GORILLANAUT MONSTER MARATHON -Bring the kids!

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GAMERA THE BRAVE & HOLOCAUST 2000

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Sci Fi comics, flicks, serials

I read a lot of silver age comics, usually in collected editions. Lately I’ve been slowly going through DOCTOR SOLAR and the Charlton Steve Ditko  CAPTAIN ATOM. I really like the “Atom Age” stuff in comics and movies.  I like the confident and capable military, the egghead scientists, the hot babes, the cars, the monsters, even the furniture.  As a kid, the Dell comics really stood out because of their sophisticated painted covers by George Wilson. The first two Solars had covers by Richard Powers which were quite cool as well. The Ditko Atom’s have been short and more fantastical than Solar but often have flying saucers and vaguely Red Curtain villains such as Gustav Borlin. Captain Atom seems to foil a lot of missile plots. As I read a couple of these stories I found myself wanting to see a movie set in the same time, which is what let me to my double feature of Fungoid scifi excitement-SPACE MASTER X-7 and MUTINY IN OUTER SPACE.

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I also have accumulated a decent amount of shorts, cartoons and serials that I usually try to work in before the features. I t takes a while to work through a serial as I watch a couple of chapters from two or three different ones a week. I try to mix it up between a scifi, jungle, super hero, western and so on. Right now, I just finished THE REURN OF CHANDU and am working on THE PHANTOM, RAIDERS OF THE LOST CITY and now BRICK BRADFORD. Kids love the Brick Bradford! Oh man. Kane Richmond stars as manly man Brick, who is wrapped up trying to thwart spies from stealing Dr. Tymak’s interceptor ray. Dr. Tymak has traveled to the moon via his “crystal door”. Fortunately the moon has an atmosphere and looks a lot like Californy. On the less fortunate side, it is ruled by a tyrannical moon bitch named Khana. Chapter one was entitled “Atomic Defense”. The serial is based on the comic strip, duh.

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I decided on some Stooges and went with “Ants in the Pantry” from the first re-mastered Stooges collection 1934-1936. 

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I started on CARTOONS THAT TIME FORGOT from Netflix. The first two starred Flip the Frog. Nothing special but okay enough. 

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So for years now I’ve been tortured by a vague childhood memory of a movie where a plant attacks a space station. All I remembered was a shot of the station with the plant wrapped around it. I would think of it from time to time but for whatever reason never got a copy. At one point I was sure it was either SPACE MASTER X-7 or MUTINY IN SPACE. Recently I got the Fox Movie Channel because I saw they were showing SPACE MASTER X-7 and I recorded it. I also got a copy of MUTINY off ebay. Turns out, the movie from my childhood was MUTINY but both were interesting in their own way.

SPACE MASTER X-7  takes a documentary/police procedural approach to the problem of space fungus spreading on earth. A satellite  gets an unknown fungus and brings it to earth where the super busy scientist Dr. Pommer ( played by the awesome Paul Frees) studies it. He’s busy because some broad he knocked up years ago keeps bugging him about the custody of a child they had while he attempts the extraordinarily difficult task of studying the “blood rust” space fungus. She essentially causes him to infect himself by being a pain in the ass. The rest of the movie has two agents tracking her as she pulls a “typhoid Mary” by unwittingly spreading the Blood Rust about the country. It’s a fun flick that doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense but it’s never boring. Frees is great and it’s cool to see him in an acting role. Moe Howard plays a cab driver and has several scenes. The satellite is the X-7 which is really not that big of a part in the flick.  BLOOD RUST would’ve been a better title.

 

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I thought I remembered MUTINY IN SPACE as being in color but apparently not. While made in 1965 it plays more like a fifties scifi flick,. A couple of space pilots bring a sample from the lunar ice caves that contains a deadly fungus which spreads through Satellite x-7. Maybe the similarity in satellite names is what made me confuse the two flicks. That and the fact that I haven’t seen the flick since 1972 or so. There’s a couple of hot big haired babes on the satellite as well as a commander suffering from what’s called “Space Rapture”(think Ren’s Space Madness). This is where the mutiny comes in as the delusional commander has to be overthrown so the fungus can be fought. The fungus eats a guy before growing into a big killer plant-like menace, eventually growing on the outside of the satellite. Again, it doesn’t make a lot of sense but is a fun flick. It had an EC Comics WEIRD SCIENCE feel to it.

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BLOATED MOMENTS with Quentin Tarantino

So I was on vacation and decided for some unknown reason to pick up a N.Y. Times which had a Tarantino piece about INGLORIOUS BASTERDS,  where he described the difficulty he had casting the role of Hans Landa. He auditioned numerous actors but they “didn’t get my poetry. I literally had to consider I might have written an unplayable part.”

Wow. I really have nothing against the guy but jeez. Surely he realizes what a fop he sounds like. I just wish the guy would quit telling everyone how clever and awesome he is. This is as douchey as when he sent the screenplay of DEATHPROOF to Bob Dylan because of the “poetry of his dialog”. Enough with the poetry. Now he’s up there with Jim Morrison as far as being a bloated clown declaring himself a poet. You think Sam Fuller or Budd Boetticher went on and on yammering about “their poetry”? Reminds of some high school Sad Sack with a composition book filled with their crappy poems where they feel sorry for themselves because everyone is so mean. I bet John Ford or John Huston didn’t go on about poetry and unplayable parts.

SHARK WEEK-MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH

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In MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH the always reliable Richard Jaeckel has a magic medallion that allows him to communicate with sharks. Basically, it’s STANLEY with sharks but still a pretty cool, low budget regional drive in picture from the seventies. Grefe always struck me as a man’s man director who did the best with what he had. Here’s a TV promo:

 

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I couldn’t find the trailer for MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH but I did find this one for the not very awesome but fun MONSTER SHARK. Nearly twenty five years ago I remember hitting video stores all over Austin looking for this one but now all I have is the MST3K version.

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SHARK WEEK-DEEP BLOOD

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Wow, it took me a while to track down a copy of this odd Joe D’Amato shark movie but I finally got one made from yet another Japanese laser disc. It’s a fairly goofy effort, not nearly as lively as GREAT WHITE but it did end up as part of CRUEL JAWS as well. The plot has a group of young boys who while roasting weenies on the beach are warned by a hobo/Indian about an angry sea god. As these things go they take a blood oath to fight sea monsters. Years later as teenagers, a series of shark attacks plague  their beach community and they are forced to face their past and honor the blood oath from the magical hobo/Indian. Basically it’s a variation of any of the Stephen King books where a group of kids have something bad happen then take an Indian related blood oath that they remember years later. There are sub-plots ( because a shark movie demands them) about the town bully, their mean parents, dead moms, failure to meat parental expectations and all that stuff King pads his books with.

Most of the shark footage is the same National Geographic footage that seems to pop up everywhere but there’s also a fake shark head. If you just watch the superior CRUEL JAWS you’ll get all the good stuff. The print I saw was pretty dark and looked better in CRUEL JAWS including the ending where they blow up the shark god’s shipwreck hideaway ( The USS Cleveland in CRUEL JAWS). Years back a supposed still of this flick popped up in a book called SPAGHETTI NIGHTMARES but it’s actually from GREAT WHITE.

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SHARK WEEK-HAMMERHEAD: SHARK FRENZY

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Here’s one that had a lot going for it: Jeffrey Combs, William Forsythe, an assload of Russians, cool sets and a nice retro-shark man design and yet it didn’t come together. I gotta blame the script. There’s so many missed opportunities and it’s a shame. It really could’ve been a great nostalgic drive in movie along the lines of  THE MAD DOCTOR BLOOD ISLAND. A scientist (Combs) goes batshit trying to cure his son’s cancer but instead turns him into a hammerhead man that he then tries to mate with human women. How awesome is that? But the execution just doesn’t grab it by the balls and squeeze. We never get much more than quick glances at Sharkman and a lot of time is spent with the apparently endless supply of henchmen running around the island. There’s even a clumsy bit with a carnivorous plant that fails as well as numerous chances for nudity that are dropped. It really seems pre-edited for the Scifi channel despite some blood here and there. The mating of woman and Sharkman just is lame when it could’ve been gloriously perverse. Hunter Tylo plays the chick and despite having spent money on tits doesn’t seem to feel she’s obligated to whip them out. She doesn’t even wear a bikini which would seem to be required for this kind of picture. When it comes time for here to mate with the Sharkman, she’s wearing what looks to be jockey shorts and a bra. How is that helpful?

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