Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fangoria Weekend of Horrors Recap

Fan conventions have unfairly garnered a negative stigma unparalleled since Grampa’s gonorrhea. Whenever I announce that I’m off to the latest horror movie convention, which include Horrorfind, Chiller Theater, and Cinema Wasteland, I get ridiculed and ostracized by friends, family, and even fellow geeks. I then feel low and ashamed for attending my fan fests - and this is hurt coming from a guy who wears a wrestling mask for a living! I suppose the source of nerd abuse is directly linked to Star Trek fans whose social awkwardness, pimply virginity, and general creepiness has fed the endless supply of can’t-get-a-date, living-in-the-basement-with-Mom jokes. But really, what’s the difference between some nerd in a Captain Picard uniform and some idiot fully painted from bald head to beer belly in New England Patriot colors?

Answer: None!

Anyway, one of the cooler fan conventions is Fangoria magazine’s Weekend of Horrors. The west coast version was recently held in L.A. over this past weekend and my peeps and I had a blast. Unfortunately, my worthless Personal Assistant forgot the camera so you’ll just have to use your Goddamned imagination for once in your life for this quick summary of the day:



  • A pack of yakking witches in the back of the room that nearly ruined the 40th anniversary NOTLD panel.
  • Screening of a terribly unfunny torture-porn parody Otis, starring Daniel Stern and Ileana Douglas.
  • Over-priced movie posters, toys, and DVDs. These cons used to be the place to get some deals that you can’t find online, but no longer.
  • Terrible food in the convention center food court.

I’ve been to WOH four times before and the last one in 2006 nearly made decide to stop attending, but this year was really fun. So don’t let the insults of your crazy grease-painted Steeler fan neighbor or your drunken Mariachi-band loving uncle dissuade you. Attend one of these things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FGP is Back and What's New with Queue?

Well, the Film Geek Primer podcast has returned after a six-month absence. It's nice to be back in the podcasting saddle, actually. Lots of exciting stuff is in the works so I hope you will be there to join us as we continue unraveling our warm blanket of geekery over the cold toes of America. I met up with the geeks last weekend and it was like we never separated. I had a good time catching up with Steptoe, Bub, and the talking robot dog. So many memories.

So you may be asking why we were gone for so long. Honestly I answer, I don't know. Some of us had jobs I guess. Others had family and kids to attend to. Still others trafficked meth. As for myself, I had movies to watch, and to aid me whittle the hours away in Fortress Tremendo, I turned to old trusted friend: Netflix. But nevermind the titles I've already seen. What about the ones I have not yet seen? Here's a random sampling of interesting stuff that's currently on, what the kids nowadays call, my Netflix 'queue':

#15: Long Weekend

This one comes recommended by old friend, movie fanatic, and FGP fluffer Billzebub. All I know about this movie is that it's about a careless Aussie couple who head out into the wilderness for a camping trip. Along the way, they litter, kill animals, and generally act like jerks. Mother Nature then decides to drop the margarine and get even with these two squirrel-squishing Paul-Hogan lovers by unleashing the fury of the animals upon them. It's pretty much played up in the spirit of other animal vengeance tales such as Day of the Animals, Devil Dog: Hound of Hell, and Basic Instinct, but Billzebub swears it's a whole lot better and fun watch.

# 27: Ganja & Hess

A sub-genre of blaxploitation, a topic FGP must tackle at some point, is the Black urban horror film. The popular titles in this vein are Blacula, Scream, Blacula, Scream and Blackenstein which were so ridiculous and out there that even within the context of blaxploitation, they can't be taken seriously. But, there were a couple of real horror gems to come out of blaxploitation, must notably the zombie thriller Sugar Hill, the demonic ghost story J.D.'s Revenge, and the possession film Abby. Regardless of the amateurish writing and questionable acting, these films were energetic, were masterfully horrific despite low budgets, and really tried to say something. Ganja & Hess raises the artistic bar among these films by presenting an abstract and expressionistic demon possession and vampire story. It has less to do with Blacula and Super Fly and relates more with Argento and Antonioni. The current DVD features the severely cut theatrical release, the original vision is probably lost to the ages, yet is worth watching for its distinct and radical style.

#400: The Colossus of Rhodes

From Fistful of Dollars to Once Upon a Time in America, Sergio Leone is one of the true cinematic masters. But before the brilliance and pageantry of sheer genius emerged, Serge was just another Italian schlep trying to turn an honest buck in this kooky life of film. He got his start in "sword and sandal" epics, a cornerstone genre of the 1950s. These movies generally featured the fantastic exploits of Hercules, Maciste, and other mythical heroes. Leone's Colossus of Rhodes is a story of love, betrayal, and rebellion in the ancient port of Rhodes guarded by one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world, the Colossus. I'm curious to see this early Leone film just to see him work in a genre other than Western or Gangster. Film Geek Santo saw it and wasn't too impressed but, I'll have to see it for myself.

More from the 'queue' later...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Diarrhea of a Madman: The Final Chapter (?)

Film "director" and "producer" and certified wacko Lloyd Kaufman is the co-founder of Troma Entertainment, a seemingly inexhaustible factory of crappy movies including the legendary Toxic Avenger series and many others. Now, I have a special place in my heart for bad movies, but for me Troma has always been a mixed bag. I think it's the whole intent to be bad aspect of their output that irks and does nothing for me. Bad movie appreciation is a simple formula: the more self-serious and aggrandizing the intent and the more horrid and laughable the outcome, the more enjoyable the bad movie. Troma does not pretend to make a good movie; their goal is to make it as wretched as possible in the hopes you will be entertained. The end result is usually a lot of screeching performances, unwatchable action, and a mild to irritating rash. Regardless, you have to admire their infectious energy and productivity living in the shadow of Hollywood.

Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, is the over-mind behind it all. He premiered his latest atrocity, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, in yet-another podunk theater somewhere in the vast desert wasteland. My supremely ineffectual Personal Assistant Esteban was there to take notes in his usual brain-numbing incompetent manner.

Loyd Kaufman Q&A – Loft CinemaPoultrygiest US Premiere

LK: Loyd Kaufman. EM: Elske McCain
Kaufman wore a dark blazer.
On Poultrygiest: “remake of Schindler’s List, only with humor”

Elske McCain is filming Jessica Rabid. 17 audience members will get to be extras in it. [LOUD APPLAUSE]

Budget [for Poultrygiest] is $500,000
Elske McCain’s crack
[Where was] the world premiere? Milwaukee and Cannes

Film is dedicated to Kaufman’s mother.
Kaufman at Yale? Yes. Oliver Stone also attended.

On WMD – LK: “but I’m making some bombs myself”
Hurdles [to filmmaking]: no rush, no quality. “Nobody wants our movies”.
[Poultrygeist] filmed in Buffalo.

Main crew was paid. Principals were paid. Extras were “volunteers”.
EM in Fangoria for nudes. (?)
LK: likes live, muscular women

[Question] Green chicken blood?: “It’s a Troma thing”
Wall Street Journal says green is cheaper.
MPAA: Don’t cut green fluid. Blood gets cut.

Origin of the word “Troma”: Latin [for] “excellence on celluloid”. From Book 2 of the Aeneid.
[Excellence]: “exactly what I’m not looking for”

Was penis-monster from Tromeo and Juliet?
The iconic car-flip.
Breast feeding: “a lot of people don’t get it”

[Introduced] Misty, the effects coordinator, present in audience, & learning how to defecate in a paper bag.
Moving from Troma building? Yes, sold building. Neighborhood has gotten too nice (gentrification). On Long Island. Moved to Queens.

Lesbian scenes? Do you go overboard?: LK: watch Tromeo & Juliet.
Michael Herz: “he never appears in public. [He’s a] cyborg. Recluse.”
All Actors did their own singing [in Poultrygeist]. “They brought the script to a higher level with improvisation”

EM: lead actress was like a Disney princess in a Troma film. “Non-stop. Always laughing, never got bored. Gross asses. Chicken fucking”.
EM: we met at Loft four years ago.
LK: EM knows more about pop culture.

[Confusing Question]: Exhausted US supply of green LTDs to match stock footage? LK: “STDs? Yes, I do have AIDS. Don’t go to Haiti.”

Least expensive cars to wreck were ‘70s cars. Now collectible – tough to borrow, very expensive.

Good Night & Good Cluck.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Diarrhea of a Madman – Pt. 2

Judith O'Dea played Barbra in George Romero's 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. Her career didn't stray much outside of regional theater and bit parts in films since then, but she remains an icon of the horror genre. Today, she makes appearances at horror conventions across the country and yours truly met her at HorrorFind in 2004. She was a gracious and kind lady, spoke well of everyone involved in the making of NOTLD, and was kinda hot for a broad her age. I would have hit it if I hadn't been busy trying to score with Gaylen Ross.

So I made the fatal mistake of sending my worthless Personal Assistant to summarize and report from a recent appearance in some podunk movie house somewhere in the desert. Here are his cryptic and brain-hemorrhage inducing notes from said appearance.

Please note: these notes are NOT made up and are directly transcribed with only a little editing. They are real, true, and sad.


Judith O’Dea @ Loft, Tucson, ARIZONA

[JO= Judith O’Dea, GR=George Romero]

Opening scene NOTLD: adlibbed, not incest, 1 take

Met George Romero – started in musical theater – 15 yrs in radio, TV, commercials

Met ‘Helen’ Neisman, owned Hartman Assoc (commercials) & Latent Image – documentaries, industrial films

Latent wanted to make a film – Night of the Living Dead

JO went to Hollywood, got a call from Cooper, come back to Pittsburgh. “The rest is history”

G. Romero: personable, “Wonderful fellow, extremely normal Joe”.

GR did “shadow work” (set-ups)

Extremely creative, hard-working, honest

JO- did stage work: “Sound of Music”

OPIK Communications. Films now – independent film produced, directed by young gung-ho (people)

Still “live stage” – nothing like it in the world

2 films: October Moon, November Sun
Theatrical release for NS late summer, early fall.
(the trailer was shown along w/ rough-cut clip)

JO loves work, being a boss, Mom

I'm coming to get you, Barbra! Hubba-Hubba!

Questions? “Good, I’ve put you all to sleep”

Seen remakes? 90/91 – yes, Pat Tallman “totally different film, because (it was a) different era… doesn’t compare”

NOTLD: “original still holds up, pretty well”

Fuck-A-Duck (???). Ultra-ultra low budget

Money from NOTLD? - “heed answer – always get a copyright on whatever you do” – “distributors neglected this” – “pirated for years – only some money from royalties” – only partially. Fight for control lasted ten years. Still making deals

Action figures – coming up. Not much money but have received “far greater” – opportunity meeting thousands and thousands of people, who made the film what it is

Documentary style [in NOTLD]? “I don’t believe GR planned it out that way”.

[GR] hired Duane [Jones] because it was the best audition, that’s why no big deals were made about the black-white issue.

“I love the grainy stills at the end of the film.” Ask George. It worked out.

Q: Keep [in contact] with other actors?: “some”

Duane died within [the last] ten years.

“Tom” [Keith Wayne] – Suicide. Sensitive person. Wife left [him].

[Trowel-wielding zombie] Caira [Kyra Schon] – wonderful young woman. Teacher in Pittsburgh. Sometimes meet at conventions.

Marilyn East[man] [Helen Cooper], Karl Hardman [Harry Cooper] – “still going”
Sold company [that produced NOTLD]
GR – has gone on. Focus still horror genre.
Jack Russo – two with tire iron – wrote [NOTLD] with GR – still writing.
JR still in Pittsburgh.

Sequels – “let this not go outside this theater, but I’m really not a lover of horror films. [They] scared me to death when I saw Vincent Price in House of Wax”. Saw most of Dawn, all new Dawn.

Dawn [is] GR’s favorite

Saw Land at premiere. “Grisly”

Q: [What if] zombie attacked? “yes I would protect us [audience]. At my age what have I got to lose?”

Q: Convention experiences outside of US:. Haven’t gone to one.

“Don’t do a lot of them. I am doing more now. Years ago, GR and I went to NYC convention. Girl asked me a question. I asked her why she watches zombie movies, she replied ‘I like to see all the different ways people can kill each other”. Followed by an outburst of laughter in the audience.

Honor to talk to people about this work. Life changing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

El Tremendo's Day Out

I'm in charitable spirits today, so as a present to you, my loyal fans, friends, and masturbatory acquaintances, I gift you a rundown of my day:

7 am - Opened eyes, shook the dream from my sleep, stared into the dusty sunlight to gaze upon a new day the Good Lord had bestowed us, woke up whore

7:15 am: Searched for bacon. Beat cook for not having bacon. Found bacon beneath unconscious cook.

8:00 am: Gotta have my Good Day L.A.!

8:02 am: Wept.

8:14 am: Fed Carl Weathers. Heard 197th Stallone-related fart story.

9:00 am: Santo phones, tells me I'm late for call time. I threaten his life then shine my little shoes. Carl Weathers strong arms me for another hand-out. I poison his chili beans.

10:11 am: Worked out with Xander Berkeley. He knocks me off the treadmill after my upteenth "Did you stop the magma?" joke.

11:55 am: Woke up face-down on a rolling treadmill. My working-out mask is torn to shreds and my face is exposed. I briefly burst into flames. I shriek out of the 24 Fitness, my eyes igniting at the touch of the unholy sunlight. L.A. rays are a bitch!

12:43 pm: Replaced mask then went to lunch with Cradonna, Satchra, and Umargo (Lithuanian swimsuit models) at the Ivy. Forgot my wallet; had to pay with Satchra's remaining teeth.

12:44 pm: Beat a paparazzi to death. He thought I was this guy!

1:59 pm: Was arrested for death of paparazzi. Went to Hollywood booking station. They waived the fine because they couldn't break a $20.

2:16 pm: Santo leaves his 16th message. Says I'm five hours late and if I don't arrive at FGP HQ in the next 10 minutes, I'm off the podcast. I threaten his life again and then bake a ham.

3:00 pm: Daniel-Day Lewis leaves his 10th message. He is still stung by my sarcastic comments following his Oscar speech. I push him over the edge when I leave a sarcastic phone message referencing milkshakes, left feet, and names of the father. He is later found wandering Melrose wearing nothing but discarded hot dog holders.

3:15 pm: Nap.

3:45 pm: Take crap.

4:01 pm: Wake from nap.

4:22 pm: Schu calls to inform me that Santo has officially fired me from FGP. I ring up Santo and remind him of my knowledge of the "Strawberry Shortcake" incident and I'm back on the show.

6:42 pm: Arrive at Mr. Chow's for dinner with Nicholson, Redford, and Willis. Unfortunately, it's dinner with Gibby Nicholson, Kerney "Vitamin K." Redford, and Bruce Willis.

8:30 pm: Settled down for an evening in front of the plasma to commemorate the passing of Charlton Heston. Love him or hate him, the man was a superstar and bigger than life, and despite his late life controversial politics, many of today's film fans don't know that in his younger years he was an ardent supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and fought against racism in the entertainment industry. Some may criticize his acting ability, but you can't question the intensity and physicality he brought to every role. He has long been a part of my film viewing lifetime, from Ben Hur to El Cid to Midway. Easter time wouldn't feel the same without Heston's Moses chewing up the scenery in the yearly airing of DeMille's The Ten Commandments, the original Planet of the Apes would not have the same knock-out ending without his tortured bellowing at the half-buried Statue of Liberty, and Welles' fascinating post-noir Touch of Evil would not have the same stylistic impact without Heston's unfairly ridiculed but intensely portrayed framed Mexican lawyer. He embodied the energetic zeal of big Hollywood movies like Earthquake, Airport 1975, and Soylent Green by matching his performance to the loud spectacle, paving the way for today's bombastic blockbusters. Let's face it - Heston was a big American badass, sculpted like a Greek statue, and contemplative and visceral at once.
Tonight, I'll be toasting his memory to my favorite Heston film, The Omega Man, the 70s adaptation of the Matheson novel which re-adapted as the rather lame 2007 I Am Legend. Today's stars such as Wil Smith could have learned a lot from Heston. He was more than an American Film legend, we was a World Film legend. Love him or hate him.

11:00 pm: Santo left a flaming poop bag on my doorstep and now my favorite Reeboks are ruined. He will rue the day. Oh and rue he will.

11:01 pm: Wept.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Diarrhea of a Madman – Pt. 1

Never has the old adage "Good help is hard to find" been more truthful than in my recent struggle to find a coherent, intelligent, and evolved Personal Assistant. They are all worthless and their incompetence makes me want to squish them with a patented head scissor takedown. For example, I sent my recent hire to do a simple thing: take notes at an Angus Scrimm appearance and screening of the horror classic Phantasm. I gave him plenty of notepaper. I bought a nice pencil for him. I even paid for his ticket. And he dares to bring back the gibberish below. I've transcribed his notes, misspellings, nonsense, and all. If you can interpret any of this please let me know. This is part one of three.

(Take Note: This is real. This is not a bit. I'm not that deranged)

Angus Scrimm for Phantasm screeing.
playing evil person? nice, public persona.
involvment w/ Don Coscarelli - work -0 since college.
Encyclopedia Britanica educational films as Lincoln
Capitol Records liner notes
and Four Cent (certified?) Plaza Hotel
two teens - Don & classmate -
high school drama about a boy - with Greg Harrison
Universal picked it oup - not a big hit.
Horror - 1st choice "& thus began the Phantasm saga ..."
Q: collaborative creation of Tall Man?
AS kept a jounral while filming Phantasm - early on - stock horro
faces - frustration
"wasn't all on paper initially
Phantasm is basically Coscarelli - you can feel his stamp"-
thought of silent horror actors? AS - "(I was) dismayed I had no more lines - few lines added to sinister quality. not sure if more dialog in the sequels was a good idea as an actor,"
Tall Man - stay mysterious? AS - delighted to play backstory
"whole entity of quartet"
Always questions unanswered - "part of its charm"
current horror - confusing
great time for horror - Japan, Span, Europe)
only time I see a movie is if a friend is in it.
Likes film of his youth - Frankenstein, Dark House, White Zombie, Dracula, Vampire Bat, through RKO

"drop out" - college
people saw art house - missed Hammer, Corman, color (films)
- To me, horror is really black and white. - Glass Eye pictures in NY. "Wendigo" "Habit" "No Telling"
-does supporting roles - "I sell the Dead" - with Lost blondie
Don & Ron Perlman
-I play the doctor who buys the corpses and doesn't care where they came from
-Jim McKeany - "Cannibalistic" auto accident - "Off Season" - ghost story.
"wonderful atmospheric feeling
"what was the question?"
Q - AS in town to film a film - Legend of Phantom/Red-71 Rider
AS: & guess what! I play a coroner -
sultry erotic feeling,
Postman Rings Twice,
Elise Crosby, Rance Howard
AS: last Faal - lottery picked him to be one of 2200 to see all & pick SAG awards. - lots of invites. AS: Stargazer "endless array of incredible people"
remake of Phantasm with Tony Todd - "oh hey"
no deal ever made
Don has at least four scrips for sequel.
Marvelous reunion and complete buffet of cold cuts.
Drama - romantic comedy? No, I don't think so --
heroes: Powel, Boyer, Grant
the music/theme - "completely original by _____. Coscarelli's scorer until he died.
Immortalized in rock songs. - "Not sure I've heard that - I think at five or six songs that pinched theme or "boy".
other horror - some straight to video
Fangoria - Mindwarp (?) with Bruce Campbell.
recently - they're so forgettable so I forgot them.
cartoon voice? Host Aqua teen Halloween show.
Disney series - Super Robot Monkey something or other.
new - play alien from another planet
80s slashers? obviously enormously success at box office & who can argue with that?

"I tend not to like slasher films. I don't like seeing nice young kids slashed to death. Have turned town four or five roles in which that's the entertainment content . - Won't slash pleading young girls"
Home - Valley College, LA. grew up in Kansas City, Kansas - right on the line. went to Hollywood at sixteen years old in the middle of World War II - "& I'm still tring to scratch out a career"
Price, Cushing, Lee - inspired?
AS: have met Karloff, Lugosi, Ron Chaney, Dwight Fries' son
'little girl from Frankenstie "Mr Scrimm if I give you my picture, will you have me yours?"
History of screen name - "lost in the missts of time.
Zeke Slad was in (a) play - '43 short story? couldn't act off campus.
with P (Paramount?) - let's use Angus Scrimm.
many say favorite scene is Tall man on street - pauce at ice cream truck:
Caravan Juliet is a mountain town. Truck stalled - wait for repair.
Riding with Don's mother. tepee joke. Kathy I wonder what it'd be like to live in a tepee - that wouldn't be very tepee-cal of you - you won't be able to keep your wigwam.
Dry ice in Phantasm - on street - "always asked" - allergic to cold.
could be destroyed by it.
People of J. seemed fascinated - onlooker called cut
well its' a kind of horror film with comedy - what do you play?
I'm the horror.