Monday, December 24, 2007

A Very Film Geek Christmas

Twas the night before X-mas,
And all through Film Geek Primer HQ,
Three film geeks were stirring,
Namely Santo, Dub, and our pal Schu.

All around the studio, decorations shone with a gleam,
And presents from viewers were no where to be seen.
The empty DVD cases were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Roger Ebert soon would be there.

Santo lay nestled all geeky in his bed
While visions of skewered Michael Bay danced in his head.
With Schu on the throne, and Dub snoring the blues,
They all settled down for a long winter's snooze.

When out in the hall, there arose such a clatter.
Santo sprang from his crusty bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, he flew like a flash,
And drew his shotgun like Evil Dead hero Ash.

When, what to Santo’s tired eyes should appear,
But a stumbling Mexican Wrestler with a bag full of cheer.
He was mumbling and grumbling and choking on his sick,
Santo guessed it might be Santa or some other prick.

He noticed that Santa was dressed in red fur from his head to his knees,
And he stank of cheap hooch, Christmas holly, and rotten cheese.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how lame!
His nose was like roses, like he was stoned on cocaine!

His dreams of meeting Santa were finally coming true,
But he was really hoping for Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.
Suddenly from behind Masked Santa eight tiny people came
And the drunken doofus called them out by name:

"Now, Shane! Now, Aaron! Now, Sally y Darren!
On Peter, on Mary, on Mel, y Carrie!
It’s safe in here, let’s forget these past weeks!
Come in, drink up, and spend time with film geeks!

“This'll be better,” Mexi Santa shouted, “than winning a thousand Lottos,
Or spending X-mas watching the films of George P. Cosmatos!”
Santo shook his head in disgust for he disagreed,
And thought he’d rather get kicked in, and pooped on, and peed.

“What are you doing?” irritated Santo yelled, “Get out!”
“Get the hell out of my house, like right freakin’ now!”
Santa stared at him until his brain began to hurt,
And said, “Why would you turn us away, you Godard-loving jerk?”

“Who are you and why should I care?” Santo retorted.
“They are striking TV writers”, Santa huffily snorted.
“They work so hard to bring you daily crap,

And this is how you thank them, by sending them back?”

So Santo let them stay in his humble abode,
And the feelings of hostility so began to erode.
They broke out in song and ate pie ala mode.
And Santo and the geeks thought, “This might make a good episode”.

Um. No.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

El T’s 32nd Annual X-mas Porn Review

Ah, sweet porn. What would the holidays be without it? I know yours truly wouldn't be around. And neither would 72 of my 131 illegitimate lil'Tremendos. So like Santa coming down the chimney, let's continue the tradition with entry number 32 in my long-running series of:

Reviews of XXX-themed X-mas X-films!


Directed by: Billy Blue
Starring: Suzy Creamcheese, Fonda Dix, Cindy Sinn, Kandee Cowgirl, Moana Cummings, Willy Mammoth, Jean-Luc Prickhard, Ron Jeremy

Director Billy Blue has accomplished the truly unique in his adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens' X-mas story into another setting and context, which has never been done before, ever. Dickens' work often lends itself well to the screen and this is no exception, despite being shot on video with two, maybe three lights.

The story concerns Carol Spooge (Creamcheese), a young, vivacious but stingy adult bookstore owner with a less than festive attitude. After a war of words on top of her office desk, she fires her only employee Boob Scratchit (Dix) on X-mas Eve. Later that evening, the ghost of her old partner, Jacob Hardly (Mammoth) decides to intervene in a moving confrontation on a credenza. Later, a trio of X-mas spirits appears to her and inflicts a series of horrifyingly erotic visions on Carol to convince her of the error of her ways.

Creamcheese takes on the biggest role of her career in A Christmas in Carol.

Carol's life story is told in a series of flashbacks, facilitated by old-style yet effective trick photography. Stalwart director Blue uses this device to conjure up an earlier, innocent world in which to chronicle Carol's decent into misanthropy. This contrasts effectively with her gloomy, squalid present and doomed future in a prophylactic-less world. And each spirit has a profound effect on Carol, especially newcomer Sinn as the Ghost of X-mas Ass.

The film features a superb central performance from Suzy Creamcheese, all wayward hair, unbridled enthusiasm and all-you-can-eat eyes. She invests Carol with dignity and wit as her cynicism is gradually stripped away. Her reunion with Scratchit and Not-So Tiny Tim (Prickhard) at the end makes for a joyous transformation on Christmas morning which moved me deep down.

Master thespian Jeremy chews up the scenery as the Ghost of X-mas Pantless.

On the positive side, this story shows how a bad attitude affects everyone from enjoying a safe X-mas. The film ends as one might expect for a morality tale, but is none the worse for it. All in all, it is a humbling, wrist-numbing, festive treat. As Not-so Tiny Tim says: "God bone us, every one".


Directed by: Harvey Gangbanger
Starring: Trixi Tee, Cha-Cha Boudoir, Roxie Cash, Krista Charity, Tony Bologna

In this lighthearted comedy, Trixie Tee sheds the intensity of her previous roles in Frosty the Well-Endowed Snowman and Wally Wanker in Her Chocolate Factory, to name just a few, and plays Rudy, a shy crimson-nosed reindeer struggling to deal with her sexual awakening mere days before X-mas Eve. One morning, Rudy awakes to the appearance of a bright-red honker whenever she thinks about love, which she does a lot. In fact, she thinks about it many, many times. Taking on the themes of tolerance and acceptance from the famed X-mas tale, the film allows Tee to bring to her portray a surprising comedic angst and fierce energy as none previously seen from this teen wonder.

Tee's portrayal of troubled reindeer Rudy is impressive, despite the lousy CGI.

The first act is mostly comprised of Rudy’s interactions with her fellow residents of the North Pole, including a milkman, a cable guy, and three helpful construction worker reindeer. All of them are put-off by the appearance of Rudy’s shiner and she is shunned and ridiculed. Soon her boss Santa (Bologna) discovers her red-nose problem during a heated encounter in the stable and he fires her from the sleigh team. Rudy, distraught, returns home and meets a "perfect stranger" in the form of the lovely Lulu the Elf (Cash) who steps into her life and brings magic. And a few toys.

Even the Easter Bunny gets in on the fun in Rudolph.

Lulu persuades Rudy to file a discrimination lawsuit against Santa. Bearing a grudge against St. Nick, she even creates fake photos of Mrs. Claus (Boudoir) in a leather-clad embrace with a Snowman in icy-bun-exposed pants. Ironically, we discover the encounter actually happened in a stirring, stark flashback. Despite Rudy’s protests, the photo gets sent to Santa and events start spinning like a X-mas snow globe in a blizzard, eventually changing Rudy's life forever. Oddly, for the rest of the film, Bi-Curious flirts with being politically correct and becomes predictable as Rudy confronts Mrs. Claus, who rejects her at first but is eventually swayed into accepting her. Santa suddenly finds the pair, engages in discourse with them, and learns the error of his ways. All is well again and Rudy gets to pull Santa’s sleigh.

Rudy's elfen friends demonstrate the true spirit of giving in Rudolph the Bi-Curious Reindeer.

While watching the film, I caught myself feeling surprised that such a banal movie could actually be entertaining and meaningful, and this is mostly due to Tee's sensitive performance. Besides Tee, the acting is adequate, although there are a few highlights. Boudoir as Mrs. Claus, for example, is especially good and starts off great as a gauche homophobe when confronted with Rudy’s predicament. However, a few quality minutes with Rudy eradicate her prejudices, and the problem is licked. This touching scene demonstrates to us how smart women can master the most impossible situations.


Directed by: Peter Navy
Starring: Dani Babineaux, Isis Desire, Jenny Juggs, Lillian St. Claire, Karma Kamelons, Shelly Montana, Vinnie 13, Jack Mehoffer, Derek Morningwood

This surprise winner of the 2000’s Best Far-In Stiffy award is a quiet film, with the most unlikely characters to turn it into a success: curmudgeonly residents of sex addiction treatment center in a far remote town. However, it's the subject of food and togetherness, and showing a feast to end all feasts, that endears this movie over to audiences.

Narrated by legendary director Dick Dangle, the film opens with a flashback, depicting the frustrated love lives of Nina (Juggs) and Nikki (Desire), former secretaries to President Clinton. The saga then shifts to the present, a week before X-mas, as the sensitive center counselor Marie (sizzling French actress Babineaux), enters the employ of the center after an intense interview with the tough-as-nails administrator played by the monstrous Vinnie 13.

Santa shows his gentle side in Butt Orgy.

After days trying to help a motley crew of social misfits that comprise the center’s clientele, Marie decides to prepare a sumptuous banquet in honor of the center's 10th anniversary which falls on X-mas. But it isnt' as easy as it sounds. At first, the stoic clients are reluctant to participate in the banquet, but ultimately, they joyously indulge in Marie's spread.

A gentle film, Butt Orgy is an upbeat movie, despite the austerity of the characters and their surroundings. The entire ensemble is excellent, beginning with vet actors Kamelons, as a cockeyed gymnast, and Montana, as wily spinster who's still got some gas in her engine. The movie is a quiet celebration of the divine grace that meets us at every turn, and even redeems our ways not taken, our sacrifices and losses. This film should be viewed not solely for the interaction with the characters or even the expectations that the clients will be cured of their affliction. It should be viewed for its spirit of sharing, its revelation of the beauty of togetherness, and its unabashed sentimentality in these wary, uncertain days.

That and the hot ass fucking.

Other holiday titles to watch out for: Elves Doing Themselves, The Pole Her Express, and I Saw Mommy Doing Many Weird Things to Santa Claus.

Friday, December 21, 2007

El T's X-mas Photo Album

Here's a few pictures to share from your old pal El Tremendo's Holiday Tome of Memories, aka My K-Mart Photo Saver.

December, 1946, New York City.
Film Geek Schu and I as little ones on Santa's lap at Macy's. The guy playing Santa called himself Kris Kringle, spoke Dutch, and sold real estate in his spare time. He was later put away in the nut house. During his sanity hearing, a crucial piece of evidence arrived too late and he was hung on X-mas morning. Dang post office!

December, 1989, Sweden.
Life was so much simpler back when I was a hot woman.

December, 1968, Culver City, CA.
I briefly replaced Brian Keith on CBS's Family Affair during season three where I was introduced as Uncle Tremendo. I was fired after body-slamming Sebastian Cabot for constantly swiping butter croissants from my dressing room. I have no idea why I have the same facial expression in all these pics.

X-Mas Day, 2006, Hollywood, CA.
Save the cheerleader, save my pants!

December 21st, 2007, Tucson, AZ
A special holiday message from Film Geek Schu.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Three X-mas Movies You Probably Won't Be Watching This Year


“Directed” by: John Murlowski
“Written” by: Jonathan Bond, Fred Mata, Dorrie Krum Raymond
“Starring”: Hulk Hogan, Don Stark, Garret Morris, Robin Curtis, Mila Kunis, Ed Begley Jr., Clint Howard, Brutus Beefcake

Despite his immense popularity in the pro wrestling world, Hulk Hogan isn’t much of an athlete. He also has made many films, but he isn’t much of an actor. And if you’ve been watching his reality series and the current drama surrounding his family, he’s proven to be not much of a human being. But despite his scumbaggery, he has proven to be a reliable treasure trove of mocking goodness for the film geek. Like an answer to a prayer from absolutely no one, Hogan gifted 1996’s Santa With Muscles to hateful geeks everywhere. It also helps if you pronounce the title with your worst Schwarzenegger impression so it sounds like "Zantah viz Mua-sols".

No expense was spared in the title sequence to Santa With Muscles.

After a year or so of searching, I found my VHS copy of Santa With Muscles in the middle of the Arizona desert. I’m sure its scarcity is due to all the little Hulksters out there who ate their prayers and said their vitamins and bought up every single copy with blind avarice in worship to the almighty Hogan.

After hearing legends of the movie’s crapacity, I scrambled for a copy, ultimately locating it at a swap meet in the rear (how appropriate) of a greasy trailer filled with other shitty movies and mysteriously stained girly mags. The guy who sold it to me had fewer teeth than I have legs. Two.

Hulk Hogan destroys yet another child by his mere existence.

Co-starring SNL vet Morris, That 70’s Show alum Stark and über-cutie Kunis, Star Trek’s Curtis, St. Elsewhere’s Ed Begley Jr., and Rance Howard’s Clint Howard, the film looks like it was put together with a Video Toaster and carefully crafted with the all aesthetics of a GoGurts commercial. The wackiness begins with the introduction of the Hulkster as some kind of fitness guru/infomercial pitchman…

Wait…I’ve gotta to stop here. I can’t do this review any justice. These guys did a much better job:

Wrestlecrap's Santa With Muscles Review.

Need a Christmas Eve triple-feature featuring muscle-bound morons doing holiday shtick? Then stick Santa with Muscles, Jingle all the Way with Gov. Arnold, and Santa’s Slay with buff dork Bill Goldberg in your stocking and let the agony roll.


Directed by: Nicholas Webster
Written by: Paul L. Jacobson and Glenville Mareth
Starring: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Bill McCutcheon, Vincent Beck, Pia Zadora, Ned Wertimer

With a cast that boasts Broadway veterans, a Golden Globe winner, and the guy who played the doorman on The Jeffersons, it’s no wonder that Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has been hailed as a Christmas family classic. But in truth, it’s an absolute piece of reindeer shit.

Much like viewers of Deal or No Deal, the children on Mars are easily entertained by Earth's TV programs. Hypnotized by transmissions of the jolly fat man giving away toys to good little boys and girls, the kids yearn for a Santa of their very own. So the pater familias of a Martian clan consults a squeaky old cave-living sage who recommends that Mars should have a Santa Claus because Martian children have become emotionless automatons with no sense of the value of family, love, and caring, much like the viewers of Deal or No Deal. So Dad does the only sensible thing and invades Earth with four guys and the worst robot since Small Wonder. The Martian posse kidnaps Santa and two earthling children who return to Mars to work in a toy sweat shop. Along the way, a group of Martian proto-Nazis opposes Earth's cultural infiltration of Mars and war begins. Well, a pie fight. Only with toys. All's well when the good green folks of Mars realizes that it always had a Santa in the form of hilarious green-tard Dropo. Santa and the kids are allowed to go home and forget this super cheapo, embarrassing, and badly lit gig ever happened.

A murderous Martian catches Santa on the can.

Things learned from watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians:

  • The United Nations can meet at the drop of a hat and launch a multinational military operation within hours if Santa Claus goes missing for 30 minutes.
  • Martians can kill you with a blow dryer, use nuclear curtains to imprison, and walk around in emerald tights with bulges the size of jingle bells. Not that I noticed.
  • Santa is a pothead.
  • Listening to 'Hooray for Santy Clause', the opening and closing theme of the film, will cause 28 Days Later-like behavior after 12 minutes.
  • Bill McCutcheon's portrayal of comic relief Dropo the Martian was primarily influenced by his chronic irritable bowel syndrome.

Blink and you'll miss my cameo in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Calling it 'Reindeer shit' is being harsh. The movie is pretty harmless and kinda fun. I can’t mock it any better than the Mystery Science Theater guys have already done to perfection. Watch it, trash it, and enjoy.

Hooray for Insanity Clause.


Directed by: Frank Capra
Starring: El Tremendo, Jimmy Stewart, and some other people.

Very few know the story behind the making of what could have been the greatest holiday picture of all time: Frank Capra’s It’s a Tremendous Life. So grab a hot cup of cocoa, sit back, and listen to a tale of treachery that hindered my early career in Hollywood.

I first met Frank Capra back at a Brooklyn pizza parlor in 1945. We downed a few slices and a pitcher or two talking business, you know, movie business. Earlier that evening, I had defended my Snooty Cigarettes© Tag Team Championship belt with my partner Cacafuego against the duo of hefty Germanic tough man Gunter Gallahad and the foppish 'Gentleman' Monty Armbruster. Capra was there in attendance mapping my every move for a possible bio picture. At the time, I had been in negotiations for the rights to film my life story with other directors such as Orson Welles, John Ford, and toddler Martin Scorcese. But I was holding out for the right script.

What remains of what could have been pure f*cking brilliance.

It turned out that the right script was the one I wrote: a spiritual journey to discover the value of familiar love, your own destiny, and the joy of giving to others set during X-mas in upstate New York. Here's the exact word-for-word synopsis I showed Capra:

"George Hailey has spent his entire life in Deadford Springs where he has sacrificed a career of travel and study to help garlic eaters buy shacks and get white people drunk. Dragged down by his selfish family, including a senile, syphilitic uncle, a marriage-obsessed menopausal mother, and a skirt-chasing Army-guy-saving jerk brother, he becomes trapped in an uneventful small town life.

Constantly in conflict with the Scrooge-like bowling alley baron Mister Pooter, George is unable to prevent the rich old kingpin from taking over the entire town. All that he has is a moldy old building and loan company, which was founded by his dopey stroke-prone father (deceased).

George eventually marries a pretty hot lady named Mary who turns out to be a baby factory and saddles poor ol'George with five rugrats (including one dangerously obsessed with flowers), a drafty old house, and an assload of a mortgage. Plus there's this guy who torments him with donkey impressions.

One Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Willy loses the company's total assets on whores and lollipops. Pooter retrieves the misspent money and hides it from the Haileys. A bank official doing an audit on X-mas effing Eve discovers the shortage, and George realizes that he will be held responsible, sent to jail, and lose the business, which would finally allow Pooter to take over the town. But at least he'd be away from those caroling, posey-sniffing brats. Anyway, he believes luscious Mary (who's like butta!) and other loved ones would be better off without hime, so he contemplates suicide.

George wanders to a nearby bridge over a river and prepares to jump. But the prayers of his loved ones result in an angel named El Tremendo arriving to help George. Unable to convince George that pills and not drowning is the only answer, Tremendo tries a different tactic. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.

In a well-shot, widescreen vision in which the Pooter-controlled town has efficient trains, milk fountains, and lots and lots of Donut Kings, George discovers that his family and friends are pretty much the same, only with sturdier bones and protruding guts. But George ultimately decides suicide is not the answer when he finds Mister Pooter nailing Mary harder than an Amish barn.

In the end, El Tremendo transports George to a mystical wrestling ring, shows him many moves, and returns him to earth at the stroke of midnight on X-mas eve where he chokes out Mister Pooter, gets the money back, and makes baby #6. Verily, it is a tremendous life."

Capra was sold. Or so I thought. We got Jimmy Stewart to play George, but we only shot one scene: the first meeting between El Tremendo and George after his rescue where I try to convince him I'm a otherworldly messenger of a God who still thinks wrestling is real. Then, suddenly, I was out of the picture. They dumped me, retitled it, hired another guy as the angel, and completely perverted my vision.

Luckily, the movie wasn't a big hit and no one has ever heard or seen it multiple times over and over again every frickin' year since. I think you can find it at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet in Tucson for $1.99. Ask for Lewie, but please don't ask about the stains.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

An FGP X-mas Top Ten


10. “Uh oh, Elaine Stritch just drank Dub under the table.”

9. “Why is Kermit screaming from that phone speaker?”

8. “Tonight, ye shall be visited by three spirits: Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, and Michael Bay.”

7. “Looking for Tremendo? Just follow the trail of Slim Jim wrappers.”

6. “Aw, these fake “Santo: 2007’s Man of the Year” Time magazines are cute. Oh my God, they’re REAL!”

5. “Wait a minute, this ain’t Dom Pérignon; it’s Dom Deluise!”

4. “Who invited George Clooney, and why is he wearing a wrestling mask?”

3. “The Brian Grazer living statue was a nice touch. Oh wait.”

2. “Dub isn’t looking at your boobs. He’s just reading your subtitles.”

And the number one thing overheard at FGP’s X-mas party:

1. “Why, uh, yes of course we could do an episode on all your movies, Mr. Shore.”

Saturday, December 15, 2007

X-mas Musings II

Christmas Food.

The holidays are a time for togetherness, charity, and frivolity. It’s also a time for stuffing your undeserving gut with mountains of sugar-coated, gravy-drenched, frosting-encrusted yummy stuff. God bless America. But along with the happiness, laughter, and X-mas Eve hummers, there’s the misery, the gluttony, and the Citibank overdrawn fees. You gotta take the good with the bad, and thankfully there’s plenty of comfort food to help temporarily chase our blues away X-mas morn.

Given that, here are my top five favorite tummy-stuffers and bottom five stomach-blech-ers.


5. Strawberry Candies

Worth a 7 1/2 hour drive.

Each X-mas, Ma Tremendo makes these awesome homemade strawberry-flavored candies that are rich in wonderful calories and artery-hardening butter. Whenever I remember the sweet tangy taste of those candies, I get all Prousty in my remembrances of X-mases past, although I resist writing 700 pages about it. These uber-sweet treats are perfect for post-turkey palette cleansing or as a quick pick-me-up if you plan to jog to Toledo. E-mail me if you’d like the recipe.

4. Meat Logs.

Horny Santa ain't the only one delivering meat X-mas Eve.

Ma Tremendo is a big fan of the mail order catalog, especially if said catalog promises buckets of meat being delivered to your door. Unfortunately, these are not Omaha steaks but rather yule logs of a different sort: pepperoni, salami, smoked ham, summer sausage, and assorted flavors of beef. And doggone it, if they are not just as tasty as all heck, especially with some crackers and a fizzy spirit or two. Just a word of warning, though, if you see a loved one horking down on some X-mas sausage, it’s probably best to keep them away from any open flame for at least 12 hours.

3. Pies

He's probably thinking about all the pies He's missed out on.

Pumpkin, cherry, pecan, strawberry, there’s no end to the parade of pies coming out of the Tremendo family oven. I get a tear in my eye when the pies are laid out on the family dinner table like a Busby Berkeley dance sequence. I swear, last year there was more pie on display than at a Hannah Montana concert. But at least here, I got to eat some.

2. Champurrado

The breakfast of Champurrados.

Champurrado is hot chocolate, but this ain’t no Swiss Miss. And it shouldn’t be confused with champurado, which is a Philippine rice pudding. This drink is a complex mixture of flour, hot milk, Mexican chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and aniseeds (or in some recipes, chili powder). Ma Tremendo sometimes skips the flour and uses baking chocolate and cinnamon, usually at Halloween. Either way, it’s good stuff. An ancient drink popular from the Southwest to South America, champurrado is a nice companion to a X-mas tree, an El Tremendo quilt, and filthy Christmas carols on a cold December night.

1. Tamales

For those of you unlucky enough to not know a Mexican, tamales are corn meal dough wrapped and steamed in corn or plantain husks filled with spiced meats, or dried fruits, or if you are poor, air. The origin of this prominently Latin American dish can be traced to ancient Native Americans. Tonto liked his with horse meat. Running Bull was a Skittles man. And Geronimo loved white folks.

Eat them up, yum!

X-mas time is tamale time in Mexican households. At Chez Tremendo, the things are like currency. I could easily be bribed to clean the garage, paint the wrestling ring, and hand-wash Tata Tremendo’s masks with a dozen steamy tamales. They dominate every meal of the day during this time. X-mas breakfast is usually comprised of chorizo and eggs, tamales, and plenty of hot chocolate. Nana Tremendo put on the tamalera (steam cooker) just days after Thanksgiving and the smells of ground corn, chili powder, and angry swearing sailed in the sweet December air.

Be careful not to overdo it on these bad boys. Too many tamales and you’ll be spending X-mas Eve sucking face with a porcelain queen, and I don’t mean Anne Hathaway. The Tremendo clan never complained about eating tamales long after the tinsel and booze-stained stockings were packed away. Past the avarice of X-mas morning, they were probably the only things we could afford to eat. (And unwrap. Har har.)

Honorable Mention: X-mas M&Ms, Egg Nog.


5. Fruit Cake

Under-appreciated dessert or Snack of Satan?

What would any bad X-mas food list be without the clichéd fruit cake mention? I would be remiss and shunned by my 80s standup comedian friends if I didn’t at least casually list it. Honestly, I’ve got nothing against the stuff and probably have never received it as a gift. As long as it’s dunk-able in champurrado, even hippo shit is delicious. Not that I have anything against hippo shit.

4. Mail-Order Cheese Spread

These things come in tubs, just like Tom Arnold used to.

Um, nasty. Ma Tremendo orders these things with the meat logs mentioned previously. These heavily processed cheeses have flavors like ‘swiss & ham’, ‘crab delight’, ‘port wine’, and ‘elf vomit’. And some of them have nuts in them like almonds and crap. Eww. I don’t know whether to eat it or use it to take the squeaks out of the door hinges. But to be respectful of Ma, I just choke it down and revel in the chemical burn. Not even Jesus would like these cheeses.

3. Brazil Nuts

I couldn't find a good pic of a Brazil nut, so here's Pat Buchanan, a plain nut.

Every year since I turned 18, I get a stocking full of fruit and nuts. Yup, just apples, oranges, and a nuttier assortment than the cast of The View. But I kid. Santa has long decided that stockings full of army men, Matchbox cars, and Ball Park Franks were reserved for Kid Tremendo, not boring Adult Tremendo. I guess he thinks I need the fiber because the damn thing is stuffed with a month’s supply of peanuts, filberts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and these gross things that look like a zombie’s big toe. Brazil nuts. Honestly, X-mas is the only time I’ve ever seen these. And not only are they harder to crack than John Woo’s handwriting, they taste waxy and medicine-y. Santa, leave the Brazil nuts out of my stocking. I’ll deal with the hate mail from those slum-living, limbo-dancing, wife-beating Xuxa-watchers.

2. Soy Milk Egg Nog

I'm getting woozy just looking at this pic.

Being the lactose-intolerant little luchadore that I am, my ‘tomach is a bit sensitive to all things dairy. So I drink Lactaid and plenty of soy milk. I don’t mind soy milk at all, in fact I rather like it quite a bit, but egg nog, love it or hate it, was meant to made with moo cow milk. I tasted the soy milk version the other night and I wasn’t sure if I was drinking in or peeing it out. Wow. More boring and listless than an Akiva Goldsmith script, this stuff has no place on the X-mas dinner table, booze or no booze. I say, let the sensitive artists and pant-and-sandal wearers dunk their yeast-less fruit cake in this junk. Enjoy, hippies!

1. Communion Wafers

I have angered Jebus, on His birthday even! Naw, we're cool.

So if almost everything I’ve done the past 30 years hasn’t already reserved my spot on the Greyhound to Hell, this surely will. Like every good Catholic I know, I go to church at least once a year. Maybe on X-mas, maybe on Easter, maybe if someone dies. Being the sentimental sucker, I choose to go on X-mas Eve, mostly for the icky and gooey feelings of togetherness and the X-mas carol choir. But would it kill the frickin’ church to add a little flavor to the communion wafers? They are thin, dull, and flavorless. These things are meant to represent the body of Christ, not Posh Spice. Maybe replace them with a fig Newton? Or maybe one of Ma Tremendo’s strawberry candies? Hell, I’ll be there every Sunday. Something must be done. This is a time when the church needs to bring back disillusioned young Catholics tainted by the recent scandals. And what better way to lure kids than with sweet candy? Eh? Eh?

Ticket for one, please. A window seat.

Dishonorable Mention: Mail Order Petits Fours, Hostess X-mas Sno Balls (which are disgusting year-round).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

X-mas Musings I

Christmas Music.

As I sit here at Rancho Tremendo, still wallowing in post-Thanksgiving bliss, stuffed with turkey razzleberry dressing swirling in my gullet, I find myself finally getting into the X-mas spirit. But I know a lot of people who dread this merry ol’ time. And that bothers me.

Everyone in Tremendo Land seems really indifferent this year. No one in my close circle of pals, debtors, and acolytes seems particularly excited that X-mas is near. I am alone in my excitement for the holiday parades, street decorations and annual listing of X-mas TV specials. Call me a Sentimental Sucker.

I particularly like holiday music. Hell, I secretly start listening to online X-mas music stations like in frickin’ August. I'm always excited when the day after Thanksgiving comes and the local radio stations start playing X-mas music so I won’t have to fear being embarrassed or mocked over my fondness for the stuff. I never worked retail or unwillingly belonged to a choir, so I never got sick of the whimsical tunes that usher in the most fun time of the year.

I prefer jazz, novelty, and rock renditions over the sappy, treacle-drenched, condemned-to-Adult Contemporary-Hell holiday music. Oh, and it also helps if the songs are particularly filthy. Some of the most depressing songs about anything are recent Pop/Country X-mas songs. For example: Josh Groban’s syrupy “Believe” from the Polar Express soundtrack. Is the guy a soulful sensitive artist, or a tone deaf retard? Is there a difference? Or Faith Hill’s “Where are you Christmas?” from the abomination that is the Jim Carrey Grinch remake. Or the entire song/root-canal that is Garth Brooks’ “The Gift”.

How can anyone enjoy the holiday while Baby Jesus’ ears bleed?

I think everyone has one piece of holiday music they can't stand. My cousin Josh Tremendo absolutely hates Jose Feliciano’s "Feliz Navidad" for some reason, despite being a life-long Mexican. A business associate breaks out in hives when he hears “Frosty the Snowman”. Perhaps it's his fear of Promethean snow avatars? An ex-girlfriend freaked out whenever she heard “Carol of the Bells”. Did it remind her of the Exorcist theme or is she just nuts? Ask her therapist.

My most depised song is "The Christmas Shoes". Talk about depressing! Friends, this song is about as cheerful as a kick in the crotch or a Rod McCuen poem. I won't list the lyrics, but here's the basic story: (No flames for accuracy, please). The narrator of the story is either a customer in a store or a shoe salesman. Let’s call him Al. Some dirty brat cuts in line and asks the guy for the best pair of shoes in the store. Trouble is, the kid’s got no money but really needs the shoes because, you see, his/her Mom is meeting Jesus on X-mas Eve. And I’m not talking about Jesus the gardener or Jesus the King Taco cook.

S.C. just heard the Christmas Shoes

Sicky Ma has got a date with the Man with the Scythe and the kiddy wants her to look all nice and neat in J.C. Penney loafers so the Birthday Boy won’t boot her out of the Lofty Eternal Golf Club in the Sky. As if! So Al is feeling appropriately guilty at the kid’s lack of scratch for a pair of Ones and Twos. He drops some bills and the kid tootles off and presumably watches Ma kick the bucket in her pleather flip-flops. I’d like to think the kid and Ma shoot-up. Al then has dump trucks of cash dropped off at his house after releasing a song about the heart-tugging experience as the Ma-less brat never has a fun X-mas the rest of is/her life. It’s a triumph for sugary banality.

The first time I heard it, I was driving somewhere for X-mas, listening to a radio call-in show that had nothing but the most weepiest, most depressing callers ever. Christ, I know people have got it bad, but do you need to share it on the radio in between my doses of sweet ol' Burl Ives and Weird Al? And then the DJ perpetuates the agony by gifting the poor saps with cool loot like TVs, gift certificates, and X-mas feasts. Anyway, after story after story of some chick who lost her husband on X-mas eve in a rollover, or the kid with the sniffles who’ll miss out on Santa’s visit, or the house that burned down and left Ma and Pa Kettle to sleep in the Wagoneer, we came to the Christmas Shoes. I developed diabetes after the first refrain.

Could it be that even I, the Sentimental Sucker, am too cynical to enjoy its mind-numbing triteness? Or could it be that this song is just not good? I think there’s a certain level of breathtaking sweetness that we are willing to accept because of the way it is crafted or
honestly heartfelt, like the Vienna Boys Choir rendition of “Little Drummer Boy” or Sinatra’s “Silent Night” or Red Peters’ “I’ve Got a Boner for X-mas”. Christmas Shoes seems disingenuous to me. Maybe it’s too easy to mix a lonely, broke cherubic kid, a piss-pot sick Mom, and a guilt-ridden shoes salesman, jaded by the consumerist avarice of the time of year, to reveal a clichéd, hackneyed notion that there’s more to life than getting stuff for X-mas and eating lots of turkey. Well, Jesus, of course there’s more!

Why can’t we just have fun and pass the pumpkin pie, sing a few tunes, and grab a few asses under the mistletoe without being subjected to multitude of sappy “true meaning” messages and Christmas Shoes that ride the airwaves and dominate my TV screen? My Jesus knows it's better to have a good time and have fun with the ones you love than kick ourselves for sins past.
So, relax, unwrap some crap, and revel in tinsel-y celebration.

I'll have my eggnog martini, my sugar cookies, and my Bad Santa DVD. The only Jesus I’m meeting Christmas Eve is Jesus the gardener and he’s getting a pair of evergreen and crimson Isotoners for Christmas Shoes.

Take THAT, Adult Contemporary Radio!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Tremendous Life, Chapter One

By Schu.

Hitler, FDR, Stalin, Mother Theresa, Ronald Reagan, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lorenzo Lamas.

When history looks back at the 20th century, those names will be but footnotes when compared to the accomplishments of El Tremendo. In the annals of world events, perhaps no man has done more, and received less credit, than El Tremendo. He is not just another Zelig or Forrest Gump. Oh no. El Tremendo wasn’t simply a happenstance coincidence at hot-button locations. He controlled their very outcomes.

It was El Tremendo who guided the Chinese through the Great Singapore Cane Rebellion that impacted billions. How do you think the term “Red China” really came to be? Just gaze upon countless Pacific Theater buttocks and you will have your answer. Unfortunately for El Tremendo, the GSCR, or GerSCeR as it’s known in the Book of the Unknown, occurred on Dec. 6, 1941. As a result, it was overshadowed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was El Tremendo who single-handedly delivered lollipops to the children of Rhodesia as part of the Great Mandela Pacification of 1968, but since it occurred at the height of the Tet Offensive, that little public service was lost on the eyes of the masses. Remarkably, El Tremendo persevered. As a tribute to his human rights brethren, the benevolent masked one spent many a night in dingy Mexican jails. It was the sort of kinship only a unique few: Mandela, Gandhi, the Dali Lama, Sonny and Cher, could ever understand and really appreciate. Sadly, his many stays spawned the oft-repeated urban legend that El Tremendo was just out whoring.

El Tremendo was the impetus for the Holy Calcutta Cow Stampede—not to be confused with the High and Mighty Texas Lumberjack Invitational from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, where El Tremendo won his unprecedented 38th championship belt—but the single greatest collection of walking bovine progression in the history of such endeavors. Never mind that there was only one such endeavor in history. More importantly, since it took place on March 29, 1987, it was little more than a passing mention on a day where the world instead decided to focus its attention on Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III. To add to the myth of Tremendo, has documented the eyewitness testimony of many in attendance at the Silver Dome in Detroit who claim to have seen someone who bore a striking resemblance to Tremendo, sans mask, observing in the last row.

How could Tremendo be in India and Detroit? And if he was spotted in the Motor City, where was his mask? And why did he have such crappy seats? And why was he 13 years old? The legend grew.

El T with Robert Evans, mere moments before their simultaneous relapse.

He is a cinematic marvel with Gable-esque versatility. He has starred in more films than Elvis, the Beatles, Slim Whitman, Godzilla and James Bond combined. He has battled demons, hornets, corrupt waiters and gregarious zombies. He has done the deed with some of the world’s most gorgeous starlets. His love scene with Ingrid Bergman is considered the inspiration for Last Tango in Paris. And El Tremendo’s sexual-stallion finishing move, where he piledrives his love interest and lights a Parliament cigarette, is the stuff of celluloid legend, and the real reason they banned smoking in public places in California and Arizona.

But all legends have a dark side, and El Tremendo is no exception. Amazingly, the masked wonder embraces his inner tormentors. It’s almost as if he welcomes their presence, and basks in the glory of thumbing his unexposed deviated septum at the mores of the masses. Is it his blatant womanizing? In his autobiography: El Tremendo: Conduit to the Devil; Messenger to the Messiah; Monument to All, he brags of a conquest list that more than triples the output of the late Wilt Chamberlain.

Is it his unapologetic approach to world affairs? Politically, he is a brash supporter of Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Savage and Newt Gingrich, although he claims not to have had sexual relations with any of them. A Moore/O’Donnell tag team match with a piledriver/Parliament cigarette finish has been discussed as the stuff of pay-per-view dreams.

He is the target of throes of paparazzi that follow him on a full-time basis. A photo of El Tremendo without the mask would be like finding the Library of Alexandria, except that El Tremendo’s book will not be catalogued, at least in a language we can readily translate.

For you see, some have suggested that Tremendo is supernatural, a being that transcends time and space. Scholars of Tremendology believe he is the impetus for the Greek symbols of comedy and tragedy; others suggest his influence was felt in centuries-old Japanese Kabuki performances, and across continents in the flamboyant ritualistic sacrificial traditions of the ancient Aztecs. Tremendo conspiracists claim he gave smallpox to Pizarro.

As a result, his exact age is unknown. But his influence is universal, his religious sway undeniable, his power supreme, and his impact like that of a Big Bang, which not coincidentally is how he refers to his thrice-daily constitutional.

John Schuster is the author of “The Collapsing Universe According to El Tremendo, an unsanctioned, tell-all look into the all-telling world of the teller of all things worldly.” Yes, he gets paid by the word. He is writing this biography with a gun to his head, and the metal is very cold. Ouch, there goes the Big Bang!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


My dear listeners and only friends,

Tomorrow, October 26th, marks the anniversary of the first appearance of EL TREMENDO in the modern world. Previously, I was restricted to appearing during the Golden Age of Ballooning and in random tortillas around Nogales, Arizona.

So in celebration of the birth of EL TREMENDO, the amazing sagely chronicler and fellow film geek Schu has allowed LDT to bring you this exclusive:

The Biography of EL TREMENDO: Chapter One!

I expect it to be brilliant. I expect it to be glorious. I expect it to be in English.

So be sure to come by the old EL T website and catch a glimpse of the mystery that is Me.

Oh, and it's also the birthday of one of my worthless personal assistants, Personal Assistant X, who apparently thinks my blog will win him a date. Useless, Target-shirt-buying, non-mask wearing pukehead.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

EL T's Top Ten III

Top Ten Signs You're in Love with EL TREMENDO

10. You are a vivacious, buxom, funny woman in her 30s who enjoys movies, comics, baby oil, chubby beaners, and wrestling masks. (CALL ME!!!)

9. You're in federal prison for painting giant wrestling masks on Mount Rushmore.

8. Your El Tremendo Thong.

7. You are rescued after a devastating earthquake buries you under rubble for five days and the first thing you say is, "Nevermind me, how's El Tremendo?!"

6. You decorate your Christmas tree with origami El Tremendos made from restraining orders.

5. On driver's license application under "Organ Donor", you write "For El Tremendo Only".

4. Your 'Dear John' letter to Jamie Farr.

3. The Film Geek Primer tatoo on your ass.

2. You let your Dub and Santo ice scuptures go to shit.

And the number one Sign You're in Love with EL TREMENDO...

1. You ARE El Tremendo.

(Apologies to Dave.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Puppet Show and Film Geek Primer

I can't believe that people actually take time to email me complaining about the irregularity of our FGP output lately, let alone actually read this blog. So let me take this opportunity to clarify our current situation and address the flurry of questions that have bombarded the LDT inbox:

  • Yes, FGP still exists.

  • Yes, there will be more episodes soon.

  • No, Santo is straight.

And now, reader mail...

Mary in Tucson, AZ writes:

"Dear El Tremendo,

I am strangely aroused by your mask. Tell me, why do you wear it? And tell me further, what lies beneath that colorful facade, obviously purchased at some low-rent taco stand?"

Ha-ha. Thanks for the question, but mostly thanks for the arousal. My mask symbolizes the border between absurdity and reality, a fully conscious statement on the nature of film and art meant to suggest connections between sometimes contradictory domains: Hollywood and independent, tradition and modernity, ritual and parody. Further, Mary, by donning the mask I intend to invoke the phenomenon of "social wrestlers," men and women who dress as masked wrestlers to advocate for political causes, in this case the calling out of bad movies, the punishment of terrible food, and the eradication of doucheness.

Ahh. Who am I kidding? I just love them Masked Wrassler Moovies. Kuh-hyuk!

Mary even included a pic that I'm a little hesitant to post. FOUR carrots? Eww.

Next e-mail...from VoteQuimby in Victorville, CA:

"El Tremendo,

You had some amazing broads in that Russ Meyer episode of Film Geek Primer. Will we see more babes guest-star in your silly little Podcast?"

I dunno. Does your Mom count?

And lastly, from my X-box Live Arena comes this missive from SlutBanger001:

"EL T -


Um, yes.

Keep the letters coming. Email me at

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Diary of the Dead

Directed by: George A. Romero
Written by: Romero

I begin this review of George Romero’s latest effort with the following statement: the legendary director has seen better days and judging from the latest entry in the Dead series, it’s time to hang up the ol’ zombie hat and call it a career.

Before anyone starts to give me crap about my snobby, picky, purist horror movie attitude, let me provide some clarification.

I am a huge horror film fan and Romero is without question a master of the genre. He gave birth to zombie movies as we know them today and thrust images of the undead into popular imagination with the original classic Night of the Living Dead, the masterpiece Dawn of the Dead, the underrated Day of the Dead, and the flawed but entertaining Land of the Dead. I consider him a true marvel of the film industry, as do millions of others, but Hollywood hasn’t really given him a fair shake through the years. In his non-Dead f
ilmmaking time he has offered achingly bad indie efforts (Bruiser), failed experiments (Monkey Shines), and mixed commercial success (The Dark Half), with the occasional triumph (Creepshow). Despite his inconsistent track record, Romero has influenced dozens of horror filmmakers, writers, actors, and make-up artists all over the world.

Movie Poster of the Living Dead

Given that, I still stick to my original statement.

Last Friday I attended the west coast premiere of his latest film Diary of the Dead, a radical departure in style and tone than his previous Dead films. The pic debuted in Hollywood as part of LA’s Screamfest, for which I was able to secure a ticket through various wheelings, dealings, and headlocks.

Diary’s story begins with a group of students filming a horror movie in the early days of the living dead phenomenon. As society starts to break down, the students embark on a journey through the zombie-infested landscape of mid-Pennsylvania to reach safety. Conflict arises when the director of the student film decides to chronicle the unfolding events with his intrusive camera to document zombie attacks, unprecedented levels of horror and devastation, and whiney bickering.

Romero uses a variety of techniques to shoot this documentary-style, much to an extent that the comparisons to Blair Witch Project will be inescapable, if not ridiculous. He employs digital cameras, cell phones, and even the irritating MySpace to tell the story. Maybe it should have been called Vlog of the Dead? The result is an admirable attempt to bring something different to the table of the living dead, and his radical visual style is impressive, however the message overwhelms the action and slows down the pacing to a zombie-like crawl. Unfortunately, Romero’s moralizing approach about the dissemination of information and new media doesn’t work most of time, and the constant conflict between the characters doesn’t center on the will to survive, but rather on the superfluous (given the circumstances - zombies are eating people!) argument on the ethics of the cameraman’s intent and motivation to document the events and tragedies that are unfolding.

Romero’s visual and thematic departure in this film (echoed by DePalma’s forthcoming Redacted) doesn’t really do much for the zombie genre. Rather, the film serves a vehicle to express Romero’s thoughts about mass media, new digital technology, and the alternatives to traditional media available to the people. However, the nail is hit over the head over and over throughout the film. Obviously, Romero has aspirations that extend beyond what is typically expected of him, and in technical terms he succeeds. But the script is hackneyed, the performances screechingly annoying, and the character development almost non-existent. Much of the joy of Romero’s Dead films is the ability to hate, love, and relate to his characters, and all this film does is generate apathy for what essentially are clichéd Dawson’s Creek cardboard cutouts. Diary is not a gory film, nor does it really aspire to be one and Romero pokes fun at horror expectations with obvious references to himself and the genre as a whole. In this respect, the film succeeds but not at all frequently.

Ultimately, the film will suffer commercially from fans’ expectation of the Romero Dead films, which it delivers in short segments including the screen time of Samuel, one of the greatest characters to ever appear in a zombie movie. On an artistic level, Romero is no longer interested in making movies that follow marketed formulas and trends. He’s reached a point in his career where he finds the need to express himself and the things that concern him. Unfortunately, the ‘war movie’ by George Romero or the ‘serious drama’ by George Romero won’t exactly ignite the imagination of the Hollywood studios and their deep pockets. But after 40 years of undead filmmaking, Romero still knows how to kill his zombies in gritty, low-budget fashion with witty ideas sprinkled here and there.

So until George calls me back on my zombie screenplay I gave him (Galaxy of the Dead, aka ZombiVerse), I have to say that I hope he considers entering retirement, perhaps in an anti-zombie fortified Pittsburgh homestead.

We’re coming to get you, George.