2444761-blog_skeletor_throne_06av

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste, I’ve been around for a long, long year…oh just kidding it’s me Skeletor, here to debut my new column. This month’s animated villain (s) of the month are….

 

Gargamel_and_Azrael_from_the_Smurfs

Gargamel and Azrael from the Smurfs. Gargamel is the one with less hair. He fancied himself a wizard of sorts. He normally botched things up with his lack of magical knowledge. However he did stay true to being evil and always tried coming up with plots to catch or overpower those sickening blue, little creatures. His cat Azrael failed a lot too however he also stayed nasty so I have to admire that. Just look at them- pure meanness and those goes a long way in my book. So next time you watch the Smurfs maybe cheer on these guys for once. Until next time…this is Skeletor saying stay evil.

8o’s arcade games-Wizard of wor

wizard_of_wor_02 th ci-120516203543-960

1981

Oh, yeah. Who says all maze games have to be about cute little dot grabbing critters? This early 80’s game combined a maze and fantasy elements as well as being a shooter. You have a gun toting guy and try to kill monsters that get faster with each level and some can even turn invisible. It can be played as  one or two player game. If you play as one player the other worrior guy still goes after the monsters as well. It works a lot better when you can play it with a friend because those monsters get fast when they are in there for a long time and it’s to get them when you got three coming it you changing visibility as they go along. I used to play this with a friend at our favorite arcade back around 82-83. The wizard taunts you in his electronic voice as you go along. Today the graphics look very basic and the sound effects are just okay, but it’s still fun and a real challenge. The speed of the game , the open areas and the amount of monsters makes this a tough game. It’s also showed up on collection for newer systems in recent years. I would have loved to have seen a B film adaption of this game as a sort of space age sorcery type blend.

621746011

Disney sci-fi/fantasy movie posters

When we think of Disney films we likely think of cartoons. However over the years they have knocked some some sci-fi and fantasy films with you know actual real people in them. Some of those types of films have been quite good. A number of the ones that are just average normally had some good visuals in them too because Disney of course has money to put behind their movies. Here is just a selection of posters for some of those films.

blackhole 220px-CatFromOuterSpace

936full-something-wicked-this-way-comes-poster 1994584-rocketeer_poster dsposter island2 JCOM_B1_POSTER_PAYOFF_2 MPW-33798 tumblr_lqhm4zLvJj1qdhvyro1_400return-from-witch-mountain-movie-poster-1978-1020243308a57d14f4f18e7eb542b6561c3267a261

Christmas special week: He-man & She-ra – A Christmas special

HeManSheRaChristmasSpcl_ClassicMedia

1985

Nothing says Christmas like squeaky voiced royals turning into fantasy heroes and helping a couple of kids around Christmas time. Okay, not your typical Christmas special. He-Man and She-ra try to help a couple of kids get back home while fighting against the Hordac, Skeletor and other baddies who can’t seem to do much of anything right. Orko tries his best to mess everything up by accident and provide comedy relief for all wahahahaha … oh wait he’s not that funny. Of course all the good characters work together as they try to battle evil and learn about this strange thing called Christmas from two human children. She-ra gets some help from a mermaid at some point, what a helpful fishy. Hordac and Skeletor can’t work together. So they are actually competing against each other to see who can nab those human children as they are both trying to win the favor of their boss Horde Prime. Ah a battle between two villains who constantly fail and can’t even to stand upright for long-what an event. He-man and She-ra toss aside some giant yet incompetent robots that look like leftovers from some cartoon made oh about two decades before this one. Skeletor gets the kids and goes to take them to his boss. The kids and an alien puppy begin to melt Skeletor’s heart or whatever it is that lurks beneath his blue and purple suit. Aw, it’s like the Grinch only with a skull face. Hordac shows up and he has no soft spot except for the one between his ears. He knocks Skeletor down and slows He-man and She-ra down enough for Horde Prime to show up and grab the kids in a meanie spaceship. Skeletor wakes up and blasts the ship enough for the kids to get to safety. What? A baddie being nice for once? What’s up with this Christmas thing? Skeletor doesn’t know either. The kids get to go to a party where Adam/He-man pretends to be Santa *spoiler alert* …oh wait I think I got those backwards. Anyways the kids are given gifts of these belts that make them fly and they go home and freak out their parents with them. Meanwhile Adam/He-man, Adora/She-ra and their friends quickly adapt to this Christmas thing. Roll the credits.

he-man-she-ra-xmas-2-431x30

I never watched this when it was first on because I was little old for as I was like 12-13 when it started. My son started watching it a couple of years when he was 5 so I get to see it now. It’s hard to take in some ways, the voices can rip your nerves apart and the action is nothing great. However it is fantasy of some sort so it has that going for it and I always like how Skeletor looked. I got this DVD for $1.50 at Big Lots so I guess it was worth that.

Xmas-Skel-300x227

Conan the destroyer

tumblr_lmhp3w97ab1qkcj94o1_1280

Hey, weren’t you mean to Superman?

1984

Who’s in this?

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the shag haired, sword swinging not as barbaric in this film adventurer type. You know Arnold for all his action films both good and bad. He was of course very early in his acting career when he did this film.

Grace Jones as Zula a warrior woman who uses a staff. A singer and actress perhaps best known for her role the following year in the Bond film View to a kill.

Wilt Chamberlain as Bombaata a bodyguard, but he’s suspicious acting too. He was a famous NBA player. Afterwards he did some coaching and had a just a few acting credits.

Tracey Walter as Malik a scruffy thief which isn’t far off most other characters that Tracey has played over the years. He is a veteran character actor who plays scruffy types likely most known as Bob the goon in the 1989 Batman.

Olivia d’Abo as Princess Jehnna well a young princess of course. She is perhaps best known as Kevin’s sister on the Wonder Years.

There are others and really too many to be honest. Other notable people in this film are Sarah Douglas (Superman 2) as a baddie, long time veteran actor/teacher and unfortunately blacklist victim Jeff Corey and Arnold’s long time friend Sven-Ole Thorsen.

What’s this about?

There’s a quest for Conan, he has to babysit a teenage princess and along the ways he picks up all kinds of hanger ons and freaks. He fights monsters, magic, warriors and eventually a big nasty beastie before beating the baddies and saving the day. Yes, there is more to it than that, but really that’s most of it.

The negatives-The story had some merit and I probably like this more than other people. However the worst part is compared to the first film, the comics and the stories this feels like a watered down, very mild version of Conan. It has battles, monsters and magic yet there is always a filter where all these parts are dumbed down or not as violent or blunt as they should. It’s Conan with no edge. Add into that some very unnecessary tag alongs characters and it gets messier. The Malik character and the princess both seem be in the wrong time period as Malik seem very early 20th century or maybe the old west while the princess acts like an 80’s high school girl. There are real chances for this film to be something, but they seemed dedicated to trying to make a Conan for a wider and younger audience.

The positives-The settings are fantastic, some of the best in any fantasy film. The sets and costumes are mostly good as well. The very beginning part with stuff about high adventure is good even if the film doesn’t live up to that promise.  Arnold tries and some of the supporting people do what they can, but the script just didn’t have enough action, intensity or real meat to it. The first Conan films is one of the best of it’s genre. This film is better than some of the other sword and sorcery type movies of it’s decade and overall it’s average or just above yet it’s far below what it could and should have been.

conan-the-destroyer_1984-1-1920x1080_scroller

Take me to prom, Conan!

The Magic Sword

the-magic-sword-4 

1962

Directed by Bert I. Gordon (oh, dear) maker of crap with lots of big people and big monsters. Actually he made one B film I really kind of like, I won’t spoil the surprise but I’ll review it here at some point.

Gary Lockwood as Sir George the lovesick not so spectacular knight (?) on a quest of some sorts. Best known as Gary Mitchell in the “Where no man has gone before” episode of Star  Trek and as Frank Poole in 2001: A space odyssey.

Basil Rathbone as Lodac an evil wizard who appears to be wearing hand me downs from a gypsy woman. You of course no know best from the great series of Sherlock Holmes film playing the best detective of all time.

Estelle Winwood as Sybil who raises George and on occasion does some magic while a comedy soundtrack plays on. You have no doubt seen her tons of stuff from the Batman TV series to Mel Brooks the Producers. She acted regularly for 45 years and lived to be 101.

Anne Helm as Princess Helene a princess who gets captured by evil guys and then….well that’s of what she does. She acted fairly regularly in TV from the late 50’s up until about 1980.

Liam Sullivan as Sir Branton a brave poof haired knight who talks a good game but like most everything else in this film bored the crap out of me. Sullivan was a character actor who was in tons of show including the Twilight Zone, Dallas, Magnum P.I. and tons more.

imagesCASOX5ZL

I could pretend to slay a really lame dragon with this baby.

 

What’s this about? The less you know the better, but I guess you want to know. The princess Helene is taken by Lodac and everyone is upset. Poor George gets Sybil to give him powerful weapons and six not real knights to help him on his quest to get the princess. He’s supposed to face seven curses and I lost track along the ways as the real curse was trying make it through this film. George and his knights are joined by Sir Branton who puffs his chest out a lot and has a streaky star design of some sorts on said chest-oh, shiny. Branton *spoiler* is actually a heel (gasp) and he’s in legue  with Lodac (the fiend) so he’s trying sabotage the knights. George and his group of ethnic armor played associates take on a rubber masked giant/ogre/ cheap werewolf looking thingie who crowls a lot. They also run into a she-beast who changes from beauty to rubber faced crone. Oh and there is a pit of bubbling water-oh the horror! Aw yeah and there are some crazed leper/zombie looking gentleman who stumble around attempting to look scary. So apparently curses come in the economy version too. So George knights get picked off on the way to the castle, but George is a such a brave soul he will go after the princess on his own. Lodac is ready for him as he goons including hawk nose goons, lumpy faced goons and my favorite the coneheads-way ahead of Saturday Night Live. George and Helene are in for it now-oh whatever shall they do. Lodac gets his powerful ring from Branton and as evil does he turns on Branton and puts his head on the wall. Not in a cool chop your head off and mount kind of way but rather in a limp flick of the wrist and poof there’s his mug on the wall kind of deal. Anyways all this hemming and hawing gives Sybil a chance to get there to help. Then George has to fight the most immobile dragon ever. George wins (boo) and in all that commotion or dry filler Sybil gets the ring from the hook nosed baddie. She promptly turns herself into a huge cat and mauls Lodac.Good has triumphed well good as it is here not good in movie form since there is very little good here. George and Helene return and marry plus thegood knights that were killed are unexplicably back and unharmed. Whatever-roll the credits.

The negatives-Jason and the Argonauts was a great film because it had a fantastic hero, a cruel villain, a strong plot, plenty of action and great special effects. The Magic Sword tries to be the same kind of film, but other than the cruel villain they have none of the above. My seven year old summed this movie up when he said “it’s like the knights ride around and fight a bunch of nothing, it was really boring”.

The positives-It’s a very colorful movie with some alright sets. Plus we get Basil Rathbone. A past his prime Rathbone who looks ashamed to be in this film, but still it’s Rathbone and he tries here, he really does.

There you go.

imagesCAWHY0W3

Two heads are better than one in this film.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

7th%20Sinbad%20Poster

Columbia

1958

Directed by Nathan Juran

Produced by Charles H.Schneer and Ray Harryhausen

Written by Kenneth Kolb

Who’s in this?

Kerwin Matthews as the baby faced adventurer/sailor Sinbad.

Torin Thatcher as Sokurah the magician, he has to be evil because he has sinister eyebrows and he’s bald.

Kathryn Grant as Princess Parisa who is also engaged to Sinbad.

Richard Eyer as the child genie Barani, he must be western genie because he’s very pale or maybe that’s what spending all those years in the bottle will do.

Alec Mango as Caliph of Bagdad, he is the ruler of Sinbad’s home city and looks at Sinbad as a son.

Harold Kasket as the Sultan, arrogant windbag, all around sourpuss and daddy of the princess.

Alfred Brown as Sinbad’s loyal right hand man Harufa.

Nana De Herrera as Sadi, assistant and watchdog of the Princess.

7voys_stl_1_h

What’s it about?

This was the first of three Sinbad films that Harryhausen and Charles Schneer would create. Sinbad is on his ship and headed back to Bagdad so he can wed his bride to be who is also on board. They stop at  the  island of Colossa which turns out to be the land of caved stone faces and bald magicians carrying magic lamps while fleeing a fuzzy legged cyclops. Sinbad and his men try to help the magician and eventually they get back to the ship, but baldie is upset because he left his magic lamp behind and the cyclops picked it up like a shiny penny. They head back to Bagdad with Sokurah aboard. The magician tries to get them to go back because he wants that neato lamp. Sinbad and the princess say no way, Jose. They are set to get married and the marriage will bring a bond between their two nations. Once back at Bagdad Sokurah begins plotting on how to return to Colossa. He offers to do entertainment for the night which involves turning Sadi into a wild snake woman. Which is all fun and games until her tail tries and nearly does strangle her. Then Sokurah is asked to tell the future and being a shifty never do well he says the marriage between Sinbad and the princess will end in horror. Sinbad wisely socks him and the Caliph says something like get your rotten tail out out of my city, you sidewindin’ bald phony or you’ll have your nasty fish eyes burnt out of your worthless skull. Sokurah leaves, but he’s a bold jerk this one and he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve so he shrinks the princess. Sinbad begs him to help, the snake says he can help but needs to get back to Colossa to get ingredients for his potion. To combat the Cyclops Sokurah has designed plans for gigantic crossbow. Sinbad can’t get a good crew because everyone has heard of the Cyclops and doesn’t want to come near his fuzzy legs. So Sinbad has to get a crew of criminals who choose facing the Cyclops over getting hanged by the neck, what great choices. So off they go and of course the criminals amongst the crew mutiny and take over because there are more of them, oh those dastardly fellows. Sinbad also brought the tiny princes with him so he could keep her safe. It’s not that easy out on the seas. Some screamin’ beasties wail and cause the criminal crew headaches as the beasties try to drive the crew out of control so they’ll smash their ship. Sinbad and his few loyal followers plug up their ears, take control of the ship and get to their destination. The wizard of course wants to split up so he takes a group and Sinbad leads the other. Poor Sinbad is unlucky though as he has run-ins with a Cyclops and the big and litte Rocs. During this time the princess learns that the little boy genie in the bottle doesn’t really want to be a genie and she vows to help him if she can. During this time everyone learns that Sokurah is a snake in the grass because he leaves Sinbad for dead twice and kills Harufa. Eventually Sinbad gets back on track and makes it to Sokurah’s lab to pin him down about making the princess full size. He does, but then makes a fighting mad skeleton pop up too. Oh krickey he’s a plucky bag of bones, but Sinbad does a bit of fancy sword work and wins out. Sinbad and the princes flee with the Genie in a lamp, Sinbad throws the lamp away thinking he is releasing the genie but not knowing for sure if he is or not. Sokurah sicks his pet dragon on the heroes. You just knew those super mean reclusive types would have a pet like that. The dragon runs into one of them nasty Cyclops fellows, but wins so on after the good guy. Now what was that weapon Sinbad had made just for giant monsters? Oh, yeah a gigantic crossbow so thwack! Dragons goes down, Sokura gets squished like a rotten tomato and it’s time for the heroes to leave this nutty island. Sinbad, the princes and survivors leave. The former genie appears as a normal boy ready to serve as Sinbad’s cabin boy plus he brought the Cyclops’ treasue with him. Cue the fantastic Bernard Herrmann score and roll the credits.

What monsters (Harryhausen creations) are in this?

Cyclops-Big, growling and awesome. He’s the most impressive feature in this film.

Roc-babies and the mommy-We see the babies at first and they are decent figures, but the mother Roc is very cool. Particularly while in flight.

Skeleton-He’s so great due to the interaction/fight with Sinbad. Very well done.

Dragon-Fits in the plot. No Cyclops, but very nice.

Sadi’s half snake person-This one is just alright compared to the others in this film.

Stats-

Percentage of time that Sokurah gives evil looks-He’s almost pure evil so 91% of his screen time.

Number of times Sokurah gets socked in the face-twice which is about 900,000 less than he deserves.

Number of morons who kill the baby Roc birds bringing down the wrath of their mother-two I think.

Number of Cyclops eye balls that get poked with flaming pointy sticks-one

The negatives? The only thing that bothers me on this film is when the creatures are trying to bring the boat to crash on the shores it seems a bit cheap because it’s the only we don’t see a menace.
The positives? This film a true classic, one of the best fantasy films of all time. The monsters make it, Harrhausen was a genius on most of his films, but this one is a great example of how great his work could be. It took Ray Harryhausen 11 months to complete the animation sequences for the film and it paid off. The locations are top notch. Despite the lack of facial hair Matthews makes a pretty good Sinbad.

There you go.

seventh_voyage_of_sinbad

Getting started

What in the world is this blog? A bunch of baboons talking about nonsense? Well, perhaps, but hopefully it will be a little more than that. Right now we are just figuring out the look of this blog which will change over the next week as we get started. I am also fairly sure that the only people reading this right now are the people that will be writing this blog. First let’s talk about what we will do then in a day we will tell you a little about ourselves. We will be writing about sci-fi, fantasy and horror films mainly although it is possible that an occasional straight action movie or martial arts film may slip in as well. Likely they will mostly be movies that were done between the 1950 and 1990’s, but we may on occasion review a newer film or an older classic. We may also tough on some tv shows as well. We will probably cover films  we like, films that are so bad they are good and films that art in the middle of those two. Above all else we want to be honest in reviews. We don’t believe all these are perfect nor do we believe they are junk either. In addition to reviews we may throw out some posts on personal memories about these movies and shows plus we may post on related memorabilia as well. We are likely doing this more for ourselves than for anyone else. We welcome any and all comments and will approve any comments as long as they are not spam or do not contain links to anything objectionable. So drop by and take a look.