Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Movie Music Musings – Horrifying John Williams

Ask film music fans about horror film scores and you’ll hear a few composer names pop up almost immediately. Bernard Herrmann and his work with Hitchcock will leap to mind. Jerry Goldsmith crafted some amazing work for The Omen and Poltergeist. Christopher Young is the current master of horror music from the creepy music for The Grudge and the bombastic thrills of Drag Me to Hell. Even Hans Zimmer has taken on the genre with some really intense music for the Hollywood version of The Ring.

But one name you don’t hear too often related to horror scores is the maestro himself, John Williams. This has more to do with the type of films that Williams gets attached to and isn’t a commentary on his skills. Williams has provided some excellent scores to thrillers and individual cues in the Harry Potter films and Jurassic Park have some excellent moments of tension and fear. But these days, Williams works primarily in dramas and fantasies.

You have to journey back in his career, right when it was really taking off, to hear some of his most interesting horror music. The 1970s were fruitful time for a more experimental side to Williams work. He hadn’t been locked quite into the full Golden Age mode he achieved with Star Wars and Superman. But you can hear hints of those scores in some of this work. Instead, this is a Williams fresh from The Towering Inferno and the Poseidon Adventure.


1975 kicked it off with one of the most famous monster movies of the decade: Jaws. The movie isn’t wall-to-wall horror, in fact Williams provides the film with a wonderful nautical heroic theme for Chief Brody and his band. But everyone remembers the shark motif, something so simple and primal that it actually builds on images and makes them even more impressive. This motif gets quite a workout in the film, sneaking in and out of the music and building to terrifying levels. This rerecording for the Boston Pops conducted by Williams himself is a treat. Love how the audience chuckles as soon as they recognize it.


In 1977 Williams worked on Close Encounters of a Third Kind. Again his music played a big role in the finale of the film, with his communication theme become instantly memorable. But in the first half of the film, Williams scored the movie like it is a horror film. One of the most terrifying scenes in the movie, is the abduction of young Barry. Williams pulls out all the stops raising the tension to amazingly horrifying levels and making a wonderfully discordant and disturbing track. For real fun, play this back to back with Jerry Goldsmith’s Twisted Abduction track from Poltergeist for a nasty one-two punch.


The next year saw Williams score a sequel to Jaws but more interesting is his work on the Brian Depalma thriller The Fury. Williams creates a lovely main theme that starts off so quietly and then build and builds in power as it carries along. The end credits version is really something else. What is great about this whole score is that Williams takes lots of inspiration from Bernard Herrmann, almost giving The Fury a Hitchcockian feel when it comes the music. For my money this is easily one of Williams best scores of the decade. And yeah this decade includes some of his most impressive work.



In 1979 Williams got to write music for one of the most famous of all horror icons: Dracula. With Frank Langella as the bloodsucker and Lawrence Olivier as Van Helsing, well this was something else. The score has a gothic romantic sweep to it, but remains pure John Williams. In fact, you can hear ideas in this score that would be fleshed out further in The Empire Strikes Back during the Cloud City sequences. Sadly this score has never gotten a good release. The archival sound quality is pretty bad. Film score fans are hoping for some good quality recordings to be found, or to have a full rerecording supervised by the Maestro at some point in the future. That said, it is clear that Williams has the chops to craft excellent horror scores, you just have to know where to look.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Void (2016)

Introduction:

I’m always on the lookout for horror films with a Lovecraftian feel to them. But it is pretty tough to find movies that really capture the feeling of cosmic horror. Then I heard about this film which combined elements from The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness two of John Carpenter’s more Lovecraftian films. This sounded like just the kind of horror movie I could get behind, but were all the rumors true, or was the real eldritch horror the fact that the film doesn’t quite measure up to the hype?

Summary:

Officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) is having a rough night. He finds an injured man on the road and takes him to the nearby hospital. Unfortunately, the hospital is undergoing renovation and is operating with a skeleton crew. Luckily Dr. Powell (Kenneth Welsh) is on hand to help. But the injured man seems a bit, well... crazy is the best word for it.

Then everything goes south quickly as two deranged men enter the hospital with an arsenal of guns. They are after the injured man with murder on their minds. Then the hospital is surrounded by hooded figures with strange symbols on their robes. Officer Carter finds himself trying to make sense of the motivations behind these interlopers and some of the hospital staff. As things escalate bodies mutate, offerings are made and a door to The Void is being opened. Does Officer Carter stand a chance in any dimension of stopping the insanity?

Good Points:
  • Impressive visual and make up effects
  • Handles the crazed cultist and dimensional horror really well
  • Manages to capture some really disturbing moments. 
Bad Points:
  • None of the characters feel quite fleshed out.
  • Pacing feels off for most of the movie
  • Lovecraft fans may be disappointed at the movie not quite meeting its potential
Overall:

Love the concept behind the film. It really nails that Lovecraftian feel of cultists attempting to bring about trans-dimensional forces into our world. Unfortunately the execution doesn’t quite hit on all cylinders. The pacing feels off for nearly the entire film. If it had slowed down, and built up to the tension instead of going full bore with the intensity it might have worked better. But the impressive visual effects and practical creatures and gore makeup work really well. This movie has some real gross visuals, and is worth a watch for fans who like their cosmic horror with a dash of graphic violance.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals:  4
Sound: 4
Acting:  3
Script:  3
Music: 3
Direction: 3
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

28 Days Later… (2002)

Introduction:

Danny Boyle is a director with a distinct visual style that always engages the viewer at some level. Sometimes the film itself doesn’t always work, but no director is perfect.  These days most people seem to talk about Trainspotting or Slumdog Millionaire when discussing Boyle’s career. Not too many folks mention this one, but 28 Days Later… may be the film that kicked off a whole new era of zombie flicks.

Summary:

Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens naked and alone in a hospital. After he leaves his room, he stumbles around the building finding it deserted. When he steps outside into London itself, he finds the once teeming streets completely empty. Jim is desperately confused until he runs into a group of enraged humans rushing at him with blood dripping from their eyes and mouth. Jim is saved by Selena (Naomie Harris) and learns that a devastating plague has spread through England that turns humans into ranting raving killing machines. Get any blood inside you and you are done for.

Jim and Selena begin a journey of survival that takes them out of London and possibly toward some kind of rescue to the north. Along the way they meet Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) as well as Major West (Christopher Eccleston sans sonic screwdriver). Is there any hope of survival or is this only the beginning of the end of the world?

Good Points:
  • Captures the feeling of bleak dread
  • Excellent acting by a committed cast
  • Some intense camera work and style

Bad Points:
  • Those looking for non-stop zombie thrills will find some of the movie slow
  • The second half of the film may annoy some viewers
  • The visual style may be too intense for some viewers 

Overall:

This is the film that brought about the whole “fast zombie” craze that dominated the horror genre for a while. So depending on how you feel about that, you may dislike this film on principle. But beyond the impact to the genre, you have a very intense well-made horror film. The scenes of Jim wandering a vacant London are chilling. The movie also does a good job of presenting its theme of human capacity to always find a new way to delve deeper into darkness. Makes for a nice alternative to the usual zombie fare, and Boyle’s stylistic direction brings it all together.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals:  4
Sound: 4
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


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Friday, October 6, 2017

Anime Juke Box - Mirai-Seiki Maruti Club - Boogiepop Phantom

Yep it is October again and that means I get to write about one of my favorite anime series: Boogiepop Phantom. Well I have a whole review of the series out there if you are curious (and if you like fractured horror narratives you really should check it out).

The music for the series is all over the place, including industrial electronic sound design, techno tracks, a 70s jazz inspired opening credit piece called Evening Showers and of course Wagner opera. But today I'm going to share the end credits. It is a angry rock song performed by Kyoko called Marai-Seiki Maruti Club. Not sure what it means, but the lead singer is awfully passionate about it. Like everything else with Boogiepop Phantom it doesn't seem like it should fit a horror series, but it works. When it kicks in for the end credits it just feels right. So enjoy this little bit of J-rock with an attitude.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Shivers (1975)

Introduction:

David Cronenberg is one of those directors that really seems to polarize viewers His early work can be especially disturbing to folks, especially something like Videodrome. But I really do like what I’ve seen from him. He’s one of those directors who plays with particular themes, has a specific style and tone. So I was interested in seeing his first feature length film and get an idea of how it all started.

Summary:

The film begins with an advertisement a grand new block of luxury apartments with everything a tenant needs right inside the building. Since these apartments are on an island, it is an added convenience for the residents to never have to travel to the mainland for anything. There is even a clinic on hand to help with any issues you may have. Dr. Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton) is running into a few problems today. He’s seen several patients with strange growths in their abdomens.

But when his mentor Dr. Hobbes (Fred Doederlein) is found dead over the mutilated corpse of a young woman he becomes really disturbed. Some digging reveals that Hobbes and his colleague Linsky (Joe Silver) were working with parasites as an alternative to organ transplant. Hobbes decided to experiment on human… and it all went downhill from there. St. Luc becomes convinced that the parasites are multiplying in the apartments and warping the minds of the residents. Does he have any hope of stopping the infection, or will he fall prey to it? Horror favorite Barbara Steele is on hands to add to the Shivers.

Good Points:

  • Creates a disturbing concept and runs with it.
  • Has some excellent moments of dread and unease
  • Takes straight aim at the free love concept

Bad Points:

  • Never quite feels as claustrophobic as it wants to be
  • A few moments are more funny than scary
  • Feels a bit exploitative and trashy at times

Overall:

Cronenberg’s main concept and themes are ready and raring to go in this film. The concepts of parasites spreading among the population of the apartment building, is creepy enough. But to have them spread like some venereal disease and increase the libido of the host makes it even more disturbing. There’s plenty of gross out moments in the film. But there are a few limitations because of the budget. The setting doesn’t feel as closed off as it could, and sometimes the parasite attacks looks silly. But overall there is enough here to get under your skin and see that Cronenberg was a talent to be watched, even in a movie as exploitative as this one.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 3
Music: 2
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


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Friday, September 29, 2017

Starcrash (1978) – MST3K Review

Summary:

The Emperor of the Universe (Christopher Plummer) has it rough. He sent a top secret scouting mission to find the evil Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell) and his super weapon. But the scout ship was lost with all hands, including Prince Simon (David Hasselhoff). Without the location of the secret base, the universe is doomed to even more ridiculous outfits.

Luckily the beautiful outlaw Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and her navigator (and resident know it all) Akton (Maroe Gortner) have the skills to help out. After some persuading by the gruff Chief Thor (Robert Tessier) and his country western robot Elle (Judd Hamilton with the voice of Hamilton Camp – no I’m not making this up), the four begin their quest. Along the way they will find strange new worlds, face off against amazons and troglodytes, witness the horrors of lava lamp creatures and unleash the power of Stella’s space bikini. Science Fiction will never the same again.

Movie Review:

Stella is ready for space adventure!
I watched and reviewed this movie a few years ago, and it instantly became one of my favorite bad movies. Starcrash hits a level I like to think of as beautifully bad. It is a movie that is completely entertaining in its ineptitude, lovely in its horrible acting, plot points, framing, lighting and overall aesthetic. It is a wonder to behold, and one of the rare types of movies that is artful because of the way it fails. Not too many movies can achieve such twisted perfection. Some examples include Samurai Cop for action movies, and Hawk the Slayer or the Ferrigno Hercules would be a good fit for fantasy films. But I may go out on a limb and say that Starcrash is the queen of them all.

The most impressive set in the film.
One look at the date this film was released, and you know exactly what it was going for: Star Wars. But like many of the cash-in films released during this era, Starcrash knows only that Star Wars was popular, but not the reasons why it worked overall. It tries so hard to please and entertain, and in some ways it does, but never in the way it intends to. At each turn, Starcrash goes hard left when it should go right, and you end up with a movie that is as bizarre as it is ridiculous.

Where to begin? Lets start with the overall visual approach to the film. Star Wars was famous for going for a “used universe” style with its visuals. It avoided the shiny newness that 2001: A Space Odyssey perfected. Instead it had a lived in look, something that grounded the science fiction and fantasy of George Lucas’ world.

Leaping cavemen! Are we in the right movie? Is this
Cave Dwellers?
Starcrash goes in a different direction, something that feels closer to comic books and specifically European comic books. The space opera is a ripe genre in European comics and with artists like Jean Giraud who worked on Heavy Metal and whose style influenced The Fifth Element and Blade Runner. It is no surprise that the visuals in Starcrash look more like these films, than they look like Star Wars or even the Star Trek television series.

The visuals are eye popping with the amount of color on display. Creatures like the red blob monsters and the energy weapons used seem to leap of the screen. The costumes are outlandish and over the top. Stella is sexy, so she has to dress in a space bikini. Count Zarth Arn is eeeeeviiiillll so he has to dress in black. And then there is the Emperor of the Universe himself, looking like a high priest of a metallic pagan festival… or space god… or something. Make up follows the same path, with so much color that it distracts more than compliments. And this being the disco era… well you know exactly what to expect.

Hyperspace looks cherry flavored.
The visual effects are all over the place. Starcrash does use a variety of techniques to bring the universe to life. None of them are very convincing, but all of them are a lot of fun. The previously mentioned red blobs look like a lava lamp superimposed over action. You get stop motion robots of various sizes. There are plenty of space ship models. A lot of them look like obvious kit bashing (again making you appreciate how good the ships in Star Wars looked). You even have a lightsaber that Akton wields in a couple scenes. The scenes where the ships travel through hyperspace involve some really bizarre visuals that may have been inspired by the star-gate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sound effects end up in the same boat. Lots of creative stuff, and some of it is pretty goofy sounding. But it isn’t as bad as the fight sound effects in something like Angels' Revenge so that is positive. I do wonder when it comes to sound effects in this era of Star Wars rip offs, if the creators realized how difficult it was to come up with unique sounds for everything. Or if they just sorted through the sound effects library and pulled out something that seemed to fit.

"Well of course I'm evil. Look at my clothes!"
Now there is an elephant in the room, and it has a 007 on its trunk. When it came to the music to Starcrash the creators wanted to capture that golden age sound that John Williams so masterfully captured. So they went to John Barry. Yes, that John Barry, the man who gave us memorable scores to Goldfinger, Dances with Wolves and The Lion in Winter. At the time Barry was dealing with some tax issues, so it is possible that Barry took the job for financial reasons only. But maybe he figured he might as well have some fun with the score.

"What do you mean I'm overdressed?"
Barry actually scored three science fiction films in the late 1970s, and all of them have similar tone and style. Starcrash has an easy going melodic feel to much of its score. Even the action music is dominated by whole notes and slow but deliberate pace. This is a style that Barry came to rely on around this point in his career (although you can hear the seeds of it as far back as The Lion in Winter). These long slow themes give everything in Starcrash an overly majestic and momentous quality. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it makes everything a bit more ridiculous. There are even a few callbacks to other famous scores. His main theme was certainly inspired by John Williams. And during a scene where Akton battles cavemen, Barry uses a fanfare that nearly mimics the famous Strauss piece from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Compared to his similar scores for Moonraker and The Black Hole it is probably the least of the three, but Barry fans will enjoy it.

"I think we'd get out of here faster if you call KITT."
And now we come to the acting. For a movie that is more Barbarella and less Close Encounters of a Third Kind it is a bit hard to judge. You get the feeling that the cast involved in Starcrash knew exactly what type of movie they were making. So there is a spirit of fun overlaying the whole thing. But you also get moments where you can tell the cast is losing interest (especially Gortner who is obviously staring off into a corner in some scenes). But I have to say Caroline Munro is giving it a great try, balancing sexy and tough fairly well. Hasselhoff also seems to be giving the silly film a solid effort, delivering some very ripe dialogue at times.

But my favorite performances are by Joe Spinell and Christopher Plummer. Spinell embraces his dark side as Count Zarth Arn. He is the opposite of subtle, and seems to be having a great time ranting, raving and chewing all the scenery he can find. His flourishes with his cape, his eye-popping anger and his booming voice all make him a highlight of Starcrash. Yes Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon was impressivly evil, but Zarth here, he’s just bombastically evil.

"Am I that transparent?"
On the opposite end is The Emperor of the Universe. Plummer also seems to be embracing and ludicrous nature of the plot, the characters and his costume. He delivers long speeches with his wonderful Shakespearean diction. Many of his lines are so stupid, and yet Plummer makes them sound so overly important (and John Barry’s music boosts them even further). It is an amazing mixture of stately and silly. Plummer is having a good time and you can’t help but enjoy his time on the screen, even when he is monologuing whole chunks of silly exposition.

Most of the acting is fairly broad across the board. Gortner bursts with zest and energy. Robert Tessier growls and glowers as Thor, who could be a prototype for Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy, you know, if he was in a cheap rip off of that movie. And then you have Judd Hamilton stumbling around and flailing as the robot hero Elle with the country fried voice acting of Hamilton Camp to give everything just that added touch of the surreal.

Stella is looking for Diana... wrong planet.
Like most of these type of knock off movies, not a lot of time was spent fleshing out a good script or solid characters. The idea was to rush something into the theaters as quickly as possible to cash in on a popular film. Starcrash certainly has those problems. But it also seems to really be into the idea of capturing the feel of some of the more experimental European space comics of the time. And maybe I’m giving the movie more credit than it deserves. But comics like Heavy Metal often featured stories where the plot flowed from one event to another with very little connective tissue. There weren’t established characters, but archetypes thrown into outlandish and visually expressive situations. The focus was on letting the visuals carry the mood and plot, such as it was. This is not at all like what we are used to in North America and especially in a Hollywood film. In fact it is the main different between Star Wars and Starcrash. Star Wars was inspired by plot centric serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Starcrash may have been inspired by material that was less concerned with plot and more concerned with imaginative visuals and sexy women shooting robots.

Frosted freaks?
With that in mind Starcrash actually captures that feel very well. The script does this strange thing where it has a simple concept, and yet feels overly convoluted. Our heroes have to find and stop the villain. But the journey to find him takes the form of a puzzle, taking them to different worlds to work it out (and that ignores the first third of the movie setting all this up). In some ways it is like the search for the Galactic Leyline in the anime series Outlaw Star. But that series managed to build clues over its 28 episodes. Starcrash isn’t that clever. It just has our heroes happen into things, or just have Akton reveal another power we didn’t know he had and figure things out.

Pumaman in a special appearance.
That is my main gripe with this movie. We have Stella Star who we are told is this fearless space outlaw. She does get a few good moments, especially during the prison break and on the planet of the Amazons. But about halfway through, Akton becomes our main character. He starts figuring everything out. He’s always right (and always smug about it). He starts obtaining all kinds of crazy powers like deflecting lasers with his hands and conjures a lightsaber out of nothing. Akton even gets to have a Disney fake-out death moment. Stella gets relegated to the sidelines making googly eyes at Hasselhoff. It is an odd turn of events and I’m not sure if that reflects the script or just how things ended up after editing.

Evil gets ready to fight. But are they ready for Akton?
Starcrash is a bad movie, but it an entertaining one. That might have to do with the fact that man directing it knew exactly how silly this whole thing was and didn’t care. Luigi Cozzi has made a career of making these kinds of movies including the Lou Ferrigno Hercules films and a knock off of Alien called Contamination (which is also a hoot, with lots of gross visual effects). Sometimes these movies play out like fever dreams, but they are so visual imaginative and populated by actors who are going for it that you can’t help but be entertained, as long as you don’ think about the plot too hard. That might cause you to see red blobs that destroy your brain.

If Starcrash has any painful issues, they revolve around the pacing. There are a few sequences that just take too long to play out. Sometimes I can’t tell if they are proud of the special effects and showing them off, or if they are padding the run time, or they figure, we’ve got Christopher Plummer, let’s have him talk for five minutes straight!

This reminds me of nothing at all, not a single thing.
In any case, these scenes often slow the momentum down a bit. There is an extended sequence where Stella finds a starship on a beach. She very slowly approaches it. Then very slowly boards it. Then very slowly makes her way to the bridge. Then very slowly turns around for the big reveal. John Barry’s music does its best to make this whole thing seem mysterious and impressive. But mostly you are wondering if Stella got hit by an Amazon slow motion blast or something.

These moments aside, Starcrash is a wonderfully bad film that I had always dreamed of getting the full Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. And when I saw it on the episode list for season eleven, I did a happy dance of joy. The question is, are Jonah and bots ready to take on this masterpiece of cheese?

Episode Review:

Plummer is trying to out-shiny his throne.
I’m biased; I’ll admit it right now. Because any time I get to watch Starcrash, it is a fun happy day in my book. So combine this movie with my favorite television series and it is like chocolate and peanut butter. Even if the riffing is only middling, I’m going to love this episode. So it should come as no surprise that I do, in fact, love this episode.

Starcrash is a movie that gift-wraps each scene for a riffing crew. Jonah and the bots are up to the challenge taking each of these scenes and going to town with it. Yes, there are quite a few Star Wars based riffs, but these are pretty much expected when it comes to this film. You also get some very funny moments where Tom starts singing improvised words along with John Barry’s thunderous score. During a scene where the Emperor of the Universe cruises over in his giant golden starship and the music swells with majesty, Tom croons about “The Space Church” which caused me to nearly laugh water out of my nose.

No one wants to talk in any elevator, Crow.
This episode also has a lot of moments where the bots get out of their seats and interact with the film. My favorite is during a scene where we travel in an elevator. Crow gets up and stands next to one of the troops and tries to engage in some small talk with him. The guy just ignores poor crow.

The heroic Akton is the source of many hilarious riffs. When we get a look at Stella and Akton from behind, Gortner’s blonde fluffy hair stands out enough for Tom to declare him “some kind of human/luffa hybrid.” Later on Jonah starts to sing, “Believe it or not, I’m not William Katt” to a familiar tune from the 1980s. When Acton begins to shoot waves of energy from his hands, Johan declares that “Akton’s hands have great WiFi.”

There is also quite a bit of singing in this episode. Tom usually improvises along with the score, but all three of the riffers make up a hilarious song about how stupid it is to enter an abandoned spaceship during the long slow scene where Stella does just that.

I bet the Amazon robot hits the gym daily.
But maybe my favorite riffing sequence takes place on the Amazon planet. Yeah I have a thing for warrior women, but besides that, the jokes are hilarious. When Crow gasps, “Amazon’s on horseback!” Tom replies with “That’s on my bucket list.” Me too! Later the bots get really excited when the huge Amazon robot lumbers around attacking our heroes in a hilarious homage to Talos in Jason and the Argonauts. Tom says, “Finally, a little something for the robots,” as the  busty robot stumbles around. In fact the riffs get a bit risqué in this sequence, but I was cracking up at the robots getting turned on by the stop motion giantess and Jonah’s growing discomfort.

Each torpedo comes with a surprise inside!
As they get near the end of the movie, the boys start to lose patience with some of those long slow sequences of filler. An armada launch sequence does provide them with a terrific opportunity to come up for silly names for each space ship, but they start to gripe a bit about these scenes. Luckily one of the funniest bits comes at the end when Plummer delivers a long and stupid monologue, and the boys add even more ridiculous lines to the whole thing.

For me the riffing in Starcrash is just about perfect when it comes to pacing. The riffs are plentiful but never run over each other. And the guys allow enough of the film to play out so you can enjoy the insanity before they chime in. This was the highlight of season eleven for me. Even rewatching it brought out more riffs that I missed the first time. Great stuff all the way around.

Is his cameo about nothing too?
The host segments don’t quite measure up to the riffing, but they are enjoyable. The episode starts with Jonah and the bots playing spin the bottle and it gets awkward. For the invention exchange, the Mad scientists create a Bandit of Condiments that may or may not have been inspired by the sombreros in The Beast of Hollow Mountain. Jonah reworks Tom Servo into BB-Servo inspired by the cute droid from StarWars: The Force Awakens. Unfortunately the Lucasfilm lawyers descend and beat Tom up! At the first break Crow creates a new space opera franchise called World War Space. It seems about as thrown together as Starcrash is. At the next break, the bots are so impressed with Akton and his myriad of abilities that they idolize him. Jonah arrives as Akton to show them the error of that kind of thinking.

Did Crow and Tom break the space time continuum?
We get a special celebrity guest in this episode. Kinga and Max get a visit from the brilliant marketing mind of Freak Masterstroke played with zeal by Jerry Seinfeld. For each marketing idea Kinga has, Masterstroke makes it even better, or at least more outrageous. It is all very silly, but fans of Seinfeld will get a kick out seeing the comedian on their favorite puppet show. The episode ends with Jonah in full Count Arn garb (including magnificent cape) and the bots arriving in torpedoes just like the Emperor’s soldiers in the film. Things get out of control very quickly. All fun and games until someone gets a dome smashed.

When Lava Lamps attack!
For me, this is the best episode of the season. I cracked up the first time and laughed a bit harder the second time I watched it. The combination of an immensely ridiculous and outlandish film combined with some top not riffing and plenty of energy from the cast makes this a real winner. Even if you are familiar with Starcrash, it I worth watching with Jonah and the bots along for the ride.

I give it five giant Amazon robots out of five.


This episode is available Netflix Download.

"And now we fight over whose hair is most spectacular."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

And Then This Happened... Starcrash

We all had that one friend, or maybe acquaintance is a better term. This friend is always around, but no one really remembers who invited them over. This friend is annoying in so many special ways, but just funny enough to keep around. This friend has been known to be a disgusting slob, a insufferable know it all, or just in a constant obnoxious mood way too often. And yet, they always manage to show up at any given gathering.

Akton is that kind of friend. Just look at this guy and tell me he hasn't just said or done something annoying and yet kinda funny. Yeah he's Starcrash's resident frat boy. But can you give this moment a appropriate caption?

And then this happened...