Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Blood Beast" stars same guy as other terrible movie!

Hey, it's Ed Nelson! (Center, above.)

That's what I was thinking when I fired up "Night of the Blood Beast" right after watching "The Devil's Partner" again.

I was enthusiastic about the latter a couple years back (click here) and was glad to see him in this Roger Corman spectacle, about stupid scientists who send people up into orbit in motorized soup cans and then bitch when parasitical aliens attach themselves to the astronaut.

The aliens look like seahorses, incidentally, when viewed under the fluoroscope — sort of a self-powered X-ray machine, with extra radioactivity.

Ed's role as Dave isn't nearly as demanding as his double role as Nick/Pete in "The Devil's Partner." For one thing, Dave doesn't have to do a transformation scene into an old man with wild, John Brown hair.

No, Dave just has to clench his jaw, look determined, and ignore the photographer girl's big butt.

It is big, too. No getting around it.

I noticed her butt because I always notice girls' butts, but also because the flick was pretty interminable. Dead scientist, renegade blood cells, monster that looks like the cast-off bits of all the monster costumes in history.

So I cannot get excited about "Blood Beast" at all. One coil, and that's a gift. Even with Ed Nelson, who according to Wikipedia is still around, living in Louisiana.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bad Beatles Joke

I call this one "Norwegian Woodpile."

Includes the Muffy-endorsed older LL Bean Norwegian sweater — with the goodness of Rayon.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

So in  She Demons (1958) some stupid people out in a boat during a hurricane wash up on the one supposedly deserted island that is not only being used by the Air Force as a target but also is home to a deranged Nazi war criminal scientist and his squad of goons who are torturing girls in unconvincing "native" costumes in order to isolate the chromosome or gene or something that will restore Mrs. Deranged Nazi War Criminal Scientist's acid-damaged face.

Now that's a lot of plot to get into one paragraph, never mind one sentence, but it's a hell of a lot easier to read than to watch this flick.

The deranged etc. looks a little like the young Ralph Lauren, if that helps. And Irish McCalla looks darn good in her spoiled rich girl shorts.

Irish McCalla, immortal in shorts

A she demon in pre-op

No, it's not the Aztec Mummy, it's Mrs. Deranged Nazi War Criminal

Death by she demon for Nazi goon

Nazi goons with limited vocabularies —"Raus! Schnell!" (later adopted for "Hogan's Heroes"). Dancing native girls who look like they are all called Myrna. Bad bongo drumming. She demons, sporting papier mache faces with big teeth sticking out. Mrs. Deranged winds up looking very similar to the Aztec Mummy. Incredibly boring. One coil.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Teenage Zombies (aka Redundant!)

Jerry Warren's Teenage Zombies (1959) is a bit of tease in that there are only two teenage zombies and they are only zombies for about 90 seconds of screen time.

And they are not noticeably different as zombies.

See, these kids decide to go water ski-ing out by a deserted island. They never do get to the water ski-ing, however, because it seems like much more fun to explore the deserted island.

Alas, as is often the case with deserted islands, it is in fact inhabited by a mad scientist with a zombie army and an ee-ville plan to take over the world.

This mad scientist is a lady, with an ICBM chest and a consistently bad attitude.

Her main zombie is Ivan, who can follow simple commands. We only get a quick look at the other zombies.

When I say zombie, I mean the mindless, shambling, robotic type of zombie, as created by the better sort of voodoo spell. These are not the reanimated corpses of Romero et. al.

Ivan, the master zombie.

The scientist is tinkering around with a gas that will turn Americans into zombies. She is working for someone from "the East," which I take to mean your Red Chinese, those cunning devils. If you're thinking, "Sounds like the Obama Administration," well, if the shoe fits...

Anyhoo, there's a lot of back and forth on boats and a crooked sheriff in a bad suit who keeps tugging on his lapels.

There's also a very cute girl in high-waisted jeans and if you don't think that can look good guess again.

We're talking zombie gas. Boats. Shambling bug-eyed master zombie. Greasy men in bad suits. Mad scientist who looks like your fourth grade teacher on vacation in Las Vegas ca. 1955. Bad fighting. Deus ex machina in the form of an dezombified gorilla. The U.S. Army. Promise of Presidential citation. No water ski-ing.

Shot in Exciting Blur-O-Vision!

Mildly amusing, especially when the kids look under the bushes for their motorboat. Two coils.

The excitement of Blur-O-Vision

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together" is the strongest contender in years for Most Annoying Song of All Time. (It's fresh in my mind because I heard it twice yesterday, once at the gym and again on the radio.)

Ms. Swift, who might be fairly described as very slightly talented, leads a multi-tracked chant of semi-doggerel over a leaden beat, which culminates in the ultra-irritating refrain of "Wee-ee! Are nev-err ev-err ev-err...getting back togeth-err/ Wee-ee!" etc.

The "nevers" and "evers" are pronounced with an extended "-er," in the same manner as the woman who, upon being confronted on her appalling behavior, replies with the all-purpose post-modern comeback, "whatever" (pronounced "what-EV-err").

Behold the majesty of Taylor Swift and ask yourself: Is this in the same league as Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire?"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Messy Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil (1973) is a semi-coherent zombie flick with some Ancient Evil and a lot of art damage. Arletty, played by Marianna Hill, goes floundering into a little California beach town looking for her father, who is some kind of artist. Along the way she meets an albino guy with a pickup full of dead people; Thom the Suit-Wearing Weirdo and his two groupies; and Elisha Cook, Jr. as the town wino.

There is a whole lot of plot that mostly consists of flashbacks and the reading of diaries and it gets mighty tedious.

Then there is some pretty decent zombitation, beginning with the cuter of the two groupies becoming the manager's special at the grocery store.

These are pretty clever zombies — they can build fires on the beach to signal The Dark Man, or Messiah of Evil if you prefer. They run the movie projector at the theater, and patiently wait for Groupie #2 to finish her popcorn before they attack.

The flick suffers from Antonioni Syndrome — characters wandering around visually striking sets, talking in circles.

Somebody probably thought there was some kind of art being made.

Hill never gets nekkid, which is a shame — and, of course, an automatic one-coil deduction.

It loses another coil for Frequent Fast-Forward.

So two coils, which is generous.

Rule #1 — Never hang out at the meat counter at the market in a town you suspect might have a significant zombie community

Rule #2 — Do not let directors who have watched a lot of Antonioni movies anywhere near an Arriflex.

Rule #3 — If you are the only person in the theater eating popcorn, something's amiss.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Death Race 2000 Is Very Silly, Wins Iron Coil

I'd forgotten just how goofy Death Race 2000 is — from the dorky, smarmy TV announcer to the ridiculous cars to "Mr. President," the cult of personality star with no apparent personality.

David Carradine was El Rey de Queso, no doubt. And Roger Corman certainly had a good time making this thing.

Leonard Maltin (between us, he's a bit of an anal probe) has a pretty good interview with the master on the DVD. A fair bit of Death Race 2000's predictions have come true: cult of personality, post-Constitutional country obsessed with violent entertainment, and a constant state of war. Not bad for low-budget satire.

And let's not forget the horror — of Carradine in his underwear, and Sly Stallon in a pink necktie and Speed Racer brand leisure suit.

Immortal, and the winner of an Iron Coil.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Take that, you dumb mothers

Occasionally I need reminding that the stupid brainless miserable pig-fuckers out there aren't really all that important. Irritating, certainly. But not important. Photo one is the best I could do on a river in Yosemite some years back. I was visiting my friend Christina in the East Bay, and I drove way the hell to the western entrance to the Yosemite park and found this river, which was a bitch to wade. I caught something and managed to get a shot of it disappearing. Photo two is down in Claryville, N.Y., on the Neversink. I am explaining something stupid to Giles Harlowe, who owns this fabled stretch where the East and West Branches of the river meet up. Imagine that — owning the Junction Pool.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curse You, Demon of the Night!

According to film lore, director Jacques Tourneur didn't want the actual demon in "Night of the Demon" (or "Curse of the Demon" in the U.S.) because he thought it was too obvious. What's obvious is the man, who admittedly had a way with the spooky, clearly didn't realize the importance of a giant fanged monster with great big claws to the audience. Especially the audience at the drive-in. These people were easily distracted — by the speaker falling off the car door, by the soda spilling on the front seat, and by the young woman's breasts in the tight sweater.
Dana Andrews is Dr. Holden, a no-nonsense psychologist who goes over to England to help sort out some bushwa about a devil cult. Unfortunately, the evil Dr. Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) is no phony, and soon Dr. Holden gets the parchment and has only a couple days to live, which he spends getting blown around Karswell's house and gazing at Peggy Cummins and her sweater.
The "Curse" version is the U.S. release and is about 10 minutes shorter, from what I can gather. I watched "Curse" but not the slightly longer "Night" because what got cut was plot that could only have gotten in the way of the story. Some excellent creepiness. Take the cheesy demon out and this is straight film noir. Dana Andrews looks like my friend and fellow CACA member Thos. Good stuff. Three honest coils.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What season is it again?

Last night — clear, cold. Flannel pajamas and I shut the window I usually leave cracked. This morning — clear and sunny, 50s. Hmm. Had to roll out early to interview an 8th grader. I don't remember school starting at such a ghastly hour, but that's probably just old age kicking in. Then off to get an oil change. So — classic LL Bean Norwegian over a Bean flannel shirt, and lined LL Bean jeans. SmartWool socks and LL Bean boat shoes. (Hmm II — lots of Leon in there.) This is on Long Pond Road in Salisbury, Conn., looking toward Sharon. Mudge Pond in distance. Very trouty-looking stream in that valley, too. Might have to go bushwacking later.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall 2012 Style

After a summer of not giving a damn about clothes or much of anything else I snapped out of it when the weather did. Harder to do "don't give as shit" when it's cold and rainy out. I also did an enormous purge of the closet(s). I'm talking 50 suits and sportcoats, with shirts, chinos, jeans, shoes, ties and odds and ends to go with them. It went to a local church's fall festival sale, to aid a food bank. What was left over went to a thrift shop that helps people pay medical bills. Those worthy outfits get some cash, I get some breathing space, everybody wins.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Never Answer the Door During a Rain Storm

So in this DVD set — "50 Incredibly Lousy Flicks" — I spotted a Sondra Locke flick called "The Seducers."

Hey, it was made in 1977, so there's a decent chance of some gratuitous nudity and bad white people dancing. And "The Seducers" delivered.

See, George's wife, who is a croquet fiend, has to beat it from their Northern California home to San Diego on account of her father's appendix burst. You'll have that, and George is sanguine as he settles in for a relaxing evening of listening to the hi fi while wearing shirts with huge open collars.

But the doorbell rings, and these two soaking wet cuties say they're lost and can they use the phone.

George has just turned 40, in one of those clever plot twists, and you can tell he's kinda wondering, with the wife in San Diego and all...

So the kids go to freshen up. They take a hell of a long time, though, and when George goes to see what's up they are nekkid in the hot tub.

George tries to resist but he is, after all, just a weak man.

This doesn't turn out so well, for either George or the viewer, because the next 45 minutes are devoted to the gals tying up George, trashing his house, killing the kid who delivers the groceries, trying on Mrs. George's clothes, laughing hysterically, and, finally, getting hit by a van from the Humane Society.

I am not making this up.

Death in fish tank. Bad dancing to worse music. Sandra Locke and Colleen Cap, nekkid from the rear, which is fine. Dogpile in hot tub, with superimposed images. Croquet as dramatic foreshadowing. Fun with makeup. Shrill laughter. Gratuitous use of hourglass to indicate that George is on thin ice. Greatest deus ex machina ending of all time. Boring. Shot in the dark. Bad dubbing. Two coils.

A Sink Full of Trout; My Cousin Collin

I couldn't stand it anymore, and bolted for Ulster County, N.Y. the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Even though the streams were still low, the temperatures had cooled a bit and I thought there might be a sporting chance at catching a few trout.

I make do with fishing for bass and other warm water species during the dog days of summer. It's an exercise in rationalization, based on the assumption that it's just as much fun catching a largemouth as a fat rainbow.

It isn't.

The Esopus Creek below the Portal continues to be plagued by murky releases. Plus over the weekend the flow was raised to accomodate tubers.

Above the Portal, where the Esopus is a medium-sized trout stream, things were a little better. Not a lot of water, but enough to keep the half-dozen or so deep runs — between Old Route 28 and Route 42 on the east end and the third state-maintained angler's pull-off a couple miles upstream — full of relatively cool water.

Dusk was good, but dawn even better. And I mean dawn. I left the house Labor Day at 5 a.m., in the dark, and tied on a Stimulator by penlight 25 minutes later.

There are some black stoneflies on the rocks up there. They look like termites, sort of, and can be imitated subsurface with a Copper John or anything else with a v-shaped tail.

Or you can plop a big hairy Stimulator in the head of a given run, where bigger trout gather to complain about the weather and enjoy some scarce aerated water, and watch the fish slam them.

I had an order for fish, so I went into killing mode for a while, long enough to feed a couple of people and not feel bad about it. (For the record, I release over 90 percent of my catch.)

Cleaning them promptly, I noticed that these fish were pretty much starving, which would explain why they were so enthused about the Stimulator. "At last! A square meal!"

All in all I took enough for me, my mother, and my cousin Dwight and his wife Winnie.

Meanwhile, back in the Nutmeg State, I took my cousin Collin, 17, out in the canoe one morning. I gave him the choice of using his spinning rod, which I described as Communist and weak, or using a fly rod, the manly, American option.

Collin's a good lad. He went with the manly choice.

He's a good student, too. After some fiddling, he got a bluegill. Later on he got a largemouth. Flushed with success, he followed me into the squirrelly little brook with a short rod and tried his hand at spooky brook trout. He got a couple of strikes but no takers, and did not get discouraged by hiding behind rocks and occasionally getting tangled up in the back cast.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sacre Blecch!

They look sad because it's only the opening sequence and there are 90 minutes to go.

Jean Rollin"s "Requiem for a Vampire" is a little bit Antonioni, a little bit Hammer, and a whole lot of boring.

See, these two girls bust out of boarding school and naturally all they want to do is dress up like clowns and shoot at the cops.

This does not work out so well for the poor sap they got to drive them but c'est la vie.

So they wander around the countryside until they blunder into a ruined castle that everybody insists on calling a chateau. It's got some pretty lame vampires and three ugly mooks who apparently look after the vampires in between raping the gals they got chained up in the basement.

One of the mooks looks a bit like Ralphus from "Bloodsucking Freaks" if that helps when you are wondering whether to rent this sucker.

So there's a lot of blah blah blah from the main vampire about being the last of the line, and lots of aimless walking around, and mooks attacking the chained up nekkid girls and saying "arrrgh" a lot, and some more shots of the countryside, and of green slime, and the clown suits, and the revolvers that have 56 shots in them, and some mild lesbitation, and what does it all mean?

It means you should check the batteries in the remote, because you're gonna be hitting that fast-forward.

Bah. One grudging coil. (I can't find the coil photos, so you'll have to imagine it.)

An outtake from the upcoming "50 Shades of Grey"? Nope — just the vampire slaves tapping into the fringe bennies on a slow day in the dungeon.

They like this sort of thing in France. In Europe, for that matter.

When hippies breed, part VII — The Boho Vampiress. First she lulls you to sleep singing "Joe Hill." Then she closes in for the kill.

"Shall we go up? Shall we go down? Shall we take our clothes off? Shall we reload?"

"Or shall we roll around nekkid in the vampire master bedroom?"

Dog Days 2012

Now is the time of year when fly-rodders in Northwest Connecticut must either trek to the Farmington or forget about fishing for trout.

August is bass season — smallmouth in the Housatonic, and largemouth in lakes and ponds.

Also bluegill, crappie and perch.

It's not bad, floating around in a pontoon boat chucking gigantic flies at the dumb brutes.

But it only goes so far. I'd gladly sacrifice summer weather for waders, a sweater and trout.

Luckily, the heat wave snapped, and it's getting down in the 50s at night. We're getting there.

Pontoon boat — powered by oars and/or swim fins

Largemouth bass, Lower Lake, Mt. Riga, Conn. This is a typical specimen. They get bigger.

The colorful and silly bluegill (aka sunfish)

A larger largemouth. A largemouth bass is basically a swimming mouth.

The perch. They don't get much bigger around here. They travel in swarms.

The crappie, which looks like the hideous combination of a bass and a bluegill. People out west and in the south like to pronounce it "croppie," but not me.

Yours truly, in delightful LL Bean fishing shirt, with nylon and polyester goodness. The most comfortable one of its kind I've found. Discontinued, of course.