Saturday, April 19, 2014

PINK FACTORY

Excited to hear that Pink Factory is scheduled for publication next Friday. A special offshoot of CRIME FACTORY magazine, Pink Factory is a book devoted to all things sex and smut in film, literature and pop culture. 

Contributions to Pink Factory include a piece by myself on tragic 60s/70s sexploitation actress Rene Bond (a condensation of ideas I had put together for my ll-fated planned bio of Bond), a look at the notorious but fascinating and haunting beastiality porn star Bodil (written by Michelle Alexander), Andrew Nette on vintage pulp smut, and lots more. Detailed list of contents and other info available at the Pink Factory Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/229773057211453/?notif_t=plan_user_invited


LOVERBOY

Loverboy’s self-titled debut album from 1980 is a perennial favourite of mine, one of the strongest debuts I ever heard from that period and the more time that passes the more immersed in and impressed by it I become. Nine very strong tracks that take the listener from the cocky swagger of the chunky, riff-laden opener ‘The Kid is Hot Tonight’ (a song that seems even more relevant in today’s instant celebrity world of American Idol, etc.) to the rockabilly twang of ‘Little Girl’ (Mike Reno’s vocals given a cool Elvis echo), the leering sexuality of ‘Prissy Prissy’, the Latin/jazz influence of ‘It Don’t Matter’, and the new wave edge to ‘Lady of the 80s’. All of it unified by a crisp, sharp and slightly-funky sound which - under the guidance of producer Bruce Fairbairn - achieves an almost perfect balance of heavy pop guitar and synth, fleshed-out with some lush backing harmonies (especially apparent on the hit single from the album, ‘Turn Me Loose’). 

A lot of people at the time dubbed Loverboy as ‘dag rock’, and while they certainly looked a bit silly in their red pants and terry-towelling headbands, the quality and creativity in their music always made them seem cooler to me than the likes of Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon, with which the band were often lumped. And their name, Loverboy, was intriguing and sexually ambiguous, as was the album cover, which featured artist/photographer Barbara Astman as a skinny, androgynous figure smoking a cigarette. Maybe it was their Canadian heritage which gave them that bit of a leading edge. 

Will never go down as one of rock's great or influential debuts, but it's entertaining as hell and, of its type, almost faultless.


COLLECTORS


Finally got around to uploading a clip of my appearance on a 2009 episode of the Australian Collectors TV series...no rights given or implied, if I've done something wrong I'm sure the powers that be will take it down (though there are certainly plenty of other clips and segments from the show available on You Tube). A bit embarrassing to look back on this segment and think of the things I could have stated a whole lot better, but it was still a fun experience, especially having the crew over and seeing them lighting and filming parts of my collection. The series was probably at its most popular at this point (this was still a few years before the young host's sordid public downfall, after which the show never really recovered).

They could have used a better choice of music for it - I kept offering them a loan of some of my Las Vegas Grind and Jungle Exotica comps. Though I do love the cheesy haunted house style 'woooohhhhh' sound effect they use when the camera zooms in on my Manson collection. And I don't know why they found the spines of my Will Ferrall DVDs to be so interesting they just had to include a shot of them above any other stuff they could have found around them.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SUPANOVA

A few pics from the Supanova pop culture convention, which I attended in Melbourne yesterday - was a day of exhausting fun but geez I don't think I could ever do more than one of these things a year. Very humid inside the buildings, and by midday could barely move due to the huge crowds. Was great meeting the very friendly Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Mississippi Burning, Merle on The Walking Dead), comic book artist Michael Golden (The Walking Dead, The 'Nam, Marvel's 70s Star Wars title and co-creator of The X-Men's Rogue) and the sweet Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), who chatted to me about coming to out to Australia for the 1981 TV Week Logie Awards.









2001 AT THE ASTOR

Meeting the stars of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. Not the best pic - lighting is very dim towards the stage of the Astor, and I got distracted by someone to the side asking me something just as the photo was being snapped. Still, was a big thrill to meet the two main cast members of perhaps the most iconic and highly-regarded science-fiction film of all time. 

The Q&A and introduction prior to the 70mm screening was an entertaining session, a bit sad seeing Gary struggle to get down the steps of the stage with his bum legs (though heartwarming to see Keir hold his hand to steady him), but he seemed in great spirits and had the audience in stitches with his impression of the San Francisco potheads who used to come up and ask about him about the film in the first couple of years after the film's release (he also recounted a funny anecdote about attending a screening where at the film's climax a young man in a no doubt altered state of mind leaped up from his seat at the back of the cinema and charged down the aisle screaming "Oh God, take me home!" and literally ran straight through the screen!!).


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CHEESY, SLEAZY GOODNESS

Now up to its 37th issue, Liquid Cheese is an A4 size fanzine published by Dave Kosanke out of Franklin, Wisconsin. Printed in full color, it reflects the feel and attitude of the classic old-school zines of the 1980's and 90's, but with a slightly slicker and more professional edge.

Behind its original Slasher Dave cover art and within it’s 54 pages, the latest issue of Liquid Cheese contains such fine pieces as a nice memorial to the late Mike Vraney of Something Weird Video, a fantastic in-depth look at the making of Barrel Entertainment’s classic 2002 DVD release of Last House on Dead End Street (written by John Walter Szpunar, the author of Xerox Ferox and one of the head honchos of Barrel), and a career retrospective of the late Angelique Pettyjohn (whose very psychotronic filmmography encompassed everything from episodes of Star Trek and Batman to the horror trash of Mad Doctor of Blood Island and even 1980s XXX sinema like Titillation and Body Talk).

There is also lots of reviews of movies old (Ants, The Redeemer) and recent (Among Friends, I Spit on your Grave 2), music and book/magazine reviews and more! Dave also includes a very nice review of my Blood on the Windscreen booklet, as well as a little sidebar blurb from me, discussing the project and my strange attraction to the vintage Driver’s Ed film genre).

You can order Liquid Cheese (as well as back issues and copies of Dave’s zine devoted to vintage adult entertainment, T.O.S.S.), from the online store at the link below. It’s more than worth the measly five bucks cover price!

http://liquidcheesefanzine.storenvy.com/


Saturday, March 29, 2014

REEL WILD CINEMA! ANTHOLOGY COMING

Continue to slowly scan and clean up the pages of my old fanzine REEL WILD CINEMA!, with a view to compiling them into a print-on-demand anthology sometime this year. Also throwing together some potential cover designs... 


SEEDY MELBOURNE AT NIGHT


MELBOURNE NOIR

Photo I took of the Manchester Unity building, on the corner of Collins and Swanston Sts in Melbourne. One of my favorite buildings in the city. Grey skies and rain only accentuate it's magnificent gothic noir feeling.

BATMAN'S CAMP TV CREATOR GONE

Sad to hear that the man who gave us the immortal line "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb" - writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. - has passed away at the age of 91. 

Apart from being a driving force in the creation and tone of the classic 1960s BATMAN television series (and its 1966 off-shoot feature in which the above line was featured), Semple also wrote the screenplays for THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975), Dino's KING KONG remake of 1976, FLASH GORDON (1980), the renegade 007 flick NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983) and - at the lower end of the scale - the 1986 missfire spy pastiche NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE starring John Stamos, Vanity, George Lazenby and Gene Simmons from KISS as
the ugliest looking evil hermaphrodite in cinema history!

But apart from his work on BATMAN, what I'll remember Semple most for is his screenplay for PRETTY POISON, a stunning and criminally underrated psychological thriller from 1968, starring Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld in a performance that's almost as chilling, subtle and disturbing as what Perkins' was in PSYCHO eight years earlier. If you can find it, watch it.

http://www.emmytvlegends.org/news/remembering-lorenzo-semple-jr 



VALE SLEAZE SULTAN HARRY NOVAK

The world of classic exploitation cinema has lost one of its true giants, with the passing of prolific producer/director Harry Novak at the age of 86. Many people may not know the name Harry Novak, but if you visited the drive-in and grindhouse/flea-pit cinemas during the 1960s and early-70s, you have probably been exposed to plenty of his films. Some of his incredibly long list of credits as either producer or distributor (sometimes both) include the nudie-monster classic KISS ME QUICK (1964), the LSD psycho-sexual shocker MANTIS IN LACE (1968), Ron Garcia’s demented softcore sex fantasy THE TOY BOX (1971), the gritty low-budget crime drama A SCREAM IN THE STREETS (1972), and the uber-psychotronic 1973 Danish flick THE SINFUL DWARF.

Not to mention William Rotsler’s SUBURBAN PAGANS, THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF ROMEO & JULIET, COUNTRY CUZZINS, PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER, WILBUR AND THE BABY FACTORY, MIDNIGHT PLOWBOY, TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN, THE PIG KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, AXE, THE BLACK ALLEY CATS and the list goes on and on. Distributed under his Box-Office International banner, most of Novak's titles were released on VHS in the 1990s, and later on DVD, by Something Weird Video.

Australia also got a decent education in Harry Novak in the early days of home video in this country, with some of the great local labels of the early-80s (including Star Base and K&C) digging out scratchy old prints of Novak titles like HITCH HIKE TO HELL, KIDNAPPED COED, MANTIS IN LACE and WHAM BAM THANK YOU SPACEMAN, and sending them out to an appalled but hungry suburban family audience.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=harry-h-novak&pid=170413418&



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THE DEVIL'S REJECT

A few pics I took at the mostly enjoyable Rob Zombie/Sheri Moon Zombie talk/Q&A following the screening of The Devil's Rejects (2005) at a jam-packed Astor Theatre in Windsor last Thursday evening. Marred only by the usual embarrassing questions thrown at the guests from the crowd...



























X-RAY SPECS NOT REQUIRED

I love that there was a Gold Key comic book adaptation of Roger Corman's X - The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (though the actual on-screen title simply calls it 'X'). I re-watched this pulpy, sometimes lurid 1963 sci-fi gem yesterday and forgot there was so much to like about it: Ray Milland's great performance as the dedicated Dr. Xavier (obsessed with increasing the range and depth of human vision), Les Baxter's score (reissued on CD), the impressive (for their time) visual effects used to illustrate Xavier's POV, the scenes where Xavier is on the lam and hides out as a fortune teller in a skid-row carnival (where Don Rickels plays his manager/spruiker!), the swingin' medical party where doctors use syringes to make cocktails and Xavier sees everybody go-go dancing naked, the trip to Vegas to swindle the tables, and of course the potent ending in the desert revival tent meeting - "If thine eyes offend thee, tear them out". Probably my favourite Corman film from one of his most creative and fertile periods as a filmmaker.

The fantastic cover art for the comic book was done by George Wilson, who did seemingly hundreds of Gold Key covers, as well as lots of paperback and pulps. I loved that many of the Gold Key covers looked more like pulp/paperback art than comic books, and Gold Key did some strange but terrific choices for movie adaptations (The Naked Prey is one of my favourites, and they adapted many of the Corman Poe films from that period as well).




MONSTER! RETURNS

The first issue of Tim Paxton’s reborn Monster! zine arrived last week, and is a fine read for all monster movie lovers (and curious cats) everywhere! Amongst other gruesome goodies, this issue covers such great vintage fare as Horror Express, Blue Demon Vs. The Infernal Brains, Terror from the Year 5,000, and the atmospheric and highly-underrated The Beast With a 1,000,000 Eyes. The second issue of Monster! has also just been published, featuring my reviews of John Frankenheimer’s Prophecy (1979) and the 1984 Australian outback horror flick Razorback.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CINEMATIC SEWAGE



The latest issue (#27) of Robin Bougie's Cinema Sewer magazine showed-up earlier in the week, and it's another smashingly fine read! As always, the entire text has been painstakingly hand lettered by Robin, and the new issue contains terrific pieces on the Savoy porn/grindhouse cinema in Vancouver, the VHS industry (with an Australian slant), French filmmaker Max Pecas, an interview with porn director/actor David Christopher, reviews of Jackson County Jail, The Mack, Neon Maniacs, Brothers, Passage Through Pamela J, and lots more. Illustrating its 44 pages are lots of great old original ad mats and Robin Bougie art (cover to the new issue is by Aaron Conley). Also new out is Sleazy Slice #7, Bougie's comic book title which features (some very explicit) adults only stories written and drawn by Robin and various other artists (including John Howard - not the actor or former Australian Prime Minister - and Wes Crum)