A Little Respect For Aretha

(Thanks, cizia69!)

 

I’d overslept and woke up late (again), oddly enough, dreaming about The Blues Brothers probably for a few too timely reasons not at all related to the news of Aretha Franklin’s passing (which I just found out about). The woman could sing the roof off any building and as far as I can recall, always gave her best whenever she stepped up to a microphone. I’ll leave the more thoughtful essays to those who do a lot better at them. In the meantime, I’m going to go and get a bit more work done but in a more maudlin mood.

 

(Thanks, UrbanMusic2000!)

-GW

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Blu-Ray Review: Effects

Effects BRWhat you get out of AGFA’s great newly restored print of Effects very much depends on what you go in expecting. As a low budget 80’s horror flick “cobbled together with loose change” by a few friends of George A. Romero, the film does indeed retain a certain rawness throughout along with a tiny bit of graphic violence and a few shocking scenes here and there. The film also manages to be more than a bit prophetic about how today’s reality TV’s nonsense of cameras, cameras everywhere can actually be somewhat chilling and yep, desensitizing.

But let’s stick to what’s here first and foremost. There’s a horror flick being made in Pittsburgh and you’ve got a front row seat to the festivities. Again, don’t go into this one expecting bodies falling on cue and a predictable ending where you know what’s coming a mile and a few minutes away. SFX makeup whiz Tom Savini may be in this one, but he’s doing the acting and stunts thing this time out.

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Forbidden Zone (Finally) Gets The Deluxe Home Video Treatment

forbidden zone UE
 

While I didn’t to catch Richard Elfman’s bizarre Forbidden Zone in theaters during its limited release in 1980, I finally saw the film around 1985 on a loaner VHS tape and it made for quite an outrageous experience. Taken out back and shot by many critics of the time, the film has since become a cult favorite and now, thanks to MVD Entertainment Group, it’s back. This time both DVD and Blu-Ray owners will get to snap up this crazed classic in a Special Edition format complete with some new Bonus Materials:

– Audio commentary with director Richard Elfman and writer-actor Matthew Bright
– “A Look into Forbidden Zone” featuring extensive behind the scenes documentary featuring interviews and archive footage, including scenes from Elfman’s lost film “The Hercules Family.”
– Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– Wild new video intro by Richard Elfman with teaser clip of upcoming Forbidden Zone 2.

Blu-Ray owners can also buy the film in an Ultimate Edition that adds the Danny Elfman/Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo soundtrack. I’m going to introduce a few people to this one and let the sparks fly. It’s certainly a film that’s both a product of its time and still packs a kick in the head or three from some of its more offbeat moments (as in the entire film). Check out the kind of NSFW trailer and expect to have your eyes pop out of your skull at some point.

But that’s just the film doing what it needs to do, folks. It worked back then and I’m betting it’ll still work today.

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: Contamination

Contamination MVD7368BRUp until a few years back, I’d never considered Luigi Cozzi’s sci-fi and fantasy films anything more than hilariously terrible pastiches of far better films. But getting older and mellower has made me take a fresh look and appreciate them a lot more, warts and all. I’m finding that while somewhat hampered by budgetary constraints and packed with some truly laugh-worthy visual effects, there’s an earnestness and respectable amount of passion in them that makes up for most of the inadequacies.

Yes, Star Crash still makes me cringe and the two Hercules films are more overly colorful comic book reworkings gone haywire of classic mythology. But you can clearly feel the director’s intent on making movies from the heart even as they bust your gut from unintentional and intentional laughter.

Contamination, Cozzi’s 1980 gorier “homage” to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien has gotten an excellent Blu-Ray restoration thanks to Arrow Video. Not only do you get a lovely AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer in 1.85.1 widescreen, there’s a great set of old and new interviews with the director and Maurizio Guarini of Goblin (who did the film’s score) as well as a fun look at other Italian genre flicks that swiped ideas from blockbusters. As for the film itself, as I hadn’t seen it for over 30 years, it was certainly a fun and bloody trip down memory lane as well as something of a love letter to New York City where some of the establishing shots were films.
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Some Father’s Day Memories (Sort Of…)

(thanks, Star Wars Malaysia!)
 

Sadly, my own daddy-o is no longer with us, so I’m having a quieter day of no celebration or awful hastily bought ties, cheap cologne and overpriced restaurant suppers here. Instead, you get a bit of my oddball humor with a few movie clips of some memorable and not so good dads you may or may not remember.

)thanks, Movieclips!)
 

Before you get the wrong idea, I’ve certainly got fonder memories of my father, folks. I just prefer to keep them to myself. That is all. Back in a bit and I do hope your own Father’s Day was excellent and happier.

(thanks, glows!)
 

Stuff You Miss When You’re Not Paying Attention #214

Pac-Egg 006 (Custom)
 

Um, Happy Belated Birthday, Pac-Man! As I’ve been busy with some stuff here, I missed the big day for this classic arcade character. But my breakfast a few days back reminded me to check and yup, he’s a year older. Anyway, YES the photo is upside down because I just noticed that it looks as if that eggy-veggie thing I made has got an eye and eyebrow when it’s flipped that way. Okay, so I never said I was perfect. Well, at least ol’ Pac won’t come after me because I forgot to get him a card or bake a cake. He’s cool about that (or so I hear).

(Not So) Random Film of the Week: Humanoids From The Deep

Humanoids From the Deep MPIt’s pretty much a 60’s “B” flick dipped in the not for the kiddies gore and nudity of early 80’s slasher flicks. But on that level Humanoids of the Deep works. You’re pretty much getting The Horror of Party Beach and Creature From the Black Lagoon with a bit of actual horror, but the film is more notorious for its added in post-production scenes of icky, horny sea creatures molesting a few young actresses after whipping their bathing suits off. That caused a bit of a stir back when I saw this in 1980 with a few friends and I also recall a handful of people screaming and doing an exit dash at the film’s somewhat ALIEN-inspired final scene.

Back then I didn’t like the film all that much because of its extremes and that it felt like two different films crunched together at the expense of the better one. But over time it’s become something of a mash-up of intentional and unintentional comedy, eyeball-rolling “shock” scenes and yes, well-known cast members who didn’t realize they’d be starring in a rather mean-spirited exploitation moneymaker that would garner a loyal fan base. For me it’s more of a great guilty pleasure when I look at it now. Albeit with a big blood red caution buoy in the water if you’re squeamish or easily annoyed by gore and gratuitous nudity in a “roughie” manner.

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Fred Dobbs, You’re Nuts In Any Decade!

(thanks, Danios12345!)
 

Ha. I just realized while watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for the zillionth time that the name Fred Dobbs appears in another memorable (but for the wrong reasons) film and is played by a great actor that livens up the proceedings significantly. That film would be 1980’s sci-fi horror(/unintentional comedy) hybrid (They Came)Without Warning and that actor would be the great Martin Landau. The Greydon Clark-directed cult flick is actually one of those great guilty pleasures worth tracking down because of its oddball cast (Jack Palance, Cameron Mitchell, Larry Storch, Neville Brand and a young David Caruso among others) and pre-Predator plot about an alien come to earth to do some hunting.

(thanks, metal4472!)
 

As I’m a bit off-kilter (and proud of it!) I’d do a back-to-back double feature with these two even though the tone is vastly different between the two films. Or you could go from the first film to Raiders of the Lost Ark with Without Warning and Predator for an all-day marathon of interesting genre flipping and blending. But I’ll leave personal programming choices all to you fine folks out there. Enjoy!

Sunday Gives Me Both Barrels, But I’ll Be Quite Alright…

(Thanks, John Thomas!)
 
And how was/is YOUR Sunday? Mine is pretty lousy at the moment, but pretty much everything’s fixable with some time and a bit of money. My home PC decided to flip out and not want to boot up properly, my backup solution isn;t working (thank goodness for the laptop), the connection today is super-slow, I accidentally broke the paper holder on one of the printers here (nothing a little glue can’t fix, but it was a total “DUH!” moment when it happened), my Logitech G15 finally died, I can’t find the driver CD for my gaming mouse, some of the plants I was growing decided to keel over thanks to the temperature changes this past week and I still need to get to that pile of laundry I was supposed to do last week, but kept putting off because of so many games coming in and me needing to get to them. Yaaaaah. There are a few other things going on as well, but those are for me to know and you to not find out.


(Thanks, DreamWorksTV!)
 
Eh, small world problems, but all happening around the same time makes for a REALLY annoying day. Eh, here’s a little laugh for you while I get back to trying to actually be something resembling “productive” today. Back in a bit…

The Great Backlog Dupe Giveaway 4: Two Alien Invasions For You To Halt!


 

Yeah, you COULD go out like one of these not too bright chumps in the “classic” low-budget 1980 sci-fi flick (It Came) Without Warning, OR you could dive into the TWO Steam games I’m giving away to ONE lucky winner and learn some actual alien invasion survival tactics that will come in VERY handy! That’s right, folks! Today’s giveaway consists of Altar Studios’ UFO: Aftermath and UFO: Aftershock, two tactical strategy games inspired by the classic X-Com franchise:


 

All you need to do is be the first one to respond and both codes are YOURS. Yes, you need a Steam account and a valid email address (which you don’t need to post – I’ll find you, don’t worry). It will take me a bit longer to respond today, as I’m actually not at the home office and will be back there in a few hours to respond to the lucky winner, so don’t fret if you post first and don’t hear back right away.


 

Okay, enough reading – you’ve got some games to win and play! GOOD LUCK!