Saturday, February 23, 2019

Finally Sitting Down to Write

Yeah, so, I finally got myself to sit down and stay seated for the most part today and get some writing done. Well, there have been the times of jumping up and doing some laundry, heading upstairs for another cup of Joe, or playing with the cats. But, for the most part, I've been writing.

My latest piece, a nostalgic essay about my grandad's old pickup truck, is about my memories and experiences growing up with that truck. Riding in the truck bed, something verboten today; trips to a nearby pond to fish for blue gill and perch; and later, learning to drive it. It was the classic "three-on-the-tree" standard shift. So, I'm wrestling with that, jumping around, fussing with the words, moving them around, adding some, wondering why it sounds great in my head, but my hands won't cooperate and put the words down as I heard them.

But I'm writing. Part of my attempts to get my writing stuff organized, complete the uncompleted, and send more stuff out.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Bad Poetry Day

Since we no longer have Bullwinkle's Corner, I'll make my bad poetry contribution.

You've been warned.

Writer’s Lament
Oh, scattered mind, where to start?
With many piles around me
Of paper and electronic junk
I merely want my words freed
Angry Birds and email hooks
All demand I do them
I need my muse to come along
And under the rug shove ‘em

Keep writing, friends.

A Little More on The Undertaker and His Pals

Okay, so, where was I?

This was a mix of Sweeney Todd, Eating Raoul, and Burke and Hare. A word of caution, though. If you're the least bit squeamish, watch with caution. There's blood, but it's on the order of "Okay, Jim, I've got this rubber axe. Let's get the ketchup and make a movie." And there's a quick bit of stock footage of a surgical procedure that's spliced in to add to the gore factor, but all these things are done with a wink at the viewers.

Undertaker is so tongue-in-cheek, I'm surprised they didn't wear a hole in their jaws. Written and directed by T.L.P. Swicegood (Man, I love that name.), he also wrote one episode of the old TV series, The Untouchables.

Warrene Ott played Friday/Thursday. She made several TV appearances in the 1960s, including The Beverly Hillbillies and Gomer Pyle: USMC.

Our detective, Harry Glass, was played by James Westmoreland. He, too, acted in several TV series during the 60s, including The Monroes and Route 66.

There are many things to love/hate about this movie. Yes, it's horror, but it's Three Stooges doing horror. There's even a pie-in-the-face sequence. Here's the tagline: A macabre story of two motorcycle-riding, knife-wielding, shiv-shaving, eye-gouging, arm-twisting, chain-lashing, scalpel-flashing, acid-throwing, gun-shooting, bone-breaking, pathological nuts and their pal the UNDERTAKER...

Supposedly, Undertaker was banned by several theaters, so it was edited, then released.

If you want some sick laughs, watch The Undertaker and His Pals.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


A few oddities rattling around in my noggin.

Why is a coffee table called a coffee table? It's not made out of coffee. Besides, coffee wouldn't support anything. Unless it's ice coffee. Or, perhaps it's iced coffee. But, anyway, maybe it's a magazine table. You could successfully make a table from magazines. Until you wanted to read one of the magazines. Then it would get all tippy.

And speaking of words, or even werds, why is word pronounced 'werd', as in 'er', when you're clearing your throat, but when you put an 's' in front of word to make sword, the 'w' disappears and you lose the 'er' sound?

And why has every announcer or TV/radio personality started using the words myriad and plethora these days? It's not as though someone just invented those words. Why can't they just say many or several or a lot of instead getting all pretentious on us?

Just wonderin'.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Riff on Sweeney Todd

This must be the week for bad movies. And that's a good thing.

Wendy and I just saw one of the best bad movies ever tonight -- The Undertaker and His Pals.This is one of those rare schlock attacks where they know they're making a bad movie, but it works. Most of the time when they're out to make a bad movie, the stench is rotten egg bad. Think Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Their hearts were in the right places, right there on the operating table, but nope. Uh uh. Negatory, good buddy.

Undertaker gives a mischievous wink to us. Bad acting, bad dialog, and parts that don't make a lick of sense. But what a hoot.

We get things rolling with three motorcyclists, joining up one-by-one, and they ride in a circle a few times, for... no reason at all. Then, off they go, to a young woman's apartment. She's attired in a sweater and panties, mailing a letter to her boyfriend, whose photo is perched on the end table. He smiles widely in his Navy uniform.

Enter our motorcyclists, black-clad, masks covering their faces, except for one guy. Only his mouth is covered. Why? No idea. They enter the room. She never screams, then she's dead, knives protruding from her, bloodily.

Now, here's one of the funny parts. One reviewer has said it had graphic violence. Well, yes and no. The obviously fake knives and blood are so poorly done, it looks a bunch of kids got together and said, "Hey, gang, let's make a movie. I've got some leftover rubber knives from last Halloween. Billy, your mom have a bottle of ketchup? We need some blood."

And tongue-in-cheek? Bit of a spoiler alert here. Not that it really matters. Seems at least two of our murderers own a diner. See, the young woman they just offed was named Susan Lamb. And guess what next day's special is. Yup. Leg of lamb. And we're just getting started. We've got an el creepo undertaker with his funeral parlor next door to the diner. Hmmm....

I'm gonna leave this here for now, but I'll be back tomorrow to have more fun with this bucket of bad. All I can say is, if you're a fan of cheese, good/bad movie cheese, then hunt for The Undertaker and His Pals.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Howdy, writerly friends. Just thinking about over-used words, and this one came to me. War zone. I hear it often on the news whenever the news or weather folks describe earthquake devastation or someplace demolished by a tornado, hurricane,  or other such force of nature. Careful with that expression. First few times it was used might've been fine, but now....

Get creative. Try anything. It looked like the gods had an all-out temper tantrum,  or something. And that's not even a good expression, but you get the idea. Surely you can come up with something better than what I just hacked up. Just be careful with using war zone. Way too used. It's tired. You're writers, so make up something. I have faith in you.

Keep writing, friends.

Farewell, Julie Adams and Dick Miller

For those of us, especially us Monster Kids, who grew up in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and beyond, Julie Adams and Dick Miller were familiar faces. Sadly, they left us to continue making B-movies and TV appearances, perhaps in a parallel universe somewhere/sometime.

Julie Adams (born Betty May Adams) played Kay Lawrence in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and did some synchronized swimming with the creature. She acted in movies and TV all the way till 2018, appearing in everything from Murder, She Wrote to The Andy Griffith Show. Ms. Adams died February 3, 2019. She was 92.

Dick Miller was one of those actors who was everywhere. A wonderful character actor, he was in everything from Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood to The Flash to The Howling. His character in The Howling, Walter Paisley, sold the silver bullets to our heroes. Interestingly, his character's name in A Bucket of Blood was also Walter Paisley. He died January 30, 2019. Mr. Miller was 90.

Goodbye, you two. You made me smile a lot over the years. We will miss you.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Of Anniversaries and Embalmers

That's right. Our Tates Creek Classic Horror Film Club approaches its tenth anniversary with the speed of a fast zombie. This June marks that event, and to celebrate we'll return to the scene of the crime and watch the one that got this whole shebang started, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. They were still slow zombies, but they definitely were flesh munchers. And in preparation for our Big Event, Heather Prichard took a group photo of us Scoobies, shown at the top of the page.

Last night's flick was a fun Italian one titled The Embalmer, smack dab in the middle of the 1960s. Original title Il mostro di Venezia, which translates to The Monster of Venice, apparently when they readied it for US distribution on a double bill with The She Beast, they decided it needed a more fitting title for the teen drive-in movie market. So, we got The Embalmer.

Part horror, part mystery, all schlock (and I mean that oh so affectionately -- it's always a pleasure to watch, as one friend of mine says, "It's the best kind of bad." And he ain't kiddin'.

We get things rolling with a catacombed laboratory where it looks as though the chemicals were cobbled together from a Chemlab chemistry set. Then a hooded figure walks alon. g, admiring one of the embalmed women in his collection. Hey, I suppose everyone's got to have a hobby.

So, we have this crazed maniac using scuba gear in the canals of Venice, Italy, then splish-splashing up to grab them and take them to his underground lair. More comical than grizzly, as we see no blood, nothing graphic at all, actually.

One of our favorite devices used in Embalmer is a page straight from William Castle. Anytime a woman is destined to get nabbed, the film does a freeze-frame on her.

Oh, nearly forgot. When I did my initial research on IMDb, they say our killer takes the women to his catacombed lab, then kills them, and stuffs them. Not quite correct. He takes them underwater first, drowning them (we never see them being drowned, all that happens off-camera), and he never stuffs them. All we see is them lying on a gurney, then he fiddles with some chemicals to embalm them. We never actually see the embalming process, either. This movie is so mild it could play prime time. Truthfully, it's more calm than half the stuff out there now.

Most of the actors involved in this gem did at most two movies, including the writer/director, Dino Tavella. He did this one and Uno sporca guerra (which translates to A Dirty War), both released in 1965. Not much on Dino, other than that he died in 1969.

Our reporter/sleuth/hero of Embalmer is Luigi Martocci (as Gin Mart). He plays Andrea. Most of the actors have only one name in the movie, if they even have that. He had one other role in his career, that of Marcellus in 1963's Cleopatra, though he's uncredited. Fortunately, his other job was that of a fashion model, so he had something else to fall back on.

They also took a page straight from the old TV series Peter Gunn, as during the sleuthing sequences we get some good jazz. It was the 60s, after all.

If you want some good laughs, and terrific bad acting, this'll do it for you. Lot of scenes of Venice. Great fun.

Keep writing, friends.