Archive for January, 2009

I Was A Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Cowboy Juvenile Deliquent Caveman Monster

Roundtable time again already!? Yup, and this time around the B-Masters are paying tribute to the company that never met a social trend it couldn’t exploit; that set new and still standing records for the gap between the content of the advertising art and the content of the completed film; and (perhaps above all) that unleashed Roger Corman upon an unsuspecting public.


It’s ON TIME & UNDER BUDGET: A Salute To American International Pictures. All throughout the month of February at the B-Masters’ Blog!

Mired in Manos

I was hoping to have a review of Manos ready for today, but predictably, my attempt has become a sprawling odyssey that is taking up more time than I reckoned on. So until then, here’s our wee tidbits for the week:

It's a disaster!

My friends, I need your help.

While I have no qualms about ‘fessing up to my passion for shark films, Exorcist rip-offs and manskirts, I am just a little shame-faced about admitting to an equal passion for disaster movies, whether the man’s-hubris kind, the nature-strikes-back kind, or the transportation-out-of-control kind – and worse still, particularly for the dreadful, last-gasp-of-the-first-wave ones, like Beyond The Poseidon Adventure, When Time Ran Out and Cave-In! But so it is; and today I make good on a long-standing promise to myself, and welcome disaster movies into the AYCYAS! reviewing fold.

How do you define a disaster film? The line between genres can be very thin, but to my mind the answer is, focus and attitude. Thus, Airport ’75 is a disaster movie; Die Hard 2 is not. The Poseidon Adventure is a disaster movie; Titantic is not. Earthquake is a disaster movie; San Francisco – despite having (in my opinion) the best realised film earthquake ever – is not.

The curious thing about the disaster movie is how long it took to find itself as a genre. After the first ever disaster movie, it was two decades before 1954’s The High And The Mighty inspired a crop of borderline, transportation-related disaster movies, Zero Hour! (1957), The Crowded Sky (1960) and The Last Voyage (1960) among them. The disaster movie as we know it today did not come into its own until Airport which, while not in fact a disaster movie itself, was certainly the catalyst for what followed.

So my first question to all of you is this: what other films, before Airport, would you classify as disaster movies? What have I missed?

My second question is more specific, and probably (unfortunately) much harder to answer. By now, pretty much everyone is aware that Flying High! / Airplane! is a twisted remake of Zero Hour! What you may not know, however, is that Zero Hour! was itself the remake of a teleplay called Flight Into Danger, filmed for and broadcast on Canadian TV in 1956, and starring as the reluctant hero – James Doohan. Since discovering this factoid, Flight Into Danger has become one of my film-hunting Holy Grails, although sadly I have discovered no evidence that it was ever commercially available, or even that it still exists. If anyone out there has any information, please drop me a line!

And now, our feature presentation:

d33-wave6bDELUGE (1933)

The great-granddaddy of all disaster movies, focussing upon a love triangle in the aftermath of a worldwide catastrophe, which climaxes with the destruction of New York City.

Some clichés have awfully deep roots…

Woody Allen is EVIL!

He’s been deceiving the public and his fellow filmmakers for years. All of his work is just a ruse for what his real aim is, and I am going to expose it right here and right now. And that is… WOODY ALLEN IS TRYING TO KILL HOLLYWOOD! You think I’m joking? Let’s take a look at Allen’s career as a writer/director. The first movie he truly wrote and directed was Take The Money And Run, released by Cinerama. Several years later, Cinerama closed its tents and went out of business forever. Then he moved to United Artists and made several movies there. What happened to United Artists? They declared bankruptcy several years later, and were absorbed by another studio. Allen then moved to Orion Pictures and made several movies there. I’ll tell you what happened several years after he arrived: Orion declared bankruptcy. Allen then moved to Tri-Star and made a couple of movies. Not long afterwards, Tri-Star was finished as a studio and was turned into a brand that Sony uses to release movies they don’t have confidence in. And look at the studios writer/director Allen has worked with (and given his curse) since. There’s Miramax (the founders left the company and Disney has severely scaled back its releases), Touchstone (Disney has scaled it back severely as well), Fine Line (is now as dead as its parent company New Line), and Dreamworks (almost declared bankruptcy twice, and its remains and debts have been sold off). It’s just a matter of time before we hear bad news about Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Company, the distributors he has worked with recently. It’s time to DECLARE WAR AND STOP HIS EVIL PLANS!

What does this have to do with the movie The Inglorious Bastards? Read the review and find out.

Eastwood Ain't the Only Old Man Still Kickin' Butt


Mil Mascaras: Resurrection comes to us some thirty years after Mil Mascaras last appeared onscreen in a narrative feature. For those of you who missed out the first time around, Mil, along with Santo and Blue Demon, is one of the “Big Three” stars of lucha libre cinema, as well as one of the biggest stars in the history of lucha libre itself. While Mil’s cinematic efforts never had the same stateside impact as some of Santo’s, thanks to them never being dubbed in English, they are nonetheless every bit as entertaining — and, in some cases, much more so — than many of El Enmascarado de Plata’s contributions to the genre. Mil Mascaras: Resurrection — which was initially titled Mil Mascaras vs. The Aztec Mummy — doesn’t come to us by way of the normal channels one might expect a Mil Mascaras movie to come through. In fact, it may very well be the only Mexican wrestling film whose writer-producer holds a Ph.D. in robotic engineering from Oxford. Jeffrey Uhlmann brought the idea for the film with him when he took an associate professorship in the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Computer Science Department, and proposed it as an ideal project for exploring the potential for an entertainment technology-related IT program within the University’s Engineering School. Being that Uhlmann is obviously a serious fan of lucha cinema, I imagine that he also decided it would just be really cool to make a Mil Mascaras movie using some of Mizzou’s resources — but in the long run, it’s really all about the kids, isn’t it?

I asked, and Lloyd Kaufman answered.

A transcription of my interview with Lloyd Kaufman can be found here.

Thanks for all the question suggestions, and especially thanks for Fat Guy Loves Dinosaur. There were quite a few other questions in my notes, but his answers were so full and complete that by the time I was ready to ask them he had answered them already.

My first update of 2009

Rather a lot of new material to start off the new year:

Alien3 (1992), in which lightning stubbornly refuses to strike a third time, no matter how many writers the studio hires and fires…

Bloody Moon (1981), in which boarding schools for language studies are every bit as hazardous to your health as any summer camp in New Jersey…

Full Moon High (1981), which is sort of like a very rarely funny three-way head-on collision among Teen Wolf, Airplane!, and Young Frankenstein

In the Folds of the Flesh (1970), in which a damn good giallo unaccountably decides to suck with all its might for the last half hour…

Murder at the Baskervilles (1937), which the folks at Astor Pictures would like you to mistake for a sequel to The Hound of the Baskervilles, even though it is both two years older than that movie and British…

Stargate (1994), which is a good deal better than any Dean Devlin-Roland Emmerich production has any business being…


A Study in Scarlet (1933), in which Sherlock Holmes evidently got impatient waiting around for someone to invent the slasher movie.

No Finer Way To Celebrate

So I got the domain thing sorted out, more or less. On with the festivities!

HOORAY! It’s ten years of Teleport City at! I don’t know when I actually started the site, but the date I can see in my domain registry record seems like a perfectly acceptable place to start. And I can think of no finer way to usher in the new decade than with…

I had pretty high expectations going into this film — not that it would be good, but that it would hilariously, confoundingly weird. And I was not disappointed. But I discovered that it was also actually pretty good. Sure, it’s crude. Yes, the special effects are more surreal than they are real. Certainly it’s schizophrenic. But realism seems to be the least of this film’s concerns. What it is, instead, is an incredibly energetic, offbeat, thriller that has one foot in The Evil Dead, the second foot in Hong Kong horror/action films, and a third foot in films like Alejandro Jodorowski’s Holy Mountain. Although it’s fun to watch it alongside previously mentioned piece of crap horror films, it’s nowhere near that level of incompetence. It makes sense, in it’s own batty way. But that’s the same way that vampires, demons, animated little skull bats, and demon tree rape make sense. Without a doubt, the best Indian horror/supernatural film I’ve seen so far. You may not go into this movie thinking marmosets are scary, but you’ll sure as hell be creeped out by them afterward. Just imagine. You’re lying in bed, minding your own business, then you casually glance across the room, and there one is, just sitting there…staring at you…staring at you…staring at you…


Apparently this is Teleport City’s birthday, because my domain just expired. So thank you, people who alerted me. We should be back up and running as soon as the credit card payment gets processed.

What would YOU ask Lloyd Kaufman?

lloyd_kaufmanLloyd Kaufman of Troma is going to be in Salt Lake City next week for Tromadance (one of the Sundance hanger-on mini-festivals), and thanks to connections at the comic shop where he’s doing a news conference, I’ll be able to swing a short interview with him (five minutes, maybe).

So. What should I ask the man behind the Toxic Avenger movies?