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Showing posts from November, 2005

Give Thanks for BLOOD FREAK

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There's a classic movie for almost every holiday. Christmas possesses several lovely cinematic stocking stuffers, including the 1951 Alistair Sim adaptation of A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra's beloved It's a Wonderful Life (although I cast my personal vote for Rene Cardona's Santa Claus myself). Of course, Halloween begat Halloween . Hell, even Groundhog Day got its own Bill Murray comedy . But what about Thanksgiving? Sure, the perfectly competent Jodie Foster-directed comedy Home for the Holidays and the modestly successful indie flick Pieces of April possess their followers. But my official nominee for the ultimate Thanksgiving Holiday Classic--the one film that captures all of the awkwardness, gluttony, surrealism, and absurdity of the holiday--is 1971's Blood Freak, available from Something Weird Video on DVD. Steve Hawkes plays Herschell, a chopper-riding, pompadoured and well-muscled Vietnam vet who stops and offers some Good Samaritan help to a

The Stooges' Fun House: Iggy Pop Culture Petri Dish

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Rock and roll always wore danger on its sleeve, but punk godfather Iggy Pop just snarled, tore the shirt off, and carved the danger all over the exposed skin with a broken liquor bottle. Rock heroes in the late sixties usually tempered the sex and violence built into their music with mysticism (The Doors), technical chops (Hendrix), political righteousness (The MC5) or a knowing Bacchanalian twinkle (sixties-vintage Stones). But Iggy--and his never-to-be-rivalled cronies, The Stooges --came crawling out of the grime of industrial Michigan with no such agenda. The Stooges' primal, aggressive, sexual throb hurled the Rolling Stones' white-boy blues, the Doors' throaty psychedelia, and the blue-collar scrape of US garage rock into a pressure-cooker cranked to maximum. It was a direct livewire between Iggy's Dionysian id and the listener's ear, and it changed the world. That change was a gradual one. The first two Stooges albums, 1969's The Stooges and 1970

More Essential Lugosi

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I hate leaving loose ends. To wit: Some delusional notion entered my skull for the entire latter half of October, and in honor of Halloween I decided to do a Blog a day, all horror-related, until the arrival of All Hallows' Eve. It was a really frickin' hard--but fun--challenge for me, largely because I have real difficulty with keeping things brief (I know, big surprise). My windy ass remains in awe of Bloggers who can keep it down to one or two perfect paragraphs--and do it every day. Anyway, one of the reasons I lean towards the meandering side is that perennial geek's fear of missing something. And, to make a long story short, I did. When preparing my entry on vampire icon Bela Lugosi, a looming deadline made me forceably omit one film from my list of Lugosi essentials, and I also accidentally omitted two others. So pencil these three movies in alongside all of the other essential Lugosi's. I guess that makes this: Lugosi Essentials: Previously Unreleased Foot

The Warriors: Walter Hill comes down with George Lucas-itis

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Don't mess with perfection. Or at least with anything that was perfectly worthwhile the first time through. That's my humble but emphatic plea to any director out there who's following George Lucas' anal-retentive lead. You can add Walter Hill , the oft-underrated tough-guy auteur who helmed some of the best white-knuckle action flicks of the last three decades, to the ranks of the Anal Tinkerers. He's taken his 1979 cult opus, The Warriors , and glopped it up with some needless tinsel and obvious visual cues (more on that later) for the new 'Ultimate Director's Cut'. Blessedly, the movie stands up nicely despite the tinkering, and in all fairness, the lengthy documentary on the new edition's pretty spiffy, too. The screenplay by Hill and David Shaber strips the ambiguity of Sol Yurick's earnest social drama novel away, leaving an essentially straightahead adventure in its place. In the movie, nine members of the titular Coney Island street ga