January 8th is the combined marking of Elvis Presley’s birthday and the Battle of New Orleans, in which General Andrew Jackson and French Pirate Jean Lafitte defeated the British in the final battle of the War of 1812.
In the past Balladeer’s Blog has observed this date with looks at the musical Rock ‘N’ Roll vs The Red Coats and with an article on the whole Orion/Elvis situation. This time I’m taking a quick look at some early Elvis movies.
LOVE ME TENDER (1956) – Elvis was the latest reason that the saga of the Reno Gang/ Reno Brothers got distorted on the big screen. The need to turn the Reno story into a vehicle for Elvis Presley made this attempt the most unintentionally funny of them all.
Favorite Part: A scene between Elvis, playing Clint Reno, and Richard Egan, playing Vance Reno. Despite the fact that the long-missing Vance was given up for dead and Elvis married his mourning girlfriend in the meantime the Side-Burned One actually asks “What’s troublin’ you, Vance?” That question has been a catch-phrase for me ever since I first saw this flick on late-night tv.
Favorite Weirdass Song: Let Me Continue reading
GENTLEMAN JEKYLL AND DRIVER HYDE (1950) – Educational short films are often hilarious snapshots of their era. Driver’s Ed shorts are especially vulnerable to seeming outdated given how quickly car designs can change in certain decades.
This particular item is Canadian-made, proving that the Badfilm aesthetic is unfazed by international borders. (Yet Time Zones fill it with a vague sense of unease. Go figure.)
At any rate Gentleman Jekyll and Driver Hyde obviously takes its cue from Stevenson’s story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A pair of Canadian furniture movers – one tall and heavy, the other short and slender – bicker like a comedy team while discussing statistics which indicated that in 1950 a Canadian had a better chance of getting killed in a car accident than in a war.
Which I find to be a silly statistic. If it’s peacetime you probably have a better chance of dying from a piano dropping on your head than from a war. Wouldn’t it have been more ominous to say a person had a better chance of dying in a car accident than from heart disease or whatever physical ailment that a 1950 stat would indicate?
After some horrifically strained jokes “Laurel and Hardy, Eh” get to the meat of the matter: The way perfectly polite people can turn into figurative monsters when they get behind the wheel of a car. A kind, considerate man who just interacted with our two leads literally turns into a B-Movie monster thanks to editing and cheap makeup as he drives off. Continue reading
Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’ve always had a soft spot for the Resident Evil movies. I’m not implying that they’re good by any means, but as guilty pleasures I consider them pretty watchable in a Spaghetti Western sense. You don’t expect logic or well-maintained continuity in the original Django or Sartana series any more than you do from the Stranger or Hallelujah flicks or any of the other lower-level pulp series of Italo-Westerns.
To me the six Resident Evil movies (2002 – 2017) can be viewed the same way – as unpretentious B-movies with a kind of relaxing sameness and stories that are so unchallenging you can chit-chat with friends or loved ones while they’re on.
Seventies chop-socky films are another example. You might watch them but you sure as hell can’t defend them from criticism.
Milla Jovovich’s Alice is, to me, the main reason to watch these films. She’s believable in the action scenes and deserves recognition for the way she kicks post-apocalyptic butt in SIX movies as the same character. No other leading female figure has matched that feat in THEATRICAL RELEASE, English-language films. Not Lara Croft and not even Ellen Ripley. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog reviewed the hilariously bad New Year’s Eve horror film Bloody New Year several years ago. One of my favorite bits is the odd but quirkily enjoyable song that plays over the opening credits. Here is the group behind that song – Cry No More – with Recipe for Romance.
Balladeer’s Blog’s 9th Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues!
Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!
In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: December 14th, 1985 to the best that can be determined.
SERIAL: Before showing and mocking the movie our members of the Film Vault Corps showed and mocked a chapter of Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940).
In that serial Ming the Merciless unleashes a disease called the Purple Death on Earth, prompting Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr Zarkov to fly to the planet Mongo to find a cure and defeat Ming for good.
HOST SEGMENTS: None have been unearthed for this episode yet. As always if any other fans of this show have any info they would like to share feel free to contact me – see my About page for details.
We’ve come a long way toward tentatively reconstructing a tiny bit of this show’s history over the past few years so hopefully more memories will be jogged.
MOVIE: Continue reading
Here is the iconic Holiday standard Hooray For Santy Claus! It’s by the poor man’s Skitch Henderson – Milton De Lugg – and The Little Eskimos.
And here’s the version by Al “Green Hornet Theme” Hirt: Continue reading
For this holiday week Balladeer’s Blog is focusing on topics that are seasonal. This time around it’s bad movies and hilariously lame educational shorts that have a specific Thanksgiving theme. As always my Bad Movie page contains full-length reviews of the films I’m offering a brief synopsis of here.
BLOOD FREAK (1972) – This movie is about a man who turns into a murderous monster with the head of a turkey after he eats a chemically treated gobbler at the turkey farm where he works. Blood Freak has been a cult classic for Thanksgiving for decades now, with many Movie Host shows of the late 70s onward making a point of screening it at this time of year (including The Texas 27 Film Vault). The biker who turns into the blood-crazed turkey monster is an Elvis look-alike which adds to the fun. So does the desk-bound, chain-smoking, script-reading narrator who sermonizes about the evils of drug abuse while the movie plays.
A DAY OF THANKSGIVING (1951) – This 12 minute educational short would make a nice dessert after a Turkey Day screening of Blood Freak. The Johnson family – composed of Mom, Dad, Dick, Susan, Tommy and the toddler Janet – can’t afford a turkey for Thanksgiving. The children are at first callously (and comically) bratty about it, but relent after Dad – in his sexiest voice for some reason – gives the kids a lecture about being grateful for what you have instead of obsessing over the things you don’t have. Continue reading