Snackbar Confidential / Art Au Go-Go !


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

DVD Review; Kolchak: The Night Stalker series

In 1974, I was about to enter junior high school --and being somewhat of an introverted geek at the time-- I was mortified!

When an older neighbor friend told me that gym class required changing into shorts in a locker room and showering (with others!?) I was considering moving to a remote area of the globe and changing my identity.

That fall season, the only thing that was reassuring in my shakey universe was that Kolchack:The Night Stalker would become a weekly series! (That and the Planet of the Apes TV series--both on Friday nights!)

When announced in TV Guide six months before, there were little or no details about "Kolchack", so I thought that the series would entail Carl chasing around the original vampire (Janos Skorzeny--from "The Night Stalker" TV Movie in 1972--that scared the hell out of me! ) around the USA--going from town to town, searching for him ala "The Fugitive" (or like the much- later on series "The Incredible Hulk"). This, thankfully, was not the case! Kolchack was to be hunting down a DIFFERENT MONSTER EACH WEEK! Not only that, I was CERTAIN that it would be a hit show and last for 5 or 6 seasons, too.

The night the show debuted, I was over a friend's house down the block watching the PREMIERE of the "Planet of the Apes" series at 8:00 on CBS. Afterwards I ran home and sat in front of the TV set for a full hour waiting for Kolchack (beginning at 10:00 PM on ABC). At the time, I thought it was great and never missed it--week after week. Kolchack:The Night Stalker lasted a full season but ratings dropped off in the Spring and it was cancelled shortly thereafter. Kolchack never went into syndication as for any series to do so, it must last for at least 3 full seasons.

Later on in life (high school, 1979) CBS Late Night AKA The CBS Late Movie, showed reruns of Kolchack:The Night Stalker. It was great seeing it again, although I do not think it ran long enough to view every episode that was produced. (Many of you reading this may only remember seeing the series during this after-the-fact run) .

Kolchack disappeared into the TV Land void until the Sci-Fi Channel showed reruns in the 1990's. (The episode prints were not so good and they seemed heavily edited to fit additional commercial time in--the Sci-Fi Channel SUCKS).

Well here it is, the future, and Kolchack:The Night Stalker- Season One is here on DVD!

The bad news is that the series has not aged well. I feel terrible saying so as Carl Kolchak was my childhood hero! Here are some reasons: 1) the shows writing (by multiple standard TV writers) plays like, say "The Incredible Hulk". The plots are standard in every way. 2) Universal Studios recycles every set in every TV series to death. I'm surprised that that Kolchack didn't stumble into the "Psycho" house, get bitten by "Jaws" or ride a bicycle with E.T. Shame on you, Universal.

One the upside: Darrin McGavin is a joy to watch. He's like Tony Randall--a great actor custom fitted into a charming character that we could watch even if he was just reading names out of a telephone book. ( Nods to Simon Oakland as Tony Venchenzo as well! )

There are some above-average episodes here; “The Spanish Moss Murders” , for one (monster attacks people in their dreams). “The Zombie”, “The Ripper” and I even liked the episode with the headless motorcycle rider. The DVD set has no Special Features. I got this for sentimental reasons, mainly.

SUMMERY: Great cast, good set-up , blah scripts, crappy Bionic Woman-quality production values.

Two Zine Satires!

Two back covers of Snackbar Confidential from a few years ago. The "Puppets For God" spoof got a lot of laffs. The "Mackenzine" , said some people, was too mean. It was supposed to look like you were in a junior high school classroom in the 70's , put you hand inside a desk (do they still have those desks with the inside compartments?), and plucked out this zine. Almost like you were reading something foul written on top of the desk or in a bathroom stall. (Blurb at top says "$1.00 or FREE if you hate Mackenzie Phillips").
Some people MAY have hated Mackenzie when she and Papa John reformed The Mamas & Papas, in the early 1980's. They recruited the woman singer from Spanky & Our Gang to replace Mama Cass, and Mackenzie replaced her mother, Michelle! This lasted about a year or so. The early 80's was a bad time to do a 1960's revival !

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This Isn't A Dream...It's Really Happening!

.....EQUINOX on a Criterion Collection double disc DVD! "Holy Shit!" is right! This unique film has an official release from the hoity-toity Criterion Collection! Most people would have seen "Equinox" on WOR Channel 9 (here in the tri-state area) all through the late 1970's and early 1980's. It was a big influence on Sam Raimi and his "Evil Dead" co-creators (who first saw this on a Drive-In screen). I could go on for pages and pages about what's inside, but instead I will just get to the points. Disc 1; The "Raw" version of Equinox. The working title "The Equinox...A Journey Into The Supernatural" was made by Dennis Muren, Mark McGee, David Allen and Jim Danforth--(all ranging in the ages of 17 to 24!). An ad in Famous Monsters of Filmland (!) brought them together, at first, then they all became friends. The initial first filming of Equinox began in the summer of 1965 (which is why all the characters look like they are on their way to a The Beach Boys concert). The film was not finished till 1967, and not released till 1970 (!) (which is when I was first made aware of this movie during recess, on an elementary school playground, by a classmate who had seen this in the theatre! ) . It was a long haul that payed off as the makers of this were merely hoping that this would turn up on late night TV someday (which it did). This initial "raw" version is what Equinox was BEFORE producer Jack Harris bought and released it. Here are some differences between what you have already seen, and what actually was:

1) The character of Mr. Asmodeus ("The Devil!") , the creepy park ranger with the magic ring and too much black make-up under his eyes, was added later. He is not in the original version.

2) There is more footage of the four lead actors, sitting around , talking, and trying to make sense of what's going on in the film. Pretty mundane actually, but it was still facinating to watch in an archival way.

3) There is more footage/shots of the classic Devil-Bat-Winged-Demon! You see his face close-up and more footage of him flying.

4) There is a animated Devil Skeleton w/ Pitchfork in the red tinted scene of the druids jumping into the bottomless pit/vortex ( a scene that was copied in "Phantasm" ). I think the skeleton was left out of the theatrical version for looking too silly. I'm pretty sure Tim Butron is an "Equinox" fan.

5) The entire film is shorter--about 70 minutes long.

6) The scene with the demented scary laughing old man in the cave is longer (but not better ) in the "raw" version. More dialog about nothing. His voice was improved in the theatrical version to sound like The Joker from Batman.

That's pretty much it. The theatrical version is here too (it did pretty well at the box office dispite how dated it must have looked when released in Dec. 1970). There is very interesting audio commentary on both versions. The "raw" version has comments by Dennis Muren & Co. The longer version has Jack Harris & Co. comments.


1) The actress who played Vicki (the blonde with the bob hairdo that kept changing lengths) , Robin Snider had died of cancer in the late 1970's and was best friends with Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) since high school. The songs "Gypsy" and "Rhiannon" are either dedicated to, or about Robin!

2) The scene inside the cave was a set built out of burlap, plaster and chicken wire in Dennis Muren's backyard of his parents house. The "old creepy laughing man" was played by his grandfather (!) who also funded this movie (Total cost $6,500. !!).

The night the cave scenes were filmed, director Dennis Muren had tickets to see The Beatles (!) at the Hollywood Bowl--and didn't go in order to finish the sequence. That's dedication!

3) The leads were all called back to film the additional "Mr. Asmodeus" scenes in 1970. That's why hair lengths, sideburns and clothing colors are inconsistant throughout the film. Yes, the additional scenes do make the story more coherent. One of the few optical add-ons are the swirly "psychedelic" patterns during one of the cave scenes, and the title credits with the firey "EQUINOX" at the beginning.

4) The entire film was shot MOS. (Silent with dubbing later) Some of the lead voices are actually improved upon in the theatrical version.

5) The animators that worked on this--also at one point, worked with Art Clokey!

(Davy & Goliath, Gumby)

6) The original trailer (on here too) says "Equinox begins where Rosemary's Baby left off!". I was speechless!

7) The original version soundtrack is different, more of that diddley-generic 1960's jazz--not very horror movie sounding, it gives the film a lighter quality. The new score in the theatrical version does a better job with weird distorted tones in key scenes.

DISC 2: **************************

TONS of additional material here.

1) Behind the scene footage and outtakes of the actors laughing/relaxing on the set. Stop-motion test footage as well (lots of crude rear-screen projection footage of Taurus the Blue Ape Creature--attacking people at a zoo and lumbering over a house in a sunny suburban Los Angeles neighborhood). One scene that never made it--a poolside party with square looking teenagers standing around and a girl on a diving board does a go-go dance in a bikini.

2) (recent) Interviews with the stars, Frank Boers,Jr ("Herb Tarlic" on the W.K.R.P. in Cinncinatti series), Barbara Hewitt (pretty lead girl) and James Duron (the "Blue Neanderthal Giant" !). The rare stills photo gallery shows the "Blue Giant" washing off his make-up in a water fountain in the state park where this was filmed!

Of course they all speak nicely about Equinox. Also director Dennis Muren talks about the film, and his friends who were all obsessed with the original King Kong, Willis O'Brian, and Ray Harryhusen, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Curse of the Demon, Bert I. Gordon and Famous Monsters magazine.

Out of all the special features here, I think my favorite is the one single still photograph of a Hollywood theatre marquee with "Equinox" spelled out in plastic letters, a Rolling Stone magazine blurb--and a gigantic cut-out of Taurus the blue ape creature next to it! (Pictured above).

(If you are familiar with Criterion Collection DVD's, you know that they are produced in low/limited numbers, so BUY THIS TODAY--it will probably be gone by this time next year and going for $100.00 and up on E-Bay)

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Another movie that I'd only read about in Psychotronic Video magazine , years ago. (Picked it up on E-Bay for $6.00 recently).
This is the last Boris Karloff film he made before he died (in 1969) and unlike many of the other Mexican/American Karloff movies -- this one never played on TV and is sit-through-able! ("Snake People" was a 2:00 AM staple keeping millions of people with insomnia, barely entertained during the late 1970's on TV).
This movie is "Pyschotronic" with a capital "P"! Boris plays aged Dr. Mantel , who's assistants find a "living rock/alien" in the catacombs underneath a valcano. The rock-alien-thingie looks like a giant rubber baked clam covered with mulch and makes an annoying high pitched bleep sound. A woman undressing in a room at a an "employment hotel for woman", undresses and goes to sleep in her bed. While asleep, the room turns around and into a scary cave with skeletons, tarantulas, spider webs and snakes. The camera work during this sequence feels just like a cheezy haunted house ride at an amusement park! The cave also has some very theatrical characters like a laughing mad midget, a guru-ish guy in a turban, and a woman who seems to be a matron at a woman's prison and other assorted creeps lurking about. The woman is hysterical screaming and falls into a pit of red water (blood?) while four large tentacles (probably left over from another movie?) pop up to taunt her! At this point you'll be laughing your ass off and the next scene shows her in "The Fear Chamber"--which is a basic old fashioned torture dungeon with two hooded henchmen (probably Mexican wrestlers) called down from "central casting". The woman is tied to a large barbeque grill on an open pit as a hooded Boris Karloff spashes her with a wooden spoon filled with "the blood of Satan" or something (more laughs from we-the-audience). After she passes out, the cultisits in the chamber shed their robes and are all wearing medical/hospital attire underneath! (Even the demented laughing midget is in scrubbs!)The woman is placed on a gurnee and wheeled into the next room via a sliding door --which is a modern operating room filled with equiptment that looks like over-sized food processors and disco lights. Victims who are at the point of "total terror" are needed for experiments , and the reason is too sketchy for me to explain here. Back to the rock-alien-clam-thing; it's now growing tentacles (!) and while in the laboratory, it's grabbing for victims.......
The unfortunate part is, this first 20 minutes are the best (funniest) part of the movie--the rest is pretty talky with some sprinkled laffs or action .
Boris was in ill-health during this (as was Lugosi in "Plan - 9") and is seen sitting down and lying in bed for most of the movie.
This resembles a Ted V. Mikels movie from the time period( wacky concept, played fairly straight with an odd assorment of characters, but gets bogged down by too much talking) . The DVD has friggin' audio commentary as well!

KOOL POPS 1970 !

One of the rarest items in my collection (to me, anyhow). A very well remembered childhood treat! The box is empty, so I had to make cellophane "dummies" of the pops. Kool Pops were discontinued in the mid to late 1970's, I believe.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Beat 1973 Meat Prices !

This product was developed during the "meat crisis"; you remember the horse meat episode of "All in the Family" of course. PLUSmeat was simply textured soy that you could add to your own ground beef. Soy was more expensive back then, but I'm sure they saved money when they thought up the name of this.

Candy and Andy in the Magic Toy Shoppe (1968)

CREEPY children's magazine from the U.K. circa 1968-72. Not unlike our Highlights and Humpty Dumpty magazines. The only difference is the lead story (and cover) of this magazine features Candy (and her brother Andy) who live in a Magic Toy Shoppe run by two expressionless (animorphic) Panda bears. Candy and Andy could give Chucky, Talkie Tina and any other scary Hollywood puppets and/or dolls a run for their money (even though they are supposed to be cute!). You can be sure, that many British psychedelic bands (The Move, Syd's Pink Floyd, etc.) used this magazine as a springboard to some of there songs!

Pillsbury's Strange Offer from 1972

Pancake batter boxes offered these two deranged, drooling pillow dolls. Actually pretty rare as well and I wonder if "Flip" and "Flap" will decide to have a baby?

Cosmic Candy and Chicken Flings !

Nobody seems to remember Chicken Flings (1966) at all (I don't) but you can't help but love the "basic family television values" illustration on the box! This is from my collection and very rare! Cosmic Candy(1976) was basically Pop Rocks with a cocaine induced glittery face-lift! Very strange package illustration would look great on the side of a windowless black Chevy van. This was the snack of choice during Disco-Mania (1976-1979). The span of time between these two products was the single most exciting time in pop culture, period!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Macy's Restaurant Childeren's Menu 1969!

I didn't know they served Monkey?

As mentined before, Macy's had in-store restaurants in the 1960's. This menu (from my collection) for kiddies had the same circus animal code names for the food fare just like Howard Johnson's did (relax...they did not serve actual Giraffe meat for 65 cents!). The most curious item comes from the Tiger selection; what the hell is a breastette ?

La Choy Makes Chinese Foo......

Chewy Chewy Chewy Chewy

People....People Who Eat Dog Food....

...are the luckiest people, in the world!

Oh Please ! Don't Eat Us ! We Are Only Babies !

Discontinued in the late 1980's for whatever reason......

Sunday, December 17, 2006

WOOLWORTH'S Lunch Counter Menu 1970 !

...if you are at work and getting hungry do not look at this!
Woolworth's 1970 menu has the good (grilled cheese) the bad (shopper's diet plate --cottage cheese ,bun-less hamburger patty & peach half) and the ugly (ham salad!). The lunch counters actually closed before Woolworth's did (in 1997). So the remaining stores used the lunch counters for stocking merchandise and no longer served food. I sure could go for the Turkey Club Sandwich (says here ; $1.25) right now. In fact, at that price--I'll take 6 of them! I'm most impressed with the sheer variety on this menu! Barbeque on a Bun was mostly seen down south, so I'm wondering if the Woolworth's menu here--was nation-wide or not. I never heard of stuffed tomato either; another "down south" entree? Darkness and Light- The reverse end of food chain would be Jack in the Box.
As Woolworth's was opened mostly during daylight hours (many of them closed at 6:00 PM--which was very quaint, but annoying if you got there too late). Jack in the Box was the only other "24 Hour" fast food restaurant (aside from the anchor, White Castle).
Woolworth's customer's were mainly old ladies shopping for hair nets or bags of those chalky Canada Mints (the PINK ones). Jack in the Box customers were a mixed group--but on Friday and Saturday nights the eatin' was punctuated by fights, car crashes, m-80's going off in the bathrooms ; and the general late nite clientele of dirt-bags, white trash and snake handlers looking for stomach fodder to buffer the alchohol and drugs.
Dispite all this riff-raff, I loved their tacos! The entire thing was deep fried (a completley refreshing and non-tradional move!). The taco sauce would drip onto the wrapper and which you would be licking when you were done. Jack in the Box was truncated to "Jacks" here in NY in the 1980's (no clown heads, no frills). The chain is still very popular on the West Coast and in typical Mod-generic fashion, the clown has a cell phone now and he's probably on MySpace advertising glittery ringtones.

Two Favorites from 1969!

Horror Monsters Grab Bag contained two pieces of that awful "salt water" taffy, and a small cheap prize (usually a whistle). Syko-Delic (sic) was just an ordinary jaw-breaker. Two great packaging examples (with questionable contents inside).

I Think I'm Gonna Be Sick.....

(Frozen Dinner circa 1974). This reminds me of the 1950's sci-fi movie "Invasion of the Saucer Men" for some reason. Like the package says "Keep Frozen".

My Kitchen.....

...Well, in my dreams. Have you noticed that department store snackbars are back?! Wal-Mart , Ikea and other chains have 'em now. In the 1960's, most major stores had snackbars or restaurants (Macy's and A&S both had restaurants). In the 1980's, in-store eating vanished! (This point will be added to my compilation of "Evil 80's" factoids, proving that the 1980's were the worst decade of the last century. Hee hee hee...).

Tampons In Space! (1968)

Here Tomorrow/Gone Today....Kotex plus shed the "fuddy duddy" image of Tampons merely being drudgery blasting off in space with a shiney acrylic helmet. Great "Barbarella"-inspired box front belongs in a Feminine Hygene Museum. If you see this on E-Bay, let me know. Probably would get outbid by some freak with a Tampon Box fetish.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

KORVETTES price sticker circa 1972 !

Vintage price sticker is from my price sticker collection. This an extremely rare torn off price sticker from the Korvettes Record Department. Korvettes had a FRUSTRATING system of pricing their albums (just like Sam Goody did). A price chart was posted on the wall(s) of the department. A color/letter coded sticker sans an actual price number was adhered to each LP. You had to look at the sticker--then up at the chart on the wall. WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS? We shall never know. To add to the frustration--no matter what album I had in my hand--the sticker would always correspond to a higher price than I would have imagined! (I guess I have good taste). Remember, $7.99 for an album was a lot of money in 1977. This sticker is for a sale LP, hence the blatant price ...right on the sticker! Imagine that! Later on, Korvettes reverted back to the regular pricing system and went out of business in 1980. 1.2 x 2.2" with light abbrasion on the lower corner and one upper corner ding . Overall VG/EX. Condition and VERY VERY RARE.

Modell's Had A Movie Theater In It ! (1969-71)

Someone has to document these little bits of department store history, so I guess it's gotta be me.
If you don't know, Modell's was the almighty department store serving Long Island in the 1960's and 1970's. (In 1988/89 they finally switched priorities to "sporting goods only" and shrunk the entire chain. As with most contemporary outlets ,now, they are completely generic and interchangeable with any other sneaker/sporting goods outlet).

But let's go back--way back to the Age of Aquarius; Modell's not only had the required "departments" (shoes, lighting, toys,men's woman's and children's clothes, pet supplies, etc.) --they also had a Beauty Salon, shoe repair, Men's Haircutter, a full supermarket (!) and an arcade with a dozen pinball machines and more. It was a near bio-sphere of cut-rate shopping--a city unto itself! The most unusual attraction, was the children's Movie Theater!
The theater was a 25 x 40' (approx.) make-shift room (I believe they used cheap plywood and paneling from the lumber department). There was a 16mm projector operated by a "matron" (the non-prison variety). The darkened dingy room had 5 or 6 cushioned benches (that came from God-knows-where). The cushioned parts were torn with the foam inside bits were scattered all over the floor along with popcorn and other kiddie debris. This would not have been so depressing but what made matters so grim was the fact that all they showed were Woody Woodpecker cartoons! Now, if you're like me, you probably find Woody Woodpecker to be the single most aggravating, headache inducing cartoon character ever created. (Woody was bascially formatted after Bugs Bunny, except without the cleverness and charm.)
The Kiddie theater had no door, so there was a constant block of light coming through as well as department store noises/people walking by. In hindsight, I believe the theater was merely there to contain kiddies while there parents shopped or had their hair done (it was located right next to the beauty salon). I wonder what the future holds for in-store kiddie theaters? Maybe plasma screens, surround sound and digitally remastered Woody Woodpecker cartoons with special features! (I have pictured an original ad here as well, from a Modell's Spring 1970 circular--it really happened and was not a scary dream! )

Friday, December 15, 2006

Anton Szandor LaVey Paintings (2006)

A.S. LaVey (1930-1997) founded the Church of Satan in San Fancisco way back in the late 1950's. He purchased a house in the Richmond district--and painted it black. Anton founded his church in 1966 (officially) and from that point on, declared that as year "One". Pretty ambitious , if ya ask me! Anton lived an almost real-life "Addams Family" lifestyle and befriended many celebrities (Jayne Mansfield and Sammy Davis,Jr.--strangely and notably!).
What most biographies do not say about LaVey is that he had the shaved head/ goatee combo 30 friggin' years before it became popular! I did these two simple paintings as a tribute to the Satanic Godfather of the Shaved Head/Goatee Combo (even though it's getting a little tiresome at this point).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

BANNED- SHOW Cinema Arts Center Huntington

Unless this gets kicked out of the show for the subject matter-the Spahn Ranch sign will be on display. The eyes glow-in-the-dark too!
Some of my artwork will be on display at the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington, NY. Dec.16 through Jan. 15th, as part of their Sci-Fi, Horror & Fantasy Month. Call for info: 631-423-7611
423 Park Avenue, Huntington, NY.
*****Dec. 20th 2006, After hanging there for about a week, one of the owners of the Cinema Arts Center, deemed my artwork "Too Horror" and I was asked to remove all my paintings (EXCEPT for the MANSON Spahn Ranch sign)! First of all, my work was hanging IN CONJUNCTION with a Fantasy/Horror film festival ! What's the deal with that? Secondly, because the MANSON sign was allowed to remain on exhibit (in the lobby), the message here is "real life horror is OK, fantasy-horror is not".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Diamonds in the Manure- 50 Chilling Classics Horror Movie Pack

"Chilling Classics" 50 (DVD) Movie Pack is a collection of public domain , low grade horrors most of them from the early 1970's. I am pretty well versed in Psychotronic-junk movies and thought I'd seen 'em all but this movie pack has some features that I'd only read about--and almost doubted their existance. Among the extremely cruddy and unwatchable movies (one of them stars George Hamilton use extreme caution!) there are some Psychotronic GEMS. The DVD's come packaged in tiny cheap cardboard envelopes that should probably hold pumpkin seeds or buttons.There are 50 movies so it is nice to come home from work every night and have something to watch. If you don't like the movie(s), just put a stamp on the cardboard envelope and mail it to a friend!

1) The Devil's Hand (1960). A man has strange dreams of a sultry blonde woman dancing in the clouds. This leads him to a strange doll shop run by "Commissioner Gordon" from the "Batman" TV series (Neil Hamilton). His shop custom makes dolls of real people resulting in creepy Twilight Zone-y looking dolls cluttering the shop--which has a devil-cult downstairs! The cult's club-room looks like a swinging Moroccan lounge with ornate cushions on the floor, an alter lined with "people dolls" and lots of statues (one large statue is of Buddha--so I don't know if the set designer had his religious priorities in alignment). This movie almost seems like Ed Wood and David Lynch got together for a no-budget rip-off of the "Perchance To Dream" episode of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. All the leads are dull and generic--and the supernatural plot elements get gummed up in simple melodrama towards the middle, BUT this movie moves along pretty well and the luicrious plot provides laffs galore. The ending reminded me of the climax of "Horror Hotel" which was made the same year. I first saw this at 2:00 AM on Channel 11 (W-PIX) in the very early 1980's and forgot how really funny it was. Somewhat of a "cult-classic" that never was.

2) Messiah of Evil (1974?). There is very little background information on this excellent movie, that, for some reason fell through the cracks and was never shown on TV. If it was, it would be as well known as "Childeren Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" or "Let's Scare Jessica to Death". In fact, this movie is a more ambitious version of "...Jessica" with "Carnival of Souls" ,"The Sentinal", and "Night of the Living Dead" tossed in the salad as well! Messiah..." also evokes several H.P. Lovecraft stories mashed together (not so sure it's intentional, though).
Lovely Marianna Hill (the daughter who got married at the beginning of "The Godfather" and the stars of one of my all-time favorite Psychotronic movies; "The Baby" -1973) goes to a coastal sea-side California town to seek out her father--who is missing . She is perfect for this role(--as a 70's-Chick-in-Distress) . There is something not right with the residents who gather on the beach at night waiting for the "Blood Moon". There is a terrifying scene in a local ( real) supermarket as well as a movie theater and a gas station. The plot moves along very well in a thick and creepy, fog of low-budget atmosphere that was unique to the 1970's. The acting is excellent and the the realistic setting makes this a standout in the genre of low-budget horror from the pivotal decade. I do wish the print was better. Put a call to the Criterion Collection Hotline! I cannot even find movie posters, ads , pressbooks or lobby cards on this movie--did it even play in theaters??

3) Scream Bloody Murder (197?) A loser with a hook hand falls for a hooker and tries to keep her a-la "The Collector". Great no-moral-to-the-story psycho killer exploitation yarn with some hilarious/stupid scenes, acting and characters. The ending takes place in a church and is pretty freaky! This never played on TV. Similar to the even weirder movie "My Brother Has Bad Dreams" (197?) that did play on the late great WOR-Channel 9!

4) The Legend of Bigfoot. (197?). OK, This is THE WORST BIGFOOT MOVIE EVER MADE. I would like to find out if it was all a joke. If it was, it's the best joke ever made! This is nearly 90 minutes of stock nature footage of forests, ponds, marshs and the middle-of-nowhere. A narrator tells us that Bigfoot was sited at various locations of the stock footage. Lots of "Bigfoot was seen here recently but I guessed we just missed him" comments as scenes of deer, chipmunks, beavers and bears are shown--endlessly. Finally, a few minutes of grainy footage of a man in a black furry costume is shown wandering around in a wooded area. Unbelievable!

5) The Revenge of Dr. X. (1970?)
Another film I had read about in Psychotronic a decade ago and never saw . A strange Asian (think Godzilla) film about an American scientest on an island experimenting with plants. Lo, he creates a "Franken-Plant" creature--that looks pretty funny/incredible/weird. The monster moves very slowly--so you could easily just run away from him at any time and safely be out of danger. The acting is awful, the ending sucks and this movie is too long for what it is. Worth seeing once, so I can scratch it off of my "to see" list. This was once a very rare movie but with the advent of DVDs all the scum floats to the top of the pond!
This Cheapie-pak also includes some noted titles such as:
a) The Driller Killer. I always hated Abel Ferrara's movies (the "Body Snatchers" remake was pointless), and although I still do not like this movie, some people will love it for historical (Oh Man, it was so great back then...) value. This will especially hold well with under-30 year olds who look back on 1977-1981 as the Punk Rock renaissance.
This is NOT a body-count slasher movie as the title implies. It's a D.I.Y. "punk" psychological thriller filmed on the streets of NYC. Driller Killer also looks like a very good "student film" that would come out of SVA or NYU, so there is another possible fan base for this film on an archeological level. There are many scenes that take place in Max's Kansas City as well! If you want to see the "punk look" circa 1980--check it out--(it looks almost as stupid as the "punk look" of today!) This also turns up in "dollar DVD" bins, so it's very available.

SUMMARY: 50% of the titles here are boring, horrible quality or have been "public domained to death".
Worse is the fact that there are too many movies here starring Cameron Mitchell--an actor so boring and unmotivated ; he makes mold grow on the TV screen .
However, this is well worth buying for the handful of rare cinema-puke films included. So, if you see the "50 Chilling Movies" DVD pack on sale somewhere, grab it or give it as a gift! (Under $20.00)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Haunted By Peppy !

These arcade machines (*click to enlarge photos*)were at my local amusement park in the latter 1960's--(located next to the rows of pinball machines). The one I remember using was "Peppy"--(not sure why the alternate model was called "Bimbo" ?). You put a quarter (or a dime?) in the slot and Peppy's backdrop lit up, a (murky sounding calliope) song came on then his small trap-door mouth would lip-sync the song. Four small white buttons would be located on the panel so you could manipulate his arms and legs via the strings inside. Very creepy and amusing. I was drawn to this arcade machine with every visit to the park and made up some very Twilight-Zone-y stories in my head about it at the time. One of my main concerns was that some delinquent teenager would smash the glass and steal Peppy (strings and all) leaving a sad empty display for all to see....ADVENTURELAND (Route 110, Long Island NY).