Saturday, yeah this Saturday or when cool worlds collide

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I have been waiting for this Saturday since like fall. I have been taking my kids to Free comic book day for several years, but this year Star Wars day and free comic book day hit on the very same. Of course Free comic book day is the first Saturday in May and Star Wars day is May 4th (May the 4th be with you) so bam they hit on the same day this year. I admit that I don’t buy comics during the year except for at this event because….

a)I’m cheap

b)comics are expensive

c) I bought way too many comics between 1976 and 1993

d)I can check a lot of comics/graphic novels out at the library for free

However Free comic book day is fun and I try to support a store and take advantage of not just the free stuff but the deals as well. There is a comic book store 15 minutes from me but we always go to the one that is 35 minutes away because…

a)better comic sales-uh twenty-five and fifty cent comics and not crap either

b)better parking

c)friendlier staff

d)dude, they always have stormtroopers there on Free comic book day

e)it’s close to a great walking trail so we are going there after the comic store

Actually they have more planned than normal this year. Here take a look….

http://jmcomicsandgames.com/

If you like comics and/or Star Wars and need something to do on Saturday check out what your local comic book store is doing and if you can stop by and support them.

I’ll step down off my nerd soapbox now. Carry on.

Movie within a movie

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No, I am not just speaking in riddles. I am thinking about movies with parts of fake movies in them. I am only thinking of sci-fi, horror and barbarian type films. This is in no way meant to a comprehensive list, but just ones that came to mind. Galaxy Quest of course is a show within a movie, but I was just thinking of a movie within a movie.

Scream- The Stab movies is a set of slashers films that get worse as the series goes along, oh the irony.

Amazon women on the moon- A total spoof film full of spoof skits. The title film is a wrap around story that spoofs 50’s woman on other planet films like Missile to the moon. Also in the film is Ed Begley Jr.  is not going invisible in a short spoof of the Invisible Man cycle in the Son of the Invisible Man.

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The Monster club-The Stuart Whitman segment shows a very small part being filmed of a Hammer type film of a woman in a dark house.

The House that dripped blood-In the vampire segment of this anthology Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt are in a Hammer style vampire in the castle type film in a few scenes.

Bowfinger-Chubby Rain is the no budget film that Steve Martin is trying to make. He is trying to film Eddie Murphy’s character (without Murphy’s knowledge) to include in the film. The movie in the movie is an action/sci-fi film about alien’s taking over people after coming down in rain drops which makes me think of the 70’s version of Invasion of the body snatchers.

UHF-Conan the librarian-The title says it all- Conan is working at the library. “Don’t you know the Dewey Decimal system?”. Thanks, Weird Al.

Fright Night-Peter Vincent is seen in his horror film prime as a big screen vampire hunter. We see scenes of McDowall in a fake early 70’s film, but we also see scenes from Hammer’s Scars of Dracula and AIP’s The Premature Burial mixed in.

The Explorers-While in their ship these teenage boys cruise over by the drive-in to check out a 70’s looking space opera featuring Starkiller with Robert Picardo (yay) and Karen Mayo Chandler.

Matinee-John Goodman plays a William Castle type director Lawrence Woolsey in the early 60’s and his latest film is Mant (Man Ant) which pulls upon The Fly, The Deadly Mantis, The beginning of the end and other 50’s films. This is one of the best because the film with in a film has Kathy Moriarty acting with genre veterans Robert Cornthwaite (War of the worlds, the Twilight Zone), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the body snatchers, The Twilight Zone) and William Schallert (The incredible shrinking man, Them!, Gog, Tobor the great, Star Trek, Space Patrol, The Twilight Zone (60’s and 80’s series plus the movie) and almost everything else.

The Blob (1988)-The blob comes into the  theater where people are watching “Garden Tool Massacre” a play on 80’s slasher flicks.

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Diary of a a wimpy kid: Rodrick Rules-Greg and Rowley sneak and watch a movie called The foot. It’s meant to look like an early 70’s film about a couple staying in an old house where a foot is going around the house scaring them.

Apparently the 80’s slasher Popcorn has some 50’s style film within  a film bits, but I have not seen that movie.

Son of Frankenstein

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1939

Who’s in this?

Boris Karloff as the monster. This was his third and last go around as the monster for Universal. Playing the monster was the role that launched a long career in horror film whether Boris like it or not. You know him for playing this monster, the mummy in the first of Universal’s Mummy films, he of course voiced the Grinch and was tons of other stuff for decades.

Bela Lugosi as Ygor the crazy old dude who survived being hanged, but has a big chip on his shoulder over it. Lugosi is best known for having played Dracula in the 1931 version of the film. He also did tons of other mostly horror films including some great ones like the Black Cat and White Zombie, but unfortunately a bunch of crap too including his brief ties with Ed Wood in the 50’s. Lugosi starred in a lot of films, but he gave some fine supporting roles too like in this film and the Island of lost souls.

Basil Rathbone as Baron Wolf Von Frankenstein son of Henry who originally made the monster. He returns to the family home with his wife and son. Rathbone is likely best known for having played Sherlock Holmes in a series of movies in 30’s and 40’s. He was in quite a few other movies frequently playing a stuffy or arrogant villain. Rathbone had a great voice and a really cool nose too, he could use his nose to it’s best ability.

Lionel Atwill as police inspector Krogh who has a wooden arm due to the monster having ripped his arm out years ago. Atwill acted for decades and was in quite a few monster and detective films in the 30’s and 40’s. He frequently played policeman,  doctors and mad scientists. My favorites roles he did were this one and playing  Moriarty to Rathbone’s Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon.

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Uh, I meant that you were a monster in the good sense of the word.

 

What’s this about?

Wolf Frankenstein decides to return to his family home and take his family with him. He figures since time has elapsed the people of the village will be forgiving about what happened with his dad and the big square headed monster-he’s wrong.  The townspeople don’t like that he’s coming back as they would love to forget about anyone named Frankenstein and they don’t like that old broken neck Ygor who hangs around the old castler either-what a kook. The Frankenstein family move into the old castle which is now a rather empty and everything seems to have been built at odd angles. Eventually Wolf meets Ygor and learns that the monster is still around. Wolf decides to revive it you know to prove his father was really doing something noble and to clear the family name. Yeah, good look with that. The monster is revived but only responds to nutjob Ygor whose goals seem to revenge and village domination. Eventually Wolf stops Ygor, but he and Krogh have to go after the monster who has taken Wolf’s son Peter. We are left to think that Wolf destroys the monster, but hey this film made money so we know old Frankie will be back again. Roll the credits.

The negatives? Fans of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein will see that film spoofs several parts of this film and it’s funny, but those parts work in this film. Karloff is given less to do or say and some fans of the series feels this robbed the character of some of the sympathy that was important to the character in the previous two films. Rowland V. Lee took over as director of this one and you can notice the sets and style are different from what James Whale did in the previous films. I like what Lee, but not everyone will.

The positives? There had been a brief dip in Universal Horrors for a few years before this one, but this film got the series back in style and launched even more films for almost another decade. The cast is one of if not the best in the Universal Frankenstein film. Lugosi and Atwill almost steal the show from Karloff in their supporting roles. Lugosi with those crazy eyes as Ygor and Atwill sticking darts in his wooden arm add to the oddness and greatness of their respective characters. The sets are also top notch for the time. Really a great film that doesn’t always get the respect that it deserves.

That’s going to wrap up Frankenstien week. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Who’s a good monster, who’s a good monster? Yes, you are.

Saturday morning flashback-Star Trek

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“Change the channel, Spock. There’s nothing good on here.”

 

Star Trek-Beyond the farthest star

1973

Four years after Star  Trek ended it’s original run it was brought back to the small screen on NBC only this time in animated form and on Saturday mornins. The cartoon included all the original crew members voicing themselves except Walter Koenig’s Chekov was eliminated with the reason being there was too many characters. Yet two new semi-regular crewmembers were added in the forms of Lt. Arex with his many arms and the feline Lt. M’ress. James Doohan (Scotty) and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) in addition to performing their regular characters did a ton of the voices for other characters which I’m sure saved money, but it limited the cartoon too. Anyways lets get at this first episode.

The Enterprise runs into an alien space ship that looks like a bunch of rotten eggs connected by string. Said ship is orbiting a dead planet even though McCoy didn’t proclaim it was dead, Jim. A landing party beams over to the ship and finds a tape that says the ship’s commander blew up the ship to avoid some unknown worse fate, what a drama queen that commander must have been. Kirk and party beam on back unknowingly taking an alien presence with them in the form of a green glowing blob. It didn’t just come over to say howdy either, it wants to take over the ship and then the galaxy wahahaahaha! So said evil starts taking over the ship’s systems and shutting down life supports. Thank goodness on the animated Trek they have these handydandy life support belts. Kirk, Spock and the crew struggle to gain control of the ship and fail so Kirk runs the ship right at the dead planet. Fearing a big old crash the alien flees the ship like a gigantic chicken and goes to the dried out planet where it cries like a big baby wahwahwah. The Enterprise leaves on it’s merry way, take that alien jerk! Role the animated credits.

The negatives-The plot pulls on parts of the original series  episodes Obsession and the Immunity Syndrome so not the most original episode. The ending happened very quickly.

The positives-The alien ship and planet look decent enough. Scotty gets more to do than on some original series episodes. Lt. Kyle is in it (except he’s voiced by James Doohan). Overall a decent enough episode with a quick pace and well enough attempts at showing the inside of an alien ship.

Animated oddities to look for- In all these episodes you’ll see the money saving trick of let’s just animate the head or mouth and leave the rest of the body still. There’s a scanning shot of the bridge with no Uhura at her post and crewmen in blue past Spock’s station, a few seconds later Uhura is back and the crewmen in blue are gone. Also look for magic rank stripes changing on crewmen’s sleeves. Scotty goes from Lt. Commander to Captain and then back again more than once. McCoy’s stripes show him incorrectly as a Commander and then switch back to the proper Lt. Commander.

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Recent Aquisitions

I broke down in recent weeks and bought a few DVDs that were cheaper and I have trouible passing up a bargain. So in recent week I picked up the Hammer feature film set with Dracula-Prince of darkness, The Legend of the seven golden vampires and Frankenstein created woman. This was recently released by Millenium entertainment as a three on one set for less than ten bucks. Anchor Bay put them out years ago, but Prince of darkness was the only one I got on DVD before they went out of print. I also picked up the Pure Terror 50 film set at Wal-mart for under nine bucks. It’s filled with lots of low budget older horror films including plenty from other countries. The last one I got was the double feature disc with Village of the damned and the sequel Children of the damned for $5 at Big Lots. I have seen the first film several times, but all on tv and I have never seen the second film.

So expect some of these to get reviewed in upcoming months.

Top five Frankenstein creations

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1-Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and the Son of Frankenstein. Karloff nailed it right away with both the look and movements and his performaces still hold up even today.

2-Freddie Jones in Frankenstein must be destroyed. Jones has a different brain in his body but isn’t the typical creature that the Doctor/Baron normally makes. He plays it all the emotions the situation calls for and then some.

3-Christopher Lee in the Curse of Frankenstein. The ideas in this Hammer film are similar to what Universal did a couple of decades earlier. However Lee adds his touches to really make it a differen version.

4-Tom Noonan in the Monster Squad. Another version of the monster as showing kindness which goes against the other monsters in this film being well monsters.

5-Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein. Yeah it’s a spoof but since I didn’t put “in horror film” in my title this pick is fair game. The script was great and the other performances in this film were on, but if the monster wasn’t perfect it wouldn’t have been the comedy classic that it is.

There you go.

Upcoming stuff and junk

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Okay, Frankenstein week is still going on as I’ll have a list out today and another Frankie related review on Friday to wrap it up. Beyond that I will strive to put up a Saturday morning Flashback the following day. For next week I hope to have these out…

Reviews of…

The Mighty Peking Man

The Oval Portait

plus…

Movies with movies (fake movies in movies)

Dr. Smith’s insult of the week

and maybe even Zardoz will stop by to share a memory or a joke.

Frankenstein created woman

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1967

Who’s in this?

Peter Cushing in his forth time as the Baron in Hammer’s Frankenstein cycle. Cushing was a horror legend most known for horror films he was in between the late 50’s and the 1970’s.

Thorley Walters as Doctor Hertz. Walters was a character acotor who was in several other Hammer horror films, some comedies and played Watson to Sherlock Holmes in four unrelated films.

Susan Denberg as Christina the deformed girlfriend of Hans soon to be revived, good looking and containing the soul of Hans (?!). Denberg was a Playboy playmate in 1966 and had a few roles including this one and playing one of Mudd’s Women in Star Trek. What became of her after this film has been a bit of an oddity. For years there were rumors she got into drugs and either died in the late 60’s or was left a mental vegetable. However more recently it has come out that she is still alive, now in her late 60’s and living in Austria.

Robert Morris as Hans the sone of an executed murderer, employee of the Baron and Doctor Hertz and boyfriend of Christina. Morris was various roles from the 50’s when he was a teenager up until the early 1990’s.

Out of the rest of the cast the top person who should be mentioned is Peter Madden as the mean and sour chief of police. Madden was in tons of stuff including Doctor Zhivago, Kiss of the vampire and From Russia with love.

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Here, smell this- I just rubbed it on my pits

What’s this about?
So after some go around Doctor Hertz and Hans bring someone out of an ice chamber and it is tada the one and only Baron Frankenstein. This experiment somehow proved to the Baron that the soul does not leave the body at the time of death. Ah that wacky Baron bending the laws of science. Hans ends up getting in a fight with three snooty dudes who are mean to Hans’ girlfriend Christina. Hans beats the poopoo out of them, but wrecks the tavern owned by Christina’s daddy who is not a fan of Hans to begin with. Later the three snooty douchebags return after hours to the tavern to steal booze, but the owner comes in and they kill ’em good with their fancy walking sticks whakka wwakka whack whack. Poor innocent Hans is charged and gets his head chopped off. In dismay Christina jumps in the river and drowns. At the Baron’s urging Hertz arranges to get the body and head of Hans so they can do more soul experiments. However the people that found Christina bring her dead body to the Baron as well, wow like a two for one stiff sale. What is a mad scientist to do? Well, let’s take the soul of the headless guy and slap it into the drowned girl, fix some things up and suddenly she is all pretty and blond now. The Baron’s hands were burned in the previous film so he wears gloves and has to have Hertz do the surgery work. Everything is going to be fine with Christina er maybe not. Christina now has Hans memories and he wants revenge on those guys who set him up to have his head whacked off. So eventually Christina’s uses her looks to lure in the three guys who have it coming and one by one chop, stab, errrr take that you bunch of slicksters. Christina has also taken to talking to the decapitated head of Hans at times, but it’s okay because she imagines that it talks back. The Baron and Hertz are at one point accused by the police of being involved in foul deeds, but they say hey it wasn’t us it was the dead girl who came back to life and now has the soul of her falsely accused, previously decapitated lover in her and she’s the one ripping guys to shreds. Uh that may not stand up in court. Anyways when the Baron tries to stop Christina from killing the third guy and fails she flees and throws herself into water…again and roll the credits.

The negatives-The ending always had me thinking it was far too abrupt. Okay, the revenge is complete…time to die in peace or something. It’s not bad, but it never really satisfied me and this is a good enough movie that it deserved better. I used to think the whole soul switching concept was hokey and it is but they play it off alright.

The positives- Cushing gives another grand go around as the Baron. Thorley Walters is better than usual and works well Cushing. Susan Denberg is dubbed, but her reactions are good enough to show she had some real potential. The pace is well done and fans wanting to see some murders will get a few in this film. I rank this forth out of the seven Hammer Frankenstein films behind the Frankenstein must be destroyed and the first two and that’s not bad because they are all very good.

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I have a surprise for you.