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Nov 202012

When I found Sid & Marty Kroffts Saturday Morning Hits DVD awhile back, I discovered that the studio produced more than just Land of the Lost, H.R. Pufnstuf, and The Bugaloos. It also produced quite a few other shows I never knew about before. One such series was Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976-1977).

Like caped crusaders Batman and Robin, Electra Woman (Deidre Hall) and young sidekick Dyna Girl (Judy Strangis) are superheroes who fight crime with technically advanced gadgets and go up against colorful super villains. It’s hard to believe that I never heard about this show before because it sounds too good to pass up.

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl’s identities are Lori and Judy, who are reporters for Newsmakers Magazine. Whenever on the trail of a hot scoop, they always end up finding trouble, which requires the aid of their superhero alter egos. Very little focuses on that part, which is good because it spares us the drama about the difficulties of leading double lives.

The superheroines’ only ally is scientist Frank Heflin (Norman Alden), who stays at the reclusive Electra Base and always keeps in contact to back them up. Since there are no back-stories revealed on any of the characters on this show, it’s hard to say how Frank got involved with the crime-fighting duo. On the other hand, every Batman needs an Alfred.

Since the series is not available on DVD or Netflix, I only managed to see a couple of episodes, each from a separate Best of Sid and Marty Krofft DVD/VHS release.

However, I did discover that Electra Woman and Dyna Girl have six archenemies, which include The Sorcerer (Michael Constantine), Empress of Evil (Claudette Nevins), Glitter Rock (John Mark Robinson), Spider Lady (Tiffany Bolling), The Pharaoh (Peter Mark Richman), and Ali Baba (Malachi Throne).

They each have a partner in crime to match his or her image. Did you know that Sid Haig played the Genie, who works with Ali Baba?

I met Sid Haig at Cult Fiction Drive-In 2011.

One thing that concerns me about this show is that there are no actual fight scenes. The superhero action is completely confined to the heroines shooting laser beams from their ElectroComs, or using their gravity control to either float upward or land smoothly. I realize that stunts for fight scenes were different for women back in the old days, but come on. In the Batman series from the 60s, Batgirl was allowed to kick bad guys in the head. Couldn’t these ladies have at least been given that opportunity?

It’s not a total loss though. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl often end up in creative traps set up by the villain(s), but manage to find a way to escape at the last moment. On top of that, a Narrator (Marvin Miller) provides commentary to make things appear more exciting. However, it’s very brief and has hardly any personality behind it.

This was an interesting series. Despite the lack of actual crime fighting action, who wouldn’t find a couple of hot super heroines in tights interesting?

Oct 292012

I certainly had a blast this past weekend at Spooky Empire 2012 with Halloween only a few days away. Here are some of the highlights.

It starts with a museum exhibit with lifesized statues of some of the most famous horror movie icons like the Mummy, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Of course let’s not forget some of the other classic monsters like Meg Mucklebones, Beetlejuice, Freddy Kruger, and Norman Bates from Psycho.

Even statues of Elvira and Jack Torrance from The Shining appear in this exhibit.

That was only the beginning. Other incredible highlights include meeting Lochlyn Munro, who played the hilarious Greg Phillipe in Scary Movie. I told him that I also enjoyed Wagons East in which he played Billy. Lochlyn had an interesting story behind that. He told me that the script was hilarious and that it was too bad that John Candy passed away while Wagons East was filming because his parts had to be reeditted. Otherwise the movie would’ve been even funnier. I can only imagine the possible outcome.

I also got to meet Brooke Theiss, who was very sweet. Although she was part of the cast reunion from Nightmare on Elm Street 4, I knew her best as Wendy Lubbock from the classic 80s sitcom, Just the Ten of Us. It was interesting to know that she still keeps in touch with most of her old costars, even the young twins. 

A cast reunion from The Devil’s Rejects? This awesome Q&A panel, which included Sid Haig, Ken Foree, Bill Mosley, Mary Woronov, P.J. Soles, and Tyler Mane (who I also remember best as Sabretooth from X-Men) was one of the most hilarious I had ever attended.

It was a real pleasure meeting these cast members as well.

Be sure to look for other stars from Spooky Empire 2012 on future posts.

Sep 122012

Night Of The Living Dead 3D is one of the more recent remakes of the zombie horror classic. It starts out the same with Barb (Brianna Brown) and her brother Johnny (Ken Ward) going to the cemetery and end up finding zombies. They both escape, but get separated, no thanks to Johnny driving off without Barb.

Barb runs to the mortuary nearby and finds more zombies. Luckily, the owner Gerald Tovar Jr. (Sid Haig) rescues her. However, Tovar bluntly tells her to leave as if she was trespassing on public property.

Even after telling him about the zombies, Tovar still says, “Employees only.” You’ve got to hand it to Sid Haig. He sure knows how to bring comedy to a horror film.

I met Sid Haig at Cult Fiction Drive-In 2011.

Later that night, Barb finds herself at a country road after running for awhile. A young man named Ben (Joshua Des Roches) picks her up and brings her to the Cooper plant farm, where he and the Cooper family are taking refuge. They include Henry Cooper (Greg Travis), his wife Hellie (Johanna Black), their daughter Karen (Alynia Phillips), and Owen (Adam Chambers) the hired hand.

At first it doesn’t seem like they are taking refuge because no one believes Barb about the zombies. Her suggestion is to call the police, but what good would that do?

Here’s something ironic. While Barb explains the zombie situation, the original Night of the Living Dead movie happens to be on TV. What are the odds, right?

The zombies soon arrive at the house. Meanwhile, Henry’s son Tom (Max Williams) and his girlfriend Judy (Cristin Michelle) are making out in the barn. The zombies decide to go after them first because of all the noise they’re making. Neither Tom nor Judy makes it to the house, let alone back in their clothes.

After seeing that awful display, Henry comes to terms with Barb’s idea. “When the dead walk, you got to call the cops.” Unfortunately, the phone is dead along with the cable TV. There are also no cell phones because Henry doesn’t allow them in his house. It’s his house, his rules. What was Henry thinking?

While the others board up the house, Henry and Ben get some guns. All Henry has is a gun holster belt with two pistols, like in the old westerns, which he keeps in a tiny safe. How lame can he get? At least it’s better than nothing.

Later, Tovar arrives at the house and provides answers about the zombie situation. Now that’s what truly makes this version of Night of the Living Dead different. It actually provides a back story behind the zombies.

Barb, Ben, and Tovar manage to escape the house, but run into more zombies. Coincidentally, they are the zombies of Barb’s brother and mother (Marcia Ann Burrs). The surprises don’t end there. There’s also a plot twist that I never would’ve seen coming.

I enjoyed this movie. It stays true to the familiar story line while including plenty of new material. The 3-D effect makes a nice addition to the DVD, but why couldn’t it include the option to watch the film without the 3-D?

May 232011

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is an animated movie based on a comic book created by Rob Zombie. It starts with Superbeasto (voice of Tom Papa) as a masked superhero, who is also a womanizing director and star of porno films in Monster Land.

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Monster Land is inhabited by every kind of monster you could ever imagine, from classic movie monsters to horror movie killers. Many of which are highly recognizable. It’s so interesting how these various characters are featured together throughout the movie, even the ones that are only featured as background gags.

Superbeasto claims to be an artistic director, who doesn’t judge by looks alone. As he goes through the auditions, it’s fairly obvious otherwise. However, it does have its funny moments.

While filming the porno, the two sexy ladies reveal themselves as monsters. Superbeasto kills them easily. It wasn’t part of the script, but the cameras were still rolling as if it was no big deal. And I thought Heavy Metal was freaky in that department.

One of those sexy ladies was named Trixie and was voiced by Dee Wallace. Though it was hard to figure out who Trixie was because her name was never mentioned during the short time she was in the movie, even if it was a credited role.

When I met Dee Wallace at Cult Fiction Drive-in 2011 in Jacksonville, she was really nice and I asked her who Trixie was. She said, “The werewolf girl with the biggest boobs.” In fact, she told Rob Zombie that she would work for scale if she got to voice that character.

Superbeasto’s sexy sister Suzi X (voice of Sheri Moon Zombie) is an interesting character. Her fighting skills are revealed to be equal to Superbeasto when she decapitates two female guards with her bare hands and fights off an entire army of Nazi zombies all by herself. That eye patch is a nice touch to show her toughness. How Suzi X got it is anybody’s guess.

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The villain in this movie is Dr. Satan (voice of Paul Giamatti). He plans on marrying Velvet Von Black (voice of Rosario Dawson), a gorgeous, but mean stripper with the Devil’s mark, in order to transmogrify into a giant beast and rule the world. The School House Rock parody of Dr. Satan’s plan is hilarious and was put together very well.

Among these various monsters are of a couple of characters from The Devil’s Rejects. I recognized them immediately as Otis (voice of Bill Mosley) and Captain Spaulding (voice of Sid Haig). Baby was shown briefly, but it would’ve been nice to see more of her with the others.

Speaking of Captain Spaulding, I got to meet Sid Haig at the same convention and he was a real nice guy.

There are quite a few HSN (Home Shopping Network) gags in this movie. If an item is slightly used, the price is marked way down from the original price. It’s a little peculiar. Don’t you think?

The cat fight between Suzi X and Velvet was awesome. With all of the guys watching, it was wild. Superbeasto was speechless too, even though his own sister was part of it. However, the singing during the fight had something to be desired.

I liked this film. It was creatively funny and great for horror movie fans of all types. Oddly, none of the women ever wear a bra. Do you suppose that’s a custom in Monster Land?

Jul 232010

Welcome back. Kill Bill – Volume Two begins right where the first one left off. The Bride (Uma Thurman) is back and on her way to hunt down Bill’s (David Carradine) brother Budd (Michael Madsen), who is number 3 on her “Death List Five” as part of her quest for revenge. We didn’t get to see much of Budd earlier, but we do now.

Bill warns Budd about the Bride coming for him, but Budd isn’t worried at all. He even sold his samurai sword at a pawnshop. “You pawned a Hattori Hanzo sword?” Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it. If the Bride had overheard this conversation, she’d think that Budd would be an easy target to take out.

Budd works as a bouncer in a bar. Though he’s always late, he thinks it shouldn’t matter because no customers ever arrive that early in the day, which is understandable. Budd’s boss is hilarious when he gets mad at Budd for it. Was that Sid Haig as the bartender?

Later that evening, the Bride arrives at Budd’s trailer for a sneak attack. Unfortunately, Budd takes her down with one shot of rock salt to the gut. Not so easy after all, was he. I guess that proves that the gun is mightier than the sword, even a Hattori Hanzo samurai sword.

Then Budd buries the Bride alive. That wasn’t much of a battle. As the Bride works her way out of this peril, we go into another big flashback. Bill sends the Bride to train under Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), who is a very strict instructor. The training was brutal and hard to watch, but now we know where the Bride learned some of those extraordinary skills, which includes the instant eye gouging. Soon the Bride escapes by the skin of her teeth (or should I say hand), and heads for Budd’s place again.

Meanwhile, Elle (Darryl Hannah) is already there and she doublecrosses Budd by killing him with a black mamba snake and makes Budd suffer by reading info about that snake aloud to him. Some killers have no mercy.

After that, the Bride arrives and fights with Elle. How convenient, since she was number 4 on the “Death List Five”. This battle also gets interesting as new secrets are revealed. The Bride’s name is finally revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo and the story behind Elle’s eye patch is not a pretty one. The catfight ends with Elle losing her other eye. I can still remember how everyone in the theater reacted when Beatrix stepped on that eye and crushed it. Ewe! Elle is defeated, but is she really dead like the other three?

Beatrix may have lost her list earlier, but she doesn’t need it anymore because there’s only one target left, Bill. She soon finds Bill along with another little surprise, and a very likable one at that. This final confrontation drags a little bit, but I liked Bill’s philosophy on Superman compared to other superheroes.

Overall, this two-volume movie was very creative. Action, humor, strong gorgeous women, it’s got it all, which makes this film a masterpiece.