Monday, April 9, 2018

CINEMA WASTELAND REPORT APRIL 2018

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The lovely Martha Waltz along with two of our offspring, Daniel and Dandelion, headed down to Ohio for our twice a year journey to the best of all conventions...CINEMA WASTELAND! The journey was uneventful which is always nice. I made many breakfast sandwiches to fortify our trip and we took enough snacks to feed a third world country for a month.  There was only one cancellation Belinda Balinski (sp) had the flu. They had a card out to send to her so I signed that. Two epic panels were the Dee Wallace panel which I did capture on video and will post on the YouTube soon. Later we talked to her and I mentioned that she was in the comic book The Howling:Revenge of the Werewolf Queen and I made her laugh. We went to Ground Zero to see if they had a copy, but they didn't. Funny thing is the owner didn't even know about it so he ordered a copy for himself.
Then the gentlemen of Horror High did a magnificent panel they are Pat Cardi, Terry Carter and Austin Stoker. Also on video headed up as fast as my crappy wifi will allow. I think I'll post links here as they get put up.
The Hardcore Wrestling Hour brought the bittersweet news of Toby Klein's retirement from the business, but the matches were gruesome as Hell. All we have come to expect from the one and only Pete Chiarella.
Caught some classic B&W Disney in the morning on Saturday.
Chatted with Tom Sullivan and gave him a copy of Divine Exploitation. He gave me a cool Necronomicon notebook and Martha Immediately snatched that up.
Saw many friends; Mike Watt, Amy Lynn Best, Bill Zebub (More on him later) Matthew Skelley, Gary Kent (More on him in a minute), the guy who sells t shirts that I never remember his name, Henrique Couto, Troma Dan, Gonzo, Pete Chiarella, The Splattertude gang, Gunga Jim, Ken Kish and people who I have probably forgotten. 
Love and Other Stunts is a documentary about Gary Kent the world's nicest stuntman. It is an epic film and I encourage everyone to go see it. Having Gary there with it made it super special and I did get a copy of that along with the soundtrack where Gary sings on two of the songs.
The epic news that J.R. Bookwalter is releasing Robot Ninja on BluRay made me super happy.
I did get a copy of Sadist of Notre Dame from Severin and it is such a great print with some super extras on it. Now if we could get Robert Monell and Stephen Thrower to agree on where the interiors of the cathedral were shot then we would be in business. 
We went to our favorite restaurant The Olympia for food and I tried the Belgian Waffle ice cream. It was awesome.
I tried watching The Wild Women of Wongo with Gunga Jim, but the print was bad and I have a great print of it so it made my eyes hurt to watch.
A Ghastlee Ghoul's Night At The Movies was great. Great music. Lots of laughs and I won a couple of prizes. Also, I don't know what PJ Soles eye looks like so I botched an answer. There was a young kid there named Jared that was as smart as a whip and did great. He can be the new trivia guy. I'm retired.
Martha and I watched Chanber of Horrors with the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn gimmicks. It was excellent. I've seen it before. We laughed every time it went off because nothing gross happened any of the times it went off. I was surprised to see a Tony Curtis cameo in the film.
The the midnight showing of Exploitation by Bill Zebub. Nathan Rumler was there so he lost his pants pretty early on. It's kind of a Wasteland tradition. I already have the three and a half hour version of the film so this one went pretty quick except that I was tired. 2 AM is Waaaayyyyyy past this old farts bed time. Another winner for Bill Zebub.
On Sunday we went around and said our goodbyes. Martha bought some things from Cathy, another Wasteland tradition for the Waltz Family. She has the coolest stuff.
Then off to Kalamazoo for the final tradition of Wasteland...White Castle! I tried one of their crab cake sliders. I would get one again, but with no sauce.
Didn't care for the sauce.
Now for the long six month wait for the October show.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

LOVE AND OTHER STUNTS 2018

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Forever and a day ago a Yahoo Group decided to attend a Midwest convention called Cinema Wasteland. I went and it was literally a life changing experience for me. That many people that knew stuff that I knew. I had found my tribe and Ken Kish is my Patronus. Years later after I had developed a wonderful friendship with the only and only Pete Chiarella he mentioned that stunt man Gary Kent was coming to Wasteland. I had seen most of the movies he worked on so I was super excited that he was coming. He wrote an autobiography Shadows and Light that he sold out when he appeared at Wasteland. I had to buy one online and I devoured it. One of the best books about Hollywood and the independent film movement.
Jump ahead to this year and Cinema Wasteland 2018 and I was so happy that Gary Kent was going to be there with director Joe O'Connell. Together they had made a documentary chronicling Gary's life.
I knew I needed to watch that. I got lucky that they were selling copies of the film and the soundtrack that Gary sings on as well. They even threw in a cool t shirt and I finally got Gary to sign my copy of Shadows and Light.
If you've read the book it gives you every facet of Gary's life. The documentary managed to expound on that by showing us where Gary had been. How he came through life to be one of the most fearless stunt men in the history of film. It has great parts, sad parts and when you come through to the other end you have been exposed to the life and times of Gary Kent. Probably one of the best documentaries about a single person I have ever seen. Hats off to Director Joe O'Connell for giving us a love letter to a man that manages to touch anyone's heart that he comes in contact with. I hope for a DVD release with an abundance of extras. Maybe a commentary by these two men that have managed to create such a wonderful film.
Honestly, The movie showed at 10:45PM, we had driven four hours to get there and it was way past my bedtime and I could have watched another hour without a problem.
If the film comes to your area and you have any interest in film of any kind you must go see this movie. If not, wait for the release and treat yourself to an amazing film. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

SUPERNATURAL: An opinion



After a little over a year I have finished the full twelve seasons of the CW show Supernatural. For the two people in the universe unaware of this show it tells the tale of the Winchester family. They save lives and fight monsters. You know, the family business. Throw in a sweet Impala and a litany of monsters from around the globe and you know you are in for a good time.
Right?
I really love this show. I prefer the episodes where they are working a case, finding and destroying monsters. Each season has a bigger picture plot always looming in the background. Hell, for the first five seasons it was the same plot that dealt with the Biblical Apocalypse.
Fun times.
I appreciate a show with legs like this. Every year year they think of something to raise the bar. Season 13 will have them teaming up with Scooby Doo. The shows where they acknowledge themselves are the best. The episode where they are sent to the dimension where this company makes a show called Supernatural is probably the high point of that. When they discovered that their exploits were being chronicled in a series of pulpy novels was also good.
There are things they have done that I am not happy about. Killed people that I really cared for. Just shows how good a show can be when you care that much to get angry about the death of a fictional character. Everyone picks a team. If I had to pick one it would be Team Dean. How can you not appreciate a man who never backs down from what he believes in no matter what and loves pie to the degree that Dean Winchester does?
And I do not see what people see in Crowley. Can't stand the little fucker or his mother, Rowena. People do, but that is not for me.
In a world where a typical TV season is 8 episodes long with no chance of a second one, it's good to know that for the foreseeable future we will have Supernatural by our side.
To save people.
Kill Monsters.
You know, the family business.
On a side note. Every year I engage in a thing called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short.
Next year I have the perfect idea for a Supernatural novel. Hell, if it works I'll even try and submit it to the company that publishes those things.

UPDATE: Now that I am forced to wait for new episodes on a weekly basis I must say that I am not fond of the waiting. I'm thinking of going back to watch the Leviathan season again just for fun.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

RAZOR DAYS

I have reviews that I only put in the print magazine. I have reviews that only show up here.
Then there is when they appear in both. The internet can be a cruel place, but it is also a great place to network and make sure people are seeing things that the mainstream doesn't have to offer.
RAZOR DAYS is one of those things.
Here's the review;

 

RAZOR DAYS
2012
87 Minutes
Written and Directed by Mike Watt
Starring Amy Lynn Best, Bette Cassatt & Debbie Rochon

Anita (Amy Lynn Best) helps women become stronger. She helps at a self defense class meant to empower women. She counsels women. Into her life comes Jessamay (Debbie Rochon) the infamous ‘Cannibal Girl’. She had been captured by the Logan family, her boyfriend killed and eaten by the cannibalistic trio. She was tortured, raped and scarred for life. She is coping with this by filling herself with a white hot rage that wants revenge.
Bloody, apocalyptic revenge.
She tells Anita that she can’t be the only one. The only one who managed to escape from the clutches of these madmen. Anita’s ex husband, John (Jeff Monahan) is a police detective so she asks him to look for others like Anita. She believes that if she comes face to face with another survivor it may help.


 John turns up Rena (Bette Cassatt) living on the other side of the state. They go to visit and Jessamay and Rena immediately click. Their common ground brings them together immediately.
It’s too bad that no one else believes their stories. They don’t believe that cannibals exist in the modern world. They believe that Jessamay and Rena did this to themselves for attention. We, the viewers, are given proof that they haven’t, but we’re not in the movie. We are just forced to watch them struggle with their own reality.
Now that Jessamay has a sister in suffering it’s time to make the bastards that did this to them pay.
Anita goes with them to keep them from going off the path of being a rational human being, but she has a past that keeps bringing her own feelings to the surface.
Now, they are ready to go after what did this to them and destroy them once and for all. They believe if they can do this they will save others from what they have been changed into. They also believe, a little, that if they murder these monsters in the shape of men that their own demons will be laid to rest once and for all.
Except, one of them has not been completely honest with the other two and that could be the one thing that will destroy them once and for all.
I first saw Razor Days at the convention, Cinema Wasteland. I like to watch new films there. You get such a variety of things from funny to gross to, well in the case of Razor Days, a powerful drama that forces you to watch horrific things.
It was a lot to take in and it had been awhile since that viewing so I knew I needed to go back one more time. What can I say? I’m old and my memory isn’t what it used to be.
Each of the characters felt like a different aspect of a single person. Anita was the cool, logical persona that stops us from screaming at the impenetrable darkness. Jessamay is our pure rage that screams at the darkness regardless of what that will accomplish. Rena is the fragility of the human spirit that has been crushed by man’s inhumanity towards man.
Individually, they are impotent. Jessamay knows that she needs another kindred spirit to force her to face her fears and crush them. Anita sees the damage that these other women have suffered and even though her scars are internal, she feels the same as they do. Rena has surrendered to her situation, but there is that little glimmer within her that, if properly fanned, will erupt into a blaze much hotter than either of the other women are capable of.


There is a scene in a quarry where the three women are arguing in the rain about taking the next step. They are parked outside of the farm where they believe their tormentors are located. As Anita and Jessamay argue, Rena starts to walk away and the camera acknowledges the other two, but their voices fade as Rena takes slow measured steps towards the farm. Her face that looks like a fragile china doll that has been shattered and put back together, is set in a look of determination more chilling than anything Jessamay has shown us. The rain falls, the camera follows and Rena with each step becomes something more. She believes in her heart that this is what will save her from that fear. The fear of everything. Just before Anita calls to her and breaks the moment we see it in her face. She is ready to rain death and destruction on people that have done this to her.
The scene in truly chilling and Bette Cassatt makes us forget she’s acting. The character of Rena is fully realized and makes us a little afraid.
The slaughter at the farmhouse just takes it a step farther as she confirms it with her action.
All three of these fine actors deserve praise for what they bring to Razor Days. Amy Lynn Best gives us a woman who has gone through something that has taken her soul and twisted it a little. Her pain comes from love turning into something dark. In every scene that she is forced to argue with these other two women you can see the conflict on her face. She is operating on the fact that murder is wrong. Her emotions betray her at every step and Best conveys this with every line. The scene in the car between her and Bette she thinks she can at least get to her and change her mind. But, you see with every no she speaks a yes comes out of her eyes. Debbie Rochon gives us a woman who has embraced her rage to keep her warm. Of the three she could be the most upfront in what she shows us. The one that truly sticks out for me is Bette Cassatt. She gives off such a sense of fragility from the moment we see her. She is thin, timid, her porcelain face enveloped in these wicked razor scars. The previous china doll reference seems to fit perfectly. She exudes a sense of someone who just wants to be left alone. She tried the world and the world beat her down. When she decides to go all the way into a revenge plan with Jessamay, her conversion is the most frightening of the three of them. Anita embraces fighting back at her defense classes; Jessamay embodies rage with her body movement, her attitude. Even her huge, ragged scar on her face seems to scream rage at you. In comparison, the thin, white scars of Rena fool you with a false beauty that comes back to haunt you. When she transforms it is the most severe of the three and you’re not sure whether to be proud of her for facing her fears or heartbroken that she is falling into something that might not even help. Because what if what you see as the solution to your problems doesn’t help? What if you take a step forward that can’t be taken back? What if and this is the worst part, what if it makes you into that which you are trying to destroy?


Finally, I do have to mention the film as a whole. Scenes evaporate into one another. Dialogue comes from other scenes. Sometimes there is dialogue and no one is talking. It gives a weird, reality bending feel to the entire film that helps keep you in the film itself. Most films follow a strict order of scene after scene with and without dialogue. This disconnected array of scenes that stop and reverse and time lapse and sometimes people’s mouths aren’t moving, but they have dialogue, keeps you in the moment. You can’t watch it like a normal narrative in fear you might miss something. Bravo to Mr. Watt for making the film an actual character in the movie. It warps and slides around in a manner that you don’t see in the traditional world of film making and it makes Razor Days better for it.
In the end Razor Days is another fine entry in the catalogue of Happy Cloud Media and Mike Watt challenges you to look at film in a way that very few directors do.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

SO, I DECIDED TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THE POLONIA BROS.




If you asked me what the first Polonia Bros. movie I ever saw I could probably narrow it down to HOLLA IF I KILL YOU I remember just not liking that film at all. If anyone recommended going down the long, twisted path of Polonia Bros. films, I would not have recommended this as the first foray into their body of work.
Then FEEDERS came along and I was hooked.
Over the years I have watched many of their movies and I thought it was odd that no one had written anything in any depth about them. I had this same thought process when I started on my book of Michael Legge films. These are great movies and people should know as much about them as possible.
I like to share my obsessions.
The process for these books is a little low tech. I watch the movie with a notepad. I make notes on the film and then make sure to get every credit written down. I believe that everyone who makes these movies deserves credit where credit is due.
Then, luckily, I have slow time between calls at work so I'm able to transcribe my notes at work. Then I write a review of the film that goes between the film overview and the credits.
It sounds like a lot of work, but this is just my way of doing things.
I actually managed to get an interview with The Polonia Bros. and Jon McBride before John passed away. It is a great interview and I may include it in the book.
I have decided to add a couple of things to the Polonia book. Besides people telling stories of working with them I am asking Mark Polonia one question about each film. They will accompany each film overview/review/credits.
Also, this time I am going with alphabetical instead of chronological. With this many films I believe that it will work better that way.
I have finished six reviews. I'm trying to get at least one a week, maybe more as time allows.
At the average rate of 1400 words per film this thing will be over 100K the longest thing I have ever written.
Sheesh!
The things i get myself into.

Here are some trailers of Polonia Bros. magic.
Enjoy!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

CHUPACABRA TERRITORY (2016)





Every so often a film pops up in my inbox that looks interesting and I tell them to go ahead and send me a screener. I don't do it as often as I did in the past, but, hey this one had Sarah Nicklin in it. Who was I to say no.
For those of you that don't know who Sarah Nicklin is, well first, shame on you and, second, there is a magnificent director named Richard Griffin who has given us excellent films like;
ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION
DISCO EXORCIST
BEYOND THE DUNWICH HORROR
Sarah was in all of these along with her then husband, Michael Reed. Both of them are in this one.
Let's run it down shall we?
First off, it's a found footage film. Get the groaning out of the way and get back here. I can't stand found footage movies. So, if I'm still here that's a great sign.
Anyway, it starts with a disclaimer from the government about the footage they found. Due to the Freedom of Information Act anyone can watch this.
That works for me.
Our foursome are Amber, Joe, Morgan and Dave. They have heard of a place that is where the chupacabra dwell and they are out to prove it. The first road to where they need to go is barricaded. The second one has a ranger guarding it and some shifty guy who the ranger refers to as a biologist.
Yeah, right, a biologist in fatigues with a weird looking tank strapped to his back.
I ain't buying it.
Anyway, these kooky kids manage to get around the ranger and deep into chupacabra territory. (Yeah, see what I did there? Funny, huh?)
So, they run into other campers, get drunk. The other campers wander off to get slaughtered while our gang keeps looking.
Sometimes, the thing you want to find should just be left alone.
Right?



Since it touts itself as a found footage film, I start looking for illogical things. There were a few camera angles that no one would have shot. Shots of the car driving down the road. Things like that. One time a character grabbed a camera and ran for it. I do not believe for an instance he would have done that, but what are you going to do?
That being said, I liked the movie. Sure, Sarah Nicklin's character, Amber, could have worn more convincing clothes. Most people don't camp in a mini skirt, but she has nice legs so I'm going to let that pass. It was clever to introduce the other campers so we got some nudity to help crank up the exploitation quotient of the movie. The blood and guts looked good and I was happy they showed the monsters.
So many of these don't show the monster and I think that's a mistake. The whole reason for being there is to see the monster not just hear some passable foley work.
There is lots of professional looking camera work instead of nothing but GoPro and shaky cam. Sure, I get what your going for with that, but you can't get a guy to hold the camera steady for some exposition shots?



So, in the end, while this has not won me over to the found footage form of film making I liked this a lot. It produces an eerie effect overall, the monsters work and there are questions that we never get an answer to. Maybe we could get a sequel? Chupacabra Territory: The Biologist. That would be cool. And Morgan was the coolest one of the bunch. Made me laugh out loud more than once.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Why I'm Not Watching Any New Star Wars Movies

A lot of you will look at that title and figure the old man is getting ready to go on a rant. Yeah, I could, but I decided this might be a good learning experience for everyone. See, I go to new movies all the time. I watch new shows. No problem at all. But, you have to remember one thing. Star Wars came out in 1977. That was the year I turned fifteen. Yeah, I get that I'm old, I understand. But, here's the thing. You find out when you were fifteen and go see what movies were made that year. It's easy to get a list.
Here's mine; (Yes I expect you to at least glance over the list. I'll meet you down below.)

Airport ‘77
Andy Warhol’s Bad
Annie Hall
Audrey Rose
The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training
Billy Jack Goes to Washington
Black Sunday
Breaker! Breaker!
A Bridge Too Far
The Car
The Choirboys
Cinderella
Citizen’s Band
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Cross of Iron
Damnation Alley
The Day of the Animals
The Deep
Demon Seed
Desperate Living
The Domino Principle
Drive-In Massacre
Eaten Alive
Empire of the Ants
Equus
Exorcist 2: The Heretic
For the Love of Benji
Fun With Dick And Jane
The Gauntlet
The Goodbye Girl
Grand Theft Auto
Greased Lightning
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
Heroes
High Anxiety
The Hills Have Eyes
The Incredible Melting Man
The Island of Dr. Moreau
Islands in the Stream
The Kentucky Fried Movie
Kingdom of the Spiders
Last House on Dead End Street
The Last Remake of Beau Geste
The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
Martin
New York, New York
Oh ,God!
Orca
The Other Side of Midnight
Outlaw Blues
The People That Time Forgot
Pete’s Dragon
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Pumping Iron
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure
The Rescuers
Rollercoaster
Rolling Thunder
Ruby
Satan’s Cheerleaders
Semi Tough
The Sentinel
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Slap Shot
Smokey and the Bandit
Star Wars
Telefon
Tentacles
Valentino
The Van
Viva Knievel!
Which Way Is Up?
Wizards
The World’s Greatest Lover

You Light Up My Life

And these are just the ones that I remember watching. Some good, some bad. Some really great movies in there. Some people on their A game with some of these films. Turning fifteen means you are on your way to adult hood, but you're still a kid. Everything is changing in your life and you either plow through it or examine everything.
See, I was lucky. My parents love movies. They loved to take us to movies. We saw them all. My dad took us to see All The President's Men because he thought it was important. That was the year before and all four of us went, even my little sister. Most of the movies up there can bring some long ago memory into laser focus for me. They remind me of that time that I was on the cusp of adulthood.
Of them all Star Wars was one of the more important ones. Remember, we had no VCRs or DVDs. If we wanted to see a movie we went and watched it. The first time we went we were blown away. My dad got us all in the car, we sat there for a minute and he said,
"Do you want to go see it again, right now?"
We all shouted yes and we went back in. One time, it was at The Douglas Drive in with Grey Lady Down and a thunder storm broke out as they were making the run on the Death Star. I stuck my head out the window to see it.
Star Wars was awesome. I watched the two sequels. I read Marvel's comic book. I even got Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster and thought that was great.  The trilogy ended on a happy note for me and that was fine.
The prequels were just the worst. I watched the first one, snippets of the second one and a couple of pieces of the third one and felt that I had not missed a thing. Those weren't made for me. I had my three Star Wars movies and I was very happy with that.
The real reason I'm not watching any of the new Star Wars movies?
I don;t need them.
I have my Star Wars movies and that's just fine with me.
Look at that list again.
Isn't that a great list?
Just reading it makes me want to go and watch at least ten of them right now.
Enjoy the new Star Wars movies.
Those are for you.
May The Force Be With you.

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