Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Remembering John Agar On His Birthday


     One of my favorite "big bug" 1950's movies is 1955's TARANTULA. It's got a cool giant bug in the form of the title beast stomping around plus there Jack Arnold's usual tight and taught direction with his small town desert setting, the gorgeous Mara Corday and best of all John Agar who was born of this day in 1921.
    After starting out in major Hollywood productions such as John Ford's FT. APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON along with SANDS OF TWO JIMA he moved on to what werre considered "B" pictures in the 1950's and found a niche for himself in the horror/sci-fi boom which that decade produced.
    John made bunches of these and he always be counted on for bringing a calming sense of professionalism to the plot no matter how ludicrous or poverty driven there were and I've spent countless hours watching him save the day throughout my life.
   In the early 90's at one of the great old Fanex shows in Baltimore I got the chance to meet him and it could not have more gracious or kind to all the fans there. I think this was one of the first convention he'd ever done and he seemed immensely touched by the outpouring of attention shown to him.

Some Joan Collins Late Night Cable Trashy Sleaze Is Coming.....


     After the massive success of ABC's prime time soaper DYNASTY Joan Collins pretty much disowned her entire pre-1980 career. With acting credits stretching all the way back  to 1951 there are some real gems lurking in there including the alternately grim & daffy REVENGE from 1970 along with 1975's ROSEMARY'S BABY inspired I DON'T WANT TO BE BORN in which stripper Joan is cursed into giving birth to the spawn of Satan after spurring the advances of a lecherous dwarf and Bert I. Gordon's 1977 EMPIRE OF THE ANTS as shady real estate mogul Joan tries to sell some condos that unfortunately are infested by the title creatures.
    Just before prime time TV turned into America's favorite slutty rich bitch she appeared in these two screen adaptations based upon novels by her sister Jackie where she played basically the same slutty rich bitch character only more amped as far as bare skin and sex are concerned.
   Back in the early 80's these were staples of late night cable TV and now thanks to Kino Lorber you'll be able to enjoy them any hour of the day starting on March 14. Both will feature audio commentaries by David Del Valle and Nick Redmond along with interviews with cast members (however without the participation of Joan I'm fairly certain).
   Filled with (unintentionally) hilarious dialogue and set pieces (who could ever forgot that swing in THE STUD) these both are icons of trash cinema and great guilty pleasures.

Monday, January 30, 2017


    Another one of those "we're never getting a legit release of this" bites the proverbial dust on Feb. 24 as Olive Films is releasing Terence Young's 1974 exploitation classic on blu-ray and DVD. Starring Lee Marvin and Richard Burton (you can practically smell the bourbon wafting off the screen) and Cameron Mitchell, Lola Falana, Luciana Paluzzi (reunited with director Young from THUNDERBALL) along with Linda Evans, O.J. Simpson and David Huddleston as the local Klan leader.
    Based upon a 1967 novel by William Bradford Huie (THE EXECUTION OF PVT. SLOVIK) it was originally a Sam Fuller project with Lee Marvin as a Klan leader along with John Cassevetes as his second in command.  After Paramount insisted on re-writing his script (which they deemed too violent) Fuller quit and/or was fired and Young came on. The final screenplay had Marvin as the town sheriff, Burton as an the local matriarch/ landowner and O.J as a vengeance seeking sniper all of whom get caught up in the aftermath of an attack upon local girl Linda Evans.
    Bearing little relation to the source novel (or Fuller's script) its a fascinating train-wreak of a movie for lovers of "what we they thinking when they made this" style of cinema. Filmed outside of Sacramento, CA., Burton was allegedly so drunk on the set that most of his scenes had to filmed with him sitting or laying down as he couldn't stand. Because of his rumored affair with a young local girl Liz Taylor appeared on the set to keep on eye on him and the pair had some highly destructive arguments in their rented house.