Va Va Va … HUH!?
Kent writes: Hey, this is probably the lamest email you will get today…But a buddy of mine got a reply from you, so I thought I would shamelessly petition for one.Not to be accused of sending email with absolutely no informational content, I do believe One Million Years BC is now on DVD – no wait, that was Caveman (1981), I get those two confused all the time.
Noel responds: Readily confusing a buckskin’d Raquel Welch with SHELLEY LONG isn’t something I’d recommend confessing to random internet yokels like myself. You’ll probably find yourself getting a lot of "alternative" spam for testosterone supplements — or worse. So let’s pretend this conversation never happened.
How is the weather?
Big AG writes: Would you happen to know the name of the song that Ernest sings in Ernest Goes to Camp. I am not sure the name of it but I really like the song.
Noel responds: It’s either the ’60s hit "Happy Together" by The Turtles, or one of the half dozen songs written for the flick by Alice and Shane Keister. Probably "Gee I’m Glad It’s Rainin." Incidentally, Slam Dunk Ernest is scheduled for an August release!
Web surfers routinely express their enthusiasm for CineSchlock-O-Rama’s fugitive flick picks:
Blaine writes: i can NOT believe my astonishment at stubmling across your fantastic web site/column/heaven-sent "most wanted" list"! i think we may just be twins seperated at birth, given the incredible similarites of movies on our respective "most wanted" lists… wow! i mean "meatballs part II"? easily one of the most underrated movies to come out the 80s – i dream of that sucker finally making its way to dvd! and "ice cream man" with uber-god clint howard? please – that is primo quality stuff there! a full column on "ernest" movies – wow… a man after my own heart. finally – "bill" – i even forgot (burned?) that movie from my memory – now i’m scrambling to find a VHS copy to watch again… unbelievable – thank-you so much for such a wonderful treasuretrove of memories!
Jason writes: I have been doing some hard research in my spare time for (in my opinion) some important and beautiful B-rate movies on DVD. I am beginning to find more people who are sick of the current movie industry and are looking to the vintage shelves for movies with a different atmosphere. Ones that are not limited to VHS format. Your website gave me alot of hope, especially with the words "Victory over VHS Oblivion." Yours is the only one to really hit the nail right on the head! … Thanks for seeking the lesser known B-rate gems for the format of DVD salvation!!
Kevin writes: What, no Suspiria review? I caught this on Sci-Fi the other night (or should I say very early morning) and was surprised to see no CineSchlock-O-Rama mention….Surely this is worthy of a belated review…
Noel responds: Oh, there’s HUNDREDS of such discs that certainly fit my milieu. Far too many to keep up with, actually. In fact, at the first of the year, I restructured my column in an effort to touch on more titles each month. As for Suspiria specifically, well, Dario’s much too much of an ar-teest for my everyday tastes, but I do enjoy his work and that of his Italian colleagues. Good to see the Sci-Fi Channel featuring Argento even in the wee hours!
Murder in Coweta County
Susan writes: I’m so glad you liked this movie. It was filmed in my hometown of Griffin GA my senior year in high school. The scenes in the old country church were filmed in my church. I must say that Johnny Cash was much nicer and infinitely more gracious than Andy Griffith (where is Aunt Bea when you need her?)
Noel responds: I saw one of what may be Johnny’s last concerts at the historic Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas. Hung out at the stage door to get his autograph and, like you say, Johnny was everything you’d want him to be. What a class act! Being a huge Mayberry nut, I’ll just plug my ears about Andy being a crab. You’re right, though, Bea would’ve snapped him into line. I’ll have to get out to Griffin sometime. Would love to get my photo taken in front of the courthouse and other "Coweta" landmarks.
Most Wanted sighting?
Dave writes: I was checking out your new "Most Wanted" and I am happy to say that COMBAT ACADEMY is (was) on DVD! It was pressed by Top Ten Media in Asia. It’s Dolby Digital, AC-3 5.1, and ALL REGION COMPATIBLE (catalog number: TDVD-0038)! If you are not familair with Top Ten Media, they are an absolute favorite of mine. They have pressed such memorable titles as Girls Just Want To Have Fun (before the US version), Fraternity Vacation (before the US version), Angel, Avenging Angel, Combat Academy, and others. They are often found in FYE music stores for around $5.99-$7.99. Surprisingly, the picture and sound are FANTASTIC! I have looked for their website for years, but never found one!
Noel responds: I’ve seen those on eBay and a couple Canadian sites. I guess I should add a caveat to the Most Wanted, because I really mean for releases to be readily available to mainstream, stateside shoppers. Get lots of "Hey! It’s available in Region 492" emails. But you’ve got some good news if they’re at someplace like FYE. Haven’t been able to turn it up at any of the typical online retailers, though. Keep an eye peeled.
Ricardo writes: I read your column religiously. Like you, I’m also a fan of any shlockfest that crosses my way and I consider myself a big enjoyer of what other people call "fine garbage". I recently found out that one of my guiltiest pleasures, "Xena Warrior Princess", is finally getting a decent DVD treatment. It’s up for April 29th, as you know, and I just wanted to say that you are THE MAN to review it. I hope you get to.
Noel responds: Appreciate the vote of confidence. Twenty-four, one-hour episodes documenting the exploits of a towering Frisbee slinger and her perky blonde sidekick? Hard to go wrong there. Not sure I’ll tackle it, though. I’m currently in keister conditioning for Jack Bauer’s next case of the Mondays. But let me know what you think of the Xena box set when you get it.
Gerald writes: I resent you having placed Dr. Phibes Rises Again! intothe "Rent It" category (whereas you gave the unbearable Time Machineremake a "Recommended" rating). It should be at least "Recommended"for the following reasons: The scorpion scene. The sand dashboard. The snake phone. The clockwork orchestra always moving to a different beat than thetune which is being played. The last words spoken in the movie, which have been sampled severaltimes in modern pop music. Darius Biederbeck’s girlfriend Diana (Fiona Lewis) in her mostlytranslucent nightgown, generally looking stunning. Biederbeck MORPHING into an old man (IN 1972!!!) But most of all: The fact that MGM finally did the Right Thing, went back to thevaults and restored the original soundtrack to this movie (previoushome video versions had a different soundtrack due to rightsissues — among other things, it omitted Vincent Price’s immortalrendition of "Over The Rainbow" from Wizard of OZ. Sorry for the rant. But this if this film isn’t Schlock, what is(besides the Landis film of the same title…).
Noel responds: An unfortunate pitfall of assigning "Ratings" and "Recommendations" is that sometimes you look like a real bonehead. Neither the first or last time in my case. I’m a huge Vincent Price fan, but unlike many, wasn’t as enchanted by the hyper-camp turn of the Phibes sequel. But I certainly understand where folks like yourself would disagree. In penance, here’s a half dozen Price flicks I’d rather watch: The Tingler, The Fly, The House on Haunted Hill, The Fall of the House of Usher, House of Wax and The Last Man on Earth.
Join the cult!
Steve writes: I appreciate reading your "most wanted" list, and I’mamazed that I remember seeing many of these movies(I’m not usually big on monster or slasher movies, butI did appreciate Addrienne’s Barbeaus.I noticed that some of the movies on your list are notstrictly schlocky (Time After Time being the primeexample). So perhaps I could get you on the bandwagonto lobby for one of my favorite movies that’s missingin action:Split Image. This was an 80’s movie that starred Michael O’Keefe,Karen Allen, James Woods, and Peter Fonda. O’Keefewas lured into a cult by sexy-sweet Karen Allen. Fonda was the cult leader, and Woods was thedeprogrammer hired by the parents to bring O’Keefeback. I remember Woods being particularly gnarly, andFonda was spacey as the Rajneeshie-like cult leader. It was an interesting movie in that both the cultistsand the deprogrammers were portrayed as both good andbad. I remember it fondly and wish it were availableon DVD.
Noel responds: Gory, gory hallelujah! Sounds like someone’s on the verge of CineSchlocker salvation. Come on down the aisle, Steve. We’re all brothers in the gutter, and remember, the Kool-Aid’s always free. Thanks for the excellent suggestion. I’ll pass it along to the congregation.
Reach for more stars
Martin writes: I am very pleased to see Shape of Things to Come finally graduate to DVD immortality. However, Ifeel that you have failed to appreciate its schlocky goodness.To this day I clearly recall seeing this film in thetheatre (it opened at the dollar theatre and didn’t stay long). I have a special fondness for the scenein the early stages of the film where the moon colony is about to get waxed by a swarm of asteroid weapons. The frightened colonists/moon-men rush toLOMAX the super computer and explain the situation.LOMAX’s response – "take all appropriate action". Talk about mind blowing! Those are words to liveby.As our heros race to the evil planet to stop the menace, they see more asteroids on their way towreak more havoc on the already-shattered moon. Thecrew discuss all the super weapons that they coulduse to stop these hurtling juggernauts, but mumble something about why they don’t work and casually letthem pass their cargo of death to the remaining survivors. Translation – no budget for specialeffects.Once on the evil planet, the heros are spotted by evil robots who stand a mile away on a ridge (of undetermined malevolence). However, our protagonists outwit the robots by simply crouching down in the grass and let the robots walk right by them. That’s suspense!In short, H.G. Wells was a frickin’ genius to write this script and you do him great disservice bygiving it a paltry 2 stars. I trust you will correct your mistake and restore Wells’ honor when you review the Criterion edition.
Noel responds: You make a strong case, Martin, but I gotta stand by my review. What I will do is post your letter on the site, because I’m certain there are other CineSchlockers who are right there with you on this one. As for H.G., well, that poor fella gets his name attached to all sorts of big-screen shenanigans. My personal fave, beyond the obvious choices, is AIP’s Food of the Gods. It came out three years prior and features a giant, murderous chicken. Somehow I’m certain Mr. Wells’ long-crunchy corpse wouldn’t have approved of that either.
Chiller Theatre Expo
Jenn writes: Just navigating around your website and I must say those are the finest photgraphs and stories from a Chiller show (well, two!) that I’ve ever come across! Very good job, I really enjoyed it and felt like I was right back there. Two more months until the next show!
Noel responds: Chiller is something every genre fan should experience at LEAST once. I’m glad you enjoyed poking through my coverage. So kind of you to say so. I understand the great Angus Scrimm is headlining the spring show. Both he and Linnea Quigley were at the first horror convention I ever attended and remain two of the nicest, most personable folks I’ve encountered at any venue since. Chiller goers are in for a real treat! Not to mention it’s Rowdy Roddy Piper’s first expo! Wish I lived closer. I’m already feeling drawn to the next Halloween extravaganza.
Tag me! Tag me!
Jim writes: First off, I love your site. Especially the reader emails section.I had a nominee for your Most Wanted listing. The 1982 Nick Castle directed film TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME. This was the one with Robert Carradine, Linda Hamilton, Bruce Abbott, Kristine DeBell and Michael Winslow (of Police Academy) as college students playing the game of tag with dart guns, until Abbott becomes too serious and starts using a real gun.New World released it in 1982. It was very popular on cable in the mid 80’s and got a small video release by Embassy in 1985 (very hard to find today). I don’t know who has the rights for it today. I haven’t seen it on cable or even broadcast TV since the mid 80s. I guess in today’s post Columbine times, it might be hard to show a film of kids at a school running around with guns, but it was a fun film when it came out.Thought I would pass that along for a nominee. Keep up the good work.
Noel responds: You’ve been foraging through my laptop, haven’t you!? Tag’s definitely due for Most Wanted induction. Stay tuned. Some confuse the flick with Gotcha! starring big-screen nerd turned ER grouch Anthony Edwards. And, hey, if you tag an extra copy of the flick, drop me a line.
Gerald writes: Reading your Lightning Round, I found myselftrying to purchase two of the titles afterwards. However, Series 7 doesn’t appear to be sold in Region 1 at all… what happened to that movie? Initially, I had a similar problem with Death Bed — which I was alsounable to find, where the IMDB doesn’t even list a DVD release at all and Amazon basically buries it by offering the same DVD twice, once as "out of stock" and oncewith no useful information but alousy price.Incidentally, the film is listed as Deathbed in the IMDB and atAmazon. Before you consider me utterly anal retentive, there is areason for this rant: According to some web sites, the DVD contains adouble-feature — the second feature being Castle Freak starringJeffrey Combs. Have you had a chance to look at "Castle Freak"? Anygood? Are there two Deathbed DVDs on the market or whatever happened?Inquiring minds would like to know. And since you seem to be in theknow… please let me know.
Noel responds: I’m fairly certain that "Lightning Round" column is cursed. Series 7 has yet to be re-issued since Universal acquired USA Home Entertainment, so the flick is "technically" out of print as I understand it. The discs ARE out there, though. Try Half.com.As for Deathbed, unfortunately, I reviewed that from a movie-only screener (which I’d be glad to send you). The distributor didn’t provide any of the bonus materials, or even the cover artwork. I’ve also heard, as you have, that the actual release includes a commentary and Castle Freak as a second feature. This would definitely be in keeping with Full Moon’s new marketing approach. As for Castle Freak, I used to say anything with Jeffery Combs was hard to beat — that was before Feardotcom.One final bit of proof the Lightning Round curse exists. Days after reviewing Vols. 1 & 2, the fellas at The DAMN! Show had to pull both discs because of music rights issues. But, never fear, Yucko the Clown and pals will return!
Todd writes: I really enjoy your website, newsletter, and columns. Like you I have a list of films I would like to see get a DVD release. The top title on my list is "The Nightmare Sisters". I just thought I would breifly bring this movie to your attention. It stars 3 great scream queens: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer. The scene were they frolic in a bathtub together is classic. The plot is simple. These three ladies are succubuses who fellate frat boys to death for fun.
Noel responds: Right you are, Todd. Nightmare Sisters is really a B-picture of GREAT significance! CineSchlocker idol David DeCoteau was barely 25 when fate smiled and aligned him with those three lovely ladies who’d define the genre as Queens of Scream. But DeCoteau hasn’t slow’d long enough to properly revisit his previous films. I’ve bugged him and the folks at Full Moon Entertainment more than once about a special edition of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (which obviously inspired the title of my chicken scratchings). His Rapid Heart Pictures is truly among the bankable success stories in fringe cinema today. THREE of his brawny Brotherhood flicks are regular fixtures at Blockbuster. His Voodoo Academy sequel was recently snatched up at MEFED and starts shooting soon. He just finished a stab at the box office smash The Fast and the Furious called Speed Demon with his own unique style that puts beefcake before cheesecake. Personally, I’m looking forward to his giant bloodsucker flick, which as only DeCoteau could, pits a hunky swim team against huge, rubber oven mitts, er, deadly LEECHES! Trust me, David adores his early pictures and is just as anxious as we are to see them polished up on DVD. We’ve just gotta be patient.
Blood Feast 2: SE
Mark writes: Thanks for the great article! The master is back! Any idea when they’ll be releasing that to DVD ( I assume it won’t really hit the theaters…)
Noel responds: Funny you should write when you did. It’s been nearly two years, and just recently, I’ve learned Media Blasters plans to release a special edition DVD of Blood Feast 2 in the months ahead! I don’t have the specifics and am playing email tag with Herschell to ascertain his level of involvement. He’s off in Kiev being a globetrotting sophisticate. As you may well know, I’ve also been covering a fan-made flick, Hunting For Herschell, that had its world premiere last month at Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors in New York City. Mr. Lewis, who appears in the film, was among the guests of honor. The initial cut is being called the "Tame Version," as goretuer Joe Castro has signed on to inject even more Herschell-esque grue into the flick. As you know from my on-set report, Joe worked very closely with Mr. Lewis on what have proved to be BF2’s strongest, most memorable scenes. Beyond that, it appears the Godfather of Gore has truly reemerged, as he’s currently developing Grim Fairy Tale (a.k.a. Uh Oh!) with our Floridian friends at Bride of Hamlet. Anyway, glad you enjoyed the story and photos. But don’t count out a theatrical release. Media Blasters routinely books its acquisitions throughout the country.
Ed writes: Hey Noel, read your most recent newsletter and your research/exclusive news (at least I haven’t heard it anywhere else) that the rights to A-Pix’s catalog has been picked up by "Ardustry Entertainment" made me very happy, because I’ve never seen/owned "Ice Cream Man" and Simitar’s DVD of "Jack Frost" is long out of print and generally barebones and sucky (although I’m probably in the minority that I like "Jack Frost 2" a lot better). Anyway, I did a Google search to see if I could find out more, but could only find one other mention of the company, from the website: "The independent film was in contract with Las Vega based "Revolution Film Distribution" in 2002 and has reached a new distribution agreement with Ardustry Entertainment (formally known as UnaPix) and is set for a July 2003 release." Interesting quote. Seems as if A-Pix somehow got the money to resurface, and just changed their name. Kinda like how Full Moon has changed their name several times over the past decade (most recently to Shadow Entertainment). Anyhow, keep up the great work as always. Actually, before I go, how were you researching the copyrights? Just browsing through the U.S. Copyright office’s online database?
Noel responds: I’m fairly frequently good for an exclusive bit of news of intense importance to at least a half dozen other people in the world. How Santa Kleinman and I came across the A-Pix development is personally somewhat distressing as it’d been our dizzy dream to craft a "CineSchlock-O-Rama Edition" of Clint Howard’s immortal Ice Cream Man. When they’re not handing out Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is an excellent resource for tracking down movie information, including rights holders. Detective Kleinman traced the lineage of Ice Cream Man and its A-Pix brothers to a bank legal eagle who, instead of talking business, preferred to have him keep phoning back every two weeks for months. Presumably, we were the fall back option if a buyer for the whole catalog wasn’t found. That turned out to be Ardustry. Still good news. Just not what we’d hoped. As for UnaPix merely changing its name? Nope. They’re history. And, Ed, there’s certainly no shame in holding a special place in your heart for the Jack Frost sequel. I’m certainly tempted to agree.
The Once Bitten Story
Justin writes: I just wanted to tell you that I totally agree with your choice of Once Bitten as a Most Wanted title. I do believe MGM has the rights to it so maybe it’ll come out next time they tap their catalog…Here’s a really interesting article from the writer’s website.
Where’s THIS title?
Patrick writes: One movie that I think should be preppedand primed and released on DVD ASAP isthe 1981 TV-movie classic Dark Night Of The Scarecrow!I remember seeing this when it first aired backin the chilly November of 1981, and to thisday it still creeps me out! B-movie favoriteLarry Drake’s Bubba character is one of the mostcreepy characters ever to grace a TV-movie.(Although I also enjoyed his performance asthe psychotic Santa Claus in Robert Zemeckis’sTales From The Crypt episode "And All Through The House".)And how about the great Charles Durning as a bigotpostman who NEVER removes his postal uniform throughoutthe entire film! Well, he gets his just desserts inthe end with that tractor-trailer. (Hey, Chuck, didyou ever think about running AWAY from it?).I also have never been able to look at garden gnomesthe same way again without thinking of this great film.I was so excited when I saw that Turner South was airingthis on Halloween night, and I got my VCR all readyto go when my cable went out! Darn, should’ve gone digital!Oh well. So, Oh Great Cine-Schlocker, have you heard anythingabout a possible DVD release of this masterpiece? There arebootlegs aplenty floating all over eBay, but this appearsto be a title that Anchor Bay could get its hands on andhave fun with. How about a Larry Drake/Charles Durningcommentary? Or an isolated score maybe? Eh well, maybethat’s going to far. Thanks in advance, love the site,and remember, "Bubbaaaa didn’t doooo it!"
Noel responds: Sounds like a winner! Hate to say I haven’t heard a peep, though. But titles like that have a funny habit of popping up when folks least expect it, so let’s not give up hope. Until then, I’ll alert my trusty TiVo to keep its electronic eye peeled.
Anthony writes: I have to agree with you about "Return of the Living Dead." I bought that DVD tonight, also. My two oldest boys saw the VHS of the movie when they were younger (I think they were in middle school). For weeks afterward, they would wander around the house saying, "Brains, Brains" in their best zombie voice. Yeah, I know. A lot of people would frown upon my letting the boys watch those kind of movies. However, from the time they could sit and watch a TV show, I explained to them the difference between real life violence (very bad and real, people cry out in pain for their Mommies) and screen violence (people who get paid to play the games that you and your brother play outside for free).
Noel responds: My hat’s off to you for properly schooling those youngsters of yours in the joys of fringe cinema. How ELSE are they supposed to learn proper zombie disposal and the mystical art of nekkid tombstone dancing? That’s one family movie night I’ll bet few of us would miss! I get choked up just thinking about it.