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Monday, December 21, 2009

THE FLINTSTONES: ON THE ROCKS

The only thing that could possibly compliment a GST show; a Flintstones movie - the ‘Stones being the only thing of greatness we could all agree on and were somewhat in awe of or obsessed with. Presenting the rarely seen animated masterpiece from 2001 (10 years after the CBGB’s show) THE FLINTSTONES ON THE ROCKS


Untitled from chris reilly on Vimeo.


Well, thanks to those douche bags at VIMEO you can't watch this "aired once-available-nowhere" classic. Instead, enjoy This 2010 atrocious remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space. You will want to kick director Ian Burton in the goons. If you think something sucks, don't make it worse.


Plan 9 From Outer Space (2010) from Ian Burton on Vimeo.



The Flintstones: On the Rocks aired in November 3, 2001 on Cartoon Network and as far as I know never aired again. The movie tries and amazingly succeeds at cabturing the vibe of the first season. Meaning this was a prime-time cartoon and very mature in its themes, reaching out to older audiences as well as kids. This really could have been a direct, logical continuation of the first season.

Sic semper tyrannis,

Chris




The Smell of Planet of Beer: Brian Sendelbach Interview



NOTE: THIS INTERVIEW IS 11 MONTHS OLD AND BEING REPRINTED FOR THE SAKE OF NOSTALGIA, AND TO GET FOLKS TO BUY FRIENDS AND FOES PLANET OF BEER FOR CHRISTMAS!


Planet Of Beer Planet Of Beer by Brian Sendelbach


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Smell of Planet of Beer: Brian Sendelbach Interview
REILLY: Brian, first off, as you know, I am a very lazy man, so can you write the intro header for this interview?

SENDELBACH: I'm pretty lazy too, so I guess there will be no intro header.

I just read a preview of Planet of Beer and I loved it. It was as if the Harlem Globetrotters were playing a life and death game of hoops with Godzilla on Gilligan's Island in my head where my brain should be. I found it odd that the Globetrotters and Godzilla were all short, doughy white men, in top hats, smoking cigars. Any idea why your work has this sort of bio electrical, funky town engagement on the intellectual process?


That's a really good question! I wish I had an answer. However, it's interesting to note that Godzilla, Globetrotters, and Gilligan's Island all begin with the letter 'G'. Perhaps this is some sort of clue...? (Hint: Gesus ALSO begins with a 'G'.)

Well, I am a genius, so that must have been my subconscious screaming for recognition. A lot of people reading this may not be familiar with your work, so let's get down to some generic interview questions.

Okay.

Yes, it is okay. Why the name "Smell of Steve" and have you ever regretted that moniker?

The Smell of Steve thing is random. Like Nine Inch Nails or Cat Power, it's just a name on the box. And then you put stuff into the box. And then, in my case, you throw the box into the trash.

What was your first published work and when was it published?

I won a poetry contest in fourth grade. My poem was published in a national magazine of some sort. Then the principal wrote the poem out on a big piece of paper and hung it in the school display case. I was a celebrity around school for about a month...such a celebrity that a bunch of girls gigglingly dragged me into the girls' restroom for a little while, which is another story.

Anyway, the school eventually gave me the big sheet of paper, which I proudly taped to my bedroom door. One day my sister got mad at me and ripped it to shreds. And I completely forgot about the whole thing until just now. (Except the part about the girls' bathroom.)

We both had work published in HellCar, how did you become involved?

The HellCar people contacted my people, and a beautiful relationship was born. I eventually bought my first house with the money I made from HellCar. (NOTE: Brian had no idea that I was letting HellCar pioneer Paul Fiedrich listen in.)

Paul, you once told me that you never wanted to meet or talk to Brian Sendelbach, because it would demystify his comics and paintings.

FIEDRICH: The question isn't entirely correct. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to him on the phone. I didn't want any contact with him except to receive his cartoons. I travel the country, sometimes the world, but mostly the country a lot. Whenever I stop somewhere I pick up the local weekly paper or whatever zine or flyer I find in the bar or coffee shop, always looking for new cartoonists for HellCar or the DesignBox Gallery in Raleigh, NC.

It must've been around the turn-of-the-century that I was in Seattle, Washington for a gallery exhibit of my paintings. this was at the height of the Northwest's zine craze. There were zines everywhere. There were two or three zine specialty shops with bookshelves and racks, all full of zines, magazines and comic books. I remember the moment I came across the stack of Smell of Steve, Inc. comics several hours after I'd entered the shop and had looked at, flipped through and passed over many disappointing zines with comics, zines without comics, zines with music, zines about music, haunted zines, diet zines and too many zines about zines.

Smell of Steve, Inc's comics were different.







They were comics by someone who knew what they were doing. I read through the books. Stories featuring Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, the original cast of Saturday Night Live and the Moon on Fire. No one had ever put any of those things in the same story. The drawings were done by someone one-step ahead on the evolution ladder. The jokes were written by a god. These were cartoons so funny, so perfectly drawn, so genius that it was guaranteed that Smell of Steve, Inc. was destined for fame, wealth and greatness long after he was dead.

Some years later I had an opening in HellCar for a new cartoonist and emailed Smell of Steve, Inc. to see if he was interested in contributing some pages for publication. I originally never wanted have any contact with him, but I wanted to publish his cartoons more. In my mind he was 10 feet tall. and had spent his spare time fighting gorillas to the death in the forests of Washington State. In fact, I wanted to believe that his cartoons didn't come from his imagination, that he lived them; that they were all true stories. I didn't want to know anything about him except what he told me in his books. I didn't need to know anything about his life. What his favorite food was, if he liked movies, if he was good in school.

In our correspondence I learned his name was Brian Sendelbach. I hadn't even wanted to know that he had a name. I admit it's a good name. But I know other Brians. I couldn't help a mental image of Brian Sendelbach from forming. He wasn't necessarily 10 feet tall anymore. I had no need for more knowledge.

For many years our communications were kept to a minimum. I'd email Brian when the HellCar deadline was coming and he'd email several pages of cartoons. No small talk, no profound thoughts. Nothing. It was perfect. Everyone loved his cartoons in HellCar but I couldn't tell anyone anything about him. He was everything to everyone. He was whatever we wanted him to be.

Life doesn't always go the way you want it to go. It was close to the end of the print edition of HellCar and I ran into a problem.

I had six pages of a Smell of Steve, Inc. story with no page numbers. There were several possibilities of the order. No one in the office could agree and the deadline to get it to the printers was approaching. We needed a solution and an email might not get to Brian in time for the answer.

I had to call him.

I had to speak to him.

I called.

And he lived up to all that he was supposed to be. If we'd lived in the same city, we would've been best friends. We'd drink beers, shoot pool, hit on the waitresses. We'd have been ringers in lawyer's softball leagues. We'd have created a whole new genre of music. We'd have ended war in the world. There'd be nothing that we couldn't do.

That was the only time I've ever spoke to him.

Now I feel bad for being flip. Chris, can I be a real person for a second? Just for a second...? I really enjoyed being in HellCar. Paul is an amazing artist, and one of my best friends that I've never actually met. Had we lived in the same town, we surely would've done all the things he said...and more besides. (So...THAT'S what it's like to be genuine...? I feel kinda weird.)

Brian, don’t let your guard down, Paul is the droll Hannibal Lecter of passive aggressiveness messing with your head. You could not possibly offend him. And you do not want Friedrich in your head

I'll be going to Comic Con in new york. Are you still going this year?

Shut up, Paul. You were a one question guest.

Brian, who were your influences?

Mostly loud rock music, Thomas Pynchon, and David Foster Wallace. Also, a frightening illustration of a beturbaned jack-in-the-box I saw in a children's book when I was six.

I love Thomas Pynchon and I think that beturbaned Jack-in-the-box was that freaky thing that wouldn’t stop laughing at you, right? Did you receive any angry letters for your Stranger cover depicting the Pope and Terry Schiavo in a death race and if so, can we print one of the crazier ones here?



I forget whether I received any angry letters. Supposedly, the Bill O'Reilly guy on TV was mad about it, but he gets paid to get mad about things. Also, I got interviewed on a Christian radio station about that cover. Well, actually, I asked a friend to be interviewed in my place. He called up the station and said he was me, and then answered questions as he imagined I would. He did a pretty good job.

O’Reilly in his fair and balanced way, did go ape shit on that cover in an editorial. Brian sent me two letters to the editor in regard to the cover.

POPE VS. SCHIAVO: PRO

EDITOR: The "race to die" cover was a hilarious relief from the teary-eyed crap the rest of the media has been bombarding us with for the last few weeks. Thanks, guys!
Sohier Dane

POPE VS. SCHIAVO: CON

DEAR EDITOR: The cover art on last week's edition of The Stranger was absolutely despicable. Has The Stranger really sunk to the level of picking on defenseless sick people in order to push the paper? Surely, there must be more creativity floating around your office than what's exhibited by the trash on this week's cover. It's offensive, disrespectful, and classless; but worst of all, the cover shows that you lack the insight and creativity to say anything meaningful about an event that will be remembered by Christians and non-Christians all over the world for years to come. You have proved that The Stranger has nothing to offer this city other than the shock value of an everyday rag.
A.L. B.
Does any sane person believe that either of those Pudding Heads knew they were alive, and if they did, would have prayed for death’s merciful embracet.

Whose work do you enjoy today and why?

I like Mo Willems. His books are funny and economically drawn. Also, I like the Captain Underpants books. Very mainstream of me, eh?

At this point in time, what is great about comics and what bites the wax tadpole?

I honestly don't know much about comics these days.

Time for some Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton questions. Brian, why Phil Collins? Why Sammy Hagar? Why cigars?


I was just trying to be funny. I drew those strips a long time ago. When I was putting together the Planet of Beer book, I would read those old strips and shake my head. I have no idea what I was thinking.

Is Black Aquaman based on someone close to you? It seems quite personal.

Black Aquaman is based on the regular Aquaman, except he's a different race than the regular Aquaman. He's black.

Tell us about Bigfoot on the Moon. Why Bigfoot and not Belushi?

Belushi wasn't available at the time. Well, Jim Belushi was available, but who wants Jim Belushi?

Why did the rock band Queen send Bigfoot to the moon? It sounds more like something Kiss would do?

I don't think KISS is very funny. Queen is funny though. And they didn't send Bigfoot to the moon. They blew up the moon. But that was a very long time ago.

Did you ever receive a cease and desist from American Greetings executive and Ziggy creator Tom Wilson and are you a Ziggy fan?

I am indeed a Ziggy fan. The biggest. But no cease and desist as of this writing, unfortunately.

You have been in the online webcomic trenches for years. How did the Dark Horse deal come about for Planet of Beer? Did they approach you?

I actually never drew webcomics at all. I always drew strips for newspapers. Eventually a lot of those strips made it to the web, via my website (which went up in smoke a couple months ago, long story) and serializer.net. Perhaps serializer is where some people saw my work first, so I get plugged in with the webcomics stuff.

And I approached Dark Horse about a collection. Originally, the people at Dark Horse seemed really enthusiastic about it. At the acquisition meeting, Bigfoot Vs. Planet of Beer For The Future of The Moon! (as it was called then) got a unanimous thumbs up.


Is the book actually in danger of not being published?

As of this writing (January 14, 2009), Planet of Beer has 3 weeks in which to improve its orders. If it doesn't, it heads into some sort of mysterious unpublished limbo. Dark Horse says it's a book that will likely achieve good sales upon release (with word of mouth, positive reviews, etc.), but its initial orders were a little low. Apparently not enough to justify publishing the book. So I'm trying to get the word out however I can. I just added some more Planet of Beer sample pages onto my Myspace page so readers and retailers can get a better idea of what the book's all about. (Hint: It's all about EVIL!!!!!! And a large-breasted Captain America. And Henry Kissinger doing 'the streak.' And the statistical impossibility of love. And Nick Nolte.)

[Retailers -- feel free to order more copies! Customers -- feel free to bully retailers into ordering more copies!:]

Why is Jaws my favorite film?





I didn't quite catch that question. I was eating this burrito here. Could you repeat it? Oh, never mind.

It’s because it has a huge shark in it!

Who would win in a sword fight, you or Robert Hamburger and why?

I am more or less undefeated in the swordfighting department.

What projects can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I don't draw the weekly strip anymore. So if Planet of Beer doesn't end up coming out, I'm throwing in the towel on any future creative endeavors. Then I'll probably work on becoming a professional swordfighter or whatever happens to cross my mind.

Brian, you are weird and unattractive, so instead of including a picture of you in this interview, could you send me a picture of someone that you wish you looked like.

I wish I looked like this guy:






Quite the bee costume you've got there, guy!

Having interviewed you in the past, you knew this was coming – can you send us off with long, boring prose piece, perhaps about why monkeys groom other monkeys?






Monkeys groom other monkeys because...well....[Long sigh. Sound of head hitting keyboartyyyygfvfgvvvvvggggggggg:]

(Sigh) Male monkeys pay for sex by grooming females, according to a study that suggests the primates may treat sex as a commodity. "In primate societies, grooming is the underlying fabric of it all," Dr. Michael Gumert, a primatologist at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said in some interview, "It's a sign of friendship and family, and it's also something that can be exchanged for sexual services."

Thanks, Brian, it is always a pleasure grooming your brain monkey style and good luck with Planet of Beer.

View all my reviews >>

Everyone hates Bee Guy

What It is by Lynda Barry: This book is fire for the idle mind

What It Is What It Is by Lynda Barry


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Barry’s “What It Is” is pure magic and without peer. For anyone who wants some brilliant insight on where stories come from you have to read this. It is also a book that proves to people who say that they can't write or draw are actually wrong. Can you believe it? If you think that you are not a story teller, you just have not read What It Is. Barry teaches you how to think like a kid again, back when a slice of bacon could have its own adventures on its way to a sandwich.
I used to say that before you embark on a career of writing or illustrating comics, there is only one book you need to read and that is Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential art. Well, now there are two books that you have to read. Buy borrow or, yes, even steal it. This book is worth the misdemeanor on your record.
Check out these video clips I pieced together of Barry’s reading/lecture of What It Is. It is from several different locations, I was lucky enough to catch it at Comic-Con last Sumer. I swear, Barry actually hypnotized the room. A must read for just about anyone.

View all my reviews >>

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One of the greatest horror novels of all time (and it is non fiction)

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Possibly the most gut wrenching horror novel of all-time - and it is non fiction.
This book is so shocking that I don't know if I would actually believe it if someone without the journalistic, unbiased journalistic integrity Jeff Sharlet had written it. I wish someone with less journalistic integrity had written it, because I would like to think it was like the Blair Witch Project, which scared me to death when I saw it opening night, but found out the next day it was fake. I wish I could wake up tomorrow and read that The Family was a big hoax.
That said, this is one of the best, most important books I have read in years.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Superhero for Choice, Death to the Tinman and book review

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from 1925 (commentary by Steve Ahlquist)

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When Larry Semon’s Wizard of Oz starts, it’s with the tacit understanding that everyone knows about the books, they were after all immensely popular, so we are immediately shown dolls of Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, merchandising from the book series. As a modern corollary, imagine if the Harry Potter movies began by showing us action figures of Harry, Hermione and Ron. The dolls are being gazed upon, somewhat reverently, somewhat creepily by an old man, who is immediately interrupted by a young girl (prototypically Shirley Temple-esque) who wants to be read the story from the book.

But, this being a movie, it will bear no resemblance to the book at all, and we are tipped of to that fact immediately as we are shown the opening page of the book, which becomes the screen credits for the movie. Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s story by L. Frank Baum Jr., Leon Lee & Larry Semon. What follows is a story that uses the book as a mere point of departure and comes off as more of a parody than anything else.

Good Lord, this film has dated poorly. How poorly? About 15 minutes into the film we are given the visage of a lazy black farm hand eating watermelon in the field. Ironically, this black man’s name is Snowball! Snowball will eventually travel to Oz, where, when threatened by lions, a white character will tell him, “…these alley cats prefer dark meat.”

The film is most famous today for co-starring Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) as the Tin Man. Oliver Hardy plays the Tin Man as a man without a heart alright, he eventually betrays his friends for power and glory.

Also of interest is the actor who play the “Phantom of the Basket” (You have to see the movie to understand.) The role of this sinewy dancing woman is played by Frederick Ko Vert, a famous 1920’s female impersonator and the costume designer on this film. He has a string of small roles in a variety of movies, including films featuring Theda Bara and Rudolph Valentino, but sadly all track is lost of him when, in 1945, the LAPD vice squad arrested him with a “thick file of indecent pictures.” The only photograph of Frederick (outside ofmovie stills) is a bizarre, nude self portrait.

Dorothy Dwan plays Dorothy. At the time she was married to director/writer/producer Larry Semon, so it’s hard to believe that the name is a coincidence. I’m sure Larry saw this movie as a star vehicle for his wife, and secured the rights to the book based on the coincidence of the name. A silent screen actress, Dwan never quite broke into the A-list, and her career fizzled with the advent of the talkies.

Larry Semon’s career fizzled much more spectacularly. The movie wasn’t much of a success, and the movie bankrupted him. In the end Semon didn’t have the money required to adequately distribute the picture. After filing for bankruptcy in 1928, Semon returned to vaudeville, only to suffer a nervous breakdown and die in a sanatorium of pneumonia. He was 39. Larry plays a farmhand, in love with Dorothy, who becomes the Scarecrow. One unexpected bit of comedy involves a duck throwing up in his face. Larry here seems to be doing his best Harold Lloyd impression.

So what about the movie? Well, it’s not based on the book- much. But the MGM movie of 1939 is based on this movie- a little. You see, in this version of the story, Dorothy is accompanied on her journey to Oz by a trio of farmhands and her Uncle Henry.

Oz has been ruled by Lord Kruel with the help of Lady Vishuss and Ambassador Wikked. Yes, all these names are cringe worthy and well below the cleverness of the original source material by Baum. Though Kruel is a tyrant, he is opposed by Prince Kynd. Kynd, speaking for the people, demands that the Queen, missing since she was a baby, be returned to power.

Kruel calls on the Wizard to distract the masses while he thinks of a way to keep power. Instead of the grand reveal present in the original book and the MGM movie, here the Wizard is introduced, rather anticlimactically, as “a medicine-show hokum hustler.” Here the Wizard never gets to be the man behind the curtain. Rather than the bluffing con man who conquers a city through guile and showmanship, here the Wizard is merely an instrument of Lord Kruel.

Meanwhile, back in Kansas we meet Dorothy, a girl on the cusp of becoming a woman, a rose read to be plucked. Pick your metaphor, she’s a stone cold hottie waiting for the right man. Her Aunt Em is all motherly perfection, but her Uncle Henry is a cruel, evil fat man who abuses the farm hands and tears up flowers. We are introduced to three farmhands: Oliver Hardy, the aforementioned Snowball, and Larry Semon. In the biggest departure from the book they will journey with Dorothy to Oz, and pretend to be the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow respectively.

This is the debt the MGM movie owes this version. In the MGM version Dorothy only dreams that these ranch hands have become her friends in Oz, in this movie the journey is more literal. No dreams here, until the end, when we are reminded that this is a story being read to a little girl by her grandfather, but then she wakes up from a dream. Huh?

On Dorothy’s eighteenth birthday an airplane from Oz lands at the farm carrying four of Lord Kruel’s minions. Kruel wants to make sure that Dorothy never learns that she’s really Dorothea, Queen of Oz. This bit is lifted from the second Oz book by Baum, Ozma of Oz.

There are plenty of other homages to Baum’s originals in the movie, but they are spotty and incomplete. The confusion with other fairy tales and the treatment of the work as a joke make the movie more of a burlesque than a drama or a fantasy. At one point Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are referred to as “Cinderelatives.” King Pastoria, Ozma’s father in the books, is name checked as a former king ofOz. The remnants of the All-Girl Army can be seen in the two girls in Lord Cruel’s court sporting page boy haircuts and uniforms.

The film has interesting special effects, animation and stunt work. Unfortunately fully half the movie is set on Earth. The twister that sweeps the four heroes to Oz doesn’t arrive until 45 minutes into the film, but the effects that launch the house to Oz are quite spectacular, and well worth the wait. The matte painting of Oz (actually a large painted backdrop) depicts Oz as a city of Russian style towers. The adventures in Oz are action packed, yet pedestrian.

So what can be ultimately said about Larry Semon’s Wizard of Oz? It’s a curiosity, an aberration, of historical interest. It has some pretty great scenes, some clever touches, but lacks a satisfying ending. It doesn’t reward the viewer. In the end, despite all the trials and tribulations of the hard working Scarecrow, the girl goes off with the handsome and insipid Prince Kynd, a do-nothing with a fancy suit and mustache. The Scarecrow is left to fall to his death in a airplane, revealing the dream within a book within a movie ending.





Tragic comical interlude. I am all for Planned Parenthood, but the idiot who green lit this car wreck “Superhero For Choice” should be beaten with a pillowcase full of oranges. Not only does this short portray Planned Parenthood as something being run buy the L.C.D. of compassion, but a/the GOP tool like Rush Limbaugh could air this on his website to make the point that liberals are idiots, and this cartoon seems tailored to make that point. It is a shame that this thing’s budget could not have actually gone towards medical treatment, education or free condoms. It is one of the weirdest animations of all time and watches like anti Planned Parenthood propaganda. Planned Parenthood was so ashamed of this they will do just about anything to get it off the web, so watch it while you can.


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Death to the Tinman (2007)



Since we already featured the first Oz film, let’s go for the most recent. Death to the Tinman is a wickedly funny film by Ray Tintori, a 24-year-old director from Brooklyn. Tintori wrote and directed"Death to the Tinman" while attending Wesleyan University. The film received an honorable mention at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. This tory proves one thing, that unlike most people who dabble in new Oz fiction, Tintori actually read the source material, L. Frank Baum’s: . The Tin Woodman of Oz. If you have never read it his origin is a bit more grusome and disturbing than the one in Death to the Tinman.

“Bill loves Jane and she loves him, but in this small town, many are jealous of Bill, especially the volunteer firefighters. Bill calls them cowards, puts out fires by himself, and doesn't cooperate with small-town church values. The local pastor and others conspire against him, and soon Bill has suffered the loss of his arms and other injuries. His old friend Paul stitches him back together, giving him tin arms, then a tin body. Soon, Bill still has his heart, but the rest of him is tin. Then, Bill's heart-less body comes back to semi life, zombie-like. Jane takes this meat puppet into her home and into her arms. Bill is deeply hurt. He seeks Jane's love. Is there hope?” From IMDB

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Freak Book Review:

The Monster at the End of this Book (Big Little Golden Book) The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was one of those books that my poor mother had to read to me daily. When I say I read it in 1972, I actually couldn't read yet so it was read to me, over-and-over-and-over...
I remember being afraid that my mom would get sick of reading it, so I always acted shocked when Grover is revealed to be the monster.
One of the great things about this book is that it is actually written by Sesame Street co-creator Jon Stone, so it is not just fluff "product." It feels like it could have been a bit on the show, but it had to be told in the form of a book for obvious reasons. Stone also worked on Captain Kangaroo, the early SNL Muppet shorts and was married to actress Beverley Owen, the original 'Marilyn' on the Munsters. Jon Stone exited this earth in 1997.
If you have not read his since you were a kid or have never read it, you should pick it up for $4.99.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CHINA SENDS SUPER FISH… TO KILL US!



You may be wondering (yeah, you) why I’m writing about this for Midnight Movie Double Feature, because it sounds more like an environmental issue than one of horror, but if I know anything about freaks, it’s that we love a good monster.
This sounds too funny to be true, but you are about to see a hundred fish jump into a boat. The first video is from a Brazilian fishing show where a genius among fishermen, shows how fishing for carp can get you killed. For quite a while fishermen thought these kooky fish jumping into their boats from time to time was a fluke. A fluke known as “flying fish.” That is until one day this brain donor figured out why it was happening. The carp were leaping out of the water to eat low flying insects, and what are insects attracted to? Light. Just about anyone who fishes at night is likely to carry a flashlight to keep an eye out for gill-men, Ice Cube or Jon Voight. Well, Einstein here figured out that if a flashlight attracted an occasional bug (bug = fish or fish’) then a floodlight would…

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…that was kind of funny, but the unfortunate bit is that goofball had enough synaptic static electricity in his melon to cut out the bit, no joking around, where a ten pounder shot from the water, knocked him unconscious and out of the boat and he nearly drowned.
Fishing for monsters in a rowboat with a floodlight in a river in Brazil – what could possibly go wrong?



The down side to this hilarity is that these fish, just like people have become an actual ecological threat, in the US.
The silver carp or the Asian Flying Carp as it has come to be known is a freshwater species that originated from north and northeast Asia.
Cultivated as a source of food for China and hysterically funny bio weapon to be deployed against the West. The silver carp was introduced to America in the 1970s to control algae growth in aquaculture and municipal wastewater treatment facilities.” Dear god! We’re being attacked by flying crap fish!
Who is actually to blame for this? An Arkansas fish farmer first introduced the silver carp to the U.S. from Asia in 1973. They were originally brought in to control algae and plankton in his fish farms then managed to escape into the Mississippi River Basin in the early 1980's.

The highly invasive species spread into the Illinois, Ohio and Missouri rivers and somehow Brazil.
An unforeseen problem was discovered in the silver carps tendency to grow to a size of forty pounds, and its ability to leap up to ten feet into the air when startled or electrocuted, see video below the image or if you’re lazy just look at the image. These dudes are actually shooting electricity into the water to show you how many fish are down below.


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Did they kill all those fish or just make them angry?

Imagine the impact of having a forty pound fish drop on your head from ten feet. This is a scenario more horrifying than:



Nicknamed ‘flying carp for this activity, boaters, jet-skiers and fishermen have all encountered problems with the fish on the aforementioned rivers. In 2003 a woman on a jet-ski had her nose broken and a vertebrae cracked after colliding with a silver carp.
Asian Flying carp in the Great Lakes tributary system have been knocking fisherman senseless. If this trend continues it could be the end to the only thing on television more boring than golf or poker matches; fishing shows.
You have to love the Chinese government; they don’t really like us, so they put a virtual lean on our entire economy as our bottomless lending tree and have cleverly plotted to destroy the U.S fishing tackle and Jet Ski industries with a trained army of monster fish for nearly forty years.
Look how big their damn goldfish get:



To date there have been no reported mosquitofish fatalities but people have sustained serious injuries from these flying fish including fish-bonked unconscious, broken bones or knocked-out teeth.
Other nations who dislike us could learn a lesson from the Chinese, don’t threaten or attack us, just sell us some hideous, river conquering monster fish and we will willingly leak them into our ecosystem.
So remember, the enemy walks among us, but it doesn’t actually walk, it flies and it’s a fish.


Sic semper tyrannis,


CPR

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT, ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND and THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER: RECOBLED (1964-1992?)

JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT (1967)

An adventure series about a boy and a gigantic flying robot, his computerized friend who performs valiant deeds with his special powers. A composite of live action and animation. This film follows the Japanese tradition of giving children control over deadly robots and arming them with handguns.
Johnny Sokko is initiated as Agent U7 into the heroic Unicorn Agency. When a glowing meteor plummets to earth, Johnny and Jerry (Agent U3) are sent to investigate. The meteor bursts open and a massive metal globe rolls out. "Nucleon" is more than just a rolling wrecking ball -- it sprouts arms, it flies, it destroys obstacles with blinding heat rays! "Help, Giant Robot!" Johnny is knocked out by agents of the Gargoyle Gang, but when he awakens, Johnny commands Giant Robot to demolish the massive globe. Once again, the benevolent Unicorns triumph! Up yours, Guillotine!


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GUI DA GUI (ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND)(1980)
This is one of, if not the best Sammo Hung film I have seen. It is just so funny. Sammo plays Courageous Cheung, the man who cant turn down a bet. He gets himself in trouble when his wife and her lover (sammos master) make a bet that they hope will kill him. Cue much slapstick kung-foolery and bizarre goings on. Such as Sammo's hand being possessed and trying to kill him.
There are Hopping corpses, supernatural possession, the gratuitous sacrifice of a chicken, and lots of chanting by Taoist priests.
The films climax is the killer. In order to have enough strength to defeat his enemies Sammo and his wizard mate allow sammo to be possessed by the Monkey god. Sammo takes on the characteristics of a Monkey and kicks a lot of ass, including his wife's.
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THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER: RECOBBLED(1964-2002?)
A brief history of The Thief and the Cobbler (released as The Princess and The Cobbler in Australia and South Africa and Arabian Knight in most other countries) is an animated feature film by Canadian animatorRichard Williams, who worked 26 years on the project. Beginning the work in 1964, Williams intended for the film to be his masterpiece, and a milestone in the art of animation. The Thief and the Cobbler was in and out of production for over two decades, until Williams, buoyed by his success as animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, signed a deal in 1990 to have Warner Bros. finance and distribute the film. This deal fell through when Williams was unable to complete the film on time. As Warners pulled out, The Completion Bond Company assumed control of the project and had it finished by producer Fred Calvert without Williams.

Two versions of Calvert's completed The Thief and the Cobbler were released; one was issued in Australia and South Africa in 1993 as The Princess and the Cobbler and the other in the United States in 1995 as Arabian Knight, distributed by Miramax Family Films. While both are significantly different from Williams' intended version, the Arabian Knight version included new voice work by actors such as Jennifer Beals, Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Winters. Although the film was not a financial success, the film's history and intent has given it significant cult status among animation professionals and fans.

Video copies of workprints made during Richard Williams' involvement on the project often circulate within animation subcircles. In addition, several different people and collectives, from animation fans to The Walt Disney Company's Roy E. Disney, have initiated restoration projects intended to create a high-quality edit of the film which would mirror Williams' original intent as closely as possible. Because it was in production from 1964 until 1995, a total of 31 years, The Thief and the Cobbler holds the record for having the longest production time for a motion picture in history.

The film was the final appearance of Vincent Price (d. 1993), who recorded his dialogue from 1967 to 1992. This the version Richard Williams intended.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

The Last Man on Earth, The Adventures of Mark Twain and the freak of the week, the worst movie ever made

Hello, and welcome back, freaks.

Sorry for the delay in posting the films, but as it tends to, real life got in the way of entertainment. Which is weird because my real life is entertainment; just ask a cop, judge or lawyer? They all get a lot of good laughs from my existence.

Enough of that real life junk, let’s watch some movies.

Due to my tardiness I tossed up a quintuple secret feature, which, in my opinion (and I’m not alone) is not just one of the worst movies of ‘08 but of all time. That’s right, several months ago
Lions Gate dumped a 500 pound, steaming gorilla turd on pop culture and a few poor souls who thought it was a sequel to another film. I usually would not post a film that was (sort of) still in theaters, but, believe me; this view will not cost Lions Gate more money than they already have. It is a film so bad that the only bordering on clever bit are three characters whose names in the film are from Aristotle, who suggested that these three elements are necessary for persuasive rhetoric. I only say clever because I am astounded and or doubtful that the films writer/director has even heard of Aristotle.

The ongoing gag is one of the worst comedic bits in cinematic history. In all fairness, this falls into the SO BAD IT'S FUNNY arena of cinematic war crimes, but with the money involved, the sheer ineptitude is astonishing. If not for a major star and a few recognizable B actors, you would think this was shot for Youtube.
Fortunately our features and intermission should make up for this film, so dreadful that I swear I saw the ghost of Ed Wood sitting in the theatre, pointing at the screen, shouting “What a loser!” It has taken the heat off of Battlefield Earth and Catwoman.

The worst of the worst. Well, it’s not as torturous as Gone With the Wind, but at least that had good cinematography. Our Freak of the week is actually worse than MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE (1966) and that is major statement of contempt as you can make in regard to a film. Not as bad as GONE WITH THE WIND, but WORSE than MANOS.

Tonight’s features are the classic Vincent Price Film, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) and The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985) First off, Vincent Price gives an atypically restrained performance as the sole survivor of a worldwide plague that revives its victims as bloodthirsty vampires. During the day, he canvasses his abandoned hometown, tracking down and stalking his former friends and neighbors, always making sure to return before nightfall, when the dead rise to assault his fortified house. Hope arrives in the form of an apparently normal young woman (Franca Bettoia), but her agenda proves to be even more sinister than that of the vampires. Based on the 1954 novel by coscripter Richard Matheson Italian-made production is best known for its influence on George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. The similarities between the two films go beyond the presence of shuffling zombies and housebound heroes; both feature taboo-breaking scenes of interfamilial murder, and both end on bleak, dystopian notes. While The Last Man on Earth lacks the political and darkly satirical shadings (and graphic gore) that make Night of the Living Dead a more memorable experience, the combination of Bava-esque Gothic atmosphere and bleak, documentary-style camerawork by directors Ragona and Salkow (the brother of Price's agent Lester Salkow) lend themselves to moments of pure frisson that compare laudably to Romero's film. Matheson's novel also provided the source material for the dreadful 1971 Charlton Heston vehicle The Omega Man. And a third imagining, a Will Smith vehicle which actually used the books title “I AM LEGAND.” Not a perfect film, but very scary, with loads of action and a fantastic performance by Smith. I would call I AM LEGEND a great horror film if not for the tacked on happy ending.

Enough of that… THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)

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INTERMISSION
This one is chock full of goodness

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Our second feature is one of the weirdest claymation films of all time and I’m including the works of Jan Svankmajer in that bold statement:




Instead of writing my own review of this strange little gem, I thought I’d let you hear what a kid had to say about it:
A must see movie, October 8, 2008
A Kid's Review
This one of the most creative and interesting movies I have ever seen!
It's very detailed and smart. Butif you live in Australia it will only play on your computer.
It is about two boys and a girl, who sneek into Mark Twain's hot air balloon, and all the adventures they have in it.
It is a sensational movie and lots of fun to watch.
THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN (1985)

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Roll on drum, hit the high hat and blow your kazoos: THE WORST MOVIE EVER MADE

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Movie Friday at midnight and book review

Sorry for the skipped week, I was really busy. So, out of left field, I just had to recommend a book that anyone following the CastleFreak midnight movie experience would just love. I am still 100% committed to sharing weird films with you every seven days an will get back on track tomorrow with THE LAST MAN ON EARTH.

The Wolverton Bible The Wolverton Bible by Basil Wolverton


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
A book that I have waited half of my life to get my hands on. If you are a religious weirdo, and want a glimpse into the mind of how another religious weirdo interprets what they read in the bible - here you go.

I have always loved Wolverton's work, but this is not just him sharing his id with us unknowingly, like most of his creations, no, this is Wolverton sharing his warped and wonderful view on the Old Testament and Book of Revaluations. Wolverton was a deeply religious man, so he was not joking around with this work. It is no more demented than any other whacked out take on the source material (including the source material) but it is Wolverton's incredible, painstakingly rendered art that makes this a champ. If you like weird comics that are shot out of left field via outer space, this, my friend, is the brass ring.

If this weirdo bible had been around when I was a kid, I would have been an alter boy.


View all my reviews.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Turist Ömer Uzay Yolund (AKA Turkish Star Trek and Jim Henson's The Cube

Tonight's double feature:
Turist Ömer Uzay Yolund (AKA STAR TURK) and 1969's THE CUBE by Jim Henson

First Feature: Turist Ömer Uzay Yolun


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Afterword by Steve Ahlquist

To think of this movie as a rip-off of Star Trek or as a parody of Star Trek is a big mistake, even though Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda (1973) is both these things. The title literally means "Ömer the Tourist in Star Trek." Ömer the Tourist was played by Sadri Alisik, (1925-1995) an extremely popular Turkish comedian, who played the part in at least seven previous films. Among Turks Alisik is held in the highest regard as a comedic actor.

As
Ömer, Alisik is a hobo, (think Charlie Chaplin) who wanders from place to place, getting into trouble. His trademark is a great care for truth, and little concern for money. In the previous film in the series, Ömer finds himself in Spain, returning a wallet full of money to its rightful owner. Before that Ömer found himself in Arabia and Germany. In this film, Ömer finds himself pulled out of a shotgun wedding and time traveled to an alien planet. Ömer finds himself during an actual episode of the show, the episode called "The Man Trap." "The Man Trap" was the first episode of Star Trek broadcast in the United States. It may well have been the first episode broadcast in Turkey as well. (I have never been able to determine if it was.)

Let's back up.
Star Trek was extremely popular in Turkey at this time. The entire country was going through a Star Trek craze. This movie is an attempt to cash in on this phenomenon by combining Star Trek with Ömer the Tourist. The Turks therefore did the first big screen Star Trek film, and they worked hard to keep the film in continuity. This episode becomes a sort of "What If?" scenario. What if, the movie asks us, just before the first episode of our favorite series began, Ömer the Tourist was beamed aboard the ship?

The movie proceeds, as
Spock (or as the Turks call him, Mr. Spak), logically from this premise. The first episode play out, roughly as it did originally, with the addition of Ömer. Ömer spends his time teasing the crew, and generally making a nuisance of himself. He's a charming rogue, and the crew likes him. I love the use of the stolen incidental music, the nods to bits of Star Trek mythology that that hadn't been seen yet (such as the Vulcan neck pinch) and the entirely too short miniskirts the female crewmembers have to wear.

The production is both great and terrible, the special effects not better or worse than the original series per se, just... different. The sound effects on the Enterprise when the turbolift doors open are provided by a guy saying "whoosh" into a microphone. The phaser blasts are scratched onto the film like my old super-8 projects. The monsters are guys in suits.

It would have been great to continue the
Star Trek adventures with this crew. Imagine seventy eight more movies, each a Turkified remake of an original Star Trek episode, each episode weirder than the last.

With the new
J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie on its way, people will get a chance to see their old favorite characters re-imagined and reinterpreted by new actors, for a younger generation and a new audience. Back in 1973, in the heart of the Ottoman Empire, it was done first.

Cartoon Freak Show, featuring Paul Friedrick's Onion Head Monster

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If you like what you have just seen you can order Paul’s OHM Graphic novels and merchandise HERE!

Second Feature: Jim Henson's THE CUBE (1969)

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The Cube was an hour long teleplay that aired on NBC's weekly anthology television show NBC Experiment in Television on February 23, 1969. The production was produced and directed by puppeteer Jim Henson, and was one of several experiments with the live-action film medium which he conducted in the 1960s, before focusing entirely on the Muppets and other puppet works. The screenplay was co-written by long-time Muppet writer Jerry Juhl (who also appears in a cameo). Drop it if you got it, because this is a merry trip down Blue Tab-Gooney Bird Lane. Be sure to bring a mandolin playing midget along as your guide.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Freak of the Week: Spider Baby and Madly Homoerotic Wolf



Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told
a.k.a. Spider Baby/Cannibal Orgy, or the Maddest Story Ever Told/The Liver Eaters (1964/1968) (it took four years to get released)
The house-full-of-crazies movie is among the most heavily trodden plots of territory in the horror genre, having first been explored at least as early as the mid-1920’s. In few such films have the crazies ever been crazier than those in Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told, however; not since The Corpse Vanishes had the world seen anything truly comparable. It’s only to be expected that this movie would be something special, of course, for writer/director Jack Hill would go on to an illustrious (if all too brief) career in exploitation cinema. Spider Baby was something of a false start for Hill, as the producers’ money troubles would cause it to languish unseen for a good four years, but have it right now. BTW: Ever wonder where Rob Zombie "borrowed" House of a Thousand Corpses From? Now you'll know.


But first off a couple of odd ball Czech cartoons from the turn of the century:


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And now... SPIDER BABY (1964/1968)


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Super Secret Freak film bonus, titled (All names and the tittle are in anagram form) Madly Homoerotic Wolf



It is a a 1982 comedy film compiling clips from various B movies. Written by Salad Neon and directed by (all last names are anagrams) Lam Cool Elm and Warden Slot, the film features wraparound segments and narration by several famous comedians, including Yard Yak Don, Cad Johnny, Dear Dan Girl, and Can Conch He'd He. Sections of Madly homoerotic wolf focus on gorilla pictures, anti-marijuana films and the works of Edward D. Wood, Jr. If you are between 30 and 50, love funky old monster films than this is the one for you. It's not only about bad movies, it is a bad movie itself. Bad in an unintentionally, which should have been intentionally funny way. Simply the best.
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Next week the classic Vincent Price Film, The Last Man on Earth, a 1964 Italian horror/science fiction film based upon the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. The film was directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow, and starred Vincent Price.