Friday, July 30, 2010

Meme Leech :: 20 Actors I Love -- And Then Some!

A couple of years ago there was a meme floating around asking for bloggers to tic off their 20 favorite Actors and Actresses. Back then, I managed to post about the leading ladies that I love, but never got around to doing the men -- until I found the aborted file a few days ago while cleaning up the archives, dusted it off, and -- well, here we are. And like I did with the ladies, I went off the beaten path a bit and eliminated the Newmans, the Scotts, and the Mortensens and concentrated on the character guys and second bananas who make the Newmans and the Scotts and the Mortensens that much better. And also, as before, I decided against narrowing the list down and just posted all of them. That's right. I'm still a dirty stinking cheater.

Adam Roarke :: Art LaFleur :: Billy Drago

Boris Karloff :: Brion James :: Burl Ives

Claude Akins :: Darren McGavin :: Keith David

Dan Blocker :: Dean Jones :: Ernest Borgnine

xxxGary Cole :: Gene Evans :: Haruo Nakajima

Jack Elam :: James Whitmore :: Jo Shishido

xKennan Wynn :: Ken Tobey :: M. Emmet Walsh

Michael Dudikoff :: Nathan Fillion :: Ned Beatty

Oliver Reed :: Richard Boone :: Robert Ryan

Ron Livingston :: Shintarō Katsu :: Strother Martin

Timothy Carey :: Tim Thomerson :: Timothy Olyphant

Vic Morrow :: Vincent Price :: Warren Oates

And as a bonus, a few more actors that I do like individually,
but absolutely love when they're paired together::

Terence Hill and Bud Spencer

Bing Crosby and Bob Hope

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi

Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Erik Stolhanske,
Jay Chandrasekhar and Steve Lemme

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rehashed Reviews :: The Über Schlockmeister Edition!

Clockwise, from top left: Ray Dennis Steckler, Charles Band,
Larry Buchanan & Ted V. Mikels.

In The Thrill Killers, our man Steckler sticks it to his old nemesis, Alfred Hitchcock, in this demented tale of axe-wielding psychos and maniacs on the loose, with a nice scenic tour of every square inch of Topanga Canyon as an added bonus.

Before he started howling at the Full Moon, Charles Band was the head honcho of Empire Pictures, which unleashed a ton of fodder for USA's Up All Night and TNT's Monstervision. But by far my favorite, lost in the wash of your Re-Animators and your Ghoulies, was this forgotten sci-fi tale called Zone Troopers -- but I like to call it Saving Private Chewbacca.

Larry Buchanan: now there's a guy whose provided more cinematic Waterloos for countless seasoned genre viewers. And once again, he gets our hopes up with an outstanding premise -- the premise being that Nixon ordered the FBI to kill Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison -- but then pulls the football away, leaving the Charlie Browns who tuned in flat on their collective asses -- again! So, be warned when you go poking Beyond the Doors.

And lastly, we once more dance a cautious waltz with Ted V. Mikels and the nigh undigestable The Worm Eaters, where our noted auteur and bigamist gives Herb Robins a bunch of money to see if he can make the audience throw-up.

Favorites :: Vintage Tuneage : Da! Is Very Gud Komrade!

The Nukes :: Tovarich

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Netflix'd :: Clearing Out the Instant Que : Alfred L. Werker's "Shock" (1946)

Janet Stewart (Shaw, who really gets her Cathy O'Donnell on in this thing) is an anxious women who is anxiously trying to get checked into a San Francisco hotel before her husband arrives. You see, for three years, Janet thought her spouse, Lt. Paul Stewart (Latimore), had been killed in action fighting overseas, but, it turns out, he had only been captured, was recently liberated, and is now on his way home for a very happy reunion. However, as the hours tic by with no signs of her beloved, an overly distraught Janet drifts off to sleep and has a phantasmagorical nightmare, where she is unable to get to Paul no matter how hard she tries to barrel through all the obstacles her subconscious throws in front of her. And to make matters worse, upon waking up, after stepping onto the balcony for some much needed fresh air, our heroine inadvertently spies a man in the next room beating his wife to death after a dust-up over his infidelity.

This turns out to be too much for the stressed-out Janet, who succumbs to shock and slips into a catatonic state. And when her husband finally arrives, it's in this dire condition that he finds her. But, luckily for him, one of the country's best psychiatrists, a Dr. Richard Cross (Price), happens to be staying at the same hotel and agrees to take a look. Well, maybe not so lucky ... You see, Cross was the man who murdered his wife, and his new patient is the only thing standing between him getting away with it and the gas chamber. If, he typed ominously, she recovers, that is...

According to the fine folks over at Film Noir of the Week, 20th Century Fox had originally planned for Shock to be nothing more than a second feature, but, when it showed strong legs at the box-office, it was quickly bumped to the top of the bill. Most of the credit for that, I believe, goes to Price and his partner in crime, Lynn Bari, who plays his diabolical mistress, Elaine Jordan, who also just happens to be the head nurse at Cross's private sanitarium. And make no mistake about it, though the Stewarts may be the protagonists for this moderately effective pot-boiler, the film belongs to these co-conspirators, who work real damned hard to make the witness even more unstable and unhinged, so no one will believe her wild accusations about her doctor murdering his wife.

Sounds fairly conventional, and it would have been, too, if they had kept going down that well paved road; but where Shock tends to veer off course, and stretch its legs a bit, is with Cross, who, ironically, is Janet's only hope of getting out of this nightmare of a situation / nuthouse with all her marbles intact thanks to his constant crises of conscience. Unfortunately, every time he gets weak in the knees Elaine is there to stiffen things up and get him back on track by *ahem* stroking his ego a bit -- to put in 1940's colloquiality. And as fortunate circumstances for them keeping piling up, it appears poor Janet is completely hootered and will spend the rest of her life eating banana pudding and bouncing off some rubber walls, while her duped husband can only watch on helplessly, bamboozled by Cross's bullshit. Will evil triumph? Or will there finally be a fatale line that femme Elaine can't push Cross across.

Running a brief 70 minutes, Shock is an easily digestible suspenser that won't repeat on you or give you heartburn. And if nothing else, the film proved that Price had the chops for leading man material, and his days as a second banana were soon destined to be behind him.

Shock (1946) Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / P: Aubrey Schenck / D: Alfred Werker / W: Eugene Ling, Albert DeMond, Martin Berkeley / C: Joseph MacDonald, Glen MacWilliams / E: Harmon Jones / M: Harmon Jones / S: Vincent Price, Lynn Bari, Frank Latimore, Anabel Shaw, Stephen Dunne

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Favorites :: Cameos : Sock-Monkeys Ahoy! : Cabin Boy (1994)

Check it out again, it's funnier than you remember.
(For the salty crew of The Filthy Whore if nothing else.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Favorites :: Behind the Scenes : House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Behold! The Sheer Spectacle of Emergo!
(Image culled from Spine-Tingler: The William Castle Story DVD)

Wither Bad Movie Planet.

Alas, my old web host site Bad Movie Planet appears to have gone the way of the dodo, but, fear not, the bosses are just condensing some costs and moving me over to the mother-ship, so to speak. So, all apologies for the dead links, and please bear with us during the transition as we hammer the kinks out.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

YouTube Finds :: Schlock Cinema Showcases of My Youth : Anybody Else Remember The Canned Film Festival (1986)?

The Canned Film Festival was a syndicated schlock cinema showcase series that popped up in the summer of 1986, but then, much to my dismay, just as quickly blinked back out of existence. And of all the gonzoidal movie TV-conduits I've encountered in my lifetime, make no mistake, Mystery Science Theater 3000 was the best and my favorite; no ifs, ands, or ... well, one little but. That little "but" being The Canned Film Festival, a tragically short-lived but rabidly championed B-Movie extravaganza.

Well, rabidly championed by me anyways.

And thanks to the efforts of rgstern, The Canned Film Festival rides again on YouTube for at least one episode: Phil Tucker's magnum opus, Robot Monster :


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Heads Up! :: One Night Only : Elvis on Tour (1972) Back on the Big Screen!

From the NCM Fathom Website ::

"Warner Bros., Elvis Presley Enterprises and NCM Fathom are commemorating the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth by presenting Elvis on Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration, a special in-theater event that celebrates the timeless music of the rock ‘n’ roll icon.

"This one night event will feature much of the last film footage shot with Elvis, a specially produced, exclusive retrospective from Priscilla Presley, and never-before-seen Elvis footage. More than 25 numbers spotlighting Elvis Presley’s talent, range and showmanship fill this lively chronicle of his multi-city 1972 series of concerts. Plus montage sequences (supervised by Martin Scorsese) showcase Presley’s early career in music and movies. The unique split-screen presentation conveys the whirlwind, “you-are-there” energy and performance thrills of Elvis on Tour. The result of this different look at the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll™? Fan euphoria – and a Golden Globe® for Best Documentary."

This one time event will be held on Thursday, July 29th, 2010.

Oh, Hell Yeah! I'm going. Are you?

Favorites :: Vintage VHS : Bad Monkee! : Night of the Strangler (1972)

Courtesy of

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary, You Round Beeping Thing You!

On July 10, 1962, the Telstar-1 satellite was launched,
which, if nothing else, resulted in this kick'n tune:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shields Up! There's a Blogathon on the Starboard Bow! Set Phasers on Post! :: Shatner Being Shatner x Two : White Comanche (1968)

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

"When you want somebody to play half-breed
twins, you go for the Canadian Jew." x

-- An Ancient Hollywood Proverb
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

You'll know right off the bat that you're in for a real gonzoidal cinematic treat when our Frijole Refritos Western cues up and the first thing we hear as our boy rides into frame is a canned wolf-howl culled from the archives of the Children's Television Workshop. Yeehaw!

The long and the short of it: Wild Bill Shatner plays both the forlorn drifter Johnny Moon and his evil twin, Notah; a peyote-bogarting, no-goodnik renegade Comanche with a Messiah complex, who has the local tribe stirred up and on the warpath. This, obviously, is the root-cause for much of our hero's forlornness, and, tired of being mistaken for his outlaw brother by all the resulting lynch-mobs, Moon challenges Notah to an old-fashioned shoot-out to put at least one of them out of the others misery.

When Notah initially waffles at this ultimatum, Moon says he'll be waiting in the nearby town of Rio Hondo if his brother changes his mind to finally settle things. Of course, Rio Hondo is one of those western towns where two rival factions are trying to stamp each other out. And both sides feel a man with such skills as Moon could tip the scales in their favor. But, Moon has no real interest in such matters, feeling there's a pretty good chance he'll be dead in a few days anyway, so everything else is kinda moot. Besides, he's too busy avoiding both the local sheriff and several shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later bounty hunters, and wooing the local saloon girl -- after she stops trying to kill him. See, seems she was raped and pillaged by Notah, and, naturally, she at first mistakes Moon for the man who attacked her. But then our boy loses his shirt and gives her that look -- you know the one I'm talking about ... Head slightly cocked to the side, a raised eyebrow, and the hint of a grin, a grin that knows all your untold secrets that's about to break wide-open -- and, soon enough, the girl is all hot and bothered to sample the *ahem* Captain's Log.

Anyways ... Several soul-searching scenes, padded side-stories, including one concerning Notah's pregnant wife that must be seen to be truly believed, and about, oh, four or five massacres later, the film stumbles upon the climax, where Moon and Notah decide to settle things, Shatner-o a Shatner-o, in a deadly climactic duel / joust / game of armed chicken...

Along for the ride with our boy, Shatner, are the salty veteran Joseph Cotten as the sheriff, who helped extend his career by running around all over Europe and adding his screen-cred to the likes of this, Baron Blood and Lady Frankenstein, and the sock-knocking beauty of Rosanna Yanni as the prerequisite love interest. More on her in a second, but this was the second on-screen team up for Shatner and Cotten in 1968, who co-starred in Phil Karlson and Robert Pirosh's equally jaw-dropping adaptation of Alexander the Great. Truth be told, that tele-film was shot back in 1964 but was such a train-wreck it was shelved indefinitely; only to be unearthed again when Shatner and Adam West, who also had a pivotal role in that deliriously awesome fiasco, became household names when their respective TV franchises, the Trek and the Bat, hit big. And it was during Star Trek's second season hiatus that Shatner was lured over to Spain for this exploitation quickie; and judging by what we see on screen I think they blew half the budget on the plane ticket to get him over there.

Yanni, meanwhile, was an Argentinian beauty who broke into film with a few Paul Naschy fright flicks but is probably most remembered from when she teamed up with the equally eye-popping Janine Reynaud in Jesus Franco's wonderfully demented Red Lips double-dip, Sadist Erotica (a/k/a Two Undercover Angels) and Bésame monstruo (a/k/a Kiss Me, Monster), where our two femme fatales play detectives / cat-burglars in a Diabolik vein and foil a couple of kidnapping plots as Franco piles on the eye-candy, kitschy decor, and swanky absurdity to such Herculean levels it's almost impossible to process it all. But, who cares; and by all means check them out!

Behind the camera four sets of hands had their fingers in the plot-pot for this oddball oddity. Along with an uncredited Méndez and Rivera, Robert Holt and Frank Gruber hammered out the script for Comanche Blanco a/k/a White Comanche a/k/a Rio Hondo; a script that takes all the basic elements of spaghetti westerns past and systematically checks them off as the story progresses past each yard-stick. I honestly thought Holt and Gruber were perhaps "American" names adopted by their Spanish counterparts to help it sell, but, according to the IMDB, the pair had a long and storied career writing for the old Boob-Tube. Adding to the surreality of the proceedings is Jean Ledrut's plunky-guitar and horn-heavy soundtrack that sounds like the interstitial muzak from some 1960's game show that was cross-pollinated with a ditty from a vintage porn-loop. So, yeah, it doesn't fit the action or setting of Comanche Blanco all that well. And although Méndez and cinematographer Francisco Fraile manage a few interesting set-ups they become a little too obsessed with some trick mirror shots that were cool the first three times they used it but began to wear thin by the seventh or eighth refraction:

But, you say, we're here for the Shatner, right? Right. Okay, well, truthfully, though he veers into full-blown Captain Kirk mode more often than not, where he brings the Grade-A ham, especially during the fight scenes, our boy actually manages to bring some gravitas to the role of Johnny Moon. But as good as he is with that half of the equation Shatner totally screws the pooch with the other, as he portrays Notah with all the subtlety and nuance of a game of Whack-A-Mole. Part of the problem lies with the script, which calls for a climax where we can't keep track of which twin is which during the deadly duel, which, in turn, also calls for Notah to be clean-shaven, clean-cut, with the perfect Wild Bill wave of hair, for all of his other scenes -- where, on top of all that hootin', hollerin', and war-whoop'n, his evil sneer makes him look like ... well, kind of an idiot.

I also think it's fair to warn potential viewers that even though a movie that promises and delivers William Shatner as belligerent half-breed Indian twins White Comanche is not a whole can of lunacy from beginning to end.
Expectation can be a harsh mistress seldom satisfied, which is why, in the end, this film is a bit of conundrum on the whole so bad it's good scale. Sure, there are some blinding flashes of stoopid to be found here; but in between those Notah interludes are a lot of dull stretches and soggy subplots to contend with and conquer. Just remember: when a movie sounds too good to be true it usually is. Keep that in mind when you pop this into your DVD player and you should be good to go.

Alas, this post is my final entry for Stacia's Shatnerthon Blogathon over at the delightful She Blogged by Night. Be sure to click on over and check out all the other contributions. Fantastic stuff.

White Comanche a/k/a Comanche Blanco (1968) Producciones Cinematográficas A.B. :: International Producers Corporation / EP: Vicente Gómez, Philip N. Krasne / P: Sam White / AP: Bruce Yorke / D: José Briz Méndez, Gilbert Kay / W: José Briz Méndez, Manuel Gómez Rivera, Frank Gruber, Robert I. Holt / C: Francisco Fraile / E: Javier Morán, Gaby Peñalba, Nicholas Wentworth / M: Jean Ledrut / S: William Shatner, Joseph Cotten, Rosanna Yanni, Perla Cristal, Luis Rivera
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