Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Scream Queen: Olivia Wilde

With all the women who spend time and money turning themselves into blondes, one would think that actress Olivia Wilde would be happy with her status as a natural blonde. But no. She spends time and money becoming a brunette. "I feel like a brunette," she said in an interview once.

Perhaps best known for her portrayal of "Thirteen" on the long-running television medical drama "House," Wilde also has a growing resume of big-screen credits to her name.

Wilde's film career focuses mostly on comedies and science fiction, but she also starred in the 2006 torture porn-slasher flick "Turistas" and her upcoming film "In Time" falls into the border area between horror and sci-fi.

And, of course, there are alien monsters in "Cowboys and Aliens", which opened in theaters this week.

Olivia Wilde, before the dye

Princesses of Mars, Part Eleven

Here's another round of famous comic book artists offering up visions of Martian beauty....

By Steven Butler

By Ernie Chan

By Gene Gonzales

By Mike Grell

By Mike Hoffmann

By Thomas Yeates

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Case of a Water Landing...

... Brigitte Bardot can be used as a flotation device.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Scream Queen: Ginger Rogers

Yes. Ginger Rogers.

Before Ginger Rogers became famous for doing everything Fred Astaire could do, but in heels and backwards, in the mid-1930s, and cemented her reputation as both a fine comedic and dramatic actress, she spent a few years appearing in films from small studios, including a pair of "dark old house" thrillers.

While these aren't horror movies by today's standards, "The Thirteenth Guest" (1932) and "A Shriek in the Night" (1933) are both films that are noteworthy for anyone interested in the evolution of the horror film, with the latter being of particular note as it bears some rather striking resemblance to the slasher genre that would finally congeal with the release of "Halloween" some 45 years later. The masked, knife-wielding killer is only the most obvious of these elements.

And Rogers proves that she's was good a screamer as she is was a singer.

While Rogers appeared in many other dramas during her five decades at the top of show-business, she never again played in a film that even came close to a horror movie; after being there for the formative stages of the genre, Rogers moved on and never returned.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Glittering Star

This past Sunday, July 16, marked the 100th anniversary of Ginger Rogers' birth. She remains forever a shining star.

(Confession time: Ginger Rogers was to have been the "Saturday Scream Queen" at Terror Titans this past weekend, but when I wrote the post MONTHS ago, but I failed to schedule it properly. I forgot I had written it to begin with, and so another worthy actress took the place that Rogers should have occupied on her 100th birthday. But, better late than never. She will get her due this coming Saturday. And if you're wondering why I am featuring Rogers in my series on horror actresses, you can use the list of tags in the right-hand column to locate some of her films that I've reviewed previously in this space.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Blood Sucking Babes from Burbank'... sucks

Bloodsucking Babes from Burbank (2005)
Starring: Heidi Brucker, Danilo Mancinelli, Danny Kitz, Mira Rayson, Jacqueline Anzalone, Yasmine Vine, Danielle Kreinik, Christina Caporale, and Burke Morgan
Director: Kirk Bowman
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

Samantha (Brucker) and other archeology students conduct a search for a witch's cursed jewelry box that was reported to be lost in the Burbank Mountains two centuries ago. When her boyfriend, Gary (Kitz), takes the box to spite her because she won't "put out", he unleashes a curse that starts turning innocent women into cannibalistic monsters who hunger for man-meat, preferably the fleshy part on the neck and arms.

Given my questionable tastes in entertainment, a title like "Blood Sucking Babes from Burbank" attracts me like a bear to honey (or, perhaps more accurately, like flies to a cow paddy). Unfortunately, this film doesn't live up to the promise of the title.

It may have babes and they do engage in some blood-sucking, but a film like this needs to be either concentrated comedy or full of horror-driven violence and mayhem. There is precious little comedy here, the violence is nonsensical and very, very fake, and the mayhem is non-existent. The film is a letdown in just about every possible way.

The problems with the movie stem first and foremost from its weak script. It's full of too many characters and they're all badly motivated. There's also plenty of standard bad low-budget movie padding sequences of characters driving around, walking around, and having pointless conversations that repeat plot points that have already been explained.

The padding is particularly aggravating in this film, because if the scriptwriter (who is also the film's director and producer) had written a couple of scenes that gave more details about Angela's Cursed Jewel Box or more on the history that two of the film's more interesting characters--Zack and Felicity, a young couple who are trying to find the box and destroy it, played by Danilo Mancinelli and Mira Rayson--the overall film would have been stronger. (I'm sure I understand why the attack scenes--the ones where a sexy babe transforms into a monster cannibal with badly made fangs in her mouth and starts ripping the flesh from the body of the nearest male--are as static and uninteresting as they are: The film's amateur cast and crew were obviously not up for shooting fight scenes.

However, all it would have taken would have been some comment from Zack or Felicity about how men are paralyzed by the gaze of a woman under the curse to make the attacks seem a bit more believable; NO ONE would stand there and allow themselves to be killed the way the victims do in this movie, unless some force was acting upon them. The men being killed don't even utter a sound, aside from some mewling noises in most cases.

What it lacked in violence and logic, the film could still have made up for with humor, but it mostly fails to do that as well. The only funny bits in the film revolve around a pair of cannibalistic Valley Girls (Jacqueline Anzalone and Yasmine Vine) who sit around discussing Roman sex toys while munching on a gardener they killed after being cursed. Everything else is played absolutely straight... and played badly, because the film has a cast of mostly amateur actors who are working with tinny dialogue and a weak script.

And that's really too bad. A movie with a title like "Bloodsucking Babes from Burbank" should have been something I got a huge kick out of. As it is, the best thing I can say about it is that it did keep me watching to the end (even if the "twist ending" ended up knocking the film from a low 4 rating down to a low 3 rating, due to the fact that it was first completely unmotivated and ill-considered in the light of everything that had gone before it, and it features one final example of a strangely passive victim).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Scream Queen: Shirley Corrigan

Shirley Corrigan began acting professionally at the age of 9, and after spending a number of years with touring theater companies across Europe and the near-East, and she eventually found herself in India. Here, she spent the late 1960s working along-side the legendary Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa encouraged Corrigan to resume her acting career and to work with children. So, Corrigan moved to Italy and spent the 1970s starring in horror films and soft-core sex comedies (with a few dramas mixed in); starring in movies that appeal to teenaged boys and juvenile men is sort of like working with children....

Among Corrigan's horror films are "The Devil's Nightmare", "Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf", and "Crimes of the Black Cat".

Corrigan left the movie business in 1982 after appearing in 24 films. She returned to the stage, and works as an actress and model to this day. She also volunteers with children, which would get an approving nod from Mother Teresa.