Friday, October 30, 2009

Super Halloween post: Hillarious House of Frightenstein, Ghost Hunters clips, Castlevania (NES)

I thought I'd do something more in the Halloween spirit, as the season seems to be wildly popular in recent years (it usually is in times of war or financial crisis for some reason). First, I'll start of with a clip from one of my favourite shows as a kid: The Hillarious House of Frightenstein. Not only did this show feature loving renditions of Universal monsters in a children's show, but it also featured psychadelic sequences like the one below (the best part of the show, and sadly cut out of DVD releases due to an attempt to not pay out royalties for the songs).

Next we have a collection of clips from the show Ghost Hunters. For the past few years, shows about ghostly sightings and paranormal goings on have become hot (like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, etc.) and Paranormal Activity is proving to be a financial force at the box-office. I've always been fascinated by horror entertainment purporting to be "real". It ads an element of creepiness and even if I know it's fake, the "realistic", unpolished asthetic is still somewhat disturbing to me at times. That said, I'm not a big fan of Ghost Hunters. They seem to always record one bit of evidence from every place they investigate (suggesting fakery) and there's usually a constant soundtrack over everything, undercutting any creepiness that I would usually feel from watching this stuff. It usually feels too polished. Anyway, enjoy and see for yourself!

Okay, let's end off on a lighter note. below ia a speed run (in two parts) of the classic NES game Castlevania, complete with rediculous end credit sequence with stupid pun-filled names. In its time, Castlevania was the best horror game around (at least it was certainly the most popular) and it used a lot of the horror tropes gamers were still familiar with from movies (namely, Universal horror movies with their castles, wherewolves, and black-caped vampires, etc.). Nowadays, unfortunatley, stuff like that is seen as quaint as today's horror audiences and gamers are more into surprsingly agile zombies, genetic mutations, killer alien warriors and the like. Still, if you were 10 in 1987 and were playing Castlevania for 4 hours alone with monsters constantly attacking you, you'd be a little creeped out too (as well as annoyed by being thrown 2 feet into a pit every time you were merely touched by something).

Happy Halloween!

This is it.

Michael Jackson’s This is It.

This is not really a movie. It’s not documentary footage about MJ and his life. This is basically a concert with behind the scenes footage. Remember that MJ didn’t shoot this footage with the intention of making a movie. So all of his actions and reactions are genuine, he is not performing to the camera. He died before he could do this concert, and had he completed it, it would have been the best concert in the history of music. As it is, we only see one quarter of what it would have been, and that quarter was better than every concert I have ever seen! Remember we are seeing rehearsals only, and with just the rehearsal footage, I am impressed.

Not only with the material – MJ’s songs are great – and he plays ALL THE HITS, but with MJ himself.

He is in total control of everything. He even auditions the dancers…there must be like 300 or more of these guys and he goes through all of them!

During the zombie sequence in thriller (a new sequence that is just amazing!) MJ watches all the footage and directs everything that goes on. He cues all the music, and knows every single note of all of his songs.

To top it off, he is very humble. He seems very sweet at times and really seems like he is loving what he is doing. Frequently he looses himself in the song and begins to really sing – something he doesn’t wanna do because he is saving his voice for the show. Well let me tell you, his rehearsal voice is just as good as most peoples studio dubs!!!!

If you are fan of MJ you should see this film for sure. Even if you are a casual fan, you’ll find yourself singing along and moving to the beat.

It was so great that my wife has decided to post her review on the forum.

drop us a line and let us know what you think.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poster Art

I’m a big fan of movie posters. I currently own over 100. Not much by collector standards, but when I also collect action figures and dvds (currently 2250 dvds – real ones, not burned copies), I think I’m doing pretty good with posters.

In any case a few months ago I found this site that showcases high quality images of movie posters. Mostly horror, Sci-fi, and anything odd. They are all high quality poster prints that can be downloaded for free and you can have them printed out and framed even. I found ghosttown on there (both the theatrical and video poster – video is the above one). Ghosttown is my favorite movie poster and this place had a high quality download of it without any print. Just the artwork! This was such a great find for me that I just had to post it.

Check the site out when you can.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Parking Wars

I have been watching Parking Wars on A&E for a while now. It’s pretty funny and I really enjoy the show, but it does prove one thing, that these parking authority guys are out to get you.

Now I am no anarchist, but I believe in laws that actually protect the innocent and punish criminals. Like stealing, or killing, not some guy leaving his car 1 foot away from the curb and getting a ticket for it.

That being said, these parking laws are in place for a reason. If someone parks on a sidewalk, they obstruct people walking about. That is very minor in my book, but it does affect people in their day to day lives. So they may deserve a ticket.

The big thing with these meter maids is that they claim there is no quota to meet. Which may be true, you don’t have to meet it, but if you don’t, then you could get reprimanded. Its like the pizza guys, they say 30 mins or free, so they drive fast to make it in time…but we are told, “in order to not force our guys to drive fast, we do not take the free pizza out of their paycheck.” I knew a guy who delivered food and that is not a lie. They really don’t take it out of your pay, but try and get 3 free orders by being late, and you’re fired.

That being said, if there really is no quota, no loss of pay etc, then why are the guys on this show so excited about ticketing and booting cars? Like what’s the point. You didn’t nail a murderer or something. It’s just some regular guy who didn’t pay his ticket, which is a BS law anyway.

I have only ever gotten 1 parking ticket in my life and it was at Bergamot (my old stomping grounds) when I was picking up a Chapion. I parked for literally 2 mins, ran inside the building and helped him carry some stuff to the car. I get back, $75 ticket. It’s impossible for that guy to have just been there…he saw me come in and park and when I ran inside, he ran to my car and ticketed me.

Now I was in the wrong. It said no parking…but I lived there for 25 years of my life and it was NEVER a no parking spot. It was just added there a month ago and I never noticed. Ok, so I paid it and that’s that.

But if there is no quota, why would the guy nail me like that without giving me a min to come back? He saw me running (not because it was no parking, but because my buddy needed help to carry his stuff), so he knew I was in a hurry.

Parking Wars shows a lot of these guys saying “It’s my job, I am just doing my job.” I do my job too, and believe me there are a lot of rules. Salesmen must fill out a request for my to provide prices for boxes (I price boxes, for those who don’t know). Now if they don’t fill in all the details (most of which are pointless) I have to give the request back to them. But salesmen are usually the road, so they wont be back in the office till the next day or two, by that time their customer has gotten a price from someone else, and we lost that business, and the salesmen loses his commission for it. All because he didn’t fill out the form properly. I am within my rights as per the company to return this improperly filled out form…but I don’t. I just call the rep and ask them. They tell me the info and say they’re sorry for missing that and it’s done.

I don’t try to hurt the salesmen by teaching him a lesson about filling out forms. “That’ll teach you to fill out forms properly buddy!” This is the attitude of the these guys. They are out to prove they are better than you because they have authority and you don’t. Give me a break here.

I am not against these parking people who are doing their job. And people shouldn’t park where there is no parking. All I am saying is that it’s not a crime and the parking guys don’t need to act like it is. And I am a bit tense that they ENJOY giving the tickets. I don’t enjoy my job, so if it’s just a job, why get so much joy out of it?

In any case the show is still really fun to watch. People get super pissed off and there is always a yelling match. I love the conflict. Most of the time the parking guys are right in the sense that the meter did run out, they did park too far off the curb etc. But it’s still funny to see them get upset over it.

Disagree? Bash me on the forum.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iron Man 2 - will it suck?

Is it me? I have a sinking feeling about Iron Man 2. It might just be my eternal negativity about everything, but I don’t know. I haven’t really been impressed by any of the stills that I’ve seen. I haven’t been able to take a look at any footage before Studio execs strike them down. And until I see footage, I can’t shake this feeling that it looks stupid. Now, you might be reading this in the far-flung future, having already seen Iron Man 2, and saying “What are you, a moron? I just saw the movie and it was freakin’ awesome!”. But you have to realize that I’m writing this on October 27, 2009. At this point, this is what I have to work with:

First of all, why Whiplash as the main villain. I know he’s a classic Iron Man villain, but of all the classic villains they chose Whiplash? Whiplash, seriously. You’re trying to follow up the success of the first Iron man movie with a spectacular sequel, and you come up with Whiplash. Why not Mandarin? Why not Titanium Man? Or even the effin’ Melter for eff sakes.What is Whiplash’s power? Well . . . he has whips. Really?? How the hell is he supposed to fight Iron Man??? Can you imagine how lame that would look?

And what is up with the leather strap fetish gear Mickey Rourke is sporting in those silly stills? People are fond of saying that Whiplash goes through various phases of “armour” (if you can call it that) and this is an early phase. Okay, but if it looks that dumb, why even show it!? I didn’t think it was possible, but they actually made a costume that’s even sillier than the comic one. And don’t tell me he fights Iron man at a NASCAR rally. When will Americans learn that nobody cares about NASCAR? Even Americans don’t care. It’s just Americans living in the Southern states that seem to be obsessed with this crap, but anyone south of Texas, North of Iowa and East or West of the lower 48 States doesn’t care!! I like how they try to shoe-horn in NASCAR guys every-so-often into TV commercials and movies. You’ve probably seen it. Some smiling dude walks into frame and everyone goes gaga. I’m usually left thoroughly confused “Who the hell is that guy??”. I remember one scene in the Herbie reboot with Lindsay Lohan where these three guys go up to Herbie and start muttering lines like “I’ll tell you what, that’s a sweet ride.” “Yup, sure is.” “Yup, I’ll tell you what.”. I had no idea what was going on. I was like “are these guys stars?? This scene looks like it was made just to have them yap about “I’ll tell you what” but I can’t place the faces. Am I supposed to know who these fart-heads are?”. Later, I realized that they were NASCAR “stars”. Are you effin’ kidding me?? I predict that there will be a scene in Iron Man 2 where NASCAR “superstars” walk up to the Iron Man armour:

NASCAR “superstar” #1: I’ll tell you what, that’s some sweet armour.

NASCAR “superstar” #2: Sure is, I’ll tell you what.

NASCAR “superstar #1: Oooooweeeeh, some sweet design, I’ll tell you what.

NASCAR “superstar #2: Yup.

NASCAR “superstar #1: Yup.

NASCAR “superstar #2: I’ll tell you what.

Who in the hell are you guys??

It’ll be the single most embarrassing moment for Marvel in it’s decades-spanning history. But enough of this NASCAR bashing. The NASCAR scene reminds me of a typical comic-movie formula, where the hero gets defeated by the villain (or narrowly escapes an attack from a villain), then licks his or her wounds and comes back more pumped up and improved to defeat the villain in the final act. Okay, but we have a problem. Our villain is Whiplash, who has almost nothing covering his leathered up torso, and we have frickin’ Iron Man!!! Are you seriously going to show Whiplash give Iron Man a run for his money? And we’ve heard rumours that War Machine is in this movie. Okay, cool. I would like to see a live-action War Machine. But does that mean that lame-looking Whiplash is such a formidable foe that Iron Man has to actually team up with War Machine and Whiplash needs not one, but two Iron Men to defeat him?? Are you kidding me??? And let’s say that Whiplash is not the only villain. We know that Black Widow is in this. But now does that mean that Iron Man has trouble fighting some skinny chick and a dude with leather straps and bandolas??

Even Crimson Dynamo would be awsome

You see what I mean? This isn’t shaping up well in my mind. Why couldn’t they go with Mandarin or Ultron or someone as the villain? And it's not like they can save them for a sequel. What sequel? Last I heard, it's straight on to the Avengers movie. And I don't want to see Mandarin fighting the Avengers, I want Madarin to fight Iron Man in an Iron Man movie! Hopefully it’ll all work out, but Paramount and Marvel Studios have to understand that by not showing us footage of how these Iron Man 2 characters will work, and releasing out-of-context stills, you’re making Iron Man 2 look wholly stupid. We’ll see come next year.

Don't agree with me? Let me know in our very own forums:


You can’t change fate.

Law Abiding Citizen.

You can’t change fate is what the killer says to Gerard Butler before he rapes and murders his wife and child, while the killers accomplice watches.

2 men break into Butlers house – a random act of violence. They knock him out – with a baseball bat as soon as he opens the door. They tie him up, but he wakes up to see his wife and child get killed.

1 year later and the killers are up for trial, and Jaime Foxx is prosecuting them. The fat one, the guy who actually killed the wife and child, plea bargains and testifies that his accomplice, the skinny guy – who really didn’t do anything but watch, was the real killer.
Why would they plea bargain when there’s supposed DNA evidence is stupid, but the judge ruled that the DNA evidence was not admissible (if she hadn’t, there’d be no movie). So anyway the real killer gets 5 years (one hell of good bargain) and the other guy gets the death sentence. Foxx wins a lot of cases, so he wants justice, but is willing to compromise to get it, so he thinks the deal was ok.

10 years later…

So the skinny guy is being executed and when the inject him, he starts to twitch and you see that he had a painful death. That causes an investigation and Jaime Foxx and Colm Meaney (Chief Miles O’Brien from Star Trek – one of my fave characters of all Treks) are called in to TCB (take care o business).

Of course it’s Butler, and he ends up capturing the fat guy (who was a real piece of crap and was basically laughing at the fact that he got off), and when Butler catches him and straps him to a table, they don’t show what happens…BUT they talk about it. And what they say is the most satisfying revenge I have ever heard of. I mean the revenge is BEYOND what I thought this movie would do. I thought Exterminator (a much better film) was pretty harsh! That had a meat grinder in it! But Butler really gets a good revenge and you are really happy with it…in fact, it may be too much revenge, if that is even possible…I mean gosh…like really.

But he is a killer now, so he has to go to jail…which he does. He then starts to use the law to his advantage, like the criminals do. You see for the past 10 years, he’s studied up and he also has secret skills that we don’t know about. Anyway, he’s been planning this for 10 years.

At this point the movie changes, act 1 – revenge on the killers, act 2 – revenge on the system. He starts to kill the innocent people…but they are not all that innocent. The lawyer who defended those killers knew they were guilty, but the law allows for people to have defence. The judge was a bitch etc. Actually one great part was where Butler is up for bail and Foxx says they should deny it. Butler argues his way out of it, using the usual BS stuff that is said when guys get out on bail, but when he is about to be granted bail, he gets angry that they would give him bail, because he’s obviously guilty. I loved that part and really laughed at it…in a good way, not making fun of.

Anywho, the rest is played as we thought it would…he bargains for stuff, Foxx cant do anything but play along etc.

The movie was pretty fun to watch, and I may even end up buying it. It was fun, as expected and that’s about all I wanted out of it anyway. Don’t think too much about the morality on it, cause no one is perfect anyway, and this film doesn’t really get down to the real subject of justice…it’s more of a action movie perception of justice, if that means anything to you.



Monday, October 26, 2009

Gone but not forgotten.

Gone with the Wind

The epic story of love in the old south. Epic is the key word here. This movie is 4 hours long and spans a lot of years.

For those that don’t know the story (I thought I knew, but I was seriously wrong) its about Rhett, Scarlet, Ashley, and Melanie, and their lives before, during and after the civil war with the Yankees. The south thinks they’ll win, Rhett’s not so sure, Scarlet hates the talk of the war etc.

Basically Melanie is the only character that remains lovable throughout. The others, particularly Scarlet range from hateful, to tolerable, to admirable, to likeable, to hateable again.

This is basically a long movie soap opera. If that is your bag, then buy this movie now.

The acting, sets and costumes are amazing and they really get a lot out of this story…but for me it was a minor, but not total, let down. I was expecting a bit more since this is a classic.

On it’s own, in today’s era of remakes and watered down films, this movie is great. But for the time period in which it was made, I just wanted more.

That being said, it’s a classic and well made epic soap opera. So see it if you get the chance.

And if you decide not to see it, then frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.



Friday, October 23, 2009

Windows 7 parties???

In keeping with this blog's pop-culture theme, I couldn't help but post this.

In launching its newest unecessary Windows update, Microsoft has undertaken one of the most baffling, bizzare ad campaigns I've ever seen a major corporation initiate. Basically, Miscrosoft wants to encourage you to throw a Windows 7 launch party by basing a houseparty with your freinds around installing Windows 7 on your computer (!). To do this, they've created a viral ad campaign featuring 4 awkwardly mismatched actors giving viewers tips on what various activities you can do at your party. What makes this ad become something much more and ascend to the ranks of kitch history is that it actually doesn't appear to be a spoof of infomercials. It seems to be SERIOUS! Look at these fools! I love the "oh, snap!" moments at the end of this. See how much of this you can take:

Wow that's enduring yourself to America's youth, Microsoft!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Metal on Metal.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

Anvil is a Canadian band that was started by “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner. Lips is the singer and lead guitarist and Robb is the drummer. At the age of 14/15 they met each other and vowed to rock on till they die. They are now in their 50’s and still rocking on.

That right there is enough to say that this movie is awesome, and it’s real. I mean I cant trust guys to come out next week for stuff when they say they are, never mind sticking with me for 35 years. To top that, there are hardly any bands still together after 35 years…but Anvil is. Oh and this is a DOCUMENTARY, it’s real, at times you may think it’s a Mocumentary, but its not!

Anvil is a rock band that has made 12 albums (this doc covers the band while they are making their 13th album). Their most famous album was “Metal on Metal”, and was their second album. In the early 80’s a bunch of bands performed in a big time Japanese show and all of those bands (including Bon Jovi and Metalica) went on to be big successes, but Anvil was the ONLY band that didn’t go anywhere. What’s even more dry is that most of the bands were envious of Anvil and stole from them. They blew away Twisted Sister (by the bands own admission) and Motorhead, Guns and Roses, Anthrax etc, all talk of how they wanted to be like Anvil.

We are then taken to the present where Lips drives a delivery truck that brings food to schools. He explains how the menu changes ever day. Some of the workers know he’s in a band some don’t. Most don’t care. They just know him as the delivery guy.

Anvil wanted to make it big, but had bad management, bad record labels and bad luck. They finally go on tour and everything goes to shit. I wont spoil anything, but it’s not pretty. But they rock on. Lips and Robb never give up their dreams. Their wives and siblings think they should but they wont. They never give up.

This film is an inspiration to all in ANY field of creativity. Whether you are a musician, writer, director, sculptor etc. This film isn’t really about rock and roll, or even a band. We never see the songs in full, we never really get an origin of the band, some brief stuff about how they met, but this isn’t about Anvil per se, it’s about 2 men with a dream and they wont give that dream up no matter who tells them to.

The best line I have ever heard came from this film, and is said by Lips:

“We went on tour and everything went wrong, but at least there was a tour for stuff to go wrong on.”



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top 5 Most Baffling Saturday Morning Cartoons Based On Sitcoms

In the 70’s and 80’s, Saturday morning cartoons were the norm. The top 3 American networks at the time (ABC, CBS and NBC) competed against each other with cartoons that would attract the luractive (and burgeoning) advertising dollars of rising toy companies like Hasbro, Mattel, Kenner, etc. (who have all become corporate giants since then, if they haven’t been bought by Hasbro). In this time, networks scoured the earth to find ideas for cartoons to fill their schedules, and sometimes they looked no further than their own prime time schedules. However, in trying to come up with cartoon plots, the networks often tinkered with their own ideas and came up with stuff that was insanity itself. Try to figure out what these folks were smoking when they dreamt these shows up as we go through our top 5 most baffling cartoon spin-offs.

#5: Gilligan’s Planet

So, the characters of Gilligan’s Island can’t get off the island on the TV show, but in the cartoon they CAN build a space ship out of wood and fly off to the far reaches of the universe. First off, if you want to escape the island and go to civilization, why build a space-ship? And if you CAN build a spaceship, then why not downsize and build a plane? Fly to America or something. This show could have gone past a season, but the thing is that the planet they land on is frickin’ boring. Now instead of sunny locales, you get rocky terrain and dreary skies. You also get the requesit funny animal sidekick so common in cartoons of this era, this time in the form of a lizard that does nothing. Gleek would kick its ass.

#4: Laverne and Shirley Join the Army

What child honestly watched Laverne and Shirley seriously? I only cared about that pompadour guy and I can’t even remember his name. Anyways, he’s not in this. Laverne and Shirley…well, they join the Army like the title says. Once there, they team up with a funny animal sidekick (this time a Pig in a General’s uniform, who looks a lot like the pigs from The Racoons) and fight a giant ape and space aliens, as the U.S. armed forces usually does. I like that the writers realized that they couldn’t show Laverne and Shirley fighting Soviets or supporting Afghanistan in the 80’s, so they whipped up all this fake shit for them to have adventures with.

#3: Fonz and the Happy Days Gang

Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. Now, what does that title say to you? What do you think off? Fonz and the characters of the Happy Days show getting into teenage hijinks and shinanigans, right? RIGHT? Well, that’s what a normal person would think. But, wouldn’t you know it, Fonz happens upon a time-traveling “future chick” named Cupcake (I guess they ran out of good names in the future) and takes Ralph and Richie through time and now they can’t get back to 1957 because Cupcake is a dumbass. Oh, and there’s a funny animal sidekick in the form of a dog (can’t remember his name).

Laverne and Shirley and Fonz and the Gang were actually two of three Gary Marshal sitcoms that were made into cartoons. The other one was Mork and Mindy which was surprisingly intact compared to the show (with funny animal sidekick added, of course). You would think that an alien from outer space who comes from an egg would crank up the ol’ creative juices for the cartoon, what with Fonz being relegated to time-travel. But no! Just leave things the way they are! Odd. These three toons were part of “The Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and The Fonz Hour”. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Out of curiousity's sake, I give you:

The Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and The Fonz Hour

#2: Partridge Family 2200 A.D.

Ah, the Partridge Family. I used to watch this on CKVR here in Ontario, where I caught a lot of old syndicated shows. It was colourful, cheesy and really camp. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that there was actually a cartoon based on Partridge Family. And taking place in the future, no less! How the hell they end up in the future, I actually don’t quite know. I think it’s implied that they just always lived there or something, and that there’s no real link to the live-action show. The real reason, of course, is that Hannah Barberra had all these old backgrounds and cells leftover from The Jetsons and when they were to make a Partridge Family cartoon, they thought it was cheaper to just reuse old materials for the show. And that’s what’s called high quality animation production, folks.

#1: Punky Brewster

Coming in at number 1 is an animated version of the precocious, adorable sitcom character Punky Brewster. The sitcom itself was about this orphan kid who is taken in by a crotchety old man and then befriends the requisite annoying kid sidekicks who each have a little quirk to set them apart from one another. The cartoon, on the other hand, was about Punky playing in a park somewhere and then following a rainbow to its end. And did she find Leprechauns and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? No! Please remember that these cartoons were made by crack heads. Instead of Leprechauns, Punky discovers a village of hairy, anthropomorphic creatures who can grant wishes at a moment's notice. One of them hangs out with Punky (which along with Punky's dog account for not one, but TWO funny animal sidekicks) and they get into hilarious hijinks together. Now, what about the sitcom screams hairy wish-giving, rainbow-dwelling creature?? Where the HELL did this come from?? Kids who were fans of the prime-time show were left scratching their heads from this one. I mean, at this point, kids understood that cartoons based on sitcoms were highly suspect, but this show looked to all the world like they just took a concept that was bumping around the office and attached Punky Brewster to it. This wasn't as bad a travesty as when they shattered all realism on the prime-time show by having Punky visit a haunted cave, but I won't go there.
Well, that's it for now. Untill next time.

The best character in television history!

H.M. Murdock was a fictional character appearing in the television series The A-Team. He was played by actor Dwight Schultz, who you may have seen on Star Trek Voyager or Stargate SG-1, but by far his best role was as “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock.

In the series, Murdock is considered to be the best pilot to come out of the Vietnam War. The 3 other members of the A-Team were wrongfully accused for a crime they didn’t commit. Even though Murdock was the pilot in that mission (to rob a bank during the war) he was not charged with the crime. Instead he was committed to an insane asylum.

After the A-Team escapes the military prison, they become soldiers of fortune and sell their skills to the oppressed or anyone who has been unjustly treated. They stay on the run from Col. Lynch and in the 2nd season Col. Decker. Murdock is a member of the A-Team, but is not wanted by the MPs. They believe he is safely contained in the insane asylum. But he often escapes (usually with the help of “Faceman”) to join the others in their missions.

Even thought he is insane (or at least pretends to be insane) he is very useful. Perhaps the most useful of the bunch. He can fly anything with wings or propellers, he comes up with very unique plans, and often will save the others from the military (since the MPs don’t know he’s with them, he can come and go as he pleases). He also helps Faceman out with his cons, so he is an accomplished actor. His only quirk is that he often takes on other personalities, talks to invisible objects, thinks inanimate objects can speak, befriends sock puppets, rocks, and nuts. He also watches cartoons, has extensive knowledge on a variety of subjects, knows how to fight, speaks several languages and has a photographic memory.

Wow. This guy does it all! And he’s hilarious! He is the best character on television ever! The reason he’s the best? Because you get everything in one person! Every episode you get to know more about him. Every episode you get something new to laugh at and to love!

But don’t make any mistakes, Murdock is very smart. He may act crazy, but often he saves the A-Team, or comes up with good solid plans that get the job done. He can also use any weapon and often fights hand to hand with enemies too!

He is the most useful member of the team and the best character on the show!

And to think, they almost wrote him out! Whew!

The A-Team would not have been the same without him!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Costumes: a mask and a bib are all you need...

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I’d examine an industry that has greatly improved over the decades. If you go to the Disney store or anywhere else for that matter, you’ll see Halloween costumes that have authentic materials and actually look like the licensed characters they’re supposed to portray. But if you were growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, chances are you wore a crappy costume from either Ben Cooper, Halco or Collegeville. How crappy? Well, it’s amazing to think that a hard plastic mask with a fragile elastic band and what amounts to a garbage bag with simply the character’s picture on it to cover your torso were the norm for literally decades, but they were. Kids never complain when they donned their Batman mask with a plastic bib displaying a graphic of Batman doing an action pose. Nowadays, costumes are far more sophisticated with the costume actually looking like the character rather than a walking billboard advertisement for them.

These costumes were uber popular for decades, but really – they were still garbage bag grade plastic draped over your body. So, why were they the dominant force in Halloween attire for so long? Simple: they were cheap and they were everywhere! Ben Cooper, Halco and Collegeville were the masters of mass production. And they licensed the crap out of just about anything you can think of. Sure, there were Peanuts, Bugs Bunny, Superman and other bread-and-butter mainstays, but there was also Small Wonder, Krull, Fire and Ice and Scott Baio costumes, just to mention a few. So come with me now on a trip down memory lane, to a time when your breath would liquify in your semi-toxic hard plastic mask and your garbage bag costume would flap in the cold wind on a Halloween night.

First off, costumes that aren't that bad:

As you can see, some of the costumes actually looked like what they were supposed to. For all you kids of the 90's and 2000's, yes, Freddy was marketed to kids. These were the 80's. Every R-rated movie was marketed to kids because everybody knew they were watching. Oh, and for the uninitiated, the dude up top is Max Ray from the Centurions cartoon and toy line. But that's not the most random costume.

There were many more costumes based on video-games. But these might be two of my favourites (aside from the Missile Command costume, the mask of which I can't find a picture of -- was it a missile on your face or something?). Q*Bert was already the subject of cartoons and colouring books, etc. at this time, but here he gets the typical plaster-a-graphic-of-the-character-on-a-bib treatment common to these costumes. And Asteroids! I mean, you're basically making a costume on an abstract concept. There are no characters in that game. The mask is a frickin' asteroid for eff sakes! What was everybody thinking when they made this costume??

And what kid wants to dress up as Jackie Kennedy wearing a sweater?? (and no, I'm not joking. That really is a costume of Jackie Kennedy wearing a sweater).

Ah, the ever famous costume of Tattoo from Fantasy Island. I can just see kids in the Woolworth agonizing over whether to get the Spider-Man costume or this gem. Truth be told, Fantasy Island was a hit with the kiddies. But then again most everything was when your parents watched stuff like Love Boat and St. Elsewhere and you had no choice in the matter. sigh

I know My Little Pony was popular and all, but what girl wants to be a horse?

Yes folks, kids could even dress up as their favourite food, although why you would pick peas over candy to dress up as is anyone's guess.

Even sitcoms were not free from the wrath of Halloween costume licensing. Small Wonder is relatively obscure today but was inexplicably popular for about 6 months. That said, Tiffany Brissette should sue for this likeness. Not only is she creepy, but she looks 47.

Remember when Rambo walked around with a shirt that had a picture of himself on it? Yeah, me neither.

Today, due to their camp value and the fact that they represented any and every fad in pop-culture in their time, these costumes are heavily prized possessions on the collectors’ market and have risen in price over the years. Sure, you can get masks of this era (some of which are actually pretty cool looking) for a couple bucks on e-Bay, but others, like the 60’s Spider-Man costume fetch upwards of $100.

These sites have a bunch of cool pictures of more costumes. Some are quite good, but a majority are too astonishing for words:
Worst costumes ever! EVER!:
A scan of the 1980 Ben Cooper catalog:

2nd Strike and YOU ARE OUT!!!

The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

The Dark Knight Returns was a great Batman story and a great story for all to read, whether they follow Batman or not. It was about old age, and how we still need heroes and how the media puts their own spin on stuff and we eat it up.

Batman was at odds with Superman and they fought hard. Both men were determined to win and Superman met his match. I wont give away what happens but it was awesome! This brings me to Strikes Again, the sequel that continues where Returns left off.

What a huge waste of time this book was. Horrible dialogue, “I own your ass.” Says Batman. “I fired your ass.” He says to Dick Grayson..etc. This is just bad writing. The story is also VERY hard to follow. They were fighting Brainiac for half the book and I didn’t even get that! Plus there are WAY too many other heroes in it.
Atom, Flash, Question etc. This was more of a JLA story with Batman in it, then a Batman story.

Returns showed Batman’s struggle to fight crime in an old battered body, this one just a bunch of crap. It was so bad that it may be the worst thing I read out of DC Comics…(unless Wanted was DC).

Don’t buy this…it takes down Returns too, just cause it’s associated with it.


I'd love to get lost.

The Lost Horizon.

Foreign secretary Rob Conway is a dreamer and writer. He was trapped in China when a war broke out and he helped many people escape. He boards a plane with his brother, a palaeontologist, a dying girl, and a former embezzler. The plane is hijacked by an Asian and they crash land in a arctic wasteland.

They are rescued by some travelers and taken to a paradise called Shangri-la. Their you can live a long life and be peaceful, but some don’t want peace and want to leave…but can you?

Is Shangri-la real? Is it a fountain of youth? All questions are answered in this great film from Frank Capra.

This guy is just too good. Every movie I have seen of his is 5/5 and this is no exception. A must own for all.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Photon: flashlights have never been cooler!

Alright all, in keeping with our new format I'm going to be looking at one interesting footnote in pop-culture outside of movies. One forgotten craze with an even more forgotten TV series under its belt. That's right, I'm talking about PHOTON!!

Just what the hell is Photon? In the early 80's, Photon was a craze that took the U.S. (and Canada to some extent) by storm. It's probably better known by its knock-off comeptitor Lazer Tag. Basically you strapped on awkward acessories that included a big honkin' receiver to your torso and run around with a "Lazer Pistol" that you would then shoot at someone's receiver while they tried to shoot at you in a sort of high-tech paint-bell-esque game. Photon actually came out before Lazer Tag and, in its hey-day, openned over 40 "Arenas" around the U.S. where families could go and shoot each other sensless with glorified flash-lights shaped as pistols. In all this fury, the folks who dreamt up Photon partnered with toymaker LJN to produce toys based on the property. But LJN needed more than just cheap guns to base a figure line on. And so the Photon TV show was born. And this wasn't some cheap cartoon. No, no! This was in live-action, no less.

Ah, the 80's! It was a time that embraced care-free high adventure and joyful violence with larger than life colourful creatures. And that's just what this show did. By today's standards, the show has such cheese-ball special effects, with just about everything enmired in bluescreen effects. But this stuff was incredibly ambitious for its time. Half the cast is animatronic for eff sakes. And it's 1986!

Basically, the story revolves around an earth kid who gets recruited into an intergalactic team who protects Photon, a light that has been around for eons and is important for some reason (the bad guys want to extinguish that light of course). The good guys consist of a talking lizard named Leon, a big booger-looking creature named Pike, a masked, female chauvanist (I wish I were lying) a big robot dude with a mullet (!) and some orphan earth child genius (and yes, you guessed it, he's annoying), not to mention the highly eye browed new recruit Bhodie Lee whom the show revolves around.

It's a fun little show and all the creatures are wicked. The action is very Star Wars esque with lots of flips and jumps before actually shooting someone. And the music! Every top 40 hit is here from Dancing on the Ceiling to Whip It is here whenver the action gets heavy. It's all about the cheese, people! Looking at the toys and the cool looking characters, it really is a shame that the Photon TV series didn't catch on with kids. Still, it remains an interesting footnote in pop culture and a virtual time capsule of 80's campy adventure series.

And now, I leave you with the first episode of this masterpiece:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Until next time,