Tuesday, May 22, 2012

News Flash! Schlockologist Bum-Rushes Crypticon 2012!!

Hola, Fiends and Neighbors! BMN is on spring/summer hiatus. Rest assured, however, we will be returning to the Aster come fall with more cinema oddities to stun and delight!

But if you can't get enough of Ye Olde Schlockologist's snappy patter and wheelbarrows full of odd factoids, get thee to Crypticon 2012 this Memorial Day Weekend, where he'll be moderating, hosting, or co-hosting eight different panels over the Con's three day onslaught at the Sea-Tac Hilton!

All partisan bias aside, if you're anything resembling a fan of horror, you're insane to miss Crypticon. It remains Seattle's biggest horror convention, plus it's packed with amazing celebrity guests, incredibly cool merchandise and art, and more mayhem than you can shake a stake at! Internet pre-sales are no longer available, but you can still get tickets at the door (see Crypticon's trusty website for more details)...

There's a cornucopia of creepy delights on Crypticon's panels, so it'd behoove you to check out the complete list of Crypticon 2012's panels here. If'n you're interested in what Your Schlockologist Truly will be up to, though, here's the rundown of the Schlockologist's Schedule...

Friday, May 25:

9pm, Emerald Ballroom B: Indie Theaters in the Area--What to See Where
Veteran Crypticon panelist/filmmaker Eric Morgret and Steve Holetz (co-host of The BoneBat Show podcast ) join Your Schlockologist Truly for a chat about the Best Indie Theaters in Seattle. Want to learn where you can catch the finest and strangest offerings in independent/genre/cult cinema in the Pacific Northwest? Itching to tell the world what obscure classick you'd love to see on a big screen? Look no further!

10pm, Emerald Ballroom B: The Campier the Better--Movies that Don't Try to Hide What They Are: Campy, Cheesy Fun! 
Bizarro Believers, this one is just made for you! Esteemed horror author John Skipp, actor/director TJ Nordaker, pro-wrestler/horror expert Ronnie Angel, and some motormouthed schlockologist will wax rhapsodic and enthusiastic about the nature--and the warped joys--of bottom-of-the-barrel cinema!

Saturday, May 26:

11am, Emerald Ballroom C: The Universal Monsters and Their Forms Through the Years
Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon have endured as iconic horror characters for decades now. Join me, T.C. O'Reilly, Scott Baker, William Bivins, and Mark Rahner, as we discuss the importance of these characters, and why they still exact such a hold on the imagination!

Noon, Emerald Ballroom C: An Interview with Ricou Browning
Actor, Director, Stuntman, Writer...Ricou Browning's worn several hats during his incredible career. But he's best known for portraying one of the greatest monsters in the cinema pantheon--The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Yours Truly is honored to be interviewing this show-biz legend for Crypticon 2012!

3pm, Emerald Ballroom C: An Interview with Richard Kiel and Marilyn Burns
Talk about movie icons. Actor Richard Kiel is known worldwide as one of James Bond's most distinctive and formidable foes, the menacing assassin Jaws. And Marilyn Burns earned her place in horror history when she ran the terror gauntlet as the leading lady in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Come spend an hour listening to stories and insights from these two titans of genre cinema!

4pm, Emerald Ballroom C: An Interview with Don Coscarelli
When Ye Olde Schlockologist was but a tyke, he saw a low-budget horror movie that was so strange, so creepy, and so wildly imaginative that it literally changed his life. That movie was Phantasm, and its director, Don Coscarelli, returns to Crypticon to talk about his career. With a repertoire that includes classics like The Beastmaster and Bubba Ho-Tep, you can count on Mr. Coscarelli to deliver one of Crypticon's liveliest and most fun interviews!

5pm, Emerald Ballroom C: An Interview with Dee Wallace
She played unpretentious, very real women who faced the extraordinary in E.T, and the terrifying in The Howling and Cujo. Hear this acclaimed and beloved character actress talk about everything from working with Steven Spielberg to facing a coven of werewolves!

Sunday, May 27:

Noon, Emerald Ballroom C: The Body Politik--Body Horror Under the Microscope
Man's fixation with his own mortality (and with the thousand natural shocks that his flesh is heir to) have spawned one of the most compelling sub-genres of horror to rise to prominence in recent years, thanks to filmmakers like David Cronenberg and Eli Roth. Sit in on (and participate in) this in-depth discussion on this distinctive tendril of horror cinema with Pulitzer-prize-winning author Mark Rahner, horror scribe Cody Goodfellow, and Your Schlockologist Truly!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deep Red: Bizarro Movie Night Salutes Italian Horror Cinema this Saturday!

This week's Bizarro Movie Night presentation at the Aster Coffee is boldly breaking Bizarro Movie Night tradition, with a screening of...

A good movie.

Yes, you read right; a good movie. Rest assured, though, it'll still be certifiably Bizarro.

Some of the finest, strangest, most vividly colorful, and most feverishly imaginative horror films ever made sprang forth from Italy in the last half of the twentieth century. And the most important creative figure in that country's genre output was Mario Bava.

Bava paid his dues as a special effects man and assistant director on several Italian action films and dramas throughout the 1950's. Then in 1960 he made his directorial debut with Black Sunday, an atmospheric black-and-white chiller that marked the first leading role for Barbara Steele, a raven-haired British actress whose large, expressive eyes and alien beauty made her a horror movie icon for the ages.

Three years later, Bava made Black Sabbath, a horror movie anthology in which his penchant for eye-popping primary colors and heady atmosphere came into full flower. Without really trying, Black Sabbath established several templates for the horror genre over the next two decades. It gave birth to a distinctive sub-genre known as the giallo, and bridged the gap between the elegant subtlety of the old-school Universal monster movies and the more violent and psycho-sexual content of modern horror cinema.

Throughout the 1960's, '70's, and '80's, Italian directors such as Dario Argento, Antonio Margheriti, and Lucio Fulci further pushed the boundaries of the horror film. And the ripple effects of Mario Bava's influence echo today through more extreme thrillers like Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs, and within the untethered color palate of director Tim Burton (himself such an enormous Bava fan that he toyed for years with remaking Bava's Black Sunday).

We're planning on screening Black Sabbath at the Aster on Saturday. In addition to being a terrific, gloriously creepy film on its own, it's also an important milestone in the cinema of the fantastic. And with Your Schlockologist Truly on hand to introduce this masterwork, you're nuts to miss it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Fat Man Lands at the Aster TONIGHT!!

Hola, Fiends and Neighbors!

Yep, you read right: The Fat Man himself--Santa Claus--lands at the Aster tonight! And he's bringing a few pals...

Merlin the Magician!

The Sweaty Red-Bearded Keymaker Ogre!

Lupita the Guilt-Ridden Doll Thief!!

And everyone's favorite mewling neurotic windbag, Old Pitch the Devil!

Just when I think Rene Cardona's Santa Claus can't mess with my mind anymore, it sticks a (pitch)fork in and twists it again. Come join Ye Olde Schlockologist for the Most Astonishing Christmas Film Ever Made, tonight at 7:30!! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bikes! Babes! Brawls! Rock! Bizarro Bikesploitation Night, Tomorrow!

Yes, Fiends and Neighbors, another Bizarro Movie Night awaits tomorrow at the ever-lovin' Aster Coffee Lounge. And Ye Olde Schlockologist will turn his nerd-laser focus on that beloved sub-genre known as The Biker Flick!

In the 1954 drama The Wild One, a girl asks motorcycle rebel Johnny (Marlon Brando), "What're you rebelling against?" His reply: "Whadda ya got?"

It was a pop-culture shot heard 'round the world, and youth-in-rebellion movies gradually built momentum throughout the 1950s with Juvenile Delinquency flicks like Hot-Rod Gang and High School Confidential. But it took B-movie Godfather Roger Corman to hurtle motorcycle gangs solidly into the mix with his 1966 exploitation classic, The Wild Angels. For years after, cinemas and drive-ins were filled with the din of roaring Harleys, and the Bacchanalian exploits of the Hell's Angels and myriad other cycle gangs (real and fictional).

For tomorrow's Bizarro festivities, we hope to unspool some great JD/bikesploitation trailers and one hell of a rip-roaring feature. The latter's still being determined, but we're 99% sure it'll involve souped-up hogs, Big Bill Smith, rocket launchers, machine guns, Paul Koslo, and lots of things blowing up. And it may or may not've been covered in this electronic Den of Iniquity before...

Be there at 8pm, Daddy-O! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

At long last, Bizarro Movie Night RETURNS!!

Yes, Fiends and Neighbors, Bizarro Movie Night is back at the lovely Aster Coffee Lounge in Ballard! Tonight, we'll explore the demented, rattletrap wonder that is Turkish pop cinema.

The film industry in Turkey exploded in the 1960's, and for twenty years it delivered action, scares, thrills, titillation, and flat-out dementia to the thrill-seeking masses in its native land. Before that hideous jabbering box known as television homogenized and squashed the collective consciousness, Turkey's film industry burst at the seams with science fiction, horror, leering sex comedies, and double-barrelled action; all delivered with rattletrap energy and a distinctive flair that filtered Western pop culture through its own skewed and gloriously exotic lens.

Oftentimes, that filter outright caught undigested clumps of influences. The country's filmmakers pumped up plots straight out of old action serials with vivid color and eye-popping sex and violence; lifted plots wholesale from US sources (you haven't lived until you've seen the Turkish riffs on E.T, Superman, and The Exorcist); and in some cases even pilfered scenes wholesale (The Men Who Saved the World, Turkey's incarnation of Star Wars, is plastered with actual clips from George Lucas's film--copyright laws be DAMNED!).

Ye Olde Schlockologist will be on hand to give you the straight skinny on the Turkish film industry, and to present one of the wildest and wooliest examples of Turkish cinema taffy to your unsuspecting eyes!

Rest assured, you'll not want to miss it! And be ready for more to come in the coming months!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goodbye to Michael Gough, Bizarro-Worthy Character-Acting God

The Bizarro Freak flag flies at half-mast in honor of actor Michael Gough, who passed away at age 94 on St. Patrick's Day.

Gough's most high-profile role was that of Alfred the butler, Bruce Wayne's avuncular and paternal Man Friday, in the 1990's Batman movies. And with all due respect to Michael Caine, Gough captured that character's combination of old-school English elegance and mischief more artfully than anyone. Even when Joel Schumacher reduced the franchise to a jackhammer-paced, stunt-casted, empty-headed series of eyesores, the venerable actor always classed up the joint (or, more appropriately, the Batcave). Gough also lent solid supporting work in some truly great films over the years, including Out of Africa and the affecting British drama, The Dresser.

But for Ye Olde's money, Gough's finest moments onscreen were in the many horror films he graced from the 1950's through the 1970's. For a good couple of decades, he rivalled the great Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee as a presence in British thrillers, playing villains with welcome versatility. He could chew the scenery with over-the-top Vincent-Price-ian relish one minute; then deliver characters of icy-cold, quietly terrifying malevolence the next. Farewell, dear Mr. Gough: You knew how to chill the world to the bone.

Officially-Bizarro-Worthy Michael Gough:

Horror of Dracula (1958): Gough's solid work in this classic Hammer chiller makes the throwaway character of Arthur Holmwood, skeptical sibling of vampire-bait Mina Holmwood, believeable and sympathetic.

Horrors of the Black Museum (1959): Gough, in sublime form, plays a mystery writer prone to re-enacting some of his most gruesome written murders for reals in this deliciously nasty British shocker.

Konga (1961): Sleazy villains don't come any more heartless and cut-throat than Gough's mutant-gorilla-wrangling Dr. Decker in this ridiculous (and extremely entertaining) Herman Cohen B-flick.

Phantom of the Opera (1962): I've always been fond of Hammer's unfairly-ignored redux of the old Gaston LeRoux chestnut (go here for a more detailed assessment of the movie), in no small part due to Michael Gough's perfectly-realized and thoroughly chilling Ambrose D'Arcy, an impressario who robs artists, crushes careers, and attempts murder with disdainful and disarming ease.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965): In one of the greatest anthology horror movies ever, Gough plays a tortured artist driven to suicide by the cutting derision of (and accidental mutilation by) art critic Christopher Lee. It's an affecting performance perfectly in keeping with the film's pulp-horror nightmare archetypes.

Horror Hospital (1973): In one of the most absurd and trashy exploitation movies of the Bell-Bottom Era, Gough sinks his teeth--ravenously--into the role of Dr. Christian Storm, a thoroughly nutty medico fond of hacking up victims, in the name of crazed mind-control experiments. Bonus points for the sedan with the attached head-lopping blade.

Sleepy Hollow (1999): Tim Burton earned major Bizarro props for reviving Michael Gough's career when he hired the actor to play Alfred in the 1989 Batman. Burton also utilized Gough's distinctive voice as the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland, and as Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride. Sleepy Hollow marks one of Gough's last onscreen appearances, and in his brief moment on camera he plays grizzled Notary Hardenbrook with pitch-perfect geezerly crustiness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Schlockologist's Factoid-Crammed Skull Profiled in Seattle Weekly!

Hola, Fiends and Neighbors! Ye Olde Schlockologist has been pummelled upside the melon in recent weeks by that beloved but pesky day job and various irons in the fire. But if you're jonesing for a Bizarro Binge, Ye Olde is in negotiations with the awesome folks at the lovely Aster Coffee Lounge for another Bizarro Movie Night; or more appropriately, a Bizarro Movie Festival! Stay Tuned...

Meantime, in other news, one of the many irons brandished in Chez Bizarro's furnace has been Tuesday Night Trivia at the Bourbon Bar in Columbia City Theater. It's been a blast; fun-loving crowds of regulars, masterfully-mixed cheap drinks, bar food par excellance prepared by a phenomenal chef, and a definitive excuse to empty out some of the useless trivia crammed in my head for fun and profit (or at least a couple of extra bucks).

And the word's been getting around to all sorts of places; most recently the Seattle Weekly, which highlighted Bourbon Bar's Tuesday Night Trivia on its blog. Go here for all the details. And while you're at it, you can check us out on Facebook, right about here.

'Til again, Fiends and Neighbors!