Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays, Fiends and Neighbors...

...And a heartfelt thanks to all who came out for the first two Bizarro Movie Nights!

Just wait 'til you see what Your Schlockologist Truly has in store for 2010. The Strange has just begun!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Photo from the first Aster Bizarro Movie Night, December 5!

Thanks, Bob Suh, for documenting the first Aster Bizarro Movie Night for posterity. And incidentally, Fiends and Neighbors, that empty chair was MY seat...

Santa Brings Brain Damage AND Goodies to the Aster Coffee Lounge!

Dear Lord in Silk Jammies, the second Bizarro Movie Night went like gangbusters!

The crowd was even bigger the second time than the first, and choc a bloc with many new faces! Thanks so much to all of you who came.

Here's a brief play-by-play:

1) Demented Christmas incidentals (Santa Claus trailer, crazed old kiddie shorts) played in the background as the throngs indulged in great coffees, tea, beer (the sweet holiday brew was the bomb--thanks, Dan!), the Aster's spiffy hummus plates, and FREE popcorn (thanks, Beth!)!

2) Schlockologist introduced, in traditional sparkling repartee style, the evening's feature: yes, the mighty, mad-as-a-Mexican-Hatter SANTA CLAUS!

3) Said feature unspooled before at least two-dozen sets of disbelieving eyes! In case you don't know the basic synopsis: Santa operates from a City in the Clouds (think Empire Strikes Back on about 20 pesos), employs child labor to do his toy-building dirty work, scores wacky dust from Merlin the Magician, and runs afoul of the most neurotically-mewling devil on the planet. And it's a flippin' KID'S MOVIE...Read a more detailed analysis (provided in part by Ye Olde Schlockologist) at this link on the excellent Kiddie Matinee website...

4) After blowing minds with said feature, Schlockologist held a PRIZE DRAWING, giving away several lovely prizes, including DVD's that turn your TV into a homey, roaring fireplace, Devil Duckies, unsettling figurines of boys with scary eyebrows, and for one lucky attendee--a copy of the most brain-broiling Holiday Double Feature Conceived by Man: SANTA CLAUS and SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS!! On ONE damned DVD!

Expect at least one spiffy prize to be handed out at the next Bizarro Movie Night. Program TBA, but rest assured...It'll be flippin' AMAzing!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holy Holiday!! Bizarro Movie Night's TONIGHT!!

Yes, Fiends and Neighbors, Your Schlockologist Truly is bringing you the most weird-assed, lysergic loaf of Cinematic Fruitcake you'll ever dare taste, TONIGHT at the Aster!!

OK, we're so bursting at the seams to finally spill the beans on tonight's program that we'll just throw the trailer for tonight's feature presentation up, right now...

Well, didya watch it? Huh? Just wait 'til you actually see this movie in all its full-length, mind-twisting GLORY, tonight at the Aster!!

Plus added strange attractions (holiday-themed and otherwise) for your entertainment!

AND the Aster serves great hot drinks, beers and wines, and tasty light meals for your enjoyment!

AND you'll be done in plenty of time to hit the road and party hearty afterwards! You're a sucker if you miss it!!

See you there!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bizarro-Worthy B-Girl: Yvette Vickers

Some B movie babes, you take home to mom.Yvette Vickers, conversely, is the girl you hop into the hot rod with--the sultry, thrill-seeking, wild-for-kicks vixen who's too much trouble to handle but too smoking-hot to resist.

Vickers appeared in several movies and TV shows in the 1950's and '60's, usually in bit roles (she's got a great cameo in Sunset Boulevard as a giggling blonde on a phone at a party); she posed for Playboy in the late fifties; and she worked the lounge circuit as a pop singer, too. But she amassed a rabid cult following from her work in two low-budget sci-fi classics.

Even horror non-initiates know Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, the immortal 1958 schlock epic in which despondent and put-upon heiress Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) grows to giant-size after falling afoul of a UFO. Vickers flat-out steals the movie as gold-digging Honey Parker, hussy on the side to Nancy's husband Harry. Whether she's kittenishly planting one on the jerk even as she goads him into attempting murder, or steaming the windows at Tony's Bar and Cafe in a sexy spitfire dance with the yokel deputy, Honey represents the flip-side of Nancy: She may be the reviled Other Woman, but she knows damn well what she wants.

But Vickers' biggest moment in the B-movie sun--and an eminently Bizarro-Worthy schlock masterwork--came in 1959 with Attack of the Giant Leeches. In it, the aforementioned bloodsuckers rise from an underwater cave (Why? Who the hell cares? GO WITH IT) to liberate hapless locals from their plasma in the Florida Everglades. Vickers plays one of those locals--Liz, the bored and trampy bride of dyspeptic Dave (Bruno VeSota), the local general store owner. Again, Vickers is sex on a stick, traipsing scantily-clad around the swamp environs and enthusiastically jumping into the arms and affections of local stud Cal (Michael Emmet). Of course, the affair ends badly, with Liz and Cal forced to choose between the barrel of Dave's shotgun and a dip in the swamp with something just as lethal and a lot slimier.

It's another blast of a grade B monster-fest, replete with awesomely ridiculous monsters (the giant leeches look like Glad trash bags with octopus suckers plastered all over them), but the best part of Leeches is its richly-pulpy dialogue. Vickers lends slatternly sensuality to her lines, alternately caressing and spitting them out like she's making rough love to them. How apropos, then, that in its most sublime moments Attack of the Giant Leeches resembles nothing more than a sci-fi flick filtered through the senses and sensibilities of Tennessee Williams.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Six More Days 'til Bizarro Movie Night, Holiday Edition!

You heard right, Fiends and Neighbors. Six more days until Bizarro Movie Night, Holiday Edition, is unleashed!

Did you hear that there'll be prizes? Yup, the Bizarro Movie Night prize committee has broken the bank, and will be giving away free prizes to a few lucky patrons. And trust me, they'll be pips, so arrive early! Set a spell. Have some fine beverages and chow. And get ready for Christmas Capers the likes o' which you've never experienced!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Edition of Bizarro Movie Night is a GO!!

Felicitations, Fiends and Neighbors!

The programming for Bizarro Movie Night 2: The Holiday Edition is confirmed, but in true Christmas fashion, we won't unwrap it 'til that night (Saturday, December 19). For most of you, the content will be a super-secret surprise, but trust Your Schlockologist Truly: It'll be worth it!

See you there!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bizarro Movie Night a RESOUNDING success!

The Aster Coffee Lounge was stuffed to near-capacity last night for the first Bizarro Movie Night, and Your Schlockologist Truly had the time of his ever-lovin' life!

On the bill were several vintage movie trailers from the seventies, including spots for such obscurities as Without Warning and Humungous. Then,Ye Olde Schlockologist regaled the audience with a zesty and fun talk on that night's Feature Presentation. The final selection, Fiends and Neighbors? Why, the 1981 Indonesian horror oddity, Mystics in Bali!! And darned if the audience didn't devour it like a disembodied vampire head eating at a fetus buffet. The inaugural BMN'ers roared with laughter, whooped with surprise, and enjoyed free popcorn, courtesy the Aster's proprietor-goddess Beth.

A great time was had by all. Quoth the attendees:

"Thank you for concocting such a fun experience!" Jamie

"It was awesome!" Kathleen

"Man, I woke up vomiting live mice," Michael Van Baker,

Thanks to everyone who came!

The next Bizarro Movie Night is scheduled for Saturday December 19 at the Aster, and it'll be a super-special HOLIDAY EDITION! There'll be Door Prizes, Fun, More Entertaining Schlockologist Bon Mots, and Holiday Programming so twisted, it'll make Santa Claus Conquers the Martians look like It's a Wonderful Life. Stay tuned...

Don't Miss It, Fiends and Neighbors!!

Incidentally, if you DID happen to miss Mystics in Bali, you silly bunny, here's a taste of that strange cocktail, both in YouTube form, and via Pop Culture Petri Dish's incisive and indispensible analysis.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NEWS FLASH!! Publicity...and POPCORN!

A little over two days away from Bizarro Movie Night, and the buzz is a'building...! contributed a nice piece on Bizarro Movie Night. It's a featured post in their A and E section. Go check it out for a few hints as to Saturday Night's shenanigans...

Another Blog, Bite Seattle, has plugged BMN, too. Check it out!

Yeah, all the PR is good, but it pales in comparison to the announcement that...


This comes straight from Aster proprietor Beth, fiends and neighbors! That means that you can enjoy your Bizarro Festivities with the most essential movie snack on the planet, as God intended, along with the tasty beverage of your choice!

Is this gonna be a party or what?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Farewell to a Bizarro-Worthy Icon: Paul Naschy, Actor/Writer/Director/Horror Legend

The Bizarro-Worthy Freak Flag flies at half-mast tonight, in homage to Spanish terror icon Paul Naschy, who passed away from cancer on Tuesday, December 1.

Naschy fell in love with horror films at an early age and parlayed that passion for the macabre into a career that lasted four decades. He's not a household name here in the US, but in Europe he's (rightfully) acknowledged as an influential and legendary figure, and an honest-to-God horror legend.

Naschy's films were comfort food to me as a kid, when edited versions showed up on late-night TV creature-features. Their odd weld of old-school gothic atmosphere and contemporary carnage--and Naschy's committed performances as melancholy werewolf Valdemar Daninsky--made a strong impression that's lived on to this day. I had the great good fortune of meeting the man just two years ago, and in person he was as gracious (and grateful) a man as ever walked the earth.

I covered Naschy's life and career in greater detail over at Pop Culture Petri Dish for 2007's Horrorpalooza; feel free to peruse the entry if you'd like to know more about this man's work.

AdiĆ³s, Maestro de lo Macabro.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bizarro-Worthy Movie: The Losers (1970)

The Biker Flick emerged as one of the staples of drive-ins and grindhouses of the 1960's and '70's. Born from the leather-clad loins of the Marlon Brando vehicle, The Wild One, in 1953, Biker Flicks followed the exploits of Hell's Angels (or variant cycle gangs) as they terrorized unsuspecting members of 'straight' society.

Roger Corman, exploitation visionary that he was, ushered in the peak years of the Biker Flick with his 1966 opus, The Wild Angels. It made actor Peter Fonda a counter-culture hero and made a mint. Corman--and hordes of other independent moviemakers--soon saturated movie screens with roaring hogs, drug-and-alcohol-fueled decadence, action, violence, and sex.

Like a lot of B-movie genres, The Biker Flick mutated as the years rolled by, offering up Undead Bikers (Psychomania), African-American Bikers (The Black Angels), Werewolf Bikers (Werewolves on Wheels), and even Alternative-Lifestyle bikers (The Pink Angels) before the genre died out in the mid-1970's.

The Losers stands as a high point of the genre. It's essentially The Dirty Dozen gone Hell's Angels, as a small team of condemned bikers heads to Viet Nam to execute a suicide mission against the Cong. Director Jack Starrett (a former stunt man himself) knows his way around on-screen ass-kicking, and he wastes no time hurtling the audience into the action. Starrett even sneaks a little bit of social conscience and pathos in, all without tarnishing the movie's steel cajones.

William "Big Bill" Smith portrays the gang's leader. More than any other actor, Smith was the Face of The Biker Flick. Rugged, tough as nails, muscular, and ferociously charismatic, he showed up in several Cycle Epics, usually playing the heavy. He played Conan's dad in 1982's Conan the Barbarian, and in less than five minutes of screen time made Schwarzenegger look like the Pilsbury frickin' Doughboy. If Big Bill Smith is not the baddest bad-ass in the movie firmament, he's sure in the Top Eight (Ye Olde Schlockologist had the good fortune of meeting him a few years back, and lived to tell the tale here).

Darned if The Losers wouldn't make for a great Bizarro Movie Night...But will it show up this Saturday?? 

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's ALIVE!! (The Aster's Big Screen, That Is!)

My eyes are looking about like this right now...

Quick update, Fiends and Neighbors--

Your Schlockologist Truly took the Aster's projection TV set-up through the ringer, subjecting it to everything from sword-and-sandal epics to biker bacchanalia to Japanese monsters to Mexican Kiddie Flicks. The screen looks lovely, and can be viewed from darn near anywhere in the Aster comfortably.

As to precisely what's going to play on that magnificent screen, the Bizarro Movie Night Approval Committee of One (me) is still determining what odd cinematic treasure will be offered to the unsuspecting throngs! Stay TUNED!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bizarro-Worthy Cinema: Goke, Bodysnatcher from Hell

Japanese horror did not begin with (to paraphrase director Adam Green) wet Japanese kids. Nor does all of Japanese fantastic cinema begin and end with men in rubber monster suits (sublime as they may be).

Case in Point: This chilling 1969 nightmare of a horror flick. It starts off with the pulpy purpose of a vintage yakuza thriller, as a gallery of jaded, cynical, and flawed characters interact on a long flight. Then one passenger--a white-suited crook in shades--hijacks the plane, and the feces hits the fan.

The plane crashes near a UFO, and the spacecraft's occupant infects one of the survivors. From then on in, Darwinism kicks in, and the horror proves to have tendrils (OK, invasive puddles of silver ooze) that extend well beyond the crash site.

Yeah, some of the histrionics may induce titters, but it's an intense fever-dream of a chiller all the way. It's packed with more nihilism than John Carpenter's The Thing, levels a pointed cry of anger at the Vietnam war, and serves up some ickily-effective (if primitive) make-up magic. I loved it so much that it made the Pop Culture Petri Dish Horrorpalooza All-Time Top 50 a couple of years back. And since it's never seen an official domestic DVD release, you ain't gonna see it on Netflix any time soon.

But maybe, just maybe, you might see it on a Bizarro Movie Night...

Meantime, enjoy the Japanese language trailer, courtesy of YouTube.

Six More Days 'til Bizarro Movie Night: And ALL Lame Excuses for Not Showing Up, REBUTTED!

Yep, indeedy, kids. Only six more days 'til Your Schlockologist Truly unleashes Bizarro Movie Night on the semi-unsuspecting Aster Coffee Lounge! And I hope--no, I KNOW--you're as pumped for it as I am.

If, through some anomaly of God and nature, you're still on the fence about attending this Shindig, the Bizarro Movie Night Rebuttal Team has prepared a series of Lame Excuses, and Commensurate Rebuttals...

Lame Excuse 1:  "I only watch movies featuring Mexican Wrestlers/zombies/bikers/sword-wielding-talking-animals/Bruce Lee imitators while drinking alcohol!"

Guess what? The Aster has a lovely selection of beers and wines to choose from! The friendly staff (or your friendly Schlockologist) will be only too happy to recommend liquid refreshment--alcoholic or non!

Lame Excuse 2: "This is Seattle! I'm going to see a rock show at (insert local music venue here) that night..."

Bizarro Movie Night starts at a perfectly comfortable hour (8pm), and ends at roughly 10:30pm, thus giving you PLENTY of time to boot-scoot over to see that band you're into. PLUS, you don't have to sit through some lame opening act!

Lame Excuse 3: "I gotta work that night!"

Dear Nose-to-the-Grindstoner, we live in an era fraught with environmental and viral threats, so a Sick Call to the boss is entirely plausible and acceptable. Start rehearsing that hacking cough now. Begin with a few plaintive coughs in front of your boss around Wednesday. Build them in frequency in the ensuing days.

Also, hone your talking-with-a-stuffed-head voice. For example: say this sentence:

"Sorry, my nose is a little stuffed-up from this cold I'm battling!"

...In front of your boss like this:

"Zorry, by doze is a liddle stuvved-ub frub this code Eye'b Baddlig!"

Lame Excuse 4: "I have a life! I'm going to hang out with friends/go to a party that night!" 

Hanging out with friends? Hell, BRING 'EM TO THE ASTER! It's comfy and warm; the coffee, tea, wine, and beer are great; and...oh, yeah...this killer Bizarro Movie Night thing's going down!

Going to a party? Everyone knows that all the Cool Kids arrive fashionably late (with cool stories about the Bizarro Movie Night Shenanigans at the Aster). AND again, BMN wraps up in plenty of time for you to paint the town 'til the rooster crows.

Lame Excuse 5: "I don't know anything about the movies this Bizarro Movie Guy's gonna show!"

That's why Your Schlockologist Truly is here, Fiends and Neighbors; to guide you through the turbulent waters of unusual cinema with some background on the films at hand, fun factoids about the people who make and star in 'em, and patter so snappy you'll wanna play a stand-up bass along to it!

Lame Excuse 6: "I live far away, Mr. Schlockologist, sir!"

It IS a Saturday, y'know...Coming from Oregon or California? The drive up Highway 101 is lovely, and flights are more reasonable than ever! From Tacoma or Federal Way? A relatively painless jaunt up north I-5'll get you there! Go here for some informational mappishness...

Lame Excuse 7: "I heard that Ballard's a scary place!"

Those rumors about packs of Marauding Lutefisk-Wielding Muggers and Health-Conscious-Jogger Street Gangs are just that--RUMORS. Ballard is one of the niftiest parts of Seattle you'll visit; and that's saying a lot.

Plus, Bizarro Movie Nights start there in just a few days. How the Hell can you stay away?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bizarro-Worthy Director: Roger Corman

'Tis a wonderful world in which the director of Attack of the Crab Monsters can win an Oscar--even if it's only an honorary one.

The legendary Roger Corman won't be collecting his gold statuette at the main ceremony on March 7, 2010--he already received it at the Los Angeles Governor's Ball on November 14--but excerpts of his acceptance speech should make their way to the telecast in March.

Corman's award largely rests on his recruitment of budding cinematic talent--guys like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, to name a few--but he's also made dozens of extremely entertaining movies of his own. Many of those B flicks--pulpy, great fun, all--would do any Bizarro Movie Night proud.

Jump here for a more detailed rundown of this man's career. And who knows? A Roger Corman classic just may surface for Bizarro Movie Night, Fiends and Neighbors...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Beginning of an Era: Bizarro Movie Night, Live at the Aster Coffee House December 5!!

Mark your calendars, Fiends and Neighbors!

Be the first on your block to witness the shrieking birth of the ghastliest, wildest, strangest, and sexiest smorgasbourd of sensationalism ever presented to mortal eyes--a celebration of the oddest, coolest, silliest, and most out-there cinema in existence--all in the warm and inviting setting of one of Seattle's best coffee-and-spirits houses!

Tony Kay--Documentor of Demented Cinema for three (count 'em, THREE!) decades, Architect of Pop Culture Petri Dish's Horrorpalooza, 2005's Ultimate Film Fanatic of the Northwest, B-Movie Evangelist for The, and Raconteur Extraordinaire--will be waxing rhapsodic on--and showcasing samples of--some of the finest (and weirdest) schlock/cult cinema EVER, for your entertainment and slack-jawed awe, at the Aster Coffee Lounge in scenic Ballard, Washington, beginning in less than two weeks!

Mark your calendars, folks: The first Bizarro Movie Night hits the Aster at 8pm on Saturday, December 5, 2009!

What awaits Brave Visitors to this Den of Dementia, you might ask? Could it be:












Guess you'll have to show up to find out....

Stay tuned for more details. And BE THERE, Pilgrims!!