Thursday, May 30, 2013

What was the first DVD you ever bought?

When I finally broke down and got my first DVD player back in 2000, I bought two films:

I bought Princess Mononoke because I was and still am a huge Miyazaki fan. I bought Suicide Kings because it was $9.99 (and I paid too much). What was your first DVD(s)?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Franco Friday #42 - Dolls for Sale

Franco Friday #42 - Dolls for Sale

This week's lesson is this: Never underestimate the Franco. I was really dragging my feet on doing a review this week and especially watching this film. All I knew was that while I was skipping around in the movie, I saw Howard Vernon's bare ass. So yeah, this is the one with Howie V.'s naked bum. Something for the ladies! Or not. So little did I realize that I was about to fall madly in love. Not with Vernon's butt! I fell in love with this movie. Seriously, my friends, this is some top 10 Franco material right here. I Schmidt you not.

Dolls for Sale
AKA Les ebranlées
Directed by Jess Franco
Howard Vernon, Montserrat Prous, Kali Hansa, Anne Libert, Doris Thomas
82 minutes

Al Pereira (played by Howard Vernon) is an unscrupulous private detective who gets in way over his head when he's paid by the lovely Lina (Doris Thomas) to sneak into a dude's apartment and steal an envelope with her name on it from a dresser and bring it back to her. The dude (Manuel Pereiro) wakes up and pulls a gun but Al beats him up and leaves, his mission accomplished. Unbeknownst to Al, someone sneaks in and kills the dude and frames him for the crime.

Now totally desperate, Al turns to his special lady friend and striptease artist, Valentina (played by Montserrat Prous), for help. She uncovers that Lina works with a psycho named Leona (Kali Hansa) at a strip joint called the Flamingo, owned by a suspicious woman named Benny (Anne Libert). All of these ladies -including a sadistic beyatch named Bertha- are somehow involved in a secret sexual society that exists in a place called "The House of Vice".

Al sends Valentina to the Flamingo to get information AKA have lesbian sex with Benny. His plan both works and backfires when Leona recognizes Valentina as Al's girlfriend and kidnaps her. Leona takes Valentina to the "little red room" and tortures her with a long sword while that sadistic beyatch Bertha, Benny, and some random chick cream their jeans over it. Will Al get there in time to save Valentina and can he trust Lina to have his back?

I can't believe what I just saw. Montserrat Prous just slapped Howard Vernon's bare ass! I'm serious. This really just happened. Then they had a love scene. Howard Vernon in bed with a woman? I used to understand the world but now I feel like my blood just turned to LSD and someone handed just me a meth lollipop. Oh and this movie is pretty amazing too.

All joking aside, I love Dolls for Sale. This movie opens with Kali Hansa's naked groin gyrating on the screen and I was all like "Well, this is going to be a fucking chore. At least I finally know that she's not a dude." But then this movie just kept getting more and more weird. Vernon playing the sexy and tough noir-ish detective that only diehard lesbians can resist and no man, no matter how poorly choreographed, can defeat? I'm telling you, this shit is out there. It's your standard sexed up thriller (missing about a dozen pages of script) but it plays out so obtusely, it's like everyone in the cast and crew was on Quaaludes.

One thing that stands out is the soundtrack. For once, nobody was dipping into the library music and Daniel Janin's score is consistently cool and always dead on. Cinematographer Gérard Brisseau knows how to keep things visually interesting when things get sleazy and cheap which is pretty much this entire film. The sequence where Valentina is taken to the "little red room" and tortured plays out like a horror scene as the set is bathed in red light and everything just feels naughty and dangerous.

Two more observations before I leave. One thing that struck me as totally genius is that in the midst of all this lipstick lesbian craziness and macho bullshit fantasy overload, a male stripper hits the dance floor and owns it. I mean, this duder OWNS IT! And the funny part is, Howard Vernon can't keep his eyes off of him. Intentional? I think so. Fuck it, I know so. And the other thing that just made me leap out of my skin is this: a character is found dead and Al closes their staring, lifeless eyes with his hand. As he did, the tape rolled and VCR static covered the screen. Whatever French VHS this was sourced from was communicating to me in that moment. I think it wanted to say, "This is what happens when you die. Your tracking goes all funky."

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Hello! As you probably noticed, I like to use this stage to occasionally share my other projects with you. One thing I have been working on very hard lately is a band called GYROJETS with my friend Sam. We've been working on some songs that I think are and rockin' and with that little twinge of silly to maybe surprise people and make them laugh or smirk or fart or leave the building. ANYWAY, while we've been honing (AKA learning how not to fuck up) these songs, Sam and I will jam to loosen up or come up with new ideas. With hours and hours of these jams and musical bizareness on my hard drive, I decided to melt them down into something useable (and maybe listenable) and that's FYRSYDSCATS.

Check it out!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Franco Friday #41 - La Venganza de Doctor Mabuse

Franco Friday #41 - La Venganza del Doctor Mabuse

I guess you could call this an experiment in abstraction. Just a few days ago, I found out that Jess Franco had directed a Dr. Mabuse film. Then I found it on Youtube. Unfortunately, it was in Spanish with Italian subs. Luck smiled or rather farted at me when I used the "Translate Captions" feature to get some form of English subtitles out of it. Let's just say this is not the ideal way to watch Franco. Also, IMDB says this film is 100 minutes long. The version on Youtube is 64 minutes. *shrugs shoulders* My guess is that there is no 100 minute version but who friggin' knows? Anyway, here's what I saw and what I thought about it. *punches own face*

La Veganza del Doctor Mabuse
AKA Dr. M Schlägt Zu
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Fred Williams, Jack Taylor, Ewa Strömberg, Roberto Camardiel
64 minutes

A mad scientist (and devotee of the infmamus Dr. Mabuse) named Farkas (played by Jack Taylor) is using some mad science to steal stuff, kidnap foxy ladies and program them to do his bidding, and get revenge, etc. With the help of his assistant Leslie (Beni Cardoso) and his mute and monstrous manservant Andros (Moises Augusta Rocha), he intends to build and army and take over the world, maybe. A fast-talking striptease artist named Jenny Paganini (Ewa Strömberg) witnesses Andros kidnapping a woman and reports it to Inspector Thomas (Fred Williams), who dresses like a cowboy. Farkas sends his minions out to capture Jenny.

At the same time, Inspector Thomas uses Jenny as bait to capture the criminals but he loses her when his partner's shitty car breaks down. Leslie and Andros bring Jenny to Farkas's hideout in an abandoned lighthouse. Aww! Andros is sweet on Jenny. His one good eye likes what it sees. A drunken fisherman (played by Roberto Camardiel) catches a pair of panties in the river and takes them to the inspector. He has had his suspicions about the place and those panties confirm them!

Farkas hypnotizes Jenny and sends her out after Professor Parkinson (played by Ángel Menéndez). He uses her to hypnotize Parkinson so that he will cease research on some radioactive moon rocks. Then Farkas sends Andros and a safe-cracker out to steal the moon rocks for his evil plan. He also orders Andros to murder Dr. Orloff (Siegfried Lowitz), Parkinson's colleague. When Inspector Thomas's lady friend -who also happens to be Dr. Orloff's daughter- discovers Orloff's body, Andros kidnaps her. When Farkas finds out, he is more than happy to use her in his dastardly vague plan as well.

Dr. Mabuse? Yeah, right! This is a Dr. Orloff film through and through with some nice spaghetti western sets mixed in for some dang reason. Andros is such a Morpho! Here's another one of those crazy Franco flicks aimed at the easy-to-please "Saturday afternoon timewasters" demographic, filmed and thrown together very quickly. You know I can dig that. As usual, Manuel Merino's camerawork provides lots of fun camera angles that give this film some style with no budget at all. The score is bright and jazzy but it sounds like it was taken from other, older films.

La Vengenza del Doctor Mabuse moves along at a great clip thanks in part to the short running time but really, this is just meant to be a silly sci-fi potboiler for kids with short attention spans. Ewa Strömberg is insanely cute in this one and seems to be having a blast portraying Jenny, a hyper airhead. She's rocking a brunette wig, hotpants, and fringe go-go boots like it was nobody's business. The rest of the cast also seem to be having a pretty good time on this one. I would love to see La Venganza on DVD sometime as it is an easy watch. However, it might be a little too brisk in this 64 minute version to warrant multiple viewings. This is an international incident of weirdness!

Against the wind!

Late to the Rockwell video shoot.

That's not the Culligan Man!

This is all the pussy you get in this movie.

Yo VIP, let's kick it.

Did you jiggle the handle?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giallo Meltdown 11

Hey. I thought I should update y'all on what's been going on with the continuing adventures of this friggin' book that I am supposedly supposed to be writing. Well, fear not for I have written another immense chapter of Giallo Meltdown. I watched another 19 movies last week in a moviethon that I like to call Giallo Meltdown 11: Walk A Mile In My Shit. Okay, I didn't actually call it that. But I did watch some classics like Giallo a Venezia (which I hate to admit is actually good) and Sex of the Witch (which is utter horseshit). But yeah, I totally took some vacation time for this 11th chapter and I think it was a rousing success.

So what the hell? Where's the book? Well, I'm almost there, believe it or not! I have decided to put an end to this book once I hit 13 moviethons or 13 chapters. So that only leaves two movie marathons and I will be ready to start the editing phase and then the finding a publisher or finding a venue to publish this shit on my own. In my head I'm all like, what do I need a publisher for? I can do this shit myself! Here you go, here's my free book! Woot woot!

But I have promised my wife and myself that I will indeed pursue a real publisher who would be interested in my cinematic journey. My worry is that a publisher might not want a surreal cinematic diary that is half film review and half stream of consciousness rambling. So why even try? But hey, I'm an optimistic guy or at least I used to be. So whatever, I'll see if there are any nibbles. One way or another, Giallo Meltdown is coming. I promise.

So what other moviethons are coming? Certainly there must be other moviethons that aren't giallo-related, right? There are! I swear that it's true. In September, there is a Friday the 13th and I intend to watch every Friday the 13th film in a row. This one will likely be a vlog like The Freddy Cougar Moviethon. Yeah, that's gonna be crazy. I also have a disco moviethon coming up that will probably not be interesting to anyone but me. I am obsessed with disco and especially disco movies so there will be some really odd titles in there. You'll see.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Franco Friday #40 - Demoniac

Franco Friday #40 - Demoniac

As far as milestones go, I think reaching my 40th Jess Franco review isn't too bad. Of course, it's actually my 39th since my friend Nafa wrote one. But you know what, so what? Happy anniversary to me. Anyway, today is the first day of my vacation and I chose to spend the first hour and a half of it on some Franco via VHS. No one can stop me because no one cares to. Jess Franco as a serial killer? Sign me up! What could possibly go wrong?

AKA L'eventreuer de Notre-Dame
AKA Exorcism
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Lina Romay, Catharine Lafferiere, Jess Franco, Nadine Pascal, Pierre Taylou, Roger Germanes
79 minutes

Jess Franco plays Mathis Vogel, a defrocked priest and madman who believes that it is his duty to help sexy young women repent for their sins. Not too surprisingly, thanks to the release date of this film and the idiocy of the audience (myself included), the only way to do this is at the end of his switchblade. Idiotic cops are on his trail but they are stupid dumb idiots stupids who are too stupid and too dumb to stop him. Vogel writes about his crimes and has them published by an erotic magazine published by some guy named Pierre (Pierre Taylou). He falls for Pierre's secretary, a swingin' happy-go-lucky gal named Anne (Lina Romay), and decides that he must save her soul as well.

My plan has backfired. You see, when I decided to watch the Erotikill version of Female Vampire (see the results here), I found enough accidental magic to have myself a gay old time (that means "a happy time", by the way). I was hoping the same thing would happen with Demoniac, a bastardized version of Exorcism. In a (presumably) shrewd move, Franco filmed a couple more murder scenes and some shots of his character attempting to repent for his sins six years after Exorcism was released and cut them in to make the film into a body count flick. Well, it worked! That's why this version is so famous and moviegoers the world over always have a fondness or perhaps -dare I say it- an orgiastic love of Demoniac.

Of course, I'm lying. No one gives a triple shit or a tin fuck about this boring ass garbage. It took me over three hours to sit through this 79 minute bullshit. I took a nap and a lunch break just to get through this nightmare. So what did I like about it? Well, as you probably have figured out by now, I can sit through most any Euro-garbage. All of the scenes with the cops in this movie are great semi-intentionally funny droll comedy gold. The scene wherein a poor, innocent (and insanely sexy) hooker comes on to Vogel was pretty good. It ends with him calling her a hussy and stabbing her to death but hey, that's life in the big city. Finally, the best thing about this movie is that the continuity goes right out the window whenever they cut between the 1975 footage and the 1981 footage because Franco not only looks older but also has a terrific mullet (hair extensions?) in the new footage versus his long hair in the older. This movie could have been saved by more nightclub dancing sequences.

"Nothing's wrong! NOTHING'S WRONG! Take off your pants!"

Final note: You'll probably be seeing a review of Exorcism down the line. It has to be better than this.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Ramble: My Senior Year In Film: 1993-1994

(Thanks for the art, Nafa.)

When I decided to put together a list of every movie I saw in theaters during my senior year of high school, I thought it was going to be this huge list. Then I remembered that I spend many, many nights going out to see bands play. Damn you, ska music. Damn you to hell. Look at what you did to my cinematic life. I'll never get that time back. Boo hoo. Maybe I'll expand this one day to cover all of my high school movies, rentals included. Maybe. So anyway, here's what I say IN THEATERS during that wonderful 9 months. Enjoy.



The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Believe it or not, this was a first date with a girl I was dating at the time. I was a virgin to the Rocky experience, so I got humiliated on stage for my date and her weird friends who had all been there before. Of course, I loved the whole atmosphere of the event but I still think this movie should be watched alone not with a group of people. They might see you cry when Columbia dies. More on this.


This was an odd night. Believe it or not, the same girl I saw Rocky Horror with also accompanied me to see this trash. Our relationship lasted two weeks. Two glorious weeks. I re-watched this one recently and I couldn't believe how forcefully sleazy this is. Was anyone really offended by this shit? Does anyone even remember it?


Demolition Man

Talk about crowd pleasers! I saw this flick probably on opening night with a theater full of people that were lovin' what Stallone and Snipes were dishing out. And surprisingly, this film has aged pretty well and is still a lot of fun unlike the hideous Judge Dredd.

Judgement Night

This movie had a brilliant marketing campaign. Let's take all these rockers and team them up with all these rappers for the soundtrack. Brilliant! Oh crap, why is the theater empty? I do remember enjoying this film (and being one of the only people in the theater) but the real draw was the soundtrack. Rap and rock... Who knew? So revolutionary.


Addams Family Values

I gotta tell ya, I really love both Addams Family movies. I was horrified and wanted to crawl under my seat when MC Hammer's contribution to the soundtrack was pumping throughout the theater. The phrase "What the fuck am I doing here?" did fade thanks to the comedy. And this film is a grower, damn it. My wife and I watch this a lot.

Carlito's Way

Penelope Ann Miller? Ugh. Al Pacino? Argh. Now don't get me wrong, I thought this movie was so great when it came out. It's good shit and I'd probably enjoy it now. But honestly, Penelope Ann Miller's character in this is so infuriating. And I can never go back to liking Al Pacino. I just can't. I'd rather watch Addams Family Values again. Sorry.


The Pelican Brief

I remember literally one thing about seeing this film and that's me saying: "One for Pelican Brief, please."


This is complicated. I went and saw this with several friends. We were all pretty ruined by this very sad and moving film. Our gay friend was particularly freaked out and understandably so. This was the first Hollywood film (of my generation at least) to say, "Hey everybody, AIDS is real." So the funny part about seeing this movie is my friend really hated that "Streets of Philadelphia" song by Bruce Springsteen so we were heckling the song. Just the song. Not the movie. Ah whatever, I'm going to hell.

Wayne's World 2

I wanted to like this so much. I was 14 or 15 when the first Wayne's World came out and it became one of my all time favorites. This film had a couple of funny moments but was just a hideous Aerosmith commercial.



Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

This was pretty much a total riot from beginning to end. The moment Ace Ventura -disguised as a disgruntled UPS delivery guy- steps into frame, it was magic. Looking back on it, I could say something like "Oh, I was just immature. Of course that kind of a movie would appeal to me." But you know what? If I watched this now, I'd still crack up.

Reality Bites

I hated this movie so much that I got up, walked out, and bought a ticket for...

Schindler's List

Yep, that's right. I walked out of Reality Bites and right into Schindler's List. It had been a bad night. I had a first date with a girl who told me to take her home less than an hour into the date. So at least I finished with a powerful film experience. I saw something bigger than my sheltered, suburban experience.


Lightning Jack

What the fuck? Why did I go see this? Only the sheer boredom of youth could explain this bullshit. Or maybe I rented it. Dunno.

Naked Gun 33⅓

This was a major, major disappointment.



I didn't actually see this until after graduation so technically I'm cheating a little here. I was visiting relatives in Great Falls, Montana and managed to catch this at the town's only theater. Even though I never got paid to be a babysitter, I was looking after some younger distant cousins ON MY VACATION and ended up watching this damn garbage.

No Escape

Saw this at the dollar theater and loved it. Ray Liotta, what happened? Anyway, I bet this movie is still awesome.


Here's another dollar theater viewing that was quite funny. I haven't seen this since this first viewing but holy crap, at the time, I loved this movie. I remember yelling at this judgmental bitch who flipped out during the threesome sequence. She seriously was like "Oh my God! How can they show this?!?!" and I told her to shut the hell up. It was the 90s and I considered myself a very tolerant human being. I also had a huge chip on my shoulder. I once yelled at a guy for having his kid on one of those kid leashes but that's a different story.


The Crow

I saw this with my high school girlfriend. We were together for six whole months! That's marriage in high school terms. Anyway, I took my feisty lady to see this, the most emo-goth friggin' movie ever filmed, and she melted like butter. We were -I wish I was kidding- crying and declaring our undying love for each other the rest of the night. Sigh.