VHS Verdict: ‘THE SPIRIT OF ’76’ Wacky 4th of July Sci-fi!

Hey it can be hard to find good things to watch after all of the festivities of the 4th of July right? Let’s face it after drinking a case of beer at the cookout you’re probably ready to watch something stupid and I’ve got a good one for ya! ‘The Spirit of 76’ is an almost entirely forgotten ridiculous scifi comedy from 1990. It features David Cassidy, pop icon, known for hisoh so sweet musical career in the Partridge Family, as he goes way back in time to the 1970s on mission to save planet Earth!

But wait, you also get to see not one but TWO slightly past their prime but still totally dreamy, former teen 70s heart throbs, cuz  this bad boy also features Leif Garrett too! One of my favorite parts of the movie though, it also stars Jeff and Steve McDonald of one of my favorite iconic punk rock power pop bands bands REDD KROSS!  The 2 brothers are channeling some serious “Bill and Ted” vibes and add some serious cred and charm this little wacked out adventure.

 So In the year 2176, determined time travelers including Cassidy and the stunningly beautiful Olivia d’Abo (OMG so crushed!) are sent back in time, in a tin can style space ship to the year 1776 in order to save our planet. However a computer glitch transports them instead to 1976 by mistake!! Things get idiotic real quick as of course they’re being chased by a sinister force trailing not far behind. 

However we get a pretty entertaining “fish out of water” storyline going here where Cassidy (who should be in his natural habitat in the real world) and Co have some serious adjusting to do when they encounter things like platform shoes, polyester suits, mood rings and untamed 1970’s babes galore!

Their guides, Jeff and Steve from Redd Kross help them through this glamorous era and avoid certain danger among the disco era. The whole thing is a riot and also features even more familiar faces, the likes of Tommy Chong, Devo, Moon Zappa, Rob Reiner and Downtown Julie Brown! 

There’s Kung Fu fighting, disco dancing, stupid looking spaceships and the  whole damn thing takes place on the 4th of July folks! Get down!!

There’s a lot of pretty sharp comedy in this and tons of red, white and blue check out this little long forgotten scifi comedy, cult classic down if you want something a bit off the beaten path this 4th!! Here’s Redd Kross with the theme song ‘1976’ for the movie! One of my favorite tracks from their 1990 album ‘Third Eye’!!

Even better here is the entire movie, only 81 minutes long for your 4th of July viewing right on YouTube for free!!

 

4th of July Horror Explosion: 1996’s ‘UNCLE SAM’ is a Bloody Blast!

All these years I’ve sorta avoided ‘Uncle Sam’ from 1996, assuming it was some sort of idiotic throw away, direct to video waste of time. The VHS cover was unforgettable, a wild lenticular evil Uncle Sam in glorious 3-D! Still for decades I never checked this out kind of on purpose.

This 4th of July however I was looking for something in the horror genre that might take place around the holiday and of COURSE there was good ol ‘Uncle Sam’ front and center. I almost passed on it yet again, but this time I noticed something that I def hadn’t before. It was directed by William Lustig famed for the brilliant ‘Maniac Cop’ franchise and written by one of my genre favorites Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Ambulance, Return to Salem’s Lot, Q: The Winged Serpent). Why the Hell hadn’t I realized this sooner?! 

Well Uncle Sam indeed delivered everything I’d hoped it would and much more! It’s a great horror flick with some razor sharp comedy/social commentary, just what you’d hope it would have being written by Larry Cohen. It’s a wild story about a kid who’s freakishly  obsessed with becoming a soldier, kickin’ ass for the USA & doing whatever the fuck President tells him to!  He’s also obsessed with his Uncle, who’s real name is Sam, who tragically dies in the Iraq war from “friendly fire”.

When his body is shipped back to their home(?) to sit until his grave is dug, bizarre events lead to his dead decaying body reanimating and donning an Uncle Sam outfit which he strips from a peeping Tom on stilts after after murdering him!

 At this point Uncle Sam embarks on a full on “Jason Voorhees” killing spree during the 4th of July as the small town starts to celebrate. I’d always assumed that this movie was a total farce/spoof, but far from it. It’s got a cool fast paced story, plenty of obnoxious patriotic humor and even a strong social commentary about the US government and war itself. There’s also some inventive kills (with fireworks of course!), cool make up effects and a cast which stars fan favorites Robert Forster and Isaac Hayes.

Probably one of the most ridiculous aspects and enjoyable parts of the whole movie is the kid and his crazy ass obsession with the United States and his over the top ludicrous patriotism on full display. It’s pretty gut busting and as a whole Uncle Sam is a total delight that somehow eluded me for almost three damn decades.

As far as 4th of July viewing you really can’t do better than this, the most “4th of July” horror movie of all time thankfully has got all the right moves and the talent behind it is evident in the final product. I got this bad boy on blu ray from Blue Underground! But now I want that damn 3-D lenticular VHS too! Hunt down Uncle Sam THIS 4th of July!!

 

 

LGBTQ Pride Month Cover: NORTHSTAR! Marvel’s 1st Gay Superhero!

It’s pride month & U-Dork is here to feature a sweet comic book cover way back from 1986, Marvel Fanfare #28, featuring Marvel Comics very 1st and BEST openly gay superhero, the one and only Northstar!

Yes! Alpha Flight has been an ALL time favorite of mine since 1983. A cool, cast of characters created by comic legends John Byrne & Chris Claremont, and one of the most diverse, even by today’s standards, superhero teams around. Northstar is a true fan favorite as Marvel’s first openly gay character, who officially made news back in issue #106 when he made his reveal January 14th, 1992. I remember back then it was quite a big deal.

However even though the character was always intended to be gay, more conservative restrictions back in the early 80s on comic books wouldn’t allow it. Instead Byrne had to let readers read between the lines. Northstar is a true LGBTQ legend and honestly I’m quite surprised that Alpha Flight has not made its way onto the big screen. Seriously get with the program MCU!

Not only is Northstar one of the coolest mutants in the MCU he’s also got one of the best most boisterous attitudes around.  He’s always been a fun read and never a dull moment when dealing with him. Over the years he has even joined the ranks of the X-Men.  However I personally enjoy him much more as a member of Alpha Flight..

 This cover of Marvel Fanfare #28 is an excellent representation of him and the team as you can see when viewing the full wrap-around cover. It creates quite a stunning full picture, beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy.

 The character of Northstar is one of my favorites and definitely deserves to be honored this month in particular! Props to Northstar AKA Jean-Paul Beaubier!

Final Verdict: Disney STAR WARS is Pretty Decent FAN Fiction!

‘Obi Wan Kenobi’ has officially wrapped up with the finale of the series released today! I watched it an enjoyed the finale/the series in general was pretty fun. It was a good time seeing the prequel era get some love, Ewan & Hayden back for some sort of “redemption” from their wooden performances of the prequels was nice to see. That all being said this series has really cemented Disney Star Wars, at least for me, as big budget fan fiction. Long gone are the days of me freakin’ out over new Star Wars stuff.

At this point I view this new stuff in the same way I do YouTuber Star Wars fan fiction videos. It took me a while to get here as for years The “Sequel” Trilogy would trigger me into a geek rage. But once I realized George Lucas had sold Disney the treatments for his true sequel trilogy and they chose to instead let JJ & Rian Johnson write their own, I knew Star Wars now is actually more like a Marvel Comics “What If?” adventure than the real vision of George.

 

Today, I just don’t take it seriously for THAT simple reason. It’s just like ‘Legends’, but with less interesting, less daring, more corporate influence over the franchise. ‘Kenobi’ was just fine, it had some great moments but it also had what I think was somewhat predictable, lazy story telling.

It’s honestly probably the best you’re gonna get out of a giant corporate entity that is pumping out Star Wars content like an 80s sitcom rather than a precious cinematic event. It’s all now sorta just regular standard streaming “content”, we know more is on the way by the boatload to keep that monthly subscription ongoing. $$$$$ to the MOUSE Y’all!!

So it was all just fine, Kenobi came back and while it wasn’t mind blowing storytelling it was for the most part a “good time”. Of all the series on Disney Plus though this should have been “the one” to melt the minds of the fans. So many missed opportunities to make a truly epic unforgettable adventure. My expectations are low these days, so I wasn’t let down but still, I always just wish they’d have George crafting at the very least the BASIC storylines…

I wanna know what had REALLY happened to Luke, Leia, Lando & Han from the creator himself. I wanted to know what Obi Wan & Vader were really up to during this time period and we’ll perhaps the mystery of it all is better left in the minds of us fans...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating My Words? KENOBI Finally Gets Good!

I really try not to post that much here about the new Disney Star Wars stuff because everybody and their long lost step brother seem to be having that well covered all over the Internet! So that being said, this one will be short and sweet. So far the Obi Wan Kenobi series in my opinion has been totally lackluster, The story has been pretty bland, the fight choreography feels off, and just the look of the show in general feels like something you might come across at times on the SyFy channel.

To me something of this scale really deserved to be set on the big screen. All of these Star Wars TV shows are just making the franchise feel a little too available and not incredibly special. Gone are the days of waiting for the next movie patiently I guess, Now are the days of each Star Wars series almost overlapping each other once the other ends. Kenobi’s first four episodes haven‘t felt like the “rematch of the century”,

However with the latest, episode 5 I’ve I’ve got to admit I’ve begun to change my opinion on the series at least so far. In my opinion though this took far too long to get here and fans deserve so much more than this for a true return of Vader and Kenobi. Spoilers AHEAD!

 I’ve already seen people complaining about the opening scene of episode 5 with the flashbacks featuring Hayden and McGregor sparring in the “prequel era”. The biggest complaint I’m hearing from some fans is they’re upset that they didn’t use the the de-aging techniques they’ve been utilizing in previous series. I might be in the minority here but I think it was a truly wise decision & a complete breath of fresh air to see Hayden playing Anakin in a flashback without some weird rubbery de-aged face. It really made the scene more believable and allowed some REAL more compelling acting with room to breathe. It also felt more fierce, his real face added exactly what this scene needed, more depth. It was for the most part perfectly executed.

Secondly the focus more on Vader AND Kenobi was finally a real step in the right direction, this felt like the show I was hoping for.. Even if James Earl Jones is NOT actually voicing Vader, (instead they used some AI generated respeecher). I really was let down to find out my “vision” of James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader in a cozy dark studio was actually just more weird digitized shenanigans. It’s for reasons like THIS I was so thrilled to see the real Hayden in the flashbacks! Vader nonetheless was awesome here, powerful and scary. Reva too really blossomed into a much more interesting character with her true backstory and motivations revealed. I was pretty underwhelmed thus far with her in the series, but for the most part this changed almost everything. Of course some of the writing still feels sloppy, but hey look at the damn prequels right?

Also I love that the real Grand Inquisitor is back somehow, seeing him standing next to Vader was a great view: bring on the cool villains! So yeah, I am now pretty excited to see the finale and hope we get a continued focus on mainly Vader and Kenobi, but now I’m also am really intrigued to see Reva’s next move: Way to turn it around Deborah! I’ll be back for more for sure!  One last thing though,  After being shaped with a lightsaber can people please start dying from that again? I mean the whole surviving being impaled by a being impaled by a laser over and over is getting a little questionable….

90’s HK Ass Kicker ‘TEENAGE MASTER’ has got the MOVES!!

I just gotta love a crazy 90s Hong Kong action flick, especially one where the main character is a ten year old master of martial arts who beats the snot out of anyone who steps to him or his damn dad! I’m not entirely certain why this sweet ass kicker from 1995 is called “Teenage Master” when the master is not a teen, but hell just go with it!

This is easily one of the most fun Hong Kong flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s non stop fun, action and legit laughs!! I’m sorry to report however the kid doesn’t actually don a Superman costume at any time in this movie! Just on the poster…

This witty actioner Is totally ALL over the freakin’ place like many Hong-Kong movies of this era can be. One minute It’s spoofy slapstick comedy, the next it’s a dangerous highstakes buddy flick featuring a father/son duo who excel at one thing: kicking all the ass!

 A kung fu obsessed father (Collin Chou) and son (Tse Miu) are like two peas in a pod, living out in the country all by themselves. They hang out all day practicing martial arts, playing tic-tac-toe and eating tons of rice. That is until they’re lured into the big city of Hong-Kong  to take care of some family business with their elderly martial arts master, who’s locked up in a mental ward.

However it doesn’t take long for these two to get mixed up into some risky business with some truly evil murderous gangsters. Luckily these guys  Aren’t anywhere prepared for the frenetic skills of THIS wild father and his 10 year old son the “teenage master” (for some reason)!!

 Amidst a kick ass crazy confrontation in an apartment building the father and son get separated during the mayhem and goes straight to jail. The movie at times doesn’t make a lick of sense but anything lost in translation doesn’t matter much once the action kicks in and you get your witness the wild child deliverr some of the most hyper intense Kung Fu craziness set to screen. The teenage master wanders the streets by himself and is of  course quickly adopted up by ridiculously idioticly entertaining family. 

Yes some of the shenanigans in this movie are truly bizarre, sometimes veering into the Airplane/Naked Gun territory. Teenage Master however seems to seems to execute it’s strange tonal shifts almost perfectly And imo a lot of the jokes seem to for the most part stick to the wall. I suppose this might be fitting in style with something like ‘Shaolin Soccer’.

The main attraction  here is seeing “teenage master” Tse Miu going nuts on the bad guys with his dad. The fight choreography is nuts and a total blast to behold. The comedic details sprinkled in each confrontation is the extra icing on the cake here to. Wheelchair chases, steroid drinking, crazy mental ward murders & insane acrobatics make this a truly forgotten diamond in the rough.

There’s so much going on in this movie comedically visually and physically to love for true fans of obscure, bizarre cinema it’s well worth it to grab a copy or find it somewhere streaming. I got a copy on DVD from Far East Flix, for a mere $8! Grab s cade of beer and your best buds, cuz Teenage Master is a full on Kung fu hyper-blast! No trailer available online so this was the best I can do right now to show you some of the scenes from this one!

Did You Spot the Sinister Emerald Green LAMP in ‘Stranger Things’ 4?!!

Did you see it?! The legendary mysterious emerald green lamp has reared its bizarre head in the latest season of Stranger Things! If you’re in the dark about the odd real world Hollywood conspiracy theories around the lamp, don’t fret, get the full scoop HERE!

 OK so now that you’re well versed in the strange & mysterious Hollywood conspiracy theory of the Emerald green lamp, I wanted to just showcase a couple of the screenshots in case you might have not noticed it’s appearance in the show recently. Of course Stranger Things is the perfect series for the elusive lamp to make its re-emergence onto the scene.

If the fantastical rumors are indeed true, we might speculate perhaps the lamp has been brought back into circulation to try to ensure Netflix’s rise back to the top again? They were reportedly suffering a problematic subscriber drop. Maybe the lamp was brought to set to amplify the actors abilities or maybe even subliminally affect the viewers? Whatever the case the only thing that really matters here is that the emerald green lamp has emerged into 2022!

 

 

 

 

VHS Verdict: The Steamy Sexy Shenanigans of ‘The Invisible Maniac’!

Forget about ‘Hollow Man’ (I’m sure you probably already did) cuz ‘The Invisible Maniac’ was in town waaaay before him in 1990! Yes I had the pleasure of viewing this wild little, sexy horror comedy this week from director Adam Rifkin (The Dark Backward, Detroit Rock City, The Chase) and it really did not disappoint. That is of course if you’re in the mood for some wildly perverted antics from it’s completely deranged villain, so damn proficient at killing hes like the “Bullseye” of slashers. You’ve never seen someone killed with a submarine sandwich before huh? Well look no further because this dude indeed performs the deed!

We do get a bit of a retred on the “invisible man” storyline, but this goes some wild and wacky places and even though it’s equal parts sex comedy, it still manages to keep a certain degree of horror firmly intact. Definitely at times ‘The Invisible Maniac’ feels like a solid Jim Wynorski movie, not a total farce but something like ‘976-EVIL 2’ or ‘Chopping Mall’.

 Luckily this one does feature sweet B-movie scream queen Melissa Moore, as beautiful as ever of course and a cast of “teens” who are more than ready to misbehave. When an insane professor (who recently escaped from an asylum) & has been working on an Invisibility serum, arrives to teach her summer school class all hell breaks loose and plenty of sexy and spooky shenanigans follow.

 The Professor goes on his low profile rampage after the sexiest principal of all time makes some seriously unwanted(?) advances on this is this lil’ pervert. It left me scratching my head as to why he got so angry being such a full on “class A perv” himself? Come on maniac, that might be your only chance to get some!! 

Nobody is safe in the school as he creeps around classrooms, locker rooms and of course……the women’s showers! It’s up to the kids, who actually look more like adults in their thirties, to ban together to take this guy out before he slaughters the entire cast. One of the best things about this 1 is observing some of the most idiotic and ridiculous invisible “fist fights” as people try their best to fend off the wild transparent whack job. 

You really can’t do much better if you’re looking for a weird horror sex comedy to liven up the party. The Invisible Maniac definitely delivers some great scenes of terribly excellent acting, legit comedy, sexy babes, a few thrills as well as some ridiculous charming special effects. Hunt this down if you’re feelin’ frisky, it’s a ton of fun! 

Comic Cover of the Week: 1970’s HULK vs The Constrictor…AGAIN!!

HULK SMASH! You BET! So one of my favorite issues of The Incredible Hulk goes way back to 1977, issue number 212 with amazing artwork by one of the Green Goliath’s best artists, Ernie Chan! This amazing one features the Hulk squaring off against one of my personal favorite villains in an unlikely encounter for the Hulk: The Constrictor! I thought it would be cool to showcase a couple alternate covers from the UK that were made especially for this particular reprint of a classic Hulk issue way back when, check these out!

I’ve always loved it when a superhero and  supervillain who’s not normally associated with them, go head to head and this is a prime example of that sort of offbeat comic book battle!

 I’ve also always loved The Constrictor as a villain with his deadly adamantium coils he was actually able to give the Hulk a run for his money surprisingly in their one and only match up. I’ve always really dug the OG cover too that Ernie created. If you’re a Hulk fan def hunt down this super sweet back issue!

Movie Melt: ‘DADDY CAN’T DANCE’ is ‘The ROOM’ Meets ‘BREAKIN’!

So Daddy Can’t Dance?! Dont be so sure of that!! On this episode of the Movie Mellt podcast we cover the extremely cringe inducing but incredibly entertaining vanity project ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’ from 2006!

 Believe me when I say you kinda just have to see it to believe it when I’m talkin’ ’bout ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’. Originally titled ‘White Men Can’t Dance’, this one features a former 80’s breakdancer, now middle aged, out of touch, out of shape, office man who decides to give it one more shot!  He heads back on the cardboard dance floor when he enters a highly competitive, high stakes breakdancing competition to save the life of his dying daughter! Sheesh, this one’s heeeeeavy!!

 Yep! Daddy jumps back on the B-boy scene and tries his best to get into shape and learn some new fresh moves that will put him on the map and land him hopefully the mantle as number one king breakdance champ!  The odds are certainly stacked against him as he not only attempts to get his groove back but also thinks that he’s the funniest man to walk the planet as he gets himself into a series of highly uncomfortable situations, using his fully out of touch humor that he still thinks is everone is hip to!

 If you’re a fan of ‘The Room’, Tommy Wiseau and ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’ then feast your eyes upon ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’ ASAP! On this episode we cover this cinematic oddity as well chat about tons of movie mayhem and  also have a “battle of the movie band’s” competition! So If you’re into cinematic oddities, check out the LATEST episode of MOVIE MELT right HERE!