With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Thirty-Four: Five Days in Disasterville with Mr. Fonda

Henry Fonda…Cinematic Icon Nonpareil. No barter, no quarrel, no bullsh*t, no sweat. You can’t raise a finger against a man who made many turns driving the Magicmobile during The Days of Black-and-White Cinema. He ranks with Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, John Wayne, Clark Gable, and Kirk Douglas as Pillars of Unflappable Stoicism and Paragons of Finesse.

However…when do the capitalized sobriquets get dragged underneath the earth by the Z-Grade? When did Mr. Fonda encounter an opponent too redoubtable, too stentorian, and too mythologically insurmountable to repudiate, fettering Fonda into (potentially) career-razing enslavement???

The name of this unholy warden is…the 1970s.

However, we mustn’t fret, Fondaholics…I exist/post this frosty Friday evening to celebrate these slight detours ol’ Hank took into the Aberration En Vogue called the Disaster Movie Craze, a stickiness that similarly ensnared many of Fonda’s contemporaries. Hey, kids, it’s rock and roll time again with Deliberately Bad Cinema; what do the Dee-jays say….ah, yes…*ahem*…

CRANK IT UP AND RIP OFF THE KNOB!!!!

1. Rollercoaster (1977): Henry Fonda on the periphery of a battle between George Segal and the “Young Man” (unnamed in the movie) with an explosive, time-released animosity towards Hanna-Barbera. “There’s a bomb on the rollercoaster…what do you do, hotshot?” Released under the Cloak of Darkness unleashed by that sci-fi flick with the chick and the guy and the hairy guy and the heavy breathing guy and Hey Look That British Guy From the Hammer Horror Movies, “Rollercoaster” was modestly successful, but “Rollercoaster II: Loop da Loop da DIE” never crawled outta the birth canal…:

2. Tentacles (1977): OHMYGODSUCHAGREATMOVIE!! <—Obligatory Gushing Appreciation for an entry into the "When Animals Attack" sub-genre of the Disaster Movie Craze…Henry Fonda's mining company has been using "unregulated radio signals" (<–translation: the music of Styx) haphazardly, thus enraging an octopus to eat a baby, a sailor, a scuba diver, and a slew of regatta racers. THE FIRST VICTIM IS A BABY! IT IS AKIN TO HYPNOSIS WHEN ONE IS NOT PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF CHANGING THE CHANNEL OR THE DVD!!:

If the plot bothers you, stick around for this infectious groove that harmonizes the death scene of Octopus vs. Regatta racers…

3. The Swarm (1978): Fonda’s in a wheelchair as the requisite “old fart/martyr” scientist. Buzzbuzzbuzz, well, the buzz quickly died on this flick. Irwin Allen’s first legitimate failure remains interesting as a movie where A-listers flail, wither, and collapse against killer bees that more closely resemble irradiated Maxwell House grounds than anything conjured by Belushi, Blair, and Brunzell (I hope you catch the references!), and also a movie that surprisingly didn’t vacuum-seal the coffin of many entrants, Michael Caine highest on this list. Yea, verily, Sir Michael was destined for loftier, meatier roles…such as that of Hoagie Newcombe in “Jaws: the Revenge”. Wow.

4. Meteor (1979): Fonda is the President of the United States – cool, mellow, and grandfatherly as he advises prayer and gin’n’tonics for Earth, soon to be obliterated by a recalcitrant asteroid. Sean Connery shows his hairline, and Natalie Wood is a Soviet interpreter, Black Widow beyond Scarlet’s aspirations. In movies such as these, the asteroid/meteor/comet/flaming chicken of death is the true star, and the human beings are the cole slaw. Did I mention I dig cole slaw?

5. City on Fire (1979): Hard to find on VHS and not yet (nevereverever!) available on DVD, this Canadian submission earned stinkbombs-a-plenty upon arrival, barely eking $800,000 at the cinemaplex to meet its million-dollar budget. Fonda doesn’t cave under the pressure of serving as Fire Chief, dispensing warnings on TV and wrinkling his face when prompted. I could not find a trailer for this monstrosity, rather a lackluster and lachrymose affair for a movie about a raging inferno, but I present this snippet for your amusement, a ridiculous romp by a bathrobe-clad ne’er-do-well down the thoroughfare of City Afire, fate kinda friggin’ obvious, but, what the hey, it’s just fiction, right? Go-Go-Gadget-Sh*thead!

Moral: Sometimes, Heroes Don’t Ask for the Glory…Sometimes, the Glory Gets Thrust Upon Them, Via a Swarm of Bees, an Asteroid Dangling from an Invisible Wire (HA!), or a Disgruntled Joyride Enthusiast. Henry Fonda’s greatest role in the late 70’s was his portrayal of Steve Miller: he took the money and ran. Bad Pun, Bad Movies, Good Night.

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Supremely Excellent Bryan Lee O’Malley & Kevin Tong ‘Battle Royale’ Poster for Mondo

battleroyaleregularspan I am, of course, angling to get my grubby mitts on my own personal copy of this poster. But as it turns out, this time you can’t just buy the poster from Mondo (never the easiest task in the first place); no, this is a promo item created in tandem with Tugg (who?) to get the word out for self-hosted showings of the Japanese cult classice, Battle Royale.

Modern Borefare’s already thrown its reversible-Cthulu hat/mask into the ring to host a screening; more information if we actually manage to pull this off. Just in case, clear your schedule for the 2nd and 3rd Saturday’s of April. You’ve been put on notice; I WANTS THAT POSTER.

via CA

Friday Night Flix: The Devil’s Rock

DevilsRock1

Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Every week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie that’s currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every one is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. The Devil’s Rock (free on Netflix, $2.99 on Amazon) is NOT about the dangers of smoking crack. It would have been a great name for a movie about demonic drugs but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Move past it.

DevilsRock2The Devil’s Rock is the story of two Kiwi commandos in World War II who- Okay, let’s just stop for a moment. First off, was New Zealand even involved in WWII? Was it even a country then? Second, it had an army big enough to support specialized commando units? Were they made up of hobbits???

HA! That was a trick. You were probably thinking some of that stuff too, weren’t you? Well I’ll have you know the mighty New Zealand military declared war on Germany years before the U.S. got its sorry ass in gear. Over 200,000 New Zealand…ites served during WWII and 11,000 gave their lives. According to Wikipedia that’s 0.8% of their entire population. If America had the same casualty rates, we’d have lost over a million men.

DevilsRock3Sorry about that. I felt obliged to get all history channel there because I myself laughed at the idea of Kiwi commandos sabotaging a Nazi fortress in the middle of the ocean. I scoffed at the obviously tight budget and the weird accents, including the head German officer, whose English sounds a wee bit too New Zealandy. And I double scoffed at an unheralded foreign horror movie trying to carve out a stake in the well explored territory of Nazi occultism. But Devil’s Rock manages to be a little scary, a little gory, and totally engaging. It’s certainly horror but it’s almost like a filmed stage play. The major draw is the tense relationship of the two main actors who, dialect quibbles aside, are really quite wonderful. And I adore the idea that iron is the only material that can restrain evil. Fuck silver man, that shit is IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.

Added Bonuses: casual demonic nudity has me praying for a stateside remake just so there can eventually be a porn parody called The Devil’s Rack.DevilsRock4

What in Tarnation: Age of Ultron Teaser

1360335689 While cool looking, I can’t help but think: didn’t Marvel already do this with Age of Apocalypse? And the Amalagam stunt?

Here’s what Brian Michael Bendis told CBR about the event:

“In ‘Age of Ultron,’ we’re confronting one of the legacies of a founding member of the Avengers who created this artificial intelligence, that since its creation has been planning the end of our world. It’s been just a matter of time before he gets smart enough to do it — and ‘Age of Ultron’ is the day he gets smart enough to do it. [T]here’s a big, grand disaster story being told. That’s going to be the fun of it. Overall though, there’s certainly a theme of technology, responsibility and legacy. Any level of Marvel character can bring something into this that could be the greatest thing ever or the worst thing ever.”