Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh Yeah, And I Saw This...

Whore-ific! And not in a good way...

Ummm, yeah. I saw The Stepfather remake. It blew. You can read my review at Horror Yearbook and I promise it's way better than the movie was!!!

Not much else going on here, unfortunately. Although I have caught every episode of the new Melrose Place, and I admit it... I like it! Do you hear me?!? I like it! The funny thing is, the older characters who have come back (and they include Sydney, Michael, Jo and boring old Jane) are very, very poorly written (especially Michael. What a total letdown), but everyone else is great. I am curious as to why they took all of the personality out of the great old faces? Wonders never cease, no?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Must See TV... Must Buy TV! YAY!

The folks at Warner Archives are at it again! Yes, no promotion, but lots of goodies. Check out the latest:

Death of a Centerfold: This is a fairly accurate account of the life and death of Dorothy Stratten. Peter Bogdanovich actually said in his book about Dorothy called The Killing of a Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980, this was better than Star 80, although personally I think he just found it a bit easier to watch (he was dating Stratten at the time of her murder). It's a pretty stark little movie with odd casting, but Jamie Lee Curtis is great and it's an above average TVM about a very tragic figure in pop culture. Highly recommended.

Jack the Ripper: This is the awesome mini-series featuring Michael Caine and Armand Assante. The filmmakers were so certain they knew who committed Jack's horrid crimes, there's a little name dropping at the end. But I'll never tell, you'll have to watch the movie to find out!

Man From Atlantis: This is the pilot movie for the short lived show starring uber-sexy Patrick Duffy (with webbed hands!) alongside uber-sexy Belinda Montgomery. He is the last known survivor of Atlantis so you know adventure ensues!

In Other Must See News:

Who doesn't love a good scary clown? Well, this isn't a made for television movie, but I recently caught Darin Scott's newest opus Dark House and it was so very awesome. Click on link for review.

The Must See Streaming Movie of the Week:

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, but if there was ever a time to promote an awesome TVM, now is surely the moment.

Madame Sin is one of those oddball little flicks that totally defies categorization. But I'll try to give the synopsis here anyway. Basically, the great Bette Davis is an Asian (!) terrorist lady who kidnaps a super spy played by Robert Wagner. She is using him to steal nuclear weapons.

I kid you not.

Directed by the great David Greene (Vacation in Hell), this is uber-stylish and somehow completely watchable despite the outrageous (and admittedly silly) premise. Go see this. It's awesome! Click on the link to watch it streaming on Netflix!

Monday, October 5, 2009

News and a Bit of the Blues

Ack! Not only has Dark Night of the Scarecrow been postponed, but it looks like Werewolf is now on the backburner as well. According to this Dread Central article, Shout Factory is completely cancelling their release and Werewolf is now back in Sony's hands.

Actually, Mr. McKee at the fabulous blog Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot already mentioned this to me. I just ran out of time and only thought to myself today, "Oh, wasn't this supposed to come out tomorrow?" So, here I am the bearer of bad news and I'm all late about it. Lame, I know.

What a sad day, for Werewolf was truly a great television show that marked the competitive ferocity the young Fox Network had back in 1987.

So again, we just have to wait.

In happier news, I am pleased to announce that I entered an essay contest over at the awesome website Smash or Trash and came in fifth out of almost 100 entries! YAY! The subject was scary clowns, so you know the material was ripe. The essays were wonderful, and I highly suggest you stop by and read them all!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Claudia Jennings Blog-a-thon Part 2: Sisters of Death (1977)

Again, a big thanks to Temple of Schlock for holding this Claudia Jennings Blog-a-thon!

This awesome proto-slasher has two things going for it. One: It’s a grindhouse flick that plays like a made for television movie (and yeah, I do not think that’s a negative) and two: It’s got one of the greatest drive-in queens of all time, Claudia Jennings.

Claudia was never really a household name. Although she did have her share of infamy – she was the Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1970 and posed one more time in 1979. She made a slew of films in that nine year time span, mostly B level genre fare that required little more than some hot T&A to get it produced. But what they got when Claudia signed onto a project was not just stunning eye candy. Claudia was a formidable actress, guaranteeing that whatever film she appeared in would be raised up at least a notch just but letting her take up some celluloid. She was a rare beast – a woman who was just as talented as she was beautiful.

Flashback - 70s Style!

Claudia starred in some great B movies, my favorite being Unholy Rollers, where she takes on the roller derby and takes no prisoners in the process! Kind of ironic that Drew Barrymore’s newest film, Whip It, another flick about the trials and tribulations of the derby, would come out October 2nd, because October 3rd marks the 30th anniversary of Claudia’s untimely death. Claudia died in a car accident when she was just 29 years old.

The chronicle of her short life shows a lot of major ups and downs. She struggled to be taken seriously as a talented actress, forever looked at as a Playmate. She had a couple of opportunities to shed her saucy image, her biggest being a shot to replace Kate Jackson on Charlie’s Angels. Claudia was high up on the list of potential actresses, but the executives (and Aaron Spelling) were nervous about her work as a Bunny and ultimately they went with the lovely Shelly Hack.

It’s hard not to wonder where life would have gone for Claudia if she’d gotten the part. Television would have been a perfect move. It was a place where no nudity was required and it was during a decade when television was full of incredibly choice programming. Claudia did dip her feet a bit in television waters, even appearing in one of the most un-sexy shows of the era, The Brady Bunch. She’s is the famous episode Adios, Johnny Bravo. Need I say more? Well, yeah I did need to say more. Check out Claudia on the Brady Bunch in this blog post.

This man is apparently avenging the death of a Swedish barmaid?!?

Claudia had a kind of beauty that lingers in the mind’s eye. It’s an honest kind of perfection - A sort of untouched quality that allowed her to look both devilish and innocent at the same time. It was something that would come in handy as she grew as an actress, and one of her most underrated films, Sisters of Death (which was shot in 72 but not released until 1977) shows the burgeoning of a wonderful artist.

The movie itself is one of those B movies you go into thinking it will be full of salacious doings. I mean, it’s about a group of sorority sisters playing Russian Roulette as part of an initiation. Gun goes BOOM and girl goes dead. Seven years later, the remaining sisters are called to a desolate house in Paso Robles where they find the dead girl’s father, who is just slightly bent on revenge. That is when he’s not playing the flute. Seriously, this guy is a multitasker! See, you just know this movie is going to be full of blood and guts and nudity and just about everything else you paid to see. You really don’t get any of that, but depending on your disposition, you still end up with a really good film. A great whodunit premise, with a wonderful last minute twist, Sisters of Death is what we call a slow-burn potboiler. So, if you like the recipe, you’re sure to love the servings!

Claudia is Judy, the most successful of the sisters, and the most fearless of them as well. She bursts in on the dead girl’s pop in one scene, giving him her where-for-art-thous. It gets her nowhere, but you know, points for trying! At any rate, she’s the character you remember.

Claudia behind bars!

Also appearing in Sisters is Joe E. Tata, who you may know best as Nat on Beverly Hills 90210 (the original and redux – Go Nat!). He was in one other Jennings flick, the aforementioned Unholy Rollers. I always thought I’d like to meet him just to ask him about Claudia. Well, and because I adore him!

But I digress, this movie has it all, a great looking, creepy house, girls in the desert in heavy polyester, some nice creepy set-pieces, a bit of a Ten Little Indians feel, a spider that sticks to stomachs, Nat from 90210, Claudia and a twist. Seriously, what are you waiting for?!?

You're gonna love what these girls are servin' up!

Claudia Jennings Blog-a-Thon P.1: Adios, Johnny Bravo

A big thanks to the guys at Temple of Schlock for their Claudia Jennings Blog-a-thon idea. Luvin' it!

Claudia didn't do much on television of note, as most of her stuff was more likened to the exploitation genre fare (and it was awesome), but she did make one very important appearance on The Brady Bunch. It's an infamous episode titled Adios Johnny Bravo, and involves Claudia as a sleazy record producer type trying to lure super clean Greg Brady into a world of pop music without identity.

Ummm, shouldn't we be ripping off Claudia's clothes?

Barry Williams who played Greg once said Claudia was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. And he worked with Maureen McCormick! Actually, Claudia and Maureen became friends later when they made Moonshine County Express. For all the salacious details, pick up Maureen's bio Here's the Story. It ain't pretty, but maybe that's part of Claudia's appeal. She was a woman's woman and a man's woman, alluring to all who saw her. Her poetic beauty still lives as far as I'm concerned, and I love that this Brady Bunch episode endures. It might be the one thing that will keep introducing her to new audiences.

Here is a little picture gallery of Claudia on the Brady Bunch: