Friday, July 31, 2020


Capricorn One wallpapers, Movie, HQ Capricorn One pictures | 4K ...

Capricorn One comes from a time when we got our conspiracy theories from the likes of the Weekly World News and not the Oval Office. One of the most prevalent conspiracy theories I've run across is the crusty notion that the United States did not put men onto the surface of the Moon, and that the whole shebang was just a product of the "Industrial Military Complex" and it's need to keep a tight tether on the fickle public. Sometimes aliens get mixed into this rhubarb, but the essential element is that government of the people and for the people spends most of its time lying to the people. Now I'm not going to say that governments don't lie, they do with regularity, but the dopey and preposterous notion that we didn't go the Moon ain't some of them. This lack of trust in public offices and the conjoined notion that science ain't all it's cracked up to be has no small part in the current debacle the United States lays claim to as a public health response to a global pandemic. In a world where people profess to believe the Earth is not only flat but only six thousand years old, confidence in the rigors of science does not prosper. The end of the "Enlightenment" is at hand amigos. 

Tomorrow change arrives in the Dojo! 

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Thursday, July 30, 2020


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers | Moviepedia | Fandom

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a magnificent epic fantasy and after the peculiar cartoon adaptations by first Ralph Bakshi and later the Rankin/Bass finale to that version, I rather despaired ever seeing it brought properly to the big screen. But Peter Jackson's trilogy did so magnificently. The Two Towers of course is the title of the second book and the second movie installment. LotR as adapted by the Kiwis was to my mind the pinnacle of this kind of movie making. The ability to do even more digitally and the financial standing to go at that approach with nigh unlimited vigor created in The Hobbit a wasted opportunity, a movie that asked only if it could do a effect and not if it should do a effect. 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Three Days of the Condor (1975) - IMDb

I don't' exactly remember when I first ran across 3 Days of the Condor but it was a hit with me immediately. Max Von Sydow is a cold assassin and Robert Redford is totally credible as a sometimes hapless espionage agent who just wants to live another day. This ain't super spies by any means and that's fresh in and of itself in the matter-of-fact cold-blooded nature of murdering for one's country.  I like that I rarely see it, long enough between times for the small touches to fade from memory and let me enjoy all over again. 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Fantastic Four - Poster (2015) by CAMW1N on DeviantArt

I have really grown to appreciate Fantastic 4 more and more as I've seen the film now several times on TV and elsewhere. It's a hard movie to love for a comic book fan as it's not really on model all that much. What it does do exceedingly well is evoke the spirit of discovery which informed the earliest issues of the Fab 4 when they super-scientific explorers as much as superheroes. It's one of those movies that demands the watcher discard preconceptions and for me as a longtime FF fan that was hard to do, but now I've shuffled off those expectations and I can take this movie as is -- a pretty decent adventure. 

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Monday, July 27, 2020


Five Million Years to Earth (20th Century Fox, 1967). One Sheet ...

Five Million Years to Earth is in my pantheon of all-time fave films. It always delivers when I see it and I've seen many many times. Getting hold of a copy of his Hammer offering has proven difficult over the years for some reason but I recently got hold of the Blu-Ray and am positively chuffed to have it at my beck and call. Andrew Keir is outstanding as the always-grumpy Professor Quatermass and Barbara Shelley makes me tingle, she's so sexy. It's a great scary story well told and a movie fan can ask no more. 

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Sunday, July 26, 2020


DeepStar Six (1989) - IMDb

Deep Star Six was along with Leviathan and The Abyss one of those instances when several movies with every similar themes hit the screens about the same time in the late 80's. The classic model was established by The Thing in which a group of capable folks are stranded in a remote location and must deal with a deadly monstrous enemy on their own. In The Thing the heroes are isolated in the Arctic, but in these movies the depths of the ocean are the settings. Deep Star Six was the least of the three with The Abyss being the most compelling and Leviathan the most frightening. But Deep Star Six still offers some nifty shocks -- great B-movie offering. 

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Saturday, July 25, 2020


Se7en (1995) - IMDb

Seven (sometimes written Se7en) is a movie that lingers in the depths of your brain. It is my favorite Morgan Freeman film with him as a world-weary but almost a regretfully brilliant detective, and another example of the dexterity that Brad Pitt can bring to a part. The murders are at once grotesque and fascinating, the puzzle bewildering and inspired. The inspiration is the product of sheer evil which allows the villain to exist in a nightmare world of his own fashioning, a hell of his own making as if not only to punish himself but all of mankind for the pain  he feels and the feels the need to inflict. Seven seeps into you like its nigh omnipresent rain which doesn't wash you clean but merely cover you in grime. 

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Friday, July 24, 2020


Super 8 movie poster print -11 x 17 inches Elle Fanning

Super 8 is the most Steven Spielberg movie not directed by Steven Spielberg. He does co-produce so it's not completely out of his control, but clearly J.J. Abrams had seen all of Spielberg's sci-fi movies and they had seeped deeply into his essence when he wrote the script for this tale of a bunch of misfit kids who find themselves battling a deadly alien to save their town and maybe the world. Emotion drips from every frame, perhaps a bit too much at times, but it's all good in the end. 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020


District 9 is one of those movies you think about when it's over. The presentation creates a feeling of verisimilitude which empowers the narrative in ways we as audience aren't immediately aware of. It takes the utterly fantastic notion of space aliens forced to live in slum conditions outside a major city and forces us as viewers to identify with them. It demands we see ourselves potentially in their suffering and of course that's whole point of Neill Blomkapp's best movie. He's tried, but he's never topped it yet. 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020



Cloverfield was one of the more inventive monster movies of recent years. A giant kaiju seen through the narrow lens and limited perspective of an every man on the streets as the buildings fall down and the people die. Making a sequel posed problems since the core gimmick was so specific, but 10 Cloverfield Lane does a good job. It's good because it doesn't ape the original in any way but rather offers up another limited perspective to world shattering event and keeps the audience at bay, as confused as the protagonist. It's a winner and has a dandy upbeat ending -- for a movie about impending apocalypse.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Ocean's 11 (1960) - IMDb

Frank Sinatra is a peculiar figure in American pop culture -- part pop idol and part gangster. His "Danny Ocean" (the titular hero of Oceans 11) is the essence of what it was to be cool in the years just after World War II, a suave and confident man who "grokked" the world in all its complexity and move to make his piece of it a little shinier. I'm struck by the "11" too. Dean Martin is the eptiome of cool self control, Joey Bishop is a sad clown of negativity, Peter Lawford is suave but suspected of being feckless, Sammy Davis is the black man movie goers forgot was black, and Angie Dickinson is what sexy girls were supposed to want to be. The others fill out various stereotypes, even the luckless Richard Conte whose death is advertised from the very beginning. I watched this show recently and was struck at how Cesar Romero dominated the flick, an actor who I pretty much only know through the Joker lens. 

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Monday, July 20, 2020


12 Monkeys Movie Posters From Movie Poster Shop

Six months ago or longer this original Rip Jagger's Dojo broke. Eager to stay up and running in the blogosphere I fashioned an "Other Dojo" and it has served well. But I find this old place is active again, and frankly I want to come home. For the past several weeks, both Dojos have operated more or less identically, but that's about to change. With today's post we begin a countdown to changes at the Dojos. For the most part don't expect expansive posts for the next dozen days while I use the time to spruce up things attend to necessary house cleaning. 

And now for 12 Monkeys. This movie by director Terry Gilliam is a thoughtful time travel yarn with many of the bizarre touches associated with the director who once upon a time gave Monty Python its distinctive appearance. But what I most remember about this flick is that it convinced me that Brad Pitt could act. Despite a reputation as a wonderful specimen of mankind's loveliness, I realized there was more to him. Other movies, most notably the recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have convinced me I was right. Pitt is not just another pretty face. 

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Sunday Funnies - Prince Valiant 1941-1942!

Prince Valiant during the years of 1941 and 1942 was at its peak, a peak which would become a plateau in ensuing years. The speed of the storytelling in conjunction with the broad geography of the settings make these some of Val's most exciting and compelling adventures. And most importantly of all he meets the fascinating siren who would in future years become his love and his wife, the alluring Aleta of the Misty Isles. 

A Prince Named Valiant: Misty Isles

A Prince Named Valiant: Aleta

These stories see a very young Prince Val eager to prove himself in a world which is a sprawling unknown. He displays immense courage and an acute understanding of military tactics well beyond his age. As adept as he is at warfare though he is every bit as confused when it comes to matters of his own heart, though he is able to become cupid for other couples.  

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West ...

As strong and skilled as Valiant is, it is his mind which seems always on display in these Hal Foster yarns. Whether it is outwitting a pirate captain or a addled sorcerer or even a kind of vampire, Valiant is able to fearlessly approach the problem. The most visually staggering enemies are the creatures of the Earth itself such as gorillas and elephants found in the depths of the African jungles, or a giant octopus used to kill the unwary in the center of a deadly castle. 

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West ...

Valiant is also seen as a most loyal friend. He partners with a viking leader named Boltar and later he finds that Sir Gawain needs his help yet again. But it is Aleta who wins his heart, though it is by the whims of fate that he comes to believe that her people are savage killers and not to be trusted. It will be another day before he learns the truth, but we can see already that Prince Valiant's heart has been given. 

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Romp Of The Red Death!

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes from 1978 is a delightful romp in movie making by folks who knew only some of what they need to know to make it a fully professional show and didn't have the money to do it anyway.  The show is a send-up of most every invasion and monster movie you've ever seen while taking time to potshot then recent hits like Jaws and Superman. The movie has three sequels, the first in 1987 and sadly by that time despite an earnestness of purpose and talented folks, the movie looks a whole lot like most other ironic monster movies which filled the VHS racks to supply the endless need of the home video user. There is a abundant use of sex to sell a show that is essentially cynical about its subject. That's not the case with the original. There is a genuine exhilaration at just making a movie which keeps this cheap little number from falling into the same ditch so many of its kind discover in the end.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978) directed by John De Bello ...

The premise is pretty simple -- mutated tomatoes of our own making have attacked their creators and it's up to a few brave public servants to discover the full nature of the threat and stop it. The film has pros in it like Jack Riley and Eric Christmas, but the bulk of the story is carried forward by essentially amateurs. One of those amateurs is Stephen Peace who goes on to appear in other of the Tomato movies and who became a  California legislator for a time.

Reviews from the Edge: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes | Critics Den

The show's biggest moment comes early when a helicopter crashes with a stunning realism. The reason it was real, a helicopter did crash in the middle of a scene and the camera kept rolling. No one was hurt, but it was hard to watch it and not thing someone did. The filmmakers just used it and it became a famous enough scene to get Jack Riley onto the Tonight Show and got Attack of the Killer Tomatoes some free publicity it could have never afforded otherwise.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978) Review |BasementRejects

I imagine most folks have seen this one. But if you've only ever seen one of the sequels, I beseech you to seek out and enjoy the original. It's shoddy but filled with enthusiasm and more than a few laughs. It, unlike its descendants has a heart, a great big juicy red heart.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Made Men - I Call Him The Human Torch!

The first and foremost of the "Made Men" is Timely's The Human Torch. Debuting in the first issue of Marvel Comics (along with the Sub-Mariner of course) the Torch is an android created by Professor Horton. But he has a flaw, the artificial man bursts into flames on contact with the atmosphere and so after proving to be a menace is encased in concrete. But he breaks free and does in some villains and begins a career as a hero, a career which during the Golden Age paid little heed to his manufactured origins.

Human Torch by Carl Burgos

The Human Torch becomes a powerhouse for Timely, who alongside the Sub-Mariner and Captain America form the "Big Three" for the ferocious company, led by Martin Goodman who was more than eager to jump on any trend and suck the marrow out of it. When superheroes fell from favor, the Human Torch disappeared to be replaced by funny animals and bodacious models. When superheroes came back so did the Torch in the early Atom Age days. But it was when the character was totally revamped and made a true HUMAN Torch named Johnny Storm that the character found lasting power.

Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: The Saga of the Original Human ...

Eventually the original returned, though with  grumbling endurance, His brevity has been suggested to be because of the attempts by his creator Carl Burgos to gain some additional revenue from the character in court. But eventually "John Hammond" the Golden Age Human Torch does become a part of the Marvel mythology in an ongoing way, at first as part of the Vision's elaborate origin  and then later as himself.

Marvel's Original Human Torch is Different Than Fantastic Four's ...

But never has he been as compelling to my eye as when he was a monster, a creature beyond the control of man. His very existence the evidence of man's overreaching into the fabric of nature, a creature not at all unlike Frankenstein's.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Made Men - I'm A Robot Man!

Doom Patrol's Robotman's Schematics | Doom patrol, Comic books

In many ways Robot Man of the Doom Patrol is the least and still the most human of the artificial heroes. Not encumbered an alienated doubt like Red Tornado, or overcome with confused self-loathing like the Vision, nor detached from his fellow men as was Professor Dunn before and after he became NoMan. Cliff Steele is human through and through in spirit and drive. 

That Time That Robotman Didn't Know He Wasn't Supposed to Be Alive

He afraid of what he's become, but always aware of the power it gives him. He feels like he cannot connect with the outside world and that's true to some extent, but he wants to do so in the most basic and fundamental ways. Cliff Steele knows what he wants and sometimes that means he doesn't want to be Robot Man. But rejecting what we are while at the same time embracing the potential is an all too human failing. 

Surrounded by other so-called "freaks" Robot Man's body is disposable and replaceable. His mind is not, his brain is unique and totally human, full of the emotion and desire we all share. His soul is there in that body beneath the polished exterior. gleaming inside and out.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Made Men - Thunder Agent NoMan!


NoMan might just be my favorite. That sounds weirdly paradoxical, until you know about the THUNDER Agent dubbed "NoMan" who was not human and not even just one being. The THUNDER Agents were created in the laboratory of a great unseen scientist, but we do meet one of his colleagues. Anthony Dunn is an old man and feels that his slipping this mortal coil is nigh, so he transmits his consciousness into an android, one of a host of identical androids he has created for that express purpose. 

Five Superhero Teams That Almost Could: Part III - Top Hat Comics

Then when he becomes part of the THUNDER program as an agent he is gifted with a cloak of invisibility. It's a brilliant stroke, and we have a hero for the modern age, an immortal man (as long as he can safely transfer his consciousness to a new body) who can become invisible when the need calls for. NoMan was the second most popular THUNDER Agent after Dynamo, but I always liked his moody aspect better.

He is not well-served by the talents who worked on many of his stories, both in the main THUNDER Agents title as well as two issues of his comic. When someone other than Wally Wood or Reed Crandall, or perhaps John Giunta drew him, NoMan looked a bit too beefy and too much like a typical superhero. But the idea of an experienced and well-trained mind having access to a succession of perfect bodies is a delightful prospect, or perhaps it isn't. Like all the THUNDER Agents there is a cost to his powers and his is the potential loss of his humanity isolated as he has become from the rest of the world.

Still and all, NoMan is exceedingly cool. 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Made Men - Return Of The Red Tornado!

Red Tornado II (Android)

The Red Tornado began life as a member of the Justice Society of America and was featured in Gardner Fox's final story featuring that epic team-up event in Justice League of America #64. Not  unlike the Vision over at Marvel who debuted a few months later, the Red Tornado was a secret weapon, a false hero implanted into the team for the dire purposes of an enemy. In the case of the Vision it was Ultron, and in the case of the Red Tornado it was T.O. Morrow.

COMIC BITS ONLINE: Marvel Essential Avengers and DC Showcase ...

Also like the Vision the Red Tornado is a Silver Age revision of a Golden Age hero, this time a heroine actually from the humorous pages of Scribbly named Ma Hunkel most of the time. But what makes the Red Tornado one of my favorite artificial heroes is his loser lifestyle.

Few heroes have had as much hard luck as the Red Tornado, luck so bad it sees him destroyed more than a few times. But always despite the best efforts of the wrtiers, it seems he resurrects and is ready for more some number of issues later. Watching the Red Tornado try to scratch out something akin to a normal life during his Bronze Age heyday was compelling. The Vision's romance with the Scarlet Witch sometimes became maudlin, but the Red Tornado's attempts to find love always had a charm which felt real.

When he learned he was really an old League villain called the Tornado Tyrant it made him even more like the Vision in many ways. About the only thing he couldn't fend off was bad fashion advice, as his elegant original togs were spruced up more than once by some really gaudy affair. 

Red Tornado | Supergirl comic, Supergirl tv, Supergirl series

What he has become today I cannot say, though a cinematic version of the hero did show up on television's Supergirl. 

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Made Men - Behold The Vision!

comicbookbroadcaster is hereby quarantined! on Twitter: "Behold ...

Artificial life has long been a staple of imaginative fiction. Robots populate hundreds if not thousands of science fiction stories, both those in print and on the screen. The most famous of these, Adam Link created by "Eando Binder", had many a story and then has been adapted to comics several times and to the small screen a few. Bozo the Iron Man was created in the Golden Age. And the most successful of the artificial lifeforms must've been The Human Torch from Timely, who alongside The Sub-Mariner and Captain America formed the focus of the companies output. 

June | 2016 | SwanShadow Thinks Out Loud

The first artificial man who made a strong impression on me is a close call between DC's Red Tornado (more about him tomorrow) and Marvel's The Vision. When the Vision emerged from the shadows in the pages of The Avengers #57 it rocked my world more than a tiny bit. I'd been an Avengers fan for no more than year, and solidly so since the arrival of the Black Panther. But this character, with a grim red face and a spectacular array of powers was simply magnetic. 

Early Jack Kirby | Simon and Kirby

He was yet another revised revival from Marvel's Golden Age Timely days like Ka-Zar, the Black Knight, and others. That Vision had been a creation of the famous Simon and Kirby team. 

From Avengers #58, The Vision by John Buscema #JohnBuscema ...

This Vision was the perfect fusion of a character and an artist as no one has ever drawn The Vision as well as "Big" John Buscema. In a couple of issues of The Avengers we see The Vision attack the team and by the end become a member, the first original character the book had seen do so. And despite a cold demeanor he became in many ways the heart of the title with his concerns and challenges often form the basis for stories. The fact that he was fashioned by Ultron-5, an Avengers foe who himself had been built by the always troubled Hank Pym didn't hurt. Here was a character whose very existence drilled to the epicenter of the team. 

Hot Toys Vision Figure Up for Order! MMS 296 - Marvel Toy News

Eventually we'd see The Vision battle to become "normal" and he would fall in love and marry and even have children of a sort. He like so many other heroes has become a part of the Marvel movie universe. Every step toward this typicality robbed him of some of his mystique, a mystique birthed from the very first panel of his existence in print. 

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Sunday Funnies - Prince Valiant 1939-1940!

Prince Valiant really picks up steam in the years 1939 and 1940. Very quickly after distinguishing himself in battle he made a fully-fledged knight of King Arthur's "Round Table".


But this is a young and often brash Prince Valiant and even after having achieved his goal he's still filled with ambitions. First is to return his father to the throne of Thule and as a knight he is able at last to help lead his people out of exile and to see his  father king once more. Then after a significant encounter with a woman purporting to be a witch Valiant is overcome by the years and then returned to his youth. This brush with death's inevitable grip gives

Corsario likes - Forums

Valiant a freshened lust for seeing new places catches hold again and Valiant leaves the friendly confines of Camelot to travel into the lands of Europe where he encounters the  forces of Atilla the Hun. He meets and for a long time works with Slith, a clever thief who assists Valiant as he afflicts the notorious Hun warriors.

Hal Foster - Lambiek Comiclopedia

Young but experienced Valiant faces off against court intrigues and helps young loves and still finds time to seek adventures and fend off giants before turning his eye to Roman and then to the mysterious Middle East, the land of crusades. He finds himself newly made captain of a pirate ship as the volume concludes.

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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Attack Of The B-Movie Monster Fans!

The Naked Monster (once called Attack of the B-Movie Monster) is one of those works prompted by fan adoration and nostalgia and consequently must be seen and judged on those terms...somewhat. I say that to say this, this is not a very good movie in most of the traditional ways that one might mean that statement. But it is a cavalcade of monster fan wonderment, filled to nigh overflowing with images from past movies and the actors who made them. The movie operates in an oddball fictional universe where most if not all of the monster and alien invasion movies you've ever seen are real and that the heroic folks who helped save the planet from these threats are all up and around in locations like Santa Mira and Winnerden Flats.

The movie's lead is the great Kenneth Tobey who was important in several movies such as It Came From Beneath the Sea, Strange Invaders, and The Thing from Another World. It is as "Colonel Patrick Hendry" from the latter movie he portrays in this movie. Alongside him from the same flick are Robert Cornthwaite and George Feeneman. The former in his role as Dr. Carrington and the latter as the narrator of the movie.

From The War of the Worlds we get Les Tremayne as "General Mann" and Ann Robinson as "Dr. Sylvia Van Buren".

From The Return of the Creature both John Agar as "Clete Ferguson" and Lori Nelson as "Helen Dobson" make a showing.

The Monster from Piedras Blancas is represented by two folks playing similar roles. The keeper of the lighthouse and his wife are played by John Harmon and Jean Carmen, though in this brief appearance they are husband and wife and not father and daughter. Harmon was the god-father of Wayne Berwick who was the son of Irvin Berwick who wrote and directed The Monster from Piedras Blancas.

Darlene Tompkins, Robert Clarke in "Beyond The Time Barrier ...

From Beyond the Time Barrier appears as "Major Allison" portrayed by Robert Clarke.

From The Indestructible Man we get Robert Shayne (left above) as "Professor Bradshaw".

Paul Marco who famously played "Kelton the Cop" in several of Ed Wood's epics, most famously Plan 9 from Outer Space comes to a grisly end in this movie.

Brinke Stevens B-Movie Scream Queen hand signed 10x8 photo.

"Scream Queen" Brinke Stevens is the true star of the show along with Tobey and has probably the most screen time. A bunch of that time is making really bad puns (which I enjoyed mightily) and a teensy bit of it was presenting some totally gratuitous nudity. One scene simply says that her character takes a shower, a pointless (as far as the plot anyway) diversion, though I for one found it very entertaining. The Weird Tales above feature Stevens on the cover and has a story by her inside. This issue appears in the movie at one point.

Fans seek to preserve sci-fi legend Forrest Ackerman's last abode ...

Happy Birthday Bob Burns! – CultTVman's Fantastic Modeling

Gloria Talbott 1950s | 8x10 photo, Photo, Gloria

Horror Icon Linnea Quigley. | Black and white, Fashion, Swimwear

Lots of other cameos are spread throughout by the likes of Forry Ackerman, Bob (The Gorilla Tracey) Burns, Gloria Talbot, and Lennea Quigley (who engages in some delightful gratuitous nudity of her own). This is a riot of images and characters in a movie made over a twenty year period on the ultra cheap.

Monstersaurus Wrecks | Mondo Confidential

The eponymous monster was at one time early in the production a stop-motion creation, but that was deemed unworkable when the project expanded to feature length and a stunningly miserable costume is substituted. It makes one pine for the subtle creations of Paul Blaisdell. Sadly many of the veteran cast members who donated their time to the projected died before it was completed. The producer and director Ted Newsome (who appears in the movie much as William Castle did many years ago) put the film together bit by bit over too many years. 

The movie is almost like a moving collage of monster-movie images lifted from too many different films to count, and blended with new footage with little success. This is a wannabe bad movie made badly at times, but it has a fondness for the genre at its heart which keeps it pumping along. I cannot in any way recommend this movie save to those steeped in the love of 50's monsters like me, because only someone with that affliction can truly appreciate this ramshackle bit of cinema.

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