Wednesday, April 14, 2021


received an alluring e-mail from Amazon during the midst of my Saturday Morning Mid-Life Crisis.  

Swingin' Single Animated Series Are Waiting To Meet You!

Ok, maybe it didn't say exactly those tempting words, but I had to look.  Nothing was catching my half-blind eyes until I fell under the spell of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH.  (IMDb was sketchy on the years this aired.  It was either 1969-1972 or 1971-1974.)  I had no idea there was an older animated version, but I wanted to see it!  No, I needed to!  So, with only a moment of hesitation and without checking You Tube for episodes or clips, I ordered an inexpensive DVD.

What was I thinking? 

I wasn't thinking.  I was a junkie haunting the back alleys of Toon Town, jonesin' for my next Saturday morning fix.  A little jingle jangle to slide me into a  kaleidoscope world of color, magic and canned laughter.  

Veronica, Betty, Reggie, Archie, Jughead, Sabrina and not Salem.

A most insipid theme song filled my head and I was suddenly trippin' through the white bread streets of Riverdale.  Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe loomed ahead, so I decided to peer inside.  There was Archie, the square-est square with a cloying modulated voice, sharing a malted with tomboy Betty.  Over by the jukebox was southern belle Veronica, with a super obnoxious squealing voice, dancing with the ultra smug Reggie.  Bursting out of the door, while eating a burger, was Jughead frantically running from the stalker-love of Big Ethel. 
Big Ethel will NOT be ignored! 

I followed them for a while, passing Harvey Kinkle as he abruptly left town, and was soon outside of a big, turn-of-the 20th century house.  I cautiously drew nearer and continued my peeping-john routine.  My mind reeled and my half-blind eyes bugged out.  I found them!  I found all of them witches and they were nothing like I expected.  Though I'm not sure what I was expecting.  

Sabrina is very reflective.

Hilda & Zelda have seen better days.

Sabrina was there, looking like Sabrina with short blond, or maybe white hair held back with a headband. To perform magic, she tugged her ear like a less magical Carol Burnett or a drunk Samantha Stephens.  Then I got seriously confused when her Aunts appeared, partly because they were perpetuating harmful pointy-hat witch stereotypes.  Mainly because the Aunts were reverse from what I knew.  Hilda was the taller, severe one, while Zelda was the shorter, kinder one.  Oh, and Salem the cat wasn't black, which was surprising with all the other stereotypical witch stuff going on. 

Salem is angry at being stuck in this series. 

Never fear, Cousin Ambrose is here! 

Just when I thought I was going to lose my jingle jangle high, Cousin Ambrose swished in to give this vanilla town some edge.  With his effeminate voice and mannerisms, Cousin Ambrose might be a part of the LGBTQIA community, though its never directly stated.  However, he looked quite natural and comfortable when he changed into a cheerleader skirt, so I was happy to find a connection in the hetero-norm landscape of Riverdale.  

Mr. Weatherbee is just jealous that he doesn't look as fabulous in a skirt or dress..

A loud, obnoxious commotion distracted me from Sabrina's house to a truly disturbing sight.  Had that old castle always been there or was my jingle jangle cut with some sugar sugar? There before me were painfully ridiculous versions of the Universal horror monsters called the Groovie Goolies.  They claimed to be Sabrina's cousins but I think they showed up in an attempt to get their own spin-off series.  I don't know if they succeeded but thankfully they disappeared after awhile.

It's no wonder that....

...Grundy & Weatherbee need a drink or two or three.

As I felt the jingle jangle wearing off, I ran to the school dance to drink some of the obviously spiked punch.  Unfortunately, Principal Weatherbee and schoolmarm Miss Grundy had drained the bowl because they wanted to forget the crazy nonsense around them.  This totally bummed me out, but maybe it was for the best..  I would never want to forget the magical moment when Big Ethel called Sabrina a hussy.  As I waved a sobering farewell to this trip, I considered the possibility that Riverdale wasn't as straight-laced as I initially thought. 

What happens at Riverdale beach, stays at Riverdale beach.

Now here I sit with a Saturday morning jingle jangle hangover, licking the bottom of the cereal bowl and typing these words.  Words to make sense of the senseless or the other way around.  Maybe the recent memories of Netflix's CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA altered my perception of this teenage witch.  I mean, that's why I fully expected Satan to appear when animated Sabrina angered a higher power, but was disappointed when it turned out to be simply the head witch.  I'm just relieved Josie and the Pussycats had already fled Riverdale to go on tour and stop villains from world domination because I would've hated to see them diminished in this particular cartoon universe. 

In conclusion, I've learned that I should stick with series I have previously seen for my Saturday Morning Mid-Life Crisis and to severely research before ordering.  Don't get me wrong, there were good moments in this animated series of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, but they were very few and extremely far between.  In other words, watch at the risk of utter tedium.  

(I just hope my next animated trip is really out of this world. 😉)

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

Freak Out, 

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

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...

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. 😱

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

Freak Out, 

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

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