Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'76 goodness.

The IMDb page describes its plot as...

'A herpetologist investigating a series of fatal rattlesnake attacks discovers that the creatures have been infected by a mysterious nerve gas disposed of in the desert by the military.'

I only hope somebody who does local screenings has access to a copy because I got the poster as a gift from my Japanese paper collecting pal but I just got around to looking it up now and who doesn't like a good 70s piece on animals gone amok against mankind? Looks like a genuine winner.


Monday, February 26, 2007

how to watch the oscars...

Best Oscar time ever. Free beer in a tent in Porto, Portugal at 1am as part of the Fantasporto Oporto International Film Festival. Every time PAN'S LABYRINTH won, massive cheers. And a standing ovation at Morricone's honour award. I like the Festival's anti-piracy security at the cinema door...

If you're like me...

Then you'll love this.

Photos from the platinum era of the stewardess craze.

Simply glorious!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

the trailers are rolling in...

Just noticed over at DISContent (where there is also some intelligent discussion on Canadian broadcasting regulations and from a Yank no less!) that some of the trailers in the SXSW GRINDHOUSE trailer contest are up on youtube. FOr more info on this, check our previous post on the subject.Do a search for "SXSW Grindhouse" and you will find plenty. Don't have time to sift through all of them, but here are some highlights below. Some get it, some don't. "CONG OF THE DEAD" is one of my faves, while "Mister Muerte: Trial of the Undead" would get the Italian pop art trailer award. Comments on any other decent ones?






THE CHILD MOLESTER (made with public domain footage)

Buzz buzz buzz...

My patriotic spirit is torn upon learning the news of an operatic version of David Cronenberg’s THE FLY over at Fangoria. This was announced over a year ago to premiere in 2007 but now the date is set for July 1, 2008 in Paris followed by Sept. 7 in Los Angeles. Long time Cronenberg collaborator film composer Howard Shore (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, SPIDER, THE BROOD, SCANNERS, VIDEODROME) is taking care of the music with playwright David Henry (M. BUTTERFLY) Hwang handling the lyrics. And Cronenberg is to direct. After the disasterous run of THE LORD OF THE RINGS musical here in Toronto, you would think that Cronenberg would have second thoughts on this. Make an opera of SHIVERS or THE BROOD instead!

And in my quick search for other horror movie musicals I have found the myspace page for SPIDER BABY: THE MUSICAL and then of course, there is the Toronto penned hit, EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL. Stephen King/Brian DePalma's CARRIE became a sprawling Broadway musical. Five performances and $8 million later, the show shut down. Reading up on this, in the opening scene, dozens of girls clad only in shower towels dance around, pelting Carrie with tampons, chanting, "Plug it up! Plug it up!" supposedly looks more like PORKY'S: THE MUSICAL.

And rumous has it that Stephen King is "collaborating with rocker John Mellencamp on an untitled horror musical, loosely described as a ghost story about a family staying in a cabin haunted by the ghosts of their dead relatives, each of whom will sing in a way that is consistent with their era. Says Mellencamp, 'When the 18-year-old sings, he’ll be rapping at you. When people in the 70’s are singing, they’ll be singing in the style of Broadway.'" Shoot me NOW.

What is the tally on movies to musicals? Comments anyone?

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Wonders

And just to illustrate Jesse's post below...

The Thrilla in Manila

Nancy Kwan's Wonder Women!

Tagline: "The Most DEADLY WOMEN Whoever Stalked The EARTH!"

No doubt.

it all comes tumbling down...

Thanks to Jesika Joy for emailing me with the sad news that the marquee of the Revue Cinema has tumbled down. Oh, sweet sweet irony. For more pics head over to The Torontoist for contrib bitefight's posting.

The Revue served as the last home for the Kung Fu Fridays series I ran until the family that owned it closed it along with the Royal and The Kingsways. The cinema was supposed to be designated a heritage site, but often that can create a big headache for the property owners. I recall the situation was that the sign was historical and could not be altered to keep the heritage status, but at the same time it was a safety violation, as we can now see. Click over to here for more pics.

And here is the Revue in happier times, merely 7 months ago. :(

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Taste of The Apple

The Apple (1980) is the answer to the question "What's the worst film of all time?".

It's a chilling vision of the future (1994 to be exact) where a sinister corporation uses disco music, glitter, silver lamé and star filters to control the masses...(okay, maybe they got that part of the prophecy right). Two innocent Canadians (from Moose Jaw Saskatchewan!) are pawns in the diabolical Mr Boogalow's nefarious mind-control plans. This movie starts off bad and goes through the floor to the earth's core. Dancing Riot Police! Orgies! Biblical Allegories! The worst songs you've ever heard in your life! A literal deus ex machina ending (spoiler alert!). Directed by none other than Menahem Golan of Golan-Globus fame. It has to be seen to be believed, even though you still won't believe it.

Behold the trailer...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Babs Payton did it all.

As much as we can all stand reports about Anna Nicole, I still have to thank Kenneth Anger for his dilligent work in creating the Hollywood Babylon books and revelling in the revelations of all the dirty backroom secrets of Tinseltown and more. I actually started collecting certain posters based on his books and the tragedies that lie within them. A film like 'The Party Crashers' scores a double tragic hit with both Frances Farmer and Bobby Driscoll appearing. Who could resist something like that?

Frances in her final film after years of psychiatric care and a lobotomy and Driscoll drifting downward to a drugged-out death and penniless burial in New Yorks' Potter's Field after his very bright start as a child actor in 'Song of the South', 'Treasure Island' and the excellent 'The Window'. Were they ever so low? Hollywood, at its very stinking heart, is all about exploitation.

So, enter the delicious blonde that is Barbara Payton. Fresh faced and gorgeous from the rosy-cheeked lakelands of Minnesota via Texas and her first, quick marriage and honeymoon to dreams of Hollywood stardom and an idea of how to achieve it. Lots of flings and a love of parties takes her as high as a $10 000/week salary and into the arms of such biggies as Howard Hughes, Bob Hope and any other leading man or casting couch player who could help her career or give her sex, I suppose.
I even remember reading one bit where they talked about her reputation becoming so soiled, especially with on-set romances and co-stars/movie business folks, that Gregory Peck wanted her off the set while they filmed together. He probably had her too.

All went just as expected and the booze and hard living took a toll on her professional life and her personal life and her health and all else and she wound up being stabbed, publically drunk, busted for shoplifting and a possible heroin possession, unfit mothering and loss of custody of her son due to her profane lifestyle choices and finally prostitution. Bad! Bad and getting worse until her liver failed while living with her parents and she was dead at 39 in 1967. Every bit as deserving of tabloid covers as any film temptress or professional personality of today. An almost natural cycle.

I think the only film I've seen with Barbara is the excellent 'Bride of the Gorilla' with Raymond Burr, Lon Chaney and George Sanders' (a personal favourite) brother Tom Conway who is also rumoured to have had times with Barbara. I saw a really lousy VHS copy of it so I hope to be able to find a nicer version at one time and see her other films as well because I'm oddly fascinated by her as well as anything with girls and gorillas.

Another great side note (understand that I see the tragedy here but I am mildly intrigued by all of this and the root of celebrity and exploitation...I am not gloating) to this whole story is the final days of one of Barbara's men, Steve Cochran. While I was first reading about her, his story came up and just added a big spoonful of sugar to an already sweet tale. Apparently a lover of women including Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren, Steve died of a lung infection off the coast of Guatemala while yachting with an all-girl crew of three who had no idea how to sail and careened around the waters for ten days with his corpse aboard until they were finally brought to shore in an overly frantic state, I can imagine.

Barbara released a ghost-written bio titled 'I Am Not Ashamed' in 1963 and I'd like to get one. There is also a book about the woman coming soon from John O'Dowd called 'Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye' so that might be worth a spin.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Yiddish Hamlet, Swinging Boobies and Jackie Chan

Thanks to Patrick for passing me this story relating to Toronto City Hall’s heritage department to designate the Standard Theatre at Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue as a heritage site. Originally a Yiddish cinema, the stanard later became the Victory Burlesque and lastly, was reincarnated three times as a Chinese cinema, The Golden Harvest, The Pearl and The Mandarin. Located only 3 blocks from my office where I currently write this, I began attending when it was the Pearl, catching packed Midnight shows of ARMOUR OF GOD 2: OPERATION CONDOR, HARD-BOILED, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, FONG SAI YUK, STORY OF RICKY and others. I would always be guaranteed a cheap double bill in a massive cinema, plus a snack bar rocking with exotic treats. I always wish that I dove into the Chinatown cinema circuit earlier and missed out on the days when Shaw Brothers films played in this city, but then again living in rural Ontario, I didn't have the opportunity. The cinema was a grand space and now, reading this story about the rescue, that was only the balcony!

I recorded an oral history of the space for the murmur project. If you walk by 285 Spadina, you will see a big sign of an ear on a lamp post with a telephone number and code. Dial that on your cell and you can hear me blabbing about the cinema. You can hear it on this page - BUT it is full of QT audio files that all start at once. Just hit pause on all of them and then listen at your liesure. I am at the bottom of the list.

When cleaning out another Chinatown cinema, I found a little album of photos from the Standard back in the day when it was the Golden Harvest and have had them scanned and stored in my computer until the day when I would do that big project on Toronto's Chinatown cinemas. Looks like this is as good an opportunity as any. I just hope that if the save the cinema, they don't deny recognizing the history of the space as a Chinatown cinema.

Here is the link to the article about the attempt to save the cinema.

Death Stalks On High Heels

Trippy, sleazy Giallo trailer from 1975...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

following up on The Trip...

Here is the promo that Dante has made for his project, THE MAN WITH THE KALEIDOSCOPE EYES!

more grindhouse frenzy...

Thanks to Adam Lopez at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for this link that gets you over to Yahoo video for this promo of QT and RR talkin' grindhouse and exploitation history. And here are some pics from the Weinstein Company booth at the European Film Market.

what really happened in Boston

Might be old news, but I have been away. I simply can't get enough of the Aqua Teen Terror Alert. Ahhh, the joys of movie promotion. This is almost as good as THE TINGLER shock boxes. Any other examples of promotion gone wrong?

talk amongst yourselves...

Currently rolling through all my bookmarked blogs to see what got posted in the past week while I was in Berlin. I get a kick out of cool open discussions such as the Horror Roundtable over at The Horror Blog, that just happens to originate from Canada's nation capitol. Sorry, waving my flag here...
The other neat forum is the on going Eurotrash Film Pinnacle Project over at David Z's Tomb It May Concern. Think I might have to have a EuroTrash Sunday at my apartment in the upcoming week! One contrib, Bryan Senn hits a fave Western of mine, THE GREAT SILENCE with Kinski as a bounty hunter in a winter wasteland shooting Mormons!

And there is discussion of lots of other fine films...

best poster of the year and it is only Feb!

Oh so sweet... On my last day in Berlin I got to see the movie which has the best anti-piracy intro ever! Is it really Boris Vallejo who painted it? I wonder...

"we've just finished making a movie dealing with the most talked about subject of the day... LSD"

Just got back from Berlin where I attended the European Film Market and got the low down on a number if upcoming projects that are on my radar for the Midnight Madness series at the Toronto International Film Fest. Got flyers and updates on lots of cool things. Wanted to update the blog from the road, but wireless was hit and miss.

Easily one of the highlights of the trip was sitting down and chatting with Joe Dante (who we toasted for his birthday on this blog back in November). Joe was in Berlin to drum up attention and financing on his new project, THE MAN WITH THE KALEIDOSCOPE EYES, about the making of Roger Corman's LSD flick THE TRIP. The writers include Video Watchdog master Tim Lucas and director Michael Almereyda (TWISTER, NADJA). To read more about the project, read this news flash over at the Time Out film blog. And found this trailer for the original film and a clip of a Corman interview where he talks about the film. I heard him go into depth about it during the Q&A for a screening of X: THE MAN WITH THE X RAY EYES that he attended here in Toronto a few years back. The interview comes from Media Funhouse, a NYC cable show. Check the stuff they have put up on YouTube including interviews with Russ Meyers, Tura Satana, Ted V. Mikels, Errol Morris, Mink Stole, Karen Black, Fassbinder's editor, Jane Birkin, Wong Kar-Wai, Rudy Ray Moore, and my fave comedian, Shelly Berman!

(Poster taken from The Poster Pit)

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Mighty Dolemite

"From the first to the last, I give em the blast so fast that their life is passed before they ass has even hit the grass."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I roll.

Today is the first day with my new, used car. A 1993 Volvo 245 wagon in black. I love a wagon! So, I'm celebrating alone here and now with a filmic salute to the wonderful, sensible people who created the brand. A loving people, by all accounts.

I will call her Christina. Sorry, Lars Erik.

She is only 14, after all.

Now I wait to see if the battery can survive its first incredibly cold night outside the repair shop. The ignition lottery of the morning. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 02, 2007

more trailer mash-ups...

these are old and I had the links sitting in the draft box of my email forever...

Let me dedicate the first trailer to the guy in the news recently who survived being bitten in the head by a great white:
With his free left arm, Mr Nerhus reached down and poked the shark in its eye socket. "The shark opened its mouth a bit and I tried to wriggle out."

And then from the same people who brought you the above trailer (just so you don't think I have a thing for JAWS...

trailer decontructs...

With all the frenzy and fallout from the Aqua Teen Terror alert, I happened to watch the trailer for the upcoming movie. If you haven't seen it, the cartoon series is infantile, silly absurd, surreal and hilarious. If you need examples go here, here and here (featuring David Cross as guest vocal talent). And even the Spanish like it - here. Hence the movie...

And then this morning in my mailbox comes this mock trailer made by cool kid TO artist Christopher Hutsul: