Saturday, September 14, 2019

GOODBYE, VALERIE VAN OST...


You kept us laughing per the "Carry On" series, but you were no stranger to the wonders of exploitation and the macabre, with roles in "The Beauty Jungle"; "The Smashing Bird I Used to Know"; "Incense of the Damned"; and (with Peter Cushing) "Corruption" and Hammer's "The Satanic Rites of Dracula". 


However, many fans found you most compelling in "The Avengers" episode "Dead Man's Treasure", which almost made you Diana Rigg's successor.


Your pin-up looks and adorable charm will continue on: a lovely star to illuminate our lives, whenever we revisit your endearing spirit.

Friday, September 13, 2019

SCARY MONSTERS #114: WARY OF WEREWOLVES, HOWL-O-WEEN SCARETACULAR


Prepare for a howlin' good time with Scary Monsters #114: a special Wary of Werewolves, Howl-o-Ween Scaretacular, ushered by Scott Jackson's mega-morphing cover of Oliver Reed, Leon the Lycan, from Hammer Studio's "Curse of the Werewolf" (and the back-view collage is pretty darn ferocious, too). 


Inside, one will find a revelry of one's furry favorites: "Werewolf of London"; "The Wolf Man"; "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman"; "Return of the Vampire"; "An American Werewolf in London"; "Cry of the Werewolf"; "Legend of the Werewolf"; "The Beast Must Die"; "Wolfblood"; and many more, along with the stars who've made them classic: Henry Hull; Lon Chaney Jr.; Matt Willis; and of course, the aforementioned, Mr. Reed. 


In addition to its bestial spread, there's a stunning, forty-year tribute to Svengoolie (Son of, that is) by Dave Fuentes.  (Sven and his trusty, rubber chicken are still going strong, thanks to Me-TV, where Saturday nights are all the more special, thanks to Sven's gags and insights into the films we hold near and dear to our frightful hearts.) Kudos to Scary Monsters for bestowing this enduring horror host such a splendid salute.


Issue #114 also contains interviews with exploitation legend, Sam "Drac vs Frank" Sherman (conducted by Andrew Rausch) and monster designer, Norman "Hellboy" Cabrera, (conducted by Dr. Gangrene). For spooky accompaniment, there are juicy tidbits on Ray Bradbury; Al Lewis; Peter Cushing; Rondo Hatton; Jerry Warren; plus Tom Weaver's "Scripts from the Crypt"; Halloween memories; and new, horror fiction. Way cool!!!


Order Scary Monsters #114 while the going's good and hairy: 
https://www.mymoviemonsters.com/store.php/mymoviemonsters/pd9761892/_scary_monsters_magazine_114__wary_of_werewolves_halloween_issue_now_shipping.

Monday, September 9, 2019

STAR TREK--TMP RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN


On Sept 15 and 18, "Star Trek--The Motion Picture" returns to the big screen in its original, theatrical cut, courtesy of Fathom Events, to commemorate its 40th Anniversary release (officially set for Dec 7.)


"Star Trek--TMP" was a dream come true for Trekkies and science-fiction fans in general, who had long yearned for the saga to return to the small screen. However, due to the box-office success of "Star Wars" ("A New Hope"), "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Superman: the Movie, "Trek" went warp speed ahead with a theatrical treatment and a budget that dwarfed those of its competitors. It also recruited legendary director Robert Wise, of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "The Andromeda Strain", to helm the project; and Oscar winners, Douglas Trumble and John Dykstra to enact its special effects.


Though "Trek--TMP" generated great buzz and immense, box-office success, it was not without controversy. Despite its poster slogan, "There Is No Comparison", some argued that the movie was as much a collective retelling of the episodes, "The Doomsday  Machine", "The Changeling" and "Balance of Terror": the latter in debt to Wise's "Run Silent, Run Deep". In addition, its tone was more in line with "2001: A Space Odyssey" than the trendy, fast-paced "Star Wars". 


Despite the overlaps and alleged lethargy, "Trek--TMP" sported a rousing Jerry Goldsmith score. The movie's title track not only held its own with Alexander Courage's beloved, television theme, but became the hum-worthy banner for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek V: the Final Frontier".


"Trek--TMP" also added new characters to Gene Roddenberry's "'Wagon Train' to the stars" roster: Stephen Collins' Will Decker (son of "Doomsday Machine'"s Matt Decker, though the evident link is only mentioned in Roddenberry's novelization) and Persis Khambatta's Ilia, a beautiful, long-legged Deltan. The couple impacts the plot's finale in a most significant way and some claim that Roddenberry even once referenced the duo (if only in jest) as the basis for an adversarial, "Next Generation" conglomerate. (Go on--venture an assimilating guess.)


Though Decker and Ilia are in search of fulfillment beyond their Enterprise posts, William Shatner's Admiral Kirk seeks satisfaction from the opposite end, wishing to rejoin his fabled (and now refurbished) starship for the sequelized haul. 


This idea of wanting (or more precisely, the need to fill one's emptiness with purpose and plan) is perhaps best demonstrated by Leonard Nimoy's Commander Spock, who melds with the film's marauding force, V'ger: an enigma that seeks its creator and along the way, the meaning of life. As a result of his meld, Spock comes to appreciate his essential bond with Kirk and DeForest Kelley's Dr. McCoy and why Vulcan no longer paves a logical path. 


The concept's innate poignancy has been discussed at length by viewers over the decades and was even essayed by "Trouble with Tribbles" scribe, David Gerrold (an early opponent of the film) in a Starlog column, where he used Spock's revelation to persuade detractors to re-evaluate the movie's conceptual depth.


It's suffice to say that "Trek--TMP'"s springboard for ongoing discussion designates it to classic status. There's no doubt that few films released before or since have prompted such vast analysis.


Revisit "Trek--TMP" on its theatrical re-release or engage one of its disc offerings. Its "human adventure" will either enthrall or disappoint, but either way, there's nothing wrong with (re)experiencing a little, thought-provoking debate. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

EXQUISITE MACHINES: BEDTIME FOR ROBOTS, EPISODE 5


The inebriating scent of Michael Ferentino's "Exquisite Machines, Bedtime for Robots, Episode 5" cannot be denied. It spreads with mad magnificence, beckoning viewers with visual and musical vim.


The excursion starts with "All my Idols are Dead", where Mercury, Bowie, Morrison...and Prince play. Thereafter, we get the sensational "Sea of Strange", which triggers a sweeping, psychedelic trip that makes the one in "Easy Rider" look tame. The stage is then set for "Wicked Horse" and its spree of old-time dancing, prancing and sinful smoking, but not before we inhale a chain of lurid, horror imagery.  


When all is said and done, "Exquisite Machines" is a "Twilight Zone"/"Night Gallery" variant: a potent realm of abstract and hypnotic inducement. Episode 5 will surely prove this to anyone with an open mind. 


Spray on some "Exquisite Machines, Episode 5" today and judge for yourself. You'll likely find that its fragrance lingers long after the splash:

https://www.facebook.com/mferentino/videos/10157611558502138/.

And for those who desire a spankin' new Bedtime for Robots sample, try Tramatic Extraction: one of the most jarring, testy aromas ever to infiltrate the experimental-music scene:


https://open.spotify.com/album/61ajDoYH9a9sQVq1g1geOR?si=1XuIjjYzSM6ysFO85d1Ezg&fbclid=IwAR2Ccfy3-g4Nm5XOII2Azm4AgV4eCRzVtiwb8QkylDwBn0O-unYHmHjq0Pc.

Friday, September 6, 2019

GOODBYE, CAROL LYNLEY


You were a Harlow of your time, enough so to have even played the legendary star in a '65 bio pic.


Your pin-up persona was helpful as well in such fulfilling efforts as "Once You Kiss a Stranger"; "The Shuttered Room"; "The Maltese Bippy"; "Cops and Robin"; "The Cat and the Canary '78"; "Beware! the Blob" (aka, "Son of Blob"); "The Shape of Things to Come"; "The Beasts are in the Streets"; "Howling VI: the Freaks"; "The Four Deuces"; "The Poseidon Adventure  '72"; "Blackout '88"; and as Carl Kolchak's fetching galfriend in the horror classic, "The Night Stalker".


On episodic television, you were nonstop, covering "Hammer's House of Mystery"; "Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected"; "Rod Serling's Night Gallery"; "The Sixth Sense"; "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"; "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"; "Monsters"; "The Invaders"; "The Virginian"; "The Big Valley"; "The F.B.I."; "Man from U.N.C.L.E."; "Mannix"; "Kojak"...and "It Takes a Thief".


You had a real charm and grace about you, Ms. Lynley, not to mention a swell singing voice when given the chance. Your beauty and tantalizing talent won't be forgotten anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to elevate, bewitch and inspire viewers far into the future and then well beyond. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A MEMORY OF TOMORROW: SOUNDS FOR LIFE BY A DUO CALLED FROM


The Submarine Broadcasting Company delivers a new, delightful, musical creation: as large as the sky and as sweeping as the sea. It isn't weird or disturbing in the way of some of the albums I've reviewed, but it's every ounce as profound and interesting, for it's all about dreaming, striving and above all, what one looks back upon (and forward to) to define one's life. 


This special eight-track album is called A Memory of Tomorrow, and it comes courtesy of a duo called From, which consists OdNu (aka Michel Mazza) and Piero Delux. 


From guides the listener's brainwaves with its idyllic notes and vocals, which ebb with omniscient reflection, much in the vein of the Alan Parsons Project; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; and the Moody Blues. Its eclectic elements are evidenced in the tranquil title track, which invokes an idyllic, September morn: a foundation that represents who one is and what one will become.   


This lovely "A Memory of Tomorrow" is preceded by "She Stands", a streaming sojourn that alludes to quiet conquest, though not at the expense of others, but rather the expansion of one's inner self. Its epic scope assures the listener that anything can be achieved, if one desires it enough.


"Chapter Two" is as sweetly provocative, mapping new horizons to hunt. A supreme treasure chest of wonders can be seized, or so we're told per its implications, but "Cold Break" and "Odd Horizon" also expound this idea,  inspiring the listener to seek elusive, special places, while at the same time, discovering that they're close enough to kiss. 


"Day Dreaming" and "Sail Away" are the fringing clouds into which one later treks. Inside and beyond them are realms unlike any on earth, and yet as ethereal as they are, they still stem from  terrestrial turf: one's mind, one's heart. 


The final track, "Far" brings matters to an alleged end, with goals not only envisioned, but fulfilled. The good life has been attained with all reveries savored, but by no means concluded. There's no telling how far one may evolve, what wonders one may yet see, mold and memorize.


From's gentle strokes make A Memory of Tomorrow a worth-while, soothing treat: the sort of placating creation that exceeds any pretentious pill or alcoholic drink. This is a musical haunt that deserves exploration beyond its first listen: a concept album that one would be wise to procure and thereafter, continually embrace.

Embark on From's memory-making masterpiece at... 
https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/a-memory-of-tomorrow.