Monday, July 27, 2015

Disney's Most Dated - Cranium Command

I like Cranium Command.  I have a blurry recollection of a visit to Epcot in 1991 and this is about the only thing I remember.  It opened in 1989, and it couldn't be more 1989 if it had MC Skat Kat and Andrew Dice Clay.

We've got: George Wendt, Jon Lovitz, Charles Grodin, Bobcat Goldthwait, Kevin Meaney, and a picture of Ernest.

I watched this again recently and it holds up fairly well, with one notable exception:  Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon as the timeless duo "Hans and Franz".  For those that don't keep track of insipid SNL characters from the 80's, their hilarious schtick involves two guys with German accents who clap in the middle of a sentence.

I'm not sure if they're dated so much as never funny to begin with, but seeing as Wayne's World is making a comeback with the kids, we'll get them and the Church Lady and everything else I never wanted to see again.

And, yes, they totally recycled this into Inside Out.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brutal Fight Stories! Lucha action!  Biker betrayal!  Inhuman brutality!

Idle playboy Zach Valdez lived in a world of decadent isolation until a friend falls victim to a city where the missing stay lost forever.  His search pulls him into a dark world of brutal violence and cruel desire, the world of masked vigilante the Bleeding Skull.

Zach wades through the seedy worlds of outlaw pro-wrestling and underground pornography as he faces his own dark call of vengeance and the strange allure of hustler Johnny Rehab.

The Bleeding Skull faces his own greatest challenge, a cage match to the death against an unstoppable foe, a killing machine beyond pain, beyond reason.

Will Zach or the Bleeding Skull survive to discover what secrets lie buried behind the bandaged face of a deranged doctor and his insane experiments against nature?  

Thrill to spine-cracking, man-on-man action in The Bleeding Skull Against Doctor Haros!

When the Blacktop Devils tried to deal in stolen military hardware they found themselves outcasts among outlaws, on the run from the law, rival bike gangs, and their own drug-fueled paranoia, ending in an apocalypse of bullets, blades, and blood.  It only gets worse...Blacktop Devils Sidestory.

George Murdam is the Murder Man, a contract hitman killing for cash to fund his dark obsessions.

A contract to wipe out a martial arts splinter cult leads him on unrelenting path of carnage through the heart of Victim City, where life has no value and death has no meaning.

Dozens will die.  They’re the lucky ones.

Purity Sect Conflict: Kill Them All

Available from Amazon - $2.99 - Free for Kindle Unlimited

Thursday, July 23, 2015

House by Edward Lee

by Edward Lee

Less of the same.  A trust fund kid goes to the same house that Pig was set at with his nudist stepmom.  She gets possessed, does some Rob Black level gross stuff with some bikers, the end.  No horror, the haunted house elements go nowhere, and no reason to tie this to Pig.  Also endless repetition - constant references to how hot the stepmom is, and he tries the "She called me Leonard.  But that's the name of the guy that used to live here" card about a dozen times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Things I Didn't Finish - From Dusk till Dawn the Series

Quentin Tarantino is one of our generations finest directors and I can not stand him.  He has a healthy respect for exploitation and pop culture without sinking too deeply into cutesy post-modernism, and is just a talented filmmaker.  He's also way too in love with his own insipid dialogue, which has just gotten slower and more unnatural as time goes on.  I tapped out after the twenty minute long "This is how I'm going to get to test drive this car" scene in Death Proof and have not given him a try since.

Robert Rodriguez is someone I want to like, but he's just not that talented and his movies just aren't very good.  If we mixed Tarantino's talent with Rodriguez' sense of fun, we'd have something.

So instead, we've got Rodriguez' talent and Tarantino's dialogue pacing.

I liked From Dusk Till Dawn, but I had no particular interest in revisiting it.  Interestingly, the series isn't the continuing adventures or spin off from the film, it seems to be a 7 1/2 hour version of the original.  This could be interesting, some additional subplots, character backstories, hey - there's Don Johnson, he should be in more things, and OH MY GOD THEY'RE STILL IN THE GAS STATION this was like two minutes in the movie and it takes up the first episode and NOBODY WILL SHUT THE HELL UP YOU'RE NOT CLEVER SHUT UP!

So, yeah, a decent 90 minute movie stretched out to 7 1/2 hours with Rodriguez doing a Tarantino impersonation with the intolerable dialogue.

At least it's not an anti-slavery film created for the sole purpose of dropping the N word in historical context.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pig by Edward Lee

by Edward Lee
originally published 1997?

This is my first encounter with extreme horror writer Edward Lee.  A down on his luck schleb gets forced to make bestiality porn for the mafia.  That's pretty much it.  The ending, involving demon possession and a harem of Amish teenagers, gets downright silly.  That's the main issue I had with this - it's a full-on comedy.  Not tongue in cheek - completely playing for laughs, with plenty of cutesy asides from the narrator that undercut any sense of dread or horror.  He even jumps in to tell us whippersnappers that Lou Reed is way cooler than this newfangled 90's music.  Sure thing, Grandpa.

The intention was to gross-out, and it did a pretty good job of that, even making me cringe in a couple places.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Disney's Most Dated - Main Street Electrical Parade

This is an example of when an event heavily promotes the latest Disney product which doesn't become the timeless classic that everyone thinks it will.  This is probably why the Florida Fantasmic is Pocahontas heavy.  But at least people know who Pocahontas is.

Meet Pete and Elliott -

Pete is the one on top, waving around and shrugging his shoulders as if to say: "Who am I?  Heck, I don't even know?"

A remake to Pete's Dragon is coming out next year, so maybe this will become more relevant.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Booby Hatch by John Russo

The Booby Hatch
by John Russo
2014, Burning Bulb Publishing

A novelization of his own 1976 sex comedy, evidently written (or rewritten) almost 40 years later.  And it shows.  Sex comedies films tend to fail on both counts, and a print version of one doesn't even show skin.

The limited plot involves a stupid woman who works as a tester at a sex toy factory.  She lives with her closeted transvestite boyfriend and ends up with a male tester who is having impotence problems.  Mostly, she just gets raped a lot.  And not in a dubious, Benny Hill kind of way.  Full on violent rape by sexual predators.  Hilarious stuff.

To make it more uncomfortable, Russo steps in as narrator to add some commentary to imply that he knows that maybe this isn't that funny of a topic in 2014, then proceeds to do it anyway.  The same could be said for the wacky Italian dialect.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lionel Fanthorpe

I've run across Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe in the past, mainly as the presenter of Fortean TV, a series I haven't managed to get through thanks to the aggressive obnoxiousness of British 90's-ness.

I've run across him again recently, this time as the author of well over a hundred pulp sci-fi paperbacks in the 50s and 60s.  Operating under multiple pen names, he wrote most of the sci-fi and supernatural titles for Badger Books, an outfit had authors churn out fiction to match the covers they had procured.  Check out their awesomeness here.

He's still active, known mostly now for Fortean books and showing up on British TV.  I was thrilled to find a ton of his Badger Books stuff reasonably priced on Amazon, but I had some mixed feelings about the presentation.

The majority of the titles have a generic cover, though a few have the Badger classics.  The books are out by Hachette Book Group, one of the Big Five publishers.  One would think they would package the books more professionally, but I can understand the choice not to.  Based on some of my knowledge of Amazon ranking, I can tell that some of these titles have not sold a single copy in two years.

I would love to see these with the original covers, but it probably doesn't make sense financially.  Even if they still owned the covers, the rights management of it would cost more than they would recoup.  As it is, even if they already had nicely formatted .doc files of the text and just had an intern dump them all into KDP, they're losing money.  I'd rather have these gems available cheaply (or at all), than have to hunt them on ebay because it doesn't pay to reissue them.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Disney's Most Dated - Electric Water Pageant

Not the most spectacular show, but I like it, and it's been around for over 40 years.  It currently has a mostly Little Mermaid theme to it, which is a property that has aged well.

This isn't making the list for the inclusion of 1988's "Walk the Dinosaur" by Was (Not Was).  No, it's for having an aggressive display of patriotism that isn't just a cover for unabashed bigotry.

The patriotic elements were added in 1977, just after the Bicentennial.  Back when waving a flag meant loving your county and not that you don't want gay Muslims to get health care.  I don't like getting political, but it is kind of a sad statement that the finale feels weird or even downright hostile today.