Comic Cover of the Week: Marvel Comic’s MORAL Violence?!!!

I always thought it was so nice of Shang-Chi to let Billy Jack have a chance to kick ass on the cover of ‘The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu’ way back in the day! I mean Billy Jack was indeed a cinematic bad ass but who’d a thunk he’d grace the cover of a rad 70’s comic book? Well he made it happen, perhaps it was his posturing of Moral Violence?! Well back in 1974 he was apparently all the rage, this beautiful powerhouse round kick of a cover was done by icon Neal Adams!

VHS Verdict: 1993’s STEPMONSTER Makes Mom a Mutant!!

I’m always excited to use what little power I have on U-Dork to hype up a forgotten gem of movie that warrants a fancy blu ray release and 1993’s Stepmonster is just that kind of flick. With a solid cast featuring Alan Thicke, Ami Dolenz and Corey Feldman (among others) we get a sweet little early 90s, PG-13, cheezed out creature feature! Right up my alley..

 Produced by Fred Olen Ray and Roger Corman you might already have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.  It’s a bit of a coming of age horror flick mixed with monsters and suburban comedy. Pre-teen kid Todd’s mother goes mysteriously missing on a family camping trip and a few months later his Dad (Alan Thicke of COURSE)  has strangely got a new mysterious lady movin’ in who’s soon to be Todd’s new mom. Ummm…TOO soon Alan!

To make matters worse dead bodies start turning up in suburbia and Todd begins to suspect that his mother is some sort of vicious shapeshifting mutant monster that made her way from the forest on their camping trip into their freakin’ family home. Of course no one believes him and he spends his time trying to convince his crush Amy Dolenz & her stoner rocker boyfriend (played by Corey Feldman) of the danger the neighborhood is in. 

That’s the one part of this movie that could have been greatly improved-it needed WAY more Corey!  He comes across here like his Frog Brother persona or better yet like his character from The Burbs. This might as well exist in the same universe as that movie and that’s more than just fine with me. Oh yeah young Todd is also a perv!

 There’s a ton of fun to be had here in this little creepy adventure that feels more like it belongs in the eighties than the nineties to be honest. Some of the humor as well feels a notch or 2 above it’s PG-13 rating, which I guess can be expected judging by the producers sassy reputations. That being said, it’s really got that Amblin “kids in danger” vibe that I love so much, along with the cool creature and special effects that go along with movies of that genre so well. The creature design is also pretty impressive for such a low budget affair and feature some of that classic early nineties face morphing that maybe has an aged so well?

Luckily Stepmonster has its heart mostly in all the right places and pretty much hits all the right beats making it a great double feature aside movies like ‘The Goonies’ or ‘The Gate’.  It also wastes no time, with its lean 86 minute run time, it’s a great party movie that nearly anyone can enjoy, who knows maybe there’s an “R rated cut” of the movie somewhere, I’d love to see the movie get even darker. Nonetheless this is a pretty sweet little family horror flick that’s tailer made for fans of the eighties and early nineties. Stepmonster def deserves a fancy blu ray release with a ton of extras!

 

 

Scooby-Doo gets Serious with the Live Action ‘Mystery Incorporated’!

Late last night I stumbled upon an odd little gem on YouTube called ‘Mystery Incorporated’, a live action 53 minute long pilot that was just released that’s based on Scooby Doo. We basically got a brand new mysterious teen drama featuring the iconic mystery solving gang, funded completely on Kickstarter that also most definitely feeds off of that “Riverdale” type of vibe. It sorta feels like a live action version of the incredible animated series Scooby Doo! ‘Mystery Incorporated’ from 2010. A Scooby Doo “prequel” just like this one!

 Being a big fan of Scooby Doo, this was quite a nice little late nite surprise to stumble across. I had no idea that this was something that’d been in the works for a while. As of right now there’s only one episode, which apparently was completely crowd funded. But did it quench my Scooby Doo thirst?

Well, it’s definitely grounded more in reality in some ways and in other ways more fantastical than some of the incarnations of Scoob’ we’ve seen in the past. First and foremost don’t expect a talking dog, Scooby here however is the perfect looking live action incarnation of the iconic character.. The same thing can be said about the rest of the gang, they all look great, but have much more of a real world vibe than any previous versions we’ve been presented with.

It’s teen drama/mystery with a true supernatural aspect unlike the original series. It also harkens back to the OG series with lots of fun easter eggs and character traits. You might notice even some familiar classic adversaries of the ol’ gang. At first this reminded me of 2012 ‘Saturday Morning Mystery’ a horror movie that spun the same type of “Scooby Doo” narrative. If you’re a fan of Scoob’ you might want to check that out just for the hell of it. It”s quite interesting on how dark it is, maybe not the best version of a Scooby Doo themed horror movie that I would have loved to have seen, but still I dig the effort that went into the concept.

 Over all I think this pilot was pretty well filmed, it looks slick and the special effects were also quite well done with a pretty cool practical fx creature/villain. Of course some of it’s dialogue does feel a little bit hokey (but it IS based on Scooby Doo) and “CW network” feeling at times. We get an overabundance of cheesy pop music, which I could’ve done with less of, but it’s clear there’s a lot of love that went into this. Clear love for the classic with a modern spin and twist. I’ve also been reading a book that’s similar in style to this called “Meddling Kids” although much darker and intense. That’s a definite recommendation for Scooby fans of the older age.

I’d also like to add that even though Scooby Doo doesn’t speak in the pilot episode I see several ways where that could clearly change that in the future by way of the supernatural elements involved. Anyway if you’re bored and find yourself going down weird YouTube rabbit holes definitely give this a try if you’re a fan of Scooby Doo! Or just watch it right here: 

Step Aside Danielson for OPERATION SCORPIO’s Epic 90s Noodles Kung Fu on MOVIE MELT!

On the latest episode of the MOVIE MELT podcast we cover one of my personal all time favorite martial arts flicks, 1992’s Operation Scorpio! I’m willing to bet there’s a big chance that you’ve never seen it, so if you’re a huge fan of stuff like The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai and Chinese food, particularly noodles, then you’re certainly likely to love this this incredible little film! I’m certain film buffs like Tarantino took notes from this one.

Think a higher stakes version of The Karate Kid with lots of yummy noodles, crazier characters, a legion of muscle men, epic styles that make the crane kick pathetic and a villain so bad ass he’d annihilate the whole damn gang of Johnny, the Cobra Kai, Kreese, Chozen and Terry Silver all in the bathroom of the school Halloween dance.

There’s lots to love here and we cover all the juicy details, it’s the very first Hong Kong film ever on the podcast & it desperately needs a BIGGER cult fan base.

Check this shit out as we go deeper into 80s Hong Kong cinema with the crew, as well as a “Battle of the Movie Bands” and a boatload of more insane cinematic info than a human brain can possibly handle!

Grab a drink and a hefty doobie to smoke tonight & get hyped for a wild ride ‘cuz Operation Scorpio delivers the fucking goods and then some!! 

Oh yeah and you’ll probably wanna order some Chinese take out food – I’m NOT kidding-LISTEN RIGHT HERE!

Comic Cover of the Week: Brian Bolland’s VIGILANTE!

I’ll say it again here, there’s not many people out there in the comic book world that can craft a cover like Brian Bolland can! Most well known for his spectacular artwork in perhaps the greatest Batman story ever told ‘The Killing Joke’, Bolland continuously delivered truly epic covers throughout the 1980s! Here’s another amazing one for DC’s ‘Vigilante’, an anti hero that really hasn’t gotten enough respect over the years imo. Annual number 2 hit the shelves in November, 1986 and still impresses today! 

VHS Verdict: 1986’s ‘BULLIES’ Channels ‘The Karate Kid’ Via ‘DELIVERANCE’!

I just watched what I consider to be a true bonafide lost 1980s gem, at least to me this movie was something I’d only found and watched by sheer chance. I frequent thrift stores quite often and upon discovering director Paul Lynch’s ‘Bullies’ a 1986 Canadian genre mash up of horror, thriller, action and revenge on VHS, I was most certainly intrigued, while realistically not getting my hopes up too damn high. 

I’m pleased to report that ‘Bullies’ delivered the damn goods and then some in nearly every way I’d been hoping!  Like I said in the title, this movie is essentially a mixture of The Karate Kid and Deliverance. I guess we’d categorize it as “Hicksploitation”. Sorry all you lovable hillbillies out there, but it’s kinda like if The Karate Kid’s Cobra Kai were evil messed up psycho mountain men! And when I say evil I mean evil with a capital E!

We follow the simple story of a teenage boy who moves with his mom and stepfather to a cozy little mountain town smack dab in the middle of the woods to run a family business. The only problem is some of the locals are restless and don’t particularly like the new arrivals in town…at all. A wicked gang of family hicks are on the prowl to fuck with anyone they please and no one seems to give a damn, not even the cops- imagine that huh?!

Luckily our teenage equivalent to Daniel Laruso befriends a cool local Native American man, who he establishes a strong bond with and like Mr. Miagi he teaches him some serious life lessons, survival and even a few nifty combat techniques. Something his stepfather whom he somewhat loathes and views as a useless coward doesn’t seem to have ANY interest in being part of.  Of course he meets the beautiful Olivia D’Abo, and of course crushes out hard. I mean what are the chances he meets a babe like her in this po-dunk town? Lucky guy! Or is he?

As it just happens to turn out that she’s the sister of one of the insane maniac hillbillies who who threaten the town folk on any whim. But that’s not gonna stop the teen romance though as the two are immediately lovestruck. So the pissed off hillbillies up the ante with their evil shenanigans and the boy’s step dad is too chicken to stand up to them. These guys not only terrorize the teenagers but also go on the war path against the parents too, leading to a truly shocking rape scene that ups the stakes to deadly proportions and drastically shifts the tone. Be warned! ‘Bullies’ takes some dark twists and turns but by the final act you’ll be rooting for revenge with all of your damn heart. Even though it does go to some dark places it oddly has a lingering light feeling to it somehow, an 80s charm of something like The Karate Kid or My Bodyguard.  Most importantly are how, for the most part, endearing  the characters are in this grimy little banger. It makes the journey one worth taking.

I’d say this is the perfect coming of age revenge flick, filled with genuine heart, romance, comedy and some pretty wild and crazy action sequences. You also get served some gory kills and some intense explosions that put this one in a league of its own as a intriguing lost 80s gem. Bullies exists on VHS only and is just begging to be cleaned up and released on a slick blu ray. It really deserves far more attention from cult movie fanatics,  if you get a chance check this one out, but beware, these “Bullies” are playing for keeps!!

 

DC’s Most IDIOTIC Villain: Codpiece!

Yowza!! I have in the past here, covered  some of the most ridiculous comic book heroes & villains of all time, but somehow the most pathetic one slipped through the cracks! Yes Codpiece is TRULY and literally the biggest knob in town, a truly weird and insecure dipshit of a villain! Ok, First just what is a “codpiece” exactly?! Well the official definition states it as: “a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers, enclosing the genital area.” Ummm…yeah, what sort of moron would think THAT was a cool supervillain name?! Well look no further, here he is in ALL his stupid glory! CODPEICE!

Whatta guy huh?!  The incredible thing about this loser is that he was actually created waaay back in 1993, appearing in Doom Patrol #70.  Looking like something that we might see in ‘The Boys’ it’s quite interesting that DC was willing to feature such an offensive bizarre villain within its pages in the early nineties.

Codpiece’s back story is also quite stupid, apparently when he was in high school a girl made some remarks about “his size” so naturally he assumed she was talking about his wee wee. In reality however she was merely saying he was short, but this guy took things to the extreme with his insecurities and designed a full on weiner weapon system that he strapped around his groin! Finally feeling like the big man on campus he goes on a crime spree, now quite satisfied with the size of his wang FINALLY! Hunt down this back issue to get the full story, but sadly Codpiece was only featured in this one issue and never made a return. It left millions of his fans wondering just where he went and what hes been up to all of these years. Let’s hope codpiece makes a return soon to comics, hell, maybe even give this insecure comic book character his own title and see how it goes? I’m sure it would be quite a hit in 2022 don’t you?

Hunks, Babes & Ass Kickin’ in Prison: 1990’s CAGED FURY on MOVIE MELT!!

Are you ready for ass kickin’ HUNKS, sexy BABES, Prison Drama, M. Night Shyamalan style twists and Erik Estrada’s incredible on camera booger? Well then look no further because we just showcased 1990’s CAGED FURY on the latest episode of MOVIE MELT!

 Yes we decide to get deep into the corrupt prison system of Caged Fury as we follow a gang of women wrongfully locked up against their will and tormented by a bizarre team of villainous sex crazed prison guards. 

Beware when going to LA looking for fame & fortune cuz what you just might end up with is a case of Caged Fury! Don’t fret though, you might also end up meeting Eric Estrada and his crazy ass martial arts master, best friend Richie Barathy for some romance, bar hoppin’ and a hefty dose of ASS kicking! 

We get down to the nitty gritty details of this Intense action adventure film filled to the brim with twists and turns. We also give you some cool suggestions of movies you might want to check out if you dig stuff like Caged Fury as well as a “battle of the movie bands” competition! Check it all out and let your brain fill with more useless cinematic junk than you imagined humanly possible! LISTEN HERE TO THE MOVIE MELT PODCAST! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best TANGERINE DREAM Song of ALL Time?!

Tangerine Dream is easily one of the best instrumental synth groups of all time, they have scored some iconic movies and even some sweet lower grade B-flicks. Creating true atmosphere that can take you to some pretty stunning places with their beautiful scores and trippy albums. Very few can go toe to toe with their brilliance, maybe the likes of John Carpenter & Goblin, come to mind.

This German electronic synth group was founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese with many different musicians joining the fold over the years. Sadly he passed in 2015 but the band continues on without him, for better or for worse. Anyway if you don’t know the group at least I can say you have probably heard them unknowingly in a movie over the years. The other day I came to a bold conclusion, which is in my opinion my top 3 favorite songs by the group. This is an open invitation to have my selections challenged and discover more of their best songs as I haven’t explored their vast scores and albums in their entirely. That being said here are my current picks for their BEST compositions of ALL time!

‘No Man’s Land’ from Hyperborea (1983) 

 As things currently stand I’m gonna have to go out on a limb and say that this is the best Tangerine Dream song of all time. As far as I know this was never used in a soundtrack and that’s a shame because this one takes you places places you’ve never been before flying through different dimensions sit back and close your eyes close your eyes take a puff off your joint and let your mind go wild!  If it’s not their best track it’s at the very least my current favorite…

The close 2nd goes to their mystically dreamy atmospheric track from the soundtrack of 1977’s brilliant mega tense adventure film ‘Sorcerer’ called ‘The Journey’. This song doesn’t play for nearly long enough in the movie but you get just enough of it there to make you search out the full version and behold it’s true glory…

  I’m also gonna have to mention ‘Love on a Real Train’ from 1983’s ‘Risky Business’ soundtrack.  Let’s face the facts without the brilliant tendering dream soundtrack this movie would lose a lot of it’s appeal and emotional flavor. Simply a stunner…

 So my question to you is what do you think are the best Tangerine Dream songs of all time? Please share!!

Comic Cover of the Week: Defenders get METAL with Ghost Rider

I’m a huge fan of vintage heavy metal album covers and right here we’ve got one of the best Marvel Comics covers that, let’s face it, is totally metal! It’s also one of the most ironic pics of Ghost Rider, in all of his bad ass glory, easily one of the most unique Marvel superheroes, too bad Nic Cage’s portrayal in not one but somehow TWO movies! Well regardless, this here was a cool era of The Defenders: Doctor Strange, Valkyrie, Hellcat AND the Son of Satan?! Damn I love that weirdo! This awesome issue came out way back in 1981 and the cover art was done by Michael Golden! Ghost Rider at his most bad ass!