It’s Friday the Thirteenth! In previous years Balladeer’s Blog has examined the 1907 novel Friday the Thirteenth, the odd horror/ arthouse film Friday the Thirteenth: The Orphan and the Texas 27 Film Vault presentation of Friday the Thirteenth Part 3D. This year I’ll take a look at some of the worst Jason Voorhees imitators and forerunners.
Movie: Horror House on Highway Five (1985)
Lore: Bartholomew wore a Richard Nixon mask while slicing and dicing his victims. He was a simple-minded man transformed into an unstoppable killer by a Nazi mad scientist … A Nazi mad scientist who, strangely enough, wore a yarmulke. With a swastika on it. (?)
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW CLICK HERE
Movie: The Psychopath (1975)
Lore: Mister Rabbey was a child-minded nutcase who hosted a Mister Rogers-type kiddie show. When he discovers that some of the children he visits at the local hospital have been abused by their parents he sets out to kill those abusers. He kills by strangling one victim with his security blanket but also uses weapons like a baseball bat, garden shears and a lawnmower in his deadly crusade.
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW CLICK HERE Continue reading
September 27th-29th in Alpharetta, Georgia it’s the 6th edition of Monsterama. Guests will include cult figures Jane Merrow, Trina Parks, Jackie Joseph, Pauline Peart, Katie Carpenter, Ian Ogilvey and Mark Maddox.
Representatives from film, literature, television, gaming, comic books and the arts will be there.
There will be exhibits, autograph signings and contests being judged once again by figures from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. And among the films being screened are the 1929 version of Mysterious Island plus Revenge of the Creature.
FOR MORE DETAILS Continue reading
Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 2nd! Here’s a brief look at two films presented on The Texas 27 Film Vault that match the old west theme of this holiday season. Randy Clower and Richard Malmos were the hosts.
A movie guaranteed to contain absolutely NO accurate information.
FRONTIER MARSHAL (1939)
Original Broadcast Date: Saturday October 25th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
Serial: An episode of Mysterious Doctor Satan was shown before the movie. This 1940 serial presented the title villain trying to take over the world with a big, goofy robot while being opposed by a masked superhero called Copperhead.
Movie: Frontier Marshal is notorious as the LEAST historically accurate depiction of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Randolph Scott starred as Wyatt Earp with Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday. Nobody can pronounce Doc’s name right, plus he’s presented as a Medical Doctor instead of a dentist. Meanwhile Doc himself starts out the film drinking only milk. (?)
Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault
No Clantons or McClaurey’s are to be found anywhere, nor are Wyatt’s brothers. Doc is shown getting killed off BEFORE the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral even happens! To top it all off the famous gunfight takes place at night for no apparent reason and Wyatt’s only ally in the battle is a saloon girl who had a crush on Doc. Bad craziness all around in this little honey. Continue reading
Just a few more days until the Frontierado Holiday this Friday, August 2nd.
GET MEAN (1975)- One of the weirdest Spaghetti Westerns ever made and that’s saying something! Get Mean stars Tony Anthony and was also released under the title The Stranger Gets Mean, making it the final movie in Anthony’s series of Italo-Westerns as the enigmatic gunslinger known only as the Stranger.
Another alternate title the movie was released under was Beat A Dead Horse, reflecting the view of Anthony and his production company that Spaghetti Westerns really were beating that dead horse of a subgenre for everything they could squeeze out of it by this point. Emphasizing that point was the way Get Mean features its heroic gunfighter clashing with anachronistic Vikings, Moors and an evil hunchback who loves quoting Shakespeare (for obvious reasons).
The film starts out with Tony Anthony’s character being dragged into a ghost town in a box canyon by a horse he’s been tied to. We glimpse Tony through a small orb like the kind used by Gypsy fortune-tellers. Many viewers use that orb to support their argument that Anthony’s gunslinger will be magically traveling through time and that THAT’S why he battles out of date Vikings and Moors.
It still wouldn’t explain why they speak Spanish and/or English or any of the dozens of OTHER problems that would result from a time-travel explanation. My view is to just enjoy it as weirdness for weirdness’ sake. Think of it like Six-String Samurai but without the actual meaning behind that film’s metaphors. Continue reading
Rutger Hauer has passed away. In the usual Balladeer’s Blog custom when an actor dies, here’s an affectionate look at one of Rutger’s most enjoyably bad movies.
PRECIOUS FIND (1996) – This is a hilariously bad attempt to do a science fiction version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. That description makes this movie sound much, MUCH better than it really is.
In the far future a lunar colony called Moon City is the jumping-off point for prospectors who travel to various asteroids trying to strike “precious finds” in the form of valuable metals and precious stones. The Christmas background adds to the fun in this UN-intentional comedy.
Rutger Hauer, whose performances run the quality gamut from Lawrence Olivier to Nicolas Cage, is very firmly in Cage territory in this bomb. Hauer plays Armond Crille, a former prospector who has given up hard work for the more lucrative trade of fleecing bored prospectors at the card-playing tables. Continue reading
GANG OF ROSES (2003) – The annual Frontierado Holiday, coming August 2nd this year, is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. So is the movie Gang of Roses, which is why I cannot believe the merciless reviews this fun, harmless, escapist movie has gotten. I find it far better than the similar Bad Girls.
I eat, sleep and breathe Bad Movies, and this was a case where I settled in happily expecting to see an all-time disaster based on the reviews that Gang of Roses gets and its 2.3 rating at IMDb. Instead I saw a movie that I think deserves AT WORST a 5 or 6 rating. Maybe a 7 if you’re into Spaghetti Westerns.
Years ago I gave a glowing review to Posse (1993) starring Mario Van Peebles and, significantly Gang of Roses features a cameo by Van Peebles – dressed as Jesse Lee from Posse – giving an assist to the all-female title gang. He then says “Good luck, ladies” and rides off. (For obvious legal and financial reasons he’s listed in the credits simply as “Cameo” instead of Jesse Lee.)
I mention this because many Western fans told me they would have liked Posse if not for the underlying political message. Well, in Gang of Roses you get all the fun action of Posse with NO politics at all.
Let me give a quick synopsis, then take a look at the main characters, following which I will state my counter-arguments to the most frequent criticisms leveled at this female-led Western:
The gunslinging gang of the title is made up of four black women and one Asian woman. We’re told that after robbing a few dozen banks the gang split up and its members went their separate ways. When the sister of the Roses’ leader gets murdered during an outlaw gang’s crime spree that leader gets the band together again to seek vengeance and a hidden fortune in gold and jewels.
The main characters: Continue reading
THE COMIC (1985) – Virtually every film buff today knows the tale of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert raising money from doctors, grocers and dentists in Michigan to finance their subsequent horror hit The Evil Dead.
Over in the U.K. Richard Driscoll raised money from Welsh miners and doctors to finance his very odd movie The Comic. Raimi and company went on to lucrative careers in the entertainment industry. Driscoll’s story did not have the same type of fairy-tale ending. Not even with an established figure like John Eyres helping out financially when Richard’s original funds ran out.
The Comic takes place “in another place and another time” according to one of the female characters. From appearances it’s a near-future police state in which fairly ambiguous laws are enforced by goose-stepping goons who wear their hair in ponytails. This film seems to be reaching for the heights achieved in cult films like Eraserhead and Café Flesh but falls so far short that it’s more like The Jar.
Writer/ director Driscoll also peppers in elements of MacBeth, Hamlet and King Lear but only succeeds in embodying the worst clichés of arthouse cinema. If this had been a latter-day student film or direct to video affair it would not deserve all the insults that reviewers throw its way. But if you’re cheeky enough to dump something like this on the theater-going public you’re just asking for a critical onslaught. Continue reading