Saturday, September 29, 2018

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Deathline (aka Texas Godfather)

A Title this great must be good.
A Film by Vestron Video must be good.

Would I be featuring it if I really thought that way?

Let's see this thing...
Holy crap!

Frankenstein from Death Race 2000 is blowing up those tiny cars!

Wait...is he a giant?

Who cares, since this Movie about a New York Lawyer fighting the Mob can't be as good as this.

Here's the original...
Bigger, louder and brighter- that's my motto for these.  Can you argue with the results?

Friday, September 28, 2018

'80s Trash?: Biggles- Adventure in Time (1986)

A silly Film with a bit of historical importance.  This is Biggles- Adventure in Time, a 1986 Sci-Fi Comedy.  This is based on a Series of Books about the titular Character.  He's a WWI Air Pilot who fought 'the good fight' for Britain.  The Film uses the Characters from these Books, but takes a big turn- Time Travel.  I suppose the Title was a big giveaway.  Supposedly there were plans to make a Film Adaptation for quite a while.  The last Book came out in 1968- took them long enough!  A straightforward Film was planned, but then something happened- Back to the Future.  Now Time Travel was cool and they added a whole new (strange) element here.  Does it work?  If you don't know much about the Character (like I didn't until last night), it's not exactly heresy.  They keep the tone and feel here (as far as I can tell) and the time travel stuff is a weird bit of color.  The Story involves a man (who might be a descendant) being sent back in time to help the title character on a mission.  Will he succeed?  To find out, read on...
Our Hero- James Ferguson- is a normal guy in New York trying to make it big.  A strange man- Peter Cushing- shows up at his door, but is dismissed.
Without much warning, he is struck by lightning and sent back in time to 1917.  Sure.
He's returned via lightning and brushes the event off until Cushing arrives again.  He wants to help Ferguson, but things don't go well.

Here's the significance- this is Peter Cushing's last Film.  He died in 1994.
While at a Party, he's sent back again and helps Biggles escape a rival Pilot while documenting a German weapon.

Nice aerial shots, if nothing else.
He gets a call from Cushing and goes to London.  He explains that a hole in time is pulling him back to help Biggles and save History.

How did 'WWI Fighter Pilot Saves the day' turn into this?
Things go wrong in the Present and another trip is joined by his Fiancee.  She helps save the day and the group escapes a rough fate.
In a twist, Biggles is sent back to the Present and meets Cushing.  They get the location of the weapon and...
Say 'F--k you' to causality by bringing a Helicopter back to WWI.  Oh well, they win the day.
Back in the Present, Ferguson is pulled from his Wedding and saves Biggles and his friends, setting up Sequels that will never come.  The End.
A fun enough adventure, but nothing special.  Right off the bat, let me address the obvious question- did the Time Travel element improve the Story?  Not really.  There are fun parts to it- like the FiancĂ© using Mace on a Soldier- but they are fairly superfluous.  They try to make it important by having Ferguson keep saving Biggles.  In that regard, it hurts him a little.  Some random guy with no Military Training keeps saving him from certain death.  How did he make it through any previous mission?  Was Dr. Sam Beckett working on the last one unbeknownst to him?  They get some good Comedy out of the idea that he is randomly transported, but the other stuff is pretty meh.  It doesn't really hurt the Film, but it doesn't help it either.  If they had just made a simple Film about Biggles, it could have been an Indiana Jones-style romp that might be more remembered.  This Film, meanwhile, appears on lists like Worst Final Films of Famous Actors.  Ouch.  It's not a bad Film.  It has some great '80s fun to it and the Music- by Stanislas- is nice.  It's just a shame that muck the whole thing up with some Zemeckis-style shenanigans.  I also love how they avoid people being shot and show grenades as 'knocking people out,' but then do this...
Next time, I delve deep into Horror for the next Month.  It's going to be scary (and probably silly).  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

'70s Trash: Rhinoceros

This is not The Producers.  Today's Film is Rhinoceros, the far-less famous Movie featuring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.  There's a good reason why- it's really bad.  The Film is apparently based on a semi-famous Play of the same name that was part of the French Absurdist Wave of Theater.  It sure is absurd- it's just not funny.  The Film apparently stripped the Story of nearly all of its subtext to boot, rendering it extra pointless.  The Plot involves people being turned into Rhinos (off-camera) for no clear reason and the epidemic is spreading (entirely off-camera).  Can anyone stop it?  Will anyone try?  Will I laugh even once?  To find out, read on...
A posh man (Mostel) and a drunk man (Wilder) are mismatched friends.  One is trying to 'fix' the other.
Without warning, a Rhino runs down a busy street.  At least, that's what they tell us.

Seriously, could you not have cut in even B&W Nature footage?  It wouldn't look real, but at least it would be a joke!
While this is happening, Wilder pines for Karen Black (like most people in 1974).  Does he have a shot?
More Rhinos- now with random debris thrown in.  Movement = Humor...right?
Wilder goes to his office job (with Black) and more Rhinos- this time with POV (and only POV).
More banter.  More flailing.  More posing.

Laugh at this, damn you!!!
The next day, he goes to see Mostel again.  They talk and talk before the latter starts to freak out.

They fade to black and...I guess he became a Rhino too.  Alright then.
A few days later, we learn that more people transformed- off-camera again- and he finally hooks up with Black.

Unfortunately for him, she leaves and transforms too.
Wilder is the last man on Earth (I guess) and he vows to never change.

Oh so NOW you remember the subtext...in the final Scene.  The End.
Wow.  Just wow.  This is how you waste good people.  Gene Wilder.  Zero Mostel.  Karen Black.  They're all...just not that good in this Movie.  It shouldn't be hard to make at least one of them look good here.  Sadly, the Film fails at even this.  Wilder tries his best to act big and interesting.  Mostel is loud and tries to be interesting.  Black is fun and all, but the Script does nothing for her.  Nobody thrives here.  They just act big and play big.  They just try to make this work.  It just doesn't.  The actual Story apparently has subtext about the rise of movements like Fascism.  That's lost here.  This is just people being big and loud & reacting to nothing.  Bless them for trying, but they could have been given a better Script.  It's...such a disappointment.  Sorry- I'm that Dick.
Next time, something else non-Horror to give you some variety before October.  It will still be weird though.  Stay tuned...

Real-but-not-Real Cover Art: Carrie (2013)

So this is a tricky one...

According to someone on Facebook (the source for all true News), he documented this Poster hanging up in many Asian Countries while the Film was out.

This could be fake.
This feels 100% real.
The actual content is false (in one major way).

Enough teasing.  This is...
So you can spot the obvious issue, right?

I'm not clear on what point- if any- that Jodie Foster was attached to this Film.
It would certainly be ironic if she did drop out and was replaced by the same Actress again.

If you can confirm this any more than my cursory research, leave a comment.

Here's the original...
So yeah, I added a bit of color.  Can you blame me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rare Flix: The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

No Jack Black here.  This is The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, a 1960 Film based on the famous Story.  The Film is most notable for the man behind its Special Effects- Ray Harryhausen.  I got the Ray Harryhausen Box Set for my Birthday and this is the only one I hadn't seen before.  I've got to cover it now before I'm 'stuck' doing Horror Films all Month in a few days.  This is both a loose and accurate adaptation of the Story.  The parts that it covers are mostly-accurate- it just also doesn't cover everything.  The Title, right off the bat, is a bit of an issue.  If you are familiar with the Jonathan Swift Story, you know that there are many Islands in it- seven in total.  So did they whittle the Story down to the 3 Islands they found most interesting?  Nope- just two.  So how does the Title make sense?  Well, his home of England counts as the 3rd World.  Boo!  Kerwin Matthews is here and he brought a booming Soundtrack right out of a Hitchcock Film (with Bernard Hermann) with him.  Is this better than the TV Movie with Ted Danson or the most recent version?  To find out, read on...
Dr. Gulliver and his wife-to-be are making ends meet in 1699 England, but he wants more.  She just wants him around.
Against her wishes, he signs up for a Sea Voyage...but she stows away.  They both go overboard.
Separated from his love, Gulliver washes up on an Island...and he's now a giant.  Who hasn't been there?
He impresses the Emperor...by blowing the clouds away.  They feed him and he helps them in return.
He helps them defeat a rival nation's Navy by himself and stops a war.  The cause of the war- the Nations crack eggs open from different ends.

This satire sure is subtle!
The Emperor begins to get jealous and things reach a boiling point when he drenches the King in saliva while putting out a fire.

Fun Fact: he does it via urination in the Book.  This was done in the 2010 Version and people said that the Film was being juvenile.  Read a Book, America!
He flees in his boat and ends up on a new Island.  Shockingly, the situation is reversed.

That's basically all of the Book in a nutshell.  One Island and then an opposite one.
He meets up with his lady, who was apparently on this Island already.  They are treated like fancy toys.

In the Book, he also goes to a flying island, meets extremely-old people and talking horses.
The giants prove to be just as bad as the little people.  They think that Gulliver is a Witch (or Warlock) and make him fight a crocodile (thanks, Ray).
The pair wash up back in England and live happily ever after...in this Film.

In the Book, he can't reconcile life and society after meeting the talking horses.  He dies alone.  The End.
A fun, frivolous adventure.  The Film is kind of an interesting place as far as what Market it is going for.  It is fun, simple and bloodless, making you think that they are marketing towards kids.  It also deals with Themes like tolerance of Science, societies that refuse to advance and whether or not you should change for love.  It also features a giant (relatively-so) squirrel.  So the Film is, most likely, a solid all-ages Film.  The '60s look and feel of the Film is nice and fun.  The Technicolor is all sorts of crazy here, showing you how much things have changed technology-wise.  The Super Dynamotion effects (regular Dynamotion is so 1959!) are fun and have aged fairly-well.  For every one shot that looks pretty bad, there are two that are good.  The Film changes a lot on the back-end of the Story, so don't watch this for your Book Report.  It is often-overlooked as part of the Ray Harryhausen Library and that's a shame.  Watch all of the Classics and add this to the list- as silly as it is...
Next time, an infamous Film with people that were usually great.  The play is the thing, I guess.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Lost in Translation?: Zombi/Zombie Flesh Eaters

Zombies as a whole are less prevalent.  They certainly ruled Horror Cinema for quite a long time though.

In France, an Italian Film marketed as a Sequel to an American Film which is marketed as a Sequel to a *different* American Film looks pretty neat...
Giant zombies!

NYC!

Bad-ass!

To see the original poster, look below...
Good visuals, but it just needed something extra.  Also I covered up a nipple- sorry.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Old-School TV: One Step Beyond- 'The Trap'

A return to this silly, dramatic Show.  This one is just plain weird until the end...and then it gets weirder.
In 'The Trap,' a man wakes up one morning and starts to feel weird.  They both blame it on 'the pizza with everything on it' from last night.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop.  He keeps feeling suddenly in pain and even parched.
He goes to work, only to freak out in an Elevator and feel 'trapped.'  This feeling continues, even in his own Apartment!
The Doctor can find nothing wrong with him.  Thanks for that.
Finally, his symptoms stack up as his condition worsens.  Among the effects, he is now dehydrated, speaking in a more Western voice, calling out to a 'Brenda' and using expressions only used in the Western U.S.

What's the answer?
Well, so brace yourself for this...

The man has a twin brother that he didn't know about who was trapped in a Mine Shaft.  He was feeling what he was feeling across the country.  That's...sure, alright.  The End.
A weird twist for an equally-weird Story.  I knew that something weird was going to happen.  Remember, this is the Show where Ghosts can turn off your gas, pregnant women predict plane crashes and comatose Dads can make ghost hands to save you.  It's all quite weird.  It's all quite silly.  If you buy into this stuff, more power to you.  Putting actual belief aside, it's still a kind of interesting Episode.  The Lead basically freaks out the whole time to some degree.  That must have been both fun and terrifying.  Am I playing this too big?  Am I playing this too small?  I'd be both happy and terrified to play a part like this.  If nothing else, the Episode is a neat acting exercise.  Like I said, I don't buy the actual Story as true, but I can appreciate the conceit and the work this guy put in.
Next time, another strange mystery with a surely-strange resolution.  Will I ever believe any of this?  See you then...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rare Flix: The World, The Flesh & The Devil (1959)

An important Film that didn't gets its due nearly 60 years ago.  This is The World, The Flesh and the Devil, a 1959 Film that tackled both Race, Society and Culture.  The Film was not a hit at the time.  Can I give it a break now?  The Plot involves 3 survivors of a vague apocalypse (something about nuclear waste-style gas).  They must deal with their past.  They must deal with each other.  They must decide whether to try to live anew in a broken world.  The Film was a clear passion project for its Star- Harry Belafonte- and he even took a cut from the back end as his pay to get it made.  If this Plot sounds familiar, then you might be thinking of Z for Zachariah.  Strangely, that Film claims to be based on the Play (and BBC Film).  That Story, however, is clearly based on this Film.  To further muddy things up, this Film is based in part on TWO different Stories!  It's rare that I cover Films that are meant to be Social Commentary, so enjoy this break from awful Monster Movies and the like.  To find out if this is worth digging up, read on...
A man- Belafonte- survives in a Mine Shaft when something seems to destroy the surface.

To note: this is how Pine's Character supposedly survived in Zachariah.
He makes his way out and tries to find more people, crossing the Country to get to New York.

A famous Black Actor surviving an Apocalypse alone in NYC- unheard of!
Once there, he stumbles across a 1950's Computer to finally learn what happened- we basically gassed ourselves out of existence.  Oops.
Apparently he's not quite alone in this City though...
Meanwhile, he tries to cope with the loneliness of this new World by talking to mannequins.

So does Will Smith owe someone money now?
The two finally unite and the woman- Inger Stevens- is interested in taking things farther.

In a nice turn, she has no issue with his Race- he just reflexively-assumes otherwise.

So now here's the extra weird thing- after her tragic death in 1970, an African-American Actor came forward to say that they had been married in secret.  It was kept hidden- he said- to help her career.  So, possibly, art is imitating life here!
While they try to work through their issues, conflict arises in the form of Mel Ferrer, another survivor.  He has no qualms about making a play for her.

I mean, can you blame him?
It all comes to a head as Belafonte and Ferrer agree that they can't co-exist.  One will live and one will die!
Belafonte is driven to peace by a not-so-subtle sign (see the Stinger) and both make peace.  The trio join hands and walk together.  It's not The End- it's the Beginning.
Nice and deep stuff.  The Film is pretty simple in its execution.  It only has 3 people in it.  It has big, sparse sets.  They filmed it in NYC in the early, early hours of the day.  Back in 1959, you could do that.  Now you'd have random stoners walking through the shot, people vaping around every corner and pizza rats aplenty.  Decades ahead of 28 Days Later showing you a barren London, this Film makes New York City look like a ghost town!  Aside from just the setting, the Film is well-written, well-acted and well-shot.  It's not even remotely the most subtle Film you'll see.  It maybe has an air of self-importance about it that may bother some people.  In spite of that, The World, The Flesh and the Devil is a good, mostly-forgotten Drama that needs to be seen.  I mean, the writing is on the wall for you if you don't...
Next up, something probably a lot trashier and dumber.  Don't think that I'm the 'serious' Site now.  Stay tuned...