The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for May, 2020

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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Iron Man vs. Star Wars

I thought the Bones suit would go well with the Star Wars people… but the lens flares! Wow!

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(I’m also so proud that the visor finally goes up and down!)
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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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Off Facebook Activity

techtips

You know me. I don’t forward chain mail or conspiracy theories. I also don’t like apps that track you or send information into the cloud (Even when I set up residential computers I always set a local account, not a M$ one). I just went in and turned this off in my settings and then cleared the history which included things like Cnet and Comic Book Resources.

However if you turn off the function it takes 48 hours to turn off. And once the function is deactivated you will not be able to use FB to login to other sites. So if you enjoy the ability to use FB as a login source for other website you’ll want to leave it on, but clear your history from time to time. Make sure you check those setting!

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Kill Kill Overkill

jacksonindex.jpgKill Kill Overkill (also known as “Twisted Fate”) opens with a girl on a motorcycle heading home, with a pop rock song overlaid. Jody arrives to find a tape by her TV labeled “Denise”. She pops the tape in and walks away, making a phone call to see if you can find any friends with any other blank videotapes. The videotape features a girl rolling around on the bed – complete with Jackson’s trademark corner cut-offs were somebody didn’t remove the lens fully. We’re about six minutes into the movie before she realizes it’s a tape of her boyfriend been cheating on her.

We cut through the credits to Peter being released from a doctor’s care. Even though he doesn’t want to go, his brother Luther insists they are going to head out on the road and it’ll be the best adventure ever!

Back at the house, the boyfriend tries to convince Jody that the tape is just an audition for his porn career. This particular conversation ends painfully for him.

Down the road a bit, the two brothers from the beginning rescue a hitchikking girl in the process of being assaulted. They jumped out with thier trusty baseball bat. You can tell it’s Jackson at his best here, he choreographs the baseball bat fight as if it were a sword fight with the same moves and flourishes.

The girl joints them on the road, though I’m not in entirely certain what the point of the trip is. I think they’re looking for a new home after getting out of the hospital for the criminally insane?

index2“I’m so tired of the road Luther, we need a home!”

“Home? Home is where you hang your hat!”

Despite Peter being the one recently getting out of the hospital, Luther seems to be the crazy one. He suddenly snaps and assaults the girl with duct tape. (We’re going to see a lot of duct tape in this movie). “It’s not that she wasn’t a nice person, there’s just not enough room in our truck for three people!”

“I’m so tired of the road Luther, we need a home!”

“Home? Home is where you hang your hat!”

We shift to home videos, shot by the motorcycle Jody’s friends. They’re heading out on a girl’s trip to a cabin in the woods. Jody’s friends are heading out ahead of her (while she fixes her motorcycle at home) and they’re documenting the trip with the videocamera – found footage style (before found footage actually was a thing).

Up in the mountains, the brothers find what they think is an abandoned wood cabin. Of course, it’s the same cabin that the girls are headed to… albeit delayed by a flat tire.

The guys head upstairs to hide as the girls get there. The women notice signs of people having been there, a paper that’s only days old, a huge mess and the ominous sight of a baby doll with its mouth duct taped.

Things take a real turn for the worse around the 15 minute mark when the lights go out and the girls find themselves locked in a room. They find a trailer that looks like blood down to the basement… Only to find out it was all a practical joke by one of the girls! The joker get’s herself exiled to the basement bed.

In the meantime, motorcycle girl finally gets her bike fixed and resolve to head out to the cabin in the morning. The problem is, the boys are there tonight! As the girls go to sleep they come out and begin to creep around. The first girl to be attacked is the one in the basement. Another one of Jackson’s trademarks… foreshadowing something that index3.jpghappens about five minutes later. One by one, each of the girls is captured and bound in duck tape. This guy apparently has a fetish.

“Time to ask this girl is the most important question of their lives! What would you do to stay alive tonight?”

In the hands of a different actor that could be the most chilling line of the film, unfortunately it’s being delivered Buy a hyperactive wombat on speed. Still, I almost feel sad for the younger brother who doesn’t want any part of this and just feels… Lonely. I found myself literally cheering when he laid his brother out with a frying pan. It only knocks him out for a second though, he should’ve hit him harder, but there’s still 15 minutes left in the film to go, and the brothers continue to terrorize the girls all night.

Motorcycle girl wakes up the next morning and head to the cabin. She arrives just-in-time to give the guys a beat down and free her friends. It’s a predictable ending, although Jackson throws one more unexpected twist in the end – as well as anther expected  but a satisfying one, wrapping up one of Jackson’s better movies.


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Brinke Stevens

Autographs

 

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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Death Race

franchisebannerindexThe first thing you notice about Death Race is how desaturated and gritty it is, particularly compared to the bright colors of Death Race 2000. DR2k is a cartoon, where as this remake is a comic book.

We begin establishing that Death race is a competition that happens at an island prison in a dystopian future where the economy is depressed. Jason Statham’s character is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to the prison, then gets drafted to be the new star racer, Frankenstein (replacing the previous masked driver who died in the last race). Fans of Statham need not worry though, the mask isn’t on much. It comes off in the car, the prision yard and in the garage. It’s really there only to establish that he’s carrying on the legacy of the legendary racer.

In the navigator’s seat next to him is the ridiculously hot Natalie Martine. The skin tight hip hugger jeans and low cut belly shirt over a gravity defying push up bra seem out of place for prison wear. Looking at her perfect bouncy hair I think I’d be willing to go to images3jail just for her salon privileges.

The cars here however are not pretty. No lizard scale paint job or oversized Bowie knives here; these are down and dirty gun metal gray. All cannons and steel plating as they jockey for position and attempt to mow down their opponents with brakes and bullets. The racing action in this film sets the bar, above even more mainstream contemporaries like the Fast and the Furious. They put you in the middle of the action, a kinetic experience punctuated by violent attacks and burn outs.

Adding to the video game feel, the race way has power up panels (which look like sewer covers) that activate each car’s accessories. you can’t use that Gatling gun or your oil slick unless you’ve grabbed one of these power ups first. far from being just gimmicky, this device actually helps drive the story and ups the peril.

Death Race is one of those rare remakes that works, taking the basic concept then going it’s own direction with it. But is it a remake really? I got a nice two disc set that includes 2&3 on one disc and the first film on the other – along with a director’s commentary. image2.jpgAccording to director Paul Anderson, this is actually meant to be a prequel, showing  the origins of the Death Race before it became the colorful national pastime we see in Death Race 2000. In fact, he takes it a step further, describing a part of the story that had been cut – a riot at the prison was captured by security cameras and accidentally webcast. It garnered such attention that they started having regular organized fights there, broadcast world wide, and this is what eventually evolved into the Death Race.

I like this reading. I like the idea that Death Race is part of the whole narrative, because it makes me feel less guilty about the fact that given the choice between watching Death Race and Death Race 2000….I’m going to choose this Statham film every time.

 


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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The Backyard Zombie Movie part 5

filmography

 


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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I Like To Hurt People

jacksonindexI like to hurt people was billed as a documentary, and maybe it is… But Donald Jackson presents it as a linear narrative – far more like a feature than a documentary. It lends itself to this format, because of the inherently staged nature of wrestling, pushing a story line  right alongside the gladiatorial combat. Indeed, this feels familiar, with plenty of ringside interviews and grandstanding to inter cut between staged scenes .

We get backstage imagery of one Wrestler threatening the cameraman, spectators at the snack bar discussing the current match, backstage antics and the like. The most notable of these kind of scenes is one with wrestlers waiting in their car to meet their opponents. The camera captures perfectly, their shock when Andre the giant emerges, gargantuan and bigger than life from his ride. I’m going to go on record right now and say this movie is worth the watch just for this and to see more Andre.

In great part, this is the story of heel wrestler Edward Farhat, better known as the Sheik. In the early days of television, the Sheik almost single-handedly escalated the violence and commercial appeal of professional wrestling with a style that was “Hardcore” long before that genre of wrestling ever existed. Steve Slagle, a student of wrestling, wrote in The Ring Chronicle that ”perhaps no other wrestler is more responsible for influencing the current generation of ‘hardcore’ wrestling than the one and only Arabian madman known as the Sheik.” “I like to Hurt people” follows the 6 foot tall, 247 pound villain as he cuts through the wrestling world, changes managers and fights his way through with a showdown against Dusty Rhodes : the American Dream on the horizon. This is professional wrestling, it’s old images2school. It’s not the glitzy polished events we’re used to seeing with the WWE. These wrestlers are a barrel chested, big guys with less muscle definition, but every bit as much attitude and big personality as you have ever seen in any pro wrestling event. There is blood here too, not quite as much as you might see in the underground hard-core wrestling circuit that 42nd Street Pete promotes , but more than what you are probably  used to in your average royal rumble!

I find it particularly amusing to watch Andre the giant literally lift people up over his head and then toss them out of the ring.

In the background, we have the President of the “Stop the Sheik” movement attempting to derail the upcoming match, and get the Sheik out of the circuit. It’s a subplot that helps to hold the entire story together between matches. Interestingly enough, this wasn’s part imagesof the original pitch, but was added in years after the footage was shot to pad the run time and give the film more structure. Eventually the “Stop the Sheik” movement ends when the man behind it just… disappears!

Contrived subplots aside, there’s still plenty of interviews, giving you a clearer picture of why the wrestlers do what they do and what it means to them. It keep the film feeling like a documentary, even as it unfolds as more of a hybrid.

“It’s how I found true meaning. I like to hurt people”

Jackson isn’t content to just cover mainstream wrestling though, we get a side story about a female wrestler named “Heather Feather” who really wants to wrestle a man. Jackson documents  the arm wrestling match that leads to the images.jpgreal thing. We follow her into the ring for what is billed as the first pro wrestling match between a woman and a man. It’s a novelty act, but an Ernest one. Jackson not only covers women’s wrestling but also matches with little people – as brutal and pitched as any fight you can imagine.

Back on the mainstream circuit, trouble arises, and the shiek’s manager quits and has to be replaced by an even more colorful character. The Sheik continues on, bringing his boa constrictor with him to the ring and bowing to it before the matches. He rarely speaks, and what he does say is in Arabic, spoken in sinister tones. In the back on his limo, he and his manager ride off to the future.

When we talk about Donald Jackson, we usually like to focus on the bad films. But I’m going to come straight out and say this is a good movie. How can I tell? Because I don’t like wrestling. I may know some of the names because they are pop culture, but I do’t have any interest in the form or genre. Nevertheless, I was completely sucked in. I was riveted by this film on a subject I don’t care a bit for. It goes on Ebay from twenty to fifty dollars.Do your self a favor and scour the goodwill, salvation army and other thrift stores to find a battered old VHS copy of this.

 


Support in the time of plague!

noconman

Man, Monday’s have been quiet lately huh? With no cons, FCBD cancelled and little going on, there hasn’t been a lot to write in this slot. So what have I been doing instead of cons?

96148617_3242198292491238_904961089714782208_nCleveland ConCoction actually did a virtual convention with several panels and musical acts done online. My daughter and I even participated in the virtual costume contest! Not a lot of shopping available there though – I missed being able to bring home a new catnip toy for Sparky.

My local comic shop; Comics Are Go, however has been doing online sales, including virtual dollar bin diving every Sunday night. They’ve been keeping my reading stack full and I’ve redirected a great deal of my convention savings towards those kind of sales, as well as getting take out from the locally owned burger joint, Midway Oh-Boy.

We’ve always advocated shopping small. it’s one of the themes of our anti Wizard World tours and right now is no diffrent. I hope you’re doing the same.

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The Shadows

box10movie

MV5BMTcwNjc0NDU5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDU0NDM1Mw@@._V1_UY268_CR6,0,182,268_AL_.jpgOn the surface, this film is technically on point. It’s grainy and dirty like an 80s horror movie. They know how to light it too – with stark blues and occasional fog, with creepy atmosphere all throughout. They’ve assembled a reasonably competent cast as well, dressed them in dirty clothes and got the girls really skimpy (after all, a pretty girl is the cheapest special affect out there).

So why does this suck?

It’s a story of bunch of young people whose boat crashed. They take shelter in the Lighthouse which happens to be heated. We don’t see the boat crash or anything mind you (We don’t have NEAR that kind of budget!), the kind of just tell us what happened. There is some stock footage for it, panning around the Lighthouse itself and ominous clouds outside but it’s choppy and pixelated… Almost at a diffrent frame rate.

What really surprised me was that the sound mix was all over the place. These filmmakers have a passable idea and a great looking set, but they lack of technical expertise to put this together properly and honestly it just kills the film. I don’t know what’s going on half the time because I can’t understand characters. The choppy inserts drop me right out of the film.

And the monsters? Pirate suits and white contact lenses. Not even some grease paint and cobwebs – just plain old guys in pirate suit with contacts. Kind of like the blind dead made by somebody who’s never actually seen those films. Not that we get a lot of monster time anyhow. Towards the end they are replaced by actors in black velvet suits… The titular shadows of the film. They attempt to build up suspense and develop relationships but because of the wonky sound mix and poor pacing it just doesn’t work, and by the time we get halfway through, I just don’t care about these characters. That’s a shame too, because once we hit the third act, their bickering at the Lighthouse and turning on each other just like in “Night of the Living Dead”.  The influences are pretty glaring. Thing is, it would work if I were invested in these people – the quiet moments are just too quiet, and the story is just too shallow.

And that’s just the thing, I feel bad for having trash this movie. You know what? I wanna do over – I wanna see the same film makers, altered by experience and time make this film again because there is potential here, and it’s just got sunk by it’s production values


A Drive With Linnea and Donald

jacksonMV5BMjE1NTYyODMyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg3MjE5Mw@@._V1_UY268_CR3,0,182,268_AL_A Drive With Linnea and Donald is billed as a Scott Shaw film, one of his Zen Documentaries. But even when Shaw is in the director’s seat, Jackson’s influence can be very firmly felt. It’s in the questions asked and the way the film is laid out, though Shaw is definitely here too. You can see this in the way the movie is edited – rather in the way it’s not edited. Still, this is meant to be a light, fun visit with old friends. It’s nonsense and small talk. By the way, don’t be deceived by the placement of the names in the title. Despite arguably being the more famous personality, this is not Linnea’s movie. For the lion’s share of the film, the camera is pointed directly at Don, and the ideas are all his.

The movie begins with technical difficulties and the sound guy not being able to hear the monitor… Don helps him figure out the wiring.

He’s in the back seat with Linnea Quigley (and how many of us have had THAT dream? Come on guys, admit it.) who is loaning out the limo to take him to Art’s Deli. It’s a flimsy premise, but a charming one, perfectly in keeping with Jackson’s own predilections. Linnea serves as the interviewer and occasionally the straightman to Don, and they begin their chat with music. Don is well educated when it comes to country and swing and bluegrass, though he’s not completely unknowledgeable about punk and rock and roll. He begins to talk about trying to figure out the difference between Buddha Cowboy songs and getting his groove back the conversation viewers into food and how to tell if there’s any animal products hiding in noodles.

Don and Linnea are both heading out to meet Jackson’s friend Laszlo Kovachs from Chinatown. They lament that it’s one of the last part of Hollywood it still feels like Hollywood – with that old-fashioned, Philip Marlowe, art deco look. The conversation drifts to dogs.

“How long do you think a dalmatian would live?” Don asks Linnea.
“About seven years,” she replies. “The rule is the bigger the dog, the shorter they live”
“What about Snoop Dogg?”
“Depends on how many gangs are after him.”

Don changes the subject to his difficultie’s with actors. One of his friends once told him that hte hardest thing about being a director, it’s not the money thing, but rather the hardest thing is getting the actors in front of the camera. Linnea is skeptical, since there’s so many out of work actors in Hollywood trying to build a reel,  but Jackson points out that things are different in the micro budget world.

“I knew this one director who was trying to get this actress to come out and do a shoot for him, but she said she couldn’t because she had to go to class – he told her maybe she could come out and act for him sometime when she had no class…”

Linnea gets irritable when she doesn’t eat.
“You weren’t always a veterinarian?”
“Vegetarian, Don”

Suddenly they realize they have passed the deli and had to turn around to go back.

Linnea asked Jackson if he’d ever got his picture up at a place like Art’s, and he says no but his buddy Laszlo once swapped his own head shot out with Fabian’s up at Pinks Hotdogs no one was looking.

Don likes mustard. It may have something to do with the parable of the mustard seed in the Bible.

They pause their conversation to adjust the lights so that they can better illuminate the back seat. We lose the soundtrack for a couple of minutes while this goes on. That’s one of the things that makes this a Zen documentary by the way, there is no editing – it’s one long shot, no matter what happens. Flubs are left in, lines and stories are repeated and we see it all. To be fair though, Jackson seems to expect this all to get cleaned up and edited out later. Scott Shaw obviously had different ideas.

The sound comes back in with a crash while Jackson adjust his mic.

“Sorry.”

“Sorry don’t make it, and I can’t believe your driver missed arts deli and ended up with us at Jerry’s… Is she an actress or a driver? “
“Isn’t everybody an actress in LA?”

Jackson’s noticed, that everyone out here seems to have a desire to be something else – do you wanna be in actor or detective or or a rock ‘n’ roll star.
“There’s a big difference between desire and ability. We have the desire, but not the ability – and there is something else… You need passion”

More sound problems, with the audio track going in and out like a bad wire. They have to douse the lights when the cops cruise by – a police car seems far too interested in them. They wait it out and start back up after the cop car vanishes.

“Let’s not have any more technical problems,” Jackson pleads. “What was I talking about again?”

Jackson mistily pines away for the days when Pink’s Hotdogs didn’t sell French fries, back then you could get in and out quicker and the vendors were showmen… Picking up the hotdogs in the middle with their tongs, flipping it up in the air, then catching it in the bun before slathering it with sauerkraut and mustard.

“Some of the people on the Titanic were on their way to Pinks!”

Linnea helps clarify that Jackson is talking about the movie, not the ship.

They finally arrive at Art’s deli. Don’t worry, everything is okay, Linnea has reservations.

It’s a weird little film. I think it was always meant to be a weird little side project…and would have been a lot shorter if edited properly. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I rented this one, but I had been looking forward to it. Linnea is a sweetheart as just about anyone who has met her on the convention circuit will happily attest. Don himself is always an interesting guy who I really wish I could have met. I don’t believe it’s quite the film Jackson envisioned.  Despite the contrived nature of the questions and answers, not to mention the technical problems that should have been left on the cutting room floor, at half an hour it’s an easy watch, and in the end, I feel like I came away with just a little more insight on Jackson. That alone is enough for me to recommend this movie.


Death Race 2000

franchisebannerindex2Long considered a classic, the thing about Death Race 2000 is that it’s the kind of movie that could only be made in the 70’s. And of course if you can remember the 70’s, you weren’t there. Well, I was there. But I was five as the seventies rolled into the 80’s so I don’t have the nostalgia for it that some do.

Still, there’s something about Corman in the Seventies that allows you to get away with David Carradine in a mask and cape, or Sylvester Stallone driving a car with a giant knife on the hood. Visually, this thing is a comic book. Yet it’s easy to see how the violence in this movie would have been a little out there for 70’s audiences. Today, in the era of Saw, index.jpgrunning down civilians and tossing a smidge of blood here and there is mild. In that era where transgressive cinema was really finding itself, senseless violence was a little more shocking.

In this story about a much hyped annual race between lethal contestants Carradine (the black cloaked champion dubbed “Frankenstien because he’s been put together so many times after too many wrecks) chews the scenery as he is want to do,  even as Stallone (in a role his agent probably should have run screaming to the hills from) grumps through the competition in a stylized 30’s gangster pimp suit. It’s not just  race to the finish, it’s a competition to murder your images4.jpgopponents and as many innocent bystanders as possible in order to achieve a higher score.

The thing is I don’t hate it. I appreciate it on a classic film level and of course I revere Corman. But being raised on Splatter and being a fan of racing games like Carmegeddon (much the same premise, but with more wrecks and blood) this feels a little slow and tame for me. I’m glad to have seen it and I wouldn’t necessarily change the channel if it came up on TV one night.

Not until the commercials anyhow.


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and FridayNew_032