Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Her Mind Was the Most Erotic and Dangerous Part of Her Body."

Mimsy Farmer seduces Robert Walker, Jr., posing as her long lost brother, in ROAD TO SALINA.

... so read the US posters for Georges Lautner's largely forgotten ROAD TO SALINA (1970), which lingers, if at all, in the popular memory as an embarrassment made by an aging Rita Hayworth shortly before her retirement from the screen. I watched it tonight, for the first time uncut, and can't figure out why it has acquired such a low reputation.

It still awaits its DVD debut, so you can only see it via an old Charter Entertainment VHS or DVD-R, where it's badly cropped and less than smoothly dubbed, so that works against it... and yes, at 52, Rita Hayworth is no longer GILDA, but that's not the movie we're watching. Rita's actually fine, playing a delusional woman in middle age, sick with loneliness, who mistakes a young drifter for her son, missing for the past four years; Robert Walker Jr. (the son of one of Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, fresh from his near catatonic appearance in the commune sequence of EASY RIDER) is very watchable as the boyish, spaced-out protagonist with Clint Eastwood's DIRTY HARRY haircut, who decides to take a break from his bad luck and be mothered for awhile... but he soon gets sistered too. Mimsy Farmer is electrifying as the sexy, teeth-baring, peroxide pixie whose free and faux-incestuous ways tempt Walker to stick around for awhile in a "hot box" in the middle of nowhere.

I would argue that ROAD TO SALINA is exactly what a Seventies film noir properly was and should have been: the depiction of a steamy Venus Fly Trap that you or I might easily wander into, and not be too quick to extract ourselves from -- not another second-hand gumshoe story set in a Hollywood B-movie version of the 1940s.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

8th Annual Rondo Awards Results

BEST FILM OF 2009 -- DISTRICT 9
BEST TV PRESENTATION -- "DOCTOR WHO": 'The End of Time'
BEST CLASSIC DVD OF 2009 -- AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON: FULL MOON EDITION
BEST CLASSIC DVD COLLECTION -- THE WILLIAM CASTLE COLLECTION
BEST TV COLLECTION -- "ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS" (S4)
BEST RESTORATION -- FAUST (1926)
BEST DVD EXTRA -- "Beware the Moon" documentary
BEST DVD COMMENTARY -- Fred Dekker: NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
BEST DOCUMENTARY -- AMERICAN SCARY
BEST BOOK -- BELA LUGOSI AND BORIS KARLOFF: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration by Gregory William Mank
BEST MAGAZINE -- RUE MORGUE
BEST ARTICLE -- "Bad Moon Rising" by Jovanka Vuckovic
BEST COVER OF 2009 -- MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT #26
BEST WEBSITE -- Dread Central
BEST HORROR BLOG -- The Drunken Severed Head
BEST CONVENTION OF 2009 -- MONSTER BASH (Pittsburgh)
BEST FAN EVENT -- TRIBUTE TO FORREST J ACKERMAN
FAVORITE HORROR HOST -- Count Gore De Vol
BEST HORROR PODCAST -- RUE MORGUE RADIO
BEST CD -- STAR TREK II: WRATH OF KHAN
BEST HORROR COMIC BOOK -- BATMAN: GOTHAM AFTER MIDNIGHT
BEST TOY, MODEL OR COLLECTIBLE -- Twilight Zone's "Talking Tina"
COUNT ALUCARD'S CONTROVERSY OF THE YEAR -- "No, but I can burn one for you." Studios offer some classics on DVD-Rs only.
CLASSIC MOST IN NEED OF DVD RELEASE OR RESTORATION -- ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
WRITER OF THE YEAR -- GREGORY WILLIAM MANK
ARTIST OF THE YEAR -- GARY PULLIN
FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR -- ROBERT SCOTT
DVD REVIEWER OF THE YEAR -- KIM NEWMAN
MONSTER KID OF THE YEAR -- ELIOT BRODSKY of Monsterpalooza
THE MONSTER KID HALL OF FAME -- The six latest inductees are: Bill Lemon, Ray Meyers, Dennis Druktenis, Robert "Bob" Carter, Frederick S. Clarke and Bill Warren.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Rondo Voting Ends at Midnight Tonight

Hey, everyone! Today is the last day for voting in the 8th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, so get right over to the Rondo website and cast your ballot! Vote for whomever and whatever you like; the important thing is to participate -- but naturally Donna, the Kennel and I would appreciate your votes for VIDEO WATCHDOG and its contributors wherever appropriate.

This blog has been extremely intermittent of late, so I would not feel right about accepting the Best Blog Award. I encourage followers of this blog to consider Pierre Fournier's Frankensteinia blog instead; it is in the truest spirit of these awards and got my vote.

I would also particularly like to remind you of the INFERNO screening at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, nominated as Best Fan Event. It was a great evening, we had an audience that snaked around the block, and a terrific 30m Q&A with Irene Miracle and Keith Emerson. I'd love for them both to have Rondos of their own!

Full contents details about our next issue, VIDEO WATCHDOG 156, including free reading samples, are now posted under Coming Soon on our website, or you can find yourself magically transported there by clicking here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Look: VIDEO WATCHDOG #156

Cover just completed -- isn't that a beauty? We will be posting full contents details and free samples on the website's Coming Soon page in the days ahead!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Frankensteinia, Edisonia, Fournieria, Rondomania!

Over at his Frankensteinia blog today, Pierre Fournier observes the centenary of the the Thomas Edison Company's FRANKENSTEIN (1910), featuring Charles Ogle as the Creature. On a more poignant note, this means, in a broader sense, that the Frankenstein movie, as a subgenre, turns 100 today. The mystery critic known as Arbogast on Film has selflessly spearheaded a movement to encourage voters to elect Frankensteinia as Best Blog of the Year in the current Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards competition -- and, as much as I think Mr. Arbogast is similarly deserving, I think Pierre's blog cuts more to the quick of Classic Horror, not to mention Monster Kiddom. You could do worse than to vote Pierre Fournier Monster Kid of the Year.
Rondo voting ends in less than two weeks! Visit the Rondo Awards website soon to cast your ballot! And please remember VIDEO WATCHDOG (and Best Fan Event nominee INFERNO Midnight screening) as you make your selections!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Farewell to Carol Marsh

I just learned from the Classic Horror Film Boards that CAROL MARSH, the British actress best remembered as Lucy in Hammer's DRACULA (HORROR OF DRACULA, 1958), has passed away at the age of 80. Marsh, who made a wonderful Alice in the 1949 version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ironically passed away on March 6, the day after the release of Tim Burton's new version. As memorable as she was in both films, my favorite of her roles may well be her first, as the strangely feral innocent enamored of Richard Attenborough's kid gangster Pinky in BRIGHTON ROCK (1947, pictured).