04
Aug
18

KEN HUTCHISON STICKS OUT IN GANDHI

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 12.50.23 PMACTOR: Ken Hutchison PROJECT: Gandhi YEAR: 1982 CHARACTER: Police Sergeant KNOWN FOR: Straw Dogs, Ladyhawke, The Wrath of God, Sweeney 2

INTRO: British actor but in this case director Richard Attenborough may just have known to cast one of England’s more sinister yet underrated and mostly unknown to mainstream audiences bad guy’s bad guy in his epic biopic of Mahatma Gandhi. If he didn’t, we realized it, and Ken Hutchison appears in an early scene when the famous peace activist from India was a lawyer, with hair. TRAITS: Hutchison, our favorite heavy in STRAW DOGS, plays a police sergeant with a villainous mustache in South Africa, making sure a protest against English rule forbidding Indians riding first class on trains, by burning “passes of our committee and their supporters,” doesn’t pan out, and slugs Ben Kingsley’s title character with a nightstick, several times but, ultimately, to no avail. Gandhi still manages to burn his pass albeit extremely beaten, as Hutchison’s character is on the wrong side of history and yet seems to savor every second. CLOSING: One can only imagine if Ken’s character, years later as a retired cop sitting in a tavern, watches Gandhi on television or before, while reading about his success, realizes, I Knew Him Then. In a roundabout way, that formidable Police Sergeant paved the way for the freedom of India.

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13
May
18

EXPLAINING OUR SITE TITLE LARGE EARTH DISRUPTION

5Sue Lyon is mostly known for Stanley Kubrick’s LOLITA just as CITIZEN KANE brings Orson Welles to mind quicker than any of his other motion pictures, in which he either starred, directed, or both. The reason for either (rather random) example is perfection. One being the girl, the other being the picture itself: the first unhindered by time; the latter uncut by studio heads. So let’s now center primarily on Sue Lyon to describe what the name of this Cult Film Freak Character File extension site means…

LARGE EARTH DISRUPTION is an initially vague warning that means a whole lot in the low, low-budget science-fiction thriller THE END OF THE WORLD starring Sue Lyon along with the man she feared at the drive-in theater (Hammer’s FRANKENSTEIN) as she’s seated beside James Mason in the aforementioned Kubrick classic: Christopher Lee is, as usual, a formidable antagonist but in a more subtle way than usual since he takes form of a very mellow priest, holed up at a rural monastery in what looks like a small desert town also harboring unseen suburbs under the bright 1970’s sun…

It took Lyon’s fictional husband scientist played by Kirk Scott to drive there, together, on a curious whim from a reading on his computer monitor at work: LARGE EARTH DISRUPTION, digital font letters stacked greenish blue upon a black screen led by a pulsating square cursor, which is, basically, the beginning of the world’s end i.e. THE END OF THE WORLD. And there you have it.

13
May
18

MAXIMILLIAN SCHELL IN SAM PECKINPAH’S CROSS OF IRON

600px-CrossOfIron_-_MP40_5PROJECT: Cross of Iron YEAR: 1977 INTRO: At this point, after Sam Peckinpah had been established as a legendary director, on set he wasn’t even sure what characters would die on which day’s filming: but two main characters really sets this anti-war World War II drama apart from all others… other than being on the sympathetic side of the German soldier… including TALENT: Maximilian Schell KNOWN FOR: The Black Hole, Judgement at Nuremberg. CHARACTER: Captain Hauptmann Stransky , S.S., German Army…

TRAITS: There’s one in every war film. A man in charge who isn’t supposed to be. It’s impossible not to mention James Coburn’s character, Steiner, lower in rank but with more experience: butting heads with Schell’s Stransky; the latter who wants to be a great war veteran without doing the kind of work Steiner’s already suffered through to get to this point: his end where Stansky pretentiously begins. GOAL: To attain the Iron Cross, the most coveted metal in the German Army.  URGENCY: That’s the hook of Stransky’s storyline, actually… His need for the titular medal cuts into what he’ll do to achieve it: while others move forward, risking their lives behind enemy lines in Russia, he… while having a very private (and merely implied) fling with a handsome corporal… stays behind the scenes with the man in charge, James Mason, who has a much different past as a man at war.

CLOSURE: One of the all time great endings makes this patchwork masterpiece by Peckinpah stand out: As the heat of the enemy troops move in at a deadly level, Coburn grabs Schell, taking him from inside to outside to whos, “Where the Iron Crosses Grow.” And it takes a great actor like Schell to bring such a giant weakling to life: sure he’s supposed to be hated, but he carries his own worth in how he only knows what he wants, and wants only what he’s afraid to achieve.

10
May
18

DENNIS HOPPER IN BOB RAFELSON’S BLACK WIDOW

32203042_474430709652777_7796733967280898048_nPROJECT: Black Widow YEAR: 1987 INTRO: Debra Wingers as a FBI agent stuck in an office room with “green windows.” She takes on the wife of several dead or dying millionaires, including one played by our TALENT: Dennis Hopper KNOWN FOR: Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Rebel Without A Cause, Night Tide, Out of the Blue & Blue Velvet.

CHARACTER: Ben is a “Toymaker from Dallas,” says one of Winger’s fellow agents: Still, she’s the only to believe that Theresa Russell’s titular vixen is one person.

TRAITS: Ben is the second husband as the movie progresses and the first one actually shown. His sister is played by Diane Ladd, who has the same doubts as Winger, but she accepts a hefty payoff. GOAL: Hopper’s character has no goal: the goal belongs to his wife, and when he looks for another bottle to cap the night, she points him to a spiked one, cutting right to the next scene: the funeral.  URGENCY: That happens during the next sequence with last husband victim Nicol Williamson. Dennis Hopper’s but one in a body count. His best scene with Russell is in a futuristic looking room full of toys after a phone call (where he jokingly describes his hot wife as looking a little “scrag”) complaining about a strange robot spaceship toy with mysterious functionality. But there has to be a reason he’d to such a small role.

CLOSURE: Perhaps it’s his friendship with the man he turned from a Roger Corman throwaway b actor to an A list star after being cast in Hopper’s own EASY RIDER: Jack Nicholson has appeared in a number of Neo Film Noirs under the direction of FIVE EASY PIECES auteur Bob Rafelson (including KING OF MARVIN GARDENS and especially THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE remake), who’s most comfortable in this genre in which WIDOW is a prime example of. MEDIA: Cult Film Freak Review of Jack Nicholson & Bob Rafelson Noir Trilogy.

09
May
18

LEO ROSSI AS BUDD IN THE FIRST HALLOWEEN 2

ePROJECT: Halloween II YEAR: 1981 INTRO: The second in the original Halloween franchise, and the second to feature Michael Myers as the third would consist in a world where the iconic fictional character, not the killer, exists. TALENT: Leo Rossi KNOWN FOR: Either RELENTLESS or FAST GETAWAY.

CHARACTER: “Everything you ever says is either Hell or Shit or Damn,” says the pictured-above Ana Alicia as an uppity nurse: In fact Rossi’s character, who retorts in a glib tone, “Sorry, I guess I just fuck up all the time,” one of two ambulance driver’s that spend more time at the central hospital than on the streets of suburbia, is so obnoxious even his name is… obnoxious: Budd. TRAITS: He’s the Alpha of the two drivers, and what’s ironic is the Beta actually played a (cloned) character named Beta in THE LAST STARFIGHTER, Lance Guest, who falls for Jamie Lee Curtis’s sole-surviving the-night-before Laurie Strode while Rossi actually scores with Pamela Susan Shoop’s gorgeous Nurse Karen, who has one of the best bodies in horror film history. Who’s this about again? GOAL: Leo Rossi, who, after other good-enough performances in theatrical flicks such as ACCUSED and RELENTLESS, became a sort of Brando-of-Straight-to-VHS, meaning that he’s the best for the buck for superlow budget non-theatrical releases: His goal here is to do what he does, quite easily: Bang Nurse Karen… Not a feat since they’d obviously been dating.

URGENCY: Well he pretty much climaxes before he peaks: one of the many characters to be killed in a bodycount horror flick, during or after having sex: a list that includes Kevin Bacon in FRIDAY THE 13TH. CLOSURE: It seems Leo Rossi’s Budd, who shares a few extremely lame and contrived horny-guy rendition of, “Amazing Grace, come sit on my face: Don’t make me cry… I need your pie,” which is even bad even for him, exists merely to provide Laurie a good boyfriend in comparison. MEDIA: Cult Film Freak Review of H2.

08
May
18

DRUNKEN RAMBLING ON SUSAN TYRRELL IN FAT CITY

fatcity03FAT CITY centers on the lives of small-town boxers in Texas, and Stacy Keach is trying to cut the drinking habit and get back into the ring. He gets a job picking fruit, befriends a young hopeful Jeff Bridges, and things seem to be going alright, until he enters a bar for a drink or two, and mostly thanks to Susan Tyrrell, he sidesteps his comeback and becomes a full blown barfly…

But he’s nothing compared to Tyrrell, who, sitting at the end of the bar with her soft-spoken black boyfriend, shouts at all the men in the bar and is downright scary. Years ago, in my inexperienced youth… before I knew women like this actually existed in every corner bar in America… I had though her performance was way over-the-top. But the more I rewatch, the more I realize how important her screeching drunken wretch character is, and how she brings the film to a level of cosmic awesomeness: doing what no other actress can pull off. Lending a completely satisfied lush-till-the-end persona to an ultra realistic nerve-wrenching level, Susan allows Keach to climb his way out of the bottle. It would take a very special person to show the light to a man who can drink anyone under the table, that is, he’d have to meet his match, per say, and that’s where I believe no other actress, without Susan’s masculine strength and mongoose-of-steel determination, could do. In other words, being a film about boxing, the real challenge for the main character is out of the ring, into the barroom, and back out again. Whether her character, for Keach, represents the end of a road, or the beginning of a new one… He realizes it’s a path he couldn’t muster, no matter how tough and experienced he may be. ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ON APRIL 6th, 2010 FROM A NOW DEFUNCT MOVIE BLOG

03
May
18

MARK HAMILL AS LUKE SKYWALKER IN THE LAST JEDI

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PROJECT: The Last Jedi YEAR: 2018 INTRO: The second STAR WARS movie in the new trilogy after Disney bought the franchise from George Lucas. TALENT: Mark Hamill KNOWN FOR: STAR WARS and for us, CORVETTE SUMMER.

CHARACTER: Luke Skywalker POSITION:  At this point, everyone knows who Skywalker is, and that’s the intention: he is to THE LAST JEDI what Han Solo was to the first new-franchise picture, THE FORCE AWAKENS: although first-billed the old-timers are third to fourth hat to the new characters that are good, especially Daisy Ridley as Rey, the new heroine who thinks she could be, guess what? TRAITS: It seemed that Mark’s Luke would be the new Obi Wan, training the new central character Jedi the ropes, but writer/director Rian Johnson decided to make Luke a dry and caustic curmudgeon who, living in a remote tropical island, wants nothing to do with The Force or this new star war against his nephew/Darth Vader’s grandson. GOAL: The problem is that Luke doesn’t have any goal. Rey tries to talk him into it. The audience, meanwhile, wants Luke to be Luke but he stands firm to be a vegetable, even while giving her one quick lesson in lotus meditation. It’s obvious The Force is based on Buddhism but it’s a bit too obvious here, for the first time in the franchise. They might as well have had a pot-bellied statue of Yoda.

URGENCY: That’s the 11th hour when Luke does save the day, and it makes up for his idyllic spite, and Hamill turns in a good performance albeit mostly a one-dimensional grouch. CLOSURE: Since Han Solo died in AWAKENS it was predictable that Hamill would kick it here. That’s until Carrie Fisher died in real life. But they just had to let the epicenter of the entire franchise go. Now all vets will be missing, including Chewbecca, played by a new actor who has thinner shoulders and is five inches shorter than Peter Mayhew. Fans notices. Well, this one did (and with SOLO coming, does). MEDIA: Cult Film Freak Review of THE LAST JEDI.

18
Feb
17

DUTIFUL DEFENSE OF THE LOATHED & INFAMOUS JAWS 3D

il_570xn-629277202_cozfNot being able to read to confirm the truth, and having attempted to quit caffeine and cigarettes, a nervous Rick Shaw had heard through the grapevine that his cinema mentor and landlord was infatuated with a second sequel/third movie that the world despised…

Word is, when you did the super epic review of JAWS 3D on Cult Film Freak, along with a few criticisms there’s a deep adoration beneath… Is this true?

First off: During that time, the early eighties, the 3D gimmick was very popular. Like the 1950’s, it was all about things coming at the screen, and being used for a JAWS film, you’d think the shark would be the main vessel to pop out at the audience, like the advertisement marquee in the second Back To The Future. Instead, probably due to the attempt of making the shark look real, up close, which was always a problem, only background props, like dragon heads decorating the underwater tour, are thrust upon the audience for them to reach their hands out at; a perfect smiley icebreaker on a first date. Or the very beginning when, instead of a suspenseful slaughter of a teen girl skinny dipping, or showoffs photographing Quint’s sunken Orca, in its perspective, the shark beheads a small fish… Pretty weak stuff…

But you like the movie, right? Or love it, even… Which is mind-boggling!

Calm down and we’ll take a stab at answering the overall big question… What makes JAWS 3D a movie that is very enjoyable and thoroughly addicting, and far more pleasurable than what’s called a Guilty Pleasure, has to do with a man who created his very own Sub-Genre: Irwin Allen’s big screen Disaster Films had pretty much ended with the very underrated WHEN TIME RAN OUT, but there were still TV movies with an eclectic all-star cast frantically stuck in a dire circumstance: Herein there’s not a cruise ship upturning or a giant building burning but a grandiose Sea World type of place, so ahead of its time there’s a parenthetical aura of Science-Fiction throughout…

So while the 3D aspect is pretty embarrassing, the third JAWS also fails to fill the shoes of not the Spielberg JAWS, which is a complete impossibility, but the semi-solid JAWS 2 that covered the teen body count sub-genre decently enough, and continuing my defense from the original site that got you so concerned, JAWS 3 had absolutely nowhere to turn but to make the location a gimmick rather than the creature or its sporadic human snacks, and it didn’t fail, entirely.

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Autographed by Joe Alves

Okay, so… Do you think the Irwin Allen touch was intentional?

It was more of a shove, and, it was mentioned, in person… to director Joe Alves who just nodded his head vacantly, and not necessarily in agreement. More of an, “Ok, fine, I accept that theory.” Interesting fella. Had a bunch of storyboards for all three JAWS flicks. He was really short and my personal nick name for him was “The Wizard of JAWS” since he’d done everything, from making the shark to finally getting his chance to direct. So it probably wasn’t intended to be a Disaster flick involving a killer fish, and there is hardly an all-star cast. Dennis Quaid, as Chief Brody’s grownup oldest son, and his girl, Bess Armstrong as well as Leah Thompson and… Archie Bunker’s wife’s son weren’t even as familiar as Louis Gosset Jr. (who hadn’t won an Oscar yet) or Aussie heartthrob Simon McCorkindale; the first playing the Murray Hamilton “We need to keep the park open to make money at all costs!” and the Robert Shaw shark killer role, combined with an attention loving Geraldo Rivera exploitive journalist. But, long story short, what the director did create, somewhat successfully, was making the grandiose Water Park seem like an attraction where nothing could or would or should go wrong: its success not only important to Gosset’s bigwig capitalist but everyone employed, and to the public…

In Irwin Allen disaster movies, the first half introduces the characters while the second deals with the problems that occur in pockets along the way. Same exact thing happens here while the suspense, channelled into this particular plot-line and straying from the shark itself, beats the pants off of a current blockbuster that borrowed the idea: a large creature running amok and turning JURASSIC WORLD into shambles: A god-awful film that received excellent reviews, especially compared to this maligned disaster, or better put, Bonafide Disaster film that, while being pretty corny, campy and unbelievable, got an unfair shake and yet still holds up as a breezy piece of afternoon time-filling cinema, dammit. And that’s that! So don’t quit smoking till you’re old like me, and get wired on some coffee and take a look at the second JAWS film… Or if you already have, taken it in again and, see what you think…

16
Feb
17

BRIEFLY HOPPING TO THE RIBBETING DEFENSE OF FROGS

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Year: 1972

A stressed Rick Shaw couldn’t believe that his movie mentor… no matter how deep into camp cinema… would consider a movie with this title a low budget classic…

Seems the movie FROGS gets a lot of flack, especially for the title, allowing the camp value to be revealed right up front… Do you think, in the history of cult cinema, FROGS should be, or should have been, more respected?

One time, a few years back, while shopping in a supermarket, there was a kid. around ten or eleven, who saw the DVD of FROGS in one of those bargain racks, and the way he looked at the cover was a wonderful thing to experience. And he had guts, that boy; picking up the case and carrying it over to his mother. Being far away I saw and couldn’t hear as he lifted it up to her; obviously asking if she’d buy it for him. I predicted her head would shake, and that was that. The poor little guy, curious about that brilliant cover with a frog having swallowed everything except the victim’s hand, could have learned a lesson on how movies were made before computers and, well… hell… he’d probably have hated it so, maybe mommies do know best after all.

And doubling back to your question: FROGS is the perfect title but what makes it an instant punchline is that these creatures, except for the rare poisonous ones, don’t have the cinematic potential of a shark or, a lion or, a swarm of bees. How the film is pieced together means everything. The reptiles are all photographed, poised on nature, aiming themselves, or rather… seeming to be aimed towards the New Orleans mansion, draped in idyllic shade by immense trees from a surrounding swamp, and most important, owned by corporate polluter Ray Milland, whose family are an eclectic lot of spoiled rich folk – the kind that Tennessee Williams thrived on. Perhaps NIGHT OF THE FROG would have been a better title. Then again, his IGUANA movie was hardly scary at all!

Well it wasn’t mean to be… oh, you’re joking, sorry… Anyhow, what your’e saying is, FROGS is more character than creature-driven? 

It’s actually both. Pretty much an equal, perfect hybrid as the family, through dialogue and movement, show their true color as human beings, not being able to sleep because of the noisy frogs at night so they had started to poison them the day before. The only real good guy is Sam Elliott’s freelance nature magazine photographer, Pickett Smith, who, having been brought into a July 4th party after an accident involving his canoe and a beer-rowdy speedboat, isn’t smug and preachy like he would be if FROGS were made today… the reptiles, from all kinds of lizards to turtles to alligators, get nastier and nastier yet it never seems contrived or forced. The camera eye’s manipulation of these cold-blooded antagonists occur thanks to cinematography. Moving Pictures in a literal sense. And the amount of time between showing the actors in their day-lit exterior stage play and the reptiles gets shorter in length as the story intensifies… My God, this is beginning to sound like a David Lean picture!

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Cool Foreign Poster

What some consider hell others call heaven, and yet, there aren’t very many FROGS fanatics out there: How do b-movie buffs compare FROGS to other Eco Horror flicks? 

Eco Horror. A genre within a genre. And to hell with them because FROGS is one of the best of its kind in an era that was sort of continuing the work done in the 1950’s. As for the cast – there’s a secondary couple other than Elliott and Milland’s pretty perfect girl daughter played by Joan Van Ark… Two actors that have passed on, Lynn Borden recently and Adam Roarke years ago, who also appeared together in DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY and THIS IS A HIJACK, have important supporting roles without existing merely to back the leads. Both play has-been high school beauties; she’s just beginning to show some age, and he winds up scoping out a younger woman, and not in a subtle manner. There’s even a conversation with the couple inside their bedroom (or a guest bedroom), talking about a hopeful inheritance. They’re soap-opera-interesting enough to like despite being completely selfish and… unlikeable. Even Elliott is drab and impersonal.

It’s been a while… There were actually alligators in this? 

Unfortunately, yes. One, or two. And it’s a shame because once the family dwindles down, it’s a kind of cheat or short cut to get rid of the excess baggage using large and powerful creatures. Even before the Robert Forster cult classic, ALLIGATOR, it was a bit much having what could have done a lot more damage all along. In other words, with a group of these ferocious and powerful, leftover dinosaurs, why would any of the small lizards matter at all? But hey, why argue a bizarre masterpiece? Oh and here’s some words from that very nice lady, actress Lynn Borden on the power of FROGS through the eyes of a victim!

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Sam with Adam’s shirt & Lynn’s pic

Okay well, the curtains seem to close once the link goes up and, let’s revisit FROGS one day and get into more scenes with some of the other side-cast including the guy who played Roarke’s weakling nephew, who was abused by his convict boyfriend in a strange Cornel Wilde flick called SHARKS’ TREASURE and, anyway, here’s one last question centered on Sam Elliott… For a guy that usually bursts right through the screen, even when playing laidback tough guys, he hardly has a pulse: Do you think it’s intentional? 

First off, this was before he grew the signature mustache; one that would eventually resemble a Wookie janitor’s push broom. And second, he’s the main character, so this is what we refer to as The Frozen Lead, usually occurring when there’s a lot of others around… The life of the party doesn’t always throw the party given the stress of ownership… Actually, in a technical sense, Ray Milland does that so Sam is actually the Buried Lead here… But given the part as a stranger in a strange land, he remains constantly level-headed, even during an intense, frantic and deadly situation. And while he does a fine job, it must be difficult for any really good actor to hold back so much while others step into the light. He keeps a poker face and lets Milland hold the real cards despite that character being subjected to a wheelchair… As far as Sam goes, there are plenty of examples of great actors who, early on, toned themselves down almost too much… And many think this is done on purpose, or, in spite… But it’s unlikely that an actor or actress would think, “I know I’m in a preposterous turkey so I’ll suck real bad,” unless they’re already legendary and have nothing to lose, and just want to work. Yet Milland, like Elliot, does a good enough job in the co-pilot’s seat despite receiving first-billing. One of those “We’re lucky to have ’em” situations. Then again, compared to THE THING WITH TWO HEADS, this movie is LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

15
Feb
17

VIEWING DANA ANDREWS IN CURSE OF THE DEMON

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Year: 1957

Rick Shaw can’t read, so, not being able to journey through Cult Film Freak for background into, has personally enjoyed a few movies, like LAURA and BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, starring his landlord’s favorite actor, Dana Andrews, but was curious about one of Dana’s better known b-movies that seemed a sort of demotion of cinematic value for such a serious, squared-jawed presence…

What was the science fiction horror British production, CURSE OF THE DEMON, for  Dana Andrews’ career?

A very wonderful thing. But who knows if he felt that way at the time, when he’d veered from the A-list into B-movie status. Obviously he was happy enough with the results since he wanted the director, Jacques Tourneur, back to do THE FEARMAKERS the very next year. Then again, Andrews and Tourneur had worked before, a decade earlier. CANYON PASSAGE was Dana’s greatest Western. And by the way, something to discuss later… Every Western he starred in had to do with a man who goes to the gallows, or is in threat of being hung by some kind of lynch mob or kangaroo court: he or someone else… But this isn’t about cowboys hanging cowboys, sorry…

Well it is about Dana and Jacques… What do you think of Dana’s performance in CURSE OF THE DEMON?

First off, CURSE OF THE DEMON is also known as NIGHT OF THE DEMON. That’s the British version, a longer cut, and those scenes aren’t really necessary, so the movie that’s more widely available, titled with the CURSE, is better: gets to the point at hand, centering on a replacement for a slain English scientist who was about to expose a… what he considers a phony cult of demonologists following one Doctor Karswell, played brilliantly by Niall McGinnis. So the film’s best moments have this elegant, rotund and surprisingly subtle and polite character showing Dana he’s for real and not a trickster or sham, but without fully proving it. There’s a  wonderfully lavish scene where the Bad Doctor conjures up a windstorm during his own mansion daytime party wherein he’s performing tricks for children. When everyone runs inside it is very reminiscent of a film that hadn’t yet been made: Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS… And hey, wait, your initial question wasn’t even answered, was it?

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Insert Art

We’ll get back to it… About what you said: Is there an overall Alfred Hitchock vibe? It sounds like it would given the plot…

Yes and no. Mostly it’s a forerunner to a string of ongoing movies that would become extremely popular the following decade: concerning gadgets and espionage. It’s been mentioned already on Cult Film Freak and Karswell is very much like a stock villain in that franchise. But what can be disclosed here, and isn’t over there, follows up on the Yes to your Hitchcock question. There is a Demon, and we get to see him, all of him, right up front within the first ten minutes, which the director felt was deleting the suspense for the rest of the movie. This would have been much more in the Hitchcock vein had the creature been hidden till at least what we call the King Kong 45-Minute Mark. What remains is a sort of dark comedy blended into the investigative nature of Dana Andrews and ingenue Peggy Cummins’s entertaining and breezy rollercoaster ride that Karswell puts them on. Plus there’s a Film Noir vibe on how Tourneur, who epitomized the genre with OUT OF THE PAST, plays with alley night shadows and the ambiguous nature of the film’s lead and villain. The girl is the only person up front about everything. Her uncle was the scientist killed in the beginning, and while Dana’s in it for his job and eventually, his life… when Karswell gives him the curse so that the Demon will visit in a week’s time… she’s got revenge on the mind.

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Didn’t Rune Dana’s Career

Okay, back to basics: How do you rate this for Dana Andrews as far as performance goes?

It’s his best horror flick. Given some of the junk he’d be thrown into later, in the sixties, takes away from the fact that CURSE OF THE DEMON is an incredible movie with just about everything… And it’s got to be said, even from the biggest of fans, Dana’s acting isn’t perfect here. A lot of times it feels like he’s sailing his way through the dialogue, using that perfect voice as a crutch, and when facing immense danger, if you put a glass of sherrie in his hand it’d probably stay filled. But then again… this provides his character a sort of unflinching quality that makes everything else stand out as having to absorb the residual intensity. While Dana isn’t the only person who could have played the part, like in LAURA and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, his comfortable performance neatly fits within his noted minimalist style: He doesn’t try to take away from what the picture’s really about. In this case, a formidable monster that was actually, arguably, better off experienced at the beginning so that the audience wasn’t depending on that and that alone for closure. What’s important here is the “landing strip” the beast lays out before it rams straight at its victim. While Dana’s non-believing gentleman hero knows nothing of what’s to come, we know everything, and our fears lie on not what will kill him, or how, but where… For in CURSE OF THE DEMON, Where means everything.

11
Feb
17

MAGNIFYING THE DISCO CHROME OF CORVETTE SUMMER

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Year: 1978

Rick Shaw, who is Jim Tate aka Cult Film Freak’s illiterate basement boarder, had a helluva time figuring STAR WARS out since the opening scroll could’ve been flying paper with squashed flies, but his curiosity about Luke Skywalker in a hod rod flick peaked his interest, and he wanted to get the general story down up front…

So what’s the main plot of CORVETTE SUMMER?

It’s simple, really, and the complications arise during the thrust of the plot wherein Mark Hamill’s lonely auto shop high school senior has to find the prized vehicle he himself made, and that all the class took great interest in after the completion. But like all great movie pawns… a character who goes on a trip and bad things happen like falling dominoes… it’s he alone that has to search, going from California to Las Vegas.

Of all the films that wind up in Las Vegas, or even the ones that begin and end there or stay-put the whole time, what distinguishes CORVETTE SUMMER?

Las Vegas is shown mostly during the daytime. The buildings are like skeletons of great beasts; monstrous bones burning in the sun, casting their shadows upon this very little guy in comparison to everything… even back home. It makes the location more of a desolate zone than a hotbed for partying and good times. In one daylight scene, Kenny’s sitting Indian style, writing to his auto shop teacher, and it’s as, even with so many cars rolling along… none of them his prime target… he’s in a ghost town. Life is nothing without that Vette.

Does the movie feel like it’s banking on STAR WARS?

Having come out just a year after the blockbuster, and the fact Mark’s face looks freshly put-together after his horrible motorcycle accident, it’s obvious he had a fair amount of time between projects. Movies take months to film and often a year to edit and… get finished as in, get made. If the question is, Are there scenes that have a sort of science-fiction vibe, or actual nods to the audience regarding the George Lucas blockbuster, well, no. But the story of a young man with no meaning being called to a higher purpose to something he’s connected with, and winding up fighting the bad guys, and ending with a literal explosion of the villain’s own vehicle, then, yeah, sure it does link to STAR WARS.

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Kenny Keeps His Diary

Every movie has a heavy… Who plays the villain?

That’s an important question, and an even more important answer…First off, the Hidden Big Villain who is revealed as igniting the main one shouldn’t be spoiled. But the bonafide baddie is Kim Milford, who starred in the cult favorite, LASERBLAST, the same year, and he blows up a STAR WARS sign with the laser connected to his arm (Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig’s catastrophic COWBOYS & ALIENS borrowed heavily from LASER even though it’d never be admitted). In this movie, Luke Skywalker, so to speak, causes Kim’s car stealing body shop chief to… well that’s been mentioned already: BOOM!

What’s the best time to watch this movie?

SUMMER is not bad enough for midnight viewings and is perfect during the day, in the morning but late morning. And by the way, it’s almost a worthy drinking film, but the music isn’t very strong, and a good drinking flick needs a few good tunes, like AMERICAN GRAFFITI, PULP FICTION, JACKIE BROWN, OVER THE EDGE, and hell, even NASHVILLE works since the characters represent the bad music so perfectly. But that’s another post entirely.

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Great Import Cover

How does SUMMER attempt to be a bad, or, liken to a cult movie?

Well it does try for… pretty much everything. There’s a hot rod exploitation element for car buffs, and they’ve embraced it like surfers have BIG WEDNESDAY, only not as much. There’s a sort of raw, rough chrome hybrid with the glittering of the disco era, and surrounded by a vast desert encompassing the journey-to and the escape-from. And with Annie Potts as a hooker in a 1970’s style van named Vanessa, it also attempts banking on the drive-in theater sexed-up vibe but plays it safe as she has a heart of gold, and merely takes Kenny’s virginity without exposing much.

What are some negative things about the movie?

First off, Mark Hamill is a good actor. He nailed Luke Skywalker because he was the character. Especially in the otherwise maligned RETURN OF THE JEDI where his scenes with Darth Vader and the Emperor, at the very end, are as intense as anything that’s been nominated. But here, a lot of the times he seems to be going through the motions. And yet, with such groovy motion going on, he fits right in. You can say the vehicle not only carries itself but its leading man as well. But no matter what anyone’s opinion is of Mark’s performance, while better actors could have played the role, no one could have fit the movie like Hamill, and yes, plenty of that has to do with its subliminal connection to STAR WARS because CORVETTE SUMMER, his only starring role beyond the far, far away galaxy, is extremely important to the cult phenomenon. And more people need to realize it so check out Cult Film Freak for a more conventional movie review with photos, further connections and philosophies about one of our all=time favs.

16
Feb
15

STAR WARS BLUE SERIES CARDS 2 and 3: THE DROIDS

1Two more STAR WARS CARDS from the BLUE SERIES, these are number TWO and THREE… The third card being possibly the most important, memorable and beloved droid and/or character of the 1977sw2 film, R2D2… That groundbreaking cinematic catapult to the original trilogy, later retitled A NEW HOPE, but could you imagine rabid fans of this amazing adventure saying: “Have you seen A NEW HOPE yet?” Sounding more like a soap opera, HOPE doesn’t quite have the ring of STAR WARS… And creator George Lucas didn’t even know if WARS, constantly maligned by the studio while in production, would fly for there to even be continuing episodes. And the second card is a horizontal showing C3PO, R2’s futzy partner who brags about knowing millions of languages and usually doesn’t have a nice thing to say to his stubby counterpart, who usually makes the more logical decision. The title of the third card is simply THE LITTLE DROID, ARTOO-DETOO and the1734.full second SEE-THREEPIO AND ARTOO-DETOO, although we only see R2’s cap, which, by the way, dern1appears at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, hanging above a tied-up Harrison Ford and Karen Allen during the ghoulish Ark demonstration, and as viewed to the top left of the picture to your right: A complete R2D2 hanging upsidedown on the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND spaceship. Later on in the STAR WARS series the droids would be, on paper, described by numbers instead of letters, probably a way of making them more “human” to the audience. You must remember, when these cards came out, a generation was just learning the characters… they were not legendary, just yet. It’s been said that Lucas was inspired by Bruce Dern’s helpful robots in SILENT RUNNING for R2D2, pictured above to the left, although as a pair, R2D2 and C3PO could be homage to any opposing comedy duo bantering back and forth, despite the first speaking only a series of bleeps and blips, and always getting the last “word” in the process.

12
Feb
15

STAR WARS BLUE ONE: LUKE SKYWALKER

sw1STAR WARS CARD NUMBER ONE of the staring point BLUE SERIES, shows Mark Hamill as LUKE SKYWALKER, which is what the caption reads, wearing the Stormtrooper outfit when he, Han and Chewie went in disguise to first: escape from the docked Millennium Falcon and then to rescue Princess Leia. This almost looks like the moment when Luke, while the trio and the droids were inside the power chamber room, could entice the selfish smuggler into pulling off this daring deed for large sums of money… more than Han could imagine: and Han can imagine quite a lot. The card is truly retro, including the red explosion around the word STAR WARS, the light blue around the border making up for the multiple colored series, the yellow lettering and white stars around the dotted around the border. The back of the card is but a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle that makes up an image when all are put together.

07
Feb
15

STARMAN WITH ROBERT HAYS

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1986 Grade: B

“It takes a long time to raise a kid,” Paul Forrester, a deceased cameraman turned STARMAN says to his son, conceived by that other incarnation played by Jeff Bridges and now morphed into AIRPLANE actor Robert Hays. “About twenty-one years… And I’ve already wasted fourteen of them.” That’s a true description of the show, and a false prediction. STARMAN the TV series, based on the hit John Carpenter film, didn’t last seven years – it’s a one season wonder about our alien hero traveling around with his son, Scott.

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Feel This Show

Jeff Bridges is an incredible actor, and always takes risks. Yet his performance in the STARMAN motion picture, garnering an Oscar nom, seemed like he was imitating a chicken pretending to be a lizard, or vice versa. While Hays plays it with more subtle finesse, allowing the alien within the human a quicker capability to learn about the things around him – from eating to drinking to hangovers to love, possibly.

The stock villain has been around television for years, and looks the part of a sneaky devil you love to hate. Michael Cavanaugh is the McGee to Hays’ David Banner… Or going back further, The Marshall chasing the Fugitive… Not an entirely original premise for a series, but one that allows a handful of adventurous bonding between alien father and half-alien son.

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Sir Bob Hays

Probably the campiest scene, befitting the mid 80’s era, is when Starman puts a cassette tape to his ear, without use of a player, and hears a message from his wife (played by RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK heroine Karen Allen in the movie). This gives both father and son hope to find her, and a premise for the entire series to rely on.

Visually, the direction is standard TV fare but with a few creative perspective shots, while the special effects deal with Starman’s signature handglow when touching the magic orb, wielding power and manipulating elements. This image takes up the entire DVD cover with Hays alone.

“Well,” says Scott to his father as the pilot concludes. “Without wheels, this is how we travel for a while.” And he’s not talking about a spaceship. Starman, thinking the thumb is the ride in itself, raises his own thumb and replies, “It doesn’t seem to work.”




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