Broken Machines

(Thanks, AustroPopArchives Vienna!)

So, we had a death in the family a few months back we all recently found out about (last week), which means it’s been a bit busy here with all sorts of shock and paperwork to tackle and quite a few ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross. Fortunately, the deceased was a very excellent record keeper, so most affairs are in good order and although there are a few important things to tackle for the near and far future, I think we have much of the important things covered.

Courts are all still closed here, so there’s the matter of waiting for a few important papers which need filing, so the waiting is the most annoying part. Well, next to figuring out a too smart Smart TV that was inherited that has a few subscriptions that need shutting down. After connecting the TV, it automatically started playing a film that wasn’t even chosen or someone who wasn’t me as I was walking into the kitchen to get some coffee pressed a button on that arcane backwards-designed remote it has (I need to go look up an online manual, stat!) and a movie no one ordered started up. While I was trying to figure out how to shut it down, this scene was playing in my tired head:

(Thanks, TheBoilingFrog!)

Anyway, I need to help out a family member in securing a few benefits and go through a few too many accounts and passwords as we play Match Game for a bit. I’ll be back in a bit or sooner if most things go smoothly as most seem to be so far. I just need to figure out that remote that has a list of pages of services and which services need that OFF switch. I have enough Blu-rays and DVD’s here to keep me busy for some time and nope, I just can’t afford more digital services than I can ever watch in a lifetime.

Wear a mask, people.

-GW

Video Store Action Heroes: Streets of Fire (1984)

SOF_01

Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) and two of The Attackers, about to get attacked (and lose, badly).

Video Store Action Heroes - Banner 9 finalIt’s that time again, folks. You’re likely trapped inside like me for a spell, so I have your attention (at least for a few minutes before you try and sneak out). Say, look what the cat dragged in after a bit of a hiatus. This post is hopefully, virus-free and entertaining (or at the very least, one of those).

streets_of_fire_ver1_xlg

When I first saw Walter Hill’s “Rock & Roll Fable” Streets of Fire way back in 1984, I can honestly say that I really didn’t like it much. Yet, there was a certain “je ne sais pas quoi” about it that made it quite magnetic. I went back at least four or five times to see it afterward probably in the hope it would get better with each viewing and even saw it a few more times on cable over the decades. Despite the ridiculously simple comic book style plot and one-note characters, the film’s super stylish looks combined with the genre and 1950’s/1980’s era blending made for a unique visual experience. Storytelling? Eh, there’s not so much to be thrilled over. Personally, I feel the film hasn’t aged well, original to modern cult following aside. But at least it gets straight to the action stuff if you just want that and well, you get your money’s worth if you go in totally blind expecting exactly what’s onscreen.

Plot-wise, it’s all this and no more, but I’m going to over-explain a tad here: During a concert in her hometown, singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped by a biker gang and held hostage in another part of a fictional city.  A fan (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) calls in her tough guy ex-soldier brother Tom Cody (Michael Paré), who was previously romantically involved with Ellen, to go rescue her. He initially turns down the request, but (duh!), why else would he make the long trip back home? He ends up teaming up with Ellen’s new and wealthy jerk boyfriend/manager (Rick Moranis) and another ex-soldier he meets in a dive bar (Amy Madigan), and for a $10,000 fee, rescues Ellen, who thinks Tom only saved her for the money.

SOF_02

Duck Tales! Ooo woo ooooo!!!

That mostly turns out to be false, and Tom later takes on the gang leader Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, in too small of a role for a film’s main villain) in a fight with custom made sledgehammers where the outcome is more predictable than you’d think. While the end result is beautifully stylish and super easy to follow, for my tastes it’s too basic of a plot with no surprises or big twists. While the film packs in a lot of flash and neon-soaked noir-ishness, it ends up being up far too predictable despite that flashiness that it’s a bit disappointing.

Continue reading

Ghostbusters and Night of The Living Dead Hit Into the Dead 2 as Updates

Nice. In addition to Ghostbusters getting a full-on remaster this year as an updated modern console game for PS4, Xbox One and Switch available physically via your local Gamestop or digitally via their respective online stores, (the PC version is currently only available digitally through the Epic Games store), the upcoming versions of Into the Dead 2 will also be receiving the same nifty time limited additions in the form of its own new Ghostbusters and Night of the Living Dead expansions when the game releases on PC and consoles on October 25, 2019. Check out both trailers above and below and yes, add this fun stuff to your wishlist if you like what you’re seeing (and own one of the systems listed, of course).

These expansions are also or will be available for the mobile version of the popular zombie game for a short time, but this one’s all new to me, as I don’t play games on my phone (Hey, the screen is too small and I’m too busy with console and PC games to have enough time for mobile games, sorry!). I’m guessing over 100 million downloads on mobile devices worldwide is a good thing, right?

-GW

Arrow Video November Releases: No Turkeys Here!

arrow video logoWell, November will be nice and bloody come Turkey Day and into December thanks to these three Arrow Video releases. If you’re not watching the sportsball games on that day, why not plop down on the sofa with some horror flicks to keep your eyes wide open after that high dosage of tryptophan and too much pie you’re eaten?

Here’s a look at what’s on the way:

the-initiaton_av071 THE INITIATION [Blu-ray] (11/8) SRP: $34.95

HERE’S TO BEING YOUNG… STAYING YOUNG… AND DYING YOUNG.

Marking TV star Daphne Zuniga’s debut in a leading role, The Initiation ranks among the finest of the college-based stalk-and-slash flicks – now finally restored in glorious High-Definition!

Kelly’s new sorority has a special initiation ritual in store for her – an after-hours break-in of her father’s department store. But what begins as a night of harmless college fun turns sour when, once inside the enormous mall, Kelly and her fellow pledges find themselves locked in for the night… with a deadly intruder stalking the corridors.

Arriving in 1984, The Initiation might have been late to the slasher party, but, alongside the likes of The House on Sorority Row and The Mutilator, it remains one of the stronger entries to emerge in the latter days of the slice-and-dice boom.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues
  • Sorority Saga – a brand new interview with writer Charles Pratt, Jr.
  • Pledge Night – a brand new interview with actor Christopher Bradley
  • Dream Job – a brand new interview with actress Joy Jones
  • Extended Scene
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Screenplay & Production Schedule (BD -ROM Content)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn

First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver

More below the jump… that’s where they belong, mua-ha-ha-haaaaa…

Continue reading

Arrow Video July Releases: Hot Summer Nights, Indeed

While there are only a mere three releases in July from Arrow Video through MVD Entertainment, they’re all worth nabbing thanks to being a nice set of eclectic films to watch. Amusingly enough, all are about women in trouble and/or various states of undress for plot purposes (of course). A classic sex comedy, a weird, unintentionally funny sex drama, and a killer Japanese film set that’s one of the ultimate revenge flick compilations of the era all await your eager eyeballs and shelf space.

The Swinging Cheerleaders AV058First up: on July 5th, say hello to The Swinging Cheerleaders (MSRP $34.95, Blu-ray + DVD, MVD Shop or Amazon pre-order)

They gave it all for their team…

 

Jack Hill spent the seventies specializing in tough female characters. He made movies about girl gangs (Switchblade Sisters) and women in prison (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage), turned Pam Grier a star with Coffy and Foxy Brown, and contributed to the Cheerleaders line of drive-in favorites with The Swinging Cheerleaders.

 

Kate, an undergraduate at Mesa University, goes undercover as a cheerleader for her college newspaper in order to expose ‘female exploitation in contemporary society’. But instead of oppression she finds love, friendship and a bigger fish to fry: corruption in the football team, headed up by the coach and his pals.

 

A favorite of Quentin Tarantino, who screened it at the very first Tarantino Film Fest, The Swinging Cheerleaders features a cast of cult favorites including Colleen Camp (Wayne’s World, Game of Death), Rainbeaux Smith (Caged Heat, The Incredible Melting Man) and future Playmate of the Month Rosanne Katon.

 

BONUS MATERIALS
– Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
– High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
– Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill, recorded exclusively for this release
– Brand new interview with Jack Hill
– Archive interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor
– Archive interview with Hill and Johnny Legend
– Q&A with Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2012
– TV spots
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
– Illustrated booklet containing new writing by Cullen Gallagher (first pressing only)

 

But wait, there’s more!
Continue reading

WATCH THIS: Nothing Lasts Forever… Unless It’s on TCM!

Nothing Lasts Forever MP 

Finally, one of the bucket list 80’s film for many folks my age is coming to TV legally and I couldn’t be happier. Well, I actually COULD be happier if TCM was showing Nothing Lasts Forever at a more sane hour. For a big premiere of a film many have desired seeing on the big screen, that 2am (EST) start time just made me say, “really?” out loud when I found out. Which was funny because I was at the library and when I said that, two guys who were talking next to me thought I was referring to the conversation they were having that I didn’t hear. Oops.

Okay, not that I’m not a complete night owl at times (all my candles have wicks on either end), but come on now. Still, this bodes well if the damn film also nets a DVD/Blu-Ray release at some point in the near future. Or at the very least, more and earlier showings on TCM. Here’s a fan-made trailer from a few years back just to pique your interest in case you’re wondering what I’m gushing about:

(thanks, mpjstreeter!)
 

I’m not sure if they track their ratings as obsessively as network stations do, but I’m betting a lot of people will be staying up later than usual to catch this. The other upside to all this is if you still happen to be awake and giddy afterwards, you can sit through John Carpenter’s 1981 classic, Escape From New York, which amusingly enough fits the theme of the previous film, albeit in a more comically violent manner. Anyway, I’ll put on some coffee as soon as I walk in the door, maybe do a few push-ups and jump into the shower to keep awake. I was up late into the morning today (see my previous post) and had forgotten the film was on later today, er, tomorrow morning. Fear not, dear readers – I’ll be awake to see it in its entirety. My Sunday may either be spent half asleep for the better part of the morning or wishing I could see the movie again because I missed something.

MGM had better come through with a home video release at some point. I’m betting a lot of people will be replacing bootlegs with a better version that will hopefully have some decent special features.

Hikari Friday: Funko Gives You A Ghost of a Chance This Week!

HIkari Premium logo
 

Only ONE Funko Hikari Sofubi Vinyl figure up for this week’s giveaway, but there’s also the announcement of a limited edition figure you can run out and buy from Hot Topic, of all places. The freebie chance first: It’s #1 of 1500 this time and it’s a ghost you’d not want to bust at all because you’d be covered head to toe in icky marshmallow goop that’s probably a wee bit too hot to be sitting on your tender skin. Say hello to Ice Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure:

Funko Ice Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure 

Yes, you should be nice to him or he’ll get mad and grow on you! Well, that would be a good thing under non-ghostly un-possessed marshmallow man conditions. But you know the drill if you’ve seen Ghostbusters, right? Anyway, if you want a chance to win this one, hit up one of Funko’s social media sites:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

Follow the rules there and hold you breath for a week. Well, don’t REALLY hold your breath for that long, now. Otherwise, you’ll be dead and with some real ghosts only to find out there’s NO Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, only lonely moans and dirges playing every damned day and night. BOOooooooOOOOooooo! ALso, if you don’t win this time, you ca always buy that big guy at your favorite Funko retailer.

As for that other Hikari Vinyl? Attention Hot Topic shoppers! Be on the lookout for Retro Pastels Stay Puft Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure coming soon to a HT near you and online at HotTopic.com. Check him out and feel the rainbow love:

Funko Retro Pastels Stay Puft Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure 

Obvious jokes about marshmallows on mushrooms aside, I can see this one becoming a hot topic of conversation as only 500 will be made before the mold is melted. Keep and eyeball peeled and get yours soon!

Hikari Friday Giveaway: Funko’s Got Two Stay Pufts Who’d Like to Stay Put In Your Collection!

HIkari Premium logoIt’s that time of the week again and as Halloween is rolling up like a spooky candy-filled fog next Friday, Funko is giving two of you out there a chance to win.

This time out it’s a double dose of the not so friendly Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in two different paint schemes. Get lucky here and you’ll soon be a winner of either this cool Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure (#1 of 1500):

Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure 

Or this Entertainment Earth exclusive Pink Glitter Stay-Puft Figure(#1 of 1000):

Pink Glitter Stay Puft 

Of course, you need to do a little digital legwork and pop over to one of Funko’s social media channels:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

If you’re NOT a winner, the first figure is available in December and the other can be pre-ordered at Entertainment Earth using that link above. As always, Good Luck!

Hikari Friday Time! Funko Wants You To Win Something Big, Sticky And Ghosty…

HIkari Premium logoAs summer slowly winds down, what better way to close it out than with memories of roasting marshmallows and not-so scary ghost stories? Well, that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this week’s Hikari giveaway. Funko is giving away this awesome Burnt Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure (#1 of only 1500 made):

Burnt Stay Puft Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure

And yes, YOU can be the lucky winner! Or the VERY unlucky winner if that thing ever comes to life and grows to the size it did in Ghostbusters! Anyway, as usual, just hit up one of Funko’s social media sites:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

Take a chance and perhaps you’ll get that email that says you’ve won big! Er, just keep an eye out for the box WALKING down the street towards your house. If you’re a loser, you can buy one of these limited edition Premium vinyls in November at your favorite Funko retailer. Have a super and SAFE Labor Day, by the way!

Random Film of the Week: Once Upon A Time In America

Once Upon A Time In America MPThe first time I saw Once Upon A Time In America, I hated it. Not because it was a “bad” film at all, mind you. Hell, I was a mere 20 years old and not much of the older, wiser appreciator of film I’ve become (along with possibly being a little bit of a pompous ass about it), so going in at that age and “getting” all that director Sergio Leone intended was going to be way above my head. Actually, I’d read that the film was very heavily edited by the studio and that made me dislike what I saw more than any issues I had with Leone’s craft. Which was none, by the way.

That initial 139-minute release was so butchered as to render whole scenes meaningless or confusing upon my initial viewing, but there was no denying the compelling performances from the entire cast, Tonino Delli Colli’s absolutely gorgeous cinematography, Ennio Morricone’s epic, near-operatic score and Leone’s assured yet polarizing directorial choices that confused some in the theater I saw the film with who were expecting the third coming of The Godfather (a film Leone was picked to direct at one point). Yes, I “hated” the film, but I knew I had to see it again because there was enough there… no, more than enough that made it a truly great film that was chopped up and placed in what the studio felt was a proper order. I’d gather the powers that be assumed audiences weren’t patient enough to get into a film that was intentionally going to flip the crime genre on its head by being more than just a crime drama.

Flash forward thirty years and all the pieces (well, most of them) are in place, the film is back in my life (and more widely available thanks to a recent Blu-Ray version) in nearly its full glory and celebrated as a masterpiece. And yet, it’s still a properly vexing viewing experience if you go into it expecting what it’s not… Continue reading