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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Feats Of Strength
I'm writing now, because I'm going into work a half-hour later today. It's okay--the boss knows...and I still might get there before he does. That's no slam. He was with us last night.

Last night, Chicken, Grady, Kellner, LD and I gathered at Moto's to move gigantic chunks of wood with our bare hands. It was sort of like a prison exercise, like George Kennedy made Newman do in COOL HAND LUKE. Moto had chopped down a huge tree in his back yard and cut it into pieces (well, more accurately, had it done), and we had to load the pieces into a truck and unload them out at the Kellner compound. This took two trips of lifting, carrying, dropping, etc. and involved much heaving and cursing. It really wasn't as bad as all that, I suppose. There was good teamwork, not much bitching. I have a few small scratches and scrapes on my arms; I was smart enough to wear gloves, but next time I'll do long sleeves. And the Motos grilled up a ton of burgers, dogs and brats, of which I had way too much (as was obvious when I had to leap out of bed and onto the growler at 3:15 this morning), but it was good stuff, Maynard. And, hey, I admit, it was good for me to do a bit of exercise too. Last night was fun, all things considered. I didn't get home 'til after 11:00 though. Took a shower, read a bit, and hit the hay. Had the windows open. It was good sleeping weather.

I forgot to tell you about the amazingly shitty movies Kevin (my B-Fest compadre) made me watch Sunday night. He brought over a bunch of tapes he had picked up at his local Family Video for $2 each or something like that. One was MULE FEATHERS, which is about as bad as they come. It's a PG slapstick comedy western starring Rory Calhoun as a conman who poses as a priest and carries on conversations using mental telepathy (!) with his donkey (!), who's voiced by Don Knotts. It's like a much stupider version of A BOY AND HIS DOG, but with no cannibalism. The post-synched sound makes it look really cheap, as does the fact that they only shoot the western town set from two angles. The comedy is leaden, the editing incomprehensible, and the sound effects juvenile. MULE FEATHERS was a tough 80 minutes.

After that was an episode of a Japanese TV series called SPECTREMAN, in which superhero Spectreman fought a giant flying whale. Spectreman seems like every other Japanese superhero, like Ultraman, in that he can grow to mammoth proportions, fly, shoot rays, etc. His powers are useless against the flying whale, though, and he discovers that his foe has a strange Corsican-brothers reaction to him. So to stop it, it does...nothing. Literally. He lays down on the beach and sends his homies to float over and drop a bomb down its blowhole. Unfortunately, Spectreman's arch enemies, a pair of cackling space monkeys (!) in a flying saucer, use the opportunity to literally kick the hero while he's down and can't fight back. The coolest thing about SPECTREMAN is its kickass theme song that reminded me of the SONS OF HERCULES theme.

I then pulled out CHAIN GANG WOMEN, which is the world's #1 bullshit title. There are no chain gang women, and no women at all until about 40 minutes in. It's not a bad little exploitation movie, really, but you could be forgiven for being disappointed by it.

We wrapped up with THAT WAS ROCK, a compilation of clips from the legendary THE T.A.M.I. SHOW and THE BIG TNT SHOW, neither of which are on DVD, presumably because of rights issues. Both were huge rock concerts staged in Los Angeles especially for film and featured virtually every major rock, pop and R&B act of the period, which was 1964 and 1965. Not all that performed made the THAT WAS ROCK tape, which featured new intros by Chuck Berry, but among the ones who did were the Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner, a kickass James Brown, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Ronettes, Lesley Gore, Gerry and the Pacemakers and several others. The badassedness of these musical greats almost made up for Rory Calhoun talking to his ass. Almost.

Posted by Marty at 8:16 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 8:44 AM CDT

Name: Matt Farkas

"I then pulled out CHAIN GANG WOMEN, which is the world's #1 bullshit title. There are no chain gang women, and no women at all until about 40 minutes in. It's not a bad little exploitation movie, really, but you could be forgiven for being disappointed by it."

Boy, you got that right, Marty! I love most of Lee Frost's films. If his films aren't quite as literate as, say, Jack Hill's, I'd still give him props for a consistently entertaining output - consider his early nudies HOUSE ON BARE MOUNTAIN and SURFTIDE 77, the roughies THE DEFILERS, THE ANIMAL, and THE PICK-UP, MONDO FREUDO and MONDO BIZARRO (a great double-feature DVD from Something Weird Video), his westerns HOT SPUR and THE SCAVENGERS, LOVE CAMP 7 (the original "Nazi-sploitation" flick), the sniper flick ZERO IN AND SCREAM, his bids for AIP-level respectability CHROME AND HOT LEATHER and THE THING WITH TWO HEADS, POLICEWOMEN, the wild BLACK GESTAPO, and his intense porno-roughie A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER. Quite a resume!

CHAIN GANG WOMEN, however, is an intolerable chore to sit through, and I don't think it's just because of the betrayal of expectations from the bait-and-switch title. There's a positive dearth of rowdy exploitation goods on display in this flick. Maybe I'd be more forgiving if this was an Al Adamson flick, but I expect much more from Lee Frost!

Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 10:56 AM CDT

Name: Marty McKee

It's true that CHAIN GANG WOMEN isn't as exploitative as many Frost titles. There's some nudity and action, but nothing very graphic. We found it pretty entertaining, but that was after we had already watched MULE FEATHERS, so probably anything would look good.

My friend Chris Poggiali, who reads this blog sometimes, is a big Lee Frost fan too. You dudes should get together. I've only seen Frost's more mainstream titles, which are entertaining, and ZERO IN AND SCREAM, which isn't. I have a low tolerance for nudies. I'd check out his westerns though, as long as they have some action...and not just nudie action!

You probably know that Frost was the original director of RACE WITH THE DEVIL, but was replaced after two weeks in favor of Jack Starrett.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 5:10 PM CDT

Name: Robert

Doesn't the SPECTREMAN theme song run something like "power - from outer space! Can he save the human race? He's SPECTREMANNNNNN!!!!!"

This is going on my memory of the show from 1979. Just after Christmas my family flew to Hawaii for vacation. During our three weeks there I got addicted to watching SPECTREMAN every day. The one scene burned into my memory has a giant alien eyeball - with legs - that hypnotizes Spectreman by running around him in circles.

After your tree moving exercise don't you appreciate chain gang labour all that much more? Was there anybody there cracking the whip and saying things like "What we have faliure to communicate"?

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