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Saturday, July 22, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Shawn Michaels is 52, Erica Gavin is 70, Tisa Farrow is 66, and Mary Collinson is 65.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

STAR SLAMMER 1986 (KINO)

Another Fred Olen Ray gem, and I mean that in a good way.

I was first introduced to this film during the boom of VHS and have always liked it.

Gorgeous Sandy Brooke is Taura who is arrested for a crime she didn't commit and sent to a prison ship and run by a maniacal lesbian warden.

Taura proves herself to her fellow inmates, including Mike (Susan Stokey), and both plot their escape. The plot is very simple and basic, but Ray uses it to his best advantage, which is usually the case.

All of the Ray regulars are in this film as well including Ross Hagen as Bantor ( a character who is bat-shit crazy), Dawn Wildsmith, John Carradine, Bobbi Bresee, Danita Aljuwani, beautiful Jade Barrett as Dr. Po, Johnny Legend and Aldo Ray as "The Inquisitor". I could never figure out why Jade Barrett didn't have a longer career unless she chose not to act anymore.

Anyhow, this film moves along well and has all the welcome Ray trappings including mutant monsters, beautiful women in very little clothing and over the top characters.

Watching films from Ray is like welcoming an old friend one hasn't seen in a while. I am glad Kino decided to release this and I hope they release more Ray titles soon. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Audrey Landers is 61, Molly Culver is 50, and Al Snow is 54.

Monday, July 17, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Donald Sutherland is 82, P. J. Soles is 67, Diahann Carroll is 82, and Catherine Schell is 73.

RIP MARTIN LANDAU 1928-2017

A very classy man has died.

Martin Landau is best know for his role in the TV show Mission Impossible and his role in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood in which Landau played Bela Lugosi.

Landau had a very interesting career as he appeared in everything from the original Twilight Zone, to Get Smart and everything in between. His movies included everything from Nevada Smith and A Town Called Hell to The Being and Without Warning.

I have often referred to Landau as a real actor which simply means one who works for a living and will take just about any job that came his way.

Landau passed away on July 15th at the age of 89.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

RIP GEORGE A. ROMERO 1940-2017

THE KING IS GONE....

I write this with a very heavy heart. Anyone who reads this blog knows who George was. For me he was an idol, friend and inspiration.

From the time I was 6 years old and saw his film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I told my mother I wanted to be like George, a film maker. Well, it came true, but my films were no where near the Romero films,but the man was in my mind every time I got behind the camera.

There are not too many people I call friend these days, but George was one. From his works I gathered knowledge and from listening to him I learned. The film world, and the world in general will be much darker without him, and I really don't know what else to say.

I have lost a lot of friends in the entertainment business as of late, but this hits me like a ton of bricks and I honestly don't know it I'll ever get over it.

George A Romero, the man who singlehandedly created the zombie genre of films will forever be remembered by me as a friend first and film maker second.

He was 77.

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 1977 (UNIVERSAL) BLU-RAY

One of my favorite films comes to Blu-ray.

Made for a little over 2 million dollars and grossing a whopping 126 million, this film was only outdone by Star Wars at the box office in 1977.

It's a simple car chase movie starring Burt Reynolds as Bandit, a man who takes a bet that he and a friend can deliver 400 cases of Coors beer in 18 hours. Back in the day, having Coors beer east of Texas was considered bootlegging, believe it or not. I was alive than and I do know that to be a fact.

Reynolds takes the bet and he and Snowman (Jerry Reed) are off and running. After picking up the beer Reynolds runs into a bride on the run named Carrie (Sally Field). He takes her along and the chase is on. the chase from whom? Why her potential father in law Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason).

The entire cast works very, very well together under the direction of Hal Needham, but Gleason easily steals the show, at least in my opinion. Mike Henry is Buford's dim witted son Junior and those two make up most of the comedy in the film.

The 40th anniversary Blu-ray is loaded with extras including a feature length documentary about the film and the people involved. You also get the trailer and two documentaries about Universal Studios during the 70's.

Anyone who is a fan of this film should own this Blu-ray. A highly recommended release for the year.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Ann Turkel is 71, Tenika Davis is 32, Brad Harris is 84, and Stephanie Beaton is 45.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER 1955 (TCM VIEWING)

A truly chilling film.

This is the only film that actor Charles Laughton ever directed, and it's a gem.

Robert Mitchum is Harry Powell, a psychotic killer who poses as a minister. He learns from a cell mate named Ben Harper (Peter Graves) that Harper stole $10,000 in cash and hid it where nobody would ever find it.

A soon as Powell is released from jail he seeks out Harper's wife who is still grieving over her husbands arrest and execution. Harper's wife Willa (Shelley Winters)falls for Powell and his slick lines and soon they are married.

Powell tries to get Harpers' children to tell where the money is hidden, but the son (Billy Chapin) knows what kind of a man Powell really is and both he and his sister flee.

Powell kills Willa and sinks both her car and her body in a nearby lake and heads off to find the children, take the money and then kill them.

Laughton gives us some terrific imagery in this film, and there are scenes you will not soon forget. Mitchum plays a role which is very different from his usual world weary types. Here he is a man who is NOTHING but pure evil and the chase scene where the children barely escape him in a boat is chilling and Mitchum is totally insane.

I believe Criterion has released this to DVD and that's a good thing because this film needs to be seen by most people. One of the best films ever made, I can only say SEE IT!! It will not disappoint and it is a shame they cannot make movies this suspenseful today.

The cast really works well together and I credit a lot of that to the director, who new all about acting anyway and how to make things gel well.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Brigitte Nielsen is 54, Jan-Michael Vincent is 73, Patrick Wayne is 78, Larry Cohen is 76, Linda Ronstadt is 71, Andra Martin is 82, and Lori Cardille is 63.

Friday, July 14, 2017

MICK FOLEY GREATEST HITS AND MISSES: THE HARDCORE EDITION 2007 (WWE)

This is a new, revised edition of a two disc set that WWE turned out earlier. This time it has a bonus disc that is well worth seeing.

Foley hosts this in-depth look at his fascinating career. Included in this set are some of the most brutal and insane matches ever seen in the squared circle.

It covers his career from the WCW days, to ECW , SMW and then WWE. Matches include Cactus Jack vs. Big Van Vader, Cactus Jack vs. Chris Candido, Cactus jack and Raven vs. Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer and many more including the unforgettable Hell In A Cell match against the Undertaker in Pittsburgh in 1998. There are also plenty of great extras featuring some of Foley's classic interviews.

The bonus disc includes 4 classic matches from 2004-2006 and these are well worth catching. WWE included this disc and called it a "Hardcore Edition". This is a welcome thing.

On this 3rd disc are Mick Foley Vs. Randy Orton, Mick Foley Vs. Edge, Mick Foley and Edge Vs. Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer and Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair.

If you like hardcore wrestling filled with barbed wire, steel chairs to the head and lots of blood, then this is for you. Highly Recommended for wrestling fans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Harry Dean Stanton is 91, Sid Haig is 78, Lynn Loring is 73, Roosevelt Grier is 75, Laurie Mitchell is 89, Helga Line is 85, and Jeff Jarrett is 50.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

GANJA AND HESS 1973 (KINO) BLU-RAY

A very odd combination of horror film/art film.

Duane Jones stars as Dr. Hess Green an archaeologist who hires a new assistant, played by the director, Bill Gunn.

Gunn's character of George Meda is one weird son of a bitch and before too long he stabs Hess with a ceremonial dagger which has ancient germs on it.

George then commits suicide, but Hess finds he has an insatiable thirst for blood and he cannot be killed. He lives a quiet life with this secret until one day he gets a call from a woman named Ganja Meda (Marlene Clarke, looking hotter than hell, as usual)wanting to know where he husband is.

She takes it upon herself to come to Dr. Hess's home and at first is an arrogant bitch, until Hess wins her over. She discovers her husbands dead body in a freezer, but that does not stop her and Hess from marrying. Shortly after the union, Hess turns Ganja into what he is.

They live a life of blood drinking together, at least for a while.

This film is not for everyone. Director Gunn had a vision and he seems to have made it work ok. The film was tampered with and about 35 minutes were cut without the director's approval. It has been restored for the Blu-ray, but since the original negative was cut, this disc is culled from various 35mm prints left in existence.

There are still parts of this film I don't really understand, but I guess that is what Gunn was trying for. I don't know, but I did enjoy it. It's totally different, and if you haven't seen it I recommend you do.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Robert Forster is 76, and Malisa Longo is 67.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

OUT OF THE PAST 1947 (TCM VIEWING)

Another excellent film noir.

Robert Mitchum is Jeff, a former private eye who used to work for a gangster named Whit (Kirk Douglas). Jeff has long since quit and is now working at a gas station in a small mountain community in California.

One day he is met by a man who tells Jeff that Whit wants to see him and one thing snowballs into another and finally leaves Jeff no choice. On his way to the meeting Jeff takes along his girlfriend Ann (Virginia Huston)and tells her of how his past got so messed up.

Whit had hired Jeff to find his mistress named Kathis (Jane Greer) who has run off and stolen $40,000. A lot of crosses and double crosses followed as well as murder.

The movie then comes back to real time as we see Jeff is again tracking Kathie who falls in love with him.

Jacques Tourneur directed this gem and all of the leads are old hands at this type of film. Douglas is perfect as Whit, a man who always stays calm, but deep inside resents Jeff and his "who cares" attitude.

Jane Greer was 22 when she made this film, and what a beautiful, but cold blooded female she is. This is available on DVD, but I happened to catch this on TCM. It's well worth watching and I may add this to my collection.

The ending is pure noir. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Cheryl Ladd is 66, Denise Nicholas is 73, Edwin Neal is 72, and Christine McVie is 74.