Friday, July 29, 2011

Just in time for 'Christmas in July'!

NUELOW Games presents another supplement for ROLF!--The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters: Santa vs. Santos vs. Jesus!

This WAS going to have been released earlier this week, but a pack of evil Mexican wrestlers stole the masterfile. However, editor L.L. Hundal chased them to their secret hideout in the hills outside Shanghai, defeated them in battle, and brought it back just in time!

Click here to get your copy today to make her pain and suffering and many bruises feel more worthwhile--and get it for 33% off the normal price. (Sales lasts until August 1.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

'The Devil Bat' flies again... for the first time!

I rarely pass along press releases on this blog, unless I'm plugging one of MY projects, but Peter H. Brothers' "Devil Bat Diary" sounds like so much fun, I want to help get the word out quickly... and I am presently up to my eyeballs in things that need to be done ASAP, so I don't have time to write something nice of my own.

I am going to assume sight-unseen that Brothers' book is a lot of fun. Not only does it springboard off of one of the better movies from PRC that featured one of Bela Lugosi's best performances, but the film's kinda-sorta sequel, "The Devil Bat's Daughter" was so disconnected from the facts as they appeared in the original movie that the space for telling the "true story" of the events in "The Devil Bat" as told by one of the characters in the film.

Without further ado, here's what the publicists have to say about the book. (And if you pick it up, please drop by and let me know what you thought of it; it can be purchased via the Amazon links at the bottom of this post in hard-copy or Kindle ebook formats.)

Inspired by the famous 1940 film, “Devil Bat Diary” (ISBN: 9-781461-070924), tells the “true” story of what “really” happened to the unhappy citizens of Heathville, Illinois, during that terrible prewar summer, as recorded in the long-suppressed journals of Chicago City Register’s principal newspaper correspondent, Jonathan “Johnny” Layton.

The Devil Bats were furry fiends created by a scientific genius who believes himself wrongfully relegated to concocting perfumes and colognes which he despises for wages not worth mentioning. So, as a means to an embittered end, he manufactures an evil ointment with a scent that so infuriates his giant bats to such an extent they feel compelled to tear the throats out of their unsuspecting victims.

“Devil Bat Diary” tells for the first time the full inside story of what took place in ways not possible to show to Production Code audiences back then: such as Chief Wilkins being in love with Layton, or that Mary was a religious lunatic, or that Maxine the French Maid does not was “zee Devil Bat” to be killed and that Layton and his partner “One-Shot” McGuire couldn’t stand the sight of each other!

Written to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the film’s release and dedicated to the eternal memory of Bela Lugosi, “Devil Bat Diary” is an unforgettably entertaining venture into a world filled with chirping Chiropterans, malicious murders, sacred sex and revolting revelations.

(Peter H. Brothers is also the author of “Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men – The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.”)

Click here to read my review of "The Devil Bat", and here to read about "The Devil Bat's Daughter".

Sunday, July 24, 2011

'Scream of the Butterfly': Sexploitation
with interesting twists

Scream of the Butterfly (1965)
Starring: Nelida Lobato, Nick Navarro, William Turner, Alan J. Smith, Robert Miller, and Richard Beebee
Director: Eber Lobato and Howard Veit
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Gorgeous and over-sexed Marla (Lobato) strings along her rich husband (Turner) while taking up with a hot boy-toy, David (Navarro), whom she meets on the beach. Soon, she is plotting to kill her husband so she can have the cash and the sex without the unnecessary complications. But her lover is two-timing as well... two-timing with someone far deadlier than Marla's milksop husband. Someone with whom he shares a dark secret.

When this film first appeared in 1965, I imagine that parts of it must have been quite a shock to the viewing audiences. The film's sexuality was a bit more pronounced than the norm at the time, and the hot guy that Marla takes up with is actually young, hot and hardbodied in contrast to the usual dumpy, middle-aged guys that adulterous women always seemed to take up with in film s like these. But the part that was really shocking, I'm sure, is the dark secret that her lover kept, and the nature of the lover that he was betraying with Marla.

Marla's boyfriend is bi-sexual and his main relationship is a homosexual one, with a domineering and psychopathic queen (played with chilling effectiveness by Alan J. Smith, who co-wrote the screenplay with Howard Veit). By revealing that, this is one of those rare occasions where I provide "spoilers", but it's such an unusual element for a film of that day that it is perhaps the main reason to see it. (Although I haven't given away all the film's secrets... there's another twist hiding between the opening and closing credits that I haven't spoiled.)

Another reason to see it is as an illustration of just how much attitudes have changed in the film industry in the decades that have passed. Despite the film's frankness about Marla's sex life, the creators get all skittish and circumspect when it comes to discussing homosexuality, something which makes the scenes of lawyers discussing what would be a fair and just punishment for him, now that he is a murderer. They never mention that David is homosexual and/or bi-sexual, even though they talk about wanting to spare him from having dirty laundry aired in pubic. These days, films will go into homosexuality and heterosexuality with equal abandon, but not so 45 years ago.

Quickly paced--even if a bit herky-jerky due to the fact the action is split between the "present-day" scenes of attorneys having a conference about a murder case, and the sexy flashback action of Marla frolicking about in very little clothing--the film is made even more entertaining by some consistently creative camerawork and direction that drive the story almost by themselves.

And, yes, it also helps immensely that Nelida Lobato is an actress with two huge talents that always seem like they're about to pop out of the outfits she's almost not wearing.

A favor to ask ....

I would like to ask a favor of any of you who have picked up a NUELOW Games release: Will you take a moment to assign a Star Rating to your purchase? (Especially if you liked it. Oh... and you all DO understand that ROLF! and supplements are intended to be funny, right? Some poor guy didn't....)

By the way, I am offering the original ROLF! game for free if you want to read something very silly and perhaps even play a stupid-simple RPG.

Click here to visit the NUELOW Games page at RPGNow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picture Perfect Wednesday: 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.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Noteworthy only for featuring the first
on-screen eye-ball eating and zombie-rape?

Maniac (aka "Sex Maniac") (1934)
Starring: Bill Woods, Horace B. Carpenter, Ted Edwards, Phyllis Diller, and Thea Ramsey
Director: Dwain Esper
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

Don (Woods), a mad doctor's assistant, kills his boss (Carpenter) in self-defense. Then, using his great skills as an impersonator, he pretends to be the doctor to cover up the crime long enough to dispose of the body. Things get worse and weirder from there.

"Maniac" is a loosely based on (well, I should probably say "ripped off from") Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat".

The filmmakers also pretend that they are giving us an intelligent tale of a man's descent into madness, like Poe's story "The Black Cat". As the film starts, our mad doctor's assistant is unwilling to even steal bodies for his boss's experiments in reanimating the dead, but by the film's end, he's plotting and executing all sorts of violence and depravity while laughing and carrying on in ways that made the dearly departed mad doctor Meirschultz look well adjusted.

I say it "pretends", because their true goal was to simply shock the audience as much as possible--and in 1934, this film would have been pretty damn shocking. The cat eyeball-poppling and eating scene is startling and appalling even when viewed with the very jaded eye of a modern movie viewer who's sat through hundreds of films along the lines of this one.

With copious nudity, a maniac raping a zombie girl, dancers walking around in their undies, perverted morgue attendants, cat-fur harvesting, and the aforementioned eyeball-eating scene, the film is clearly designed first and foremost to cram as much "objectionable" material into its 50-minute running time. I imagine this film showed in "adult" movie houses Back in the Day, and I can't help but wonder what the initial reaction might have been to it.

This can't be described as a good movie by any standards. It's even too dull to be suitable for a Bad Movie Nite--although there are admittedly plenty of moments of unintended hilarity from the overacting by just about every cast member and the horribly purple dialogue they deliver. However, if you want to see how even early filmmakers pushed far beyond the boundaries of good taste, "Maniac" is worth checking out. (I suspect it has some sort of place in cinematic history--"first eyeball-eating scene on film", or "first zombie-rape on film"?--so maybe all who consider themselves true cinema-buffs should check it out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Picture Perfect Special:
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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yes, I am available for commissions.

A great artist was lost to the world when I chose to become a writer....

That's a portrait of Bigfoet, the Tyrolian Yeti, as will be seen in the upcoming NUELOW Games release "Icing Oetzi: A ROLF! Historical Recreation".

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I got a little more elaborate than usual...

... with my cover design for the NUELOW Games edition of John Kendrick Bangs' "Alice in Blunderland".

I keep the cover images for the NUELOW releases very, very simple so they'll shrink down for display on sales listings on websites, and I think I may have outsmarted myself with this one. It doesn't shrink nearly as nicely as others. Still, I like the look.

If you follow politics at all, this book might actually be of interest to you. Although it was written in 1907, the jokes seem disturbingly relevant as Alice travels to a place where dimwitted politicos govern by whim and they view everyone and everything as their personal property. And that includes the teeth in people's heads and whatever they think of as their "private lives." Check it out. Plus, the $0.99 you'll spend goes to a great cause: Keeping me in house and home!

(BTW, I use the term "design" loosely when referring to the covers I make for the NUELOW Games products. All I do is make a logo, select art or photos from my archive [but limiting myself to the things I am certain I have clear rights to], and then put them together with a couple of graphics editing programs. As a graphic designer, I make a great movie and comics reviewer. Speaking of which... I'll have a new review up on this blog soon. It's been too long!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Picture Perfect Wednesday:
Cross-genre Weirdness on the Planet of the Apes

When I was a kid, among the first comics I owned and read were issues of Marvel's black-and-white "Planet of the Apes Magazine." One of the stories I loved the most, and bits of which I remember to this very day, was an epic tale of a time-traveler who sets out to rescue Taylor and the other astronauts stuck in the future... only to find himself stuck there, but in a place far weirder than any one they visited. And, like Camelot, perhaps even somewhat silly... as this title page shows.

Click on the image to see a larger version of that glorious Rico Rival splash page.

Joe Bloke at his wonderful Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures recently posted clear, legible scans of the entire tale and gave me the opportunity to read "Kingdom on an Island of the Apes" again for the first time since 1976 or so. And the jaded grognard that I am now loved it every bit as the tiny tyke I was then.

Click here to read this story by Doug Moench and Rico Rival that mixes sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book weirdness. It is one of the greatest tales to ever emerge from the House of Ideas. (Oh... and don't be frightened by the "adult content" warning. There are no naked boobies in this story.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Picture Perfect Special: A Matter of Quality

These pictures of actress Patty Shepard show that you can get an interesting effect if you make a high-quality scan of low-quality images. In this case, pictures from printed page in a magazine. Click on the pictures to see the full-sized versions.

The pictures were originally spotted on this Spanish horror blog. For more on Patty Shepard and her movies, visit the Terror Titans blog.

(And my thanks to Ms. Shepard for summing up the unifying theme of this blog.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh swish! Candies for Cuties!

Fashions of the 2000s, as envisioned by designers in the 1930s.

Wait until you see the male fashion; I believe that designer must have truly had the gift of prophecy. And that his or her Third Eye was gazing upon Seattle.

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