Posts Tagged ‘phil blankenship’

The Third Annual All Night Horror Show @ The New Bev!

October 12, 2010

It was that magical time of the year again! That time when Phil Blankenship hosts his Third Annual All Night Horror Show at the fabulous New Beverly Cinema here in L.A. I’ve attended the first two all nighters and I was there again for another heaping helping of scary flicks shown over a 12 hour period. It’s a serious endurance test for all horror movie maniacs and if you can make it all the way to the end, you’re one of the proud, the brave and the insane. This year was without a doubt, the best one I’ve ever attended. Each selection made me very happy and I’m marking the days on my calendar ’till next year’s all nighter. The following is a hazy recollection filtered through various chemicals (actually it was only a lot of caffeine and sugar this year ’cause I’m on the wagon):

1st movie:

DARIO ARGENTO’S TENEBRAE (1982) is my second favorite giallo of all time, right after Argento’s DEEP RED. It was a joy to watch this on the big screen with an audience. This fun filled and extremely violent movie is about a famous giallo writer who has come to Rome to promote his new book, Tenebrae. In an unsuspected bit of unwanted publicity, a black gloved killer is slicing women up and stuffing pages from the book in their mouths. Argento is clearly having fun with the genre as everyone is a suspect in this flick and the red herrings are tossed around like a trip to an Asian fish market. At one point even a vicious doberman is a possible killer (by the way, the dog is one of the best actors I’ve ever seen, and at one point it actually sizes up a tall fence, backs up and jumps it in a single bound). Even the actual killer turns out to be a red herring for yet another mysterious killer! The bloody murders are incredibly stylish as usual, especially one where a woman has her arm chopped off with an ax that sprays a geyser of blood against a wall like an abstract artist painting his canvas. The audience ate this one up and it was a great way to start things off.

2nd movie:

What better way to follow up a great Italian horror movie then with another great Italian horror movie. LUCIO FULCI’S THE GATES OF HELL (A.K.A. THE CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) is a wonderfully insane supernatural zombie flick. It’s about a priest who happens to hang himself in a cemetery over one of the 7 portals of Hell, in a town call Dunwich. Bad choice, because all kinds of crazy hell breaks loose, literally. Before long the residents are having the back of their heads ripped off by zombies that can actually teleport. Let me tell ya, there is nothing more unfair than a zombie that can just materialize out of thin air directly behind you. You can’t defend yourself against that. How about the suicidal priest coming back as a demon who can telepathically make your eyes bleed and cause you to puke out your guts? Not cool. And just when you thought everyone was safe and sound inside the house, cue the maggot storm! That’s right, real maggots showering you from head to toe. These events have their toll on the towns people’s patience, as clearly shown when a protective father shoves a guys head through a power drill because he catches him smoking weed with his daughter. This movie’s plot is all over the map and concludes with a final shot that I still don’t really understand, but I don’t care. I love this movie and it really plays well with an audience. Nobody does crazy fucked up horror as well as the Italians do. Bravo!

3rd movie:

THE EVIL is a creepy little haunted house movie from 1978 that I’ve never seen before. Richard Crenna and Joanna Pettet play a couple who have just purchased an old, cob web filled mansion. They invite a group of friends and some former psychiatric patients of Crenna to help clean the place up. But when Crenna opens up a door in the basement that’s sealed with a weird looking crucifix (bad sign) an evil presence seals the home up making escape impossible. A ghostly apparition tries to help, but one by one the guests drop like flies. There are lots of electrocutions, a dog pushes a woman down a flight of stairs, Andrew Prine (wearing a weird pair of sailor pants) gets stuck in quick sand, and Victor Buono plays the goddamned Devil. What more can I say?

??Surprise movie??

Last year’s surprise movie almost created a near riot when three episodes of TALES FROM THE CRYPT were shown and met with a fairly negative reaction. Well, Phil made up for it this year with a very well received presentation of the 80s Heavy Metal Horror classic TRICK OR TREAT (1986). It was just what everyone wanted at exactly the right time. The fourth film in the night is the RALLY movie where you really need to invigorate the crowd and this one did just that. I’ve never seen TRICK OR TREAT before, so it was a great TREAT for me to finally see it on the big screen with an extremely enthusiastic crowd. The plot concerns a high school metalhead named Eddie Weinbauer (played by Marc Price A.K.A. Skippy from FAMILY TIES) who is constantly being bullied by a group of mean jocks. He is the number one fan of a devil worshipping metal God named Sammi Curr, who is killed in a accidental hotel fire. Heartbroken Eddie seeks support from a metal DJ named Nuke (Gene Simmons) and is given a rare demo album the deceased rock star cut before his untimely death. Eddie soon realizes that Sammi Curr is trying to return to life through the backwards passages on his record. Before long, he starts getting back at the bullies who’ve wronged him as the homicidal rocker returns to the world of the living. This movie was a lot of fucking fun! The awesome music was by the hair band FASTWAY and it was directed by actor Charles Martin Smith (AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STARMAN). Rock on!

5th movie:

Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture. – IMDB plot description for THE GIANT CLAW.

I remember seeing scenes from THE GIANT CLAW (1957) as part of the incredible MOVIE ORGY that Joe Dante edited together along with a handful of other shlocky creature features from the 50s. This one peaked my interest because it featured a giant rubbery looking vulture swooping down and destroying buildings and knocking airplanes out of the sky. This was an inspired choice. A nice taste of old school monster movie madness. It’s about a hot shot jet pilot (are there any other kind?) who spies a UFO “as big as a battleship” one day while flying a test mission. He’s dismissed as a crackpot, but when it becomes apparent that there is actually a giant bird destroying shit and gobbling people up, he becomes the hero who must save the day. Turns out the creature is from some antimatter universe and can only be destroyed with antimatter weaponry (pure nonsensical 50s logic). This movie was a surprising amount of campy fun that kept me chuckling as we pressed further into the early morning hours.

6th movie:

BREEDERS (1986) had been described to me previously as “80 minutes of alien rape” and that’s exactly what it was. This was the HOLY FUCKING SHIT movie of the night and at a time when my attention was drifting towards sleep, it perked me up and kept me glued to the screen with its ridiculous plot, cheesy gore, excessive nudity and the worst acting ever committed to film. The single women of New York are being attacked and raped by a creature that mutates from human form into a nasty, slimy monster with tentacles and a huge penis-finger. The women are all virgins, which is a tough nut to swallow considering all the actresses are in their late twenties, live in the largest city in the world and it’s the 80s. One of the virgin victims is a bathing suit model who snorts cocaine for lunch and does nude aerobics in the studio. The only two people who can crack the case are the world’s dumbest police detective and an equally dumb female doctor with huge hair, who also happens to be a virgin. They uncover a hidden lair in the subway tunnels where the rape victims bathe in a hot tub full of alien semen so they can transform into something more horrifying. This movie was like SEX AND THE CITY meets HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. Pure madness and I loved every second of it.

7th movie:

I blacked out from exhaustion following BREEDERS, but I managed to stir awake just in time to catch the last half of THE OUTING (1987). Another wacky 80s horror flick that I somehow missed back in the day. This one (from what I can gather) was about a group of teenagers who somehow awaken an evil monster genie from a bottle. The kids have decided to spend the night in a museum and that’s where the genie starts magically killing them off one by one. One girl is bitten to death by cobras while she takes a bath and two wannabe rapist jocks are murdered with their own masks. It all leads to a showdown with the giant rubber genie chasing the main girl and her parents through the museum as they attempt to destroy the magic lamp. I always thought genies were supposed to be helpful and grant you three wishes and shit. This movie felt like a surreal dream that I was having or how I really wanted NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM to actually play. It closed the All Night Horror Show with a bang!

My fellow Horror Show veteran, Grae Drake (who couldn’t make it all the way through last year) and I stumbled out into the bright early morning sun feeling like we really accomplished something. Anyone can hang for part of the night, but it takes a certain kind of geek warrior to make it ’till the very end. It’s what separates the men from the boys. Or the normal from the crazy. Can’t wait until next year!

 

Wide awake and ready to be scared at the start of the All Night Horror Show.

 

 

12 hours later. We survived.

 

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Phil Blankenship’s Film Explosion Part 2 @ The New Beverly Cinema!

June 12, 2010

From June 4th to the 10th, Phil Blankenship had a film explosion at the New Beverly Cinema. It was his second, so far. Who is Phil Blankenship? He’s a video-maniac extraordinaire and boy does he know his films. He programs the best selection of midnight movies that the revival house heavy city of Los Angeles has to offer. His choices are made up of many of the dusty, forgotten treasures you would often scan past on the shelves of your local video tape rental shop. Almost all of the films he programs are unavailable on DVD and include party favorites, cult movies and totally obscure b-movie gems. For one full week he put together a mind-blowing program of triple and double features that melted the faces of even the most avid film freaks right down to the bone.

It started on a Friday night with a testosterone and steroid drenched triple-bill of three of SYLVESTER STALLONE’S finest action films: the 1986 uber-cop madness of COBRA, followed by the over-the-top buddy-cop craziness of TANGO & CASH (costarring KURT RUSSELL) and the mountaintop action epic CLIFFHANGER (directed by RENNY HARLIN).

Saturday night was a triple-bill of b-movie auteur JIM WYNORSKI’S films: THE LOST EMPIRE, a highly entertaining and super-campy action/adventure flick about a big breasted blonde cop, who puts together a group of equally big breasted female mercenaries, so they can infiltrate a martial arts tournament on a secret island fortress and seek vengeance for the death of her brother from an undead wizard named Lee Chuck. It was wild! Then there was the incredible 80’s classic CHOPPING MALL (A.K.A. KILLBOTS), about a trio of mall security robots that go berserk and start killing off a group of partying teenagers. Lastly, there was a straight to video action movie starring COREY HAIM (who’s in his late twenties and playing a teenager) and ALAN THICKE (as HAIM’S cop father. Huh?) called DEMOLITION HIGH, which was like a combination of DIE HARD and THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Guests that night included JIM WYNORSKI and actors TONY O’DELL & KELLI MARONEY from CHOPPING MALL.

Tony O'Dell, Kelli Maroney and Jim Wynorski discuss CHOPPING MALL.

O'Dell poses with a Killbot.

Sunday gave us a double dose of two truly disgusting kids movies: 1987’s THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE, which was repulsive, grotesque and oddly surreal. Followed by the slimy puppet horror of GHOULIES II, which is considered by some to be the seventh best “carnival” movie ever made.

Monday was a double-bill of two classic 80’s slasher films: SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, which was written and directed by two feminist women, whom were clearly making a not-so-subtle satire of the genre. It was followed by SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, a gory campus cut-up. DAVID MILLBERN, costar of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE was a guest.

David Millbern talking about SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE.

Tuesday was a really cool BRIAN DePALMA double feature of: BLOW OUT, which is one of my favorite films by the director and one helluva bad ass thriller. It was shown with his more recent sexy dream mystery FEMME FATALE. Acclaimed editor and DePALMA collaborator PAUL HIRSCH was in the house for a magnificent Q & A.

Acclaimed editor Paul Hirsch on Brian DePalma.

On Wednesday, it was Phil’s birthday, so he showed two of his favorites: the classic REVENGE OF THE NERDS (and everybody’s favorite nerd ROBERT CARRADINE showed up to talk about it), which was followed by the third annual screening of Phil’s favorite movie, the aerobicsploitation epic HEAVENLY BODIES.

Nerd! Robert Carradine in the house!

Thursday was the final day of Phil’s festival and he showed two really awesome and obscure 80’s horror movies: PRISON (1988) starring VIGGO MORTENSEN as a convict in a prison haunted by a supernatural killer. Director RENNY HARLIN was on hand, along with the screenwriter C. COURTNEY JOYNER and veteran exploitation producer IRWIN YABLINS for a Q & A about the film. Next was THE HORROR SHOW (A.K.A HOUSE III) about a sadistic killer (played by BRION JAMES) who returns from the dead after being electrocuted for his crimes, so he can destroy the life of the cop (LANCE HENRIKSEN) who caught him. Both were very smart and well made exploitation films that are relatively unknown.

From R to L: Renny Harlin, C. Courtney Joyner and Irwin Yablins sing Happy Birthday to Phil.

Phil’s got some great midnight movies coming up this month at the New Bev, including the underrated 80’s teen classic THE WILD LIFE, the CLINT EASTWOOD stalker-from-hell flick PLAY MISTY FOR ME and the summer camp sequel insanity of MEATBALLS PART II. Nerd out!

THE VHS JUNKIE’S LATEST FIX: THE KINDRED (1987)

April 12, 2010

I recently purchased a brand new Panasonic Bluray/VHS combo player and I’ve been going on scavenger hunts all over the city and internet, looking for rare movies on video tape. Thanks to my good friend,  New Beverly Cinema Queen Julia Marchese, I found a small independent video store that’s selling off its entire VHS inventory. The place turned out to be a virtual treasure trove, where I was able to purchase TONS of old movies for peanuts, that are either not available on DVD, out of print, or so obscure even I have never seen them before. I’m gonna write up some reviews of certain select titles from my new collection.

THE KINDRED (1987) is a good old fashioned slimy 80’s monster movie, that is still CRIMINALLY unavailable on DVD. It stars Academy Award-winning actors, ROD STEIGER and KIM HUNTER as two scientists that have been screwing around with something called Hemocyanin and performing genetic experiments on cats and the occasional odd human.

Crazy Dr. Phillip Lloyd (ROD STEIGER) pays off ambulance drivers to bring him the freshest injured patients to work on. But, when his supplier asks him for more money, he is fed to the mutants the doctor keeps caged up in his laboratory. Blame it on the damn recession!

On her death bed, Dr. Amanda Hollins (KIM HUNTER) confides to her son John, that he has a half brother named Anthony and that she’s been working on experiments with him at the old family home. After her death, John brings a group of his pre-med friends to the abandoned isolated house (including a mysterious and hot british scientist played by AMANDA PAYS), so that they can help him figure out his mother’s “Anthony journals”.

Not long after they arrive, it becomes clear that they are not alone. A slimy, tentacled green monster starts killing the guests off one by one (including Duke the dog!) and there is an amazing scene involving the monster and a watermelon that is simply INCREDIBLE!

Soon, they all discover that John’s mother extracted tissue from him when he was young and the monster is his half brother, Anthony. AMANDA PAYS has been hired by STEIGER to capture Anthony and bring him back to the lab. In payment, she will receive stronger medicine to stop her from turning into a gilled fish-monster, because she too is a mutant! Don’t worry, she turns into one on screen and it’s AWESOME!

There is an incredible showdown between Anthony and the heroes, and (in typical 80’s fashion) the monster is electrocuted and explodes in a geyser of squirting goo and puss! Even a screaming ROD STEIGER gets slimed!

I LOVE THE KINDRED!!! The acting and direction are surprisingly good and the cheap special effects are wonderful to behold. I found it really refreshing to watch the practical, non-CGI FX in this movie. THE KINDRED is a great example of how awesome looking that stuff was, (no matter how rubbery the monster puppet looks) because it was real, tangible and right there on camera.

When it comes to 80’s monster horror, THE KINDRED is a really fun, gooey movie and a rare, underrated gem. I would LOVE to see PHIL BLANKENSHIP play this movie at the New Beverly Cinema as a midnight flick. It would totally ROCK the house! Until next time you vidiots, be kind and rewind! Nerd out!

“Breaker 1-9…Breaker 1-9…You got your ears on? We got an all-day TRUCKATHON at the New Beverly. Come on.”

September 21, 2009
An all-day marathon of movies about trucks and the men who drive them!

An all-day marathon of movies about trucks and the men who drive them!

There was a time in America when TRUCKS, TRUCKERS and C.B. RADIOS were a pop culture phenomenon. The professional truck driver’s life style was the inspiration for many songs, movies, T.V. shows and even a famous bumper sticker that informed us all to “Keep on Truckin’…”. It was a strange time of Shlitz beer drinking, cap wearing, chew spittin’, good ole boys who drove their big rigs hard and loved their women even harder. They were men of principals and they formed a brotherhood that had a code of ethics and language all of it’s own. Therefore a new genre of film called TRUXPLOITATION emerged that glamorized these blue collar road warriors in films like the SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT trilogy, CONVOY (based on the hit country song) and let’s not forget the B.J. AND THE BEAR television series (as well as it’s spin-off SHERIFF LOBO). After all, the trucking industry is the backbone of American commerce, so it only seems fitting to celebrate this glorious bygone era of trucker-worship with an all-day movie TRUCKATHON, right? And whom better to host such an event than midnight movie cult leader Phil Blankenship and the nerd sanctuary that is the New Beverly Cinema, right? That’s a big 10-4 good buddy!

Phil handed out a list of  trucker terms with translations included and in between the films we were treated to several truxploitation movie trailers that included, HIGH BALLIN’ (starring Jerry Reed and Peter Fonda), BREAKER, BREAKER (starring a clean shaven Chuck Norris in one of his earliest roles), CONVOY (Kris Kristofferson), CONVOY BUSTERS (an Italian action film involving trucks), a French trailer for Steven Spielberg’s DUEL, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 1 AND 2, and RACE WITH THE DEVIL.

poster-cb-hustlers

The first film up was a wacky little sex comedy from 1978 called C.B. HUSTLERS. The very “skimpy” plot had something to do with three big breasted hookers who service passing truckers from a C.B. equipped van on the side of the road in some redneck town. Practically every scene in the movie had a naked girl in it. The hookers and the truckers team up to outwit the local police that are out to “bust” them. OH!

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The second movie of the day was a little gem from our old friends at CANNON FILMS called THUNDER RUN from 1986. The movie was a little like SORCERER if William Friedkin was missing a chromosome or two. Forrest (F TROOP) Tucker is offered 500,000 dollars to drive a big rig full of plutonium to a secret military base in an effort to flush out a dangerous gang of coed, multicultural terrorists that drive Volkswagen beetles armed with roof-rockets. If he can make it through the desert in one piece, he’s still got to deactivate the laser tunnel at the entrance of the army base or he’ll be incinerated. The fate of the free world in the hands of Forrest Tucker? Holy shit!

white_line_fever

"My name is Carol Jo Hummer and I'm looking for work!"

"My name is Carrol Jo Hummer and I'm looking for work!"

The third film was the working class hero epic WHITE LINE FEVER which is the NORMA RAE of trucking movies! Jan Michael Vincent is Carrol Jo Hummer, a simple young man who is living the American dream as an owner/operator of his very own big rig. But when he refuses to run illegal contraband, he’s blacklisted and forced to go to extremes to support his pregnant, beer guzzling wife. With shotgun in hand, Carrol Jo bucks the corrupt system and drives his big rig through a giant corporate sign! Yee-hah!

roadgamesHs

Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis have great chemistry in Roadgames.

Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis have great chemistry in Road Games.

ROAD GAMES was the fourth movie on the schedule and my favorite movie of the night. Stacy Keach plays an American truck driver working the highways of the Australian outback who picks up a pretty young hitchiker played by Jamie Lee Curtis. In a plot borrowed heavily from Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, the two track a psychotic killer who is murdering young ladies on the road. The killer is played by none other than the infamous Aussie daredevil stuntman GRANT PAGE and the film features several awesome car stunts including one that involves two trucks, an anchor and a boat. This is a really cool movie with a tight script and terrific chemistry between the two leads, Keach and Curtis.

blackdog

Patrick Swayze has his hands full with Meatloaf.

Patrick Swayze has his hands full with Meatloaf.

The final movie of the evening was 1998’s BLACK DOG, starring the late Patrick Swayze as an ex-con who needs to make some fast money in order to save his family home. He accepts a job for 10,000 dollars from a guy named Red (Meatloaf) to haul a rig to Atlanta, but the load he’s carrying is full of illegal weapons and he’s been set up. Swayze has to deal with the F.B.I., hijackers led by Meatloaf and the legend of the black dog itself, in order to save his happy home. This was a highly energetic way to end the marathon and a nice tribute to Patrick Swayze.

The TRUCKATHON was a long haul but I really enjoyed the ride. Once again, The New Beverly Cinema dropped the hammer down and kept the Smokeys off our backs. Until next time, keep your pedal to the medal and stay out of those bear traps, good buddy!