Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Mill Creek Entertainment has put out some great collections.  I was surprised by how many I already owned as I looked at their list.

The Trylon will be pulling from two of those collections in the next few weeks.  Both Diamajin and the re-birth of Gamera.  Both have been beautifully re-mastered.

I had a chance to talk with Jeff Hayne, their chief film buyer, a few weeks ago about how he got into movies, what it takes to buy the rights to films, and more.

I put it together here as a youtube video, and will re-release as a part of our podcast in the upcoming weeks.  Hope you enjoy.

Daimajin plays at the Trylon Microcinema Monday August 5th and Tuesday August 6th at 7pm and 8:45pm.

Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris plays Monday, August 12th and Tuesday August 13th at 7pm and 9pm.

A Mill Creek representative will be around to give out special prizes.

Check out the rest of the Giant Monsters All Out Attack series here:

- J. Moret

Monday, July 29, 2013


DIRECTOR: John Wintergate
DVD: CODE RED (2008) and SLASHER//VIDEO (2013)

Anytime I am in the presence of a "Bad Movie" conversation. I chime in and say, "Have you ever seen Boardinghouse?"

The answer is always, "No."

Here is my 15 second synopsis to those people:

"It's a movie about a new age telekinetic pimp that sort of looks like the lead singer from Kajagoogoo, but more rockin'. He inherits a house possessed by Horror Vision. He invites a whole gang of babes to come live there via newspaper ad. They party. A Cat gets murdered by a hammer. While showering a chick turns into a pig holding a dead mouse. A dude gets electrocuted by a blow dryer. It's pretty much the best movie of all time."

Pig with Hulk Hogan Hair

BOARDINGHOUSE will break your mind.

It's a demonic possession movie/haunted house flick with an early 80's twist. It's either the most clever horror spoof of all time or the most confusing mess of a movie you will ever see. Either way, Boardinghouse is astounding.


Jim Royce (John Wintergate credited as Hank/Hawk Adly. . .) acquires a huge 10 bedroom house from his uncle. He is unaware that a spirit totally murders anyone that tries to live there. . . even though there are many lengthly reports on the deaths that occurred there according to the talking computer that serves as the movie's intro.

What would be the first that a sexy rocker man who gets a huge house would do in 1982? Put an ad in the local paper asking babes to movie in. That's what.

Tons of babes show up and move in to party with Jim. Then they start getting dominated by the Housegeist.

The plot is thin. But like most horror films, it's not the plot itself, it's the way the subpar story is told through the images we see. Whether it's disembowlment, evisceration, decapitation, or a dude in mesh tighty whities on a desk moving a sock with the power of his mind. These are the things that make horror movies worth watching.


Boardinghouse is essentially the sleazy american version of Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's House. Although, I'm not so sure Wintergate was aware House existed. The comparison is simple: Tons of babes in a haunted house getting destroyed in strange ways by a supernatural force.

THE. . . HORROR. . .  THE. . . HORROR . . . VISION?

Boardinghouse features what is refered to as "Horror Vision." and you DON'T need glasses to see it. This is an olde tyme horror movie gimmick brought into the 80's. Before the film begins, a booming voice yells at the audience alerting them that whenever something "shocking" or "disturbing" occurs an image of a gloved hand opening and a certain tone will sound, so the weak of heart can turn away.

It's goofy. It's fun. It's one of the many things that only could happen in Boardinghouse.

Additionally, there's a weird nam vet gardener, quite a bit of 80's T+A, beds that eat people, rockin' jams (by John and Kalassu's band 33 1/3) and plenty of amateur gore effects.

Boardinghouse needs to be seen to be appreciated. If you are reading this site, I guarantee you will enjoy it. It's cornier than corny and hornier than horny. Then people start dying in unusual ways. What more could you ask for?


Let's Party Babes.
This is the first movie ever made and sold shot entirely on video. Boardinghouse, unlike most shot-on-video (SOV) movies, was actually shot on film and blow up to 35mm for theatrical release. I assume it probably showed at a few drive-ins and was quickly forgotten until it hit video store shelves.

This is one of the most significant events in the Video Store boom of the 1980's. Now anyone with access to a Beta Cam could be a filmmaker and have a movie on store shelves. It happened. Big time.

No one can directly link Boardinghouse with the shot-on-video spike. It's not as if no one would have made a SOV flick eventually, but it should be noted, John Wintergate was indeed the first to take the chance making a movie on an inferior and unacceptable (yet cost effective) format.



Boardinghouse was first officially brought to Region 1 DVD by Code Red DVD in 2008. Code Red is known for releasing fairly small quantities of their releases. Boardinghouse became one of those DVDs that regularly sell in the $50 range used.

The video quality is deplorable and the audio quality closely resembles shite soup. . . but it's not Code Red's fault. It's because the movie was shot on Beta.

Suprisingly, there are some Special Features on the disc. There is a audio commentary with John Wintergate and Kalassu. Some interview segments with John and Kalassu. It's ok. Serviceable.

The Boardinghouse: 30th Anniversary Edition. . . that's a different story.


This is probably the best treatment a cult horror film has ever received on DVD (Dawn of the Dead isn't a cult film, GTFO). This dual-layer disc is packed to the absolute max with great content. Including a Two Hour and Forty minute (!) Director's Cut of the film.

Here's the feature rundown:

- Original Cut (90ish minute version)
- Director's Cut
- Audio Commentary with John Wintergate, Kalassu, and Jesus Teran (of Slasher Video).
- Love Starved, Stop Fooling Around Music Videos (from John and Kalassu's band 33 1/3. Songs featured in the movie)
- Trailer, Photo galleries, Alternate Ending etc. etc. etc. . .

There are 18 bulleted features on the back of the box. . . intense.

The video and audio is a big upgrade over the Code Red release as well. In some of the darker scenes, you can now see what's going on. Everything about this release is superior to the Code Red Version.

The artwork is a vast improvement as well. The artwork is reminiscent of the original Paragon Video release. The artwork is also has a reversible "gore" cover with the Housegeist title. The DVD case is also a smoky translucent grey (Xbox 360 Platinum Hits style).

Overall, a beautiful package. In terms of extra features, I would bet my life that there is not another bit of Boardinghouse content available. This DVD is incredible. It's available on Amazon directly from Slasher//Video. Click here to buy this DVD from Slasher//Video.

In the interview segment on this disc John Wintergate describes Code Red's release as "schlocky." It was fantastic when it was the only Region 1 DVD available, but now that Slasher//Video has released the their disc, The Code Red disc does look schlocky in comparison.


While I recommend the Slasher//Video release of Boardinghouse wholeheartedly, the Director's Cut of the film, don't start with it. It is only for those who know what they're getting into. The original version is certainly the "party" version of the movie. The Director's Cut is for the hardcore only. Many strange flashing cuts and awkward video effects. Totally awesome. But I would suggest only the initiated bother with it.

Boardinghouse was the first Shot-on-video movie. It's also a hell of a lot of fun. This is a can't miss flick. If you love "bad" movies or admire low budget horror. It's a must buy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Directed by Ringo Lam
98 mins.  Color.  In Cantonese with Mandarin with English Subtitles.
Jacked-up Pan-and-Scan VHS in awkward clam shell from Tai Seng Video

I was first introduced to Ringo Lam through the amazing Full Contact.  In the same realm as John Woo or Johnnie To, Lam is best known for crazy, well choreographed action sequences.

Similar to Woo, Lam later made it to the states, only to become part of a string of disappointing straight to video Van Damme movies.  Prison on Fire is different.  Similar to The Killer or Fulltime Killer, it is a great film, pushed forward by outstanding performances of its' leads, and would never have been as good if it were made in the States.  Playing against type, Chow Yun-Fat is super charismatic and funny as prisoner 41671.

The Rundown:
Yiu (Tony Leung Kai Fai) has been wrongfully sent to prison, and is trying his best to keep his head down and get through it.

Recognizable tropes from the intake process to cleaning the bathrooms to dealing with prison gangs are in store for Yiu. Along the way, Prisoner 41671 (Chow Yun Fat) and Yiu become friends while 41671 is pooping.  Dudes play basketball, buy illegal cigarettes and riot.  All the while, Yiu is doing his best to not be involved.

Pretty much, it's like the first half of Shawshank Redemption, but in Hong Kong, and there is cool fighting.  41671 gets his scissors stolen, which is serious business, and Yiu rats out the thief.  Now that he's pegged as a rat, he's dead meat.

One thing leads to an a genuinely touching scene with Chow Yun-Fat and his son which leads to an awesome fight in the laundry room which leads to Chow Yun Fat getting sliced in the stomach with a giant piece of glass.  Mickey, the gang leader, is transferred and things for Yiu and Chow get easier.

Up until this point, the movie is very slow-burn.  There is very little action, and it's mostly just enjoyable character development.

prison-on-fire-1.jpg (512×288)
It then cuts to One Year Later and Mickey is returning.  Mickey frames Yui and 41671 as rats, and their lives are again in danger.

What commences is brutal and completely satisfying.

The Evauluation:
I wasn't expecting a smart, insightful film about prison politics and the nature of guards over inmates.  However, once my expectations changed, I was able to fully appreciate this film for what it is.  Excellently put together, it plays like a classic film, in the vein of Cool Hand Luke or One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Chow Yun-Fat's performance is incredible, and makes for the backbone of the film.

Set Yourself Up:

  • A nice meal of white rice and fatty meat should do you good.  And finish it all.  To leave anything is bad luck.
  • If you have glasses, crack one of the lenses.
  • Buy yourself a Pipa and belt out some good tunes during the riot scenes
The Goods:
The Tai Seng VHS may be your cheapest option, but I wouldn't say it's high quality.  The pan-and-scan is pretty annoying and they cut off the end of the credits pretty abruptly.
But you get a pretty cool pirating warning.  They give you a number to call, and all information stays confidential.  Call 1-800-888-3836 if you see anyone bootlegging cool VHS tapes.

- J. Moret
and, here is a crazy long trailer for you:

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Directed By: See Yung Ng, (Uncredited: Sammo Hung, Corey Yuen)
96 Minutes, 1981

The passing of the most iconic Martial Artist of all time created a movie genre. What many refer to as Bruce-ploitation. This genre was born in 1978, roughly five years after the death of Bruce Lee. Game of Death, directed by Enter the Dragon Director Robert Clouse, took footage of Lee's final, unfinished film and used cheap tricks to TRY and fool the audience into think Bruce Lee actually starred in the movie.

See, It's Bruce Lee.

Other than the footage actually featuring Lee, Game of Death is pretty much a disgrace to the legacy of Bruce Lee

But apparently it made money.

(probably) Hundreds of movies starring Bruce Lee and Bruce Li and Bruce Le and Bruce Loo and Bruce Leg were produced after Lee's Death. They mostly used the same cheap techniques Game of Death utilized to pretend Lee is still alive. These techniques include using footage of Lee from his movies, interviews, or documentary footage. Also, cardboard cutouts, and facial hair or dark sunglasses on a Chinese dude that sort of looks like Bruce Lee.

Game of Death II is different in just as many ways as it is similar. The major difference is that it was produced by Golden Harvest Productions. This studio was essentially responsible for Lee's super stardom. They Produced Lee's first two star vehicles The Big Boss and Fists of Fury.

Vicious Peacock Mountain and Baby Monkeys.
It's similar in that it using many of the same "tricks" all other Bruce-ploitation movies do. Even going so far as showing Lee in the movies he was in as a child and placing a title card next to Lee stating "Bruce Lee - Age 6."

It's the back of "Bruce Lee's" Head.
The filmmakers also went as far to show footage of Lee's actual funeral.

But being a Golden Harvest production, there is some quality content in this film. . . and surprisingly, it goes off the deep end in a good way. Pretty bigtime. It gets really dumb.

According to legend (and box office) the original Game of Death was a massive success in Japan. This film was produced to capitalize on the Japanese thirst for movies featuring camera tricks and Bruce Lee.

Not to sound sterotypical (or racist) the way this film plays out certainly feels Japanese. There is a point where the Bruceploitation ends and the "Holy Hell ensues.

Basically, mix up the best players in 1980s Hong Kong cinema (Sammo Hung, Yuen Wo Ping, and Yuen Biao all worked on this film), Bruceploitation, and really dumb Manga-esque story events. You get Game of Death II. This movie surpasses the original Game of Death by leaps and bounds and would likely have been all the more intriguing in terms of it's sheer entertainment value. Truthfully, the Bruce Lee elements are pretty funny, but omitting "Lee" would have made the movie all that much more absurd.

This movie is a very rare thing. It's an entertaining and awesomely absurd cash-in. I would have never have guessed the overall quality of product presented would have surpassed the original Game of Death (in which the ONLY redeeming quality are the fight scenes featuring Lee). It's easy to see why many of those involved with the creation of this cash in ended up as cinema icons in Hong Kong. I'm having a difficult time not divulging many of the key scenes of this film. It's truly something you must behold for yourself.


- Get a cardboard cut out of Bruce Lee.
- Drink Deer Blood
- Fight a Lion


The movie was re-released by 20th Century Fox in 2004. I bought the movie separately but I beleive it is also available in a set with all of Bruce Lee's films. If nothing this release certainly validates that this movie means something. It's a shameless cash in, made by some talented and messed up dudes. It's so obvious, 20th Century Fox actually see the film as a Bruce Lee movie and released it as such.

The movie has no Special Features at all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: DEAFULA (aka Young Deafula)

Directed by Peter Wolf (Peter Wechsberg)
Black and White.  In American Sign Language with English Voice-Over
Bootleg DVD from Trash Palace

The White Whale.

I had given up hope finding a copy of this film.  Originally I had seen a clip from it in high school when Matt and I were looking up Blackula on YouTube.  What we saw was incredible.  A film meant for the hearing impaired, where all communication between actors was done through sign language.  It is the only film to ever be presented in Signscope.  (Why subtitles didn't accomplish the same thing, I'm not sure.  But, I guess when there's some angle to exploit, you can count on it being done.)

Matt and I were both entranced by the strange idea that there could be such a movie.

And now, after about twelve years, I have finally seen it.  Actually watching the film is a surreal experience.  At times, it seems you are watching a silent film, shot on grainy black and white.  It feels old.  Almost a bit like watching Murnau's 1922 masterpiece, Nosferatu.  There are long sequences with no sound at all.  The acting seems similar to silent film era acting as well.  Overly expressing emotions, letting facial expressions speak for themselves.  Likewise, the camera takes time to let the dialogue be seen.  The voice-over for those of us that can't read sign language is rather awkward.  It feels like bad dubbing.

Where the film-making gets extremely interesting is when it gets to a bar scene, and the camera moves around from group to group.  It lingers on certain tables an then cuts them off mid-sentence, illustrating how much filmmakers depend on sound to keep the camera movement smooth.

At the same time, there is some pretty fun filmmaking when Dracula is hunting his victims.  Actually, pretty much every scene with Dracula is super amazing.

The Rundown:
Vampires are causing problems.  Two detectives are hunting for the solution.  The somewhat dim-witted English detective is sure it's Dracula from the beginning, because he is from... England, I guess.

Steve Adams (director, writer, producer Peter Wolf) has Saved by the Bell style watery flashbacks and remembers that he totally ripped the throat out of a puppy when he was a kid.  His father (a preacher) has been giving him blood transfusions since he was a boy, and now he's thirty.  He has started to hear about the bite marks on people's necks and begins to worry about himself.

Dracula (Eddie Munster, Magnum P.I.) mind-control's some sweet biker-murderer to drive off a cliff with his girlfriend.  (Wolf seems to just throw a camera off a cliff).  He then bites a dude with a killer Afro and then convinces some at-risk-teens to stab the body a bunch of times to throw the detectives off the scent.

Steve's preacher dad has a heart attack while Steve is off gnawing on a co-ed in a bikini, and the Dracula-obsessed detective is on to him.  So, Steve goes to a guy who has no hands (but big soup cups instead).  There is a super confusing conversation about a disappearing ring or something.  Anyway, he finds out that his mom had the hots for Dracula, there is a big time spoiler and now he wants revenge!

deafula1.jpg (640×482)
Eddie Muenster Magnum P.I.

How are the goods?
Quality is about what you'd expect.  I'm sure the original negative was poor quality, and Trash Palace definitely took this bootleg from a VHS.  So, imagine a VHS bootleg of a badly shot 16mm film.  I must say, that really adds to the effect for me, though.  There is no need for a high definition Deafula.

Set You Up!
  1. Get out your Dracula attire and shave that ridiculous-looking beard into a killer mustache.
  2. Steak.  Rare.
  3. Take a 16 week course in American Sign Language.
-J. Moret

Friday, July 12, 2013


Filmzilla closed in May of 2013.  With it, Minneapolis lost a great place.  They had been that rare place that you could wander into without any sense of what you wanted and leave pleased.  It was a video store for cinephiles and the casual movie watcher.  They had some of everything.  Their catalogue spanned all genres and I was always impressed by the stuff I would find.  
Their staff was extremely knowledgable and warm, and you could tell they loved movies. They weren't my neighborhood video store (which is Movies on 35th Street), but I loved being in there.   I met John Smith during their closing sale and he was generous enough to share some of his thoughts on it all with me.  It is great to see his picks for movies. Categorized and organized, it is a poignant view of what we're losing.  
Filmzilla2.jpg (792×432)

ASV: Where are you from?  How did you end up getting interested in movies?   What was your childhood like?  Were your parents interested in film?

JS: I grew up in Minneapolis. Single mother, Younger brother and television as a babysitter. I fell in love with comic books and monster movies really young and my mother was real good about taking us to saturday matinees. Lots of Godzilla and anything animated. She took me to a double feature of the original King Kong and Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast when I was 8 or 9. that kind of opened the doors to black and white and subtitles. Also this was happening in a time without infomercials, So there were a lot of movies on television. Prime time we would watch the Clint Eastwood westerns and James Bond Films ands made for tv stuff like Bad Ronald and Trilogy of Terror and during the day on the indie station they would play Matt Helm movies and stuff like Equinox and Two Lane Blacktop.
Then Star Wars came out when I was 9. I was obsessed with it and got the toys and comics and any magazines that featured SW characters on the the cover. This led to mags like Starlog and Famous Monsters and finding out about more movies.
My grandparents lived in Detroit and I visited every summer. This led to my aunt taking me to the Drive-in 2-3 times a week and seeing the Corman stuff. I started getting heavily into music after seeing The Kids Are Alright and getting all the music mags which had movie stuff that was different than Starlog.
Then cable hit Minneapolis and shows like Night Flight would show weird movie stuff like Warhols Frankenstein and Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. The Uptown theatre was showing great stuff.
When home video hit in the 80's Northern Lights record store had a small selection of tapes and the clerks would make us rent stuff Like the Monkees "Head" and the Russ Meyers films.
That's pretty much how My movie tastes were formed.

ASV: How did you get involved with Filmzilla? How long were you affiliated with it?

JS: I had worked at Discount Video in the early 90's they had a great collection. I quit there to work at the First Avenue nightclub and was out of the movie scene for 10 years, only seeing films that people were raving about (Clerks, Tarantino) or mainstream stuff at the Skyway.
In 2003 I was looking for a second job and a friend told me to go to Nicollet Village Video. I went, checked out the catalog and asked for a job. I stayed for a month shy of 10 years.

ASV: What is Filmzilla? How did it get started? (Used to be Village Video, etc...) How long was it around? How did it work originally? (was it a membership? etc...) Did that change through the years?

JS: NVV was a indie store. ID and credit card got you a account. New releases $3.50 overnight, catalog 4 for $5 for 4 days. Prices stayed the same tip they closed.

Chris Becker had the philosophy of just get everything so the selection was incredible. He opened it in 1996 and everyone told him that video stores were over.  The store was in a gay neighborhood so he ordered all the GLBT titles he could get. He pretty much ordered every foreign title he could. For a big hollywood release Blockbuster would get 70-100 copies, he would get 6. so the new release wall had hundreds of titles. 

xDSC_0313.jpg (600×402)

ASV: How would you describe the heyday of the Video Store?

JS: Weekend nights were like a bar scene, people's big plans have fizzled out or couples doing a night in. lines lasted until close, We would get in 70 -100 titles a week!  It didn't really slow down until 2008. 2009 I think is when the numbers started dropping.

ASV: Can you talk about a favorite memory at the store?

JS: Guy with a straight face asks how to rewind a dvd.

ASV: Who was a favorite customer?  Why?

JS: There were 5 pre-teen girls unrelated to each other who HATED disney princess movies and Twilight crap but loved Batman or Star Wars. Mostly Batman. So I would steer them to the good comic book properties Like Batman Animated or the Justice League Unlimited.
There were guys who liked to play stump the clerk, not realizing none of us really cared. 
There were a lot of nice customers. and a lot more pricks who wanted to yell for 15 rather than pay a $2 late fee.

ASV: What were some of your Staff Picks through the years? How about if you could do one now? & in what circumstance would you recommend people watch it?  (food, place, types of people)

JS: Off the top of my head.
This assumes I don't have to recommend the obvious (Citizen Kane and the rest of the canon) and fairly mainstream. 

Pre 60's
His Girl Friday
Kiss Me Deadly
any of the Ida Lupino directed noirs
Bad Seed
Night of the Hunter
almost any Preston Sturgess
Girl Can't Help It/Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter
Peeping Tom
He Walked by Night
Shack out on101

Lord Love a Duck
Faster Pussycat Kill Kill/ Mudhoney
Head (Monkees)
Wild Angels
Sergio Leone Trilogy ( I'm stunned at how may people won't watch these because a. western or b. Clint Eastwood

Prime Cut
Mean Streets
Two Lane Blacktop
Vanishing Point/ Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry/ Race With the Devil.
Rock and Roll High School
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Exorcist
Halloween and all the good imitations.
Drunken Master

Blade Runner
Repo Man
The Loveless
Near Dark
The Hitcher
A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon

City of Lost Children
Take This Waltz
10 Inch Hero
Archer (tv)
The Wire (tv)

ASV: How did Filmzilla manage to hang on as long as it did? 

JS: Catalog. Buying everything we could when the money was coming in helped a lot. When the store moved the demand shifted from movies to new TV shows and kid stuff, and random college kids looking for "The Room" or "Troll 2".

ASV: What do you think caused Filmzilla to have to close it's doors?  What about video stores in general? 

JS: When the store moved, our porn customers didn't follow, and the Filmzilla customers really cared about new releases that red box didn't have. The average customer was 53 years old. Young people are not going to video stores.

ASV: Do you see anyway that a video store could survive today?

JS: Cinema Revolution tried the Curated Collection and didn't survive. no. I don't think so. I see downloads and streaming getting better in the next 5 years.

ASV: What is your plan from here on?

JS: I'm still at First Ave and I'm going back to school.

ASV: Best of luck, John.

tumblr_inline_mnjnbmyklU1qz4rgp.jpg (478×640)

-J. Moret

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: LIONMAN (aka Asian Adam)

Directed by Natuck Baitan (also spelled Natuk Baytan)
Bootleg DVD from Trash Palace

Baytan seems to be a shlockmeister in the same realm of amazing as Bruno Mattei.  Releasing as many as four or five films a year throughout the 1970s, his filmography is massive.

Turkey's film industry is best known for it's weird rip-off films (Such as the infamous Turkish Star Wars).  Lionman is different, in that it's an original film.

The Rundown:
Medieval Ottoman Empire(esque) fighting with killer music starts us off.  A bunch of dudes are shot down with bow and arrows.

Some lady is forced to marry old Anton (Grand Moff Tarkin- looking dude with a mustache).  Anton is a bloodthirsty bastard who hates facial hair that covers more than just the upper lip.

The best sword-fight to goofy music in film history ends with a bearded gray dude (Solomon) getting his arms cut off, but his pregnant wife escapes into the forest with Toad from Mario Bros.  She has a child and immediately dies...?  So, Toad does what any good steward of a small baby would do, he takes the baby into the forest and just lays it down somewhere.

Well, lions find the baby and Toad gets all sad that the baby is going to get eaten.  Anton drinks to his victory  and gets with his new wife.

Cut to... ten years later?  The baby is now a boy and pets baby lions while feeding them raw meat.  Toad waits expectantly for someone to be born with the birthmark of the Solomon.

Then, suddenly he's LIONMAN.  He's surprisingly well-shaven and sports a David Hasselhoff haircut.  Imagine a mix of Andre the Giant, Bruce Campbell and Tarzan.  Anyway, he runs up to an antelope and karate chops that bastard, and then he eats his raw flesh.

Having a deep sense of justice, Lionman attack's Anton's men as they try to rape and pillage a small village of gypsies.  He tears a tree out of the ground and then suffocates four of them at the same time with a big branch.  He even kills a dude by pie-facing him.  It's all done to the amazing tune of goofy classical music.

A hot gypsy lady (Solomon's daughter) sets up Anton's son, but Lionman, not knowing the politics of the moment, saves the dude and then throws a bunch of gypsies in the drink.  Solomon's daughter and Lionman fall for each other and then...  she literally stabs him in the back with a huge cleaver before seeing the birthmark of Solomon.

lionman-1.jpg (567×425)
Hulk Fists

From there, the story seems to be pretty obvious, but it's the surprising amount of action, violent surprises, metal hulk gloves, confusing dialogue, scratching people to death, trampoline fight scenes, and ridiculous music that make it so special.

The Evaluation:
Lionman is supremely fun.  It feels a bit like watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except that it's a serious action film.  I think the high point for me was the knife fight in the dungeon with the tiny knives.  There is a ton of somersaulting, flipping, and at times you can see the mat on the floor.

There is not a single dull moment.  Right when you think it's about to fade, Lionman uses rings and does some awesome gymnastics fighting while Toad fights off a bunch of evil-doers with a big chain.

The Goods:
I picked up this Trash Palace bootleg DVD at Laurie's Planet of Sound in Chicago.  The quality is about what you'd expect from such a release.  It's definitely taken from a VHS, but the sound and video are good. I will definitely be hunting down more of their bootlegs.

Set You Up:

  • This is a good one for friends.  Or, even better, a really awkward date movie.  
  • Hummus Tahini with Pita.  Maybe pick up some Efes Pilsner.
  • Wear torn silk button-down shirt that is two sizes too large
  • Have a blacksmith make you some crazy intense steel lion-gloves

- J. Moret

You can also watch the whole thing on YouTube, in 8 parts:

Monday, July 8, 2013


Classic monster films tend to divide audiences.  You either love the slow, beautifully shot black and white creature features with subtle hints at gore or you find them tedious and slow. 

Personally, James Whale's THE OLD DARK HOUSE is a favorite.  It's beautifully shot, and the opening is incredibly tense.  The plot has been used again and again, with films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc...  It is one of the few movies where I actually believed that when the group gets stranded, they have no choice but to stay in the closest house they come to. 

From the director of The Invisible Man and more amazingness, watch the full film here:

-J. Moret

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Barry Kryshka is the head Repertory Programmer / director of the board of the wonderful Trylon Microcinema and Take-Up Productions.

Trylon is one of the most innovative and interesting movie theaters in the country; a (mostly) volunteer-run, volunteer-programmed non-profit 501(c)3 fifty seat movie theater.  It is placed in south Minneapolis in a tiny space behind Peace Coffee and AVS (Barry's business where he actually makes money).  Programming includes classics and premieres, as well as great outside groups on Wednesdays, such as The Defenders, Sound Unseen and Trash Film Debauchery.  Because of the tiny space and it's non-profit status, they are able to do daring programming like an entire month dedicated to Robert Aldrich.  (Ten Seconds to Hell, which is amazing, would probably never have played anywhere in the city without it.)  It drips with love for cinema.

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Barry Kryshka in the Trylon

Below is my conversation with Barry about how he got into film, how he started the Trylon, the future of cinemas, etc...

Monday, July 1, 2013


Collecting physical media is a quickly dying hobby.  Digital media is becoming more overwhelming and prevalent.  Streaming services offer a seemingly unlimited amount of titles.  However, the titles on Netflix and others are pushed at you based on their restricion rights with the hopes of gaining the most profit.  Likewise, the temporary nature and inferior quality of that digital content offers no sense of ownership.  However, not all physical media is better than the box it comes in, ie: the most obvious cash grab for a career on the downward spiral ever made: William Shatner's SPPLAT ATTACK!

The Description on the box:
"Part sci-fi adventure, part Reality TV survival game and part extreme sports, William Shatner takes on a familiar role as commander of Earth's forces in a galactic confrontation fought with real paintball weapons.

Shot on location and involving plots from classic Star Trek episodes like "The Squire Gothos" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion," Spplat Attack provides a window into the true commander and conquer strategies possessed by Shatner, who battles against teams lead by shock jock Mancow and paintball pioneer Tom Kaye."

Holy god.  I am so baffled.  It starts with Shatner trying to land a fan parachute dealy, and he totally gets his leg caught under him.  Maybe the funniest thing I've seen in years.  
This is really a geek paintball instructional video with teams like the Borg, the Klingons, The Federation, etc...  It's done in probably the cheapest, most awkward way possible.  
The plot:
An alien known as Big Giant Head is attacking a paintball course outside Chicago.  Or something.  Then there are rules.  Teams go against each other.  That's about as far as I got before I turned it off.  Don't get me wrong, this was extremely entertaining and hilarious and I am so happy to have seen what I did.  I just know that I would become suicidally depressed if I watched this whole thing by myself.

-J. Moret

If you want to see a quick clip for it: