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If you could see my desk, you’d run.
But it’s not just my desk, it’s every square inch of my office, piled high with stuff sent from people and places with the intent that I watch and/ or read their swag in hope that I spill some class of ink on their wares. But life is short and time is ever so fleeting and sometimes it’s really bloody difficult to keep up with the tsunami. Not that I’m complaining mind you. I do and always will love free movie stuff. But sometimes…well….really….apologies to those who have slipped through my cracks. That sounded very wrong, but you know what I mean… So allow me then to use this space once in a while to spring clean, no matter what season it actually is.
The following is some of the product that I have been consuming as of late:
IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN (Warner)
Even as a wee lad, I never really grooved on Charlie Brown. It was always a bit too talky and neurotic for my tastes, a bit too clever to be wholly charming. I also never understood why Charlie Brown was bald or why Snoopy was such a dick or why all of the Peanuts gang came off like snot bag shmoes. I will tell you though that it’s always warm to revisit something that was a presence in your life, for better or worse as a kid and hell, this holiday special is iconic— still not all that funny, but iconic. The piano theme alone is enough for me to smile. And this combo DVD/Blu-ray pack presents the show looking better than it ever has. If you’re a Brown lover than you’ll want this for you and your kids.
BUGS BUNNY HOWL-O-WEEN SPECIAL (Warner)
NOW we’re talking…sorta. This weirdo 1978 Halloween TV special was and still is a mess, a crushing up of a few classic Looney Tunes monster mashes with a new framing device. That said, even butchered Bugs is an unbridled joy to behold. If you’re a serious LT purist, however, you’ll have much to bitch about; especially when scenes from the fantastic horror-tinted Bugs Bunny shorts “Transylvania 6-5000” and “Broom Stick Bunny” are awkwardly matched with the obviously contemporary (comparatively) new footage with Witch Hazel. Still, any Chuck Jones/Mel Blanc/Friz Freling WB marriage is a good marriage and if nothing else, this works as a great teaser to re-immerse yourself in these timeless cartoon masterpieces…
THE ROBOCOP TRILOGY (Blu ray, MGM)
I recently came back from hosting the first annual Telluride Horror Show in Colorado and one of the guests was Jon Davison, a Roger Corman alumni who produced PIRANHA, co-directed THE HOWLING, produced AIRPLANE, TOP SECRET, Sam Fuller’s WHITE DOG and of course, Paul Verhoeven’s ROBOCOP and Irvin Kershner’s ROBOCOP 2. After conducting his Q&A (following a rare 35mm screening of Jon’s personal print) and talking about his remarkable work, including the two sci-fi action landmarks, I was thrilled to come home to find this Blu ray box set waiting for me. Both of Jon ‘s thrillers are here (he also did the voice of evil droid ED-209 BTW) as well as Fred Dekker’s weird and pulpy final entry. The big surprise is just how much fun the oft shat upon third one really is…
THE PSYCHO LEGACY (Shout! Factory)
I’d seen this genuine labor of love from Bob Galluzzo some time ago but am thrilled to actually have a copy of it on my shelf. It’s a great, thorough examination of Norman Bates’ universe on screen and the late, wonderful Tony Perkins off screen. Bonus points to Galluzzo for allowing so much love to be ladled on the woefully undervalued PSYCHO III.
JONAH HEX (Warner)
Shoot me with your machine gun, I actually enjoyed this dopey, straight faced B movie riff on the classic supernatural western DC comic and I’m sure watching it at home with no expectations is a factor. Josh Brolin is solid as Hex, Malkovich eats the scenery alive, Fox is hot but wasted and the whole thing looks like it was slaughtered in the editing room. But goddamnit, I dug it. There was enough spaghetti western nonsense here, enough comic book macho energy and an amazing Morricone on steroids metal score from Mastodon to make it a painless time killer. Far less painful than the hateful reviews made me believe, anyway…
PEOPLE LIVE STILL IN CASHTOWN CORNERS (ChiZine Publications)
You want something different? Count on Canadian author Tony Burgess (PONTYPOOL CHANGES EVERYTHING) to deliver the offbeat every time. Burgess’s latest novella is a jet-black comedy/horror show about a bored small town (and we mean small…as in population: one!) gas station owner who changes his misanthropic tune by butchering people that cross his path. A quick read, this compact book (a short story, really) is unnerving and unforgettable. Loved it for what it accomplishes in such a brief block of time and space.
MICHAEL REEVES: THE WITCHFINDER’S GENERAL
Now this is a strange thing to be reviewing: an unsold script about the making of one of the most fascinating horror thrillers in history. Writer Tarik Polansky’s riff on the film that reminded the world that Vinnie Price could really act as well as eat scenery is engrossing, entertaining and a fascinating fictionalization of an unusual bit of semi-tragic (Reeves died accidentally at the end of the 60’s) dark film history. I’m seriously hoping this picture gets made as – if nothing else – it will give me an excuse to put WITCHFINDER GENERAL on the cover of FANGORIA! Go to Tarikpolansky.com for more on the man who wants that to happen perhaps more than I do…
Okay. So that’s a load off my desk and mind. Although as this blood spattered blog grinds to a halt, the doorbell rang and a dumptruck full of more stuff poured into my office.
Guess we’ll be seeing each other again sooner than later…
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