Tuesday, January 16, 2018

House of Evil by John Trinian

House of Evil
by John Trinian
Pyramid 1962
Reprinted by Stark House Press, 2016

A conman starts a religious cult and begins to believe his own con.  Other con artists move in to steal his cash, and the stash of compromising films.  A b-movie actor is accidentally roped into the scene, and he's out to rescue a girl that the cult leader has a lecherous eye on.

Some tone issues with this one.  It threatens to get dark, then turns to goofball humor, and ends with the actor flopping around in a fishman costume.

Original paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I Like the Thing in the Thing Better than the Thing

CQ (2001)

CQ stars Jeremy Davies (who I like to think of as an alternate universe Henry Thomas) is a pretentious wannabe director who is working as an editor for a 60s Eurospy movie, Codename: Dragonfly.  He steals film to work on his horsepoop art piece of him pontificating on a toilet, the better to smell his own farts.  The Eurospy movie (think along the lines of Barbarella or Danger: Diabolik) is supposed to represent the crass commercial side of film making, while the art film represents the detached artist.

Or something - not a clear purpose or reason for this film to exist, and fails to either enlighten or entertain.  I think we're supposed to be aware of the characters faults but ultimately be on the side of art, and to not like Codename: Dragonfly as crass commercialism, but it seemed clear to me that Davies played a complete wanker and that they would have been better off just making Codename: Dragonfly.

Sure, it looks good, but don't bother watching the whole thing just for these parts.

I felt the same way about Stephen King's The Dark Half.  The Dark Half is about a writer living in Maine (but you already knew that) who writes violent crime fiction on the side under an assumed name George Stark.  The stories within the story feature a character named Alexis Machine, who is similar to Richard Stark's Parker, if Parker were a serial killer.

Of course, I would much rather read the George Stark books than anything by Stephen King.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ninja Condors (1987)

Ninja Condors (1987)

Brian the ninja became a ninja after watching his father drawn and quartered by motorcycles.  He grows up to be a ninja, the White Eagle, and works for gang boss Lucifer.  The killing bothers his conscience, so he quits after chainsawing a pregnant woman, off frame.  He hooks up with jive turkey Eddie, who is an undercover cop, and rescues his ninja master.

There's honky fights, ninja fights on a merry go round, ninja fights on a skating rink, two fisting M16s, and hundreds of throwing stars.

Most Filmark/Godfrey Ho movies are just random Hong Kong films spliced together with clips of Richard Harrison fighting ninjas in the park.  There's still plenty of that, but this was an actual original movie, with a coherent plot and everything.

The martial arts I've seen in a Filmark movie, and pretty good in general for 1987.

Available on Amazon video

Monday, January 1, 2018

Frankenstein 2018

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, an important milestone in both horror and science fiction, 2018 will be the year of Frankenstein, both the doctor and monster.

First, a quick checklist of derivative novels through the 1970s (not including children's and parody works).

Most of these are continuations of the original, with the primary difference being whether the creature is smart like the book or dumb like the movie.

Series by Jean-Claude Carrière, published in France.  The first two have been translated into English. 
1957 La Tour de Frankenstein (The Tower of Frankenstein)
1957 Le Pas de Frankenstein (The Step of Frankenstein)
1957 La Nuit de Frankenstein (The Night of Frankenstein)
1957 Le Sceau de Frankenstein (The Seal of Frankenstein)
1958 Frankenstein Rôde (Frankenstein Prowls)
1959 La Cave de Frankenstein (The Cellar of Frankenstein)

Series by Donald Glut, the first three or so originally published in Spain, the first four titles were released in English in 1977, with all the titles in German around 1976-7, all finally released in English in late 2017.
Frankenstein Lives Again
Terror of Frankenstein
Bones of Frankenstein
Frankenstein Meets Dracula
Frankenstein vs. the Werewolf
Frankenstein in the Lost World
Frankenstein in the Mummy’s Tomb
The Return of Frankenstein
Frankenstein and the Curse of Dr. Jekyll
Frankenstein and the Evil of Dracula

1972 Frankenstein Wheel by Paul W. Fairman

1974 Frankenstein Unbound by Brian Aldiss

1975 Cross of Frankenstein by Robert J. Meyers
1976 Slave of Frankenstein by Robert J. Meyers

1977 Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne

I'll add more as they're discovered.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Toni Basil with Rerun and Spazz Attack

Why wouldn't Rerun from What's Happening!! hang out with the punk guy from the DEVO videos?  They were also in a Toni Basil video together, but the song is so horrible not even I will post it.  Interesting that Spazz got his one move from a pro wrestling bump.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

TV Obscura: 80s Casting

I watched a lot of TV in the 80s, and I figured I had at least heard of every network show.  I was very, very wrong.  When you get into mid-season replacements and unsold pilots there are tons of them, and the casting looks like someone hit shuffle on IMDB.

Wildside, starring Terry Funk, Conan's dad, and Meg Ryan.

Star of the Family, starring Brian Dennehy, the PA announcer from M.A.S.H., and the American Ninja.

Nothing is Easy, starring Short Round, the kid from Critters, and the mom from ET (and Critters).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Death for Hire by Joseph Nazel

Death for Hire
by Joseph Nazel
1975 Holloway House

Amateur gangsters Turtle and Tracy assassinate an assistant D.A. and go on the run.  They're hunted by the cops, gangster Sugar Man, and reporter Spider.  There is a running commentary on everyone's mental and emotional state throughout.  At first it showed a little more depth than the pulp I'm used to, even getting poetic, but it wore thin for me real quick.  It didn't help that almost nothing happened the entire novel.

Paperback from Amazon