Friday, April 9, 2021

freakboy on film: THE GHASTLY ONES / SEEDS OF SIN (an Andy Milligan double feature)

In the last few months of 2020, I was introduced to writer/director Andy Milligan by way of FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET.  I enjoyed this early 1970's look at New York City hustlers so much that I purchased a DVD from Greece via eBay.  My 2021 was rang in with popcorn, chocolate, a sleeping cat on my lap and the X-rated cut of FLESHPOT glowing from the TV.  It was the most bizarre and fascinating New Year's Eve I've ever experienced.




In March, TCM UNDERGROUND aired the R-rated cut of FLESHPOT again, along with another Andy Milligan film called GURU THE MAD MONK.  It's a crazy film about a demented monk, a hunchback and a vampire living together in a monastery.  Think THREE'S COMPANY with a  body count, well...sort of.  GURU compelled me to look up other Andy Milligan classics on IMDb and SEEDS OF SIN caught my eye.  Unfortunately, this particular film wasn't streaming anywhere and I could only find a clip on You Tube.  The one clip convinced me to order a double feature DVD.  



Let's start with...

THE GHASTLY ONES (1968) 
screenplay by Hal Sherwood & Andy Milligan / directed by Andy Milligan 



Three sisters, and their respective husbands, are called to their ancestral home for the reading of their father's will.  Once there, the drinks start flowing and the bodies begin piling up.  Is the killer one of the sisters, one of the husbands or one of the three unsettling servants?  I thought I had it figured out, but I was wrong.



Overall, I was entertained by THE GHASTLY ONES, except for gruesome scenes involving a real rabbit.  My only other complaint is I wish the plot would have focused a bit more on the characters.  Certain emotional elements with the sisters and the husbands are introduced, but not fully explored.  Still, if you are in the mood for low-budget crazy horror, you could do worse than THE GHASTLY ONES! 



Now to the reason we are here...

SEEDS OF SIN (1968) 
screenplay by John Borske & Andy Milligan / directed by Andy Milligan 

"Well, you've ruined my life and now I've just ruined your dinner!" - the mother to her children 


Welcome to a house of family dysfunction, secrets and sin!  A sickly, cantankerous matriarch lives with her one-eyed male caretaker, daughter Carol and two conniving servants.  The matriarch has other grown children but wants nothing to do with them.  Carol, going against her mother's wishes, invites the estranged family home for Christmas.  Well, holiday cheer quickly turns to murderous fear as family members get bumped off one by one by someone in the house.  Now do you understand why this one caught my eye? 



What the hell did I just watch? was what I thought at the end of the film.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the crazy dialogue and shocking character revelations, but the film was edited in a seriously confusing way.  Some of the other grown children are not really properly introduced, so good luck keeping track of who is who.  I even thought one character was killed and came back to life, but I had misidentified two similar looking characters.  To top off the confusion, the deleted scenes in the DVD bonus features shows us the death of a character who is barely in the actual film.  Sadly, there is a reason for the horrible editing.



According to the back of the DVD box, producers and distributers wanted more sex in the film.  How much more?  Well, SEEDS OF SIN begins with an orgy that does NOT appear to involve any character from the film.  Same goes for some of the other endless sex scenes scattered throughout. (Who the hell is getting it on now?).  However, there are a few actual plot-related sex scenes, but even they go on far too long.  The only interesting thing in these soft-core moments is the harsh lighting often gives the men a ghostly glow, especially their posteriors.  (Damn, that's a seriously white ass!) 
 


Overall, I really enjoyed this film, I think.  SEEDS OF SIN was everything I expected in the family dysfunction angle, but nothing like I expected in just about every other angle.  So, if you are in the mood for a choppy, disturbing, occasionally hard to follow nudie-horror film, SEEDS OF SIN might float your filmic boat!  Oh, when I watch it again, and I will, there will be a lot of fast-forwarding during the sex scenes, which should up the entertainment factor. 

In conclusion, I am beginning to think FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET is Andy Milligan's masterpiece, though SEEDS OF SIN could've came close if important scenes had not been replaced by extra sex.  However, I've barely scratched the surface.  Thanks to an extremely intriguing trailer in the DVD bonus features, the late Andy Milligan isn't done with me yet. πŸ˜±

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S.  A recently reviewed film I stumbled upon while searching for Andy Milligan films...

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New Month!
New Eye!
New Interview! 

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

freakboy on film: SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED (1974)

 "And remember...the heartbeat you hear may not be your own." 


screenplay by Ed Adlum & Ed Kelleher /
directed by Michael Findlay 


One thing I miss about video stores is searching for a particular title but finding a completely different, but equally entertaining film instead.  The closest I've encountered this phenomenon in the streaming world is via Amazon Prime Video.  I was recently searching for various films directed by Andy Milligan when I stumbled across this crazy, possibly offensive, low-budget excursion into furry terror.

Those meddling kids.


Keith, Karen, Lynn & Tom are college students hand-picked by Dr. Ernst Prell to join his Yeti expedition.  While suck-up Keith dines on exotic cuisine at a specialty restaurant with Dr. Prell, the others attend a super-groovy, swingin' popcorn party.  The party really starts poppin' when Spencer, a former student, arrives with a tale of mutilation.  Seven years ago, he and three other students went on a similar field trip with Dr. Prell, but the Yeti killed his friends.  This story doesn't cause Tom, Karen and Lynn to shriek because Spencer, who became a teacher, is now just a maintenance worker at the college after a nervous breakdown.  Oh, and Spencer drinks...a lot...much to the frustration of his wife. 

What to do before watching this film. 


Bright and early the next morning, with no popcorn hangovers, Dr. 
Prell and his students drive to an island owned by a colleague of his.  Dr. Karl Werner has informed Dr. Prell that a Yeti with horrible body odor has been lurking about.  He has seen and smelled the beast, but failed to take photographs of the creature or its sizable footprints.  Maybe Dr. Werner was too busy playing records with his Native American housekeeper to bother grabbing a camera. 

  Move over, Hazel.  There's a new housekeeper in town!


Laughing Crow is a burly, hairy, intimidating housekeeper.  My half-blind eyes thought he looked maybe more Italian than Native American, but the character is portrayed by an actor named Ivan Agar.  So, Laughing Crow's actual heritage may be more of a mystery than the Yeti, especially when the character's backstory is totally blown out of the water by the end.  I'll leave it for others to decide whether or not to be outraged over the character of Laughing Crow in this utterly outrageous film.

(We now interrupt this post to bring you the Broadway musical stylings of Tom...) 



🎡The Snowman's on the prowl 
He's mean and he's ugly 
And some people say that he's downright nasty 
Yeah, he's mean and he's gruesome 
He'll make your threesome into a twosome 
Now's your chance to make a break 
Don't let a moment go to waste 
On the prowl 
Hear him howl 
Here comes the Yeti now!🎡

The Yeti boogies to Tom's song.


The whole film is nuts, but in a surprisingly good way.  The acting and the Yeti  are perfect for a low-budget 1970's flick.  In other words, nobody is going to win any awards, but the performances and costumes will haunt you long after the credits roll.  The most shocking and impressive aspect is how the plot mostly makes sense, which shouldn't happen with this type of film.  

Dr. Werner & Dr. Prell make Yeti-hunting fashion statements.


Will they find the Yeti?  Will the mutilated shriek?  Will Lynn and Tom get it on or does she only have four eyes for Dr. Werner?  Will it be revealed that Dr. Prell uses Prell shampoo?  There is so much more I could say, but I don't want to spoil the insane surprises waiting for you! 

What to do to get a friend to watch this film.


In conclusion, there is nothing I didn't enjoy about SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED.  I'm thankful Prime Video suggested it in lieu of what I had been searching for.  So, grab a bottle of booze (if you're of legal age), some better-looking popcorn and join this crazy hunt for the elusive Yeti! 

Seriously, this popcorn looks sketchy.


Now I have the urge to dig out a very different Yeti movie I have on DVD.  Hmmm...there may be more furry action to come! πŸ˜±

  
Another Yeti movie?   Pack the essentials!


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S. A different crazy film...

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In case you missed my very short film....




 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

channel freakboy: JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS (1970-1971)

For those who don't know, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS started life in 1963 as a comic book in the Archie universe.  Then they were in two early 1970's Saturday morning animated series, one in  the Scooby-Doo universe and the other in outer space.  In the 21st Century, the all-girl band turned up in a vastly under-appreciated 2001 live-action film and appeared in RIVERDALE, The CW's moody, broody take on Archie and the gang. 


For this post, and my continuing Saturday Morning Mid-Life Crisis, I'd like to examine 4 aspects of the first animated series.  So, come along now, pour a bowl of your favorite breakfast cereal and put on long tails and ears for hats...



1. The characters...
Josie, on the guitar, is sweet and understanding.  Valerie, on tambourines, is so clever and mechanically inclined that I'm convinced she taught MacGyver everything he knows.  Melody, on the drums, may seem like a ditzy blonde but she is more aware than people think.  



Along for the crazy ride is Alan, the roadie (I assume), who may be sweet on Josie, but I think he's secretly crushin' on Alex.  Alexander Cabot III, the band's manager, tends to be a chicken, but manages to book gigs all over the world.  His sister Alexandra, a schemer with a punk rock white stripe in her hair, tags along because she can and because she has it bad for Alan.  Last, but not least, there is Alexandra's cat Sebastian, who ultimately gives his feline brethren a good name.  He saves the gang on occasion, even from the bottom of the ocean in the first episode.



2. Groovy tunes... 
Ive been wanting an official collection of Josie and the Pussycats for years.  I could've dropped $900 of my stimulus money on a used CD via Amazon or just buy the series on DVD for $10.  It was a no brainer because I'm a cheapskate.  The songs have always been the thing I remember most from watching reruns as a kid. 



I enjoyed all the songs, but a few really stood out.  The theme song is terrific and nicely sets up the series, but there is so much more to hear.  Inside, Outside, Upside Down is a catchy song about stalking your crush.  Lie Lie Lie is one of the most realistic songs about romance ever recorded.  Roadrunner is unfortunately not about a fellow cartoon character, but it is about a woman warning another of a male hussy.  My favorite is You've Come A Long Way Baby.  This song is about a woman not being impressed with the glitz and glam of an old beau's success.  She wants the boy she used to know, not the tricked out mack-daddy he's become.



3.  Mystery-solving teens..
When I was younger, I believed Josie and the Pussycats belonged with the Scooby gang in the genre of teen sleuths.  Now that I'm older and allegedly wiser, I'm not so certain.  Yes, there are similarities, but there are also notable differences. 



Josie and the gang aren't really solving mysteries.  They are often swept up in the world domination plans of James Bond-style villains.  Typically, these baddies are introduced in the opening scene, so there is rarely a big unmasking at the end.  Also different is the constant antagonistic behavior of Alexandra.  She has no comparison character in the Scooby gang.  Last, but once again not least, Sebastian isn't really a sidekick like Scooby or Captain Caveman because he's not front and center.  Maybe these differences stem from Josie and the Pussycats being a comic book first.  



4. Insensitivity issues... 
It was 50 years ago, so 21st Century viewers should expect to be offended by something.  There is cultural insensitivity, especially a scene where Alan goes through a series of stereotypical disguises.  There is also body insensitivity, with some overweight jokes.  I must add there is age insensitivity when a villain transforms Alexander, Melody and Alexandra into slow, sleepy, complaining senior citizens.

Oh, and some might find Melody offensive because she may contribute to the ditzy blond stereotype and Alexandra may encourage bullying.  Plus, there is little representation of the LGBTQ community, other than maybe Alan.  There may also be an outcry over The Pussycats' skimpy cat outfits.  Are they a product of male chauvinist sexism or female feminist empowerment?  I don't know, but I believe the most important question centers around one of The Pussycats.  



Does Valerie, a strong, intelligent, independent woman of color, counterbalance the potentially outrage-inducing aspects of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS?  
I believe the answer is far more complex and runs much deeper than an early 1970's Saturday morning cartoon.

In conclusion, despite its flaws, i enjoyed this trip down Saturday Morning Lane.  Memorable characters and great songs keep JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS groovin'.  However, 21st Century parental discretion is advised. 

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S.  4 reasons to see the 2001 film...



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My Saturday Morning Mid-Life Crisis, so far...




Friday, March 5, 2021

channel freakboy: THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN (1980-1981)

"Lords of Light!" - Thundarr



I was often terrified by the idea of the end of the world as a child.  I would hear the volunteer fire department siren and was certain that nuclear war had begun, or at the very least a tornado was coming, which also terrified me.  On top of those destructive forces, I was also seriously worried that an asteroid or comet would crash into the Earth.  So, it's no wonder that the ominous opening credits of THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN fascinated and horrified me on Saturday mornings.  



The year, 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man's civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old. A world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice. With his companions, Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil.  He is Thundarr, the Barbarian! 



I'm sure I spilled my Quisp cereal and wet my Aquaman Underoos the first time I experienced the animated end of the world.  Seeing the runaway planet cracking the moon like an egg and apparently disrupting the Earth's atmosphere was my nightmare come true!  Then add the huge tidal wave, erupting volcanoes and jagged rocks suddenly jutting up through the ground and I was properly traumatized...but hooked.  I enjoyed watching Thundarr, Ariel and Ookla as they traveled on horseback through the remnants of our decimated civilization, freeing humanity from the clutches of evil.  

Thundarr waving his Sunsword around.


Now, with older and allegedly wiser eyes, I still enjoyed the trio's adventures.  Sure, Thundarr is not going to win any 21st  Century sensitivity awards, but he is a barbarian.  Yes, Ariel should use her sorcery powers more often to save people, but she's the most intelligent of the trio.  Of course, Ookla is like a Wookie on steroids, but he may be the fuzzy heart of the series. As for the plot, it's a mixture of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (obviously), STAR WARS (his fabulous Sunsword), and PLANET OF THE APES (the 1974 live-action TV series because they travel around helping others).  

Ariel, Thundarr and Ookla almost literally streak into action! 


I was disappointed there wasn't an actual first episode showing how Thundarr, Ariel and Ookla met.  However, there was plenty to entertain and intrigue along the way.  For example, the runaway planet appears to have caused a massive continental shift.  There is now an ocean near where South Dakota was located and our heroes travel to what was once England from what was once the US on horseback.  Maybe an animated remake needs to happen to fully explore the altered landscape and flesh out the characters a bit more.

The trio ponder what exactly is a Mok.


In conclusion, THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN may not be perfect, but I'm happy for this trip down Saturday morning lane.  Oh, and I still felt tense during the opening credits, but I did not spill my 21st Century bowl of Quisp cereal or wet my orange underwear. 



Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S. Solve this Saturday morning mystery...

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New Month! 
New Eye! 
New Interview!

πŸ‘


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Rubber Duck Lips

 (a tale of my dad)




"I can see something is wrong from here." 

This is what I said to my sister, many years ago,  as we watched our dad approach from inside the fast food restaurant.  My sister warned me that our dad had experienced a prominent allergic reaction to a new medication, but nothing prepared me for the protruding sight coming closer and closer. 

I didn't just stare when our dad entered the restaurant, I gawked.  I gaped.  I couldn't take my eyes off of our dad's swollen lips.  They weren't just fat lip swollen.  They were the after photo in a precautionary ad for botched plastic surgery swollen.  Joan Rivers would've been envious of his extremely full lips.

Just when I felt a rumble of laughter threatening to erupt, our dad thankfully told us what he wanted for lunch and found us a table.  While in line, I made a few one word exclamations and then asked her if he was in pain.  He wasn't but it had to feel weird.  I mean, seriously, his lips appeared to be at the bursting point. 

We got our lunch and joined Dad at a booth.  Dad was across from me and this provided the opportunity for a closer examination of his obvious allergic reaction.  It was then when I realized his upper lip was pushing up in the middle and his lower lip was pushing down, not unlike a rubber duck.  Another rumble of laughter threatened to out me as a horrible son, so I looked away.  Even staring out the window while eating didn't stop the rumbling.  All I could see if I had to glance in his general direction and all I could think when turned away was...Rubber Duck Lips

Later, when alone with my sister, I laughed loudly and a lot.  (I still laugh hysterically about it to this day and wish I had a photo)  I think I foun this terrible thing so terribly funny because of the bath toy association and because our dad appeared unfazed by his temporary condition.  (Yes, his lips eventually deflated back to their normal shape and size)  I don't think I would want to be seen in public if that happened to me, let alone eat in view of others.  Maybe it's his generation, but he doesn't seem easily embarrassed, which causes me endless embarrassment.  Like the time he wore that bear shirt to Stockman's Cafe, but that's another tale for another time.

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S. An old tale hinting at another tale of my dad...

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Go dark!
Visit Sturgeons! 
Get bent! 
Freak out! 
My books & blogs...



Friday, February 5, 2021

channel freakboy: CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS (1977-1980)


I was a very young freakboy when CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS originally aired on ABC, but vague memories have stuck with me throughout the years.  I wanted to know why I remembered anything at all, so that's the reason I decided to relive my Saturday morning childhood on DVD.  All I needed to complete the flashback was Aquaman Underoos and a big bowl of Quisp cereal.  




There was an epidemic of mystery-solving teens in the 1970's and I was not immune to their kitschy charms.  I must have been catching the tail-end of this genre of animated series because the formula was set in stone by the time CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS came along.  A group of teenagers travel around solving mysteries with the help of an offbeat sidekick.  Some groups had a scaredy-cat dog, a blathering shark, a sputtering buggy or even a funky phantom, but the Teen Angels had a superhero caveman.

"Set free by the Teen Angels from his prehistoric block of glacier ice, comes the world's first superhero, Captain Caveman!  Now the constant companion to the Teen Angels - Brenda, Dee Dee, and Taffy - in their hilarious, and sometimes scary mystery missions.  Get ready for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels!"

Not The Mystery Machine


The opening narrator (Gary Owens) tells you all you need to know about the main plot, but what about the characters?  Dee Dee (Vernee Watson) is the super smart Teen Angel, often finding and connecting the clues.  Brenda (Marilyn Schreffler) is the scaredy-cat of the group, often shaking at the thought of a mystery.  Taffy (Laurel Page) is the master trapper, often planning elaborate methods to capture the villain.  Last, but not least, there is the very hairy Captain Caveman (Mel Blanc) who often loses his powers at the most inopportune times. 



Watching CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS with an older and allegedly wiser mind was a different experience.  The series lacks the magic spark of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! (1969-1970) but it is a fun, and often silly escape.  However, there is something there, hiding just beneath the surface, or maybe in Cavey's roomy hair, which leads me to one question.  Who are the Teen Angels and Captain Caveman really?

Taffy, Dee Dee, and Brenda ponder my question.


I believe it's time for Cartoon Network or Boomerang to answer that question in a new series.  They could create a darker, emotionally complex, but still kid-friendly update in the vein of the brilliant SCOOBY-DOO, MYSTERY INCORPORATED (2010-2013).  The new Captain Caveman series could explore how the Teen Angels stumbled upon his block of ice.  Were they in the middle of solving a mystery at the time, and what's going on with all the mysteries anyway?  The group seems to randomly stumble upon crime after crime, but the narrator calls them mystery missions.  Missions?  Are the Teen Angels working for the government or Charlie?  Are they even aware of a possible outside force  directing them to the mysteries?  Then how does Captain Caveman fit into the overall picture and what is up with his powers?  Especially his ability to store and retrieve extremely large objects and creatures in his hair.  Is Cavey an anomaly?  Is he reaching into time when he pulls out dinosaurs from his hair?  It's mind-boggling and a little disturbing.  Sadly, Cavey, Brenda, Dee Dee, and Taffy may never get the chance to solve the bigger mystery surrounding them.



In conclusion, ZOWIE!  CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS is a trippy trip back to the late 1970's.  No, it's not the best of the multitude of mystery-solving teens out there, but It's underlying weirdness is why it never fully left my memory.

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S. Travel back to the early 1990's...

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February's Collective Eye is a-rockin' with the wicked-cool πŸŽ΅beats🎡 of ‪BRICKLAYER BOSH, so DO come a-knockin'!!! πŸ˜Ž