Saturday, March 21, 2015

That Batgirl Cover

I almost did this over at Penguin Comics and then realized it would fit better here. Why? This deals more with pure exploitation than anything else. Ballyhoo that would make the late, great Dave Friedman weep tears of unadulterated joy.

http://www.theouthousers.com/images/templates/thumbnails/130951//bg-cv41-joker-variant-solicitation-68d7f_size3.jpg





Check out the picture above. It's part of the cover for a variant cover for DC Comics Batgirl #41. I didn't bother with the entire picture because this is enough. Enough to have recently broke the internet.
Before we get into that let me explain that this would have appeared on a variant cover issue of Batgirl #41 at an inflated cover price. Some people like these variant covers. Me? Not a fan.
It seems that artist Rafael Albuquerque requested that it be pulled. Yeah, sure he did. More on that in a minute.
The cover is inspired by Alan Moore/Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke. An excellent graphic novel that pits Batman and The Joker against one another, gives us a possible Joker origin story and Joker shoots Batgirl in the gut and does unspeakable things to her. This story line cripples her and she becomes the wheelchair bound Oracle.
Now she's Batgirl again because DC is, well stupid most of the time. It is also the 75th anniversary of the introduction of The Joker so DC is doing all these variant covers to celebrate a psychotic mass murderer.
Rafael Albuquerque decided to use The Killing Joke as inspiration for his cover.
No one liked it, including the artist.
Right?
Okay, maybe, but realize this;
Before this, unless you read the new, sucky version of Blue Beetle or American Vampire did you even know who Rafael Albuquerque was? Now, because he wanted to do the right thing everyone knows his name.
Coincidence? Yeah, I'm not buying it. This thing has blown up in such a way that everyone who cares about comic books and controversy know his name.
Nice bit of marketing. Plus he got paid for a cover that he didn't have to deliver. I wonder what someone is going to offer him for the original and you know people with disposable income are already looking into that option.
Another thing; The Killing Joke is a 27 year old comic book. Twenty-Seven! How many current readers of Batgirl are old enough to have read it. Yeah, it's still in print, but that's a pretty old comic in the grand scheme of things and fans of that would love this cover as its intended homage.
I think that DC is a business and is in the market to make people look at them as much as possible. As it was once said;
Even bad press is good press.
It's a comic book. That's it. I'm starting to wonder if all these super hero movies are tapping into some weird collective unconsciousness that is making a larger cross section of people weigh in on something that they didn't care about ten years ago.
Or people are assholes.
Yeah, let's just go with that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Laurie Anderson & The Kronos Quartet: LANDFALL

http://hyperallergic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/landfallbam2.jpg


I have adored Laurie Anderson since I first watched the music video O Superman on MTV back when they showed music videos. My first actual music purchase was United States Live. I got it on cassette.
My world was changed for the better. I went back and got Big Science, Mister heartbreak and Home of the Brave. Since then I have also owned United States Live on CD and finally on vinyl. I have been trying to collect as many of them as possible on vinyl.
I also have the United States Live book and the Home of the Brave movie.
I feel that Laurie Anderson is the musical equivalent of Jess Franco.  You have to listen to all of it to comprehend it as a whole.
I have had two other opportunities to see her live and financial stuff being what it was, it failed both times.
Now, she was playing her newest piece, Landfall, with the Kronos Quartet in Chicago. Chicago is close enough and the tickets were reasonable, so my lovely Martha said we could go.
I am really not a big city fan. Walking in them is fine, but driving through them is a nightmare. Luckily, Martha drove and that made it all the better.
We always get the time change wrong and leave too early so we went to the Chicago Cultural Center and saw some amazing art. We saw a record store and on the way back there was a comic book store, but we had to get to the performance.
It was amazing.
As they started to play I smiled, but then it came time for one of her spoken interludes that are sprinkled throughout the piece.
That voice I had listened to for decades was in the same room with me.
I smiled even more.
The rest of the performance went too quickly for me and it was over.
I am glad that I finally got to see Laurie Anderson in concert. The thing that made me the happiest was that the theater seats a little over 1500 people. My love of Laurie Anderson is pretty much a singular one in the cultural wasteland of Kalamazoo. To see that many people there to see this person that I have adored for thirty years brought me as much joy as the performance itself.
Sometimes it's a good thing to know that you're not alone in the big, wide world.
Such a good time.   
    

Thursday, February 19, 2015

TIGER LOVE A.K.A. REN HU LIAN (1977)

http://www.hkmdb.com/db/images/movies/10249/TigerLove+1980-1-b.jpg

I have been getting deeper and deeper into the 200 film set Drive In Cult Classics Collection. I am going to have to come up with some short hand for that damned thing. from now on I think we'll refer to it as DRIVE-IN 200. Sound good? Good!
So, TIGER'S LOVE. We have a couple in love who have to run away because their families are feuding. They are stopped by the grandfather of the girl who tells her that she must marry her cousin. (um, ewwwww!) She is already pregnant by the man she loves so she refuses. The grandfather's cronies beat the man to death and she throws herself from the cliff.
Instead of plummeting to her death her fall is stopped by a tree branch. Under the tree branch is a tiger who, when she spots the beast, makes her piss herself and it lands on the tiger. There is an old legend that if a woman kisses a tiger they are her slave. She thinks the piss must have the same effect on the tiger. Regardless, the tiger stays with her as she gives birth and helps raise her son. He even teaches the boy some tiger kung fu in the process.
The boy is curious and goers to a nearby village. He discovers that his father is alive. He also discovers a beautiful girl who is from the warring family?
Yeah, it seems that we are fated to go through this whole story again with the ancestors of the original two from the beginning of the movie.

http://hkmdb.com/db/images/movies/10249/TigerLove+1977-107-b.jpg

It is pretty much a typical kung fu flick. The hits all sound like a broomstick on a plastic couch. The dubbing tries to match mouth movement which is always awkward. I've seen hundreds of these and nothing could prepare me for the end.
The young boy's mother is killed. This allows the tiger to kill it's 100th human victim. Now it can change its shape and turn into a psychotic old woman with huge teeth and claws who proceeds to kill everyone from the warring family, holding them responsible for the death of her friend.
That little jog to the left straight into the head scratching valley of what did they just do? MAde Tiger Love more than just your typical kung fu flick.
It made it awesome.

https://dobbelta.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/tigerlove1977-174-b.jpg

One worry is the tiger used in the film. There's a scene where the young boy is playing with the tiger and it comes at him and knocks him down. They freeze frame the shot and the boy has a look of pure terror. We never see him again so I just assume the tiger ate the kid. I'm also pretty sure that tiger messed up some other people in the production, but have no proof.
Still, a pretty epic kung fu flick.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

KARATE KIDS U.S.A. a.k.a. LITTLE DRAGONS (1979)








Directed by Curtis Hanson
Written by Harvey Applebaum, Louis G. Atlee, Rudolph Borchet and Alan Ormsby
Cinematography by Stephen Katz

As part of my 200 movie set Drive In Cult Cinema Collection, this may be one of the better, more interesting films in the set. I included the cinematographer in the credits because he has done things like The Blues Brothers. I know when you see four writers you wince a little, but two of them only have this film as a credit and the third guy wrote a little televsion. I'm guessing they hired Ormsby to fix the script.
So, we have a pair of brothers at their Karate dojo. The instructor Pat E. Johnson was a referee in all three Karate Kid movies. They leave after practice to go fishing with their grandpa who they only call J.J. (Charles Lane). He has bought an old klunker of an RV and they are on their way camping. They get passed by a new, sleek RV that houses the Forbinger family Dad (Rick Lenz), Mom (Sharon Clark) and their daughter, Carol  (Sally Boyden).



Unfortunately, the Forbingers get lost and then get their RV stuck. Luckily, help comes in the form of a pair of hill billy brothers, Yancey (Joe Spinell) and Carl (John Chandler) who get them out of their predicament and send them on their way. Anyone who has seen Joe SPinell in a movie knows this encounter will just lead to something bad. And since I remember John Chandler as the baddie from Adventures in Babysitting we know it can't be good. They report back to their momma, Angel (Ann Sothern) who decides they should rob the Forbingers of all their fancy RV stuff.



One mishap follows another and the boys kidnap young Carol and her dog, Rufus. They decide it's a way to make some serious cash quick.
Soon, the FBI are involved, the karate boys get help from a motorcycle gang led by Donnie Williams of Battle Creek Brawl fame. They enlist the other kids from the dojo and soon it's the karate kids versus the kidnappers.
This was a fun flick. They didn't go the silly route like a lot of films would and they had no problem putting a large amount of children in peril. When the dojo gets rides from the motorcycle gang and they are all tooling down the road it's pretty obvious they didn't have any stunt doubles.



I was amazed that they got as the karate master, Bong Soo Han who is considered the master of Hapkido and taught Billy Jack to kick ass. This movie is full of little surprises like that. The whole movie is pointing at the screen and saying, 'Hey! I know that guy!'. I love movies like that.
Kind of a shame they don't make movies that don't really fit any kind of predetermined mold any more.
Karate Kids U.S.A. kicks ass!

Here is a link to enjoy the entire film if you like;


Friday, January 16, 2015

Divine Exploitation Issue 4

Due out in March, this issue will have an exhaustive look at the Jess Franco film Paula-Paula along with the rest of the reviews and general craziness you have come to expect from Divine Exploitation. If you think you want to contribute to the zine be sure to get a hold of me here and we will see what wonders you can bring to the rag.
Thank you for your support. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

HEI MING DAN (1972)





A.K.A
BLACK LIST
A.K.A.
NINJA BLACK LIST
A.K.A.
NINJA TERMINATORS
A.K.A.
NINJA HEAT

Yeah, lots of titles aren't there? The last one is the one in my huge 200 title box set I got a little over a year ago. I tried watching them all one after the other and that didn't work for me. Instead, I just grab one from the box and see what wonders await me.
A brother is released from prison after six years for a crime he did not commit. His brother is there waiting for him with the list of the four men who wronged him. He has no desire for vengeance, he wants them to go to the police to confess their crimes.
Of course if they don't then he has no compunctions in killing them. It all leads to the main boss who has married his girlfriend and while he is gone she gave birth to their son. Now it's time to fight the main man no matter what the outcome.
This is such a wonderful movie. Taking place in Hong Kong in the 70's the fashions are outrageous, the fights are pretty good and it has this feel of a classic revenge western. I did find it interesting that each an who died had their death scene intercut with those they loved. It added impact to what could have been a modern Kung Fu flick.
Good movie that made me glad it was a part of this huge box set. It is filled with such wonders.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Part One

I have tried to make New Year's resolutions year after year only to have them, like many people, fall by the wayside. I'm getting too old for that nonsense.
I did, however, find the perfect thing to face the next year.
This;

The brick walls are not there to keep us out.
The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.
They're there to stop the other people.
- Randy Pausch


I like this.
I will be doing this.
Everyone have an excellent New Year.
Tomorrow I will release my list of best DVDs released in 2014.
You'll like my list.
It only has one entry.

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