Thursday, July 8, 2021

"I Hear You Knockin'"

Episode #107

It's a special review show as the guys look at Craig Moss and Goldwyn Films new movie, Let Us In which debuted on VOD last Friday. They discuss the movie and other examples of "gateway" horror geared towards kids, or that is at least kid-friendly, and how they both were drawn to and/or introduced to the horror genre. But before that Mike reveals what has been ailing him the past six months or so and then it's a trip to their favorite landmark, Mt. Retromore, where they each run down their top four TV detectives from the 70s and 80s. And for Pete's sake, if someone starts knocking on your door asking if they can come in, make sure they aren't dressed in black and don't have empty black eyes before you say 'Yes'.




Monday, June 28, 2021

"The Aftermath" and "Empire of the Dark" Capsule Reviews

 


This year’s Chattanooga Film Festival features The Aftermath and Empire of the Dark, the two directorial offerings of actor/director Steve Barkett.  While both films were apparently created with shoestring budgets, their lack of big studio effects is offset by guts, determination, and plenty of chutzpah.


Barkett’s first film, 1982’s The Aftermath, sees two astronauts —  Newman (Barkett) and Williams (Jim Danforth) — return to a post-apocalyptic Earth in which mutant cannibals and sadistic survivors roam the landscape ravaged by nuclear and biological weapons.  One group of survivors terrorizing the ruins of Los Angeles is led by Cutter, played by the late, great Sid Haig. Cutter’s crew roams the land snatching up women and children while killing the men, which doesn’t sit too well with Newman who has befriended a young boy named Christopher (Christopher Barkett) and taken him under his wing at the behest of a museum curator (Forrest J. Ackerman!) that he stumbles across. Newman, Williams, Christopher, and Sarah (Lynne Margulies) —  the latter of which saves Newman at one point — decide to strike at and eliminate Cutter and his crew.

Barkett does it all here, acting, directing, and producing all of it from his screenplay that was based on a story he wrote along with Stanley Livingstone (who is probably best known for playing Chip Douglas on TV’s My Three Sons).  The effects, while not all that good, far surpass what one would expect from such a low-budget feature, including some very impressive matte paintings of a ruined landscape. Of particular note is the music which evokes memories of B-movies from the ‘50s. At times it seems a bit out of place and even jarring, but for the most part it succeeds in distracting you from some of the film’s flaws. The acting is all pretty bad, except for Haig who brings Cutter to life  with an air of homicidal bravado, but clearly everyone is giving 110% and you can tell that the entire cast and crew are dedicated to the proceedings.  

It took Barkett nearly a decade to put on all of the hats he wore for The Aftermath, but in 1990 he finally did and Empire of the Dark was the result.  Once again, Barkett stars, this time as Richard Flynn, a cop-turned-private-detective. The love of Flynn’s life, Angela (Tera Hendrickson), tells him that she has decided to marry another man.  Sometime later, Flynn gets a call from Angela who is in trouble — she and her baby are to be sacrificed by a Satanic cult and Flynn, with only one bullet after making his way to her, must choose between saving her or the baby as both have knives poised above their heads held by the cult leader, Arkham (Richard Harrison) and the guy Angela married, Brian (Dan Speaker). Twenty years pass following Flynn’s choice (we’re not spoiling who he picked!), and there’s someone the press has dubbed “The Demon Slasher”  who is killing young women. It’s up to Flynn, Detective Eddie Green (Jay Richardson), and a figure from Flynn’s past to save the day.  Barkett and company are working from a much more involved script (written by Barkett of course) that involves plenty of action including shootouts, sword fights, fist fights, and a sort-of impressive giant stop-motion demon puppet. The preceding eight years were not spent honing his craft, but once again Barkett surpasses pure shlock and delivers a surprisingly engaging film.  Is this a good film? No. But that doesn’t matter because, as he managed to do with The Aftermath, everything somehow clicks into place.


The Aftermath and Empire of the Dark screen as part of Chattanooga Film Festival's 2021 virtual edition, which started on June 24th and runs through the 29th. For more information, visit https://www.chattfilmfest.org

Thursday, June 24, 2021

"Mr. Roboto"

Episode #106

Joe talks about some old Kiss demo clips that he found on YouTube, Mike bemoans the cardiac event monitor that he has to wear for two weeks, and they both share their top four identifiable villains in this episode's "Mount Retromore". After that, it's time to get into the nuts and bolts of the episode as the guys look back at electronic devices that made their debut - or at least became affordable and commonplace among consumers - in the 1970s. So grab your Sony Walkman and pop a cassette copy of this episode in and give it a listen! 




Thursday, June 10, 2021

"Captain Lou"

Episode #105

Last episode's 'Mail bag' posed an interesting question; What is your most memorable pro-wrestling moment? The guys decided that an answer to that question would be better served on its own show - and that show is now! From jealousy tearing The Megapowers apart to Andy Kaufman going ballistic on Jerry Lawler on an episode of "Late Night With David Letterman", Mike and Joseph dig deep into the days of kayfabe and come up with at least a dozen events between the two of them. Oh, yeah - and Mount Retromore focuses on the best Butlers and Maids and has a very surprising outcome. Go ahead and listen now - we'll get the door if anyone stops by. 




Thursday, May 27, 2021

"Please Mr. Postman"

Episode #104

It's been a while since they've done it, so Mike and Joe dump out a few bags of the hundreds of letters they get each month and dive into some "Listener Mail". Topics include, but are in no way limited to; Ultraman fighting a couple of other guys, nostalgic fashion, lunchboxes, and whether or not they plan on including the 90s into any upcoming shows. And don't forget your climbing gear for a trek to the summit of Mt. Retromore and the top four picks from each on the subject of newspaper comic strip characters! Thrills, chills, and spills - this one has it all!




Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Love Rollercoaster"

Episode #103

Iconic corporate mascots take center stage in this episode's "Mt. Retromore" and then it's time to cram the family in the car and head off to Wally World as Mike and Joseph talk memories of theme parks like Disneyland, Disney World, Cedar Point, Marriott's Great America, Boblo Island Amusement Park, and more. Please keep your arms, hands, legs, feet and head inside the ride vehicle at all times. You must be this tall to enjoy this ride.




Monday, May 3, 2021

Billie Hayes, 1932 -2021


Billie Hayes, whose portrayal of the flamboyantly and comically wicked witch Witchiepoo on the 1969-70 Saturday morning live-action children’s classic H.R. Pufnstuf, died of natural causes April 29 at Cedar’s Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 96.