Halloween Hootenanny-What I’m reviewing

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Here is the listing of what I’ll be reviewing in October.

TV Terror Tuesdays and Thursdays-(Halloween, monster or ghost episodes of TV shows)- Little house on the Prairie, Get Smart, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew,The Munsters, Remington Steele, Gidget, The A-team, Green Acres and Night Court.

First Fright Fridays-(movies I have sitting around but will be seeing for the very first time)
The Killer Shrews, The Tell Tale Heart, Lady Frankenstein, Werewolf in a girl’s dormitory and The Vampire.

Sleepy Hollow Sundays-Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
and Shelley Duvall’s Tall Tales and Legends-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

This week is only a half week in October so this week I will be taking on Little house on the prairie and The Vampire. I decided against doing Giant Monster Mondays, but will instead dedicate an entire month to them likely November or January. Likely viewing all of these will be as much as I can handle because I’m not that dedicated to blogging, but if I get some spare time I may throw in another topic on occasion during October. So brace yourself, get ready and stop by to check out the reviews.

Craft time

As I mentioned the other day I’ll be doing a segment about sci-fi or horror type crafts on here at some point. They might be basic or for kids or whatever but I hope to put up something here once a month. After talking about it for years I finally put together a craft in my house for all of us to use. It’s pretty much just a table with storage for craft items and a work area, but since I set it up like two months ago all of us have done projects on whether it’s crafts for work or for ourselves or whatever. For the past few years I have used Pinterest to pin all of these great craft ideas and then they sit there because I don’t actually do them so I hope to go back and look at those and actually try some of them. My wife is doing a bottle cap jewelry program this week at the library. Okay, that doesn’t sound it relates to my blog. While she mainly makes flowery and animal one she made an Iron Man one for my son and a Captain America one for me so I’ll share those soon. Beyond that I have a duct tape monster wallet program later this month and I did one like three years ago but I’ll share what I do for that this month and post pictures. I got my son to help me make a list of sci-fi and monster types crafts he wants to do with me. Right now it’s a lot of paper crafts including making a castle, Dracula and a coffin and Frankenstein. I think making monsters out of milk jugs and tissue boxes may happen as well. Maybe I can finally do more on some type of spaceship as well-not a real one mind you but models made from junk or household/recycled type materials. Also I may need to look into make monster stencils as well as some kind of crafts on Star Trek, King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera and the Creature from the black lagoon. If you have craft suggestions you want me to tackle then feel free to comment.

Sword and and sandal/sorcery in the 1990’s and beyond

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As I mentioned in a post earlier this month this genre saw an explosion from about 1959-1964. After that the genre seem to vanish  about a decade and a half. The 70’s saw Ray Harryhausen do a pair of Sinbad films and Rankin-Bass took on Tolkien, but not a whole of other films in the genre came out that decade. By the early 80’s Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games were popular and the genre popped back into favor on the big screen for the first part of the 1980’s. There were a few ventures into the genre on the small screen as well including the fantastic D & D cartoon and the short lived Wizards and Warriors. By the end of the decade the swords and half clothed warriors were gone again. However their absence would not be so long although their next appearance would be on the small screen in the 1990’s. Hercules and Xena came to TV in shows that combined action and humor. The 90’s would see Conan come to TV as well in a live action version and an animated version. Even the Beastmaster would eventually come to television as well. Sword and sandal/sorcery had returned and by the 2000’s there were more attempts in both made for TV and theatrical films. The Lord of the rings trilogy and 300 were some popular films that showed that there was still a market for these types of movies. While not every attempt has been great I for one am glad to see filmmakers still taking on this style of movie.

Upcoming junk and stuff

Tomorrow I will have up one last sword and sandal topic. It will probably be something about the genre in the 90’s through to today. Also this week I will have up the list of what I will be doing for the month of October in my Halloween Hootenanny. I will probably not be writing early next week and will instead use those days to watch the shows and movies I’ll review next month. I am also thinking of doing a column once a month where I do kind of horror or sci-fi craft and I’ll the finished product and talk a little about how I made it.
Taks care!

The Sword and the Sorcerer

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1982

As far as 1980’s sword and sandal and sorcery type films I consider Conan the Barbarian, Clash of the titans and Beastmaster to be the top films. Then there are a bunch of copies, lower down films and such. In between those lower downs and the top three are some movies that have some ideas of interest but have flaws too. I consider Dragonslayer to be in that category with it’s great effects, but so-so characters. I also consider this film to be in that category as well. The film is almost like a depot for all ideas from a bunch of other films tossed into one. We get a quest of sorts, an heir to the thrown, an evil ruler who doesn’t deserve the thrown, a demon, slave girls and a sword gun. Oh wait this may be the only film with that last part. The film also has a cast that’s made up of some people that seemed to be in everything in frequent villain Richard Lynch, bald headed Robert Tessler and Hollywood blacklist survivor Jeff Corey. As well as a bunch of people who would soon be regular faces on TV programs not too long after this film came out-Lee Horsley (Matt Houston), Richard Moll (Night Court), Simon MacCorkindale (Manimal, Falcon Crest), Kathleen Beller (Dynasty) and Joe Regalbuto (Murphy Brown).

So what does this film do right?
1-Richard Lynch was chosen as a bad guy so often because he’s good at it. This film is no exception.
2-The film does a decent job with a slim budget.
3-The fast pace keeps the interest going (and keeps you from seeing the holes in the film to some extent).
4-Overall the “throw everything in the pot” approach of this film works to the film’s favor.
5-I think it’s get better as it goes along or else I became numb to what was going on just went with it.

Where does this film fall short.
1-If I had seen this film before Matt Houston maybe I’d think more of Horsley as the hero. As it is I see him and think he just doesn’t fit or seem comfortable as a sword swinging shooting kind of guy.
2-Overall the fast pace helps but there are times where the film seems choppy like some explanation might have helped us understand a little more.
3-The sword gun is probably what most people know this film for. The first time it’s kind of alright, but the novelty wears off rather quickly.
4-Although I like Richard Moll as Xusia his character seemed uneven as he had all this power, but a mere dagger hurts him so badly early on.
5-Joe Regalbuto seemed even more out of place than Horsley in this film. He didn’t seem at all like he’d be some kind of warrior.

The movie falls into the good enough to be entertaining category and cheesy enough to laugh it as well. Worth seeing a time or two for sure. It has a following. At the end of the film it promised a sequel which never happened back then. Although decades later a so-called sequel did happen. I have not seen it, but have mostly heard it’s rotten.

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Upcoming junk and stuff

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What a week. Godzilla 2014 came out on DVD and then of course today is that nearly national holiday of Adam West’s birthday! So the regular baseball season is winding down while football is barely underway. I am a Cubs fan living in Orioles country so everyone here is excited for the home team. For the Cubs it’s been a season with some second half sparks, but they need to be far more consistent. However it has been a season with some real hope for once. For football my Broncos have the Super Bowl re-match this week against Seattle and Denver’s second half struggles so far have me thinking this game won’t end well. Actually the sport I spend the most time on during this season is soccer as in watching my kids play every Saturday in their games. Soccer is pretty huge for kids in my area and the parking lot at the local park is packed every Saturday with like six or seven games going at once from 9 AM to 4 pm. However back to the topics of this blog.
I stared hard at the box for the new Conan movie and just couldn’t motivate myself to watch it even for the sake of Conan week. So I have decided to skip it for now and concentrate on watching films to wrap up the final week of Sword and sandal September. Next week I’ll have reviews of Sword and the sorcerer plus 1-2 older films in the genre and maybe one other topic. After that we will get into October as I said that will be the Halloween Hootenanny here at my blog. The features for October will include Giant Monster Mondays. TV terror Tuesdays and Thursdays, First Fright Fridays and I have also decided to try and tackle Sleep Hollow Saturdays. I have already begun watching movies and shows for October. On next week’s Upcoming junk and stuff I’ll reveal my final picks for everything that I hope to review during the week. Hey, stick around for another week of sword clashing action and then we will roll on into October. For November I really don’t know what I’ll do yet although I am thinking about bringing Dr. Smith, Robin and Mecha G back for their regular features. I am also always open to any suggestions as well.

Take care!

Ten things I liked about Conan the Barbarian

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1982

No point in really doing a review because this is a great film and you have likely seen it over an over. If for some reason you have not then kick yourself in the backside for not having seen it yet and then go check it out as soon as possible. So I decided to go for a compact list of ten things I really like about this film in no real order.

1-The soundtrack is amazing. I’m not usually a huge fan of all soundtracks and tend to just tune them out many times. This one hits the whole time and really sets the mood.

2-James Earl Jones-To be honest he has frequently bored me in a number of other roles he’s been in, but here he is arrogant and ruthless. Just what his role called for.

3-The sets-Amazing sets throughout. So many of the fantasy films from the 80’s that followed tried scraping together money and using this film as a blueprint for their low budget versions of these sets.

4-The locations-The locations were such an important part of the Conan stories. The cultures were impacted greatly by their surrounding and the makers of this film got that and brought it to the film and these characters.

5-The fights-The fight choreography is strong indeed. This isn’t just people slapping swords around. The main heroes and villains definitely have unique fighting styles suited to their body shape and size.

6-The pacing-My brother once said he found this film to be very dull. I never got that because for me the pacing is definitely a strong point for the film. It may be slower at times than others in the genre but it’s always for a reason like showing Conan preparing for battle.

7-William Smith-I’ve let it be known here before that I am a huge William Smith fan and this film is no exception. Playing Conan’s daddy is a small but important part and Smith nails it.

8-Violence-Something the second film shied away from. This film really goes it and of course this is a large part of the Conan stories so it’s fitting that people get ripped apart.

9-The weapons-Along with the fights the weapons seem to fit the size, personality and background of the person. I don’t know what that says about smacking people with a giant hammer, but it was cool.

10-Arnold- He was just into his acting career at this point and a ways from being the top action star of the decade, yet he certainly showed that he could be the center of attention and handle the action in spectacular fashion.

 

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conan the barbarian 1982