Monday, May 09, 2016

PHOBE The Xenophobic Experiments (Interview)

PHOBE movie poster
"PHOBE lives! PHOBE lives!"

That's what I would be exclaiming had I been searching for this obscure, long-lost staple of cable TV and finally found it.

However, the truth is that I never even knew this movie existed until a few days ago. Since that short amount of time, it has piqued my interest. I knew immediately that it was something I needed to find out more about and feature on this blog.

I found out about PHOBE on Twitter, following the hashtag #CanFilmDay, which was in celebration of National Canadian Film Day on April 20th. That's when I noticed, the official Twitter account for a movie that until then, was nowhere on my radar screen.

I was able to confirm that Erica Benedikty, the writer and director of PHOBE, was the author of the tweets. I took the opportunity to ask if she would answer some interview questions and she graciously agreed.

Before we get to that interview though, let's get a synopsis and some background on PHOBE.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

"Manos" Mother's Day (The Sequel)

If you are planning to take your mom out on Mother's Day, avoid the Valley Lodge at all costs. Even though they have a hands-on staff, the waiter is really slow and the owner is always rambling on about some Manos nonsense. The couch in the lobby is filthy, too.

Manos The Hands of Fate
Mother Maggie comforts her daughter Debbie
The original version of Manos Mother's Day began as an image I made in 2015. In that version, I wrote "R" is for Red Hair, to describe Margaret's hair colour (it's a stretch, I know). I posted it online and not long after that, someone shared it with Jackey Neyman Jones (aka Debbie). She in turn shared it on Debbie's Manos FB but commented that "R" should have been for "Run!" I had to admit, that makes much more sense and I was kicking myself for not thinking of it. I decided that I would make a new version in time for Mother's Day 2016. A few weeks ago, I had the idea to make a companion video for it with clips from Manos: The Hands of Fate and here it is.

Dedicated to Diane Mahree and Jackey Neyman Jones, both of whom will be reprising their roles in Manos Returns

"Forgetting You" sung by Nicki Mathis who will be recording a new version for the sequel which I'm happy to say I will receive as a reward for donating to the Manos Returns Kickstarter Campaign. In the meantime, you can download two versions of the song; the original version and a cover version.

M is for Margaret
O is for Ogle
T is for Torgo
H is for Hands
E is for Eww!
R is for Run!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

May The Fourth and Farce Be With You

 Tagline: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss three bucks goodbye."

Hardware Wars is the grandaddy  of all Star Wars parodies and still the funniest. Well that and Spaceballs.

Maybe the funniest thing about Hardware Wars is the commentary track (itself a parody) by writer/director Ernie Fosselius when it was released on DVD.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

In Memory of Vince Rotolo (B-Movie Cast)

B-Movie Cast
Vince Rotolo
 Monster Bash 2015
Though I never met Vince Rotolo, news of his sudden death hit me hard. I can't imagine what his wife, friends and family must feel.

Ever since I discovered the B-Movie Cast (BMC) several years ago, I've been a faithful listener. Hardly a Sunday went by where I didn't relax on a lazy afternoon and listen to Vince and his co-hosts (including wife Mary) discuss B-movies in detail. It became my go-to source of entertainment for B-movie news. I even included it in a post about my ten favourite podcasts.

In the beginning of each episode, Vince would usually dedicate some time to mention and mourn the passing of an actor or actress. He always did this with great respect and dignity because chances were that he had watched that celebrity in a movie he enjoyed. If the actor/actress was old, he would always say that it was sad but he/she lived a full life. For others, he would say he/she was way too young.

In a cruel case of irony, Vince Rotolo also died too young.

I don't remember exactly what episode I first listened to of BMC but I think it was just before his long-time co-host Nic Brown joined the show. Mary and Juan "From the Creepy Swamps of South Florida" Ortiz would come in later, solidifying the team and making it one of the best podcasts produced.

Before recruiting his co-hosts, Vince flew solo, like the Charles Lindberg of podcasting. His initial episodes were unpolished and his hosting skills were those of a novice but he more than made up for it with his childlike enthusiasm which was infectious to the listeners, as well as his wealth of knowledge. As the show progressed, he acquired better recording equipment and became much more comfortable, confident and capable behind the microphone, resulting in a higher quality show. He still had trouble pronouncing Stanley Kubrick along with other names but that was part of his charm and he always made an effort.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fourteen Movies MST3K Should Riff

If you were a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you no doubt know that it is being rebooted, thanks to the successful Bring Back MST3K  Kickstarter campaign launched by Joel Hodgson, the creator and original host.

Things couldn't get worse for the MST3K crew
MST3K's reincarnation will have a new host, new Mads and new robot voices. Comedian Jonah Ray will play the show's third host, whose character will be named Jonah Heston in honour of Charlton Heston. Felicia Day will play Kinga Forrester, one of the new Mads who happens to be the daughter of original Mad, Clayton Forrester. Kinga's henchman will be portrayed by Patton Oswalt as TV's Son of TV's Frank which should be self-explanatory to any self-respecting MSTie. Comedians Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn (Maltin On Movies) will voice Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo.

Hodgson's campaign goal was to raise a minimum of $2 million for at least 3 new episodes. If that amount was raised with time left, stretch goals were in place to allow more donations for more episodes. The hope was to raise $5.5 million to fund 12 episodes.

Not only did the campaign raise enough money for 12 episodes, an additional 2 were added, thanks to stretch goals announced on a streaming telethon on the final day. Despite the telethon being filled with technical glitches, it was an enormous success, enabling MST3K to become the largest fund-raising Kickstarter campaign in the Film and Video category. It surpassed the previous mark set by Veronica Mars.

In case you weren't keeping count, that brings the total of new MST3K episodes to 14. This will include a Christmas episode, which Hodgson announced as one of the stretch goals during the telethon.

Production on the new season has already begun. Hodgson has mentioned that he will not reveal in advance which movies they will be riffing because he likes to keep an element of surprise to the show. You could say he puts the mystery in MST3K.

Regardless of which movies they end up deciding to skewer, I will enjoy the show's return. However, I have my own personal list of movies that I would love to see the new cast riff. Some of these will be obvious choices, others not so much.

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