Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

It's a John Cleese reference.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Quick Comics Comment

I picked up my books from the past two weeks (wasn't able to make it out to the shop last week), and I just wanted to say one thing:

Any month we can get new artwork from Gene Colan (Captain America #601) and Angelo Torres (Creepy #1) is a GOOD month. And an Alex Toth reprint is just icing on the cake.


What I Sang 7/22

It's been a while since I've had a chance to go out, but I finally managed to make it last night:

"A World Without Love" by Peter & Gordon.
"Little Willy" by The Sweet.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Black Roses

BLACK ROSES (1988). Directed by John Fasano. Starring John Martin, Carla Ferrigno, and Julie Adams.

Another heavy-metal horror movie from director John Fasano? Yes indeedy. But whereas Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare presented us with a hair-metal angel battling the forces of evil, Black Roses takes the more conventional stance that hard rock literally is the devil's music.
The setting is Mill Basin, a small town where nothing ever happens...until the popular band Black Roses announces that they're playing there as the opening location of their tour. The news brings the sleepy town to life, even as it awakens the long-simmering tensions between the older and younger generations. While a vocal fragment of the adults, led by the prudish Mrs. Miller (Julie Adams of Creature from the Black Lagoon fame), denounce the band as an unhealthy influence and try to have the concert stopped, the pragmatic mayor (Ken Swofford) is more swayed by the revenue the performance will bring to the city. Oh, if only he had listened...
As the concert approaches, the town's teenagers, emboldened by the impending arrival of the rock idols, gradually grow more and more rebellious. Schoolteacher Matt Moorhouse (John Martin) notices the change in his young charges, but thinks little of it at first. Then, as the town's more unfit parents begin dying and/or disappearing, it becomes clear that there's more than just standard teenage angst at work.
Black Roses is much more polished and accomplished than Fasano's previous film, though the special effects and monster designs are just as laughable as they had been in Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. However, the progression in Fasano's directorial skills actually works against the movie; without the gonzo craziness and incompetence that made Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare so much fun to watch, we're left with simply an average, unremarkable horror movie.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Watch for The Sopranos' Vincent Pastore, making his screen debut as a verbally abusive dad who gets sucked into a stereo speaker. (Another curious bit of casting is the teacher's love interest, played by Carla Ferrigno in her only screen appearance outside of the films of her husband Lou.)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare

ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE (1987). Directed by John Fasano. Starring Jon Mikl Thor, Jillian Peri, and Frank Dietz.

Bodybuilder/heavy-metal musician Jon Mikl Thor (probably most familiar for the MST3K classic Zombie Nightmare) stars as...surprise!...a bodybuilder/heavy-metal musician named John Triton, who brings his band (along with the band members' wives and girlfriends) to an old abandoned farmhouse converted into a recording studio. Gradually, muppet-like demons begin appearing all around the place, and people start vanishing one by one, as you might expect. But just when you think the movie couldn't get any more predictable, the filmmakers pull a surprise twist completely out of left field, negating everything that's gone before.
While I'm tempted to keep the twist a secret, I realize that very few people are likely to see the movie in any case, so I'll go ahead and spoil turns out that Triton is actually an angel (or some other kind of heavenly servant) known as "The Intercessor," and he arranged the whole thing to draw the demons out of hiding. The victims? Mere illusions created by the Intercessor. After taunting the demon with this revelation, the Intercessor proceeds to rock him back to Hell through the power of his music. Epic, dude.
Side note: Triton repeatedly mocks the primary demon by calling him "Bub" (short for Beelzebub). This automatically puts him on equal footing with Wolverine.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, a pet project of Jon Mikl Thor (in addition to starring, he also wrote the screenplay and co-produced), is undoubtedly the highlight of his film career...though considering he vanished from the screen for 16 years after this, and his only previous films were Zombie Nightmare and a supporting part in the police comedy Recruits, that's really not saying much. However, he was so proud of it that he did manage to get a sequel made 18 years later: Intercessor: Another Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. The mind boggles at what that one must be like.
The rest of the cast is mostly comprised of newcomers in their only movie, with a couple of exceptions: Steady-working (if not exceptionally famous) actress Lara Daans makes a brief appearance as a groupie, and Frank Dietz, who soon abandoned performing to pursue a career in animation, has a more substantial supporting part as bandmate Roger Eburt. (Yes, that's the character's name.) I don't think they'll be listing this among the highlights of their careers.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Monster Dog

MONSTER DOG (1984). Directed by Claudio Fragasso. Starring Alice Cooper, Victoria Vera, and Carlos Santiuro.

Quick rundown: Alice Cooper, in his first leading film role, plays Vince Raven, a successful rock star returning to his hometown (accompanied by his entourage). This proves to be a very bad idea, as his presence appears to reawaken an old family curse, and Vince's friends are picked off one by one by a werewolf. But is Vince the beast, or is he its prey?

Apart from Vince, who benefits from Alice Cooper's charisma, the supporting characters are all as indistinguishable as they are unlikeable, so it's almost a relief as each one meets his or her inevitable doom. The story plods along predictably, and the monster/transformation special-effects are simply absurd. In other words, a must-see.

Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?

From the theatricality of his musical performances, it would seem a natural progression for Alice Cooper to embark on an acting career. However, while he has contributed a number of cameo appearances before and since, Monster Dog remains his only starring role...and all of his dialogue is dubbed by Ted Rusoff. (I don't know whether the substitution was the filmmakers' decision, or whether Cooper was simply unavailable for the English any case, it's quite jarring to hear an unfamiliar voice coming out of Alice Cooper's mouth.) The only points when Cooper is completely himself are the musical numbers, "Identity Crises" (performed in the opening music video, and reprised at the end of the movie) and "See Me in the Mirror." As you might expect, those songs are the highlights of the movie.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Project: Kill

PROJECT: KILL (1976). Directed by William Girdler. Starring Leslie Nielsen, Gary Lockwood, and Nancy Kwan.

No time for an actual review this week, just a quick observation: I think it says it all when the video company can't spell the star's name right on the box.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
On the other hand, Leslie Nielsen may very well be glad to have this associated with the nonexistant Leslie Neilson.
(Oh hey, look, there's the ubiquitous Vic Diaz, the villain from every B-movie filmed in the Phillipines!)

Labels: ,