Monday, December 22, 2008

HAVE A TRASHY HOLIDAY!

Whatever yours may be, please have a good one!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MONDO MACABRO BLOG-O ARE GO!

My favorite DVD label, Mondo Macabro, have finally started their own blog! Yes, I knew it was inedible, and from the looks of things they're they're off to a good start! They've already posted a 10 minute collection of totally fucking INSANE Lollywood (sic)* movie clips that yours truly had never seen before! Do yourself a favor, stop reading my boring-ass blog now and go immediately to the Mondo Macabro blog and check these clips out! Your brain will never be the same!

For me, the UK based Mondo Macabro label have not just put out a great cross-section of global trashploitation, but they also have the most interesting documentaries on their discs. You can always tell a lot of research and creative work went into them. And everything from the well written and highly informative liner notes to the other DVD extras, hell, even the dang covers, tells you these bloke's hearts are in the right place. To paraphrase Harry Flowers, these gentlemen "enjoy their work" and it shows. And now, being the conno-sewers of fine taste that they be, they've axed permission to quote yours truly on the front of their upcoming DVD release "Female Prisoner: Caged"!

My Mother will be so proud!

Yes, by quoting Horrorwitz on the front of this DVD (apparently Leonard Maltin was unavailable) MM have reached a new low! But you know, like all smart people, they realize that it's sometimes good to have friends in low places! And having that Trash Palace seal of approval only helps them to ensure the public that "Female Prisoner: Caged!" is 100% grade-A sleaze! (Which it is!) An early 1980s entry from Japan's Nikkatsu studios, I can promise you this: If you are a fan of women-in-prison films in general, if you enjoy seeing large-breasted Asian women beat the sushi out of each other, then this one will not disappoint! This is the third Nikkatsu DVD from MM and I for one am glad that these obscure Japanese movies are finally getting some international releases (with English subtitles too! Joy!).

If you think this fighting looks wild, wait'll you see them "kiss and make up"!

Amongst the many enjoyable Mondo Macabro releases are some long time personal favorites of mine: Juan Lopez Moctezuma's fierce supernatural nun horror film "Alucarda" and his chaotic, quirky and surreal Poe-based art horror "Mansion of Madness"; "Paris Sex Murders", the totally nutso Giallo with an all-star Euro-trash cast; Michel Lemoine's delirious Sadian horror "Seven Women for Satan"; the highly underrated dreamy French horror thriller "Blood Rose"; and the very best Jess Franco movie from his earlier period "Diabolical Dr. Z"! I can tell you as a long time collector of rare movies it is a bloody miracle some of these titles have seen the light of day in such nice looking and uncut versions! They should get an award for resurrecting banned titles like "Don't Deliver Us From Evil" (a movie who's DVD release still amazes me) and "Silip", an exploitation movie from the Philippines I had never heard of that left me slack-jawed (and one which they will surely burn in hell for!). Mondo Macabro are not a huge company and their labor-of-love elements show through. And sadly, it seems to me, that it's smaller labels like MM that have the most struggle in the massive DVD retail world. So support these guys so they can keep coming out with great titles like these for as long as possible!

Check out their blog and stop over to their official website for more amazing clips!

*Lollywood: Like Bollywood on speed with more fighting and sleaze.

LINKS:
Mondo Macabro
official website: http://www.mondomacabrodvd.com/
Mondo Macabro blog: http://mondomacabrodvd.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 5, 2008

FAREWELL TO THE ACKERMONSTER

FORREST J ACKERMAN
1916 - 2008
(photo from the back cover of the bio book "Forrest J. Ackerman, Famous Monster of Filmland", Imagine, Inc. 1986)

Sad news today for many of us. I am bummed. Mr. Forrest J Ackerman, "Forry" to many, has passed on. Probably most of you reading this know who he was. But if you don't, you should know that if you've ever read a monster magazine or used the expression "sci-fi" then you have this man to thank. I am sure that many bloggers will be posting their bio's of this great man and much better then I ever could, so I will leave it to them. But I will say that although I didn't know him personally, the few times I met Forry at horror conventions he was really quite charming and very funny. Besides his other accomplishments, he was also the king of monster puns!

Forry was a great inspiration to many also. My friend Dominick Salemi who publishes Brutarian magazine (and now music label) said that to him Forry was a major inspiration in deciding to go into the publishing biz, that "he showed people they could pursue and achieve their dreams no matter how fantastic or far-fetched."

Forry pictured above with his wife Wendayne (who passed away several years ago) during the shooting of Al Adamson's "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" in which the couple had a cameo appearance.

I can tell you that quite possibly there would not be a Trash Palace were it not for him. See for me, as a kid, reading "Famous Monsters" magazine really got me worked-up to want to try to see these films! Those articles and pictures stirred my imagination. "How cool must these monster flicks be!". And the subsequent monster record albums Forry produced, "Music for Robots" and, in particular, "Famous Monsters Speak", also blew my mind! So here's to you Mr. Ackermonster! We all know you're out there somewhere hanging with Karloff, Lugosi and the Chaneys in that great movie theater up in sky...

LINKS:
Forrest J Ackerman's Wide Webbed World: http://www.ackermonster.net/
Forrest Ackerman obit at Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081205/ap_en_ot/obit_ackerman
Forrst Ackerman obit at L.A. Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2008/12/forrest-j-acker.html

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WHEW!

Glad that's over with!


Good job America!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

HAVE A TRASHY HALLOWEEN!


And if you happen to be in the Maryland / DC area tonight, you could do worse then attend this event:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY

20 years ago today, October 30th, 1988, was the very first gig of my old band Date Bait. I can't believe that was 20 FREAKIN' YEARS AGO! Yes, I am still in shock. *sigh*... Date Bait gigged pretty regularly for 10 years and released 2 CDs and 6 different 45 rpm records in 5 different countries. But despite all that most people have never heard of us or knew we ever exhisted. That's okay, I forgive you. In any case, I've gone and put together a tribute page on the Ubangis / Trash Palace website featuring some pictures and clips including video of the very first Date Bait show. Pretty cool shtuff if I do say so meself! ROCK-N-ROLL!!

LINK: The Date Bait webpage is at http://www.trashpalace.com/datebait.htm

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I WAS A PRE-TEEN WEREWOLF! plus: YOU DIDN'T AXE FOR IT!

When I was a wee little monster my parents would often encourage my interest in dinosaurs, spooks and such. And being an only child I was maybe, oh, a little tiny bit spoiled. Particularly when Halloween came around! Being just 3 days before my birthday, each year my parents would let me pick a birthday present and quite often it was something monster-ous since that's what was out there at that particular time of year. And so I picked up an interest at one point in monster makeup. Although I had seen it advertised in the backs of some monster magazines, I hadn't yet picked up the popular Dick Smith makeup book for kids which was pretty complicated for a child. In Elementary School they would sometimes have these new book sales for the kiddies, and in 1975 I purchased one called simply "Movie Monsters" (Scholastic, 1975) written by Alan Ormsby.

I'm guessing that some of you reading this picked that one up too, especially if you are around 40 to 45 years old now. This great little 80 page book had 3 sections: A brief history of movie monsters with black & white photos, 10 very cool monster makeup ideas, and a script to put on your own live monster show! The makeup ideas were great for young people; very innovative and effective without being too complex. So for Halloween in 1976 I chose the Wolfman makeup. I was 11 years old. My 6th Grade teacher, Mr. Teitelbaum, was quite indulgent and allowed me to use the projector room / storage closet as a private dressing room. I remember it took me about an hour to get everything completed. In fact it took me so much longer to get ready than the other kids that I missed most of the Halloween party, but finished just in time to join in the Halloween parade outside. The costume was pretty thorough and included a separate section on how to make Wolfman hands using a cut up wig and rubber dishwasher gloves! The facial makeup itself involved surgical adhesive which took me about 2 weeks to remove from my face! But, hey, it was well worth it! The hair I used to glue to my face was from an old wig my Bubby (Google it) gave me which she no longer used.

All in all a pretty complex looking work if I did think so myself! The other kids were all pretty exited by it too, I seem to remember. The again it might've just been all that sugar we were eating. Who knows! But there was no question that this was the best Halloween costume I had ever made. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that 4 years later I did it again! By 9th grade, however, I was getting too old for Trick-or-Treating so I dressed up as a Wolfman and hid in the bushes at our house to scare the visiting kids! This way there were many leftovers and thus I could still score a lot of candy!

Below is a very short silent Super 8mm film clip of me taken in 1979 the second time I did the Wolfman makeup. I was 14 years old, just going on 15. It runs about 20 seconds. Look closely and you'll see my plastic fangs start to slip out!





Years later it was no surprise when I discovered that the author of "Movie Monsters", Alan Ormsby, was the man responsible for some very cool horror movies and creature makeups! In 1972 Ormsby had written, acted and done the great crusty zombie makeups for the "Night of the Living Dead" inspired film "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things"! And in 1974 Ormsby wrote, directed and did the grisly makeup for the bloody Ed Gein bio-horror pic "Deranged"! Funny, somehow Scholastic books missed mentioning these bits of info in the book! I wonder why? In 1974 Ormbsy would also write and do the makeup for "Dead of Night" (aka "Deathdream"), an effective low-budget horror tale inspired by W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw" story. Ormsby would go on to work on more mainstream Hollywood films, including writing the scripts for the hits "My Bodyguard" (1980) and the "Cat People" 1982 remake starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell. After "Deranged" Ormsby would not direct again until 1990's "Popcorn", a fun slasher film set in a theater running old b-movies with a nod to the William Castle gimmicks of the past. As much as I appreciate his movie work though, I'll always worship this guy for the "Movie Monsters" book. It had quite an impact on me and, I'm guessing, some of you too! For such a little book, "Movie Monsters" sure had a LOT of bite!

LINKS:
Alan Ormsby on
The Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0650276/




YOU DIDN'T AXE FOR IT! #3
Okay all you boils and ghouls out there in Trashland! As a special Halloween bone-us I am giving away an original copy of the "Movie Monsters" book that I found recently in the Trash Palace crypt! Yes, you can win this monstrous masterpiece! Howl you say? Here are the rules: Below is an assortment of 10 werewolf faces. They are all pieces of the original advertising art from different werewolf movie posters. All you have to do is be the first person to correctly identify which movie each face is from! Dog-gone-it, I didn't say it was gonna be easy! Submit your answers as a comment and whomever is the first to correctly identify all of them wins! (If you have trouble submitting the comment you can also email your entry directly to me at brian@trashpalace.com .) Remember to click on the picture below to enlarge it. And if no one wolfs down the prize after a few days, I'll start leaving some clues! Good luck to everybody!


EDIT (October 29th, 2008): Hold the wolfbane! We have a winner!! (see the comments)

Friday, October 24, 2008

HALLOWEEN TUNES FROM THE CRYPT: 1985 RADIO SPECIAL UNEARTHED

Count Horrorwitz, the zombie dj, circa 1984

In the early to mid 1980s I did some dj-ing on a couple of college radio stations. Namely WROC at Montgomery College in Maryland, and WMUC FM 88.1 ("all the way to the left of the dial, just before the needle falls off") at University of Maryland, high atop the dining hall ("just follow the lost lunches"). At one point on WMUC I had a morning show called "Get Up And Go-Go" which was more or less the first half progressive rock, punk and industrial music and the second half funk, soul, early hip-hop and local go-go funk (lotsa' James Brown, P-Funk and Trouble Funk). But in 1985 I did an early morning Halloween horror special called "The Get Up And Go-Go Pre-Halloween Special" (I was into long titles back then.) The premise was that I had arrived at the station and was told that some "special guests" were going to take over the show. I was to start my usual opening montage and then "leave the studio" for the mystery guests to take charge. Enter Count Horrorwitz and his fiends Igor and Boris who took over the airways for the next 3 hours (minus the news broadcasts which were horrifying in their own rite) . And now, it is with great trepidation that I am happy to resent (sic) the entire show for your listening torture! Er, pleasure!

A face only his Mummy could love!

WMUC FM back then consisted of 2 turntables, 2 mics, a cassette deck (which sometimes worked) and a cart tape machine (not used for this particular show). The shows were generally laid back and fun. With such a low signal range, this being pre-cable / internet broadcasting, you could break a lot of FCC rules and no one noticed. (More on that some other time.) But this particular Halloween program was put together meticulously (I had a lot of free time back then apparently) and mixed live and what you hear, for better or hearse, is the way it went out over the air powered by it's 10 glorious watts of power! Yee-hah! Not even enough power to give Teenage Frankenstein an erection! Remember: This was in the days before home computer audio mixing programs designed for podcasts and things were around, and also before the availability of horror rock compilation CDs and such. A lot of this monster music wasn't that easy to come by then! And while there are some standards like "The Monster Mash" and all, there is also quite a wide-range of more unexpected / obscure ghoulish goodies. There were monster theme segments (zombies, vampires, blobs...) with various stories and sound effects, and monster music ranging from more contemporary horror / Halloween themed garage / punk rock tunes (The Cramps, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Dead Kennedys) to older monster novelty records, movie score and t.v. themes and creepy old radio show excerpts... I think that, all things considered, the show came off pretty good! I do remember that it was hard getting myself worked up to do all those goofy monster voices at 9am, also I had a bad cold at the time and was pretty spaced out on Dayquil or something. Okay,... I was also a total spaz! (I can hear some of you saying "What do you mean was?") And, yes, it's a bit embarrassing for me personally to listen to at times. Ah, but whadcanIsay... Sacrificing a bit of my humility for your listening pleasure is worth it! So here it is: 2 hours and 42 minutes of of horrible, er, horrorfying Halloween treats suitable for all ages! My Halloween gift to you! (Hell, it's cheaper then chocolate bars and easier to fix up then stuffing razors into apples!) Feel free to listen, laugh, scream, download, and burn to CD if you want! I don't even care if you stick it up your pumpkin! Just enjoy! And have a Happy Halloween! And now, without further achoo, I give to you "The Get up And Go-Go Pre-Halloween Special"!

You can listen to the entire show here:

(If you prefer to play the show from your Media Player click here.)

Or you can download the program by right clicking here and saving the file to your hard drive.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RUDY RAY MOORE: A BLACK LEGEND PASSES ON

Last Saturday night, just after midnight, I received a phone call from my buddy Bill Baker, a friend and fan of Rudy Ray Moore and his family. Bill told me that Rudy's daughter had called him saying that Mr. Moore's health was rapidly declining and he was not expected to make it through the weekend. Sadly, hours later on Sunday, Rudy Ray Moore, an entertainment icon, passed away. A few of you that know me know what a huge fan of his I am. Indeed, he has been one of my idols for several decades and I will miss him dearly.

In the early days of home video rentals the Wizard Video label released a trailer collection called "The Best of Sex and Violence" (1985). And it was on this VHS tape that I first discovered Rudy Ray Moore. Amongst the seventies exploitation trailers compiled on there were several Blaxploitation titles including the 3 complete trailers for "Dolemite", "The Human Tornado" and "The Disco Godfather". I remember laughing my ass off at such classic lines as "Bitch! Are you for real!?" and "If you crave satisfaction, this is the place to find that action! Coming to this theater as it's next attraction!". Moore's delivery was really over-the-top and reminded me of a lot of guys that I had gone to school with back in the seventies; kids that were always going around trying to out-badass each other! It wasn't until later that I realized part of his style was an intentional sort-of self-parody. Rudy was having a laugh with his movies and that's part of what makes them great! I remember turning my friends on to the Moore movies and it's funny now to think of a bunch of young white kids in the suburbs running around quoting Dolemite (which we did for years).

Eventually I was able to track down copies of his movies and later I was lucky to find some of his records. A lot of the classic Black "party records" (XXX humor) were only ever sold to adults in urban liquor stores and inner-city record shops so, needless to say, I had never seen any of them before! What always cracked me up was what I call the Rudy Ray Logic of his humor. As Dolemite: "And tell him I want him out of here in 24 hours. And 23 of them are already gone!" A lot of his jokes were much more x-rated then Richard Pryor or anyone else I had heard, but there was this intentional goofiness to them that made it all in fun. Like on his LP called "The Second Rudy Ray Moore Album" (pictured below), a live recording (or, more likely, pseudo-live), Moore is admiring a female member of his audience: "Woman, I sure would like to get in your pants!" "Why?" "'cause I done shit in mine!". Rudy was not just another guttermouth comic but a real genius!

And talk about a do-it-all entertainer, Moore has done live stand-up comedy, released over 22 comedy albums and movie soundtracks on 8-trak, LP, cassette and CD, sang and released records of his rhythm and blues music, written for the movies, acted in his and others' films, directed movies and somehow held onto the rights for most of his stuff. AND he even ran for president! My good friend Chuck Jeffreys, an entertainer and stunt coordinator in the Hollywood industry as well as founder of the martial arts exercise and training company Combatitude, told me that in the seventies Rudy was the first Black actor he ever saw performing Kung Fu in the movies. Already practicing martial arts, Chuck told me that seeing Moore perform in his movies bolstered his want to do the same! Chuck says "Most of the time it was Chinese actors we'd see in the kung fu flicks. Then came Rudy and his over the top performances. This wasn't Bill Cosby in 'I-Spy' This was kinda out there and I wanted to do, THAT.". Mr. Moore has made many appearances at horror and movie conventions and I feel lucky to have gotten to meet him several times. How surreal it was to go to breakfast one weary convention morning and find Dolemite himself pouring the orange juice at the breakfast bar! Some of you might remember in the older printed Trash Palace catalogues I had a "Rudy Ray Moore" section, which was kind of a joke at the time, the idea that he was his own genre of sorts. (I had a "Poster" section, a "Videocassette" section, "a "Record and CD" section and a "Rudy Ray Moore" section.) This was just before Xenon Home Video re-issued his movies for the sell-through market which brought about a new Rudy Ray / Dolemite revival of sorts exposing his work to a slew of new young fans. If any of you are long time Trash Palace customers you may remember getting a Christmas card from me in the mail in 1997 with this photo on it.: (No, we were NOT stoned in that picture!) That was from the second time I met Mr. Moore at the Chiller Theatre convention in New jersey. I remember just after this photo was taken Rudy tried to teach me the Disco Godfather neck move. ("Put your weight on it!") I never did quite pull it off but it was nice of him to try to teach me anyways. (My chiropractor didn't think it was too nice though.) Around this time Something Weird Video released the excellent Blaxploitation trailer collection called "Afros, Macks and Zodiacs" hosted by Rudy and he was set up at their table helping them promote it. In 1998 Rudy appeared at Creature Feature Video's excellent movie convention in Terrytown, New York. What made this show so special was that Moore performed his live act that Saturday night in a full-blown unexpurgated XXX style! Rudy's manager came out and warned the crowd in advance that the language was raw and, holy shit, he was not kidding! The crowed roared from start to finish. There were several celebrities of the seventies screen in the audience that night plus fans and collectible dealers and, dare I say, by the end there was not an un-blushed face in the house! I felt lucky that I was able to track down some of Moore's singing 45's, a few of which have shown up on Norton Records excellent compilation of his RnB tunes called "Hully Gully Fever". But I never would've thought that in 2004 I'd have to opportunity to get him to sing with my band The Ubangis. To say this short appearance was unrehearsed is kind of like saying the Hindenburg was a little balloon accident. Basically, I walked up to Rudy at a Chiller convention a couple of hours before we were scheduled to go on stage and asked him if he wanted to sing and perform with us. He said "Sure!" and although we discussed trying to play his blues song "Easy, Easy Baby" a tiny bit beforehand we never actually had the chance to quite work it out properly. He just showed up at the show, came onstage, and...


As you can hear things were a bit loose, but for me personally it was a dream come true! Rudy hadn't really planned on doing any particular jokes that night, he just pulled them out onstage. He told me afterwords that he noticed a few younger children in the crowd and tried to tone it down. Even I was shocked!:
Yes, Rudy Ray Moore is Dolemite! He put his finger in the ground and turned the whole world around! To this day I am in awe of the man and I can't help but think that as time goes on his popularity will continue to grow and grow. And in closing let me say this: Rudy Ray Moore, he may be gone... but THE LEGEND OF MUTHAFUCKIN' DOLEMITE LIVES ON!

MY FAVE RUDY RAY LINE: "I got a dong as big as King Kong!"
MY FAVE RUDY RAY MOVIE: A tie between "The Human Tornado" and "Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil's Son-In-Law"
MY FAVE RUDY RAY LP: "Eat Out Moore Often" (a classic!)
MY FAVE RUDY RAY SONGS: "Easy, Easy Baby" and "Theme from The Human Tornado" - amazing!

Thanx to Bill Baker for shooting the Rudy / Ubangis video!

LINKS:
The Dolemite.com website is at http://www.dolemite.com/
Rudy Ray Moore website at Shocking Videos http://www.rudyraymoore.com/
Rudy Ray Moore filmography on the Internet Movie Database is at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0601834/
Chuck Jeffrey's Combatitude is at http://www.combattitude.com/

Friday, September 12, 2008

FOLLOW ME INTO THE GUTTER OF EXQUISITE DELIGHTS!

Wanna be notified everytime the Trash Palace Blog is updated? Or maybe you just wanna see your name in lights, huh tough guy? Well then just click the Follow this blog thingy (to the right just under WANTED! MORE TRASH FANS LIKE:) and it shall be done! You'll be notified on your profile's "dashboard" each time I add more slop to this thing, and your profile's very own avatar will be publicly (and shamefully) displayed below forever linking you with the finest cono-sewers of trashe.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

YOU DIDN'T AXE FOR IT #2 !

This time around I present to you this mystery photo below (click on it to enlarge):

Who... or what... is this? Is it King Kong's bigmouth cousin from New Jersey? A Christmas toy for bad children? A possessed urinal? What, I ask you, what!!?? I will be really surprised if anyone comes close with this one! The answer posted soon!

EDIT (Friday, Sept. 19th): The answer has been posted in the comments!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TRA - LA - HUH!!?? THE BANANA SPLITS ARE BACK!

Break out the Ritalin, kids! The Banana Splits are returning to television! Yes, you heard right! The new Banana Splits shows are scheduled to slip onto your screen sometime in September on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang channel, although I am not 100% clear if these are to be full-length programs (as they were in the '60s) or "shorts" thrown into commercial breaks during pre-existing shows. I can though say that, after taking a look at their orb-popping website , they seem to have done a good job emulating the old Sesame-Street-on-LSD style but cranked-up with a bit of speed for the new ADD generation. Whether or not resurrecting Beagle, Fleagle, Drooper and Snork from Kiddy TV Pergatory is a good thing depends on if you liked the show to begin with. I myself was a pretty big fan although I'd probably have taken "Ultraman" over them any afternoon of the week. I did convince my Mom to let me send in the Poptart boxtops for the set of Banana Splits 45s which I still have (what's left of them). As for the show itself, I always dug the live-action bits with the Splits running around slapstick-style while a barrage of Hannah-Barbera stock cartoon sound fx boinged and popped throughout. I also liked the groovy songs and the jungle live-action "Danger Island" sequences. But some of those particular cartoons just didn't quite do it for me. Even as a young kid I was mostly bored by those, they always seemed like filler to me that I had to wait through to get to the "good stuff"! It'll be interesting to see what kind of 'toons (if any) the new show has. There are reports that Warner Brothers (who owns the rights) are already getting ready to market new Splits products including a CD with all-new tunes (titled "Go Bananas Your Way"), a DVD and... yes, a live tour! Hmmm... Maybe I can actually make it into this one! I was stopped at the gate at both Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus concerts. (Apparently there is some silly rule about wearing raincoats indoors when it's not raining outside. How was I to know?) And now with the Banana Splits resurrected, I ask you... can The Bugaloos be far behind? One can only dream.

Below you can compare the old and new Banana Splits. They look pretty much the same to me although Beagle appears to have lost a few pounds. Also Snorky seems to have much shorter hair now and looks less freaked-out then he did in the '60s. But, in his defense, it was the hippy era after all. Rumor has it that due to many bad trips he had gone the way of Syd Barrett but, after several years struggling in rehab, he has reportedly cleaned up his act. Good on ya Snorky! Tra-la-la, la-la-la-la...

THEN:


NOW:


For more info and a LOT of flashing colors, loud sound effects, moving thingies, groovy songs, nutty games and many video clips check out the official website at http://www.bananasplits.com/ .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WEIRD COMIC BOOK DESTROYS 8 YEAR OLD'S MIND!

One glorious day in the early 1970s: My Mom took me to a movie theater in a suburban strip shopping center in Laurel, Maryland to see the bleak sci-fi flick "Soylent Green". I was no older then 10 years old. If it was the original release of the movie then I would have to have been 8 years old but I can't remember for sure. What I do remember is that film pretty much blew my mind. (Little did I realize that by the time I was 40 this country would, in some ways, be living out "Soylent Green"! But I digest...) After the movie my Mother and I walked across the way and went into a bookstore. Once inside first thing I really noticed were several horror movie books including Dennis Gifford's infamous "A Pictorial History of Horror Movies", a book which a lot of you probably own, especially if you are over 40. I then noticed what appeared to be a large stack of innocent looking magazines on a table. But as I walked over and the top cover came into view, what I saw was not so innocent! What lay before me was the most colorful, lurid and bloody thing I could have ever - and had NEVER - imagined!

As I picked up the top magazine and gazed upon it's gruesomeness, I fell into a stunned silence, a sort of cross between shock and orgasm (at least as far as an 8 year old is concerned). What the hell were these things? I lifted the top magazine off of the pile and then noticed that the magazine underneath was a different issue, indeed an entirely different title altogether, but with that same style of grizzly cover art! As I picked up the second magazine and noticed yet a third similar styled one underneath, I suddenly realized that the entire stack of 50 or 60 mags were all different issues! What a discovery! A huge heaping pile of beasts, blood and babes! "M-m-m-mom..." I muttered. My Mother approached. "PLEASE!! OH, PLEASE!! Can I PLEASE have one? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!" I cried out in my best James Brown impersonation. "For the love of GOD, woman! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!!" My mother picked up one of the magazines and looked at it. And in a that moment, a split-second combination of love and dysfunction, a decision was made that would indeed change my life, point me towards the path of sleaze and perversion, and cause Dr. Frederick Wertham 1 more roll in his Godforsaken grave (look it up), she muttered the words which I so longed to hear: "Okay, Brian, you can pick out one." Oh, YEEEEES!! Oh, THANK YOU!!" I cried, "THAAAAAANK YOOOOOU!!". I spent the next 10 minutes going through the entire stack several times, carefully studying each cover like they were some kinds of unearthed ancient artifacts from a lost tribe, rare treasures dug up from the tomb of Tut, some kinds of face-stained shrouds of some exploited Deity... Yes, I had discovered that, indeed, there WAS a God and I had the proof in my own little mits, baby! I took my time since I could, after all, only choose one. And I had to make sure it was THE one! And after studying each cover very, very closely, I decided on...

Yes, that was the fateful day I had discovered the "Picto-Fiction" world of the mysterious "Eerie Publications", some of the shittiest horror comics ever drawn with some of the goriest and most outrageous covers ever painted! Over the following years I'd occasionally but rarely stumble on a few issues here and there, and each time it was like uncovering a wonderful golden turd! With titles like "Weird Vampire Tales", "Tales of Voodoo", "Terror Tales", "Tales from the Tomb", "Witches Tales",... you get the idea. It wasn't until a road trip to New York City circa 1984 that lead me to a small comic book store in the Village where I was able to score about 100 of these things for only around $1 to $2 each! A motherload of monsters!! How lucky I felt to find so many at one time and in one place too! But how could this possibly happen? Why weren't these already snapped up? You see, truth is, back then no one really cared about trash like this. These weren't considered "collectible" comics. These were disposable horrors, the McDonald's of comic books, meant to be consumed quickly and then shat into the toilet of terror turds, flushed away to the sea of unwanted comics along with Archie, Big Boy and all the other non-collectibles. Indeed these were third-rate imitations of classier (I say "classier", not necessarily "classy" mind you) comic mags like Warren Publications "Creepy", "Eerie" and "Vampirella" and Skywald's "Nightmare", "Psycho" and "Scream". All decent rags in their own right. And yet, there was something about these others, these monster mavericks... they were trashier imitations of the trash they tried to copy... like they were saying "Fuck it! We know we're garbage, so let's just crank the shit up!". Having so many at this point I then discovered that the mags were pretty much interchangeable, that the stories were continuously reprinted from issue to issue regardless of the title. In fact some of these stories were already reprinted from 1950s pre-code comic books. Occasionally some of the art would even be touched-up to appear gorier then how it was originally published earlier! And the violence could be outrageous on a surreal level. Many times in these stories, for example, someone would get a knife in the neck or an axe in the back and that would cause their eyeball would fly out! Bet you didn't know that could happen, did you doc? The art itself was usually pretty poor, but a few of them, especially around the late '60s / early '70s, did have their own cool style, but those were few and far between. One memorable tale, "Blood Bath" (seen below), told of the horrors of LSD.


To this day I have yet to try the shit! I mean,... can you blame me? And the story titles... "The Slime Creatures", "A Head Full Of Snakes", "The Skin Crawlers", "The Blood Dripping Head"... I mean, did they just have a board on the wall with 30 or 40 horrific words written on them and throw darts at it? I also noticed that the cover art was very often re-used and re-re-used, sometimes cut-up where just parts of them were re-used, sometimes older parts were combined with parts of other older covers, sometimes they'd be the same monsters but re-drawn entirely! This was nutso! In later issues the cover art seemed to be often re-printed on the inside cover in black and white.

There was no rhyme or reason to it. Even the numbering of the issues made no sense. And there seemed to be this endless array of different covers too! To this day I am still discovering new ones I hadn't seen before! Years later I xeroxed one of my favorite covers (seen below) to make a flyer for my band Date Bait for our first ever gig, Halloween weekend (natch), 1988.

I mean, check it out: You have a mad scientist transplanting a brain into a Frankenstein monster while a vampire and a werewolf grapple with a stacked redhead! What a glorious monster mess! The closest things to rival these excessive cover overloads of famous creatures were a few films by directors Al Adamson, Jess Franco and Paul Naschy. Someone needs to publish a nice full-color book showcasing every cover! Are you listening Taschen? Hey, I can dream, can't I?

In conclusion all I can say is... Thanks Mom!

For more information check out the excellent article and cover gallery on Eerie Publications publisher Myron Fass at the incredible "Bad Mags" website (for the forthcoming book of the same name by Tom Brinkmann). There is also a nice Eerie Publications cover gallery at the Empire of the Claw website. Check 'em out!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

YOU DIDN'T AXE FOR IT!



Okay kids! It's contest time! Each week (or so) I'll post a mystery song, photo, smell, etc. and it's up to you to guess what it be! Yes, YOU DIDN'T AXE FOR IT... but here it comes none the less! AND NOW, listen to this weird li'l ditty if you dare! :

PLAY THE MYSTERY SONG NOW!

What could it be? An unreleased recording of The Ventures on acid? Go-go music from Uranus? Cubby Broccoli's funeral march? The answer may astound you! It may amaze you! Why, it may even cause you to unexpectedly unload your waste at an inappropriate time thus soiling your garments! And yes, the first person who can name this tune correctly will win... (pause for dramatic effect)... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Except the instant gratification that you were the first one to get it right! The answer will be posted here soon! WOW!!

EDIT (July 19th, 2008) - Okay, seems no one's gonna get this as is. So I'll start giving clues. Clue #1: It's the theme to a movie from 1969.

EDIT (July 23rd, 2008) - Clue #2: It has an Asian cast.

EDIT (August 13th, 2008) - Clue #3: Okay, here's the last hint; The theme to this movie appears in the English dubbed US release during the opening credits and is NOT heard at all in it's original Japanese release. Hmmm... what could it be?

EDIT (August 19th, 2008) - Yes, we finally have a wiener! See the comments for the amazing answer!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

JOHN PHILLIP LAW meets THE UBANGIS!


Actually, this should be called "John Phillip Law Upstages The Ubangis"! After the recent and unexpected passing of John Phillip Law, I had mentioned this video in a prior post ("Diabolik Says Goodbye") of Mr. Law goofing around during a Ubangis soundcheck. I then had many requests (well, at least one bloke asked for it!) to post the clip and, so, here it is! This was recorded live late one intoxicated Saturday night over Halloween weekend in 1998 at the Chiller Theatre horror convention in New Jersey. Things were very hectic and I was running around totally focused on getting the band gear setup and completely oblivious to the facts that 1. there was a man sitting right in front of me at the edge of the stage doing wacky things and 2. said man was John Phillip Law! And I especially should have noticed because I had just gotten his autograph that weekend! In fact I had no idea any of this was going on until I saw a videotape of the gig a week later. Not having seen the tape for many years until today it was a bit different then I had remembered when describing it in the previous JPL post. The giant plastic bones you see him messing with incidentally were prop drumticks that I played with at the start of the gig. Later on in the clip Law can be seen watching our act as we perform the instrumental number "Microphonic Nightmare". The band members at the time were myself, Saucy Randy Manos, Kevin "Sexual Chocolate" Hall (who played a handful of gigs on bass with us around that time), and Jill Grable Barnett who had left the band 5 years prior to start a family but returned for this special gig. Sadly, Jill too has also passed on. Back then, during those surreal and wonderful moments, I couldn't ever imagine those people ever leaving this place. I feel very lucky this was all caught on tape at least so I can look back on what seems now like some far-out dream. The cameras that night were operated by Stephen Blickenstaff, Eric Pugliese and Adam Strausner.

Wild times!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

ROCK-N-ROLL MADE ME KILL!

Whilst digging through the Trash Palace archives I came across this unusual magazine I had picked up many years back although I can't remember where! "Something Else" (volume 2, number 1 from March 1971) seems to be one of the many "Mad" Magazine clones that came out in the wake of that mag's success. Unlike mags such as "Crazy", "Cracked", "Sick" and the MANY others (there were LOTS!) though, this one seemed to have a particular audience in mind; all of the humor revolved around drugs, left-wing politics, rock-n-roll and hippy culture. It took an almost underground comix approach but, unlike the "head comix" of those times, was pretty much non-adult and PG-rated, which is bizarre considering the topics of the comics and stories! In fact it seemed to be aimed at teenagers and ones that wanted counter-culture satire, that is, humor poking fun at the establishment and not the underground culture itself. I can't say if every issue was like this or if just this particular one was a special theme issue because I've never seen another copy nor been able to find out anything about the magazine! Take a look at page 1 (click on the image to enlarge to full size):

You can pretty much get an idea of this thing from page one; groovy sixties-style art, mod paste-ups of old classic-style artwork ala Terry Gilliam with funny captions, hip curvy lettering and, yes, those are loose-leaf paper holes punched so the magazine can be clipped inside one's school notebook and snuck into school(which they encouraged naturally!). But what is really bizarre about this magazine is that in the middle of all the Hippy jokes is this 14 page long "serious" article called "John Lennon Is Scared"! Obviously inspired by Charles Manson and the whole "Paul Is Dead" Beatles schtick, the article tends to jump all over the place and is a bit of a mess. Who knows how much of this shit is fact based if indeed any of it is! And yet there are still are a few unsettling things about this piece particularly in light of future events. Read on if you dare!