

THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1965)

THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (aka I lunghi capelli della morte) (1965)

Director: Antonio Margheriti (credited as Anthony Dawson)

Starring: Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska, and Giuliano Raffaelli (as Jean Rafferty)

Viewed: Streaming via Kanopy

longhairofdeath

Near the end of the 15th century in a “vaguely German Medieval world,” a woman (Zalewska) who spurned the affections of Count Humboldt (Raffaelli) is accused of killing the count’s brother and put on trial by fire as a witch. Just before she is dramatically engulfed in flames, clinging to a cross made of rough wood—her younger daughter Lisabeth Karnstein watching—she curses the count and foretells that a plague will descend. (The riveting opening scenes hark back to the 1949 Carmine Gallone melodrama Il Trovatore, based on Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 opera. The movie, however, was reportedly based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla.) Meanwhile, the count forces himself on her older daughter Mary Karnstein (Steele), who came out of hiding to plead her mother’s case—and then pushes Mary to her death from the top of a waterfall to keep the secret of his infidelity safe. Lisabeth’s nursemaid surreptitiously buries the ashes of the mother with Mary’s body so Lisabeth can grow up knowing where her family’s remains lie.

Fade to the turn of the century and the onset of a plague—as predicted!—and the orphaned Lisabeth has indeed grown up, now mature and the very likeness of her mother (played by the same actress, Zalewska, even). She unwillingly draws the attentions and affections of Baron Kurt Humboldt (Ardisson), who manipulates her into marriage and proceeds to abuse her emotionally and physically. His father, the count, has become elderly and is now fearful of his impending curse, and ailing—more so once he learns that his son, the baron, not the “witch,” actually killed his brother (because he was going to be disowned). During an intense thunderstorm, lightning strikes the secret grave, and the older sister Mary comes back to life in a wonderful special effects sequence. “I lunghi capelli della morte… explored a murderous past that stalks a present,” wrote Andrew Mangravite in Film Comment. “Italy is, after all, a very old country, with ghosts to spare.”

Taken in by the castle occupants to escape the storm and plague, the lightning-raised Mary adopts the persona of a traveler, attracting the lusts of the baron (now married to her younger sister Lisabeth, remember). “A typical situation of the Gothic filone requires that a living person fall in love with a dead one, or vice versa,” wrote Roberto Curti. A love scene between the baron and Steele’s vengeful traveler from beyond the grave includes moments of partial nudity; however, a body double took Steele’s place for that scene. The lovers conspire to suffocate Mary (shades of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado) so the baron is free to remarry—infidelity is a sin—but things don’t go quite as planned. Nevertheless, after various machinations and some increasingly fevered acting by Ardisson, Mary’s family retribution goes exactly as planned—and as predicted by her mother.

The Long Hair of Death—Margheriti’s third gothic, and his second movie with Steele—is subtle and slowly paced, perfectly suiting the gothic storyline and setting. The movie was filmed at Cinecittà Studios in Rome, as well as Castle Massimo in Arsoli in a span of three weeks. “[F]or Margheriti and cameraman Riccardo Pallotini to conjure up 1499 as a carnival of plague-stricken beggars, corpses ‘animated’ by their resident mice, and grotesque burning effigies … was a feat,” Mangravite wrote. “Margheriti’s gothics were atmospheric triumphs in black and white.”

The film, then, aims for moody suspense and guilt-ridden terror rather than overt shocks or gore, accentuated by minimal yet excellent special effects (the witch’s burning, Mary’s supernatural reconstitution, the movements of a corpse, and Mary’s spectral comings and goings in the tombs of the castle). There are secret doors within fireplaces, hidden stairways, underground crypts and skeletons, a box of poisonous powder, and plenty of dark, foreboding ambience. The women do have long hair. And Death walks among them.  (HR)

 

Note: At one time the most rare Steele movie in America, the film was previously only available on a Sinister Cinema video tape. The movie is now available on a Raro Video DVD and Blu-Ray. Sinister still offers an English-dubbed version with English opening titles on DVD and VHS. Several double-feature DVDs are also available, with An Angel for Satan (Midnight Choir), with Fangs of the Living Dead (Alpha Video), and with Terror Creatures from the Grave (East West Entertainment). Carlo Rustichelli’s original soundtrack is also available on CD and LP.

 

Sources

Blumenstock, Peter, “Margheriti: The Wild, Wild Interview, Video Watchdog #28, 1995: 42-61.

“Carlo Rustichelli: I Lunghi Capelli Della Morte LP,” Two Headed Dog, Two Headed Dog, https://www.twoheadeddog.com/carlo-rustichelli-i-lunghi-capelli-della-morte-lp/, accessed March 22, 2019.

Curti, Roberto. Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2015.

Ellinger, Kat, “The Long Hair of Death, aka I lunghi capelli della morte (US Blu-Ray Review),” Diabolique Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, https://diaboliquemagazine.com/long-hair-death-aka-lunghi-capelli-della-morte-us-blu-ray-review/, accessed March 22, 2019.

Hardy, Phil, ed., The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Horror, Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press, 1995.

“I Lunghi Capelli Della Morte,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2ucUujc, accessed March 22, 2019.

Stanley, John, John Stanley’s Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again, Pacifica, California: Creatures at Large Press, 1994.

“The Long Hair of Death,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2CqCF4I, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2Cq56Q6, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death,” IMDb, IMDb.com Inc., https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058307/, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death,” IMDbPro, IMDb.com Inc., https://pro.imdb.com/title/tt0058307/, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death,” SinisterCinema.com, Sinister Cinema, http://www.sinistercinema.com/product.asp?specific=32274, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death / An Angel For Satan,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2CoZyW4, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death / Fangs of the Living Dead,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2TWLNI5, accessed March 22, 2019.

“The Long Hair of Death / Terror Creatures from the Grave,” Amazon, Amazon.com Inc., https://amzn.to/2FdhnYW, accessed March 22, 2019.

Mangravite, Andrew, “Once Upon a Time in the Crypt,” Film Comment, January 1993: 50-52, 59-60.

O’Neill, James, Terror on Tape, New York City: Billboard Books, 1994.

Weldon, Michael J., The Psychotronic Video Guide, New York City: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.

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NW: Nate Wilson  DC: Devon Cahill   HR: Heath Row   MA: Matt Average

NAVAJO JOE (1966)

NAVAJO JOE (1966)

Director: Sergio Corbucci

Staring: Burt Reynolds, Aldo Sambrell, Fernando Rey, 

Viewed on Amazon Prime

Great transfer

navjojoe

This is a remarkable spaghetti western starring Burt Reynolds. For those not familiar, Sergio Corbucci also directed The Great Silence, which is another killer western.

 I’ve seen the movie poster for Navajo Joe around forever, but for some reason just never had any interest in watching it.  Imagine trying to make a movie with this title today!! 

The story is that of a Native American (played by Burt Reynolds) who is named.. duh… Joe.  I know this entire premise sounds like it won’t work, but it does.  Apparently Burt Reynolds was actually part Cherokee Indian.  His part in this was originally supposed to be played by Marlon Brando (now that would NOT have worked).  

This is hands down in my opinion Burt’s role of a lifetime.  Burt however was super embarrassed by the film and always told people it was the kind of movie that was shown in prisons and on airplanes, “places where people couldn’t leave”.   He stated it was made by the wrong Sergio. 

Joe’s tribe have been wiped out by a large gang of criminals lead by the infamous and ruthless Duncan.  His woman is murdered and scalped by Duncan. This is a revenge movie in which Joe just starts picking off each and everyone in the band of murderers. The plot involves a Wells Fargo train filled with half a million dollars and a town filled with innocent god fearing cowards.  The ending is awesome and brutal as hell.  Things are super action packed with tons of fight scenes, with shoot outs on horses and trains.  Remember Burt started off as a stunt man, so he coordinated and did many and most of his own stunts.  

Like many spaghetti westerns it is entirely filmed in the desert mountains of Spain.  

All great films in this genre must have a great theme song. This music and song are bad ass and were later reused in Kill Bill by Quentin Terentino.  

Pretty awesome transfer on Prime. (NW)

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Heath Row: HR  Matt Average: MA

 

BONNIE’S KIDS (1972)

BONNIE’S KIDS (1972)

Country: US
Starring: Tiffany Bolling (Ellie), Robin Mattson (Myra), Steve Sandor (Larry)
Director: Arthur Marks
Music: Carson Whitsett

Viewed:  Streaming, Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Excellent! Top quality restoration and transfer

bonnie

Larry: You mean to tell me that God made two of you?

Ellie: God had nothing to do with it, darling.

Hot, oversexed, devious, and cruel would aptly describe the sisters, Myra (Robin Mattson Candystripe Nurses, Phantom of the Paradise) and Ellie (Tiffany Bolling The Candy Snatchers, Kingdom of the Spiders), but Bonnie’s kids aren’t the only morally bankrupt denizens of this twisted and superficial world of predator vs. prey. Virtually every character that appears on screen is on the make in one way or another. Even the camera is a lecherous creep, shamelessly panning up and down the contours of every female figure and implicating the viewer along the way whether we like it or not. This feature is gratuitous, but why would you expect any less of a film that was a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

There are some magical moments in this movie, which makes its impact on Tarantino easy to figure. For example, the arrangement of shots in the opening scene is quite brilliant in its portrayal of teen innocence that’s just slightly askew. It’s difficult to describe how well done this scene is, but director Arthur Marx (Bucktown, Monkey Hustle) employs some great visual storytelling techniques here that set the deliciously cynical tone for the film. An ice cream truck, headlights glowing in the distance, blares its syrupy looped tone made even more unsettling by its incongruity with the nighttime scene. Something is off balance, and it creates a sense of foreboding that subconsciously prepares us for the nihilistic excess that will occupy the rest of the film.  As the ice cream truck jingle continues, we see two high school couples making out in a convertible. While the ominous vehicle slowly rolls towards the make out session, Myra skillfully rebuffs the advances of her boyfriend as he presses his luck trying to unzip her dress. In the meantime, the truck passes without incident and the camera moves away from the action in the car to zoom in on the front window of the house where Myra’s stepfather, the tightly wound Charlie (Leo Gordon, Riot in Cell Block 11) is playing cards with his buddies.

Myra leaves her friends and enters the house where things get intense quick. Charlie’s buddies take turns teasing Myra and him about what they’d do with her and her older sister Ellie if Charlie wasn’t around. Myra quickly reveals herself as no innocent as her sexual teasing of the older men shatters any presumptions lingering from the opening scene. Later, as an undressing Myra is ogled at through the bathroom window by his departing guests (and then by the local police!) Charlie, who’s planning a trip to Montana to be with his terminally ill father, is in his bedroom chugging down a bottle of Seagram’s. Things continue to devolve as the drunken Charlie catches Myra on the phone talking sexy to her boyfriend. The out of control stepfather unleashes on Myra in a violent rage, and initiates what most certainly will end in sexual assault. It’s at this precise moment that Ellie enters and from quick back and forth we infer that she too was molested by Charlie. No sooner do we piece it together than Ellie blasts Charlie twice in the chest with a shotgun, leaving him dead. And so it begins…

The hallmark of the great morality exploitation film is that it titillates the viewer with precisely the vice it purports to condemn. At first I thought this was going to be one of those kinds of movies, but the ambiguous principles of each character left me wondering if anyone could be described as the morally righteous hero in this story. The way this film ends (and I’ll leave it for you to watch) only led me to further abandon all hope for humanity. However, when I wasn’t catching myself sinking into depression or contemplating the reason for my own existence, I actually found this film quite difficult to pause.

It’s also cool to keep an eye out for the connections between Bonnie’s Kids and Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. From a “Bonnie” whom we never see on screen, to Eddy and Digger (Alex Rocco, Timothy Brown) as the inspiration for Vincent and Jules, to the flirty banter and surreal showcase dance scene with Ellie and Larry (Steve Sandor) ala Mia and Vincent, it’s obvious that Tarantino was mining the gold nuggets embedded in this film. Even the shot composition at the diner scene with Eddy and Digger seems strangely familiar.

Check it out…enjoyable to say the least, but you might find yourself craving a shower by the end of it.  (DC)

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NW: Nate Wilson  DC: Devon Cahill  HR: Heath Row  MA: Matt Average

 

FORTY YEARS OF SCI-FI TELEVISION (1993)

40yrsscifiForty Years of Sci-Fi Television (1993) 

VHS, 0:30, Simitar 

When this brief video documentary was released by Simitar Entertainment Inc. in 1993, the history of video tapes was already relatively long in the tooth. The first Blockbuster video-rental store had opened in 1985—the first ever video-rental store opening in 1978—and DVDs wouldn’t emerge in the United States until a few years later in 1997. At the time, there was already a wide range of science-fiction television programs available on video tape: Doctor Who, Lost in Space, Outer Limits, The Prisoner, Space: 1999, Star Trek and others. In fact, the original Star Trek series came out on VHS in its entirety starting in 1985, and the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired in September 1987; that program was released on video tape in 1991.

Even with the 40th anniversary hook—this documentary, produced by Wavelength Video in 1990, starts its coverage in 1950—it’s a bit strange to make such a short (30 minutes!) VHS “documentary” about the history of science-fiction TV at the turn of the decade. The popularity and impending end of Star Trek: The Next Generation might have been an inspiration, but given how little time the documentary gives to more modern science-fiction TV, the video doesn’t quite fulfill that promise. At least two paperboard slipcases were printed for the VHS, one a text-only treatment featuring ever-larger text from top to bottom reading “Forty Years of Science Fiction Television Featuring Star Trek” with the subtitle “With classic Star Trek bloopers never seen before.” The other featured the title 40 Years of Sci-Fi Television and four detail photos from the TV programs Batman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Star Trek, and The Time Tunnel. The back cover and sides of the slipcase featured Flash Gordon, Lost in Space, Star Trek, and Superman.

While less-popular shows such as The Time Tunnel or Lost in Space might well have found hungry fans looking to learn more, it becomes clear while watching the tape that the documentary is less a documentary and more a bookending of—or Trojan Horse for—something else entirely.

The documentary opens in 1950, contextualizing science fiction in the wider range of available programming: westerns, comedies, dramas, sporting events, and “cops and robber programs.” The uncredited documentarians deem the earliest science-fiction programs—Captain Video and His Video Rangers; Space Patrol; and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet—children’s programming. Captain Video, considered the worst of the three, initially broadcast evenings on the DuMont Television Network from 1949-1955 (making it the first science-fiction TV show ever) and then finding a daytime home as The Secret Files of Captain Video from September 1953 to May 1954. The Secret Files episodes were different than Captain Video and alternated weekly with Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. Captain Video star Al Hodge later hosted a cartoon show, Captain Video and His Cartoon Rangers, on WABD New York City from 1955-1957.

Space Patrol also initially aired evenings on ABC in 1951-1952 and then Saturday mornings from June 1952 to February 1955. The program was noted for its use of stock footage from the U.S. Navy. And Tom Corbett, Space Cadet—considered the best of the three—first aired on CBS evenings in 1950 before moving to ABC in 1951-1952, with a brief overlap on NBC in 1951. The program later moved to DuMont on Saturday mornings in 1953-1954 before finally landing at NBC in 1954-1955. Captain Video was the only TV show to inspire a serial (15 chapters in 1951); usually, the reverse was true. Based on Robert A. Heinlein’s 1948 juvenile novel Space Cadet, the 1952 radio program, TV shows, and serial helped coin the phrase “space cadet.” Even the character Ralph Kramden used the phrase in the first episode of The Honeymooners, “TV or Not TV,” in 1955.

It is that 1953-1954 Saturday morning block—Space Patrol from 11-11:30 a.m. followed by The Secret Files of Captain Video or Tom Corbett, Space Cadet from 11:30 a.m. to noon—that secured those three programs so firmly in the memories of a generation of science fiction fans.

Next came Flash Gordon (1953-1954); Rocky Jones, Space Ranger (1954); and Science Fiction Theatre (1955-1957), hosted by Truman Bradley. The character Flash Gordon had a long history itself before its move to TV, with a comic strip first published in 1934, a radio program on the Mutual network in 1935, a 13-chapter serial that began screening in 1936, and two serial sequels. Those sequels, the 15-chapter Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars and the 12-chapter Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, began screening in 1938 and 1940, respectively.

Superman also had a rich transmedia history by the time Adventures of Superman first aired in 1952. Debuting in Action Comics #1 in 1938, Superman was also featured in a Mutual radio show in 1940, a series of cartoons from 1941-1943, and two serials: The 15-chapter Superman in 1948 and the 15-chapter Atom Man Vs. Superman in 1950. There was also a 1951 feature film starring George Reeves, Superman and the Mole Men. The character’s popularity—continuing to this day—spilled into commercial sponsorship: Reeves appeared as Clark Kent in TV ads for Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes (now just Frosted Flakes). “Because you like Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes, you can be Supergirl!”

The onset of the 1960s brought on a wave of anthology programs, including One Step Beyond (formerly Alcoa Presents, 1959-1961), which featured supernatural phenomena and the occult; The Twilight Zone (1959-1965), hosted by Rod Serling; and The Outer Limits (1963-1965), known for its outlandish creatures. Also in the ’60s, producer Irwin Allen helmed a series of programs for 20th Century Fox: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968, based on the 1961 movie), Lost in Space (1965-1968), and The Time Tunnel (1966-1967). Interestingly, a 1965 theatrical release and midnight screenings of the 1943 15-chapter serial Batman helped inspire the debut of the 20th Century Fox series Batman in 1966. Lasting only three years, the still-popular TV show took a more light-hearted though largely deadpan approach to the superhero, which first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 and sometimes appeared on the Superman radio show.

Given the video tape’s inclusion and promotion of Star Trek on its slipcases and title screen, it’s not surprising that the documentary spends some time considering the 1966-1969 series. What is surprising, however, is how it does so. Because nestled in the center of this 30-minute program—like a handgun in a hollowed-out book—is a 12-minute span (the slipcase copy hawks 14 minutes) of a “rare assembly of outtakes” and bloopers. At the end of each season’s filming, the film editors made a bloopers reel to give to members of the cast and crew. The documentary frames the 12-minute sequence of bloopers with a blue border to set off the show within the show.

My opinion might be colored by the current-day availability of bloopers—represented by TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackie Chan’s candid martial arts outtakes, and the DVD era’s prevalence of deleted scenes—but the bloopers are largely unremarkable, even to this Star Trek fan. An unnamed Gorn introduces the sequence as though he were hosting the Venice Film Festival, and the “Star Trek Behind the Scenes” assembly features pratfalls, awkwardly prolonged love scenes, Leonard Nimoy with a lollipop, pulling faces (and Harry Mudd’s mustache!), swearing, dropping lines, belching, surprise visits from family members on set, walking into closed doors, and the Enterprise backfiring.

This, then, is why the video tape was released. The outtakes—in one longer version dubbed “The Blooper Reel”—were never commercially released as such. Writing in Starlog, James Van Hise said, “Rumor has it that one of the cast members of Star Trek considers the outtakes to be private and that public screenings hold him up to ridicule.” Regardless, no less than creator Gene Roddenberry would show them, along with the pilot “The Cage,” during lecture tours. Bootleg 16mm copies of the reel were sold at science-fiction conventions. A bootleg LP record of the third season bloopers was released by Longwood, Florida-based Blue Pear Records. And Night Flight aired a couple minutes of Star Trek bloopers paired with a trailer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in the late 1980s.

After the over-long sequence of Star Trek outtakes—Van Hise wrote in Starlog, “[N]ot all bloopers are funny, many are tedious.”—and some commentary on the film franchise (but no mention of the animated series), the documentary somewhat ironically suggests that Star Trek was responsible for inspiring a group of more “intellectual” science-fiction series, including The Invaders (1967-1968), The Prisoner (1968-1969), Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (1970-1973), and Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975). Those last two programs were both inspired by made-for-TV movies; the 1972 movie of the week The Night Stalker was the highest-rated made-for-TV movie up to that time.

The rest of the documentary is a rapid-fire, cursory run through the 1970s and 1980s: The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) and the spin-off The Bionic Woman (1976-1978), Wonder Woman (1976-1979), Logan’s Run (1977-1978, inspired by the 1976 movie), Battlestar Galactica (1978-1980), The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981), Knight Rider (1982-1986), and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).  While the second Star Trek series might be the capstone for the documentary given the show’s air dates and relationship to the included bloopers, Buck Rogers is also of transmedia interest. First appearing as a TV series, Buck Rogers, in 1950-1951, Buck Rogers also appeared in a 1929 comic strip, on the radio from 1931-1939, and in a 12-chapter serial in 1939.

This video tape is a decoy, a macrophage, a Trojan Horse for a long-lost unofficial reel of Star Trek outtakes that can not be released commercially. The collection of bloopers still occasionally pops up in other packages, such as PC Treasures’s 2007 DVD Classic Television Blooper Bonanza 1960’s, which includes a 14-minute collection with some of the bloopers repeated, and additional material—as well as bloopers from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and McHale’s Navy. This video tape’s producers knew that they couldn’t sell what they wanted to sell as it was, so they padded the 12-minute bootleg with 18 minutes of original content to sell something else entirely. In the end, viewers get two prizes inside: Something secret that they might have never seen before, and a shallow—though wide-ranging—introduction to even more that they might have never seen before. (HR)

 

Note: You can watch the full video tape uploaded to YouTube: https://youtu.be/DAJHswR9e9Q. Inexpensive copies are also occasionally available on eBay.

 

Sources

Barbour, Alan G., Cliffhanger, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1977.

Barbour, Alan G., Days of Thrills and Adventure, New York City: Collier Books, 1970.

Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Primetime Network and Cable TV Shows, New York City: Ballantine Books, 2007.

Buxton, Frank, and Bill Owen, The Big Broadcast, New York City: Viking Press, 1972.

Classic Television Blooper Bonanza 1960’s, Auburn Hills, Michigan: PC Treasures Inc., 2007.

“DVD Development History,” DVD-Cloner Knowledge Base, OpenCloner Inc., https://www.dvd-cloner.com/knowledge/dvd-development-history_252.html, accessed March 14, 2019.

“Encounter at Far Point,” IMDb, IMDb.com Inc., https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094030/, accessed March 14, 2019.

“Forty Years of Science Fiction Television Featuring Star Trek (VHS, 1990),” eBay, eBay Inc., https://www.ebay.com/itm/Forty-Years-of-Science-Fiction-Television-Featuring-Star-Trek-VHS-1990-/153094934055, accessed March 14, 2019.

“Forty Years of Science Fiction Television Featuring Star Trek (VHS, 1990),” eBay, eBay Inc., https://www.ebay.com/p/Forty-Years-of-Science-Fiction-Television-Featuring-Star-Trek-VHS-1990/3163995, accessed March 14, 2019.

“Forty Years of Science-Fiction Television,” IMDb, IMDb.com Inc., https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0270952/, accessed March 14, 2019.

Forty Years of Sci-Fi Television, Plymouth, Minnesota: Simitar Entertainment, 1993.

Goulart, Ron, Ron Goulart’s Great History of Comic Books, Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1986.

Greenberg, Joshua M., From Betamax to Blockbuster, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2008.

History.com Editors, “First Blockbuster store opens,” History, A&E Television Networks, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-blockbuster-store-opens, accessed March 14, 2019.

Hyatt, Wesley, The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television, New York City: Billboard Books, 1997.

Marill, Alvin H., Movies Made for Television, New York City: Baseline, 1987.

O’Neill, James, Sci-Fi on Tape, New York City: Billboard Books, 1997.

“Rocky Jones, Space Ranger,” IMDb, IMDb.com Inc., https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046639/, accessed March 14, 2019.

SKot, “Star Trek TOS Bloopers – where are they now?,” Original Trilogy, TEH Innernets LLC, https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Star-Trek-TOS-Bloopers-where-are-they-now/id/53093, accessed March 14, 2019.

“Star Trek: The Original Series (VHS),” Memory Alpha, Wikia Inc., https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series_(VHS), accessed March 14, 2019.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation (VHS),” Memory Alpha, Wikia Inc., https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation_(VHS), accessed March 14, 2019.

Van Hise, James, “The ‘Star Trek’ Bloopers Part 1,” Starlog, January 1982: 48-49.

Van Hise, James, “The ‘Star Trek’ Bloopers Part 2,” Starlog, February 1982: 17.

Van Hise, James, “The ‘Star Trek’ Bloopers Part 3,” Starlog, March 1982: 50-51.

Weldon, Michael, The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, New York City: Ballantine Books, 1983.

Woolery, George W., Children’s Television, Metuchen, New Jersey, and London: Scarecrow Press, 1983.

WPIX Archives, “‘Honeymooners’ episode 1 summary: ‘TV or Not TV,’” PIX11, WPIX, https://pix11.com/2014/11/26/honeymooners-episode-1-clip-tv-or-not-tv/, accessed March 14, 2019.

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  HR: Heath Row  MA: Matt Average

POINT BLANK (1967) / THE OUTFIT (1973)

pointblank
Point Blank, and The Outfit at the New Beverly, March, 28, 2019. Photo: Matt Average

 

POINT BLANK (1967)

Director: John Boorman

Cinematography: Philip H. Lathrop

Starring: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Vernon, Keenan Wynn, Carol O’Connor, Lloyd Bochner

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THE OUTFIT (1973)

Director: John Flynn

Starring: Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Robert Ryan

Excellent double bill last night at the New Beverly. I’ve seen both films before, but never on the big screen, which is obviously how these two films are best seen, especially the excellent cinematography of Philip H. Lathrop in Point Blank. I’m also a Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) fan, and these are two of the best, if not the best, adaptations of his Parker series. 

Point Blank is based off the novel The Hunter, and if you haven’t read it yet, I strongly urge you to get a copy of both the novel, and the graphic novel from Darwyn Cooke. In the movie Parker is called Walker, and he’s out to get his money back from Mal, who double crossed him during a robbery that takes place on Alcatraz, shooting Walker and leaving him for dead, running of with his share of the take, as well as his wife. Hellbent on revenge he swims from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, a feat that is considered impossible, but this is Parker, er uh, I mean Walker.

Walker (Lee Marvin) is the epitome of cool in this movie. There’s an undeniable confidence in his mission, how he carries it out, and he always looks great in every scene. It makes me want to start wearing suits. When men get in his way to stop him he remains undeterred, usually answering it’s all about getting his money, no matter what. As he tells Brewster (Carol O’Connor), “Somebody has to pay.”

The Outfit is based off of Stark’s novel of the same name, and Parker is now Earl Macklin (Robert Duvall). Upon being released from prison Macklin finds out his brother was murdered by two mob hit men for robbing a bank that was mob owned. He sets out for revenge, along with his girlfriend Bett Harrow (Karen Black, who is great in this) and  Jack Cody (Joe Don Baker), along the way stopping off to deal with the names that pop up in their search for who is at the top. 

Macklin is a straight forward get the job done type. Though you can see he does care about his friends. Bett is the most human of all in this movie, especially when she reaches her breaking point. When she says she’s going home to her daddy, she says it in such a heartfelt way that it makes her real, something more than just a background piece or a prop on a man’s arm as these type of movies tend to portray women.  (MA)

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Nate Wilson: NW   Devon Cahill: DC   MA: Matt Average

 

 

 

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964)

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (aka 6 Donne per L’Assassino) (1964)

Directed by Mario Bava

Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner

Streamed on Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality is great.

bloodandblacklace

This is a beautifully filmed horror thriller that I’m just now seeing for the first time.  Its hard to fathom how I’ve slept on this one for so long.  It spawned an entire genre of Italian film.  The colors, and lighting are magnificent.  The transfer quality is great for Amazon Prime.  

The story is sort of complex…. but boils down to a masked murderer who is killing off models at a fashion house in Rome.  The killings are pretty brutal for the time period, and very scary mainly due to the killers appearance (wears a stocking of sorts over the face, with a hat and long jacket). 

 The movie starts right off with a slaying that happens within the first five minutes of the picture.  There are well over a dozen characters that keep you wondering who the killer is. Many of them are junkies, and just straight up odd acting characters that keep the viewer confused and constantly guessing who the evil one might be.  It really could be anyone based on a diary of a dead model, drugs, sex, etc.  

This film must have been completely shocking for people to see in 1964.  Don’t sleep on this one.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average

 

THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE (2017)

THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE (2017)

Director: Ian McFarland

Viewed On Showtime

AgnosticFront

I must admit that when I heard about this movie I had very little faith that a Agnostic Front Showtime documentary could be any good.  I went into this thinking… oh lord this is gonna suck balls.  In my opinion suck it did NOT.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I watched it again when my buddy Devon was in town for a visit. 

 I grew up loving AF, and was lucky to see them many times in the 1980’s.   I’m 100% behind the first three LPs (yup even Cause For Alarm), and the live at CB’s record.     

This documentary sort of breaks things down by going between chillin’ with Vinnie Stigma (on a roof with pigeons, in his apt, on the streets of NYC, and in a church).  The camera will then hang with Roger Miret in his home in Arizona, working on old cars, going to the doctors, playing with his kids, and hanging with his wife & mom.   It was interesting to hear stories from both these NYHC legends about their upbringing, their families and their lives in general.  

There is enough old footage of the band to make the movie exciting and keep it real for folks like myself.  Of course there is new footage as well (which I’m really not a fan of), but it keeps things relevant and current.  

Things take a turn toward the end and get dark/depressing with much talk of Rogers medical ailments.  

At any rate the only negative things I have to say about this documentary are that by the end it starts feeling long (not in a “fucking end this already” sort of way).  Its only an hour and a half long, but feels longer.   Also I really would have loved to hear much more from some ex members of the band, along with some NYHC legends that were around in the early days.  Fuck this archive footage bullshit.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average

MAD BOMBER (1973)

THE MAD BOMBER (aka The Police Connection) (1973)

Director: Bert I. Gordon

Starring:  Chuck Connors (William Dorn), Vince Edwards (Lt. Geronimo Minneli), Neville Brand (George Fromley)

Music: Michel Mention

USA

Viewed:  Streaming, Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Good

MadBomber

It’s people like you who make our world filthy my friend. You’re a pig.

—William Dorn

Bert I. Gordon’s (Necromancy, Food of the Gods) film opens with a cool street shot of early 70s LA and a very Lurch-esque Chuck Connors (yes, The Rifleman) storming down the boulevard, physically confronting a litterer, and setting him straight with the line above. Connors pulls off a masterful performance here as William Dorn, the Mad Bomber…the sociopath you just can’t help but fall in love with. You’ll immediately notice how much Connor’s Dorn must have been an influence on Michael Douglas in Joel Schumacher’s 1993 film, Falling Down. Similar to Douglas’ character, you can’t help but gleefully live through Dorn as he confronts purveyors of society’s ills with a puritanical and righteous insanity. Whether he’s taking a Porsche owner’s keys (albeit a 914) and depositing them in a nearby mailbox, laying into the supermarket clerk for denying him the sale price on a can of peaches, or kicking a couple street toughs’ asses when they try to mug him for his grocery bag, he’s every man’s hero. Only problem is, that grocery bag always has a bomb in it.

As with most films I love, the coolest thing about this movie is how it outdoes itself with ridiculousness at every turn. It’s the kind of infectious insanity that makes you just want to believe it could all be possible. Like when Dorn returns home from his litter policing, grabs an already ticking alarm clock (out of a cupboard full of them, haha) and throws together a bomb in 30 seconds with some sticks of dynamite he just leaves laying around on his kitchen table…all while eating a donut. Or, when he steals a bright yellow motorcycle with a sidecar from some hippies to make a bomb run. On top of all this, he’s gotta be the most conspicuous guy in LA. I mean, look at that picture. Yet, he still manages to elude suspicion.

The true stroke of ludicrous genius in the plot of this film is that the only one who can ID the bomber is a serial rapist who just happens to see Dorn bringing a bomb into a hospital while he’s busy attacking a woman in a storage closet. This sets off an almost transcendental assault on reason that involves Lieutenant Geronimo Minneli (Vince Edwards…you know, Dr. Ben Casey!), an overzealous cop armed with a police super computer who enlists an army of scantily clad policewomen to roam the streets “just asking to be raped” in order to net the witness. Two interesting facts learned from these sequences: First, circa 1973 the LAPD had a seemingly unlimited supply of hot young female officers. Second, if you were a male out after dark in LA in 1973, you were most definitely a rapist. Every woman they put out on the streets gets attacked in matter of seconds as the cops scoop up the suspects. Naturally, none of the creeps they catch the first night match, so they have to do it again a second night. Eventually they get their man, the cool, calm, collected, and sexually twisted dude, George Fromley, quite brilliantly portrayed by Neville Brand. All of this culminates in an amazing composite drawing scene where the sketch artist produces a photo quality rendering of the bomber from Fromley’s hazy description. It’s just undescribably good.

Ok, I’ve spoiled enough of this for you already. It’s a must-see in my opinion.

Plus, the ending is a real BLAST! Har har… (DC)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average

A FIELD IN ENGLAND (2013)

A FIELD IN ENGLAND (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Cinematography: Laurie Rose

Music: Jim Williams

Starring: Julian Barrat, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley

afield

This is a beautifully filmed black and white, British historical psychological horror flick.  I loved this one.  Its from that time period of say Witchfinder General.  The story is that of a bunch of cowardly deserters who flee a battle in the English Civil War.  These fools end up roaming the county side together looking for a buried treasure.  Some of the group are tricked into eating some magic mushrooms and then are manipulated by one of the others in the group .  Much fucked up shit occurs along the way.  Some supernatural alchemicon type shit… and some brutally human mean spiritedness.  This is available on prime and you’ll need to watch it with the subtitles on (some of the English is pretty tough to understand).  The score to the film helps to keep it feeling spooky, authentic and legit.  Lots of war drums in this one.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average