23 October 2016


DIRECTOR: Jim Hosking
WRITER: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard
CAST: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo

I am not a fan of flatulence and/or scatological humor. Strangely I guess some people are or films like The Greasy Strangler, from first time director Jim Hosking, would never have come into existence. Don’t get me wrong, please.  It is not that I am above snickering or even laughing at a good fart gag. It is just when the premise of the entire film is built around setting up a scene to exploit some disgusting bodily functions of one form or another I am a bit put off. And the bottom line is that that is what The Greasy Strangler does. It is not that the film is all that bad but it really is attempting to be disgusting and it goes a but over board at times and so loses some of the dark but clever humor it generates at others. I watched all the old John Waters stuff back on VHS and the film has some characteristics of a John Waters’ film. It also has some aspects, here and there, of a movie by some one like Frank Henenlotter or Paul Bartel and some moments even David Lynch. Wow, sort of lofty company one may think. But is like a song that steals a lick from Led Zeppelin and a melody line from The Beatles and some vocal phrasing from The Rolling Stones, and yet somehow the song still manages to be, well, bad and unlistenable. 

The film’s story, and there is a neglected story here, is around the relationship between Big Ronnie and his son Big Brayden. It not much of a relationship and the one bound they seem to have is carrying on the “family business” of taking people on a guided tour of sites around L.A. that once hosted former disco legends. They wear matching turtle neck sweaters on the tour and of course the whole thing is an obvious sham but every one plays it serious. It is part of the film’s strange humor that works on a certain level. On one tour Braydon meets chunky monkey Janet and a romance blossoms. Janet is at home with all the farting and shitting and greasiness of the guy’s home. Big Ronnie is soon jealous of the relationship and is soon wooing Janet with greasy grapefruits and his large and visible (and prosthetic) uncircumcised penis. If you are offended by large ugly wangs hanging out all the time in a film you may want to take a pass on this one. Everyone wears some sort of fake genital piece, including Janet. And yes, there is a strangler who is greasy and it is Big Ronnie. This is made clear from the get go and so it is so spoiler. Tensions mount and old past issues arise between father and son as the strangler murders off about every extra cast member in the film as the movie progresses.  It ends on a strange note and I did not waste much time trying to figure out the ending, nor the 90 minutes or so of the film leading up to the ending. 

The film may appeal to people who have some background in watching films by people like John Waters and not being overly offended by them (though Hosking is no John Waters by any stretch, not that being John Waters is something to be ecstatic about anyway ), or it may appeal to groups of drunk young guys and borderline serial killers. In all honestly it will not appeal to too many people. Why? It is not really appealing. It becomes simply annoying. The actors deliberately read lines poorly and play the scenes in a deadpan manner, almost reminding me of something like Lynch’s Eraserhead. But it gets annoying when the gags go on too long, like when there is some miscommunication over the word potato, or Ronnie and Brayden calling each bullshit artist over and over and over. It borders on cleverness but never attains it. The sex scenes are revolting as are the dinner table scenes where Big Ronnie wants everything super greasy for some never explained reason. I will be honest I did like some moments of the film. Here was, as I have said, some cleverness and sometimes the bad acting and dialog were funny. Maybe it was intentionally bad is my feeling. Some of the shots are pretty good and the weird synthesizer scores works actually. But scenes like where Brayden is plowing fat Janet with his finger up her anus and she says “It feels good but what if I fart” just are not funny. Maybe it is meant to offend and it does, but not in the same way a John Waters’ film offend or something like Frankenhooker offends. Those films have a sort of comic, satirical sophistication to them. The Greasy Strangler just had guys with their fingers up some fat woman’s asses. Nothing much else. 

05 October 2016



Like the previous film I reviewed here, Don’t Open the Door, Teenage Tramp is a classic piece of drive-in exploitation fare. It might be hard for enlightened millennials to understand how a film like Teenage Tramp could have ever came into being unless you grew up, as I did, in a time in America when there were still drive-in theaters and cheap matinee movies.  When I say cheap I mean I used to watch all manner of weird films for about .35 cents. This movie most likely played along with about three other films all of a similar theme and could be a bit of fun viewing from inside a real car with a V8 engine with a few friends and some primo homegrown and some Boone's Farm. However movies like this play out in a different fashion when you’re watching them in bed on an iPad in the 21st century over wifi. Unless you've had a sort of history watching things in your past I can’t imagine too many people enjoying it, especially anybody who posts selfies regularly and never owned a pair of frayed bell-bottoms. Well, I owned my fair share and while the movie certainly has it pitfalls in terms of, well, acting, script, direction, music score, camera work and most likely catering service when it was being made it is not really a bad movie. At least after it gets past a really choppy and poorly edited beginning sequence that unfolds accompanied by the rousing title song, nay title anthem,  What Happened to the Good Times by the immortal song writing duo of Steve and Frankie Ortiz. 

Teenage tramp harkens back to a lost time in America. A time when everybody ended every other sentence with “baby”, and when liberated hippie girls danced naked on coffee tables at swinging cool parties, and when at same said party a guy on a conga and a guy on an acoustic guitar could sound like an whole four piece psychedelic rock band. While there are lots of things to poke fun at with Teenage Tramp there is a real story lurking in there with some occasional spurts of good acting. The friction ensues when free spirited Kim (Alisha Fontaine) returns home to big sister Hillary (Robin Lane) because she needs some “bread” to help her draft dodging boyfriend who is sleeping in the backyard eating sandwiches and showing not an ounce of appreciation. Hillary is utterly jealous of her young artist lover Adam (Anthony Massena) and he hardly gives her much reason to feel like he can be trusted, but hey, he's a 70’s guy okay! Kim starts mucking things fast up when she, in a word, hops in bed and screws the guy the first day she is there. Soon bikers and hippies and drug dealers are scurrying around Hillary’s upscale place smoking and snorting, doing hip dances and generally being the parasitic annoyances they basically were. The movie is bleak and the characters get little mercy. The message seems to be that being a teenage tramp is not all it is cooked up to be. 

In Teenage tramp we get a first hand glimpse into the now long forgotten word of bald guys with round glasses and long hair (on the sides), draft dodgers who do not mind their girlfriends giving seedy truck drivers sex in exchange for a lift, men with hairy chests and open shirts who take no shit from women, and sort of cute at times hippie girls with no inkling that pubic hair should be trimmed or concealed. Yes, it was a great time in America.

29 September 2016



With this post I shift my reviews or posts back to including more older style movies. In particular films form the late 50’ on into the glorious 60’s and 70’s. I actually enjoy the experience of watching some of these films even if they lean towards the pretty bad side of things. They tend to be shorter in duration (often no longer than 90 minutes and as short as 70 or so) and the colors are a bit brighter than newer films - to the point of being lurid-  or they are shot in a type of b/w style I usually like. All that positive stuff being said, they also tend to have horrid music scores, sloppy editing and direction, poor writing and bad over acting. Strangely however, all of that can be fun. This film by S.F. Brownrigg ( Don’t Look in the Basement, Keep My Grave Open and poor white Trash 2) is a fine example of the goods and bads involved with viewing these old films. While I try to be nice and merciful with these older films compared to the newer ones I have to admit in the end it can be an ordeal really to sit all the way through one, and the 70 minute length of a film like this can seem like hours. If you’re able to do a sort of MST3K routine with yourself you will find the experience more enjoyable or at least less grueling. 

We first meet Amanda Post (Susan Bracken who pouts and snarls her way through the entire film) in a flash back to 1962 where her mother is murdered by an intruder who had earlier made some intimidating anonymous phone calls. Amanda sees her dead mother but not the assailant. We zoom forward to the 70’s where Amanda returns to the town and house to care for her ailing grandmother (who looks a lot like Buddy Epsen to me) after receiving some anonymous phone calls. See, like her mom did? There are not that many characters in the film and almost all the action takes place in the house. The only times the camera really ventures out f the house is to a local doll museum and old train car (both actual local landmarks of Jefferson Texas where the film was shot) where we are treated to riveting acting by the mayor and curator who have conflicting interests in acquiring the old house, for reasons I must have missed when fast-forwarding the slow parts. Of which there are many. Added to the dynamic ensemble is a totally chauvinistic 70’s doctor and an old school house calling type town doctor who do not see eye to eye on the treatment for the old lady who lies in bed muttering “museum” all day. 

There are some attempts at genuine creepy and sleazy moments when a phone calling perv taunts and peeps on Amanda while hidden in the walls of the house. He gets her to perform a naughty sex act on herself while he strangles a doll and breathes all predator like into the phone. There is no doubt as to which of the characters the sleaze ball is and the film tries to be some sort of study, I guess, into psycho-sexual stalking freaks with exaggerated sissy southern accents. As the pace of the film “quickens” towards the end we are treated to weird druggy style camera work and voices with lots of echo and reverb. As some other reviewers noted some of the camera work appears to have some influence by the likes of Mario Bava and Dario Argento, but those moments are few and far between and the connection may be projections of a flustered viewer trying hard to gild the lily whenever possible. There are lots of slow stair case climbing sequences trying to take advantage of the beautiful interior of the house (know as The House of Seasons by locals). At the end are treated to a sure sign of insanity in the form of Amanda rocking in a rocking chair and doing baby faces to herself. The music is of the standard 70's style jazzy improv stuff with walking bass lines that do not fit in with the 'action" on the screen at all. It all sounds like it could have worked in a TV detective show or porn movie of the period just as effectively. And when all and said done I have no clue as to what door it is one supposed to not open. The movie is of the old drive-in theater variety that played the southern drive-in circuit on some sort of triple bill most likely. Not the worst movie in the world - better than Teenage Tramp which I am trying to finish now- but it took me two settings and some fast-forwarding to get through. 

17 September 2016





Some new ambient style music done mostly with a couple Brian Eno co-designed iPad Apps and some of my esoteric synth software. 


I have really been struggling with this for over a year or more. While I have actually done a lot of posting over the last year as well I have to admit my mind and heart were often elsewhere. And not to say that one’s blog is were one’s soul and ultimate passion should reside. But in the end I find myself not able to just give up the blog as many seem to have done, sometimes to point of even deleting their blogs entirely from the Internet. In the end the struggle revolves around a simple little factor: I enjoy writing. I am not a good writer. But I enjoy it nonetheless. I play guitar and compose my own music. I am not really good at it, but I do it. I draw and sketch. I am not good at it but I do it. I study the Chinese language on my own. I am not good at it and yet I still study a little each day. I am a creative person. A mediocre creative person but nonetheless if I am not doing something, even something no one else will see or hear or read, I feel anxious and empty. 

I have narrowed my blogging issues down to a few factors and wish to state them succinctly and then lay them to rest, the way one lays an impaled vampire to rest.

1) I live in China and the Internet here sucks. I have to use a VPN to connect to 90% or more of sites outside China and my VPN service sucks as well. It can simply wear you out. I get the occasional window of opportunity, like today, and need to take of advantage of it. Of course, it does not mean I will feel like writing but there are solutions to that problem as well, such as having articles stored in a draft folder and ready to upload when the gods show fleeting mercy upon me.

2) I began to feel awkward about the blog. I am 57 and I felt it was almost childish to do a blog like this. My wife has become less supportive of the blog than she once was and sees it as pretty weird. She is Chinese and Buddhist, so that is a large part of it. She actually does not like horror movies though she has sat through a few with me. She does not like b/w movies and I guess I felt odd. Well, so be it. I am odd.

3) Facebook. Yes, Facebook has had something to do with all of this. The site is blocked in China, as is this blog for that matter since Blogger is part of Google, and again it can be a challenge to just access it and make some sort of update. Seems many old time bloggers from the days I began (about 2005 or so) have stopped blogging and moved onto running pages on Facebook or just adding stuff to their wall. I sort of have been doing that too but I found some things out. Some people can wipe their asses and then post the soiled toilet paper on Facebook and get a hundred likes and smiley faces, while some one else can share their cover version of Mozart’s 40th Symphony and get one thumbs up from the same guy who gives a thumbs up to everyone on his wall. Including the shitty toilet paper guy. Or more likely gal.

Facebook is not blogging or writing. I do not know what it is but it can be a painful place for some people. I am fucking fed up with it and really want to drop it. I think I have my posts here linked by RSS feeds (is it still called that) and I will keep that up. I do get traffic to here from Facebook (mostly on MOBILE DEVICES!) and I will take visits from anywhere, even the Ukraine. (Spambot humor there.) When a person I cared for (loved actually) told me to “fuck off” and then unfriended me (oh the woe) because I felt that posts on 9-11 should be pro-American and not pro-Islam (radical or not) and I had no stomach for the anti-American tripe there on that day then I guess that is it. I have nothing left to offer. Pearls before swine I guess.

4) I am expecting less and less from the blog now in terms of how I feel. I used to seek some sort of approbation and approval from the blog and Internet. It is not healthy and may be fermenting s future generation (or current) of mass murderers and serial killers. I almost wanted to “make friends” here and that did not work out too well. People on the net are fickle fucks. Me too. One old blog “buddy” who I connected with on FB blocked me there because I made fun of an ugly transsexual - it is okay to laugh at the bad plastic surgery of straight celebrities of course - and announced how I hated Wes Craven films and he sent me a rude, condescending comment and then blocked me. He had a great blog but he is a pompous sack of shit with no sense of humor so why waste my time.

Comments are not a thing I seek anymore in the sense that I must have them in order to continue writing. People these days are on mobile devices and sampling tidbits of data. I promise to get back to comments when I can and appreciate anyone who takes the time to leave one. I love you. Not just platonically either. But if I get none that is okay too. I also do not publish weird comments okay? I mean rude or perverted shit. And I block the sender. Still happens. Go troll on Facebook.

5) I just want to write. Even if I do not have a movie to review I want to write. It is my blog. I can share my music here and I can write about the struggles with not writing. I can share my cartoons here. I can review old horror movies, new horror movies, mainstream movies or LGBT themed Broadway musicals if I wish. No one has to read it if they do not want to. There are a zillion things on the Internet I will never read. I can post gratuitous pictures of girls in bikinis or comic book covers or review all the Frank Zappa albums I think are musically brilliant. In fact, I already have. None. It is my blog and I’ll do want I guess, within the bounds of reason and ability. And I truly hope some people enjoy it. I am not really wanting to do this for only myself, but in the end I will if I have to. 

I may make some decisions on some of the blog design and features. I changed the background to something brighter and culty. I used to do all those dark backgrounds but decided, um, I would do a brighter one. Exciting, right? I may remove my long non-updated A to Z page. Shit. That is too much work but I like the little Jane Fonda graphic I made. I'll see. I may remove some stuff on my side bar (I have already removed my Facebook and Twitter widgets as well as all RSS feed thingys except for my Feedburner stuff. we can just wait for Google to drop that the why they did their awesome Google Reader. ).  I took off that Blogger follower widget and the Google+ follwer one as well. People do not do that anymore. In the past two years my followers went from 150 to 152. People do not follow blogs and add to RSS readers anymore really. So let that crap go. I did flip the sidebar from the right side to the left side. I am sill adjusting to that. But when it is all settled the fact is I just want to write things. And see, I just did. I feel less empty already. 

14 September 2016

13 July 2016

05 July 2016


Another recent, sort of, original music piece done under my Arctic Transmissions electronic music project. 



My version of the 007 opening theme song composed by Monty Norman. I play under the title of my fictitious rock band The Bent Eights.  Been a while since I shared anything like this. 

04 July 2016


DIRECTOR: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
WRITER: Keving Kolsch, Dennis Windmyer
CAST: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Nick Simmons, Louis Dezsaran

Here is a sign of a film I tend to like. I live in China and have to download most of the films I watch, unless I can find them online here with one of the streaming apps on my iPad (I tend to watch all movies on my iPad these days) and then they always have Chinese subtitles hard coded into the image, which bums me out. But I tend to have a folder with my recently downloaded films. I may not even watch a lot of them. If I test out a flick for quality and it is looks poorly filmed or acted or is (the worst) a found footage movie it gets deleted before being seen. I may then watch a film and then delete it. But I know I liked a movie a lot if I do not delete it and save for a rewatch in the future, and such was the case with Starry Eyes, a well made Faustian/Satanic themed movie about how far we sometimes go to get the fame and power we crave. 

Sarah (Alex Essoe in a simply great performance and hopefully we will see more of her) is just another pretty face struggling to be an actress in LA. She pays the rent the way all aspiring actresses do by working at as a waitress, in this case at the “classy” Hooters styled eatery known as Big Taters. Sarah struggles with having what it really takes to be a Big Taters girl and her job is now standing in the way of her rise to overnight night stardom as the lad in the movie The Silver Scream. Sarah seemed to get through the auditions, but not because of her acting chops, but because of her high strung emotional peculiarities. Quickly the job requirements from the old and powerful, yet obscure, production company Astraeus Pictures become more demanding than her Big Taters gig. Sarah is soon having conflicts with her circle of friends who are all also aspiring actors or directors. The group are basically stoned slackers who do more dreaming and planning than doing and Sarah feels held down by their small visions and party life styles. But just as things begin to look up for Sarah she begins to fall apart. Emotionally and physically. The producer and staff of Astraeus Pictures are not letting Sarah have her stardom all that easily and there is a huge price to paid fro being offered the lead role in this new production. Does Sarah have what it takes to stop serving burgers and grace the big screen. Well, I felt she did. 

The movie has the feel in places of something the likes Roman Polanski or David Lynch may have thought up. While not near that level of filmmaking the movie works well enough in evoking a dark and oppressive atmosphere that does not let up until the end. The violence is held in check until the last part of the movie and when it happens it is intense and shockingly over the top. One death by barbell is so unnerving and disgusting I had to replay it at least three or four times. The acting is good but Alex Essoe is both fabulous and disturbing, as the determined to get what she wants at any cost Sarah. She struggles with herself but the darkness prevails in the end. Worth a mention is the effective electronic music score Jonathan Snipes and excellent cinematography by Adam Bricker. The practical effects are gory and ultra-violent. You have to wait for them but it is no problem since the film is not about those scenes and they are just a necessary part of a bigger and better and darker mythology the film creates. I will be checking it out again in a couple weeks.