Monthly Archives: May 2009

Linger longer II: The Legend of Jimmy’s Gold

Opie and Anthony fans are well acquainted with Jim Norton’s multi-talented character, “Ted Sheckler.” In this installment, Ted looks back on his career as a ghost hunter. First we have the full-length (audio only) version uploaded by Yarsh29:

As with most great Youtube videos, neither of these are “work safe.” By way, am I the only one who’s noticed that all the ghost hunters on television basically act like Ted? Despite going to places for the sole purpose of looking for evidence of the paranormal, they run away screaming bloody murder if anything actually happens!

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Oh May! George Takei and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

I recently discovered that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Seeing as the GdL strives to be all-inclusive, I haven chosen to celebrate by devoting this entry to the famous Japanese-American named George Takei. Although most people think of him as “Lt. Hikaru Sulu” from Star Trek or the funny guy who joked about raping Tim Hardaway, Mr. Takei has done so much more than that in the world of horror/sci-fi.

George Hosato Takei (now George Hosato Takei Altman)was born in Los Angeles, California during the year 1937. He began his Hollywood career doing uncredited dubbing work for the American versions of Rodan (1957-US version) and Gigantis the Fire Monster (1959-US version) (aka Godzilla Raids Again). Decades later, Takei would reveal the rationale for the bizarre (and out-of-date) “banana oil” line during an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Another noteworthy event in his early acting career was his appearance on a controversial (and somewhat supernatural) episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Encounter” in 1964. Perhaps drawing upon the time when his family and he were forced to live in internment camps during World War II, Takei played a young Japanese-American and the tension he faces with a racist WWII veteran.

In 1966, he got a part on a show that made him famous: Star Trek (1966-1969). Not surprisingly, he also appeared in the animated series (1973-1974), the various Star Trek movies (1979-1991) and an appearance on Star Trek: Voyager (1996). His fame from the Trek franchise (and his talent) also led to appearances in other genre films and television shows, such as his appearances in the sci-fi western films Oblivion (1994) and Oblivion II: Backlash (1996). This was followed by an appearance on the television series Space Cases (1997) and a part in the movie Bug Buster (1998). More recently, he has appeared in AI Assault (2006), the short film Showdown of the Godz (2008), an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2009) and a role in the animated movie Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword (2009). Personally, I find his role in Showdown of the Godz to be particularly interesting, as be plays the fictional owner of the real-life Monster Sushi restaurant.

For those who want to read about the non sci-fi/horror aspects of George Takei’s life and career (including his work in politics), I recommend visiting the following:

The Official George Takei website
George Takei’s IMDB profile
George Takei’s Wikipedia entry

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

What better way for Gravedigger’s Local 16 to celebrate this fine day than to pay tribute to K. Gordon Murray? Not only was he the son of a funeral parlor director, but he’s also responsible for bringing tons of Mexican horror movies to the America. If not for him, many would not have experienced weird and wonderful films like The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, The Brainiac, Doctor of Doom, and The Vampire’s Coffin. He was also the first person to introduce the greatness that is El Santo to English-speaking audiences, albeit renamed as “Samson.” To learn more about Mr. Murray and the films he distributed, check out “The Wonder World of K. Gordon Murray” and his Wikipedia entry.

Old news and new news

I was talking with the Abominable N. Oremac recently about the upcoming A Nightmare on Elm Street remake and he informed me that Variety has reported that Jackie Earle Haley is going to be the new Freddy Krueger. Although I’m glad the oft-rumored for the role Billy Bob Thornton didn’t get the part, I would have cast Ryan Stiles. I know it’s an odd-sounding choice, but the man looks eerily like Robert Englund did in his younger days. Then again, I wouldn’t have even greenlit the remake if it were up to me.

Remember that post I did about the “Lost Collection” from Lionsgate? Well, I have some bad news. The Amazon.com reviews for the Slaughter High DVD reveal that the transfer is full frame and poor looking. In fact, it sounds like they just reused the print from the 2007 FEARnet showing. Unless this was truly the only print that was available (including checking for old theatrical prints), this is simply inexcusable. I’m shocked that Lionsgate took such a gigantic step backward.

Speaking of Fearnet, I noticed that the latest updates for the Comcast cable version include Phantasm II and all the Toxic Avenger movies. All I can say is: HELL. YES.

Wait, that’s not true. I can also note how this (and the recent showing of the first and fourth Toxic Avenger movies on G4) destroys Lloyd Kaufman’s theory of cable channels having some sort of anti-Troma grudge. Personally, I suspect that the reason cable channels weren’t trying to play Troma stuff around that time was due to the fact that DirecTV already had the licenses. It’s nothing personal against Mr. Kaufman or Troma, but that comment from the interview always bothered me.

While we’re on the subject of OnDemand, I recommend also checking the other “Free Movies” sections rather than just sticking to FEARnet. For example, Pumpkinhead and The White Buffalo can be found there, but not in the “FEARnet” section. Also Movieplex (under the “Premium Channels” section) has a bunch of (free) horror and science fiction titles, including the complete Planet of the Apes film series.

IFC has a Friday night (technically early Saturday) “grindhouse” slot at midnight where they play lots of cult films. Although they show recent horror films and non-horror stuff, they also have been known to play oldies but goodies like Goke, Bodysnatcher from Hell. You can check out their grindhouse scheduling information here.

I’ve noticed that both AMC and the Sci-Fi channel seem to give really inconvenient late night/early morning timeslots (both for the initial showings and repeats) to the sort of older horror/sci-fi films I’m interested in. Sci-Fi is the worst of the two, as it plays those sorts of films at 4:00 am and never does a repeat showing. My guess is that AMC’s trying to emulate the late night slots for horror films of the old days while Sci-Fi is burning off titles they’ve licensed, under the idea that less people would turn in for an “old” movie if they aired it during normal hours. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch stuff like Frankenstein meets the Space Monster than reruns of Lost or Breaking Bad.

That reminds me, I’m stunned that Sci-Fi’s decision to change their name to “SyFy” isn’t some sort of April Fools’ joke (link provided by N. Oremac). Apparently this is since they can’t trademark the term “Sci-Fi” since it’s too commonplace (more on that here). I honestly don’t see why they consider that such a big deal. After all, they already own the scifi.com domain name and could have trademarked the phrase “The Sci-Fi Channel” instead. They could have taken after the Canadian equivalent of their channel by giving it a one word name, trademarking the name, and then adding “The Sci-Fi Channel” as a subtitle. Or if they wanted to be smartasses, they could’ve trademarked “sciffy,” a nickname often used by people online to make fun of the channel.

But I digress. Getting back on topic, I didn’t see any particularly interesting movie listings for Sci-Fi this weekend in my TV listings, but I did find some stuff on AMC tonight:

King Kong (70’s remake) 11:30-2:30 am
And Now the Screaming Starts 2:30-4:30 am (early Saturday)
Blood of Dracula 4:30-6:00 am (early Saturday)

For those not in the Eastern/Standard time area, please check your local listings or AMC’s website for the times.

Since I’m doing cable TV schedules, here’s what’s playing on “This TV” tomorrow:

Amityville II: The Possession 8:00-10:00 pm
Amityville 3D 10:00-12:00 am
The Angry Red Planet 12:00-2:00 am (early Sunday)
Attack of the Puppet People 2:00-4:00 am (early Sunday)

Sunday:

The Comedy of Terrors 11:00-1:00 pm
Twice Told Tales 1:00-3:30 pm
Tower of London 3:30-5:00 pm
The Haunted Palace 5:00-7:00 pm
Madhouse 7:00-9:00 pm
The Oblong Box 9:00-11:00 pm
Theater of Blood 11:00-1:00 am
Cry of the Banshee 1:00-3:00 am (early Monday)

I should note that, based on my briefly watching Once Bitten on the channel last month, that there are commercial breaks and some films might be edited for content. As I noted in the AMC listings, all times given are Eastern/Standard and people in other areas should check their local listings or the This TV website for the times.