Bonus Halloween Episode: The Car, Duel, Christine, and Killdozer

Caught like deers in the headlights, the Misfits can only stare in disbelief at these films and ask, “Did someone really think a car from hell or a bulldozer animated by an alien life form would be scary?”  There are probably more laughs than screams in this Halloween offering, but whether it’s a trick or a treat is up to the listener to decide.″

Thanks for listening!  We’ll be back in two weeks.
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Jim Morton Bonus Audio Interview

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jim Morton talks about Trashola, Incredibly Strange Films, and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies.  For more from Jim Morton, check out his blogs at East German Cinema Blog, Pop Void, and The Museum of Modern Mythology.″

The Travesty Story

 One Saturday night in the summer of ’76, I abandoned a group of pot-smoking friends (I didn’t inhale) to watch the weekly Creature Feature that played on UHF Channel 20 in Washington DC.  I don’t recall what the feature was, but I’ll never forget what followed it.  Count Gore De Vol, the program’s vampiric host, had introduced a new segment: amateur horror/sci-fi movies made by local filmmakers.  Even though I’d refused the pot, I found myself getting high on Attack of the Paramecium Men.  It was a silent, black-and-white slapstick short (with jazzy music), featuring three leather-clad greasers who first evade and then defeat the humanoid paramecium. It was, in the word of Wallace Shawn in The Princess Bride, “inconceivable.”

One month later, on Pre-Orientation Day at the University of Maryland, I began my inevitable future as the compleat film auteur.  I was enrolled as a film major and found myself in the company of a single fellow “auteur.”  He was a Woody Allen-type, only taller, and looked just as bewildered as me.  We struck up a conversation, and he casually mentioned that he’d made a number of 16mm shorts.  One of them had even aired on Channel 20.  It was, of course, Attack of the Paramecium Men.  I hailed him like a brother, and from that moment on my life took a turn for the comedic.

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Films Better Left Remembered: Gorath

Gorath (1962)  Spaceship JX-1 (the first manned flight to Saturn) is ordered to change course and intercept Gorath, a rouge star barreling through the galaxy, heading straight for a planet-shattering collision with the earth.  Outfitted in white coveralls and helmets, the crew of JX-1 look more like contestants in a go-cart race than astronauts, but in Gorath’s future of the “80s,” these are the men with the right stuff.  When the crew is informed they are on what amounts to a suicide mission, they only hesitate a moment before raising their fists in the air and chanting in unison, “Hurrah!  Hurrah!”  While their esprit de corps is appreciated, it’s also a bit creepy.

Back on earth, high-ranking Japanese officials are peeved at not having been consulted about the decision to reroute JX-1, but after some thought, they magnanimously decide that, yes, maybe the right decision had been made without them (useful information about the possible destruction of the earth was obtained, after all).  Once everyone is on the same page regarding the need to do something about Gorath, the bean counters weigh in with their penny-pinching take on the situation:  it’s going to cost a lot of money to save the earth.  It’s decided the job is too big for Japan to take on alone, and before you can say UNICEF, the project is a United Nations operation.

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Santo vs the Vampire Women (an audio review)

For your listening pleasure, an audio review of Santo vs the Vampire Women.  We’ve dug deep into our audio vault and turned up this long-lost gem.  Listen as Lou, Steve, and Jim, once more take on the Silver Masked Avenger.  Vampire Women holds a special place in the Santo canon (it’s the first film many Santo fans ever saw), but you might be surprised at the score given to it by the three-man tag team of misfit reviewers.″

For more Santo entries, check the sidebar under Categories and click Santo.

The MGM Dogville Shorts

Companion piece to the Dogville Shorts review in Cinema Misfits, episode 18.  For those who doubted such a series could exist, go ahead and stare in disbelief and wonder at the stills and clips.  And for those who just can’t get enough of Dogville (and you know who you are, even if you won’t admit it), we offer Nancy’s appreciation of the series.

Ah, the Dogville Shorts.  I clearly recall stumbling across one of these gems on a hot summer afternoon about ten years ago.  It was quietly tacked on the end of a TCM film offering, and when it appeared, unbeknownst and unexpected by me, my first reaction was unmitigated incredulity.  Was it the heat, I pondered.  Was I dreaming?  Did I need to adjust my medication?  Or could this be real…dogs of all shapes, sizes, genders, and breeds, dressed as humans, acting out parodies of popular film genres?

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Curse of the Faceless Man (Plus Audio Review of The Lost Missile)

A  mummy movie is never a good idea.  Why?  Because the only way to make a mummy seem threatening is by having it lumber after a woman who appears to suffer from some kind of inner-ear disorder.  Incapable of sustained equilibrium, the woman always stumbles and falls for no apparent reason as she runs in a blind panic, even when a brisk walk could easily outdistance her bandaged assailant.

Faced with the prospect of making a mummy movie, there are really only two choices.  Either (a) go the Stephen Sommer’s route and jettison altogether the idea of a slow-moving, ancient Egyptian prince wrapped in bandages, or (b) don’t make the movie at all.  Really.  This should always be the default choice.

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