Monster Squad-The Skull

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1976

Guests-Geoffrey Lewis as the Skull. Lewis is a veteran character actor with over 200 credits. He’s likely best known for the several films that he did with Clint Eastwood in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Frank is having his birthday party when the power goes out. Turns out the evil Skull along with his lab assistant Igor are trying to revive a chubby and kind of dirty mummy. They succeed but take out the power in the area. They go on a small scale reign of terror and the mummy knocks down a martial arts dude. Walt has to use bicycle power to run their crime computer during the power outage. The Monster Squad go in search of the source of the outage. Frank gets taken by the baddies. They strap him down and try to drain his power with their machine, but instead in just revs him up so he snaps his bonds. Drac and Bruce the werewolf show up and it’s a three on three monster fight. The Skull and his group are obviously outmatched so he takes off into the graveyard. Bruce gives chase and the Skull gets the jump on him, but Bruce wins in the end. The Monster Squad and Walt unwind the mummy to see what’s left and they find nothing. They are left to ponder what was inside those wraps? Roll the credits and play the Monster Squad theme bump-bump-bump-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bump-bump-bump.

The negatives-It’s silly as always with perhaps less of a plot than usual.

The positives-Geoffrey Lewis is one of my favorite character actors of all time so he is great in this. I liked the addition of a mummy and the whole monsters as villains part. The fight at the graveyard was cool too for a change as it’s usually just a battle inside the villain’s headquarters.

I’ll have one more episode review out tomorrow.

Monster Squad-Ultra Witch

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1976

Guests-

Julie Newmar as Ultra witch. You know Julie most as Catwoman on the 60’s Batman show. She was also very busy in TV in the 1960’s in shows like Star Trek, F-troop and many others.

Johnny Brown as Dandy Andy-He spent a few years on Laugh-in and you may know him as Bookman from Good Times.

Ultra Witch and her henchman Toil and Trouble have taken much of the world’s milk supply by drying up cows (not exactly sure how that was done). This has upset Walt and his monster friends because they like cookies. It has also hurt their friend Dandy Andy and his cookie business. The monsters see Toil when he gets cookies knowing something must up for a guy to get cookies when the milk supply is supposed to drained. Dracula follows him to the lair of Ultra Witch. She is nice to Dracula at first, but eventually Drac is onto Ultra Witch and her evil plotting ways. Frank and Bruce (the werewolf) show up, but Ultrawitch has  her Ronald Raygun (yes, really even before he was president) and uses it to turn the monsters into cardboard stand-ups. She then sends them to Dandy Andy where Walt recovers them, but he knows that he has to find a way to turn them back. Meanwhile Ultra Witch hatches another plot and starts turning all the world’s sodas into castor oil. Walt shows up to see Ultrawitch while pretending to be a reporter. He sort of has her fooled and when she leaves the room he brings the cardboard monsters and gets them turned back 3D and normal and all. Toil and Trouble try to defeat them with their magic brooms which look like regular brooms only with colored circles glues on. The monsters win-hurray-but then Ultra Witch tries to zap them with the Ronald Raygun! They use a mirror to reflect the ray and turn her to cardboard. Oh yeah, take that! Frank admits to drinking a soda that was castor oil and he feels icky and that’s about it so roll the credits.

The negatives-This isn’t any more silly than the rest of the episodes for whatever that’s worth.

The positives-Julie Newmar definitely makes this one of the best episodes. The plot is goofy, but she plays it off well and she and the monsters go with it. I enjoyed Johnny Brown too even though it was a small role. The Ronald Raygun weapon was funny just because of the name.

 

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This episode was originally shown the day before Halloween.

Next up I’m hoping to review the Skull episode tomorrow.

Monster squad (no, not that one-the other one)

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Back in the mid-70’s while I was eating whatever sugary breakfast cereal we had in the house I was watching all kind of stuff on Saturday morning. I  probably watched ever came on whether it was good or bad, but a few shows really drew me in. One such show was the Monster Squad. The 13 episodes were shown on NBC from September to December of 1976 and then re-shown through to September of 1977. Walt (Fred Grandy later of Love Boat) was a criminology student and night watchmen at a wax museum. He had a crime computer that he could use to bring wax figures of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the wolfman to life. The monsters would fight crime as week after week a new villain would pop up to cause trouble frequently a monster type villain like a mummy or a witch. The monster heroes had their own utility belts they wore and a black monster van that they used to travel to emergencies in. Stanley Ralph Ross who worked on the 60’s Batman, the Monkees and Wonder Woman had a hand in this show. It’s comparable to Batman only much more on the silly side. When I was a kid I took to monsters a superheroes right away.  The villains were over the top and the plots were frequently ridiculous. It came out on DVD some years ago and I bought it and was glad to see these episodes again. I remember in second grade we would have a Christmas party and everyone would buy a gift, wrap it and then you drew names to get one. I don’t remember what I bought, but I think it may have a pack of multiple Hot Wheels cars. Anyone like fours kids got the same Star Wars board game. I got a Monster Squad board game and was thrilled. One particularly worthless second grader said something like “haha, you got that game instead of Star Wars”. I was like “have you watched this show?” he stumbled and said no and then told him it was great and I would much rather have a Monster Squad game over Star Wars. Anyways I hope to get to reviewing three episodes of this show over the next few days. Hope you enjoy them.

 

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It came from the bargain bin-Angry red planet-Ten things I learned from this movie

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1959

Purchased at Ollies years ago for $4.99

1-White overalls are awesome attire for a space ship crew.

2-Spaceship computers have about a million lights, but only like five of them really matter.

3-It’s perfectly acceptable to smoke a pipe on the ship.

4-Stock footage of dull stuff is still dull the second or third time around.

5-Mars is red like red all over as if you are swimming in tomato soup.

6-Alien plants look like they are made fabric scraps.

7-The spider bat moves like a giant, cheap puppet (maybe because it is)

8-The heavy, goofy guy in your crew will always get killed first.

9-If you go to Mars you are liable to come back with your arm covered in an alien virus that looks like jello.

10-Even a jello like arm virus won’t keep a goofy crew member from saying cornball stuff to the one female crew member.

The negatives-It’s at times very slow. The acting ranges from okay to silly. There is more dorky dialog in this film then you can shake a stick at if you are in to that whole stick shaking scene.

The positives-It’s funny even though it doesn’t mean too. It’s worth a watch to laugh at. I like the spider bat creature, but not as much here I like it on the Misfits-Walk among us cover.

Was it worth $4.99? I have to say no because the laughability factor much of it is so hard to take that I wouldn’t watch that often. it may be worth more like $3.

 

Ten cool things that are green

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In no real order..

1-The incredible Hulk

2-The Grinch( the animated one of course)

3-The Green Arrow (not that teeny Arrow from the current show, but the real 70-80’s comic book Green Arrow)

4-The Teenage mutant ninja turtles (with the exception of that crappy movie from last year)

5-Frank N. Stine from the Monster Squad TV show (most of the other Frankenstein monsters I like were in black and white)

6-Frogger

7-The Green Hornet (every version except that horrible film with Seth Rogen)

8-Those aliens from the Toy story movies

9-Orion slave women

10-Godzilla

There you go. Feel free to add any green things that you like in the comments.

 

This week

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I was going to review an episode of the Incredible Hulk for St. Patty’s day. However I had only one hour last night between work and bed. Since I have been on a Starsky and Hutch kick lately I chose to watch them over the Hulk. Hold on to your Blarney stones, I will still have a post today likely about ten good things that are green. For the rest of this week I’m pretty sure that It came from the bargain bin will be “Angry red planet” and I am not sure what other film I’ll review but I’m thinking it will either be War in space or Captain Clegg.

Until I post that green list feel free to check out past reviews of Leprecaun 3 and 4 while you wait.

https://scifihorrorfantasy.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/leprechaun-3/

https://scifihorrorfantasy.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/leprechaun-4-in-space/

 

Wolfcop

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2014

In the small of Woodhaven (Canada) there’s this cop Lou Garou (save the groaning for later) and he’s a pretty sorry excuse for a police dude as he goes to work late, drinks a lot, vomits (how lovely) and pretty much just drags his sorry self around at half speed. The town is messed up too with crime, corruption and other such nastiness. We get to witness more evidence of Lou being almost worthless at his job and he has some kind of relationship with the bar owner Jess. One night Lou goes out on a call to the woods and some oddness happens and he gets knocked out. He wakes up at his place and soon realizes his facial grows back really fast, his senses are more acute and oh yeah he has a big bloody pentagram carved on his chest. He has to rush back out to the woods to where the dead body of a the guy who was running for mayor has been found. This guy seemed straight and had vowed clean up the town if he won over the old mayor, but it appears like he was a junkie and overdosed. Lou continues to be overwhelmed by his new powers. One night while at Jess’ bar he gets attacked by robbers, but he gets all hairy and rips some of them apart. One of these guys runs back to his boss who was definitely targeting Lou. Lou eventually falls in with local loon Willie who coaches his wolfishness out and rides around in the newly modeled wolfmobile stopping crime. Meanwhile the writers realized they need a little more plot involving something that happened years ago. Something funny happened to Lou’s dad (also a cop) and Lou’s co-worker Tina lost her dad (who used to own the bar that Jess now owns). Lou’s fuzzy alter ego continues to kill baddies, but when Willie calls in to someone else behind Lou’s hairy back we know that something is up and that Lou is being set-up. Tina is beginning to think that Jess is on some plot and likely so are others in the town. So the town has crime, murder and plots to do more badness-guess I won’t be moving there anytime soon. Eventually this all leads to everyone ending up out in the woods for the final showdown. There’s rednecks, shooting, blood, shape shifters and an attempt to tie everything up and finish this beast off. Let’s just say Tina is pretty much the only one in town who wasn’t against Lou and they survive. They ride off in the wolfmobile and we get the promise or threat of a sequel. Roll the credits ahhwhooooo!

The bad-The film has a lot of humor and from the title we knew that it would. The problem is that the humor is often limited. Yeah, he’s a cop and a werewolf, but that part wears thin sooner than I wish it had. The acting isn’t the best by a long shot.

The good-If you like violence there’s plenty of that in both blood and flesh ripping as well as shootings a plenty. I thought the effects and make-up were all quite decent  given the obviously limited budget. I definitely liked the wolfmobile. The outside settings were very good, the shot of the three cloaked figures going across the field was particularly memorable.

The makers of this film are obviously fans  of both 80’s werewolf films like An American werewolf in London, The Howling, Silver Bullet and even Teen Wolf as well as 80’s shoot ‘em action films. They try to combine the two genres. Overall it’s a decent but flawed film. I really wanted  to love it, but felt like just over halfway through it had done most of what it was going to do. Despite being a horror comedy we still should have been given some reason for us to like Lou and I never felt that connection. If you like werewolves and mindless action flicks then give it a try.

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80’s arcade games- Tapper and Root Beer Tapper

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1983 Tapper 1984 Root Beer Tapper

One of the coolest things about video games is that they allow you to do exciting things you couldn’t do or wouldn’t get to do in the real world. Games like Galaxian allow you fight aliens while Turbo allows you to drive a car and Tapper/Root Beer Tapper allow you to serve drinks to mean customers. Oh, wait that last one doesn’t seem to be a dream job, but it still manages to be an entertaining gain. You take on the role of bartender in the first game or soda jerk in the second. You are at the tap end of the bar and patrons appear at the other end. When they don’t have a drink you fill up a mug and toss it to them then move on to the next thirsty patron. They advance when they don’t get a drink so you hurry to get them one. If they get to you before you get them a drink they throw you down the bar and you lose a life. It sounds simple and in theory it is, but of course the patrons go faster and the levels get harder as you go along. The first game Tapper had a Budweiser logo and you were serving beer. There was concern that this was promoting serving alcohol to minors so a year later the modified version Root Beer Tapper came out. I played Root Beer Tapper back in the day and liked it. I recently played it again and still found it oddly addicting despite the somewhat non-adventurous premise. When the game was adapted for home systems in the 1980’s they used Mountain Dew logo on the wall, but kept the rest of the graphics of Root Beer Tapper. The bartender from this game can be seen in the movie Wreck it Ralph.

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