Wednesday, January 25, 2023

SO LONG, LANCE KERWIN...

You were a television and movie staple, a personality who rose from adolescence to adulthood before our eyes, with performances distinguished by seamless perfection. 

And your line-up is as amazing as it's assorted: Escape From Witch Mountain; Outbreak; Enemy Mine; Once Upon a Midnight Scary; The Loneliest Runner; Little House on the Prairie; Shazam!, Wonder Woman; The Bionic Woman; Gunsmoke; Cannon; The Family Holvack; Amelia Earhart; Sara; The Greatest Gift; Children of Divorce; The Mysterious Stranger; James at 15/16; Faerie Tale Theater: The Snow Queen; The Meanest Man in the West; The Boy Who Drank Too Much; The Busters; ABC Afternoon Specials; Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy; The Fourth Wiseman; Cheering Section; The Death of Ritchie; The Healers; Murder, She WroteTrapper John, MD; Emergency!; Reflections of Murder; Advice of the Lovelorn; and A Killer in the Family.

You shined brightest, though, in Tobe Hooper's acclaimed adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot. As the wholesome yet impassioned Mark Petrie, you captured not only the devotion of a monster lover, but the righteous zeal of monster fighter. 

Thanks for all that you gave, Mr. Kerwin. Your boundless depth and scope will stay a permanent part of our hearts. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

POMPOSITY & GOLEM CLAY: AN EDITORIAL

I've written about avoiding pompous people, those who bully, besmirch and trample hopes, dreams and artistic ambitions with their toxicity. 

I'm guilty of succumbing to such treatment. I fell victim to it for years, in particular when I composed a short story entitled "Golem Clay", intended for my self-published series, Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs. In this pitiful instance, my detractor claimed the story was more amorous than chilling, not in any way his stinkin' cup of tea, let alone anyone else's, and therefore, it didn't deserve to be shared, tweaked or flaunted. Why, oh why did I swallow his putrid pomposity?!

Fortunately, I kept the concept swarming in my subconscious, and when Airship 27's Captain Ron Fortier asked me to compose a Purple Scar story several years back, I disinterred my golem strand. The rest is history. The Purple Scar, Vol 4 hit print in January 2023, and my contribution, "Golem Clay" (as refashioned and bracketed for Doctor Miles Murdock and his menacing alter ego) is included.  

That this tale (along with its thematic thrust) is now being purchased and absorbed, that it's adorned by Chuck Bordell's fluid illustrations, Adam Shaw's creepy cover and Rob Davis' eerie back-cover design, speaks volumes.

I hope my detractor reads this post. I hope it makes him ashamed. I hope it makes him feel the way he made me feel when he defiled my idea's evident worth. 

And to the rest of you, pay heed. Respect your instincts. Make autonomous decisions. Think your own thoughts. Your choices may not turn out for the best, but it's better to try, to act upon your gut, than to curb your visions based on what some decrepit swellhead says. 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+purple+scar+vol+4&i=stripbooks&crid=1XW0ULFELSFBW&sprefix=the+purple+scar+vol+4%2Cstripbooks%2C73&ref=nb_sb_noss

Sunday, January 22, 2023

TERRIFIC TEAM-UP IMAGE: BATMAN '66/STEED & PEEL (AVENGERS)

 

I saw Gunfight at Rio Bravo...

A new western blazes across the screen: Gunfight at Rio Bravo, directed/produced by Joe Cornet, written by Craig Hamann and helmed by bodybuilder thespian/producer, Alexander (Moscow Heat) Nevsky. 

The convincing, no-nonsense Nevsky plays a Russian gunfighter named Ivan Turchin, who's in actuality a former Union, brigadier general. He assists a by-the-book sheriff, played with stealthy valor by the aforementioned Cornet, and a heedful mayor, played with mercurial edge by Lee Dawson. Misfortune befalls the trio when they receive a stayover protagonist named Colonel Ethan Crawley, portrayed with icy contempt by Matthias (I Come in Peace) Hues. Crawley awaits his grudge-prone, Confederate, Hellhound gang to break him out of the town's humble jail: a sure-fire setup for disaster. 

The superb supplemental cast fortifies the leads, with John Marrs, Oliver Gruner, Curt Lambert, John Fallon, Christopher Beeman, Bill Fortenberry, Natalie Denise Sperl, Anna Ornis and Kerry Goodwin (among a number of effective backgrounders), enhancing the calamitous splendor. On special note, my ultra-talented, Facebook friend, Maria Paris (aka Rita Guida!), stands out as a beautiful but deceptive insider. 

The tension mounts as the story progresses, as any quality thriller should, nurturing all those fine traditions that western buffs love, where bravery, strength and duty rise to the forefront. Sean Murray's grand, ominous score augments these commendable traits, as does Sam Wilkerson's vibrant, in-sync cinematography. 

Cornet's direction and Cody Miller's editing are tight and trim as the movie weaves its many elements: something that most modern, Hollywood-peddled products fail at, if only to pad their running times. Gunfight at Rio Bravo paints an identifiable picture with a nuanced ensemble that adheres to the fable's unswerving purpose, all under ninety minutes. (BTW: Hamann's focused screenplay was inspired by the real-life, Union general, Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov/John Basil Turchin, who marched a bold, if not controversial path during the Civil War.) 

Gunfight at Rio Bravo is available for viewing through Amazon, Vudu, Redbox and Roku. The movie can be purchased on disc, as well, through Shout! Studios. Embrace this fine, morality tale and come away a better person for it. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Collectible Time: Creature from Black Lake (Synapse Special-Edition Blu-ray)

My all-time favorite Bigfoot melodrama, Creature From Black Lake, is now available from Synapse Films in a hi-def, widescreen, Blu-ray transfer, captured straight from the 35mm negative.

Written/directed by Joy N. (The Aurora Encounter) Houck Jr and released/distributed by horror-curating Howco International Pictures, this 1976, drive-in gem works as a suspenseful, monster adventure, with amiable leads and homespun, supporting characters. 

The setup features two University of Chicago students, Rives (John David Carson) and Pahoo (Dennis Fimple), who trek to the Louisiana-Arkansas border in pursuit of a reputed Bigfoot, an ersatz Fouke Monster of Boggy Creek fame. Along the way, they befriend a hospitable inhabitant named Orville Bridges, who introduces them to his grandfather (Dub Taylor) and mother (Karen Brooks), who know and fear the creature, thus adding to the young men's zeal to substantiate its existence. (For passing hijinks, Becky Smiser and Cathryn Hartt play Rives and Pahoo's by-chance girlfriends; and huge Roy Tatum not only portrays a good ol' boy named Fred, but the eponymous beast.) 

Intersecting the lads' investigation, Sheriff (no-relation-to) Billy Carter (Bill Thurman) and inebriated tracker Joe Canton (Jack Elam) convince them even further (albeit from opposite ends of philosophical perspective) to keep believing that something is out there, which leads the boys toward a nocturnal clash with the mythical monster. 

Synapse's transfer is beyond breathtaking, and the meticulous upgrade is more than justified, for among indie, horror features, Creature From Black Lake should occupy the same revered perch as Night of the Living Dead '68, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Carnival of Souls '62, Halloween '78 and Phantasm. (Perhaps this special edition will grant the film even wider admiration.) 

As far as bonuses go, the disc includes a featurette with the film's photographer, Dean Cundey; an original theatrical trailer; a radio spot; and running commentary by writer/filmmaker, Michael Gingold and cinema historian, Chris Poggiali. 

Those who love this movie will appreciate its refurbishment, but for those who've not seen it, please do give it a shot. The odds favor it'll please, especially if one respects labor-of-love, cryptozoologist exploits. 

Purchase Creature From Black Lake at 

https://www.synapsefilms.com/product/creature-from-black-lake/

Collection Recommendation: Mr. Lobo/Cinema Insomnia Presents...Up Late with Bob Wilkins

Bob Wilkins was a warm and knowledgeable individual, an unassuming horror host who showed products of both the cream-of-the-crop and "misunderstood" variations. 

From the Cinema Insomnia/Mr. Lobo site, I just purchased Up Late with Bob Wilkins: A Horror Fan Tribute on DVD, a satisfying documentary written/directed by Bob Wyrsch, which details Wilkins' San Francisco-based Creature Features phenomenon. Under Wilkins' meticulous tutelage, his version of Creature Features ran a prosperous eight years, from 1971 - 1979.

Not only does this affectionate documentary reference the imagi-movies that Wilkins hosted (Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Attack of the 50 Foot WomanThe Creeping Terror, Horror ExpressThe Horror of Party Beach, Man with the X-ray Eyes, Target Earth, The Giant Spider Invasion, King Kong vs Godzilla, Creature from the Black LagoonWerewolf of London, Bride of Frankenstein, Lady Frankenstein, et al), but highlights such significant personalities as Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Forrest J Ackerman, Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Bruce Hyde, Bjo Trimble, Buster Crabbe, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Kirk Alyn, Roy Thinnes, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, George Segal, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Jim Nabors, Gary Owens, Ralph Bakshi, Carmine Infantino, Bob Clampett, Jon Provost, Scott Moon, Eric Yee, Robert Napton, Tom Khamis, Harry Martin, David Bellard, Miss Misery, John Stanley, Steve "Zetro" Sousa, Vincent Van Dahl, Livingston, Tangella and yes, even the grandest of the grand, Mr. Lobo, who as an impressionable youth, learned from one of the iconic best.

Wilkins' calm, cool wit, combined with his displays of viewer gifts, made Creature Features an identifiable commodity for those fortunate enough to have absorbed it. For those who haven't experienced Wilkins' laid-back charm, Wyrsch's salute gives a hearty, feature-length view of the man, his craft and why folks still reminisce upon his splendid, Saturday-night sojourns.

I recommend Up Late with Bob Wilkins to anyone who loves horror hosts, horror movies, or merely has a big, nostalgic heart.

Purchase this archival treat at 

https://cinemainsomnia.com/