Friday, February 27, 2009

More About Me!

Let's get the most important business out of the way here.

Is it just me or does Jim Perry:

resemble Guy Smiley:

When I came up with this notion a week ago, I was dismayed to see that this resemblance is actually mentioned on Smiley's wikipedia page. And I thought I was being all smart and shit.

I have a new review up at Pretty Scary for my Lifetime Kills column. The movie in question is called Ultimate Deception and is damn near perfect. But not quite.

Also, keep an eye out for these TV Movies, which are finding their way to DVD on March 3rd:

The Story of David (1976): Some religious story about a man named David. Played by Timothy Bottoms! YAY!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: This one is about some hunchback and his tower. Stars Anthony Hopkins! YAY!

The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983): This one is about a Man from U.N.C.L.E. Stars Robert Vaughan (or course!). YAY!

Seriously, all of these look excellent. By all means, pick up a copy!

I'm getting close to 100 posts, which I just can't believe. I haven't decided if I should do something special. I mean, really what can I do? I'm just thrilled I got this far and there are still many TV movies (and game shows!) to travel! I hope everyone enjoys it here!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion Post

Awwww, Bert! He's raising a glass for some new stuff on other sites!

I have finally gotten around to watching another saucy sex fest. Check out my newest review for my Not So Basic Instincts column at Horror Yearbook. It's time for Night Eyes 3, an enjoyable romp of a sex thriller! YAY! I love when that happens!

Also, I have teamed up with Michael Ferrari at his blog Cinema Du Meep. We do a dual review of the ultra-awesome sleaze fest House on the Edge of the Park.

Enjoy, ya'll!

Chiller (1985)

Chiller (1985)

Network: CBS
Original Air Date: May 22nd, 1985

When you hear the name Wes Craven, there are several things you might think of. His theatrical horror filmmography ranges from visceral 70s grindhouse treats like Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes to the 80s supernatural horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street to the brilliiant post-modern 90s slasher Scream. It's not often you find people talking about his television work, but there was plenty of that too! Aside from his work on the 80s version of The Twilight Zone and then Nightmare Cafe in the 90s, Craven also helmed three entertaining made for television movies - Invitation to Hell, Summer of Fear (aka Stranger in Our House) and the pick of the litter, Chiller.

All three of these films lack the flair of Craven's theatrical releases, but while Invitation to Hell and Summer of Fear are fun popcorn thrillers, Chiller is the closest to Craven's signature big screen work. Definitely hampered by a lower budget, this film still displays a lot of depth and some wonderful acting, especially by Oscar winner Beatrice Straight.


Straight plays a lonely widow named Marion Creighton who had her son Miles (Michael Beck) cryogenically frozen when he passed away. Since his death, she's adopted a child named Stacey (Jill Schoelen) and has continued to oversee the successful corporate business her son left behind. Due to an unfortunate accident, Miles has to be "defrosted" and is brought back to life. Marion is overjoyed with the return of her beloved son, but he's just not quite right. Besides the fact that he's constantly freezing, it seems that when Miles originally died, his soul departed and did not find its way back upon his earthly return, get it? Now, he's cold-blooded in so many ways other than just to the touch, and he gets the most pleasure from causing pain. Lots of pain.

Chiller raises many interesting questions about spirituality, the human spirit and how someone deals with being the one left behind. Is it perfect? No, but it lays the groundwork for many fascinating ideas and raises the questions we all have about the word life and what it means. And if you ain’t in the mood for thinking, Chiller is still a good horror film so you can expect Miles to have great fun torturing those he thinks are getting in his way!

The Deadly Combo: Jill is terrified and lovely!

Michael Beck is perfectly cast as Miles, whose good looks and charm remain intact, making it hard for others to see the evil lurking just beneath the surface. My favorite Scream Queen (and yours too, I hope!), Jill Schoelen doesn't have much screen time, but she's adorable as Stacey and ends up playing a big part in finale. Also, Paul Sorvino comes along to shake things up as the priest who is willing to question Miles' motives. Still, I think this movie wouldn't be the same without Straight who is compelling as the grieving mother. It never seems cruel that she's had Miles cryogenically frozen, nor do her actions at the end come into question and it's an interesting battle between a mother's love and being the only person who can stop the ongoing horror, caused by her only child. I just adore that woman!

Chiller got one of those dollar bin DVD releases, which matches the dollar bin vhs release it had some years back. In fact, I'd be willing to say the vhs was of (slightly) better quality. What a shame it is that such an outstanding television film by a name director with famous actors should end up with the el cheapo option. I do hope one day this movie gets the awesome release it deserves. Summer of Fear recieved the royal treatment with a pristine transfer and a great commentary track with Craven and I can't imagine why that wouldn't/shouldn't happen with Chiller. I'm actually begging now, and that's never pretty, so help a girl out, K?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Moon in the Gutter's MIA on Region One DVD Tribute Month: Made for TV Mayhem Style!

When Jeremy Richey, the man behind the beyond awesome blog Moon in the Gutter asked me to participate in his special MIA on Region One DVD Tribute Month, well you can imagine my response! In case you couldn’t – it was a resounding yes! Jeremy has been hard at work compiling a list of movies that should be available but for whatever reason, the Gods just aren’t listening! On my end, the biggest problem was narrowing down a title. So many great television movies are still unavailable on DVD and even worse, most of them were never even available on vhs. How sad that makes me. But recently, I’ve seen movies such as Dead of Night, The Girl Most Likely to... and The Norliss Tapes find a home in the new-ish DVD medium. And even more spectacular, Dark Night of the Scarecrow is coming out later this year! So, I will keep the dream alive while I continue to search out my little made for TV movies in any form I can get my grimy little paws on!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what film or films I thought topped my ‘essentials’ list, I nixed movies like Bad Ronald and Home for the Holidays, although I find them to be spectacular examples of this sub-genre much needing of a DVD release of their own, because I thought a really cool, lesser-known gem might be more interesting and a bit unexpected, and I’m all about being unexpected! You could say I’m a rebel…

When I went through my list, I had eleven titles I felt were not only deserving a Region One DVD release, but were also movies that needed to be mentioned if only because so often many of these amazing made for television movies tend to fall by the wayside, which only goes to prove the importance of what Jeremy is doing: Bringing a spotlight to the little folks. And I’m so honored he approached me to give my two cents. Hell, I’ll give you three cents!

The movie I decided to feature is one that I keep meaning to review anyway. It’s one of those films that should be in the vocabulary of all genre lovers. It’s a small screen thriller that kicks the ass of its big screen equivalents and it’s got Alan Alda, who is just one smoking hot dude. So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Isn’t it Shocking (1973)

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: October 2nd, 1973

Directed by John Badham, Isn’t it Shocking? revolves around beleaguered small town Sheriff Dan Barnes (the amazing Alan Alda) who separates time between his girlfriend and her obnoxious kids and his job in a town that is essentially a retirement community. He’s struggling with the idea of leaving this peaceful settlement for something just a touch bigger – you know, where some action might actually take place, but then a murderous stranger begins picking off the old folks. His method of murder –a machine which effectively gives the victim a heart attack! Also, this guy loves to eat chocolate when he kills. He’s creepy, he’s dangerous and he seems almost unstoppable, but Dan, along with his kooky secretary Blanche (Louise Lasser) and the world’s oldest final girl Marge (Ruth Gordon) - who holds the key to the mystery but is so dang senile that no one can quite figure out what she knows – put the pieces together to solve the crime.

The horrible outcome of a horrible crime

Black comedy at its best, Isn’t it Shocking? takes a topic seldom looked at in any genre – senicide. What could be creepier than killing an elderly person? It’s a subject that has been rarely explored, I assume because it’s just too disturbing and doesn’t leave a lot of room for entertainment. Somehow, this film walks that line and never crosses it. It’s quite upsetting - the opening death is a doozy - but Badham manages to expose the raw terror and sadness of taking a vulnerable life while crafting a dark comedy about the trials of small town life.

Smokin' hot with a smokin' gun!

Would I say Isn’t it Shocking? is brilliant? Yeah, I would. Wait, I want to be lame – Isn’t it Brilliant? Why yes, it is.

Largely unavailable to the public, Isn’t It Shocking? managed to air on television from time to time, but has now slipped into near obscurity, minus the memories of a few of us latch key kids! I tend to go on about how made for television movies sometimes eclipse their theatrical counterparts, and this film is a fine example of big screen entertainment made for our living rooms.

Ten More Notable Movies that Deserve a Region One DVD Release:

The House on Greenapple Road (January 11th, 1970 on ABC): Christopher George is great at Lt. Dan August whose most difficult task to solving the crime is proving there was any crime at all. An all star cast supports George (including his wife Linda Day) in an amazing police procedural. Click on title for full review.

Dr. Cook’s Garden (January 19th, 1971 on ABC): In Bing Crosby’s last acting role, he plays a doctor who euthanizes anyone who he feels isn’t living up to his moral standards. Chilling and odd (mostly due to the casting of Crosby), this is a superb little thriller with a thought provoking storyline and a neat twist ending.

Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate (November 9th, 1971 on ABC): Like Isn’t it Shocking? this film is a dark comedy about the elderly. In this case though, these ladies kick some boo-tae! Mildred Natwick, Sylvia Sidney, Helen Hayes and Myrna Loy create a fictional woman for a computer dating service. A vicious stalker (Vince Edwards) appears, desperate to meet this made up woman and you know trouble will be brewing. Fun thriller with great pacing, acting and dialog, it’s like The Golden Girls meets The Fan. Seriously. Read my review at Camp Blood.

The Stranger Within (October 1st, 1974 on ABC): Barbara Eden gives one of her strongest performances as the beautiful housewife who is pregnant with something not quite human. Richard Matheson wrote the excellent, claustrophobic screenplay that plays off the common fears accompanied with pregnancy. Click on title for full review.

Griffin & Phoenix: A Love Story (February 27th, 1976 on ABC): Probably the single most moving film I have ever seen. I still don’t have the words to describe the sheer beauty of this film. One watch and you will know that world missed out by not giving Peter Falk more roles as the romantic lead. He’s incredible in a sorrowful but joyful film about love and the deepest loss of all – death.

The Bermuda Depths (January 27th, 1978 on ABC): One of the few Rankin Bass live action productions, The Bermuda Depths is like a piece of visual poetry. Soft, eerie and childlike (check out those miniatures!), this film envelops the fairytale story in sadness. A wonderfully melancholic romance that deserves a DVD with the works.

A Vacation in Hell (May 21st, 1979 on ABC): The Swinging 70s come to an end in style with this absurd and fascinating thriller about four women and a hapless male who find themselves stranded on the wrong side of the island they were vacationing on. When one of them accidentally kills a “native” man, they find themselves on the run from an angry family member. Lush, sexy, odd, sometimes really campy and always entertaining, A Vacation in Hell has just as many twists as it does awesome one liners. It also has a young Maureen McCormick hanging up her Marsha Brady image during an overtly sexual dance. It’s a must see. Read my full review at Camp Blood.

This House Possessed (February 6th, 1981 on ABC): I must have seen this movie 300 times since it first aired. It’s my cure-all for when I have the blues. Traditional ghost story updated with (then) modernized technology, the way the story is played out is far more important than the story itself. Stylish, creepy and a ton of fun, I don’t just love this movie because it stars my biggest crush, Parker Stevenson (although that would be reason enough!), I love it because it’s fantastic, and while thoroughly dated, it’s also timeless. Read my reviews at CC2K and Camp Blood. Don’t Go To Sleep (December 10th, 1982 on ABC): Absolutely frightening flick about a child who is killed in a accident only to return as a ghost bent on torturing her family. Geesh! It’s an accident! Talk about bitter! This movie has creepy written all over it, with the fears being heightened by the excellent cast led by Valerie Harper and the great Dennis Weaver. Talk about gut-punch endings. Wow. This movie will make you jump!

The Woman in Black (December 24th, 1989 on BBC): If you like your ghost stories agonizingly eerie like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, The Woman in Black is the film for you! Slow, deliberate pacing only heightens the story about a young solicitor who is followed by a mysterious woman in black. This BBC chiller was actually made into a play, which I haven’t seen but I hear is absolutely fantastic. Update: I looked this up and see that at one point it was indeed available on Region One DVD. But now it’s OOP so I decided to keep it on the list. So what of it?!?

Note: Except for the The Woman in Black which is a British production, every single one of these films originally aired on ABC! Way to go ABC!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Making of a Male Model (1983)

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: October 9th, 1983

Between male strippers ( For Ladies Only, Ladykillers ) and covert top female models (Cover Girls, Model by Day), made for TV movies were brimming with the salaciously salacious and the glamorously glamorous. Leave it up to the great Aaron Spelling to find a way to top them all with The Making of a Male Model. It’s just that glamorous!

The late Jon-Erik Hexum plays Tyler Burnett, a hillbilly type who just happens upon a photo shoot lead by modeling agency exec Kay Dillon (Joan Collins looking fab!). She gets one eyeful of Tyler and New York is calling his name. After he’s dumped by the small town beauty Alma (Tonja Walker), Tyler begrudgingly heads to the Big Apple to find his fortune and fame. Once there, he moves in with Chuck Lanyard (Jeff Conaway), a male model with a fab loft, but is so on his last legs that apparently roommates are the only real income that can help him support his drug habit. Tyler also encounters a slimy competitive male model named Gary Angelo (Ted McGinley) who really is no competition for young Tyler, which might explain why he’s such a jerk. Initially Tyler tries to do things on his own terms but after some snarky photographers break him down a little, Kay gets him in the hairdresser’s chair and thus, a male model is born.

McGinley gets down!

With his raw, sexed up intensity, Tyler becomes the model in town, exploding with a cologne campaign where he tells you to “Catch the Fever.” Boy, does he tell you! He and Kay also develop a relationship that takes them from the boardroom to the bedroom (I’ve always wanted to say that!), but of course love and fame aren’t always meant to go together and Tyler learns the hard way that the making of a male model just may mean the unmaking of the man behind the fa├žade.

So. Deep.

This film is fantastically fun. It’s high energy from the opening frame and pulls out all the stops when it comes to G-L-A-M-O-U-R! Check out the costume party which features Collin’s rack as the star attraction! There’s coke snorting, fashion shoots, models dumping champagne on each other, big hair, even bigger pecks, sex and lots of fun. Oh, and did I mention Roxy Roker?!? Well, she’s in a small, not-so-pivotal role, but c’mon. It’s the Roker! And I haven’t even gotten to Arte Johnson or Kevin McCarthy! My head is about to explode!

This my friends is the X Factor

Collins is tops as the ice queen with a great wardrobe full of silky robes, men’s suits and high neck silk numbers. It’s all 80s and it’s all awesome! Jon-Erik Hexum displays a lot of talent as Tyler. He would go on to star on a television series called Cover Up in 1984. He was killed during an on set accident at the age of 26. It still shocks me to this day and re-watching this movie, I am positive that Hexum was headed for much bigger things. His looks, charisma and talent were undeniable and he was one of those guys, much in the same vein as Tom Selleck, where you didn’t feel completely intimidated by how handsome he was. That is a rare trait in an actor then and now.

This lush piece of camp was directed by Irving J. Moore who helmed such shows as Dallas and Dynasty. So there’s no question about your drama. It’s here, it’s sometimes queer and it’s always incredible.

Visit this Jon-Erik Hexum’s fansite. It’s absolutely amazing.

Read another review of The Making of a Male Model here

This picture just makes me giggle!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Premio Dardo Awards and Me and You!

I so feel like following the Shat's lead and raising a glass. Let me tell you why...

What kind of thrill was it to log onto Kindertrauma today and see that I had been bestowed the honor The Permio Dardo Award. The Dardo is essentially an acknowledgement that someone is coming on my blog and enjoying it! This of course made my day. I am not completely familiar with this award but love the concept of it – someone links to five blogs worth visiting and then these bloggers nominate five and so on and so forth. It’s fosters that community spirit that I keep bitching doesn’t exist – when it does. That’s why this is so neat. Somebody out there created something that helps promotes blogs which deserve promotion. So, here are the five blogs that I think you absolutely must go visit. NOW!

Anchorwoman in Peril: Oh man, Anchorwoman is awesome and a must. Ross Horsely, the stud who runs this blog seems to have almost everything in common with me (minus the one thing that makes him a boy – I admit, I don’t not have that!), so when I discovered his blog, it was love at first sight. His sense of humor is undeniable and guaranteed you’ll be giggling through some of his reviews. At the same time, he never belittles the film, showing a true passion that is truly addictive!

Cinema du Meep: I have been wanting my friend Michael Ferrari to really move ahead with his writing and as part of New Year’s resolution, he started this blog. So it’s pretty new but is already filled with great insight on the films Meep loves – and does he love films! My favorite article so far: ">The Top Ten Movie Shows to Watch at 3:14 am!

John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film and Television: Muir is a well known critic and historian to the horror/fantasy/sci-fi genre and all that’s attached to it. He’s one of the best writers online today, and spotlights some really great underrated films and television shows. If you don’t believe me, read this amazing review for the The X Files: I Want to Believe. Pure poetry.

Enchanted World of Rankin and Bass: What Kindertrauma does to scare the pants off you, Rick Goldschmidt does to remind you why the innocence of growing up in the 70s was so freakin’ awesome. There’s a lot of love here, not to mention some great insight on the amazing creations of Rankin and Bass.

Johnny La Rue’s Crane Shot: Once I stumbled across this site, I never left. Full of insightful reviews of everything from pulp novels to TV Movies to 80s action, there is never a dull moment over at the Crane Shot. Well written, thoughtful and brimming with nostalgia, this is the kind of blog you read when you want to learn about vintage films and books while being thoroughly entertained!

I’d like to give a big thank you to the guys at Kindertrauma for bestowing this honor and I hope all who pass through enjoy my little blog. Made for TV movies have been a great passion of mine and yeah, I feel all rewarded and crap. So sue me!

I know, I can't stop smiling either!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

Wow, what a totally productive weekend I have had! Really, I was able to work on my blog, I (finally) posted a review at Retro Slashers for Disconnected, I worked out twice, saw Sharks in Venice and lots of Lifetime movies. I will be writing more about both Sharks and those Lifetime flicks for Pretty Scary so keep your eyes peeled, yo!

Also, my good friend Michael Ferrari finally got his crap together and started an awesome blog lovingly titled Cinema du Meep. It’s fab, full of love and features a look at all kinds of films as seen through Michael’s astute eyes. Bookmark and enjoy!

Ross from Anchorwoman in Peril joined the crew over at Retro Slashers and did a great Top Ten Best Slasher Movie In Jokes. It's rye, smart and all the things you have come to expect from our favorite Anchorwoman!

Kindertrauma did a fun review of Horror at 37,000 Feet because they also feel the TV Movie love. Check it out! It features a great still of Tammy “Sacrilege” Grimes. How I love her!

Also, on February 3rd, stop by your local video shop and pick up the new Friday the 13th documentary, His Name was Jason. And whatever you do, watch the credits, because I got a neat little Thank You credit, cuz I helped out a bit. Just a bit too, so I was thrilled to see the credit! So what other reason do you need to watch it?

And now, I’m doing laundry! Seriously, how much more productive can you get?!?

That's me! The name not the lady! I know you recognize her!