Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Collectible Time #85: Nate "the Animal" Gonzalez's Barbara Steele Tribute

For years, I've admired the enchanting Barbara Steele and not just from her movie personas. She had an extensive modeling career, as well, with many fine, enticing images to prove such. Her "chain mail" dress series has always impressed me. Though I don't know the photographer behind those provocative images, I've always been most appreciative of the effort applied.


With this said, my dear, artistic friend, Nate "the Animal" Gonzalez, has honored me with a variation on one such image from that particular series (see above), which captures both Steele's natural, magnetic draw, along with loads of '60s sex appeal. 

Gonzalez labored hours on this one, which is no surprise. Just look at the detail. The refashioning of Steele's see-through dress, with all those little, linking loops, is an amazing accomplishment--and all done by hand. I, for one, would have been beyond intimidated to have tackled such a task, but one as bold and talented as Gonzalez seized the opportunity without an ounce of hesitation and succeeded in spades. (Below is an example of an early rendering of the piece, if only to give one some idea of its progression.)


The image, which Gonzalez was kind enough to frame, measures 11" x 17". Prints of this superb piece are available, incidentally, so please feel free to contact the artist for price and shipping details at... https://www.facebook.com/ArtByTheAnimal/?hc_ref=SEARCH. (You can also post a message below.)

BTW: Gonzalez is open to commissions, so if you have a favorite semblance in mind, don't be shy... Additionally, he'll soon be offering some of his 9" x 12" pencil, marker and sketch copic entries for sale: quite an exciting prospect for any art aficionado.

Friday, April 21, 2017

HAPPY EARTH DAY 2017!!!

FAREWELL, YVONNE MONLAUR...


When I first laid eyes on you in "Brides of Dracula", my heart quickened. I later came to adore your presence in other such colorful entries as "Circus of Horrors"; "Hawk of the Caribbean"; "Mission to Caracas"; and the Fu Manchu classic, "Terror of the Tongs". To those in the know, you were an indisputable goddess, not only for your stunning semblance, but for the way you seamlessly combined sex appeal with sympathy: a feat few performers could ever convincingly achieve. Thank you for your effortless and endearing enchantment over the years. God bless, fair lady...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BLOKE'S TERRIBLE TOMB OF TERROR #16 NOW AVAILABLE!!!

The masterful Jason Crawley (aka, the Bloke) does it again and to seal the deal, get a load of that terrific, shark/babe Mike Hoffman cover! Whoa!!!


Inside the latest BLOKE’S TERRIBLE TOMB OF TERROR (Issue #16), one will find a slew of gruesome gems, covering such disturbing delights as woodland specters; a haunted mansion; outer-space suspense; warring witches; and that ol' lusty standby, adultery.


In addition to Crawley's contributions, the artistic contents are rendered by Paul Abrams; Jeff Austin; Keith Braun; Marc Gras Cots; Robert Flood; Daerick Gross Sr; Nik Poliwko; Juan Carlos Abraldes Rendo; Juan Luis Iglesias Roncero; and Santos Zaballos. Each page brims of detailed strangeness and suspense, guaranteed to keep aficionados of Warren's Eerie and Creepy gleefully fulfilled. Great, chilling stuff all the way!!! Hip! Hip! Hooray!!!


Get your copy of  TOT #16 at…https://www.amazon.com/Blokes-Terrible-Tomb-Terror-16/dp/1544628935/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492462450&sr=8-1&keywords=bloke%27s+terrible+tomb+of+terror+%2316.  

You can also order at ... https://www.etsy.com/listing/525674835/issue-16-blokes-terrible-tomb-of-terror?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=bloke%27s%20terrible%20tomb%20of%20terror%20#16&ref=sr_gallery_1.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

PHILLIP E. TEMPLE'S HELLTOWN CHRONICLES IS FINALLY HERE!!!

I became friends with Phillip E. Temples last year and was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of his novel, "Helltown Chronicles".


The novel is now in official release, and I'm pleased to report to one and all that it's a must-read. 

In fact, fans of “Dark Shadows”, “Kolchak” and "Twin Peaks" are sure to relish the darkly exquisite yarn, where investigative mystery and weird wonderment merge. There’s something for every horror fan here, in a decades-hopping stretch that includes a mad mortician, an eerie inn, mutant terrors and occult occurrences that would make Lovecraft cringe. Temples presents it all in a crisp, no-nonsense style that grips one by the throat and keeps one yearning for more, with characters both disturbing and identifiable. 

"Helltown'"s lead character, reporter Jerry Wolanski, is the easiest to embrace with his everyman charm, which makes his journey to the strange sector (a real place, mind you) all the more intriguing. Also, the female characters are enormously engaging, which include Wolanski's spunky competitor, Susan Wong, as well as the alluring mystic, Astarte.

Temple had this superb story on the back burner for a hefty stretch, due to an ethically challenged publisher (with whom I also experienced a most unpleasant exchange). Well, that shyster's loss is now our gain, thanks to Big Table Publishing Company, which agreed to put Temple's tale in circulation. 

Let’s hope the novel is the first in a long string of such creepy visitations. Indeed, Helltown is the sort of off-kilter place that demands exploration. 

You can order your copy of "Helltown Chronicles" at...https://www.amazon.com/Helltown-Chronicles-Phillip-E-Temples/dp/1945917156/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492022118&sr=8-1&keywords=helltown+chronicles. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WISHING YOU A BLESSED EASTER 2017!!!

I saw Teen Titans: the Judas Contract...


"Teen Titans: the Judas Contract" is a quasi followup to the animated crossover, "Teen Titans vs Justice League". Though I was lukewarm at best with the latter, I've found "Judas" (directed by trusty Sam Liu, and adapted by Ernie "Justice League Dark" Altbacker from the George Perez/Marv Wolfman miniseries) to be an edgier, more complex endeavor.


"Judas" deals with betrayal, as its subtitle implies, with its selling-out theme laced by a veritable, religious allegorical vibe. In this instance the devilish twist stems from established, teen member, Terra, an terrain-manipulating mutant, who isn't all she appears to be, as Damian Wayne, our current Robin, soon realizes. (Those who know Terra's history, however, will rapidly recognize what's in store, but then one could argue that the gal's persistent, smart-ass remarks signal the proverbial writing on the wall.)

The young Wayne, though abrasive in previous DC/WB animated movies, is more relaxed in this instance, but no less determined. I must say that at long last I've come to like this Robin, which is surprising, considering how much he rubbed me the wrong way in his previous "Son of Batman" outings. For what it's worth, though, Dick Grayson's Nightwing also makes an appearance, to ensure the youngster stays in check. 


Not to give too much away, it should suffice to say that Terra is linked to Sam Wilson/Deathstroke (vocalized by the late, great Miguel Ferrer, in his final animated feature), who's been recruited by the film's primary villain, a false-prophet named Brother Blood, in hopes of bringing the Titans down. We also learn that Blood and his partner, Mother Mayhem, are hoping to establish Hell on Earth by corralling the insidious minions of H.I.V.E., plus any vapid passerby they might mentally manipulate. Still, with this unholy allegiance riding high off its mad ambitions, why not shoot the works and go straight for the higher-echelon Justice League? Well, it's better to take baby steps, I guess...

That's not to say the Titans (at least in this presentation) are some throwaway, wannabe superhero league. Beyond the cool, calculating Wayne/Robin and the wayward Terra, its dynamic members include Beast Boy; Blue Beetle; Bumblebee; Kid Flash; Raven; Speedy; and Starfire (mostly referred to by her Koriand'r label in this adventure). Each participant is tougher and more focused than in previous incarnations (and yep, that includes the comic scene). 


Be warned: There's a smattering of romance in the proceedings (or is it more insinuated lust?) between Nightwing and Starfire, as well as Deathstroke and Terra, and then Beast Boy and Terra, but only to invigorate a few fleeting scenes. In fact, the amorous elements are restrained enough to make one desire more, proving that action-adventure mush works best when served in tease and never full form.

To lighten the tension (sexual or otherwise), there's a neat Kevin Smith cameo for the geeks, which adds just the right whimsical touch to cap things off. On the other hand, Blood's earlier placed, dry-humored take on the mainstream media is commendable to a fault. Should we be admiring any aspect of such an infuriating bad guy? The additive seems calculated to make a sly, political statement, but in the flow of the film, momentarily backfires, even if it otherwise blends with the character's "mixing truth with lies" agenda.


The climax is exciting (but has any DC/WB animated flick dropped the ball in that regard?), with considerable high-flying kicking and punching: never enough, though, to knock one's socks off, but it all serves its purpose and well flavors the character-developed build-up. The reveal of the film's betrayal, which turns out to be double-edged, is handled with care and consideration, making the film's finale bittersweet, and that's a-okay. 

If more Titan movies can expand upon this basic formula, the series may finally find itself on an ideal course. After all, our young heroes aren't run-of-the-mill millennials and shouldn't be plagued by moments of pretentious, prolonged bonding (like the insipid dance contest we witnessed in their last outing). Our revered Titans merely need conviction, purpose and plan, and as long as films like "Judas" keep surfacing, the team's adventures should be welcomed and long lived.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Collectible Time #84: Pegagus Rocketship X-M and Monogram/Revell Tom Daniel Grim Reaper Chopper

Z&Z Hobbies came through again, with two superb, plastic model kits: one a recent release linked to a beloved, older movie and the other, a cool '70s reissue.


The first is Pegasus' Rocketship X-M (RXM) spacecraft, right out of the 1950 (pre-Space Age) classic, starring Hugh O'Brian and Lloyd Bridges. 

"Rocketship X-M" is one of my favorite films. (I'm actually quite fond of the '78 re-release with the refashioned footage, which doesn't steal at all from the original layout, but in an odd turn, actually enhances many sequences, including the rocketship ones.) Having a 1:14 scale reproduction of the famous ship is an absolute thrill for me. (Below is a view of a completed kit, with its Martian base. Impressive, ain't it? The Pegasus box artwork is also a terrific treat: heck, so stunning, it would look good framed.)


Next up...Monogram's reissue of Revell's '74 Tom Daniel's Grim Reaper Chopper. 


Alas, I never had the Daniel's design kit among my "darker", motorcycle models as a kid, but it's better late than never to right a wrong.


The box artwork invokes an eerie display, though the actual cycle (when completed) is simply a sleek, stunner of a machine: the sort of contraption that would turn one's head, whether one is into choppers or not.  

The kit is 1:8 scale and comes with multiple parts, as featured in the handy image above: more geared for the experienced modeler than the kiddies (not that today's youngsters are ever so inclined to build models; and for the record, the box does state that the kit is best suited to those 14-plus in age). 


Anyway, both RXM and the Grim Reaper certainly quenched my yearning for some neato, retro fun. Cool, man, cool!!!

Friday, April 7, 2017

AIRSHIP 27 PODCAST #26 (APRIL '17): READY FOR TAKEOFF!!!

Hello, folks!  The latest Airship 27 Productions Podcast is now available for absorption at ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7zc3qjC9Do&feature=youtu.be.


Captain Ron Fortier and Chief Engineer Rob Davis again give us a cheerful hour of New Pulp fun, covering such swell topics as upcoming conventions; R.A. Jones and Davis' "Scimidar" novel; the Brother Bones movie and the character's potential comic-book series; plus commentary on Mark Barnard's dramatic reading of my novel, "Enter--the Persona!" ("The Persona, Vol. 1), from Radio Archives.  

Give a listen when you can. You'll be entertained and edified, all at the same time!!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

MARK BARNARD PERFORMS THE PERSONA!!!


Actor Mark Barnard's audio performance of ENTER--THE PERSONA! (aka, THE PERSONA, Vol 1) is now available for purchase at...http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Persona-Audiobook/B06XY2BTBZ.

I've listened to Barnard's presentation of my novel and--WOW!!!--I was blown away. It unfolds like an old-time radio play. Barnard added variances to the voices, including not only the likes of Michael Mansford/the Persona and the mysterious Mister Surrogate, but the delicate and demure Stacey Standish. Barnard also gave Ned Stark a wonderful, Ernest Borgnine quality. Man, was that ever a most satisfying surprise. To say the least, the entire experience was nothing short of astounding!!!


As most of you know, ENTER--THE PERSONA! was published by Airship 27 Productions in July '16, and now about nine months after such, Barnard has given symbolic birth to the audio version for Radio Archives. Yep, I'm quite a proud papa...well, at least in a roundabout way. And I can guarantee one and all, the results of Barnard's conception will prove most pleasing to the ears and be certain to invigorate the mind's eye. Do yourself a favor and give this consuming consummation a try!!!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I saw Joshua Kennedy's Alpha Omega Man...

There's good reason why I praise Joshua Kennedy as a filmmaker. As I indicated in my review of "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (see March '17), Kennedy remembers--remembers the style and structure of movies of the past, and time and again, he recaptures their essence to an impeccable degree in each of his Gooey Film Productions.


Kennedy just released another marvelous example of his sterling skills (now present on YouTube) in his Pace University thesis project, "The Alpha Omega Man": a tribute to Boris Sagal's 1971 adaptation of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend", about a "futuristic", vampire plague, or in this instance, a ghoulish, hippy-zombie sect that the dynamic hero, Robert Neville, seeks to destroy (and perhaps even cure). 

Though "Omega Man" may not be the most faithful adaptation of Matheson's 1957 novel, it's considered among many (myself included) to be the most entertaining (and I guess, therefore, the best) version of the tale, from its Ron Grainer score to its astute inclusion of Charlton Heston.


Sagal's film has a memorable style, and because this style is so specialized, so iconic, it's ideal for spoofing, which is what writer/producer/director Kennedy does whenever the occasion arises, particularly through his gutsy, Heston impersonation. On the other hand, Kennedy's comedic flair never becomes nasty or snobbish, remaining respectably subtle and heartfelt throughout as he recaptures the moody, lonesome feel of the '71 original. He even allows Grainer's rousing score to saturate the atmosphere: a wise choice, indeed, that any "Omega Man" fan will surely savor.

The film also contains quality supporting performances, which includes Laura Laureano as Kennedy's spunky, leading lady (paying impressive homage to Rosalind Cash's legendary Lisa), along with Xander Pretorius; Nick Ries; Dexter John Scott; Traci Thomas; and good, ol' Femforce contributor, Mark Holmes in sturdy supporting roles. Kennedy's sister, Kat Kennedy, also empowers the action, giving a magnificent reinterpretation of Anthony Zerbe's Matthias, a ghoulish guru. Her performance comes across as steady, intellectual and creepy, adding an air of credibility to her interactions with not only Neville, but to those she rules. 


What I always appreciated about the Sagal film was its emphasis on irony, which though prevalent in the other "I Am Legend" adaptations, rises higher in "Omega Man", accentuating the concept of Neville as a perceived monster among the actual monsters. Kennedy obviously understands this distinction and through a series of beautifully articulated scenes, emulates the idea that screenwriters John William and Joyce Corrington nailed so well decades past.

That Kennedy so expertly rekindled the original film's essence is just further proof of his talented sensibility. I can only image what he would do with a completely original, big-budget story in the '70s vein, for this film (like others he's produced) demonstrates his varied and masterful insight toward cinematic lore: the foundation upon which his greatness will assuredly expand.


I highly recommend fans of the original film to give this one a whirl, and even if one hasn't seen the Sagal movie, "Alpha Omega Man" is still worth a view: a guaranteed, slick, fast-paced hour of fulfillment by an extraordinary, up-and-coming filmmaker. 

You can view "Alpha Omega Man" presently at...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt3bdvtoVpE.  Trust me, folks, you won't be disappointed. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

MICHAEL FERENTINO'S BEDTIME FOR ROBOTS RESUMES...WITCH HAMMER REDUX!!!

Maestro Michael Ferentino's Bedtime for Robots returns with a sublime compilation: WITCH HAMMER REDUX, and just in time to shake our gnawing, prolonged complacency...


I must confess, whenever I listen to a Ferentino composition, whether through Bedtime or even the legendary Love In Reverse, I conjure different ideas, images and emotions. The same will occur (and in fact, already has) with the dementedly wicked WITCH HAMMER REDUX. On this basis, it's probably best that I convey what the tracks meant to me upon my most recent visit. 

For such, the title track, "Witch Hammer...", really sets the pace: a musical "old friend", if one will, or a cozy, thematic sequel of sorts. It also struck me as happy, snappy and strange: a quirky, welcoming vibration that easily led me to latch other tracks onto it.


These gems included "Vicariously Snowed In", which reminded me of those agitated days when (due to inclement weather or maybe a loss of car), I've been grounded: left to find the psychological means to say "to hell with it all". A smooth sadness, however, always accompanies such defiance, and I found it in the likes of "Sheepmarch" and "Cloud Hole": the former being more menacing to my ears and the latter, a jazzy resignation to my damned status quo. "Spanking Ouija" managed to combine the hypnotic best of the two: a sneaky conjuring for something ambitious, like the means to escape my shackles and dim confines.


"Bag Daddy", on the other hand, swung me back to an electrifying get-up-and-go, as did "Wicked Horse": a Carpenter-esque theme for a modern Conan marching off to war. "The Calling" acted as their sequel/prequel with its foreboding, frenetic flow; and "Alafia River" was the aftermath to all the tracks: a creepy indulgence for a nasty job well done. It also made me ponder what mad spoils did my desperate liberation bring? Are the rewards the sort I truly desired, or must I now shed myself of their dismal residue, and oh (whoa is me!) how might such be accomplished?

This emotional visit to WITCH HAMMER REDUX gave me the impression of something simultaneously ancient and futuristic, invoking feelings both stressful and calming. The content is all I could expect and then some from BEDTIME and its genius conjurer. 

I plan to listen again and refashion the tracks within my ears and come up with a whole new, weird scheme of things. Can't wait to do it. I dare you to do the same...

You can absorb Ferentino's marvelous creation at...https://bedtimeforrobots.bandcamp.com/album/witch-hammer-redux.  Go on, now. Your imagination demands it!!!

GOODBYE, SUSAN HART...


You were a beauty beyond compare, who became the stuff of legend. Not only did you wed AIP honcho, the great James H. Nicholson, your cheerful talent and shapely form elevated such exploitation classics as "The Slime People"; "War Gods of the Deep"; "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine"; "Pajama Party"; "Ride the Wild Surf"; and "Ghost in the Invisible Bikini", where you played the gorgeous lead. You also enticed us with numerous television appearances, including those on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"; "Wild Wild West"; and "The Joey Bishop Show". Your legacy will continue to delight among those wise enough to delve into that wondrous age when entertainment wasn't afraid to be unapologetic fun. God bless, fair lady...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I saw Ghost in the Shell...


One might presume Major Motoko Kusanagi to be Asian, and for the sake of her manga origin, it's safe to say that most of her fans do presume the same. Of course, when it comes to Japanese-to-American translations, the designations sometimes get blurred. The "Speed Racer" live-action movie could have been cast with Asians, and yet...


Nevertheless, Scarlett Johansson is cast as the sexy, cyborg heroine (reassembled like Officer Murphy into RoboCop) in director Rupert "Snow White and the Huntsman" Sanders' "Ghost in the Shell", based on Masamune Shirow's popular, Japanese saga. Per the script by Jaime Moss and William Wheeler, the Caucasian-looking Kusanagi (referred predominately as Major in the film) is part of an intelligence league called Section 9, which tackles terrorists (i.e., Hanver Robotics hackers), but as the story develops, the mechanical beauty realizes she may have been misled in her pursuits: a kind of "Logan's Run" (turf that Johansson previously traveled in "The Island"), with our lead gaining enough understanding to buck the system and maybe even actual autonomy by the adventure's conclusion. 


I must confess, I've never viewed any extensive examples of "Ghost in the Shell'"s anime/manga incarnations. I've known the franchise mainly by name and through its fleeting, lurid imagery. Therefore, it's only the live-action version I can currently assess. With that said, "Ghost in the Shell" feels a lot like other artificial-intelligence/cyborg stories I've seen and/or reviewed, with this one taking place in the not-too-distant year of 2029. 

Major is, in essence, a lost soul (or at least one entrapped within a synthetic body) in search of the meaning of life (yeah, a familiar theme with these sorts of entities), which of course, means she needs to define her purpose and plan, while her particular world adheres to a suffocating, near Borg/Matrix-like dystopia. She wonders who's pulling the hacker's strings and for that matter, her own, trying the whole while to remember who she once was.


Along the way, Major encounters a number of individuals who directly or indirectly substantiate her concerns and paranoia or try to sever her from such, each with a slick name and an eccentric and/or dangerous attribution, including the stoic Security Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano); the protective Batou (Pilou Asbaek); the Frankenstein-inspired Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt); the skillful Togusa (Ng Chin Han); the compassionate Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche); and the tale's heartless antagonist, Cutter (Peter Ferdinando). 

The film's profuse, gaudy intrigue is fine and dandy, as are several of its shock sequences (the robotic geisha being particularly unsettling), but for me it's the sexual implications that do the trick, for in several scenes the Major wears a suit so skintight it would make Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine blush. Heck, in the same regard, the Major would give Kate Beckinsale's Selene a good run for her money. It's because of this shapely enticement that I wished to see the film. I wasn't one iota disappointed, either. There's loads of Johannson in this thing, whether in simulated undress or not, and she looks damn good at all moments, including even those where her lovely parts are either gruesomely detached or reattached. Now, if the actress can look fetching under those unorthodox circumstances, it's safe to say she's reached unshakable, sex-symbol status. (And when one really comes down to it, that's the reason she's the film's headliner. Oh, and please do keep in mind, a shell is just a shell and needn't define one's background, heritage or character.)


Plot-wise, "Ghost in the Shell" also contains distinct similarities to "Ex Machina" and "Metropolis", but then this tale seems to head even more so in "Blade Runner'"s direction, with its extensive, architectural design being precisely that. 


Do the anime and comic versions of "Ghost in the Shell" capture any of Philip K. Dick's thoughtful fable? I'd imagine so (in that from what I've read, the long-lasting saga touches upon the significance of memories, identity and general civil rights), but my hunch is, most fans of Shirow's material appreciate it for its own merit. Whether they'll enjoy this adaptation is speculative, though it seems likely they'll not accept all aspects of it. Most die-hards aren't inclined to enjoy their favorite mythologies playing second fiddle to what may be perceived as glitz-for-the-sake-of-glitz, even if the comely curves at the center are abnormally alluring. 

No matter how one tries to spin it, Sander's film exists as a tour de force for its celebrated, Marvel-movie, action star. If anyone from the outside-looking-in goes to see "Ghost in the Shell" for any other reason, they're being insincere. Taken for no more than what it is (and even at its smallest degree, it still offers much), it'll entertain for a couple, solid hours. For those who might find the publicized content too threatening in its politically incorrect, visual vigor, there are plenty of play-it-safe movies from which to choose. This one, however, belongs to that wide range of erotica-craving adults of the science-fiction kind, and no apology should they dare make for desiring it.

MICHAEL F. HOUSEL SIGNED COPIES!!!


Hello to all my friends and fans in the Trenton/Hamilton Twp, New Jersey area… 

Alas, I have no signings scheduled at this time, but per your requests, I can certainly accommodate those of you seeking signed copies of my books. I realize a significant number of you have age/health obstacles, which would prevent you from so easily obtaining copies, but I can tend to the orders and signatures per your requests. Currently, I do still have several copies of “The Hyde Seed”; “Enter—the Persona!”; and even a smattering of “Flask of Eyes” for those interested.


Most of you have my email address/phone number (or Donna's), but if not, please post a message below, and I'll make arrangements accordingly. As long as you’re within my area of residence, I should be able to accommodate you.

Additionally, the audio presentation of “Enter—the Persona!”, performed by actor Mark Barnard, should surface soon from Radio Archives. I’ll update my blog with further information as it arrives.

Take care and as always, thanks for your support!!!