Sunday, November 29, 2009

Transylmania in Theater's December 4th

"College kids, the other white meat."-Transylmania Tag Line.

I'm a fan of Transylvania Twist (1989). Say what you will about the movie, it was good dumb fun that didn't take itself seriously. Sometimes you need that. I think that's why I'm getting excited for Transylmania, which comes out December 4th.

You would think they would release this around Halloween, but I think they waited until after Twilight: Full Stupid...I mean Moon came out to ride that wave. It's just in time to send up the current vampire trend.

As a plus, it has the sexy but often overlooked Musetta Vander (Oblivion, Xena) in it as a vampire hunter.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to Karloff the Uncanny Part Two

WOW! Karloff and Lugosi singing 'We're Horrible, Horrible Men'. You don't hear that everyday.

This little gem comes from a radio program called Baker’s Broadcast (AKA Seein’ Stars in Hollywood from March 13, 1938. I read once they did this to promote 'Son of Frankenstein', but the dates don't jive. The show was broadcast March of 1938, and filming didn't start on 'Son of Frankenstein' until November of 1938. Since they had no join movie ventures coming out at the time, I think they were asked to do this because of the re-release of Dracula and Frankenstein, which was a hit in 1938.

Regardless, enjoy the rare clip of Karloff and Lugosi.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to Karloff the Uncanny! Part One

I was asked over Halloween what was my favorite Boris Karloff film. The person asking probably thought I was going to say one of the Frankenstein roles, but I surprised him with a film he never heard of: Targets (1968).

Outside of Karloff fans, not many people have heard of this great Peter Bogdanovich film. The plot follows two stories. The first is an aging horror star named Orlok (Karloff) who is tired of playing the boogie man and wants to retire. The second is a young man who has snapped and starts shooting down people (based on true stories that happened in the 1960's) starting with his own family. The destinies of these two men, the old monster and the new monster, finally cross paths at a movie drive in where the young man is picking off people watching the latest film of the old horror star.

The reason I love this film is Karloff's performance, which tugs at the heart strings of fans. You feel for this man who is at the end of his career and his life, a situation Karloff knew all too well. He wasn't playing a role as much as making a statement about his own life.

Not only is this my favorite Karloff film, it is one of my favorite films of all time.

(Please note: I usually embed a trailer at the end of posts. Unfortunately, the only trailer I found for Targets makes it out to be all about the killer and only has Karloff in it for one seconds at the end. If I find a better trailer I'll post it later.)

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Anti-Twilight Vampire Weekend Movie List

Just wanted to keep you up to date on the movies I've watched so far since I'm not going to write about each and every one of them (some I want to save for other blog entries). Except for Killer Barbys vs Dracula, the movies I've picked out of the hat have been really good ones.

1) Killer Barbys vs Dracula (2002)
2) Return of the Vampire (1944)
3) Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires AKA The Seven Brother meet Dracula (1974)
4) Atomic Age Vampire (1960)
5) Son of Dracula (1943)

Next up is Count Dracula starring Louis Jourdan, a BBC production from 1977.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Funniest Twilight Parody Ever!

As much as I hate the whole Twilight fad, this video is pretty dang funny.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Anti-Twilight Vampire Weekend: Killer Barbys vs. Dracula (2002)

Killer Barbys vs. Dracula, by Jess Franco, was the first movie I pulled out of the hat and man do I wish I didn't. It makes Astro-Zombie (see my review that winner HERE) actually look good, which is saying a lot. This was a horrible way to kick off my Anti-Twilight Vampire Weekend.

I can't believe the same man that directed Count Dracula (1970) starring Christopher Lee directed this piece of shot-on-video crap-fest. Scenes are badly framed, no pacing, scenes don't match up and the script looks like it was made up as they went along. It makes me feel sorry for Franco.

If there was a plot I'd write a summary of it in this paragraph, but since there was none I won't.

How bad is the movie? Damn baby, where do I begin? First, Dracula looks like René Dif, the bald male singer from the Danish pop group Aqua ("Come on Barbie, let's go party"). The acting is on par with my daughter's first grade, strike that, my daughter's play had much better acting. The vampire costumes look like they were bought at a party store's bargain bin, as does the vampire fangs and makeup. There's comic relief in the form of a blind Dr. Seward, which only made me cry. We're treated (I use the word sarcastically) to Dracula being so moved by the music he hears at a concert that he jumps on stage and starts dancing with the band. Just like vampires shouldn't sparkle, they also should dance like a nerd on prom night.

At one point the Killer Barbys are playing a concert on a small stage, but they cut in footage of a large arena to make it look like they're playing for thousands of people. Cool editing trick if you can pull it off, and they don't in this film.

At the end, they stake Dracula and he turns into a...wait for it comes...are you ready...a tiny toy rabbit that hops away. No, I'm not joking. Stop yelling at me, I'm not joking.

The dub (the movie was originally a German-Spanish co-production) to English is worse than any Godzilla film. At point the dialogue was so bad I wondered if the people doing the dub gave up and started to say random thing just to get the job done.

The Killer Barbys are a real band from Spain, and the lead singer Silvia Superstar is super hot. The girl is hot, that's the best thing I can say about the movie.

I can't go on, I'm really sad right now and I just want to curl up in a blanket and tell myself this never happened...tiny toy rabbit...shutter.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Puzzle of the Missing Boy from the Addams Family Movie

I like the Addams Family from 1991. It's one of those heart warming family films that stands the test of time. Recently, MTV of all channels showed the movie and I curled up and watched it. In the movie, the family's attorney, Tully, is trying to swindle them. At one point he brings his wife and son to visit them and Little Tully is tortured by Wednesday and Pugsley. Later, the wife meets the handsome and charming Cousin Itt and is swept off her feet. At the end on Halloween, a year after Tully's demise, she's dating Itt (in the next movie, Addams Family Values, she's even given birth to a little Itt), and all is good with the world...

WAIT! We're forgetting someone. What happened to Little Tully? He was there in the film, and appeared in the school play sequence, then he was gone. Never to be spoken of again. You'd think his own mother would bring him along to trick or treat at the end, but she only shows up with Itt. Did the writers forget him? Was his exit edited out?

So I'm left with the question of what happened to little Tully? As I ponder this, more and more sinister scenarios populate my mind, which may be what the writers wanted all along.

The Anti-Twilight Weekend

I'm not a fan of Twilight. Sorry, but I don't want my vampires to sparkle, I want them to have big fangs and suck blood. Dracula didn't sparkle, and if he did it was because sunlight was burning his flesh to a crisp. How much do I hate Twilight? Burger King is doing a promotion for the film and I'm boycotting them. That's how much.

So I'm purposing an Anti-Twilight weekend. I'm going to get a bunch of REAL vampire films together, watch them and post my thoughts on them here. To be fair and add some excitement, I'm going to write the names on scraps of paper and pull them randomly out of a hat so I don't know what I'm going to watch.

If you don't like you're vampire's to sparkle like fourth of July fireworks, join me and have your own vampire movie marathon.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Astro-Zombie (1968) Review

What can be said of The Astro-Zombies (1968) that hasn't already been said about most dung heaps? Not much. I had successfully avoided this film for nearly forty years of my life when my wife one night found it on Netflix's Watch It Now and decided it might be fun to watch. She feel asleep five minutes in. I wasn't so lucky.

I'm going to try and decipher the plot for you. There are these government agents who don't do anything. There is a mad scientist who is making men into zombies so they can go into outer space (?) who hangs around his mute hunchback assistant who doesn't do anything. There are foreign agents who want the scientist's secret, so they hang around their condo and don't do anything. If there is a theme to this work, it's let's not do anything. Even when the cute girl (and best friend of Janine the female lead) who works in a government laboratory is killed, no one does anything, like mourn the loss of her life or barely mention her again. Incidentally, the actress that played Lynn, Janis Saul, acted in this film and then quit the business never to act again. Not that I blame her.

A character who is the best example of doing nothing is Chuck Edwards. I think his entire purpose in the movie was to take up space in the film frame. At one point he goes out with his government agent buddy Eric and Janine the female lead to watch a girl painted like an alien from 'Star Trek' dance topless (which looks like it was shot in someone's rec room in their basement). They make a big deal out of the fact he's dating a dancer and...nothing. We don't meet his topless dancer girl friend and I doubt he utters a word for the next fifteen minutes. You could cut him out of movie and nothing would be lost.

John Carradine (House of Dracula) plays the scientist, who spends all his screen time explaining stuff to his mute hunchback. Poor Carradine must of been at that low point in an old actor's life when he'd show up and act in anything as long as you had a coupon for the local diner's early bird special to give him.

Tura Satana (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) plays Satana the leader of the foreign agents who make up the sub plot. The sub plots entire purpose is make you forget you're watching Astro-Zombies and have accidentally started to watch a bad spy film. A sort of cinematic bait and switch.

The astro-zombies are powered by a solar cell in the middle of their heads, and need a battery in order to go out in the night and do they're killing. The stumble around and never speak a word, giving them the most character development in the movie.

The whole time I sat through this film I was mocking it, yelling Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque quibs at the screen in order to preserve what little sanity I have. My wife at one point woke up, saw the movie was still on, laid back down and cover her head with a pillow. She was either blocking out the sound or trying to smother herself, I'm not sure which. Why I didn't turn it off and end our suffering can only be attributed to the same phenomena of when seeing a deer dead on the road, except the dead deer has more entertainment value. I can usually find something good to say about a horror movie, but the best thing I can say about this one is that it wasn't as bad as having your brain pulled out through your anus.

Below is the film's trailer. Now let's never speak of this again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Roger Corman to get Honorary Oscar

Roger Corman is set to receive a honorary Oscar for his lifetime achievements in the motion picture industry. Corman, whose credits include Masque of the Red Death (a personal favorite of mine), House of Usher and Little Shop of Horrors and so many other great genre films, also gave a start to some of many of film's biggest names (Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola come to mind right away).

The snobs that run the Oscars have overlooked film makers who make horror and sci-fi, but they couldn't deny the impact Corman has made in the industry. If anyone deserves it, it's him.

You can read the full article HERE.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Wolfman Poster

Aint It Cool News has the new Wolfman poster. I'm getting pretty excited to see this, even if they went with CGI transformations instead of Rick Baker's makeup transformation.

Click HERE to view it.

One of My Favorite Sites: Mad-Monsters

During Halloween a friend asked me for a list of my favorite monster themed sites, and the first one on my list we Mad-Monsters. It's for kids like me who were born in the pre-slasher era, who grew up with Frankenstein and Dracula, not Jason and Freddy.

The best part of the site is the photos of toys, models, posters and masks. I think part of the charm is looking at stuff you either had, dreamed of having or never saw before. It's like looking at the Captain Company section of old Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines.

If you get a chance check them out and enjoy.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Monday, November 2, 2009

You Can Call Him SIR Dracula

Christopher Lee, who is 87 years old, was (finally) Knighted by Prince Charles on October 30th 2009. Personally I think it is well deserved.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Special Dracula Event from 10/30/2009

On October 30th I attended a special screening of Bela Lugosi's Dracula (1931) and book party for Dacre Stoker (great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker) and Ian Holt's Dracula The Undead at the Cinema Art Centre in Huntington New York. I'm going to relay the evening in chronological order for the sake of clarity. First up was the famous Dracula movie.

This was the first time I ever got to see Dracula on the big screen. Sure, I've seen it on TV and DVD countless times, but seeing Lugosi stand twenty feet tall in his famous cape is a much different viewing experience than on a tiny screen. Tod Browning's direction, which for years film historians have put down as stale, had new life when projected as it was meant to be seen. And watching it with an audience revealed small bits of humor that Browning threw in that escaped me when I've watched it alone.

I was expecting the audience to be mostly want-to-be goths in Bauhaus tee-shirts, but the crowd was mostly older people. Some looked as if they might of seen the film when it was first released. One guy looked like he bounced baby Bram Stoker on his knee.

After the movie we were introduced to Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt, who wrote the first sequel approved by the Stoker estate, Dracula The Undead. Dacre talked about growing up as a Stoker and how when he was first contacted by Holt six years ago about writing a Dracula book he thought it was a crazy idea. Holt, a native Long Islander like me, talked how he discovered Dracula through Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, a experience I share in common. He also talked about his research into the real Vlad Tepes and his visiting Romania and sleeping in the real Castle Dracula.

Next we were treated to a performance by Carmen and Alex Galant (Alex was the historical researcher for the book) as they read a dramatization of a piece of the book in full costume. This particular reading gave us some sight into what had happened to Mina and Jonathan Harker after the original novel, and how the shadow of Dracula still haunted them. I thought it was very well done and really enjoyed both of them.

After the reading all four, Dacre, Ian, Alex and Carmen took questions. One thing that Holt brought up I had never heard before. Dracula (the novel) ended with the Count being stabbed in the heart by a bowie knife just as the sun was setting, and turning to dust. Bram's unused ending had the Count stabbed, and a volcanic eruption spill hot fiery lava down destroying Castle Dracula and Dracula's body. Wow!

After the Q&A there was a reception in the Cinema Art Centre's Sky Room where Dacre and Ian signed copies of the new novel, which of course I had to get a signed copy of (I'll post a review after I read the book so until then I'm keeping an open mind).

As big time Dracula buff, this was a great way to kick off the Halloween weekend.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane!