Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NO LEGS to Stand On: Saturday, June 1st, at midnight, You MUST see “Mr. No Legs”! (read more below)

If you are anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday, you must make your way to Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater to catch a super-rare, midnight-only screening of lost exploitation freakshow Mr. No Legs (also known as The Amazing Mr. No Legs—which is my preferred title).

Directed by Ricou Browning, this 1979 sleazeploitation anti-classic is set in the ugliest Tampa imaginable, and follows two grotesquely self-righteous police detectives (one with the obligatory porn-stache) tracking dope dealers and corrupt fellow cops, while trying to stay out of the clutches of unstoppable mob enforcer, Mr. No Legs, a martial arts master with many a violent trick hidden up his sleeves—and wheelchair.

Shotguns, switchblades, ninja stars and his fists are No Legs’ weapons, and if he’s outnumbered, there’s always a convenient swimming pool around to pull an assailant into where this hitman doesn’t need his legs to kill you.

Like the poster says, “Don’t cross him or he’ll cut you down to size!”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ray Harryhausen RIP—and the Movies of April 2013

Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013)
The Last of the Old School Special Effects Masters has passed away. Now Harryhausen joins Albert Whitlock, Derek Meddings, L.B. Abbott and a small handful of others creating special visual effects for the Afterlife—all without computers!

Big Ray was no hired hand, though:
Harryhausen’s was the rare case of the special effects man determining the path of the motion picture routinely—essentially acting as a hands-on producer (even the directors usually hired by him and partner Charles H. Schneer were non-entities: so as not to interfere?). His individualized, specific form of stop-motion animation is intractably tied to the movies they were in and vice versa.

There is a certain tone to Harryhausen’s flicks, combined with an extravagant but classical sense of fantasy that puts his name directly on the same level as George Pal and Walt Disney as the Masters of Family-Friendly Fantasy. You might consider it a level of “cheese” in Harryhausen’s wholesome enterprises, but it is extremely earnest, and absolutely charming—and drips with the hard work of one solitary man.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

LIE #85: This Evening, Scream along with God (or, Jesus Freaks vs. Bible Thumpers; Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?)

“Summon the AAAy-toner!”

Can your soul stand the theological implications of 1971’s The Night God Screamed?
You get old-school 42nd Street madness with this lost exploitation flick about the dangers of uncanny Bible-quoting hippies and the generation gap.
Deliciously nasty 1970s trash, and a great midnight movie!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

LIE #84: “Hurricane” Warning—Our Entry Into the Mary Astor Blogathon

[This post is part of the Mary Astor Blogathon, being sponsored by the fabulous Silver Screenings site and our new best friend Tales of the Easily Distracted—both superb sites you should visit regularly. This tribute to Mary Astor runs from May 3rd to May 10th.]

One of the first “disaster movies”—from even before the term existed—1937’s The Hurricane is a melodrama about two South Sea islander lovers separated by the cruel twists of their oppressors’ laws—until Mother Nature clobbers everyone in the penultimate reel.

A fan of the Disaster genre, I was looking forward to The Hurricane, but man! Like a white-trash family living in a trailer park in Florida, Texas or Louisiana, I should have known better.

Mary Astor is billed third in the film, but if you’re a fan of her work, you’d do better by watching The Maltese Falcon or The Palm Beach Story for the umpteenth time instead of this depressing mess.

Friday, May 3, 2013

In Praise of Jack Kirby (and we've been given the LIEBSTER AWARD—Huzzah!) (Spraining My Arm Patting Myself on the Back Edition)

LERNER INTERNATIONAL ENTERPRISES is lucky enough to have had the Liebster Award bestowed on it by that absolutely perfect blog, The Girl With the White Parasol, and we here in the LIE control room, say THANK YOU, and send many, many delicious telepathic chocolates her way!!!
More on The Liebster in a moment, but first, the illustrations for this post: you might be asking, What’s with all the Jack Kirby?

Well, The King (Mr. Kirby’s nickname—and shame on you if you didn’t know that) is the answer to one of the Liebster’s questions (see below) because he is one of my favorite artist/writer/storytellers ever.

Kirby’s is a clunky, yet beautiful and psychedelic style that has always stirred my imagination—not only was his art cosmic, so were his tales: supreme super-weirdness from beyond space and time, with storylines that were never mundane. No simple stopping of bank robbers for Kirby! It was routinely gods vs. man vs. demons, with the soul of the universe in the balance!