Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

It's a John Cleese reference.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Ain't That Peculia

It's Halloween! It's Friday Night Fights! It's Ladies' Night! Put them all together, it spells "Time for Peculia to kick some vampire ass!"

(From Richard Sala's Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires.)

(Bahlactus is out for blood, sucka...or maybe he's out for blood-suckas. Six of one...)

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And Now, The Yeti Song

Another musical offering for Halloween, from the best-titled movie of 1974: Shriek of the Mutilated.


A Large Tub of Hubbub

Some Halloween gift suggestions from the great Zacherley!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

What I Sang 10-29

A couple of Halloweenish tunes from last night:

"Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley.
"Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Trick or Treats

TRICK OR TREATS (1982). Directed by Gary Graver. Starring Jackie Giroux, Peter Jason, and David Carradine.

It's Halloween! Well, almost. There may be a couple of days to go, but I just have to review a Halloween-themed movie for the occasion. We've all seen (or at least heard of) the Michael Myers Halloween series, so what's the point of going over one of them when I can take a look at a more obscure offering? And Trick or Treats is obscure for good reason.
Trick or Treats opens with businessman Malcolm O'Keefe (Peter Jason, a regular of John Carpenter movies...which just goes to emphasize this movie's debt to Carpenter's horror classic) being surprised by a visit from two men in white coats. It turns out his wife (Carrie Snodgress) is having him committed so that she can take control of his money, despite his protests that he's not crazy.
Well, if he wasn't then, he is by the time the movie picks up several years later. Mrs. O'Keefe is now remarried to a successful stage magician (David Carradine), and her son Christopher (played by the director's son Chris Graver) is all-too-eager to follow in his stepfather's footsteps, using his tricks and props to play morbid practical jokes. On Halloween night, Malcolm escapes from the asylum and heads home for revenge on his wife...unfortunately, she and her new husband have gone out that night, and the only ones home are his son and babysitter Linda (Jackie Giroux).
Director Gary Graver attempts to build suspense by alternating scenes of Malcolm's relentless journey home with scenes of the unsuspecting Linda putting up with Christopher's pranks. Unfortunately, the contrast between the two threads never gels, and they instead come across as two completely disconnected stories. Matters aren't helped by the fact that Malcolm's quest for vengeance is marked by comic relief, such as the asylum's malapropism-inclined nurse (Catherine Coulson, later to achieve cult fame as Twin Peaks' Log Lady), and an attempt to obtain street clothes by making a deal with a wino (a cameo by Paul Bartel). With such light moments along the way, the sense of danger never develops.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Although Gary Graver (whose Moon in Scorpio has been previously reviewed here) operated almost exclusively in B-movies (and even hardcore porn) as a director, his skill as a cinematographer brought him into contact with all levels of Hollywood personalities. Graver was well-liked by those he worked with, and so he was able to get many familiar names to work on his small projects. In the case of Trick or Treats, we get bit parts from the ever-popular David Carradine, Oscar-nominated Carrie Snodgress, Paul Bartel (on whose Eating Raoul Graver had served as second-unit photographer), and Steve Railsback (who does not interact at all with the other cast members on screen, only appearing in telephone conversations with Giroux). However, there was one Hollywood legend who worked on Trick or Treats in a surprising behind-the-scenes capacity: None other than Orson Welles, who shared his expertise in stage magic by acting as a consultant on the tricks demonstrated in the film.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Vixen vs. Frankenstein!

With Halloween only a week away, how better to observe Friday Night Fights that with Vixen landing a solid punch to the jaw on the Frankenstein Monster?

(From DC Universe Halloween Special's story "Role Model," written by Eric Wallace with art by Tony Shasteen.)
(Bahlactus ain't scared of no stitched-up monsters!)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VHS Vednesday: The Human Tornado

THE HUMAN TORNADO (1976). Directed by Cliff Roquemore. Starring Rudy Ray Moore, Lady Reed, and Ernie Hudson.

In honor of the late, great Rudy Ray Moore, this week I'm taking a look at what may be his ultimate movie. As ass-kickin' and name-takin' as his screen debut in Dolemite was, that movie was still rather conventional in terms of story and direction; only Moore's awesome persona (and the footage of his stand-up act) distinguish it from any number of action movies of the period. The sequel The Human Tornado, on the other hand, is completely insane.
The plotline is still relatively unimportant. On the run from a bigoted redneck sheriff who found Dolemite in bed with the sheriff's wife (then framed Dolemite for her murder), Dolemite skips town and heads for L.A., where he learns that his old friend Queen Bee (Lady Reed) has been feeling the pressure from gangster Cavaletti (Herb Graham) who wants to muscle in on her nightclub. When Cavaletti kidnaps some of Queen Bee's "girls" to use as leverage, it's Dolemite to the rescue...and that's pretty much all you need to know.
The movie is punctuated by countless bizarre flourishes: While making a butt-naked escape and rolling down a steep hillside Dolemite interrupts the movie to inform the viewer that he's doing his own stunts ("So y'all don't believe I jumped?"), rewinding the scene to prove it. Dolemite seduces Cavaletti's wife (Barbara Gerl) by posing as an art salesman (with a bizarre, unplaceable accent) and showing her an erotic black velvet painting. The resulting sex scene literally brings down the house, with the roof caving in as Mrs. Cavaletti ecstatically informs him where to find the kidnapped prisoners, "They're at the HOUSE...on the PASADENA!" And, of course, there's the trademark Rudy Ray Moore stand-up comedy, and over-the-top martial-arts battles.
As with all of Rudy Ray Moore's work, The Human Tornado is not for delicate sensibilities. Stereotypes of all sorts abound (in an equal-opportunity-offender kind of way), not to mention profanity and nudity. But because it's Rudy Ray Moore, you can't look away even when you might want to.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Check out young Ernie Hudson (credited as Louis Hudson) as one of Dolemite's crew. From The Human Tornado to Ghostbusters to

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bad Motor Scooter and a Human Tornado

RIP Rudy Ray Moore.

The trailer speaks for itself.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kids' Jokes for Foolio 10-18

Today's assortment of jokes from the kids attending "Uncle Grampa's Hoo-Dilly Storytime" (including a shout-out to new character Jambles the Donkey, seen on the poster below):

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Police who?"
"Police sent Foolio away!"
"Why did Jambles cross the road?"
"Because he was like 'Hee-haw!'"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Candy who?"
"Candyman ice cream!"
"Why did the rocket go into space?"
"Because it wanted to see an octopus!"
"Why did Jambles go into a rocket?"
"Cause he wanted to go to Mars!"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Cow who?"
"Why did the frog cross the road?"
"Because he was pinned to the chicken!"
"What's a ghost's favorite fruit?"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Leaf who?"
"Leaf me alone!"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Orange who?"
"Orange you glad it's your birthday?"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Turnip who?"
"Turnip the heat, it's freezing up here!"
"Where do you find a dog with no legs?"
"Right where you left him!"

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

What I Sang 10-15

From last night:

"Ballroom Blitz" by The Sweet.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Die! Die! My Darling!

DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! (1965). Directed by Silvio Narizzano. Starring Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, and Donald Sutherland.

Unfortunately, I don't have time for a full review this week, so I'll sum it up quickly: Tallulah Bankhead, returning to the screen after a 20-year absence (her last film being 1945's A Royal Scandal) chews the scenery as only she could, giving an amazing over-the-top performance as a religious fanatic determined to "purify" Stefanie Powers, the fiancee of her late son. She must be seen to be believed.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Donald Sutherland has a fairly substantial supporting part as the "village idiot," but the role relies primarily on his physical presence rather than his actual talent. I don't think this ranks too highly in his memories of his screen career.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Can't You Write More Than Two Words?

Following a link on Scott McCloud's site, I discovered the 5-Card Nancy Solitaire Generator...and here's what I came up with.

Can't You Write More Than Two Words?

Try it yourself, and have fun!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kids' Jokes for Foolio 10-11

From today's Uncle Grampa's Hoo-Dilly Storytime:

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"
"Cause the dragon popped up over the hill!"

"What kind of music do mummies listen to?"
"Wrap music!"

"What did the dinosaur say after the car accident?"
"I'm the sorest!"

"Why don't mummies watch scary movies?"
"Because they don't have any guts!"

"Why was the farmer running away?"
"Because he was getting chased by the pigs!"

"Why was the tree talking?"
"Because it was an idiot!"

"Why did the tree fall over mommy?"
"Because it was also an idiot!"

"Why did the vampire cross the road?"
"Because he was pooped!"

"Why did the snail cross the road?"
"So he could go get connected with the vampire!"

"What kind of cat should you never play cards with?"
"A cheetah! Because it cheats!"

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

What I Sang 10-8

From last night at Midtown Tavern:

"Words" by Missing Persons.
"Words" by The Monkees.
"Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (a duet with Jessica the Destroyer).


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Simon, King of the Witches

SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES (1971). Directed by Bruce Kessler. Starring Andrew Prine, Brenda Scott, and George Paulsin.

It's October, the season of monsters, ghosts, and let's start off the month with the obscure oddity Simon, King of the Witches.
Andrew Prine (a familiar face in movies ranging from The Miracle Worker to The Dukes of Hazzard) stars as Simon Sinestrari, a practicing magician who lives in a storm drain and becomes something of a celebrity when various high-society types decide it's amusing to have a genuine warlock at their parties. However, magic is no joking matter to Simon, and he (aided by a couple of hippie followers) eventually decides to turn his powers against the establishment that mocked him. In particular, he singles out one wealthy patron (Angus Duncan) who had paid him off with a bad check...for a practitioner of the mystic arts, Simon is awfully petty.
According to the IMDB, screenwriter Roger Phippeny was a practicing warlock himself, and many of Simon's speeches come across as self-conscious attempts to clear up misconceptions about magic. However, Roger/Simon frequently seems as intolerant and ignorant as he accuses the "uninformed" of being; one scene in which Simon attends a meeting of Wiccans (led by Andy Warhol superstar Ultra Violet), then viciously mocks their beliefs and practices, is particularly hard to take. If Simon is a Mary Sue for the screenwriter, he's one of the most unsympathetic authorial stand-ins ever.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Despite the flaws of the scripted character, Andrew Prine's talent and charisma manage to make Simon an occasionally appealing character (failing only during Simon's most egregious behaviors, see above). Still, Prine has admitted that there's really only one movie he's embarrassed by, and it's not this one. (For the record, it's Alan Rudolph's Barn of the Naked Dead.)


Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Stop or I'll Dance!

It's been way too long since I've participated in Friday Night Fights, but I'm back in action. Tonight's Ladies' Night bout, from the twisted brilliance of Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby's Destroyer Duck #2: Medea Souvlakis vs. Woblina Strangelegs!

(If Medea is Mommie, then who's your daddy? Bahlactus is, natch.)

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Junior

JUNIOR (1985). Directed by Jim Hanley. Starring Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Linda Singer, and Jeremy Ratchford.

Not to be confused with the Ivan Reitman/Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy of the same title, this Junior is a warped little thriller set in the deepwoods South...made by Canadian filmmakers. Our story begins as two prostitutes, the tough, no-nonsense K.C. (Suzanne DeLaurentiis) and the semi-ditzy Jo (Linda Singer), are released from prison, and are almost immediately attacked by their former pimp. Subduing him by shoving his crucifix pendant up his nose (a possible homage to Chinatown?), they escape in his car, discovering in it a small fortune in cash and a shotgun. They decide to use this windfall to start a new life, driving down the country until they find a suitable opportunity in a derelict marina. Yep, they're going straight...using a pimp's stolen money. They buy the run-down establishment and set to work rebuilding it, much to the dismay of a group of local rowdies who had been using it as their own hang-out. Making matters worse, one of the members of this gang is the sheriff (Ken Roberts), who (true to the cliche) don't take kindly to strangers in his town. However, the most troublesome rowdy is the titular "Junior" (Jeremy Ratchford), a hulking, mentally challenged brute with a vicious temper.
Junior begins a systematic campaign to get rid of the outsiders, following a repetitive pattern: Junior commits some act of harassment; K.C. and Jo fight him off; Junior can't believe that two women could get the better of him (no matter how many times it happens); Junior goes home and cries to his unspeaking mother (played by an uncredited performer who appears to be a man in drag--in fact, I think it's the same actor who played the pimp in the beginning). Of course, Junior's actions escalate with each failure, moving from cruel pranks to horrific violence, until a final showdown is inevitable.
Junior is frequently as nasty and mean-spirited as its title character, but is somewhat salvaged by the appealing, resourceful heroines. K.C. and Jo never back down from their opponents, and continually find creative ways of outfighting them. Movie buff Jo draws on her knowledge of vintage action flicks, taking a page from Richard Widmark's The Frogmen to foil an underwater attack. In one memorable scene, K.C. fashions an impromptu Molotov cocktail in a manner that combines female empowerment with gratuitous nudity...a mixed message that typifies the movie as a while.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
This movie is perhaps the textbook example of a "Leaving It Off the Resume" movie: An early, embarrassing effort by a familiar face who would undoubtedly like it to be forgotten. In this case, that familiar face is Jeremy Ratchford, who went on from this humble beginning to a prominent supporting part in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and his current co-starring role in the TV series Cold Case. The young, inexperienced Ratchford shows little promise of the talent and subtlety he currently displays; instead, he hams it up horribly with his wide-eyed, leering characterization. Congratulations, Jeremy, on coming so far from this inauspicious debut.