June 1st, 2004

smokin'

SGCTC

Sarah and I head into Manhattan tomorrow to record commentary for three Space Ghost Coast to Coast episodes that are going to be on the second DVD release. I have no idea what the hell to say about this stuff. There is little prep work for these things, you watch the episode and whatever you say, that's it. o retakes, no script. Mucho room for boredom and "uhh...ummmm". If, by any bizarre coincidence, any of you folks have anything you'd want to hear about regarding the epsiodes, "20.01" (Joel Hodgson from MST3K, the Moe 3000 computer), "Cookout" (Emeril Lagase, Martin Yan) and/or "Switcheroo" (First appearance of Chad Chostal, I think Elvira's in that one), let us know. Maybe it'll give us some ideas or something we can directly address. Or not. You have until early tomorrow afternoon to comment, ignore, yawn, etc.

Otherwise...well, nothing much otherwise. We stayed in and worked during the "barbecue to remember our war dead" weekend. Today I got caught in a vicious downpour which soaked the groceries, the back-up umbrella we leave in the car ran away with the dish and the spoon, apparently. If I ever find it I'll wring its neck.

We watched a few dopey movies dredged up from my kidhood recently -- Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Master of the Flying Guillotine. Squirm is more effective than you'd exepct from a cheapie movie about killer worms, some surprisingly nice touches and a goofy updating of the old '50's monster movie procedural make it work. Having a creepy worm-infested zombie lunatic hick thrown into the mix humanizes the non-human menace and there's two or three really creepy moments. The spaghetti mixed in with worms to create rooms full of critters doesn't work so well. For those who care about "modern masters of horror", it's an early Rick Baker make-up gig, mainly he shoved fake worms into fake wounds, resulting in fakey but nasty-looking burrowing eating worms sticking out of people's faces. The writer/director, Jeff Lieberman, also is responsible for the culty Blue Sunshine, a great premise with some good ideas that never takes off. Blue Sunshine is a rotten batch of LSD sold to students at Stamford during the love and peace era that has caused solid citizens to start losing their hair and go homocidal ten years later. Our hero is blamed for the first murders committed by a hairless sleeper pyscho, but the Hitchcockian man on the run routine that propelks the script is mishandled badly. Based on what happens, our protagonist would easily be cleared of the crime. Worse, ina way, no one seems aware he's wanted, he moves around freely and friends don't even know he's a supposed killer of three (and later, four). Even worse, the manhunt consists of one cop (Charles Siebert, the snotty doc from the unfunny Trapper John MD series) following him and his girlfriuend around. Anyway, the premise is really decent and creepy and the p[ayoff just never comes, the crazier, more interesting moments all happen early, and the final act just sinks with a lot of badly directed "action" as the potentially scariest and most deadly "sleeper" flips out and goes on a tepid rampage in a sequence set ina disaco straight out of a Charlie's Angels episode. The ending is so downplayed and bloodless, in every sense of the word, that it feels like the filmmakers lost interest. Oh, and the hero is played by Zalman King, later schlockmeister supreme 'creator" of Two Moon Junction, 9 and a Half Weeks and Red Show Diaries. Imagine Geddy Lee and Al Pacino having a wild-eyed, creepy, twitchy child who took acting lessons from John Cassavettes. That's Zalman King, thespian. He seems crazier than the Blue Sunshine victims. Anyway, it's an interesting movie despite it's many flaws, I recommend checking it out as an example of low-budget, odd 70's paranoia horror. Someone should remake this and punch it all up, it has a nice concept to spin off from, esp. with the political stuff and whatnot.

Master of the FLying Guillotine is just classic WTF hong kong action. This is the one where a quarter of the movie is a series of arena fights between chinese actors using different weapons, styles, and bad body makeup and fake facial hair to emulate Japanese, Thai, Javanese and Indian warriors that more than border on racist caricature. In this sequence alone you get a one armed boxer, a Javanese blade fighter, Thai kickboxing, cheating Japanese knife action, eagle claw style, monkey style, snake style, fighting on poles over swords, eyes ripped out, stomach torn out, hee-lkarious pantsing action, groin kicks (effective and non-effective), double knock out deaths, and of course, decapitation via flying guillotine. The Master of said head-cleaving habidashery is also bliond, replete with Zatoichi-like ear and eye twitching. Oh, and there's the Indian fakir whose arms telescope to about ten feet long. Must I tell you that he is the shit? As you might guess, this is one helluva crazy martial arts film, Short on plot, long on crazy kung fu action, trickery, clever and/or stupid deaths. Worth catching. Sundance is running it at the moment -- don't ask me why, after decades of being on local crap tv and then on Showtime Beyond-type cable I guess the screen re-release somehow made it a worthy indy flick for the artsy craftsy festival crowd. Sheesh. Is it just me, or does watching Sundance or IFC often make you feel like you're watching modern ABC afterschool specials made by pretentious assholes?

Guess that's it. Don't forget to try to come to MOCCA, and keep a lookout for a few of our projects coming out soon -- the new Mad with the Def Leppard severed arm strip should ship soon, the DHC Book of Witchcraft ships the last week of June (I belive Tony Millionaire might have a strip in there, from some late press I've seen - if so, I'm really looking fwd to that) and the second SLG anthology for Free Comic Book Day in early July features a Bill and Ted cover, two M&C pages and a 4-page preview of the Bill and Ted books. End of plug.