Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dark Night of the Scarecrow DVD Update



The fine, fine folks at Horror Yearbook posted a little bit of news about the upcoming DVD release for Dark Night of the Scarecrow. The screenwriter, J.D. Feigelson contacted HYB to let them know everything is rolling along smoothly! Expect to see the DVD around October! YAY!

In that article there is also a link to Fright Rags, where you can buy a pretty freakin' awesome tee shirt for Dark Night. So what are you waiting for?!?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Link-o-Ramma-Lamma-Ding-Dang!



Check out my latest at Retro Slashers:

I have a review of Iced. Cheesy goodness to the extreme!

Oh my god, I love this picture from Iced!

I also did an image gallery for this oddball proto-slasher called Hollywood Meatcleaver Massacre. And yes, that's Christopher Lee!

Also, Kindertrauma keeps the love of the Made for TV Movie alive with reviews of:

Daughter of the Mind

The Possessed (You can read my review here)

I, Desire

Enjoy!



Crazed for TV Movies!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Made for TV Mayhem: The ABC Afterschool Special Edition



Two Loves for Jenny
Original Air Date: October 27th, 1982

Did You Hear What Happened to Andrea?
Original Air Date: December 7th, 1983


The ABC Afterschool Special was a staple of my childhood. I remember many of them (with the “V.D” episode instilling the necessary amount of fear it most likely intended!), but there were so many episodes, a lot of what I remember is a medley of images from several installments. Luckily, a few of these episodes were released on DVD for mass consumption from a nostalgically inclined audience. I.E. ME! So Yays all around!



Two Loves of Jenny (aka Between Two Loves) features the gawky, but pretty and extremely likable Karlene Crockett (Dallas, Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker) as Jenny, a new student in a new school in a new town. Jenny’s father has just died and her mom moves them from the farm to a bigger city so Jenny can play in an elite high school orchestra, run by stodgy Mr. Forbes (Robert Reed!). Turns out, Jenny is one mean violinist and is able to join immediately. She takes the last chair while uber gorgeous Doug (Lance Guest who was simply heaven sent in The Last Starfighter!) takes chair #1. They strike up a friendship that eventually leads to a blossoming romance. But Jenny’s abilities as a musician quickly move her up in the orchestra and eventually pit her against Doug for a much coveted scholarship. Doug really needs the funding for school and Jenny is only now just realizing how badly she wants to play the violin professionally. The relationship is tested when Jenny has to decide if music means more than Doug.

Karlene rules!

Honestly, I was expecting this episode to be a bit of a bore. I like classical music, but am not enthralled with watching a movie about it. But Two Loves for Jenny is engaging, sweet and never boring. It reminded me why I loved Afterschool Specials so much – it introduced young adults to interesting topics they might not have access to (i.e. classical music) while captivating it’s audience with universal themes (i.e. first loves). The balance here is fantastic and I was sad to see this special end.

So. Hot.

For some time I have been in love with Karlene, but she’s a bit of a chameleon and I often just didn’t know I was watching the same actress in various shows. Her filmmography isn’t huge, and ended in 2005 but she is a very impressive and lovely actress. Come back Karlene!

Now on the other hand, I have been quite aware of Lance Guest. I have loved him since I was 13 years old and his lanky build, curly locks and sweet presence made him the perfect first love for Jenny. And he was in Jaws 4 and Halloween 2, which is all kinds of awesome!



The second episode on the DVD is the infamous Did You Hear What Happened to Andrea? (aka Andrea’s Story: A Hitchhiking Tragedy) It’s infamous because it’s one of the episodes, besides the V.D. one, that I remember explicitly. Andrea is played by pretty Michele Greene (who has become a regular in the world of Lifetime movies) who along with her boyfriend David (Moosie Drier – oh my god, I love him!) make the big mistake of hitchhiking. Well, it’s more like Andrea makes the even bigger mistake to continue on the ride after they drop off David. She is taken to a desolate area and raped. Andrea tries to hide this horrible secret, but it soon comes pouring out as her friend tries to hitch a ride. The police are called, her parents are informed about the crime and her boyfriend is called in as a witness. But this film is mostly about learning not to blame yourself and to know you can find strength in facing your assailant.

Love the Mossie Drier headshot in the corner! Moosie!!!

Now see, the above sentence makes this episode sound really great, but unfortunately Andrea is a bit dry and a little forced. Granted, they had less than an hour to get a lot of layered themes across to the viewer, but a lot of the intensity gets lost in the shuffle. And the shopping montage… well, it’s silly.

From rape victim to fashion victim!

Greene is good and her parents are played by Carrie Snodgress and Matt Clark. Both are fantastic as they take on opposite sides of what they think is right for Andrea. A very young pre-holy roller Kirk Cameron plays the precocious little brother who serves absolutely no purpose (kind of like now) and the late Robert DoQui is pretty great as the cop handling the case. I won’t even go into Moosie Drier, let’s just say he’s adorable. Not a bad way to spend an hour, but after Two Loves for Jenny, well… maybe if Lance Guest had showed up in this one too… just maybe…

An Afterschool lineup!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Riptide: The Pilot (1984)



Network: NBC
Original Air Date: January 3rd, 1984


If Magnum P.I. and The Whiz Kids had a baby, Riptide would be their love child. Not just content to have machismo running around in tighty whities, Riptide also features a lovable computer geek nicknamed Boz who has a robot called the Ro-Boz, who is totally adorable! Actually, all of the actors are extremely endearing and a lot of fun to watch. So, although you are guaranteed to get at least two car chases and just as many fist fights per episode (as well as some nice peck checks), this show is all about friendship. Well, ain't that sweet?

You totally thought I was joking about the tighty whites, didn't you?
 
Riptide aired from 1984 - 1986. It started as a mid-season replacement show, featuring a pilot movie and 12 episodes, and was followed by two full seasons. Coming a few years after Magnum and one year before Miami Vice, the pilot set up the show as a carefree, action packed mystery involving two burning hunks named Nick and Cody (Joe Penny and Perry King, respectively). The episode starts off with a boat explosion that kills everyone except one beautiful girl who just happened to be scuba diving when the "accident" occurred. She is picked up by grizzled sea captain Mama Joe (Anne Francis who is billed in the main titles of several episodes of the first season, but rarely appears) and given to the Riptide boys, a newbie detective duo who reside on their boat in King's Harbor (a fictional coastal Southern California beach community). Good army buds from the Nam, they also sport a healthy sense of competition when it comes to the attention of the ladies. And so begins solving the mystery behind the sunken boat and the fight for the affection of the survivor, Kimba Hall (Karen Kopins from Fast Forward and Once Bitten, making her one of the coolest chicks of the 80s!).
Thom Bray = so cute!

These down and out detectives bring in their old army bud, Murray "Boz" Bozinsky (Thom Bray), a famous computer whiz who is fed up with his office job (I mean really fed up!) and he brings along the Ro-Boz, who can pretty much do anything except bring you a drink without pouring it on you (this later becomes a bit of an ongoing joke through the show).

The story for the pilot is competent and fun, a little complicated but fairly easy to follow. The show actually featured some fun mysteries in the later episodes. I liked that the crime solving parts were a little Murder, She Wrote. And thusly, it was the birth of a pretty amazing series.

Nick helps the Ro-boz get his investigating-on!

All three seasons of Riptide were recently released on DVD and I just picked up Season One (with Season Two currently on the way!). I had the vaguest memories of the show, but mostly remembered the boat and the easy going flow of action. It's an obvious riff on Magnum P.I. but original enough that I am wary to make any comparisons (except for Cody's mustache, which made him that blonde alternative to Tom Selleck. Nice to know there are choices in these matters!). They doubled the hunk factor but took some great lessons from Magnum's camaraderie with his Nam buds. So yeah, I just made a comparison, what of it?

Slightly dumbfounded machismo at its finest!

Riptide was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who along with Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson, made some of the best escapist action television of the 80s. Say what you will about one-off episodes, which often feature characters who disappear in the ether never to be seen again. The overall enjoyment of this kind of "mindless" action fare frankly blows a lot of newer stuff out of the water. I remember when people watched television to escape and not to feel all bad about something. Riptide is one of the best of those shows to air in a decade full of great escapist television, and that my friend is no small feat.

Oh, This is Neat!



My computer has been in the shop and just got my puppy back tonight. All looks well and I remembered something I wanted to share... I was recently quoted on the press release for the upcoming DVD re-issue of The Last Horror Film! My dear friend John Kylza at Retro Slashers pointed it out to me! You can read the article here, and there's a link to the actual review they pulled it from!

I make no bones about my love for all things Spinell and this film. Pick it up if enjoy your slashers a little silly, a little slick and a whole lot of fun!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Come to My Retroland!!!



I found this awesome website that is sort of like MySpace for nostalgic fools like myself. The site is called Retroland and I promptly set up my page. I'm having a pretty good time filling in the Timeline section. I mean, I’ve written about the Golden Girls, Modern Girls and Mrs. Garrett’s girls! I am so happy right now!!!

I know, I’m an easy sell.

A Love Letter to Dr. Riverside


Oh, goofy Dr. Stanley Riverside, how I love thee and all your silly faces. You let Gonzo and Trapper John use their reverse psychology, but we all know you’re the one with the brains. You’ve never let me down with your outlandish comic timing and your sweet-as-pie smile.

Dr. Stanley Riverside I love watching you on Trapper John M.D. every Wednesday night on the American Life Network.

You saved a woman’s life with a duster buster, helped an old con artist buy a cafĂ©, almost made out with a super hot Asian chick and you love your dad. And I love you!











Deceptions (1985)



Network: NBC
Original Air Date: May 27th, 1985


What could be better than a mini-series with Stefanie Powers?

How about a mini-series with two Stefanie Powers. I kid you not.

From Not-So-Fab:





To Tres-Fab:




The end result (and a nice split screen!):




Stefanie plays Sabrina (Breenie) and Stephanie, twin sisters who have taken two very different paths in life. Stephanie has settled down and had two kids with her hunky college professor hubby Grant (Barry Bostwick, who is amazing as usual). Her life consists of a seemingly loveless marriage, a part time job at the college bookstore and tending to her young children, one of whom has recently taken up stealing (Jason Miller from Growing Pains. The daughter is played by an extremely young Faruza Balk). She's thrilled when her much more sophisticated sister, Sabrina flies her to Venice for their birthday. On the outside, Breenie is quite enviable with her art collecting gig, closet full of designer clothes, plenty of suitors and a big ol' giant house with a staff! OK, so maybe her life is pretty good. But ask Breenie about it and you're certain to get another answer. This lovely lady has gotten herself mixed up with the seedier side of London's posh scene and finds she is basically a kept woman for the local mobster. He heads out of town for a month, while Breenie and Stephanie head toVenice and hatch their "harmless" scheme... to switch places.

Fabio Testi, a monkey and an ass! Love it!

So off they go, Breenie becomes a housewife (and has a knack for it!) and Stephanie runs around London with one of Breenie's old suitors (played by the gorgeous Fabio Testi from Nothing Underneath). After a car accident, which leaves Breenie bruised, she and Stephanie opt to keep the fantasy up for just a bit longer... but as more time passes while playing this game, the less enticing returning home to suburbia becomes to Stephanie. Then Breenie's mobster boyfriend returns and things take a turn for the worse.

Deceptions is like all of your favorite night time soaps on a more epic level. The scenes in London and Venice are amazing to look at. Gina Lolobriggida plays Princess Alessandra, which should give you a nice clue to how glamorous this movie is. And it's a ton of fun. I put it on expecting to only watch the first half in one sitting and then finish it later. But I watched this little bit of eye candy from beginning to end in one go. Stefanie is great as both girls and gives each just a touch of difference so you can see why someone would confuse them, but you're also aware of each of their unique personalities.

My God! I'm gorgeous!

And it's so... 1985. The wardrobe is awesome to behold and the music! Oh, the music! The opening song features "I'm So Excited," by the Pointer Sisters, which sets the pacing for this fun ride. I love a little opulence, but 80s opulence?!? Well, it was just never done better!

And what a great way to twist the escapist "fantasy" so many of us have of a world full of caviar dreams (thank you, Robin Leach!). The lucky girl is the one who realizes that life with a college professor and a couple of kids is far more rewarding than one built on great style, hot men and money. We know that's not true, but what a sweet thought, no?

Jeremy Brett as a gay guy... No one will buy it!