Monday, March 8, 2021

Wild Women Of Chastity Gulch

I'd like to begin this post by thanking RealweegieMidget Reviews for inviting me to this blogathon. Even though I have very little knowledge of the career of Joan Collins and I often completely disregard the movie I'm reviewing anyway, it's always nice to be included. And with every one of my blogathon blogposts, I'm convinced this will be the last one anyone invites me to. So thanks again, and let's get this wagon train a-rollin'.

The Wild Women Of Chastity Gulch

Ok, before we get to the review, let me explain a few things, because this wouldn't be a Stabford review without a couple of ducks, dodges, parries, and turns before I get really, really off-track.

At the beginning of 2021, IRL I decided to quit my job of 15 years and start in a completely new industry which requires licensing and lots and lots of studying. As usual, even though I knew about the blogathon for months, I was unable to watch the movie until a few minutes before the blogathon was supposed to begin. I also came to the unexpected realization that the entire film is unavailable for streaming, and only 30 minutes of it is anywhere, and it's a dreadful VHS rip, with atrocious image quality and tracking lines and image rolling. That certainly didn't stop me from enjoying the movie thoroughly in an it's-so-bad-it's-good kind of way because if you're going to watch something awful, you might as well pull out all the stops, hold your nose and jump in, and that's just how I roll.

So back to the review.

The Wild Women Of Chastity Gulch

So, like I said a minute ago, I only watched 30 minutes of the film, which is one of those early-80s Aaron Spelling Sunday Night TV-movies, and the fact it's an Aaron Spelling Production is probably the only reason it was made and broadcast at all, since from what I can tell The Wild Women Of Chastity Gulch's plot consists of only a lurid title, extravagantly frilly gowns, and cleavage.

The setting of the film is a town in either Civil War-era Missouri or an amusement park in Southern California I guess, and all the menfolk are off fighting in the war, leaving the town empty except for about two dozen working ladies in the town's brothel and inexplicably, Donny Osmond. 

In the brief clip I watched, the movie opens with poor Joan Collins catching a terminal case of vague heart-related death. Immaculately costumed, hair and purple eyeshadow on point, Joan Collins looks fantastic for someone wasting away, which I certainly can find no fault in. When I kick the bucket, at my funeral I'll need video screens, lasers, a backdrop, a DJ, and one of those grocery store "all occasion" cakes with huge, blue frosting roses on it where a touching and sentimental reminiscence about my life is written on it in gorgeous script. 


Me too, cake. Me too.  

So, speaking of fatigued cakes, Joan Collins breathily asks for a gin from her vaguely germanic caretaker, which reminds me of an unrelated Teutonic Titwillow. 

Then Joan Collins looks longingly into a hand mirror before expiring offscreen, and someone says, "Her heart gave out on her, Betsy. She's dead.", and I totally get it. I'm gonna check my look before checking out, too. I absolutely refuse to go gentle into that good night without looking my very best, although I might swoon on a chaise lounge for effect.

Joan's very watchable, and I almost wish I could've seen more of her performance, but that would probably mean watching more of this movie, which plays like a low-budget Aaron Spelling Production of Donny and Marie's (minus Marie) Matt Houston's Gone With The Wind, and wow, that's sounds unappealing, and it was appalling to type out in words.

Speaking of Donny and Marie, some more movie happens although I kind of wished it wouldn't, and suddenly Donny Osmond plays a wounded soldier being nursed back to health in the brothel. He gives a breathy, dramatic performance that bewilders and has a chaste kiss with Blair from Facts Of Life. 

If you've been wondering why Donny Osmond never got more dramatic roles, this movie might be the reason. 

Speaking of the movie, more of it happens, unfortunately. The livery stable burns, pistols are pulled from décolletage, there's some target practice in ruffled gowns to stretch for time, and soldiers look off pensively into the distance. The print I watched stuttered and skipped during a key scene which culminated in Three's Company's Priscilla Barnes throwing her body across the freshly dug grave of Joan Collins' character, and it honestly couldn't have been more perfect. 

I don't blame you one bit, Priscilla Barnes. Not one bit.

The sets look a lot like Knott's Berry Farm, and the music sounds like what would happen if Charlie's Angels was set in Gettysburg. Speaking of Knott's Berry Farm, there's a not-quite-thrilling action sequence with cowboys falling off horses, soldiers being dragged by horses, and horses jumping over wagons with pistol-packin' Old West prostitutes cowering under them, and let's just say it all seemed a little less than genuine. 

Speaking of something being a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll, this bit needs another Donny and Marie clip. If there's anything people clamor for in their movie reviews of Joan Collins, if it isn't Donny and Marie, then I don't know what. Do we have another clip? Oh yes. Yes we do.

Like I said, in the print I watched, Joan Collins is in the movie for 30 seconds. That's ok, sometimes actors can make a huge impact in a very brief appearance, like that time on Will and Grace when Joan Collins stuffed tacos in her face and was covered in guacamole.

It takes a lot of bravery to go against type and allow yourself to be seen outside an image of glamour and sophistication for laughs, so this appearance in Will and Grace always stuck with me. 

Anyway, The Wild Women Of Chastity Gulch was hardly wild. It was filled with horses, transient southern accents, and plunging necklines, and it should be avoided. 

Thanks again to RealweegieMidget Reviews for allowing me to participate in the Joan Collins Blogathon!

Looking forward to the next one!

I've got a few videos over at Youtube through Cultured Vultures if you like these sorts of reviews, so check 'em out if you want.

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Amityville Horror (1979)


As always, I'm honored and thrilled to be invited again to participate in Realweegiemidget's blogathons, and amazed that I'm allowed to since I rarely follow the rules and have a chronic tardiness problem. These blogathons are fun and interesting, which again makes me wonder why I'm allowed to participate because I'm neither fun nor interesting, and I ramble on barely acknowledging the film I'm supposed to review. But what's done is done, no-take-backs, so everyone will just have to suffer through my post. Thanks to Realweegiemidget, and away we go!

 The Amityville Horror

Oops. Someone replaced my image of the movie poster for The Amityville Horror and left this inspirational quote about home, and I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Cheesy inspirational quotes make me feel a little nauseous. Let's try it again.

Oh no. Someone replaced my image of an inspirational quote with a rustic sign created from recycled pallets emblazoned with the inspirational quote "Live Laugh Love", and I'm feeling slightly woozy, and it certainly does not go with my personal home decor esthetic, which has been described as "dim", "cave-like", "a discount perpetual seance", and "like a morose gothic circus filled with possessed marionettes", and those quotes were from my own children. 

Ah, that's more like it. Anyway, let's try this again.

The Amityville Horror

Okeedoke. So, Barbra Streisand's husband and Superman's girlfriend have either the best or worst real estate agent of all time. I mean, the real estate agent suggests that the "charming" Colonial, with 3 full bedrooms, a spacious kitchen with original hardware, 3 floors plus a basement and an attic which could be converted into a playroom, a wood-burning fireplace, a sunporch, and a cottage and boathouse, says it's "a fixer-upper that could be fun!". I have my doubts about that. Lemme break this down in excruciating detail.

Before we begin that bit, if you've been following my blog, and for crying out loud, why would you do such a thing? I rarely have anything nice to say. Anyway, you'll know that I recently sold Deathrage Tower and downsized, and I can feel for the poor Lutzes, because I also moved into a place that needed a bit of TLC. Now the house the Lutzes were moving into had a lot more problems than mine had. For instance, I abruptly stopped the previous owners from installing a laminate countertop and insisted they put in black granite, while the Lutzes needed to give their house a good scrub from top to bottom.

Far be it from me to judge, you know. It is certainly not my place to criticize the way someone keeps house, but the Lutzes need to crack open a fresh bottle of cleanser and apply a little elbow grease or a blowtorch to those grimy light switches and doorknobs. I would have pointed out every bit of grime and would not have signed off on the final walkthrough until it was spotless. 

Seriously, would you just look at that wallpaper? Yikes. Tear it all down. And don't get me started on that wall of tacky gold-gilt mirrors in the bedroom. It could be easily painted over. Might I suggest Pantone's Colors of The Year? The gray will be a nice neutral base palette, and the yellow would lighten the atmosphere of the house and give it a touch of needed cheer. 

And they really have a tough situation as far as indoor pests go. 

It could happen to anyone. During our house hunt, we found a place we really liked, but there was a visible mousetrap in the cellar. I walked away from the negotiations. Don't misunderstand me, I'm glad I saw it. But the house should have been properly staged for sale, and it should have been sparkling clean. Your house inspector would be helpful in letting you know if you have a vermin problem before you move in, and a nice interior decorator could help you choose curtains that will keep the neighbors and passersby from seeing you in your delicates.

To be certain there were no errant odors when staging my old home for sale, I made sure all our fabrics were freshly laundered, floors were mopped, and surfaces wiped down. I used an oil diffuser to fill the house with a light scent reminiscent of baked goods, and vases with fresh flowers were in most rooms. 

We ripped out the carpet in our new home and installed laminate flooring because we have pets, and we had to do extensive repairs to the subfloor and joists due to age. The floor is still somewhat uneven. This can cause furniture to rock. We also created a courtyard patio and repaired our fencing. We certainly wouldn't want our pets roaming loose or having unwelcome animal visitors to our home. 

Toilet troubles are no laughing matter. A couple of weeks after we moved in, the downstairs toilet seal started leaking. Having done a little minor plumbing fixes in my time, I rolled out to the home improvement store and purchased a new valve kit. Unbeknownst to me, there are two types, and we have the Mansfield type. I know, right? It would have been helpful to know beforehand so I could have saved myself two trips. So when doing these kinds of repairs, make sure you know which type you have before you drive out to save yourself some time. Another helpful hint, wear gloves when installing a new valve kit, because a degraded seal can stain your hands.

And finally, stains can be difficult to remove. A little hydrogen peroxide can remove a lot of tough stains, particularly in high-traffic areas like stairways.

So I hope these tips will help you if you're selling your home or looking to buy, and will help you solve some of those tough situations that arise after you move in.

Oops, I totally forgot I'm not Norm Abram, and I'm supposed to be reviewing The Amityville Horror. If I had a nickel for every time that happened, I'd have 35 cents. Anyway, like the Lutz's decor, it was pretty lousy.

Thanks again to ReelWeegieMidgetReviews for allowing me to participate in the Home Sweet Home Blogathon! Stay tuned for the Joan Collins Blogathon later this year!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Cher...and Other Fantasies

Oops-a-daisy. I accidentally forgot to blog for 18 months. How embarrassing.

I used to be one of those bloggers who would look at a blog that has been abandoned and thought to myself, "Why, I enjoy blogging so much and giving random strangers a piece of my mind, I'd never let my blog go silent",  and look what's happened. I totally shut up, and I never do that, even when begged to.

Once again, I'm completely out of my element and late to the party, and since that's been my MO since almost forever, I should be used to it by now. The basic gist of my blog is to critically examine some lesser known films that often hover at the lower ends of IMDB's Bottom 100, and by "critically examine" I really mean "barely pay attention to while gorging on Halloween-themed snack cakes". 

Over the past year or two, Gill at ReelWeegieMidget Reviews has been gracious enough to allow me to participate in her always entertaining blogathons, even though I'm often tardy and unfocused. I'm grateful to be included, even though I'm ill-equipped to give accomplished actors Lee Grant, Jeff Goldblum, and now, Shelley Winters the spotlight they deserve, when inevitably I somehow manage to make every blogpost about me, go off subject, meander about on unrelated side-quests, and when I finish the post a year and a half after I said I would. Oops.

So, before I get started, I wanted to thank Gill for everything, and away we go.

Cher...And Other Fantasies

The first thing you might notice once you start this grainy transfer from VHS (with vintage commercials!) on Youtube is that this variety TV program from 1979 features Cher undergoing 19 costume changes. Maybe you might not notice, because the image is terrible, she's enveloped in dreamlike, dry ice fog, and she's covered in thousands of pounds of sequins. This sequence must have taken weeks to shoot and thirty trips to the wig store. 

Allow me just a moment to give everyone a little history lesson. Thousand of years ago during television's infancy and before we could hit the "Skip Ad" button, TV programs consisted of about 6 minutes of actual entertainment and 24 minutes of advertisements, and nearly all of them sang to you. Even Egg McMuffins had a theme song.

Anyway, Cher goes to a party in a labyrinthine apartment building and meets Elliot Gould, who skips. After some awkward dialogue where words seem to have been pulled randomly from the Mad Hatter's hat, Cher journeys from one vignette to another in a vaguely Alice In Wonderland-kind of way although you wish she wouldn't. 

In the vignette entitled Misery Loves Company, Shelley Winters tries to sell Cher "1, 2, 3 and 4 hanky tragedies" amidst canned laughter. After some awkward prodding the pair recreates "Withering" Heights, and Cher gives Shelly Winters acting lessons. Shelly Winters get her skirt blown up by a fan mimicking the wiley, windy moors. They shove each other's faces in some dirt. They seem to be good sports about these indignities, and they have a genuine chemistry.

While we're on the subject of Withering Heights, allow me to take a moment to share this video of Noel Fielding recreating the Red Dress Version of Kate Bush's music video for Wuthering Heights for no good reason at all other than it being possibly the best thing that's ever happened ever.

Speaking of shag haircuts, pointed chelsea boots, and The Great British Bake Off, Cher performs Bob Seger's "Feel Like a Number" while playing unconvincing air guitar and it looks suspiciously like she's never seen anyone play a guitar, let alone marry a guitarist. 

Before we discuss the next vignette and while we're on the subject of black satin pants with suspenders, I'd like to take a moment to post a video by Moog synthesizer composer Mart Garson to get you warmed up.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, the next vignette in Cher...and Other Fantasies is a spectacular Red Shoes-inspired roller skate ballet with classical music performed on an analog modular synthesizer, and by "spectacular" I mean, well, I don't exactly know what I mean. It's a thing, and it exists.

Cher seems to be a supporting actor in her own show. This was conceived a few years away from her serious acting with Silkwood, and it seems like someone involved just wants her to shut up and sing. Cher...and Other Fantasies was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design, and considering how many costumes there are, I'm genuinely surprised it didn't win. Oh yeah, speaking of "costumes", Andy Kauffman makes an appearance as Adam while speaking with his Latka voice wearing leafy pantaloons while playing basketball in the Garden of Eden while Cher in a dual role lounges in a tree wearing snake print and making some risqué jokes about Kaufman's figs. 

There were an awful lot of whiles in that sentence, and it was just awful. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Speaking of figs, the video I watched contained vintage commercials from when Fruit Of The Looms cost $1.07 a pair. 

Brutal, nonsensical, and tedious, Cher...and Other Fantasies is an extravaganza of sequins and cheese and is recommended if you like stuff that was extravagantly costumed by Bob Mackie and stuff that sucks. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Thank God It's Friday

My loveseat is in my kitchen. So is my wingback chair, as is my entertainment console, and two huge bookcases. So is the other living room chair, and four stools. My dining room table that seats 8 is dismantled, and is leaning against my refrigerator, like a wooden, tipsy monolith. There is no room to move.

The kitchen countertops are clear of debris. They're clear of everything, really, because they're covered by plastic sheeting. My backsplash is nearly done, its grey, one-inch glass tiling adhered to the wall, but not grouted. It looks great, but nearly done is certainly not finished, and being unfinished makes it extraordinarily difficult to make coffee.

If this sounds uncharacteristically dour, I'm struggling to find the humor in all this. I've been moving for what seems like a year. I guess all my jokes are still packed in cardboard.

It's not all doom and gloom. I am very much enjoying my new neighborhood. I could swing a dead cat and hit artisan cupcakes, "old fashioned" hot dogs (I'm unsure what that means, and scared to find out), Asian noodles, European cookies, vegan soft-serve, three breweries, Croque Monsieurs, falafel, and stone-oven pizza, although I wouldn't recommend swinging one. A dead cat, that is. Don't swing a Croque Monsieur.

As I write this, I'm sitting on my dusty living room floor on a torn piece of carpet underlayment, near two large 2' by 10' holes where some of the original circa-1880 floor used to be. The joists are visible, and I'm annoyed. Sure, we knew the flooring would have to be replaced, but this project has stretched on longer than planned.

Last night, I watched Thank God It's Friday for Reelweegiemidget's Jeff Goldblum Blogathon in my dusty, empty living room, sitting on a piece of torn carpet underlayment, leaning against several boxes of luxury vinyl plank flooring. It's a long way from luxury, and I'm losing the feeling in my legs.

Ok, so enough about that. Onto the review.

Thank God It's Friday

Jeff Goldblum gets third billing. Debra Winger is way down the list. Remarkably enough, Terri Nunn, lead vocalist for 80s synth pop group Berlin, has a big part in the film. Although in the film only a short time, Donna Summer gets billed last, and it's apparent she's the reason the film exists at all.

Future Academy Award nominee Debra Winger wipes her friend with a cheeseburger. Jeff Goldblum drives a yellow Porsche and goes to great lengths to protect it with a car cover stored in the trunk. The car has a license plate that reads, "Big One". Terri Nunn hitchhikes. In a repeated joke, Goldblum's car gets sideswiped by the supporting cast's vehicles.

Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum glares at a sweaty elevator operator wearing a gorilla costume. Two uptight squares on an anniversary date blink in amazement at strobe lights and striped knee-high socks while they carry around a pepper mill.

Meanwhile, Wrong Way Floyd is in charge of getting The Commodores equipment to a midnight gig in a Ford Econoline. At least I assume so. I'm often accused of having "car blindness", where I think every car I see is a Buick. Or maybe it's a Futura.

Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone is aware of this, but bands just don't show up with a saxophone 5 minutes before a gig. Contracts are signed, routes are planned, semis are packed, egos are stroked, and deli meats and bottled waters are set out backstage. Don't ask me how I know this. I just do.

Sidebar: Once many years ago I went to a child's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Wait, that sounds like I wanted to go. Let's try that again. Many years ago, my children were invited to a fellow child's birthday party, and I was forced to suffer through laughter, tears, skee-ball, and mediocre pizza. Yeah, that's more like it. 

The animatronic band onstage in a corner of the restaurant coughed, stuttered, lurched, and wheezed through a hideous rendition of Brick House which had been curiously reworked to feature a pizza-slinging mouse as the protagonist. Dozens of children ignored it, while I stared aghast in horror.

Do we have a clip? Hurray! We have a clip.

Marv Gomez The Leatherman gives a guy a leather jacket and disco lessons before dancing atop a phone booth. Donna Summer serves a salad. Donna Summer and Terri Nunn simultaneously cry in a bathroom, which is remarkable considering both performed on songs that won Oscars for Best Original Song. No, performers do not win the Oscar, only the songwriter, which is kind of a rip-off if you think about it. Actors win Oscars for performing scripts that usually do not write, so that's food for thought.

Speaking of food, Jeff Goldblum's Porsche falls apart after a tap with the pepper mill. The male square gets high on booze, pills, and amyl nitrate and takes a ride with Tarzan. Lionel Richie plays sax.

Thank God It's Friday makes a night out on the town look like Black Friday at Walmart, except with dancing, so it's a film that makes an evening of dancing look sort of like a crowded, noisy chore you do with sweaty, flailing strangers, where several people get punched and someone goes home with a regrettable tube top.

It's an anti-disco disco movie with forgettable tunes as script, with the notable exception of the two Commodores tunes and the Oscar-winning Donna Summer song. It's such an anti-disco disco movie it's almost a cautionary tale for the entire decade. Since Donna Summer is the draw for the film, she should have been given more to do, as she's luminous during the performance of Last Dance. Thank God It's Friday has an unmistakeable Love Boat or Charlie's Angels feel throughout, which isn't a compliment, although it absolutely should be, as if the filmmakers kept the 4/4 beat and the campy, polyester fashions, but forgot the fun. Jeff Goldblum is slick and sleazy in green and red polyester, which is a compliment.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

This post was supposed to be a part of the Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews, but I never finished it. I would like to thank Gill for inviting me to contribute, but my life and everything in it has gotten completely out of hand, and I've rewritten it three times. Here is the review, whether anyone wants it now or not. 

Well, before I get on with the review, I'll explain my delay. My wife and I have been trying to sell Deathrage Tower, as we are trying to downsize, which means we are going to sell our current, perfectly acceptable penthouse and move into a larger, more extravagant penthouse because why wouldn't we. We'd prefer to move from our penthouse near quirky shops and interesting bars and restaurants which we never go to, and move into a completely different yet extremely similar penthouse near other quirky shops and interesting bars and restaurants that are new to us that we will never visit, and we'd like everything to be unnecessarily expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. 

Deathrage Tower. Yes, it's always blurry, in black and white, and lacking in curb appeal. 

Mrs. Deathrage has gone totally KonMari and has packed up everything that makes me somewhat interesting. Apparently, home buyers want a listing to appear somewhat "lived in", but also need the property to be a "blank slate", to help them imagine their own furnishings and belongings within the space, without the current owners' personalities overwhelming it. That means Mrs. Deathrage has packed up all my DVDs, CDs, LPs, books about psychotronic film, cursed paintings, candles shaped like skulls, carvings of skulls, paintings of skulls, actual skulls, and for some unknown reason, the microwave. I can't find anything.

Is this a photo of Deathrage Tower, or a Japanese capsule hotel room? Who knows? Also, it's taken so long to write this post no one talks about Marie Kondo any more.

So this means I'm pulling skulls shaped like candles out of boxes and putting them back on shelves, and throwing art back on the walls that's been stored away, which I'll then have to put back in a box once we eventually move.

When I'm not packing and unpacking my extremely cool decorations, Mrs. Deathrage has been forcing me to watch the Great Interior Design Challenge, where two interior design professionals challenge four amateur interior designers to design a room for British home owners who seem to be unable to decorate their own houses, often to the death.

I'm kidding, they don't do that, although it would be interesting to see one of the design professionals tell one of the competitors, "I'm sorry, your choice of wallpaper is tragic. Please put on this blindfold, and stand near your tragically decorated wall. *points revolver at contestant*"

One thing I do find fascinating about the show is that over the course of the season, the competitors not only find confidence in their interior design skills, but they become more dramatic in their choice of apparel, as they shed their jeans and t-shirts for intricate brocade tops that look like valances. 

He saw it in the window and just couldn't resist it.

So far, the sale of the penthouse isn't going well, in spite of my efforts to be welcoming and hospitable by placing fresh cut flowers in all the rooms, brewing pot after pot of fresh coffee, and setting out tins of extravagantly flavored cookies. One thing that is possibly hurting the sale of our penthouse is that I often lurk in the lobby hiding behind some potted plants watching potential buyers tour our home. It might also be because I mock these potential buyers while yelling in a deep, gravely voice, "Don't drink the freshly brewed coffee. The aroma is for ambience. Don't eat the exotically flavored cookies in extravagant tins. They're decorative."

Maybe I'm unsure what welcoming and hospitable means.

Much to my chagrin, we keep getting feedback from potential buyers after they tour our home. A recurring theme seems to be that they like the amenities (proximity to good schools, near bars and restaurants), but they dislike the decor (candles are threatening, paintings appear to be cursed).

Here's a little feedback for ya: Like, duh, and no one asked you. That's why I keep putting these paintings back on the walls.

Potential buyers also seem to be unimpressed by the soundscape I've specifically curated for just the right atmosphere, which is dungeon synth, medieval party mixes, and nordic ambient, which I keep playing from a hidden speaker no one can locate or turn off.

Obviously, I've never been particularly good with feedback. Speaking of feedback, maybe during our next open house, I'll play this:

Also, there seems to be a legend surrounding Deathrage Tower that a guy with horns, cloven hooves, and a tail haunts the place, but I've never seen him.

Speaking of unexplainable paranormal events, we went to an open house for a penthouse that fits our exacting demands; once two weekends ago, and again on Sunday. Here's how that went down.

Yes, this really happened.

Two weeks ago:
First Realtor: This space has an interesting energy.
Me, pointing a finger accusingly: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Is this a stigmatized property?
First Realtor, becoming suddenly grave: No. No, it isn't. No. *pause* No.
Me: Seriously, this joint being haunted is not a deal-breaker.

Completely Different Realtor, actively smudging the penthouse with smoldering sage: Sorry about the smell.
Me, coughing, dumbfounded: OK, what the heck is going on? Last week, a realtor denied this was a stigmatized property, and now you're smudging the place.
Realtor, realizing their mistake, and desperately attempting to reassure me: I live in the neighborhood. I've had some good times here. I partied here in the 80s. I'm just trying to dispel some negative energies.
Me: Seriously, this isn't a deal-breaker.

That penthouse is still our Plan A, I'm genuinely surprised I wasn't dispelled from all that sage, and I'm assuming those were actual realtors. Let me know if I show up on one of those ghost hunting reality TV programs, will you?

LOL, ok, whatever.

Anyway, as I've been awfully busy being awful, I didn't have a chance to finish my review of The Picture Of Dorian Gray for the blogathon. It was a thrill to watch something filmed during the middle of the last century and having little if anything to do with home decorating for a change. Here's what I wrote. It's incomplete, you know, because of the redecorating, cookies, and procrastination.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

A Lord twiddles a walking stick suggestively, then poisons a butterfly and sticks it to a card with a pin.


Vapid, smirking Dorian Gray stands near a magical statue of an Egyptian Cat, mimicking its features. The Lord and the painter fawn over the painting as Dorian just stands around. Later, Dorian Gray slums in the working class pub The Two Turtles, and becomes enthralled with Angela Lansbury's character, the symbolically named Sibyl Vane, who sings a sweet song. The Lord suggests Sibyl is not as wholesome as she appears, and eggs Dorian into some shady shenanigans. While playing Chopin's Prelude Number 24 on the piano for her, Dorian tries to trick Sibyl into a bit of hanky panky.


After reading a quote from Wilde, Dorian turns callous and calculating. Sibyl drops a single tear. When she complies with Dorian's carnal wishes, fulfilling the Lord's underhanded business, Dorian tosses her aside. Then lots of movie and dialogue happens, where the cast talks about all the hideous things Dorian has done, but never shows them. Someone offhandedly remarks that there are rumors Dorian has been hanging around in Whitechapel. Occasionally, the titular picture is shown in vivid technicolor. Painted for the film by Ivan Albright, you can see it in person at the Art Institute of Chicago, which I have, and it's incredible. If it was for sale, I'd likely hide it in my own attic. Yes, my penthouse has an attic. Shut up. It does so.

That's all I have. Angela Lansbury is great, but her appearance is brief.

Are you really still reading this? Wow, I'm impressed!

Anyway, I'd like to thank Gill from RealweegiemidgetReviews again for inviting me to contribute to the Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon which I totally dropped the ball on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Exorcist II: The Heretic

Again, Realweegiemidget has me out of my element. I'm thrilled to take part in the Regaling About Richard Burton Blogathon, even though Richard Burton seems to have been in tons of great movies I haven't seen. Since Exorcist II: The Heretic is #85 on IMDB's Bottom Rated Movies (of which I've only seen 22, I guess I've been slacking), it would allow me to check another film off the list.

Since watching bad movies, checking things off lists, procrastination, and non-sequiturs are some of my favorite things, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Krampusnacht, and I hope the holiday is merry and bright.

Anyway, I'll try to stay on message, but I can't guarantee anything.

Speaking of procrastination, even though I knew about the Blogathon for months, I waited until the last possible minute to watch this film, because I've been busy checking things off lists and searching the internet for pictures of Krampus.

Mrs. Deathrage doesn't care much for horror films, and I usually wait until she's asleep to watch those films, but because I procrastinated, I ordered the movie off Amazon and started it up while she was working at her computer, blissfuly unaware of what is about to go down.

Naturally, Mrs. Deathrage and I had the following conversation.

Mrs. Deathrage, as the TV shrieks and howls with the guttural wailing and caterwauling of the Ennio Morricone score: Oh no, is this scary? This sounds scary.
Me: No, it only got a 3.7 at IMDB, so it couldn't be that scary. 
TV, interjecting itself into the conversation by showing images of a woman pelting Richard Burton with lit candles and immolating herself:
Me: Hmm.
Mrs. Deathrage: Hmm.
TV, adding insult to injury, showing images of Linda Blair tap dancing to Lullaby Of Broadway:
Mrs. Deathrage, returning to her work:
Louise Fletcher: 3 people died.
Mrs. Deathrage, looking up from her work: Who died?
Me, incredulously: Are you expecting me to explain the plot of the first Exorcist film?
Mrs. Deathrage, guilelessly: Isn't it nice to be married to someone where you can revisit the classics again and again?
TV, trying not to be outdone, responding with 20 minutes of flashing lights and eye-blinking:

Then Linda Blair unexpectedly says the phrase, "Father, can you hear me?", and I try not to burst into song.

Meannwhile, as I wade through Youtube videos of the Yentl soundtrack, superimposed images of Linda Blair in a dual role grappling Louise Fletcher's gooey heart materialize onscreen, which was actually pretty cool.

Then Richard Burton tries to put out a fire with crutches, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but press release photos of this exact image. It's a Krampusnacht miracle.

Suddenly, Linda Blair hunkers down behind her Manhattan skyscraper rooftop chrome disco pigeon containment system, and that is a thing that apparently existed, but I'm not sure why it needed such a prominent role in this film.

However, I'm glad it did because I can now insert at least one video of a disco version of Tubular Bells.

Because it's in the script, Linda Blair tap-dances some more, and it's pretty dull in spite of the extravagant headwear. Wait a sec, I spoke too soon. LB lurches off the stage and has a sequined, screeching fit.

Sorry, I couldn't find a video for the sequined, screeching fit, however, I did find a video from Linda Blair's appearance in the film Roller Boogie featuring the disco classic "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" by Sylvester, and that's nearly as good.

See, that was good, wasn't it? Anyway, the cast takes planes, trains, and automobiles to the setting of the original film, just to remind everyone watching what this movie is supposedly about.

Because this movie takes place in the 70s, an unconvincing almost sort of plane crash is squeezed in like an unwanted commercial for about a million other movies involving plane crashes from the time period.

Then Richard Burton takes about 100 million bugs to the face, and he's a trooper about it.

Spoiler alert: The last few minutes of the film puts its foot on a bunch of paranormal stuff and mashes it right in there because it's desperately needed to liven things up, and there's a flaming car crash, Louise Fletcher being pierced by some barbed wire, another immolation, a building cracking apart and glowing, a serious insect infestation, Linda Blair's dubbed scream, and plummeting home values.

Exorcist II: The Heretic is ridiculous, dull, plodding, and completely scare-free. Considering the original film's subject matter, Exorcist II: The Heretic is surprisingly heavy with grasshoppers and sequins. Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, and James Earl Jones do the best they can with the terrible dialogue and meandering plot. I'm not 100% sure what Linda Blair is attempting to do. There's no pea soup, no Mike Oldfield, and no levitating beds, although one does hop around a bit.

So, strap on your roller skates and save yourself about 1 hour and 54 minutes and get down to the funky trailer, which shows every exciting thing that happens in the movie, including the sequined fit. Consider it a little Krampusnacht gift.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Airport '77

Thanks so much to Realweegiemidget for inviting me to take part in this Lee Grant blogathon, although I was reluctant to participate. Longtime readers of my blog will know that I focus on terrible films, or documentaries that explore various subjects in Forteana. Glancing briefly at Lee Grant's filmography, I would be totally out of my element, considering she has been nominated for an Academy Award four times (winning for Shampoo). As far as I can tell, she has never appeared in a film where she is shown crouched behind a boulder in the woods searching for Bigfoot, although she did once get attacked by killer bees.

Ooh, I'm going to have to bookmark this one for later.

My fears were proven misplaced. Case in point: Behold her appearance in the Bermuda Triangle-themed disaster film Airport '77, which fits at least two of my criteria for review, one: the fortean phenomena of The Bermuda Triangle, and two: Airport '77 is pretty darn bad.

A star-studded, sideburned, Dry Look-ed, disaster extravaganza, Airport '77's complicated plot involves the heist of several paintings and other valuables stowed in the belly of an improbably huge plane, as the crooks attempt to steal these items through the use of costume changes, toupees, and knockout gas, which causes the plane to crash into the Bermuda Triangle. 

An improbably huge 3-story jumbo jet filled to bursting with Rembrandts, vintage wines, and antique autos warehoused in its cargo hold, this plane is outfitted with offices, a surprisingly turbulence-proof and chockful-of-breakables lounge area, unseen-but-mentioned sleeping rooms, a laserdisc player, and a table-top Pong video game. Could a plane like this exist? Could it manage to get off the ground? I don't know, and I don't want to do the research to find out. Don't @ me, because I really can't be bothered to care.

Standing out amongst a crowd of stars, one really can't stop watching Lee Grant, and she devastates everyone in eyeshot with more than a few withering glares. It's obvious who the queen is on this flight, so you'd better watch yourself Olivia De Havilland. Ms. Grant is impeccably pantsuited, and brooched within an inch of her life. She requires one brooch on her outerwear, and one brooch underneath.

Mrs. Deathrage commented that this film resembles a 'QVC in the skies'.

Air traffic controllers lose radar contact with the flight, which results in someone tapping the glass screen of the radar (if I recall correctly, this often was a logical fix with cathode-ray TVs at the time), and shrugging their shoulders because, 'Well, they're in the Bermuda Triangle', and that sort of thing often happens with flights, I guess. 

During the painting theft, where the thieves choose between which priceless masterpiece they'd rather burgle with no real place to go, the plane seems to skim across the surface of the ocean in some rather convenient Bermuda Triangle fog, and the plane clips one of those smack-dab-in-the-middle of the Bermuda Triangle oil rigs. The plane's engines flame out, causing someone to crash through plate glass, someone else to fall down the jet's spiral staircase, someone else to get steamrolled by a grand piano, someone else to fly through an intricately carved wooden partition, and someone else to get beaned by a champaign chiller, resulting in some unintentional hilarity.

The plane settles into the bottom of the ocean, everyone becomes remarkably teary-eyed, and Christopher Lee carries an injured passenger past some obvious camera shadows. Then Darren McGavin grabs a handful of soggy shag carpeting.

After a partially successful attempt to release an inflatable raft to the surface, where we're judging the success of the attempt on the ratio of survivors, Christopher Lee's lifeless corpse drifts past the aircraft's windows, causing someone to offer an inconsolable Lee Grant a beverage, and by that I mean they forcefully pour the contents of a mini bottle of J&B down her throat. Lee Grant somnambulantly tries to open the door of the plane, and Brenda Vaccaro decks her, keeping the remaining passengers alive for a few minutes.

Suddenly, the navy shows up, and Mrs. Deathrage comments on the rescuers' short-shorts. The threat that a coxswain might appear is very real.

Meanwhile, the survivors in the plane break out in a sweat, but I doubt it has anything to do with the short-shorts. 

The film ends in a clown-car like fashion, where dozens of people escape the re-sinking of the plane in a frantic fashion, most of whom I don't recall seeing in the previous two-hours of film while Jimmy Stewart looks off into the distance with a look on his face as though he's pinched a nerve. 

Featuring some fairly convincing underwater footage and startling special effects where several Academy Award winners and nominees are threatened with actual drowning, Airport '77 is surprisingly watchable for something so awful. Lee Grant is magnetic throughout, and is compelling even when the script isn't. Not to be outdone, Olivia De Havilland's blue eyeshadow and oversized sunglasses should have been nominated for dueling Supporting Actor Oscars.