Upcoming junk and stuff

sword and sandal sept

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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My history with Conan

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I credit my brother for introducing me to Conan via the comics back in the mid-late 1970’s. I was drawn in by the covers and wanted to look at them right away. Even though I was already a super hero fan the swords and monsters of Conan appealed to me as well. I didn’t see the first film until it was TV which was like 83 or 84. By that time I was a comic fanatic and well into the monthly title. I loved the first film and was let down by Conan the destroyer in 1984. It was around that time that I began reading the books-first Robert E. Howard’s works then the other titles by various authors. In the late 80’s I was frequenting a comic store that was clearing out a lot of older titles and I really cleaned up on Conan’s from the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s. That got me back into reading about him once again. I remained a fairly steady reader of the comics and the books up until around 94-95 and then I just got into other books. I still visit the films and comics fairly often and remain a fan. Even though I bought the newer film I have yet to watch, but have to since I plan on reviewing it this week.

There you go.

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So long, Denny Miller

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We just get over losing Richard Kiel and now get word that Denny Miller passed away on Tuesday at 80. The former UCLA basketball player was the first blond Tarzan. You have likely seen him in countless TV shows in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and he was Gorton fisherman for 15 years. His genre appearances include Wonder Woman, Battle Gallactica, The incredible Hulk,Buck Rogers and V. He was a big dude who could play a menacing muscle head or he had the timing and facial expressions to do comedy as well. One of those guys who seemed to show up in everything and make the best out of even the smallest part.

Top five favorite guys to have played Hercules in the movies

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1-Steve Reeves-Reeves had the look and the right presence to carry off playing the mighty Hercules son of Zeus. It’s a shame he didn’t have more monsters to fight.

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2-Nigel Green-Okay I may get fussed at for picking a non-bodybuilder who played the role for only a small portion of one film. However I thought that this British character actor was wonderful playing a slightly older Herc in Jason and the Argonauts.

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3-Reg Park-

He was a huge Hercules. I like he played it a bit laid back almost lazy at times before eventually taking action.

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4-Lou Ferrigno-Big Lou played Herc in two bad movies. However he sure looked the part. Even though he wasn’t given the greatest villains he certainly managed to look impressive while flexing his muscles.

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5-Peter Lupus-Far more known for his time on Mission Impossible than for playing Herc. I don’t approve of the smooth face look, but still had a solid approach to the role. Plus he looked convincing when he started flexing his back muscles.

Ten things I learned from Hercules Unchained

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Red hair and big eyebrows-look out!

 

1-So apparently you can tell an evil person by how large their eyebrows are. Bigger eyebrows means a real meanie.

2-In Ancient Greece men apparently shaved their armpits.

3-Also it looks like in Ancient Greece nobody was able to grow facial hair so they had to wear glued on beards and mustaches.

4-Having a strong dude fight fake tigers was the peak of entertainment.

5-Don’t trust people with red hair. They are up to no good.

6-Also particularly don’t trust anyone under sixty who is bald or has a receding hairline. This rule kind of goes for all Italian made sword and sandal films made between 1958 and 1964.

7-Arrows are just for decoration because anyone who has them never seems to use them. Although they may try to choke you with their bow.

8-If you are a bad ruler don’t go after Hercules at dinner time because he can use a banquet size table as a weapon to crush your guards.

9-If you ever fight an heir to the throne make sure you cut them in the shoulder just a little. Apparently that causes almost instant death as it did in not one but two heirs in this film.

10-If you drink from the waters of forgetfulness then you will surely…um…hmm.. what was I saying after I drank that water?

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I drank from the waters of forgetfulness and … wait who the heck are you?

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Rasslin’-ancient Greek via Italian sword and sandal style.

So long, Richard Kiel

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Unfortunately actor Richard Kiel has passed away at the age of 74. He was most known as the metal mouthed henchman Jaws in the James Bond films The spy who loved me and Moonraker. One of my earliest memories of him as the spy who played ghost trying to scare the castaways off of Gilligan’s Island. Another early memory was a small role he had in Disney’s Gus where he busts out of a tiny car and  gets ready to whack NFL hall of famer Dick Butkus. Kiel played numerous parts and showed up in everything from the Twilight Zone to Happy Gilmore. With his size he was of course difficult to miss but was just about always worth seeing no matter what part he had whether it was flesh eating alien, caveman or whatever. He was a charater actor who made the best of what roles he got and he will be missed.