Jerry Gets His Curtain Call…

Ugh. I was in bed the entire day thanks to not feeling so hot, but now that I’m up and find out Jerry Lewis has left the building, I’m wanting to go crawl back under the covers for a bit. Anyway, the first film that sprung to mind that I think you should catch was The Bellboy, written, directed and starring Jerry as Stanley, a silent bellhop hardly working at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. It’s weird and funny as hell with a few fun cameos and a corker of an ending.


 

There’s way too much to say about the man from his comedic talents (and some fine dramatic work in film and on TV) to his charity work that a great deal of today’s younger folks probably have little to no idea about (those MDA telethons used to be wonderful family time gatherings back in the day).

I suppose I could say a few more words, but it’s late in the day and I’m gathering a few thousand other writers have popped their own opining up. Me, I haven’t yet read my email since yesterday evening. Anyway, go watch some of his work at some point if anything just to see how remakes often don’t do the originals much justice.

-GW

Advertisements

Blu-Ray Review: The Slayer

The Slayer_AV101Well, hell. The Slayer actually surprised me with how good it was and once again, Arrow Video drops the microphone with a stellar print of this eagerly awaited slasher with some nice bonus features. While the film has its share of flaws, it’s got a small and interesting cast that’s not made up of the usual sex-starved teens getting killed off by the slasher of the week. Okay, it’s more mature adults getting killed off, but hey, it’s a step up in any event.

The film also predates A Nightmare on Elm Street in having its fiend just so happen to do its dirty work as its wide-eyed female lead sleeps. While probably not at all an influence on Wes Craven’s masterpiece, it’s impossible to watch the film without making a connection somewhere along the line.

Continue reading

Loving The Alien: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

 

The best film directors are master manipulators who can magically transform an entire theater audience into a group of happy to sappy sapient lemmings or wide-eyed marionettes easily controlled from start to end credits. Their best films have the masses cheering the heroes, hissing at the bad ones, empathizing with the downtrodden and generally feeling whatever emotion a scene calls for. Yes, there are exceptions to this non-rule (too-likeable villains, swapping out all attempts at sympathy for more explosions and eyeball rolling plot twists you can see coming 20 minutes before they occur). But when you get right down to it, you know your cinematic needs are being taken care of when certain directors are at the helm.

Or, as an old friend once said:

(thanks, svofski!) 

In other words, this is a Spielberg film, folks.
Continue reading

Blade Runner 2049: Wake Up… Time To Cry

(Read in Deckard’s voice):

I woke up late and with a headache. This teaser was waiting for me like a cat sitting on my chest with a freshly killed canary in its mouth as a present. Of course, that cat and the canary were from the dream I had last night, but that’s not important. Did you know you can’t accidentally step on a cat in a dream because it’ll always get out of the way? Of course, you can definitely step on an origami unicorn, which is kind of painful if you’re getting out of bed at 3am to go to the bathroom. Ow. Someone keeps leaving those damn things around the house in the strangest places. I found one in a sealed bottle of whisky last week. If it’s Gaff, he’s got some talent… and a weird sense of humor…

Yeah, that makes no sense because I never thought Blade Runner needed a proper sequel. We shall see, though. This teaser copies the languid pacing and gritty future noir tone of the original and yes, seeing an old Ford pop out of the shadows in a grin-worthy sight. That said, if he’s the sole link to the first film cast-wise, it may feel a bit awkward to younger viewers who never saw it or somehow don’t get what the connection is to Gosling and his funky coat. Oh, you can stop doing that Deckard voice now. It was only for that fake quote. I actually did wake up late, though. Off to find some coffee – back in a bit.

-GW

More From The Vaults: Found Object Fridays

Hey there- here’s some more random stuff I unearthed from the vaults while my PC was out of action for a few days earlier this week. I ended up making more of a mess “cleaning up” than I did when I left all those bins and boxes alone. But I did find some nice things I knew I’d kept for assorted good reasons. Enjoy the quick trip down memory lane!

Kurzrok Casper
 

If I recall correctly, this sketch was gotten in a rather oddball reverse double back-flip manner at a Creation Con back in 1981 or ’82. I was minding a friend’s table at the show while displaying some of my (lousy) artwork and a man walked up and started looking through my stuff. We chatted for a bit about comics and when he told me his name was Al Kurzrok, I was thrilled because I remembered the outstanding lettering he did for Marvel on Doctor Strange back in the late 60’s. When I noted that to him and asked for an autograph, he asked me for a sheet of paper and did this quick sketch. That was a big day-maker for me back then.

Outland Press Kit 

Heh. Back in 1981, a dot matrix printout sure looked “futuristic”, so here you go: The press kit for Peter Hyams‘ sci-fi flick OUTLAND. The film is basically High Noon in outer space with Sean Connery playing the Gary Cooper part. High Noon is a better film by far, by the way. That said, it does have some suspenseful moments (and a few exploding heads, eww), Frances Sternhagen gets the best part and lines in the film and there’s a great Jerry Goldsmith score worth tracking down.

All that and like many of Hyams’s best films, there’s a nice foot chase that perks things up at just the right moment.

Outland Press Kit 2 

I have a lot more ancient history here, but I’ll pull the plug on this installment before I end up making an even bigger pile of stuff in the home office. No need to have to sleep curled up in a closet because there’s way too much stuff on the bed and floor, right?

Runaway Nightmare Trailer: Vinegar Syndrome Brings Back The Bad, Bad Girls…

 
I’d only heard of this 1982 exploitation flick from a few friends who saw it back in the day and this trailer makes me want a working time machine so I could go back to the days of popping downtown to Times Square to catch unabashed junk like this in a double feature guaranteed to make me burn up a few brain cells before all was said and done. You don’t see these films for their “educational” value, that’s for sure! Granted, super cheap ticket prices aside, those bad old days were pretty hairy for movie going in that area, what with the sticky floors, smelly seats and generally rowdy crowds at most theaters save for the first run houses that were kept in as pristine shape as can be. Anyway, this DVD is out July 8, 2014 at the Vinegar Syndrome site, so go grab it, round up a few friends and some suitable eats and have a blast, I say…

Random Film of the Week: Psycho II

psycho_ii_xlgWell, it’s Mother’s Day this week as well as my birthday (tomorrow, so you still have time to get me that gift or else!), so I’m going to have fun with this week’s pick. While seen as sacrilege to some fans of the original movie, for my money Psycho II is a nice surprise that does well at following up on Norman Bates’ life post-release from the institution he ended up in thanks to his deeds in the original.

Screenwriter Tom Holland and director Richard Franklin get some great (albeit limited) mileage out of Anthony Perkins here as he portrays Norman as trying to live the “normal” life, but ends up instead plagued by forced memories from the past intended to drive him back to his old ways. Or perhaps he’s hallucinating all that bad stuff? Whatever the cause, bodies start piling up (well, the actual death count is small compared to other films of the era), the mystery deepens and it’s not until the final reel that things become clear with a double twist corker of an ending that’s still amazing… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: The Thing

 

THE THING_MP_1982So, it’s John Carpenter’s birthday and once more, I find myself writing about The Thing. The last time it was a dissection of that disappointing 2011 prequel and this time, it’s a little look back at what I think is one of the scariest mainstream sci-fi/horror films of the 80’s that still works today thanks to how well it was put together. The overall tone of relentless, deliberate dread the film sets up from the very beginning is claustrophobic and overpowering as you’re sucked into the story about the doomed men of Outpost #31.

I saw this back in 1982 and the film really pushed the envelope of what could be done with practical effects so much that even today most of Rob Bottin’s (and that brief slice of Stan Winston’s) groundbreaking work holds up as believable. Of course, the story and excellent cast also make this one such a killer film to curl up with that I’d even recommend it to those who hate horror movies just because everything clicks so well…
Continue reading

Androids May Not Dream of Electric Sheep (But I Bet They Dream About These Gorgeous Blade Runner Figures)

BR_Geek Exchange
(Photo from Geek Exchange Figures by Scott Pettersen)

“They’re my friends… I made them!”

Wow. It’s REALLY too bad these aren’t mass produced, as I can see a load of hard core Blade Runner fans wanting to get their paws on the entire set of these spectacularly detailed dolls… er, action figures… er, works of art. Scott Pettersen, a huge fan of the film and a ridiculously talented sculptor has made possibly the best looking non-licensed collectibles I’ve ever seen, so I’m speechless and you should check out his site yourself and wear a drool cup while visiting, as there’s a load of other wonderful goodies there (and some of it is for sale). The man’s got T-A-L-E-N-T… although an owl with that Rachel figure in her office suit would have been wickedly cool to see.

Other than that, speechless…

Swamp Thing Headed to Blu-Ray/DVD August 6: Still A Coin Toss For This Fan…

hide n seek II

ST_BR-DVDI wasn’t the biggest supporter of either of the two Swamp Thing films as neither was as close to the comics as I’d have liked and even the 70+ episode TV series was hugely flawed (but the makeup and costume were superb by that time). Still, after recently watching a friend’s copy of the DVD (it’s the recalled 2000 version he lent me, by the way), I have to say I don’t dislike it as much as I did back in 1982. I definitely liked it a LOT more than the stupidly campy sequel (which has a grand total of ONE really funny line in it that was worth the ticket price) and inane kiddie cartoon series created primarily to sell toys to parents who probably would be shocked out of their skins by the darker tone of many of the first ten issues of the original comics by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson and especially Alan Moore’s later (and much darker) run on the series that featured some amazing scripts and still stunning artwork primarily from Steve Bissette, John Totleben and Rick Veitch.

Of course, those who were kids when the films, cartoon or TV show were new may feel otherwise, so there’s that to consider. Of course, I’ve always “gotten” the weirder elements of the character and for some kooky reason, he’s been one of my favorites to draw (so I guess that piece above can indeed be called “fan art”, whee). Anyway, I’m not sure just yet if I’ll buy this new Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, but it’s nice to know it exists if I decide to take the plunge…