Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Sound of Horror," or The Screech in Greece

To defend yourself against an invisible Greek dinosaur you will first require several large bags of flour...

Ingrid Pitt's frugging displeases Capt. Jawline

Soledad Miranda performs a traditional dance, to general apathy

The great Ingrid Pitt's first feature film was the 1964 micro-budget Spanish horror flick , The Sound of Horror.

The very young Miss Pitt does some good frugging to weird early 1960s Spanish rock music in this film, which otherwise spends a great deal of time depicting fat guys in bush shirts blowing up a cave in a silly attempt to find some treasure.

First of all, they only have half the map for about a third of the movie. And when they find a mummy wrapped in burlap, in a coffin, and wearing some sort of ceremonial garb underneath, the head nitwit confidently pronounces the corpse "Homo sapiens neanderthal," which is absurd.

But hey, these are not the brightest treasure hunters in cinematic history. They also find a petrified egg they put on the mantelpiece so it can get warmed up and hatch at the least convenient moment.

Turns out there's an invisible dinosaur in the cave, and it shuffles toward the victim making increasingly alarming noises until mauling the poor slob.

The only way to fight it is to take the large bags of flour you have sitting around and spread it in the yard, so when you see dinosaur footprints you simply heave the axe in the general direction and hope for the best.

Far too much plot getting in the way of the story. Ingrid Pitt's legs. One too many trips to the well. Screeching, wailing and moaning. Screeching, wailing and moaning from the transistor radio. The least expensive monster in movie history. Short. Soledad Miranda, who is actually cuter than Ingrid and a much better dancer. Two coils.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Big Steve, Under Glass

Under the Dome Under the Dome by Stephen King

My rating:
2 of 5 stars I got about 400 pages in and gave up.

The New England archetypes are amusing as always, but Big Steve was taking forever to set it up, and if you can't get it done in 400 pages it ain't worth doing, I'm sorry.

Hardcore fans will love it, I'm sure. View all my reviews >>

Friday, January 29, 2010

Do the Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan specialized in the shapeless hat. I got this one from a Connecticut shop called Noggin Tops; it's made by Hanna.

It was a weird day of snow showers and meteorological mayhem. Camel hair blazer from the late great Huntington of Columbis, Ohio; I like it because a) it fits and b) it has black buttons embossed with some ersatz crest, instead of the usual gold.

The vest is an Orvis number that I have in fact worn fishing; elderly Rooster knit tie; Orvis tattersall sport shirt; LE chinos in one of these new configurations - "Authentic" or "Heritage" or some bumpfy name like that.

And Commie-stompin' Filson boots I bought off a clothing forum guy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joe Klein — Putz of the Year

A strong showing for Joe Klein of Time Magazine in the early running for the coveted CP "Putz of the Year" award.

His Time blog posting of Jan. 25 begins with this:

Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it's been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package--$288 billion--is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you've been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills.

(Emphasis added.)

Yes, Joe, I found the extra money helpful. And I am also paying taxes on it, as I discovered when I did my 1040EZ the other day. Matter of fact, I owe the feds about $600 - oddly enough, almost the precise amount of the "tax relief."

To rework H.L. Mencken — "The only way for a reporter to look at a journalist is down."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Solid Style

Sometimes simpler is better. Depends on your mood, I suppose.

Or how long you overslept.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Morning Improv

Note how windshield begins to fog up. Should have said "pecked" instead of "jabbed," but hey, it was 7:30 a.m. and the car engine didn't want to turn over. Stupid battery.

(Stupid browser won't let me make this a link, you'll have to copy and paste.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thanks, Uncle Harry Style

Thanks to Uncle Harry Reid of Nevada and the U.S. Senate, I think I will throw my fedora in the ring for the Connecticut Fifth District race.

After all, I am light-skinned, and rarely do I speak in Negro dialect.

But are the voters ready for the pink shirt?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Standing Around In the Cold Waiting For Chinese Food Style

Thrifted Southwick jacket. Pleated Berle flannels. Lands End pinpoint non-iron with the "varsity" collar. Tie with Episcopal Church emblem, which for some reason people think is Harvard. (Either way I'm a fraud.) LL Bean waxed jacket from a few years back. Footjoy black split-toe blucher down below. Shrimp and scallops in garlic sauce and an order of steamed dumplings, the kind with the mystery meat and that weird brown sauce.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Cinema — Paging Dr. Humpp!

Humpp's bedside manner.

Something Weird knocks one out of the park with the release of "The Curious Dr. Humpp," a Uruguayan masterpiece by the immortal Emilio Vieyra.

Dr. Humpp is an above-average mad scientist, taking his orders from another mad scientist's brain he's got in a big mayonnaise jar. (See "Hitler Under Glass," reviewed here in Oct. 2009.)

He needs to extract some fluids from fornicating couples to nourish him (he starts to decay without it) and also to rule the world.

The doc says some great things, including this chestnut: "Sex dominates the world... and now I dominate sex!"

Catch one of yer high-falutin' Shakespeare wannabes cranking out a line like that.

"I've got this great idea for a band — we'll call it Devo."

So a reporter looking into things gets kidnapped by a big guy wearing a sort of bird mask, fed an aphrodisiac and has to have sex with a pretty nice-looking gal. Meanwhile the cops run around in circles.

Both the reporter and the head cop wear nice vintage sport/suit coats with a high roll three-button and skinny lapels. They probably wouldn't have to be kidnapped by a sex-crazed mad scientist to get some, but that's how it goes sometimes.

Black and white. Appalling striptease. Skinny lapels. Hippies. Freak-o in bird head. Lots of writhing.

And astonishingly graphic sex scenes.

Belated Academy Award nomination for Dr. Humpp saying to the nurse: "Put the hippies in one room. Let them keep their marijuana. Oh, and put the lesbians in the same room too."

An incredible find that goes on the CACA All-Time list. Four coils.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Cinema — Heroin-Seeking Mini-Aliens Invade Earth, Discover Punks, Sex

I haven't seen "Liquid Sky" since about 1985 in Richmond, Va., in a theater on West Cary that alternated between art house flicks and XXX-rated offerings. One's feet stuck to the floor in that place, if you get my drift.

It's a weird, low-budget sci-fi flick that uses the New York downtown art/punk scene ca. 1982 the way Roger Corman used California teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s (and hippies after that).

The idea is that these aliens in Frisbee-sized ships come to earth seeking opiates. Having no bodies themselves, they have to find people using heroin and put the ol' Space Zap on 'em.

But they find out that the substance released in the brain during orgasm, while similar to the opiate routine, is better!

So they start in on people having sex, too, and since they've parked the ship on the roof of Margaret and Adrian's apartment there's a steady stream of people doing drugs or having sex, or both.

Margaret (Anne Carlisle) is an "uptight WASP [bleep] from Connecticut," according to her evil lover, the heroin-dealing, performance artist Adrian. Jimmy (also played by Carlisle) is a strung-out androgynous fashion model.

And then there's this dopey scientist from Berlin who is chasing the UFO.

Not too much plot getting in the way of the story, and some really good slices of life which will be familiar (if not reassuring) to anybody who lived through the early 1980s on the edgier side of life.

Edgy, and stricken by ennui, if those two things don't conflict too much. The film's pace seems slow, but that's because the main characters just can't be bothered half the time.

Oddly enough, there's no nekkidity in "Liquid Sky." Well, there is a shot of the caboose of the lame-o drama teacher, but he's dead, so it really doesn't count.

Bad performance art. Androgyny. Gratutious use of an unpleasant word beginning with "c". Jewish-German humor. UFO that looks like a Frisbee, and is about the same size. Two rapes, both resulting in alien justice for the perps. Psychedelic Alien Death Ray. Graphic depictions of shooting drugs. Graphic depiction of the art of ordering Chinese food.

In short, rough stuff. Automatic one-coil deduction for the lack of female nudity, so three coils.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Style (continued)

Okay, it's snowing a bit, off and on. But it's not especially cold, and the heat's cranked in the office.

And I bought a gym membership, so I'm running hotter than usual.

Solution — skip the sweater and go with a substantial tweed that's partially lined, thus providing warmth for outside, but not so much to make me hot inside.

And silk long johns, which are standard operating procedure in northwest Connecticut until, oh, Memorial Day.

The late lamented Footjoy shoe company made these excellent split toes with a Vibram lug sole, perfect for sloppy weather. I just wish they'd had a couple pairs in a darker brown during their farewell sale.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Archives - The Lost Years

I used to disappear for a week or 10 days at a clip into the mountains of northern New Mexico with a couple of trout rods, dried beans, an onion, tortillas, chiles — and whiskey.

Lots of whiskey.

Ca. 1994.

The idea was to be Gonzo. The reality was more Putzo.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There's Trad and There's Ivy and Then There's This

I got a perfectly ordinary plain charcoal, darted two-button jacket, pleated trousers Polo suit from a fellow enthusiast and it happens to fit well.

And that's really the main thing, ain't it? A sack suit that hangs on the wearer like a, well, sack is going to look pretty awful, no matter the provenance.

Sometimes I think the clothing forums get so caught up in the details they miss the bigger picture.

Not that this group of photos is all that great. I'm beat, my kitchen is messy, I used my pocket square (a plain cotton hanky) to blow my nose, and Ralphus ran off to join the circus — again.

Archives — Lake Champlain, August 1972

My father's cousin Paul had a great motorboat and took us on long, meandering trips around Lake Champlain from his base in Vergennes, Vt.

Paul's brother John (behind the Leica rangefinder) was an accomplished photographer and linguist. My father's in the middle, and yours truly on right, age ten.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Peeling Out — The Gnarly Side of Diana Rigg

"Theater of Blood" (1973) is a very amusing little flick about an dreadful ham actor, Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) who, after he is denied an award by a critics' organization, fakes his suicide and plans his revenge.

His daughter Edwina, played by Diana Rigg, assists in the killings (adapted from Shakespeare).

See, Edward only does Shakespeare, and does it rather badly (or so the critics believe).

So one of them gets drowned in a butt of malmsey (Richard III). And so on.

This would be a fun film for an AP English class.

Anyway, it's fun for "Avengers" fans to see Rigg camping it up as a villain.

Comes as a two-fer with another Price-less piece of cheese, "Madhouse." Price plays Peter Toombs, aka "Dr. Death," a horror actor returning to work after years spent in a loony bin. Peter Cushing and the immortal Robert Quarry ("Count Yorga, Vampire") co-star.

Three coils for the set.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Solid 70s Dreck in The House That Dripped Blood

"The House That Dripped Blood" (1971) is a British anthology flick with some stars from the Hammer Films firmament — Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee.

The four stories were all written by Robert Bloch ("Psycho"). They are unified by the creepy house that brings misfortune to whoever rents it.

The best is the last — "The Cloak," in which a hack horror actor gets a vampire cloak that, whoops, actually belonged to a vampire. Hilarity ensues.

A solid three-coiler.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Archives - Show Biz Lawyer

Introducing great-grandfather John J. Sullivan, show business lawyer, in the 1920s.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Archives - Family Togetherness

A rare shot of my grandparents. Dwight (far right) was a natty dresser. According to my father (center rear):

"My father was very vain, especially about his clothes. He had his suits made, even during the Depression.

"One time the tailor was adding some padding to one shoulder, and my father asked him why. 'To correct for the natural deformity,' he replied.

"My father took the jacket off and stalked out, never to return. 'The deformity!' "

Also John Sullivan (far left), Harriet Sullivan and my grandmother Polly plying the crutches.