Ho-wdy, Superfiends! Welcome to another shocking Throwback Thursday! With Wonder Woman kickin’ all sorts of booty at the Box Office and Captain Marvel set to fly into cinemas, badass superheroines are finally getting their well-deserved time in the Bat-shaped spotlight. Howl-ever, there are plenty of awesome crime-fightin’ women who don’t get the love they deserve. Women like… Yesiree! Just two years after Wonder Woman came to television, mad geniuses Sid and Marty Krofft introduced us to Electra Woman and Dyna Girl on The Krofft Supershow. The Supershow spawned 16 segments, which were later released as 8 episodes. It was cheap, cheesy, derivative of the ’60s Batman series, and I loved every single thing about it! Just check out this eXXXcellent opening:
The show’s goofy as all heck, but gleefully so. With a budget of five cents and a Moonpie, the creators built a wackadoo Silver Age comic funhouse of a show that’s beyond words. Diedre Hall and Judy Strangis are both totally groovy as the tit-ular superheroines. Sure, they weren’t exactly Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, but they didn’t need to be! They were the two awesomely campy super butt-kickers this world needed. If you need someone to beat the snot out of hammy magicians and sinister glam rockers, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl are the far-out chicks for you. 🙂
In ho-nor of this show and its powerful leads, we’ve got a full episode of the show that has to be seen to be believed! It features death traps, hyno-tunes, and a villain who looks like the unholy lovechild of The Joker and Beef from Phantom of the Paradise. Enjoy. 🙂
(Submitted by our own Mr. Anton Phibes…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)
To say that expectations were high for 2017’s IT would be a grotesque understatement. Based on the best-selling Stephen King novel, the film is the second adaptation of the material, following the much beloved miniseries. Before even a single frame of this latest version came to be, a thunderous jolt of anticipation struck film-goers like a circus locomotive. Thousands of think pieces, fan art, and parodies sprouted up when the very first image of “IT” was released, and that goes doubly so for the trailer. IT was a bonafide cultural phenomena before it was projected on a single screen. Living up to such monstrous adaptations seems impossible, but does IT succeed? With a big grease-painted grin, I’m very pleased to report that IT is every bit the monsterpiece we had hoped for.
Stephen King’s novel is a massive work of fiction told through narratives alternating between two timelines, so the film wisely adapts the half of the novel that focuses on the seven protagonists as kids. The film advances the setting from the 1950s to the late ’80s, but still maintains much of the source material. In the movie, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Richie (Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Mike (Chosen Jacobs) and Stan (Wyatt Oleff) are all social outcasts in their own way. United by their misfit status, they develop a tight-knit relationship and dub themselves the “Losers’ Club”. When a malevolent shape-shifting killer targets them, the unconventional heroes must conquer their fears to conquer “IT”. IT is a lot like King’s Stand By Me, but with an eldritch abomination creeping about. It’s almost as much a coming-of-age story as it is a monster movie. Sure, the clown is a fright to behold, but the children are undeniably the heart of the story. Their struggles, their quirks, and their interactions feel so very real that it’s easy to forget that these are actors reading from a script. They are the kind of “geeky” kids you may have known (or been) growing up, with all the flaws and idiosyncrasies that come with such children. All are incredibly lovable, making the horror (both otherworldly and mundane) that befalls them unbearable. Both their chemistry and individual charms are what elevate this film to greatness and achieve the impressive feat of making a film about a child-eating clown monster heartwarming.
Of course, even with an exceptional group of heroes, a monster movie still needs a credible monster… oh boy! does It succeed in that regard! Actor Bill Skarsgard had some big floppy shoes to fill after Tim Curry’s turn in the miniseries, but he works sorcery here as Pennywise, the clown form of “IT”. Pennywise’s initial appearances in this film are almost inviting, but there’s always that sense that he’s plotting… and hungry. Even in his most clownishly charming moments, he can barely conceal his ghastly appetite. As the film progresses, Pennywise grows more and more demonic in a truly unsettling fashion. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the new “IT” is superior to the old one.The way I see it, Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard are to Pennywise what Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee are to Dracula: two unique actors giving equally brilliant performances as the same monster. Bill Skarsgard’s interpretation is considerably different than Curry’s, but still magnificent in its own way. Curry was pretty darn funny as the hellish harlequin, giving him a comedic edge that makes his more violent moments genuinely shocking. Skarsgard had a more overtly diabolical quality that is still quite effective. Regardless of which performance you prefer, I think most of us can agree that Bill Skarsgard is a worthy “IT” for a new generation. Bravo to both clowns!
Despite its cast of children, IT is a fairly disturbing movie with some wonderfully nasty bits. Some of the most beautifully wicked scares you’ll see in a big budget fright film are lurking in this film. From the gory to the surreal, there’s a shock here for every taste. There are even some scenes that have an old-fashioned Gothic flavor to them, most of which take place in what is perhaps the best “haunted house” set I’ve seen in years. If you like a wide variety of creepy things, IT’s the spook show for you.
With an already killer box office intake and fabulous reviews, there’s little doubt that a sequel based on the novel’s second half is on its way. In fact, there’s one teased at the very end of the film. While I’ll certainly miss the child actors, I have no doubt that the next one will be another sensational work of horror cinema. I look forward to seeing Pennywise dance again. As for this current installment, stop clowning around and see it as soon as you can! Beep Beep!
(Submitted by Prince Adam, aka Batman’s Bitch Boy… 😉 Thanks, Super Friend. Love ya lots! 🙂 xoxo)
“Batman finds himself tangling with a Jekyll-and-Hyde bat creature after it attacks a night watchman and the police wage a war on the Dark Knight. “
Batman: The Animated Series is a classic show and piece of Batman history. Every classic show needs to start somewhere, and for Batman : TAS, it’s On Leather Wings. I give a lot of credit to Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for having faith in their show to kick it off with a secondary villain like Kirk Langstrom aka Man-Bat. While more obscure, it’s actually a perfect fit. Man-Bat is the literal physical representation of a bat-man, and is the perfect antithesis to our costumed caped crusader. He’s also an allegory of the Jekyll and Hyde character, and when you watch the episode, you realize, so too is Batman in a way. Both Kirk Langstrom and Bruce Wayne embody the spirit of that story. Both men struggle with duality. Both maintain a good well adjusted persona, and both hide a dark persona that unleashes more of an animalistic violent nature. The difference being, Bruce Wayne is able to rein his in and uses that darkness as a force for good. The episode does a great job of briefly introducing the other core characters in the show, namely Detective Bullock and Commissioner Gordon. They establish that Gordon doesn’t see Batman as a menace, while Bullock definitely sees him as a dangerous vigilante. The show sets up Batman as a pre-existing figure in Gotham City, that the mayor wants the police to apprehend. The episode spends much of it’s time in showcasing Batman’s detective skill. He spends 3 quarters of the episode discovering and piecing together clues about Man-Bat. This was fantastic, because most non comics adaptations gloss over the detective aspect of the character. My only slight negative is that, the actual Batman Vs. Man Bat confrontation seemed a little too rushed for my liking. That and the fact that Batman was able to get the Man-Bat formula out of Doctor Langstrom off screen and rather quickly. But hey, given the episode is only 22 minutes, and did just about everything right, I can let it slide.
The animation is fantastic. I love the dark blue/black and grey colour scheme with yellow oval symbol for Batman’s costume. I always viewed it as the animators making a nod to the Adam West costume in a way, but with darker shades. The Bat-Computer was a definite nod to Batman 66, sounds and all. The Batmobile took it’s nods from Tim Burton’s iteration, but was it’s own beast, being longer and sleeker. That opening credits montage, is possibly the most beautiful thing, I’ve ever seen lead off any TV show. Batman cloaked in the shadows taking down bank robbers, the Batmobile roaring through the streets, and it all culminates with a bolt of lightening, illuminating Batman on the rooftop of a Gotham skyscraper! I’ve got chills just describing it! Speaking of Gotham City, I love the look of it. It’s the 1939 Worlds Fair meshed with early 1990’s modern day, and putting those two together, gives the city and the series a sense of timelessness This was definitely not the best episode of the series. This show is filled with episodes deserving of that crown. However, it set the tone for what was to come. It had me speechless when I first watched it 25 years ago, and I was just as excited when I watched it again the other day. Happy 25th Anniversary to Batman: The Animated Series. This series had as much influence, if not more on my Batman and superhero fandom. as Batman 66 and Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. This anniversary gave me just the excuse I was looking for to start reviewing this animated masterpiece. If you want to follow along, my reviews will go according to how episodes appear on my copies of the DVD!
In another Batman related note, Happy (belated) 66th Birthday to Michael Keaton, the man who took my love of Batman to new heights and I’ve loved the character ever since! Now that he’s 66 and now that Warner Brothers is creating an Elseworld’s division of DC Films, let’s bring things full circle and have Michael Keaton play the older Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond film shall we WB!
Haruo Nakajima was, in more ways than one, the King of the Monsters. From 1954 to 1972, Nakajima was the man behind Godzilla, donning the legendary suit for some of the greatest monster movies of all time. As if one timeless sci-fi icon wasn’t enough, the great Nakajima also portrayed Rodan Varan, Baragon, Gaira, the larva form of Mothra, and several kaijus in both Ultra Q and Ultraman. Nakajima was a true giant in genre cinema and his creatures will continue to inspire both fright and delight in fright fans for many years to come. Haruo Nakajima was an incredible, unstoppable titan of terror.
“One of the few misconceptions about June is to think of her wonderful talent as ‘voice-over’. Nothing could be further from the truth. June is worthy of the gift-word: actress. She imbues a part with herself, be it a Mama Bear or the deadly cobra Nagaina in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi… in fact–and I speak with the deepest respect for him–I can only compliment Mel Blanc by saying that he could be called a male June Foray.”
– Chuck Jones
Even if her name is unfamiliar to you, there’s a good chance you grew up with June Foray. She was a woman of a thousand voices and of many timeless characters. Starting her career in 1937 and performing her final role in 2014, Ms. Foray had delighted kids and adults alike for nearly a century. Her character voices include Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Jokey Smurf, Witch Hazel (Looney Tunes AND Disney), Granny from Looney Tunes, Twilight Zone’s Talky Tina, Lena Hyena/Wheezy the Weasel in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Grammi Gummi in Gummi Bears, and Cindy Lou Who. And as impressive as those examples may be, they only represent a small portion of her massive career. She was a giant in her field and played a huge part in the childhoods of many.
Though she may be gone, her voice will never fall silent. Every time a child discovers How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Cinderella, or any of her other fabulous classics, they will hear her. She will be a part of the childhoods of generations to come, living eternally through the laughter and joy she will continue to inspire.
In honor of the fabulous Ms. Foray, we present Broom-Stick Bunny, a short considered to be the best of the Witch Hazel cartoons. It is a true classic and showcases the enormous talent of Ms. Foray. Enjoy.
Happy Birthday to Cinema’s Great Magician, Ray Harryhausen!
As you cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies probably know, Ray Harryhausen was the mightiest stop motion animator in the cosmos. He was both Prometheus and Athena, sculpting creatures from clay and breathing life into them. Mr. Harryhausen brought many great monsters into existence with just his skilled hands and superhuman patience. What he did was magic, pure and simple.
In ho-nor of Mr. Harryhausen, we’ve dug up this groovy interview… conducted by Mr. Tim Burton! In it, you’ll hear Ray talk about the birth of several of his creations, watch Tim Burton try not give in to his inner-fanboy, and see the two mess around with a flying saucer from Earth vs. The Flying Saucers! It’s an incredible watch for lovers of fantastic cinema and Master Harryhausen. Enjoy, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 xoxo
Happy Birthday, Ray! Thanks for all the cinematic magic. 🙂 xoxo
(#TBT to yesterday when I should’ve posted this…The sentiment remains the same, though, even if I’m sliiiiiiiiiiightly late with it. 😉 xoxo)
Happy 91st Birthday to a legend among legends, Mr. Mel Brooks!
There are really no words to properly describe the gargantuan impact Mr. Brooks has had on comedy, film, and, well… everything. In his seven decades in show business, he’s pushed boundaries, made generations ho-wl with laughter, brought the film parody to its zenith, and showed us the high value of a cheap joke. He’s one of the very few people to score an EGOT (an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony) and, with a one-man show opening in Vegas, shows no signs of slowing down at 91. In addition to all of that, Mel Brooks also has some serious ho-rror cred. He directed Young Frankenstein and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, the former being (arguably) one of the greatest and most respectful horror spoofs of all time. As for actual ho-rror films, Brooks produced Cronenberg’s The Fly and The Doctor and the Devils by Hammer legend Freddie Francis. While not strictly horror, he also produced David Lynch’s haunting The Elephant Man. In 2015, Mr. Brooks lent his voice to the vampire Vlad in Hotel Transylvania 2.
Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks! May you live to be 2000! 🙂 xoxoxo