Super Heavy Sonic Freakout, Man

After their inspired-but-largely-ignored feature Head, The Monkees let out this last gasp, their final appearance as a quartet. 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee was a network TV special from 1969. I enjoyed the whole thing, which you can start here, but it really gets going in these final nine minutes. It's a cacophonous, glorious mess, a fitting end to their career and to the sixties as a whole.

(contrary to popular belief, by this point all of the Monkees were playing their own instruments. Mickey Dolenz finally learned the drums, Mike Nesmith was writing his own songs like this one, Peter Tork had always been a talented musician and Davey Jones was a drummer who had instead been cast as the singer. How good of a band they were is up for debate, but they were a band).

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Tarzan and the Graveyard of Elephants (1976)


Double Dose of David Friedman

In remembrance of yesterday's passing of film producer David Friedman, a double feature of his films She Freak and Trader Hornee:


Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone in 2D

A bad film in most ways. Rudimentary script, pedestrian direction and editing, ersatz John Williams score. But the art direction, from the sets to the vehicles to costumes, matte paintings and lighting is very striking. As much money was behind the production as 'Star Wars" (about 14 million), and they spent that money in an irresponsible but creative way. This alone makes it worth seeing. And like 'Starcrash' or 'Yor: Hunter from the Future', it moves along at a fast clip with many space-age thrills and hijinx. Some stills:

See the whole movie here for free.


Monster Rally

I've been looking for this ever since the internet was invented; the opening to a local Creature Feature show in Chicago that I haven't seen since I was five or six years old. Didn't remember the name or the channel, but the other details were all quite fresh in my mind; the fog-shrouded streetlamp, the figure approaching, the mutated hand snuffing out the candle. It creeped me out as a kid, and in retrospect I think that may be largely due to the score (the theme to "One Step Beyond").

Turns out it's Monster Rally, which aired on WSNS channel 44 sometime in the mid 70's. Seeing it today for the first time since very early childhood is a little underwhelming. Just look at that hippie dork in his cape and greasepaint. Give me a break, man. That's no horror host. But doesn't nostalgia always promise more than it delivers? The things which made such a big impression when you were a kid don't hold up when revisited? It was like when I finally got back that Pulsar toy through ebay, then realized it was just another piece of cheap plastic junk.

Anyway, sorry to pontificate. Badly. Long as I'm here…

Creature Features, which ran on WGN channel 9 1970-1976, and which I also hold some old-but-vivid memories of:

And Monstrous Movie, which ran late 70's to early 80's on WFLD channel 32, so I remember it very well.

The voiceover mentions "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein" as the feature, which means that I saw this very broadcast in the late 70's. Good times. I was raised an athiest, but watching creature features late at night or on weekend mornings was like going to church. I mean this in the best possible way, because I was reverent, if not obsessed, with these films. The pop culture of the 70's passed me by: I never saw an episode of 'Happy Days', I wasn't allowed to listen to disco records, and I was disinterested in the trigger-happy violence of 'Star Wars' and its ilk. But if 'Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein' or 'House on Haunted Hill' was on, I couldn't move away from the television.

(related: an earlier post about Screaming Yellow Theater and Son of Svengoolie)


Movie of the Week: Frogs

(embedding not allowed; click above image to be directed to youtube page)