READS: Bombshell: The Pin-Up Art of John Gladman

Bombshell_coverThank goodness the art of the glamour pin-up book isn’t lost forever, particularly given today’s endless supply of overly raunchy and more easily accessible content the internet has to offer. The fine folks over at Schiffer Books have been putting out a nice selection of pin-up titles for some time, but this is one of the best they’ve published to date.

Award-winning photographer/artist John Gladman is one of those thankfully still carrying the artfully positioned cutie torch and in Bombshell: The Pin-Up Art of John Gladman (Schiffer Books, $34.99 – BUY IT!), there’s a whole lot to appreciate. Continue reading

House Shark: Become A Chum, Help This Indie Horror Comedy Get Made

House Shark Poster 

A killer “B” in the making, House Shark caught my eye (ow!) with its intentionally cornball “Jaws in a house” plot and liberal doses of humor and primarily practical effects work. SRS Cinema and veteran indie director Ron Bonk (there needs to be a cartoon sound effect here) is looking for like-minded horror fanatics to help him fund his latest venture with a mere $15,000 target between those who donate and the completed film. There are 22 days left to get this show on the road (or back on the road), so if you’re a fan of low-budget gore and spirited film making in a jugular vein, you know where you’re clicking next.

(Thanks, SRS CinemaLLC!)
 

In English: Check out the Indiegogo campaign here and take note that contributing at least $60 to funding will net you (among other rewards) House Shark on one of three formats (VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray), you’ll also get a copy of his upcoming homage to female revenge flicks of the 1970’s, She Kills (that trailer isn’t for the kiddies, folks!). You can also choose to dive into the shallow end of the pool and get less perks or belly flop into the ocean as a high roller and actually be an EXTRA or even one of the film’s producers if you’re willing to travel.

Hmmm… does anyone want to ring up a certain wealthy, wild-haired egomaniac running for office and get him off the trail for a few weeks? Sharking in a house in upstate NY just may be more up his alley than stirring up all those hornet nests all over the place. Better to have him in the real entertainment business than making a “reality” show out of more serious stuff, I say.

January’s Retro Pop Box Packs in the 70’s Memories

RPB_Jan_2016 

Right before that dopey snowstorm landed, I’d gotten a few (okay, a lot of) packages delivered but just now got to opening them up (hey, I was busy moving furniture around for last week’s plastering and painting and was in quite a haze of weariness). So seeing January’s Retro Pop Box peeking out at me from a small stack of packages made me grin somewhat like Mr. Sardonicus after an encounter with a tickle fetish dominatrix. Um, never mind that reference! Anyway, someone at the post office felt it okay to doodle on the box (boo), as my regular carrier was on vacation (Joe always brings my mail right up to the door and doesn’t cram it into the mailbox) and the new guy is a bit goofy because he sometimes puts the wrong mail in a few boxes.

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Inside the box were a nice sticker tribute to David Bowie (who passed away the previous week, so the creator elves were fast on the draw here) and a nice set of 70’s themed items:

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Heh. A nice and exclusive RPB T-shirt that references a key scene from 1978’s Animal House will be worn here in a pants optional mode. Hey, when you get older, you tend to like LESS clothing (and not just on the ladies or whatever). DOn’t ask me to explain this – you’ll hopefully live long enough to experience it yourself. I call it *Freedom!* Whee.

RPB Jan 2016 d 

The other stuff was a nice hodgepodge of items. That Space Invaders bag will get shouldered for shopping trips (and has already gotten the thumbs up seal of approval at a local game shop), I do need a tiny shark toy and maybe a tinier toy Jet Ski to go into the tiny Happy Days lunchbox (sorry, Fonzie – that’s the first tribute I thought of, aaaaayyyyyyy!), that Doctor Who journal will require a tiny pencil or pen if it’s to last the 500 years noted on that cover, and I’m wearing that Thing button as I type this just because it’s always Clobberin’ Time somewhere in the world and I need to represent.

Anyway, if your own nostalgia meter is spinning, you know what to do, right?

Ziegfeld Fall-ies: “Progress!”: Or Why We Can’t Have (and Keep) Nice Things

Ziegfeld Interior 

So, the famed Ziegfeld Theater is closing soon. Hearing this news earlier did not make my day go any better, folks.

Let’s see now: closing the only remaining theater in NYC with a 70mm screen? BAD IDEA. Turning that theater into a stupid “special events” hall when there are plenty of spaces already? WORSE idea. I’m so annoyed at this I can’t even muster up the energy to rant and spill some history on you guys and gals. Between this news and the recent demises of the big Toys ‘R Us in Times Square, FAO Schwarz further uptown, and the slowly fading actual deli scene this city is dying the lonely death of a thousand cuts in favor of becoming more of a dead-eyed strip mall packed with tourists who come here just to go to higher priced versions of what they already have in their states.

Yeah, yeah – big movies aren’t making as much money as online streaming services generate and in general, shopping is “easier” when you click away and get no exercise as a trade off for free shipping (unless you order too close to Christmas because you think Santa Claus is real and that box will pop up right on time. HA.). But both retail space and big screen movie houses are needed just because not everything looks good on a damned mobile screen or computer monitor, multiplexes lose personality (and hearing films through poorly constructed walls sucks) and hell, it’s just BETTER to see and touch something you want to buy up close and personal. Take a picture, it’ll last longer, indeed. Funny, but not funny – Bow Tie Cinemas also owned the Loews theater near me that got turned into a totally useless Marshall’s that’s a grand, laughable waste of space inside which always looks as if it’s never been cleaned properly.

PC Review: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

SCARLET_MODEL_1Platform: PC (also on PS4)

Developer: ACE Team

Publisher: Atlus

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $14.99

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B+ (85%)

 

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Yep, they’ve gone and done it again. Chilean developer ACE Team’s latest game, The Deadly Tower of Monsters is a solid and fun ride that’s going to tickle the fancy of those gamers young to old with a knowledgeable love for “B” movies, primarily of the sci-fi variety. The Unreal engine-powered stylized visuals look great, and the offbeat humor comes from a few angles expected and surprising. While the game may not seem all that lengthy, finding some of its secrets will take some effort. A few flaws (that can be patched) keep it from perfection, but overall this is one of those great little sleepers you’ll want to take for a spin and add to your game library.

Continue reading

Four More Arrow Video Releases Landing Soon

NikkatsuDG_AV037 Your movie collection is about to get four more titles larger thanks to Arrow Video’s upcoming releases though MVD Entertainment Group. January brings you Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1 (1/26/16, $49.95 MSRP), a set of three films from the famed Japanese studio from directors Seijun Suzuki (Voice Without a Shadow), Toshio Masuda (Red Pier) and Buichi Saito (The Rambling Guitarist).

Hideaki Nitani,Yujiro Ishihara, and Akira Koabyashi  are the Diamond Guys represented in this first volume, so this set will be another essential for fans of Japanese cinema. This set also makes me wonder if there’s a Nikkatsu Diamond Gals series coming at some point as I can think of a few actresses who worked for the studio that merit a collection like this. Amusingly enough, as I was typing this, the mail arrived and yep, those Diamond Guys are nowhere. I know what I’m doing this evening, folks.
 

ShebaBaby_AV042February brings Pam Grier to you in fine form indeed, but don’t get any bad ideas, buster. William Girdler’s 1975 blaxploitation hit Sheba, Baby (2/9/2016) will set you straight for the more than reasonable price of $29.95 plus tax where applicable.

One of Pam’s three flicks from that busy year (the other two being Bucktown and Friday Foster, both of which really deserve the Arrow treatment along with an all-new interview with Pam on her magnificent body of work), this one’s probably the most noteworthy in my book. Word on the street is you’re going to get it or someone will give it to you but good (well, if you’re lucky, that is…).
 

PrayForDeath_AV039 Pray For Death ($29.95) also comes your way in February (2/16/2016) and if you’re into mid 80’s action flicks, this one’s got you name all over it in big neon letters. Martial arts star Sho Kosugi (Enter The Ninja) gets his kicks on some poor villainous dopes who try to ruin his American dream.

Revenge fans, take note: director Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again) amps up the violence here with a killer finale that shows Sho showing up a bunch of baddies, badly maiming them to the point that the don’t need an ambulance at all, but a nice meat wagon to take what parts remain to the closest cannibal stew pot. Ouch.
 

AmericanHP_AV043Speaking of horrors, American Horror Project Volume 1 ($99.95) hits at the end of February (2/23/2016) in a limited edition of 3000 copies, bringing three restored and hard to find fright flicks to you… if you dare (or something like that).

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood(1973), The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976), and The Premonition (1976) all get the 2K treatment and a wealth of special features horror film aficionados will appreciate. This series in particular piques my interest because there are plenty of films I can recall partially from my younger days that have yet to appear on a decent home video format in the US. Granted, some of those are in the public domain, but in pretty lousy condition. Having the fine folks at Arrow give these three oldies a new life is the best thing that’s happened to them in decades.

Now Playing: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

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I love it when a plan comes together. While I can’t reveal anything score-wise until the review embargo lifts, ACE Team’s latest game is so far, pretty awesome. Especially if you love old “B” sci-fi flicks from the last century in all their intentional and unintended cheesy glory. That is all (for now). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some chuckling whilst playing to do.

Odyssey of the Oddity Concludes Somewhat Abruptly

I can actually recall the first time I heard Space Oddity on the radio. It was sometime after its 1969 release and if memory serves me correctly, it almost made me miss my school bus. Between the haunting acoustic guitar work and the otherworldly sounds emanating from the clock radio in my room, I was transported into that tin can floating in the void. Instant David Bowie fan from that point on and what and education that was.

Suffragette City made me look up that word (the first one, silly!) and in doing so before the age of the internet, got me checking out the dictionary and then a few encyclopedias as that rabbit hole opened up as I discovered other issues related to that word. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, women’s rights (which I don’t think were listed in much detail as far as 70’s educational tomes were concerned) and other mind-expanding bits and pieces were in the process of being uncovered. One teacher I had noted my research and gave me a few newsletters to peruse from her college days. Of course, at that age (I was about ten or eleven at that point), most of that reading material was way above my brain grade but I absorbed them anyway. Continue reading

Humor: A Vote For Iris Steensma Might Start Some More Fireworks

“I got some bad ideas in my head.”

 

taxi_driver_ver2_xlgWhile it’s still an example of great American film-making and a must-see movie, I’ve been having a recurring dream of a Taxi Driver followup for quite some time. As in over 20 years of random story ideas hitting me in the dream-space or while strolling around NYC. The city has changed so much since the film’s 1976 release, but in a (not so) weird way certain elements have cycled back into that film’s bleak version of the city, citizens, and some of the politics around them.

Granted, it’s never (ever!) going to happen unless the stars are in order (on a few fronts, ha and ha-ha) and some other key people think it’s a good idea. It’s not (at all), but Hollywood has done far worse updates of other films (for better or worse… mostly worse in my opinion). Nevertheless, I’m getting this silliness off my chest and out of my head so I can clear up space in the grey matter filing cabinet. Continue reading

The Deadly Tower of Monsters: ACE Team’s Got Another Weird Winner Up Its Sleeve

SCARLET_MODEL_1If you’re a fan of old sci-fi “B” movies from days gone by, ACE Team is going to get you grinning with their upcoming PC and PS4-bound game The Deadly Tower of Monsters. The Santiago, Chile-based developer with its small library of visually gorgeous and reliably weird games is making this one a special slice of must-buy entertainment on a few fronts. The game seems to be a mix of classic beat ’em up and action/RPG with a decidedly retro vibe and some very pretty visuals. As a big “B” flick fan, I like the offbeat influences from films such as Forbidden Planet, Invaders From Mars, King Kong and many more. Sure, the younger gamers might be clueless and not aware of all the in-jokes and homages to too many things to count. But the end result should hook them in with what’s looking like fast-paced gameplay and those aforementioned pretty visuals.

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From the videos above and below, the game sure looks as if it’ll be fun enough to warrant plenty of sales, a few replays and hopefully more console ports at some point down the road. Of course, that’s mostly up to how the game does on those two initial platforms and any legal stuff keeping it locked down on two platforms. I don’t mind exclusives at all, ladies and germs. But it’s nice to have more options over less when there’s a title as fun-looking as this one on the way.


 

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