I’m a big fan of the 1989 cult horror flick ‘The Laughing Dead’, If you’ve never heard of it and are a1980’s gore horror fiend, well I’ve a feeling that it’s gonna be your new favorite “lost” 80s gem. Rumor has it that it just might be getting a fancy blu ray release?! I hope that’s true! Well it’s director/cult horror novelist/composer extraordinaire S.P. Somtow is back after a long hiatus starring in and writing the latest creepy outing all the way from Thailand with ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.
The tale of a musical genius haunted by his past and pushed into a state of pure insanity, The Maestro tells the story of a mentally unstable man named Arun (S.P. Somtow), a dedicated composer who attempted a run for fame in Europe but ultimately finds himself deeply depressed, back in Thailand teaching rich kids music at a local shopping mall. Behind the scenes though, he’s been secretly planning a wildly dark magnum opus called ‘The Tongues of Angels’, his ultimate goal: premiering it to the entire world on a livestream during the Covid 19 pandemic. His wildly demented ambition however may induce a lot more than musical madness but also death to those who threaten his journey.
So yeah I’ve been quite excited to check this out, but also had hoped Somtow would be at the mantle as director on the project. I really enjoyed his campy approach on ‘The Laughing Dead’ and the comedic elements incorporated with the heavy effects work of legend John Carl Buechler made it a total blast. That all being said ‘The Maestro’ does definitely deliver some of Somtow’s signature tones, but perhaps with a more artistic approach. Director Paul Spurrier does a decent job behind the camera, giving the movie at times a more slick approach then what I’d ultimately prefered. It combines lighter elements of horror with tense hypnotic dark classical music but also has a few more deeply disturbing psychological aspects at hand here as well that at times made me a bit uncomfortable. The lush locales of Thailand combined with Somtow’s intensely creepy musical compositions sonically assault in a truly unique way.
To be quite honest, his beautifully dark score is probably the biggest star of the entire movie. I’d been expecting something quite a bit different, with more old school fx leaning in on much more on the horror side of things. Instead this one plays out more a psychological thriller and is the first movie I’ve seen that takes place actually during the Covid 19 era. We finally see people on screen irritated with and fussing with their masks as well as trying to navigate life through these current bizarre times. But that doesn’t stop the shamed Maestro from seeking out his pawns, a crew of young musicians gathered from his mall class and the even from the streets.
Most of the madness takes place at a stunningly creepy decrepit mansion In the countryside where the symphony of horror begins to take shape. The Maestro has one thing on his mind: his music and will let nothing get in his way of composing the ultimate dark symphony.
This one’s definitely worth a watch, it’s got a great cast of young actors and Somtow shines again as the villain in a similar way he did back in ‘The Laughing Dead’.
I’m glad that S.P. has again returned to his horror roots, overall I think this is a pretty solid return to form. Going forward I’d like to encourage him to get back behind the camera again, I think he’s got the chops that the people thirst for today with the 80s cult camp fanatics. If anything ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ must be watched for it’s incredible musical finale, which blew me away. I’ll be hunting down the soundtrack for sure!!
Seriously up until yesterday I never even knew about the 1976 tv series ‘Bigfoot & Wildboy’!! I love Bigfoot more than most people I like to think, in fact even as a kid I was Bigfoot crazy! So how’s it possible this show has eluded me for sooo many years?! It made it’s first appearance back in 1976 as part of the Sid & Marty Kroft Super Show but it wasn’t until 1979 that this one became a full on Squatch packed tv series with 28 half hour long episodes!
What a plot this one had too, apparently Bigfoot finds a lost kid in the woods and decides to raise him as his son. He teaches him some of his Sasquatch tricks and secrets and next thing you know he’s Bigfoot’s Crime fighting alien ass-kickin’ sidekick! Damn what a lucky kid. I’ve just got to hunt all these episodes down asap, it’s almost too good to be true. Luckily youtube seems to have some episodes up, but other than that it appears they were never released on dvd. It’s a good thing us here in the Pacific Northwest have got these two on our side huh?! This shit is seriously badass check out this intro!
And if you’re really down for this shit here’s a full episode!
Ever have a memory of a TV show as a kid that as an adult you couldn’t remember what it was called or for that matter if the thing even really existed? Well today I want to spotlight one of those very lost/found memories in way of an old Halloween special waaay back from 1981 called “The Crown of Bogg”!! What makes this one special you might wonder?
Well being a big fan of puppets (I mean who isn’t right?) this one was made by none other than Paul Fusco, the damn creator of ALF!!! Well this one aired long before Alf was gobbling up cats on nationwide tv it’s nonetheless just as charming and weird! This one might bring to mind classics like The Fraggles with it’s strange muppet style, wacky songs and humor. With a character names like “King Mildew” you know this one is worth a watch if you’re looking for a odd long lost Halloween special to tune into before you watch some more well known classics!! Check it!! Damn how I do love Youtube!!
Saturday night I had the pleasure of watching NUKIE a little known shiny turd of a film from 1988! It was jam packed with crap! It followed the story of an annoying pair of aliens who crash land on earth, one in Africa and one in America. It’s supposed to be like some sort of hybrid of E.T. and Close Encounters except just really ultra suck-tas-tic in about every way imaginable!
This movie tries pretty hard to be cutesy and have a lot to say but in reality it’s just an excuse to use and animatronic alien head for two hours! Yeah that’s pretty much all this one has got ‘going’ for it and once the semi decent Nukie puppet alien face charm wears off you’ll be wondering how the hell this pile of dung ever got funded! This movie is full of weird stereotypes as well.
Nukie our main alien character runs around the African fields with his runny nose and befriends a pair of local tribal boys. There he does weird dances for them, asks random giraffes if he’s in America, irritates locals, transforms into blue glowing orbs and hijacks a helicopter with a monkey in a diaper. Yes this movie also features a weird ass super fucking annoying talking chimp who of course wears human clothes.
When he first appeared on screen and started mouthing off his incredibly irritating dialogue I had to restrain myself from getting off the couch and throwing my friend’s television out the damn second story window! From what my Nukie-fried brain can remember there wasn’t a single reason why this chimp could or should have the ability to speak english. Perhaps just being in the presence of Nukie gave him the superhuman ability to become one of the most annoying talking animals I have ever seen on screen. Later that night I had repeated dreams about washing that chimps mouth out with a bar of poison soap! Yep he makes the movie worthwhile alone!
That’s not all though, Nukie’s twin buddy Niko hangs out at this super boring NASA base, and every time they cut to the NASA scenes the movie suddenly sounds like the opening narration to an episiode of Dragnet! Yeah and boy do they love to show the same view of the NASA building over and over and over. There though Nukie’s buddy is experimented on by super lame scientists that hang out around a super computer that essentially does nothing but spit out useless information and weird ass dance music.
The rest of the movie is kind of a blur, but Nukie and Niko finally meet up and escape and guess what? They actually take the talking chimp along with them! I mean these two aliens have got to be suffering from severe nuclear brain damage to do a thing like that? If only we could get a sequel that followed these three idiots around for another 2 hours! Beware of this films it sucks bad and MUST be watched!!!
So I’m here to tell tell you a few things today, as you guessed “Super 8” is the movie to see this summer, I loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that JJ Abrams was a fan of The Goonies and E.T. and was trying his best (he succeeded) in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the big screen this year. He gave us that feeling we all have missed for so many years in our summer movies. But most of all it was a formula that had been used many times throughout the 80’s not only in E.T. and The Goonies but many more that have been all but forgotten.
It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a movie like “Super 8” or even Joe Dante’s latest movie “The Hole” in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response to Super 8 I’d like to honor 8 more movies Abrams was likely heavily influenced by when he made his latest
1. The Gate (1986) To say JJ wasn’t influenced by this movie when making Super 8 would be a crime!! Continue reading
Well, well, well…vindication at long last! It appears that some recent studies by Professor Carol L. Tilley (pictured below) at the University of Illinois found that children reading comic books is just as beneficial as reading traditional forms of literature. Huh, shocking…I could have told you that when I was 12 and I managed to navigate my way through endless hours of reading my Dad’s uber collection of classic comics. And despite my dork musings at an early age (i.e., being more concerned with details of superhero stories vs. US history or those bothersome family/friends’ birthdays), my reading and comprehension skills were well developed…or so the results of my CTBS tests told me (remember that shit??).
Anyway, no need to blabber on about this fine bit of research, you can follow the links in the blog and read details on the study findings, Grad School, and the author. But one favor the Universal Dork asks of its loyal readers, the next time you hear someone discredit or discount youths and comics…please intelligently inform them of and pass the results of this study, in hopes to ground their arse in reality!
Score one for the superhero’s and real life super-heroines like Dr. Tilley!
Link to Phyorg.com article on Comics and Kids
Link to University of Illinois Graduate School for Library and Informational Science
There is no doubt that I will forever be a big kid…and there is no changing that…ever…even with fisticuffs! So when Cartoon Network debuted Marvel’s new cartoon addition to its comic legacy, The Super Hero Squad, all of my super senses were poised and ready to view. Of course, I did my usual relaxation, meditation, and inner soul searching to prepare myself for what I knew would be the case. This is a kid’s show, and I have to make the concessions necessary. Well, the verdict is in…call me a dork, I deserve it, I freaking loved the show! But I am easy to please.