Monday, December 31, 2012


 "Scene for scene, The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most exciting and visually stimulating of the three Nolan Batman films and definitely my favorite."

Superhero and Action

Starring - Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul / Miranda Tate, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Director – Christopher Nolan

Writer(s) – Christopher and Jonathan Nolan

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

Runtime - 165 min.

I am not a huge fan of the comic book Batman. My first exposure to the character, like many children who grew up in the 1960’s was the TV show that ran from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. I do remember collecting bubble gum cards that featured photographs from the show and later painted artwork of the comic book characters, but for whatever reason the TV show never inspired the then 8 to 10 year old me to buy the comic book.

I have since as an adult bought many different runs of the The Batman, Detective Comics and even the The Dark Knight, but I have never bought it for more than a year or two at a time. For reasons that are too deep to go into here, I have always felt more connected to the superheroes of the Marvel universe than those of the DC universe. Therefore, I am not an expert on Batman the comic book character, but merely a fairly educated fan.

I loved the 1960’s TV show as a child, but have not been able to enjoy it much as an adult. I did find out that the show was based on the 1940’s serials Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949), more so than on the comic book, which explains the serialized nature of the show.  The Batman films of the late ‘80’s and 90’s were also somewhat of a disappointment to me as well. While I thought Tim Burtorn’s first film, Batman (1989), captured the mood of the character, I didn't like it for much more than Nicholson’s inspired portrayal of The Joker. Burton’s second film, Batman Returns (1992), was a self-indulgent mess that had more to do with Burton’s demented world view, than with the character of Batman. Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995) was slick and slightly more super-heroic, but was already bordering on the ridiculous that would be his disastrous follow up Batman & Robin (1997).

With a fair amount of time to get the fowl taste of those films out of my mental palette, I approached Christopher Nolan’s first film, Batman Begins (2005), with reserved optimism. While I think Nolan got the tone of Gotham and all the supporting characters just right, Christian Bale’s Batman still seemed too grim and one-dimensional. However, this was definitely the best film version of the character and I looked forward to the sequel. The Dark Knight (2008) was an immense success, both critically and financially, but I disliked Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker as an insane serial killer and that ruined the film for me. I was still hopeful that that the next – and last for Nolan – Batman film would be a good solid finish to Nolan’s vision of the character. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed.

I’m sure anyone who cares enough about Nolan’s Batman trilogy has already seen it (perhaps multiple times) at the theater, so I won’t reiterate the details of the plot here. I waited to rent The Dark Knight Rises for the simple reason that I wasn’t sure if I would like it enough to sit for two-hours and forty-five minutes in a theater to watch it. I was glad I did watch it at home, because much of the middle portion of the film is weighed down by a complete lack of Batman. I understand that Bane wanted to make Bruce Wayne suffer as he had in the inescapable pit-like prison, but this part really does slow that film down to a crawl.

I did like the set up to the film and didn't have too much of a problem with how Bane converts Wayne Enterprise’s reactor core into a nuclear bomb to put Gotham under his control. While Bane’s plan seems ridiculously over-complicated  it did make for some intense drama. I particularly liked the sequence where Gordon has rounded up as many of the Gotham police as he can, to push a frontal assault on Bane and his mercenaries, while he attempts to place a device on the reactor core that will disable the remote control trigger.

The last act of The Dark Knight Rises is filled with fantastic sequences of action and character drama. I love the way that Bruce/Batman manages to keep coaxing Selina/Catwoman into helping him thwart Bane’s plan to destroy Gotham City. In fact, Selina basically becomes The Robin to Batman in this film and I think she was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film.

Speaking of Robin, the character, the young police officer John Blake becomes an integral part of the film, where he sort of fills in for Batman; working with Commissioner Gordon while Bruce is recovering from his broken back in the hell hole prison. I liked the character, but he seemed rather forced into the story and I’m not sure I buy his explanation of how he figured out Wayne was Batman. I also don’t understand why Nolan felt compelled to end the film with Blake quitting the force and going off in search of the Batcave.

Nolan’s subsequent Batman films each attempt to “up the ante” in scope. Rise features a new flying machine for the Batman to use against Bane’s militia that its inventor Lucius Fox dubs “The Bat”, for reasons I’m not sure of because it looks nothing like a bat. Still, it does present Batman with some cool action sequences; particularly at the end of the film when Batman is shooting at the several Batmoblie prototypes that Bane’s mercenaries have stolen to help with protecting the truck transporting the reactor core.

I liked enough of the positives of the film, so that the negatives didn’t deter from my enjoyment of it. Christopher Nolan’s strengths as a director and storyteller are in creating mood and character drama and The Dark Knight Rises has both in abundance! While the plot contrivances and outright illogical narrative events in this film could ruin it, I decided early on while watching this film that I would not let these things spoil my pleasure in watching it.

Scene for scene, The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most exciting and visually stimulating of the three Nolan Batman films and definitely my favorite. It will be interesting to see where Warner films take the character of Batman next. With a JLA film reportedly in the works for a release in the summer of 2015, I can only assume that there will be another Batman film, with a new and younger actor playing the part, coming in the near future as well.

TECHNICAL: Acting – 9 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 8 Special Effects – 10

VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 9

TOTAL - 90


Nearly every year since 1985, our local UHF TV channel 38 has run a Three Stooges Marathon. This year apparently is no exception. Here is the article on the marathon from their web site:

Ring in the New Year with five straight hours of pie-throwing, head-smacking, eye-poking Three Stooges action hosted by Dan and Dave Andelman!

Classic shorts include A Plumbing We Will Go, Disorder In The Court, Men In Black, Violence Is The Word For Curly, and many more.

Look for a special midnight music mash-up where the Stooges meet “Gangnam Style”. Special guests include Karlson & McKenzie from 100.7 WZLX, Mix 104.1′s Karson & Kennedy, Gresh & Zo from 98.5 The Sports Hub, and 103.3 AMP Radio’s newest DJ Joe Breezy!

Join the annual tradition on myTV38 – starting Monday night at 8pm!

If you are anywhere in the Boston area, or in the New England area and have WSBK-TV on your cable or satellite provider, tune into channel 38 at 8pm tonight and get 5 hours of slapstick silliness from The Three Stooges!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


In the eighth and final part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Bad to the Last Drop" -- Zombzany introduces the final film of the horror movie marathon, while waiting for his newly silenced zombie slave Doc Freak to return with his final caffeinated beverage of the evening. Freak bows before his master and delivers him his coffee. After taking a long sip, Zombzany begins to choke and realizes that Freak has once again spiked his coffee with sugar. Zombzany grabs Freak by the collar and drags him out of his Tomb to deliver a king-size beat-down on his disobedient zombie slave. Myron then mercifully, or mercilessly, depending on your taste in zombie films, segues into the final film of the marathon.

When they come back from the end of the final film, Zombzany reads a new scripted soliloquy to bring the horror movie marathon to a close. Clearly unhappy with the script, Zombzany inquires of his zombie slaves, who wrote the closing speech, but none dare challenge the Dominator of the Dead. Displeased with his newly zombiefied slave, Zombzany decides the best punishment for Doc Freak is to return to him his mortal life. Zombzany casts a powerful remortalisation spell on Doc Freak, which causes Freak to fall head-over-heels onto the ground. Quickly recovering, Doc Freak realizes that his is once again mortal and runs back to his lab vowing vengeance on Zombzany. Zombzany merely smiles and returns to the beloved sanctuary of his tomb.

Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Eight -- Bad to the Last Drop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


From Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein, Bill E. Bones, Major Mac Maniac, Professor Phileas Photon, Zombzany and all the zombies, werewolves and ghouls...




Sunday, December 23, 2012


Podcast of the Month for December 2012 is:

Geek Out Loud!

As Steve Glosson says at the beginning of every Geek Out Loud podcast, “Welcome to Geek Out Loud, your safe place to geek out.” which is precisely what he and his “podcasting partner for life” Derek, do on each and every episode. Geek Out Loud is one of the most loosely structured, but categorically comedic podcasts on the Internets. Every Geek Out Loud episode is unique in both subject matter and structure. What is consistent is the big heart and geek love that Steve communicates in each podcast. Steve occasionally works solo, or with guest co-hosts, but he is at his best when working with Derek, who has the ability to make Steve laugh uncontrollably and often.

Here is how Steve and Derek describe themselves on their Geek Out Loud website:

Steve Glosson
He resides in a small town in Southern Georgia USA. He’s been a geek his whole life. “It started with Star Wars and grew from there.” says Steve of his geekdom. Steve is the founder and primary contributor to Geek Out Online, and the host of Geek Out Loud: The Official Podcast of Geek Out Online. Steve’s vision was to create a place online where people would come to talk about the things they enjoy as it pertains to geekdom rather than complain about everything that is wrong with comics, movies, and sci fi. As Steve says of Geek Out Loud and Geek Out Online, he tries to make this a “safe place” to geek out. Whether it’s bad impressions or poking fun at himself, fun is the key and Steve tries to bring a little bit in all he does.

Derek Russel
The host of Starkville’s House of El and The Skynext Podcast. Derek is another lifelong geek who, by his own testimony, wore a Superman cape on his first Halloween. He and Steve met through a series of e-mails and circumstances and have been a dynamic duo ever since. Derek appears occasionally on Geek Out Loud and works behind the scenes with Steve to help him keep up with all the coolest news, latest trailers, and geeky goodness. It has been said that Derek and Steve actually share some sort of Vulcan mind meld type thing. To this outlandish idea, Steve was heard to reply, “Vulcan? Of course not. That’s Star Trek, and everyone knows how I feel about that show. It’s the force…and it’s totally serendipitous.” Check out Derek’s blog Totally Serendipitous for his thoughts on television happenings, his life, and occasional Vlogs.

Episodes of Geek Out Loud have ranged in topics from films like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises to TV shows like Smallville and Clone Wars. Topics range the full gambit of all things geek; so be prepared for anything to be discussed on Geek Out Loud. What keeps me listening to each episode of Geek Out Loud is the back and forth banter between Steve and Derek. Sometimes Derek has fun messing with Steve, like the time he declared that from now on he wanted to be known as Sean Phillips. Derek also was jealous of Steve’s co-host Buck on The Big Honkin’ Show, a podcast that they did live every Saturday morning on Usenet. Derek kept saying that he wanted to be Buck, because Buck was much cooler than him and it took much cajoling from Steve (between fits of laughter) to convince Derek that he was just as cool as Buck.

If you want to be entertained by a podcast and sometimes informed, Geek Out Loud is a safe place to geek out – indeed!

For more information on Geek Out Loud go to their web site:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


In the seventh part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "The Choke is on Freak" –Zombzany is asleep on his throne, snoring away, apparently exhausted from the many attempts at a rejuvenation spell to heal Doc Freak of his missing arms. Freak tries to revive his master by showing him a DVD copy of his favorite movie White Zombie, but to no avail as Zombzany continues to snore away.
Doc Freak decides this is a perfect time to demonstrate his horror movie hosting abilities and begins to regale his audience about the magnificent virtues of Scream 3 and all of Wes Craven’s films. Unseen by Freak, Zombzany arises behind Freak and begins charging his staff menacingly. Suddenly, Zombzany takes his magically-charged power staff and places it around Doc Freak’s throat; choking the words from his mouth. Pleased with the sound of silence, Zombzany encourages Myron to start the next film in the horror movie marathon.
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Seven -- The Choke is on Freak.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Podcast of the Month for November 2012 is:

Comic Geek Speak!

I've been listening to Comic Geek Speak for over a year now and they are without a doubt the most informative and industrious podcast about comic books. They regularly produce three to five podcasts a week and every one of them is well worth listening to.

Once a month they go over the Previews magazine and each podcaster picks out comics, trades and other items that they think will be worth buying. I find it is helpful in finding out a few months in advance what may or may not be worth buying at the comics shop that month.

Another monthly feature is Off the Racks, in which they pick one DC, one Marvel and one or more Independent Comics to review as a group. This past month they reviewed Joe Kubert Presents #1 from DC, Uncanny Avengers #1 from Marvel, Multiple Warheads #1 from Image and Cyberforce #1 from Top Cow. Their rating system is fun and unique: They rate them BUY, BORROW or PANTS: Buy being great, Borrow being good and Pants being not so good. Pants was used to substitute Pass at some point; possibly as a joke or mispronunciation involving the moderator Brian "Pants" Christman.

Yet another regular feature is Comic Talk, which is a comics news-based episode. They discuss the latest comic book-centric news and how they think it will affect the industry. In the November 14th episode of Comic Talk they discussed Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and how it might affect the Star Wars movies, comics and toys; DC's upcoming Katana, Vibe and Justice League of America books; and some spoiler-filled TV talk on The Walking Dead and Arrow.

They also do regular features on important events in comics. They recently reviewed every single issue of Marvel X-men Vs. Avengers 12-issue event series; even going so far as to live stream a special podcast on the twelfth and final issue. They are currently doing a series on Marvel Now, with the latest podcast, Round Three, discussing All-New X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #1, Thor: God of Thunder #1, X-Men Legacy #1 and Avengers Assemble #9.

There is too much for me to tell about these hard working podcasters, so I’ll let them describe their podcast and themselves to you in their own words:

Comic Geek Speak (CGS) was started in March, 2005 when Bryan and Peter decided to try their hand at the then-new world of podcasting. They quickly invited their friends to join them and then the show was complete. CGS initially released one or two episodes a week, but before long they were cranking out three. Nowadays, the CGS crew produces daily episodes (Monday through Friday) ranging from regular episodes to more focused episodes, such as Footnotes, World of Toys or Exploring Bede.

CGS is far more than just a few friends in a room with microphones. CGS is now a worldwide community of comic fans that helps to foster and grow the love of comics that is vital to the industry's success. Produced by a group of life-long friends, Comic Geek Speak is a daily look at comic book history, current comic news, and a general look at the industry. Experience all the joys of a Wednesday afternoon at the comic shop, from the comfort of your own headphones.

Here are some of the fine gentlemen that regularly speak on Comics Geek Speak:

Brian Deemer
Bryan is the guy that decided to do this crazy podcast. After reading an article about podcasting in Wired magazine in February, 2005, Bryan recruited Peter to start CGS. Bryan started reading comics in 1985 after getting a copy of Groo from his friend. It wasn't long before he was reading everything in sight. He worked at his local comic shop, Golden Eagle, for a few years in college, which is where he met and befriended most of the other geeks. He's a man of many ideas, and never really knows when to quit. That's probably a good thing for CGS.

Shane Kelly
Shane Kelly is a comic book, toy-loving, Sci-Fi fanatic! Whose earliest memories are watching re-runs of the Batman 60's TV show, Star Trek and Superfriends cartoons on Saturday mornings in the late 1970s. For 25 years Shane has been reading and collecting comics starting in 1984 with GI JOE: A Real American Hero issue 21, quickly expanding to DC Comics with titles like Batman and Justice League in 1987 and Marvel with The Amazing Spider-Man. Shane has been friends with the rest of the Geeks for twelve years. When Bryan and Peter asked if he would like to join them for some comic book and toy talk on a new venture they were trying called a podcast, he jumped at the chance. Anything to hang out with friends, talk toys and comics. It has been four years of fun, opening up to new new comics that he would have never read and meeting tons of new people Shane is proud to consider friends. All through Comic Geek Speak! There is even a spin off show called World of Toys which Shane co-hosts with fellow CGS member Brian (Pants) Christman.

Jamie D
Having read comics for over 30 of his 43 years on this earth, Jamie is the elder statesman of the group. He is a Marvel boy at heart but hasn't met a comic or comic company he wouldn't try at least once. He wears his love of comics on his sleeve and champions the artform wherever and whenever possible.

Confused with 24601, Number 6, or even being associated with Comic Geek Speak at all, he's got the wit of a Web-Head and the skills, cunning, and social skills of a Dark Knight. Matt has worn several hats since he started on the show: A-Hole to some (though refreshingly honest to others), Object of focus for the Church of Mattitude, Roast Master General, and Host of alternate universe CGS (see episode 666). He's the first to add fuel to any fire and the last to back down. Prefers the Dark Knight Detective (as opposed to the Caped Crusader), the Shadow, and a feisty Black Cat. Blunt. Unapologetic. Old School (power of Pulp Comics). Carries his backbone with him at all times. Respects strength, privacy, and blunt honesty and abhors coddling. Love him...hate him...have no idea who even is: Matt will be the one giving you a back-handed compliment one minute, then watching your 6 o'clock the next. When you have a problem, and no one else can help, and you realize you're screwed either way, Matt's the guy to have at your side. Lock and load, fanboy, wimps need not apply!!

Adam "Murd" Murdough
Adam is perhaps the least talkative of the Geeks. He has been reading comics since 1991, beginning with Marvel's Infinity War, but he only recently became aware (thanks to CGS) of the benefits of discussing them with groups of friends. He has a Master's degree in Popular Culture Studies (yes, really), as part of which he wrote a thesis about Crisis on Infinite Earths; he's proficient enough in comics trivia to keep up with the Rios; and, as a distant cousin of Matt's, he can make with the witty comments sometimes. Mostly, though, he prefers to sit quietly (especially during interviews) until one of the other guys prods him to spit out some obscure fact or say something intelligent. Turn-ons include parallel universe stories, Kitty Pryde, and long walks on square planets; turn-offs include rude people and continuity violations.

Brian "Pants" Christman
Brian Christman, perhaps better known as "Pants", joined CGS in the fall of 2006. He is known for his obsession with collecting - both comics (over 17,000 books - mostly DC - going back as far as the 1950s) and comic book art (sketches of the original Batwoman and original art pages from a certain weekly book). He's also a frequent convention attendee, once going to two different shows in one day.

Comic Geek Speak’s motto is "We Are Uniting the World's Mightiest Heroes One Listener at a Time", which they end every podcast with. This speaks volumes for the energy and the positive focus they put into each and every one of their podcasts. If you are a fan of comic books or even just a casual fan of comic book based movies, you should definitely give Comic Geek Speak a listen.

To learn more about Comic Geek Speak go to their website at:

Or to listen to one of nearly 1400 (!) podcasts go directly to:

Monday, November 26, 2012


“This version of Spider-man offers enough new insights into the character’s past that the first film didn't,  that I think it will keep you interested enough to get to the good stuff.”

Superhero, Fantasy and Action

Starring - Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Sally Field as May Parker, Irrfan Khan as Dr. Rajit Ratha and Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson

Director - Marc Webb

Writer(s) - James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence

Runtime: 136 min.

I bought my first issue of The Amazing Spider-man from the magazine rack of my local drug store in the summer of 1971 at the age of thirteen. I had been buying and reading several different comics sporadically before then (most notably JLA, The Flash and a few others I’ve forgotten), but the cover of The Amazing Spider-man #100 with the John Romita drawn image of Spider-man wall-crawling over a chalkboard-like background of the portraits of all the supporting characters from the past just set my young imaginative mind afire! Most of all, in typical Marvel fashion, the cover blurb announced “At last! The long-awaited 100th anniversary issue! With the wildest shock-ending of all time!” I had to read this comic! I never missed an issue of The Amazing Spider-man after that for many years to come and even when I was a Marvel Maniac throughout the ‘70s – buying almost every Marvel superhero title - Spidy was always my favorite Marvel character!

I bring up my historical relationship with Spider-man, because I think it helps to explain why I was not a fan of the three previous Sam Raimi directed films and why I enjoyed the latest Marc Webb directed film so much. I don’t want to waste time comparing Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) to The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). I’ll just say that I never liked Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and I didn’t like the many stylistic changes to the character that director Sam Raimi and writer David Koepp made; the worst being making Spider-man’s webs biologically shoot out of his hands (yuck!).

So what is it about The Amazing Spider-man that made me think it was the best film version of the character yet? The most important part of Spider-man’s characterization is that he is a high-school geek, a loner, a quietly angry teenager who has never gotten over the loss of his parents. When he is bitten by the radioactive spider and acquires the proportional strength and agility of a spider, Peter is elated and revels in his new found powers. The Amazing Spider-man establishes all this characterization in the first forty minutes of the film. We see Peter riding his skate board in school, belligerent to school rules. We see Peter being bored in Physics class, because it’s obvious that he already knows more than the teacher. We see Peter watching Gwen Stacy from afar, wishing for a way to meet this beautiful girl. We see Peter being beaten by Flash, despite his best efforts to try and avoid the confrontation. We see Peter’s warm relationship with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in the form of quiet moment between he and Ben, when Peter attempts to hide the beating from his Aunt.

The performance of Andrew Garfield is amazing – especially when you consider he is a 29-year old, who grew up in England – is playing a 17/18-year old Manhattan high-schooler. Before and after he becomes Spider-man, Garfield plays Parker with just the right balance of darkness and inner strength. He plays Peter as the awkward geek and Spidy as the quippy jerk; making both likeable and identifiable. I can’t say enough good things about Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy. She plays her as a beautiful and smart teenage girl, who still is self-conscious and quiet around Peter, who she clearly likes before he becomes Spider-man. This relationship between Peter and Gwen is very important in making Peter and Spidy the man he needs to become.

I haven’t even mentioned the special effects, because at this point, I expect high quality digital effects in a film of this enormous budget (estimated at $230 million!). There are wonderful scenes of Spidy web-slinging through downtown Manhattan and I really loved how much Spider-man uses his webbing as both a defensive and offensive weapon. One of my favorite scenes is where Spidy is hunting down The Lizard in the massive sewer system of NYC and he sits in a web sling at a central hub after shooting web strands down all the adjoining tunnels. The design of the Lizard is not completely faithful to the comic book version; especially in the area of his facial structure. The Lizard was never one of my favorite Spidy villains, as I always thought he just looked like a giant lizard in a lab coat – and don’t get me started on those magenta pants! So, the redesign of The Lizard didn't bother me and as a CGI-only character, I thought he was fairly effective.

The story of Spider-man is well told, even if we do get his “origin” story again only ten-years removed from Spider-man (2002). I liked the fact that the filmmakers didn't rush to get Peter out of high school, just so we could get to him shooting “pics” for The Daley Bugle and working for his public nemesis James Jonah Jameson. Captain Stacy filled in nicely as Spidy’s new public menace, without feeling too forced. The ending, which I won’t ruin here, did feel a little hokey, but of all the Marvel superhero characters, Spider-man is one character that can pull off hokey.

For anyone who didn't go to the theater to see The Amazing Spider-man because they didn't want to see another re-telling of his origin, I recommend giving it a rent. This version of Spider-man offers enough new insights into the character’s past that the first film didn't  that I think it will keep you interested enough to get to the good stuff. The good stuff, by-the-way, is very good indeed!

TECHNICAL: Acting – 10 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 9 Special Effects – 10

VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 9 Emotional – 10 Involvement – 10

TOTAL - 95

Thursday, November 15, 2012


In the sixth part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Doc Freak Disarmed" -- Zombzany regales his viewers with a story about Zacherley running for president with the slogan “Put a Ghoul in the White House.” Despite his fear of punishment, Freak enters the tomb and tells Zombzany that according to his source, the slogan was “Put a Vampire in the White House.” Zombzany refutes this claim and uses a spell to dash Freak to the ground.
Zombzany sarcastically goes into an unflattering description of the next film in the horror movie marathon and Freak can be heard in the background screaming for Zombzany’s attention. At the conclusion of Zombzany’s soliloquy, Freak confronts Zombzany, showing him that his spell has now removed Doc Freak’s other hand. When Freak explains to Zombzany that without hands, he won’t be able to serve his master his coffee, Zombzany attempts a regenerative spell to restore Freak’s missing appendages.
The spell goes awry and Doc Freak is now missing both of his arms!
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Six -- Doc Freak Disarmed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


In the fifth part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Dominator of the Dummies" -- Zombzany begins to introduce the next film of the horror movie marathon, when he is interrupted by Doc Freak. Freak is complaining that he doesn’t have sufficient bandages to wrap his dismembered hand properly. Zombzany is extremely unsympathetic and concludes his introduction, warning Freak not to interrupt him again.
Zombzany then proceeds to completely ignore the film being shown and read from a book. Doc Freak is curious and swathed in bandages, limps before Zombzany, attempting to get a look at what Zombzany is reading. After his inquiries are rebuffed by the surly Necromancer, Fritz grabs the book and Zombzany and Freak begin fighting over the possession of the tome.  After a brief struggle, both combatants fall to the ground - momentarily stunned!
Freak is the first to revive and uses the opportunity to retrieve the book from Zombzany’s grasp. When Doc Freak sees what Zombzany has been reading, he suddenly has second thoughts about asking Zombzany to use his necromantic magic to heal his wounds.
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Five – Dominator of the Dummies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Only one person voted in - Which of these films do you plan on seeing in October of 2012 – poll and that appeared and disappeared – twice! I don’t know if there was a fault with the Blogger gadget or if no one was interested in any of these four horror films for the month of October. If not, I can’t say I blame any of you as I had only mild interest in two of the four and had no intention of seeing any of them at the theater. If anyone did try to vote on this month’s poll and was unable to, please leave a comment here.
There will be no poll for the month of November, primarily because of the lack of any really interesting genre films being released to theaters. There is the animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph (11/2) which I have a very minor interest in and will likely rent. The Man with the Iron Fists (11/2) which looks amazing, but I’m not a huge martial arts film fan and there doesn’t appear to be enough of a plot to make it more than worth a rental. Vamps (11/2) is a PG-13 romantic comedy about two vampires – enough said – PASS! The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is a PG-13 romantic drama about two vampires and the forth film in a series that I have not watched any of the previous three films – PASS! Rise of the Guardians looks like a CGI animated feature with some actual flair and I like the concept, but I’ll still be waiting to rent the blu-ray disc.
Although not genre per se, I will be going to the theater November 10 to see Skyfall. I am a huge Bond film fan and have seen every Bond film in the theater since The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Daniel Craig as James Bond, but he quickly won me over in Casino Royale, so I’m looking forward to Skyfall – particularly with Sam Mendes as director, who is better known for his dramatic films like American Beauty (1999) and Road to Perdition 2002).
If anyone is going to see any of these films in November, please leave a comment here and tell me why you are interested enough to see it on the big screen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In the fourth part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Doc Freak Gets Stumped" -- Zombzany impatiently waits for Doc Freak to return from the store with his coffee. When Freak returns empty handed, Freak explains to Zombzany why he took so long and that he’ll have a fresh cup brewed up in a jiffy. Freak hurries off, but inquires how Zombzany likes his coffee to be prepared and Zombzany replies that he likes it with “two lumps of arsenic and a finger of type-O.”
While Zombzany waits still longer for his caffeinated infusion, he begrudgingly introduces the second feature of the horror movie marathon. Finally Doc Freak returns with Zombzany’s coffee and he proffers the coffee by prostrating his newly undead form before his necromancer master. Zombzany takes one sip of the beverage and proceeds to spit it out. He then removes an entire hand from the coffee cup and tosses it back at the now one-handed Freak.
Freak desperately attempts to reattach the extracted extremity. He finally gives up and resorts to fleeing from the angry self-professed King of the Zombies!
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Four -- Doc Freak Gets Stumped.

Monday, October 29, 2012


“Iron Sky is not a film for everyone, but if you are able to appreciate a science fiction satire that delves into politics, Nazism and some other uncomfortable areas, than I recommend giving it a try.”
Science Fiction, Action and Satire
Julia Dietze as Renate Richter, Götz Otto as Klaus Adler, Christopher Kirby as James Washington, Tilo Prückner as Doktor Richter, Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, Peta Sergeant as Vivian Wagner and Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Writers: Johanna Sinisalo and Michael Kalesniko
Rated R for language and some violence
Runtime: 93 minutes

Satire is one of the most difficult of all genres to do well; even more so when combined with science fiction, horror or fantasy. Parody is another of my favorite sci-fi sub-genres and these are sometimes, but not always satirical in nature. Science Fiction has been the subject of satire for years now. Some of my favorites include: Dark Star (1974), Galaxina (1980), Night of the Comet (1984), Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004).Of all of these, Dark Star is the darkest in tone and I think Iron Sky falls nearly into this level of dark comedy as well.
Iron Sky starts out in the year 2018, with America’s return to a manned mission to the Moon. We find out that the mission is done only as a publicity stunt for the President of the United States' re-election campaign. The astronauts discover a hidden Moon base, but before they can radio back to Earth, they are shot down by Nazi soldiers. Only James Washington escapes into the hidden base, but eventually he is captured and taken to a scientist for interrogation. Doctor Richter finds Washington’s smart phone and he recognizes that it is a computer that can be used as a control unit for their Nazi space battleship Götterdämmerung. When Richter tries to demonstrate the cell phone’s power to the new Führer, Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, the battery runs dry. Nazi commander Klaus Adler, offers to go to Earth on a secret mission to collect more phones for the future invasion. Earth specialist Renate Richter, Doctor Richter's daughter, volunteers to go as well, but when she is not allowed to go, she sneaks on board anyway. Washington is experimented on by Richter and turned into the perfect Nazi, so that he will assist them on their mission to Earth.
Landing on Earth, Adler finds the president’s aid, Vivian Wagner, and forces her to take he and Richter to meet the President. Meanwhile, Washington escapes and attempts to warn NASA of the impending invasion of Nazi’s from the Moon, but they don't recognise him and thinks that he's crazy, so he ends up becoming homeless instead. Wagner uses Adler and Richter as faces for a revamp of the President's re-election campaign, which looks a lot like Nazism, but is disguised as benevolent socialism. Growing impatient after months of waiting, Kortzfleisch sends his armada to Earth orbit and begins the invasion without the Götterdämmerung.
Like much satire, Iron Sky isn’t a film that inspires large laugh-out-loud moments, but it more than makes up for it with clever satirical messages. While some of the satire is obvious, such as the Sarah Palin look-alike U.S. President, much of it breezes by so fast that even the jokes that don’t work are more than balanced by the ones that do. Some of my favorite moments are between Washington and Richter; especially after the African American Washington is transformed into a blond white Aryan, minus the Nazi idealism.
Where Iron Sky really excels is the amazing special effects and visualization of the retro Nazi technology. The Moon base, the space ships and even the costumes are all slightly modernized versions WWII era designs. The amount of detail that went into the look of Iron Sky is amazing and worth watching the film for this reason alone! Still, there is a fairly complex and compelling story here, so it’s not just ninety minutes of flashy CGI.
The acting for the film is also quite good. Julia Dietze as Renate Richter is both lovely and brilliant as the Nazi “Earth expert”, conveying a certain naiveté and courageous individualism both. Christopher Kirby as James Washington manages to pull off a black man as a white man, without insulting either race, but delicately satirizing the flaws of both. Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch is the most well-known actor of the cast and he grounds his character in a weird reality that manages to make the rest of cast seem even more outrageous by comparison. Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States is the weakest of the cast, as she plays her character too big to be either funny or satirical.
Iron Sky is produced by the makers of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. It was produced by Tero Kaukomaa of Blind Spot Pictures and Energia Productions, co-produced by New Holland Pictures and 27 Films, and co-financed by numerous individual supporters through their web site. Director Timo Vuorensola, who also directed Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (2005), does an admiral job of keeping everything from getting too silly and causing Iron Sky to go from satire into over-the-top parody. Samuli Torssonen, who was responsible for the computer generated effects in Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, gathered a young team of European CGI effects people, who stepped up the quality to the level of much more expensive Hollywood productions. The fantastic orchestral score of Iron Sky incorporates elements from the operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, music which was favored by the Nazi leaders and the Slovenian industrial music group Laibach also adds some cool futuristic music to the film.
Iron Sky is not a film for everyone, but if you are able to appreciate a science fiction satire that delves into politics, Nazism and some other uncomfortable areas, than I recommend giving it a try.


TECHNICAL: Acting – 8 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 8 Script – 9 Special Effects – 10
VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 10
TOTAL - 90