Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Prometheus Edition!


By Mark Salisbury

Hardcover; 192 pages; Color; 2012

Encapsulating virtually every aspect of the films production through visuals and the printed word, PROMETHEUS: THE ART OF THE FILM is an attractive purchase for those wishing to discover more about the beings of Ridley Scott's cinematic universe and what went into their creation.

Ridley Scott returns to the ALIEN world which he created in his 1979 trendsetting science fiction horror spectacular. This new film, titled PROMETHEUS, takes things in a decidedly different direction, but links itself to the ALIEN universe in a few ways.

Scott does a Foreword for this book in addition to divulging information on how he came to be involved in this production. Scott also discusses the abandonment of what was originally to have been a prequel to the 1979 original.

The bulk of this near 200 page tome is a lavish visual feast detailing the designs of the various sets, props, vehicles, costumes and creatures seen throughout the movie, including Scott's interpretation of what the Space Jockey was. The book is also filled with a generous amount of painted designs of the animate and inanimate objects of this Sci Fi world. Also included are a number of director Scott's own storyboards.

There's also a great deal of discussion into the backgrounds of the alien lifeforms and their origins both onscreen and in the creative process offscreen.

This hardcover edition contains dozens upon dozens of behind the scenes photos of the sets being built and the special effects being created. What makes these images even more appealing to the reader is that the inspiration for the surreal, haunting sets are likewise revealed. Case in point being the gigantic Engineer heads. Production Designer Arthur Max says these constructs were inspired by Michelangelo's David, Elvis Presley and the Statue of Liberty!

With the film proving popular with audiences and especially fans of the ALIEN franchise, this book seems a nice addition to rabid lovers of the dark, brooding world Ridley Scott originated back in 1979. The price tag might be seen as steep to some, but it's worth the price for the information and visual presentation alone; not to mention this is a hardcover edition.

Encapsulating virtually every aspect of the films production through visuals and the printed word, PROMETHEUS: THE ART OF THE FILM is an attractive purchase for those wishing to discover more about the beings of Ridley Scott's cinematic universe and what went into their creation.

You can purchase the book at amazon HERE.

You can also purchase the book, and others, at the Titan Books website HERE.

Vintage TV Guide Ads: Killer Ants, Bee Gees, Variety Specials & A Vacation In Hell!

It's killer ANTS, Godzilla in the evenings, failed TV pilots, Savalas advertising razorblades, variety specials, The Bee Gees and more in this seventh entry of Vintage TV Guide Ads!

IT HAPPENED AT LAKEWOOD MANOR was a Made For Television horror picture that had its premiere as the ABC Friday Night Movie on December 2nd, 1977.

The plot concerned a new resort built over an old chemical site. Millions of ants are affected by the chemicals toxicity and begin attacking the guests and construction workers before the place even opens. So not only do you have killer ants, but their bite is lethal since they're saturated with this poisonous chemical.

A small scale disaster movie, the sort popularized by the films of Irwin Allen, this eco-horror, 'Nature Amuck' movie stars Lynda Day George (GRIZZLY, PIECES), Robert Foxworth (PROPHECY), Myrna Loy, Suzanne Somers, Bernie Casey and Barry Van Dyke among others. It was later released on videocassette as ANTS.

Here's an ad for the Gilette Twinjector razorblades. The man pictured is that lover of lollipops, KOJAK himself, Telly Savalas!

Hugely popular singer Barry Manilow did four television variety specials. This is an ad for the third one from Wednesday, May 23rd, 1979.

His special guest was country crooner, John Denver. This special was nominated for two Emmy's and won for 'Outstanding Achievement in Choreography'.

Among the highlights for those interested, Manilow sang the hits, 'Ready To Take A Chance Again', 'Weekend In New England', 'Even Now' and 'Somewhere In the Night'. He also does a production number set to 'Copacabana'. Denver, outside of participating on some songs with Manilow, solos 'What's On Your Mind?'. An elaborate spoof of Hollywood musicals is the programs big number.

Here's an ad for the William Conrad narrated show THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF ANIMALS, a series that ran from 1973 to 1978. The opening show montage and music has stuck in my head since watching it as a kid back then.

Kodak's cutting edge movie camera in 1977!

An ad for the 'What If?' Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Movie THE COURT MARTIAL OF GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER. This 95 minute feature debuted December 1st, 1977. James Olsen (AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION) played Custer. Among the other cast are Blythe Danner, Brian Keith, Richard Dysart and Anthony Zerbe.

From the November 10th issue of TV Guide is this shot of The Bee Gees. Both Robin and Maurice have died, the former in May of 2012 and the latter in January of 2003. Barry is the sole remaining member alive.

Now this is something you won't see nowadays! An entire week of Godzilla movies on the 6:30 movie! Yes, this was a time you could come home from school, do your homework, have supper, then settle down to some creature features any day of the week... before and after bedtime!

THE NIGHTINGALES was a pilot for an NBC lady cop show starring Marcia Strassman (WELCOME BACK, KOTTER) and Colette Blonigan. Both played undercover policewomen working the Hollywood beat. The show, not part of the networks Fall lineup, apparently was never picked up. There is no IMDB listing for this pilot.

This same night, May 19th, 1979, viewers could stay up late and catch THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT (1971) at 11:30 and MONSTER ZERO (1965) at 1:00am on the ABC network.

Two years later in 1981, CAGNEY & LACEY would take off for a successful seven season run for a lady cop double team.

Also on the same night, but on the CBS network, was STEELTOWN, another potential series pilot not on that stations announced schedule.

This one took place in 1963 and, judging by the ad, was an action-drama about social class collision within a small town whose economy is built around a local steel mill. Among the cast are Michael Biehn (THE TERMINATOR), Bibi Besch (STAR TREK 2) and DEATHSTALKER himself, Richard Hill!

This series seems to not have been picked up, either. Unlike THE NIGHTINGALES, the IMDB does have a listing for this 60 minute pilot episode.

Perry King got to (sort of) relive his MANDINGO (1975) days with the 1979 TV Movie, LOVE'S SAVAGE FURY. What a title! This Civil War drama was set during the last days of the war and saw King playing a Confederate soldier in love with Jennifer O'Neill's character, the daughter of a plantation owner played by Raymond Burr. Tons of buried gold figure into this story of North and South. The film was shot in Natchez, Mississippi.

REAL PEOPLE was a popular television series that was something of a light-hearted MONDO CANE for the small screen, but dealing with humorous and amazing scenarios within the United States. The success of this show led to the even more popular THAT'S INCREDIBLE!, which debuted the following year.

These Vintage TV Guides contain an extraordinary amount of cigarette ads. Not only were there several ads for them throughout the digests, but they often would feature them on the back covers, too. Here's one of the more silly, and unusual ones from 1979.

Shot in Hawaii, four women and one man take A VACATION IN HELL when their raft sinks and they end up stranded in the jungle on the other side of the island resort they are staying in. Some natives provide menace, but there's another threat here--the TV level sexual tension between the characters. It's reminiscent of Eastwood's THE BEGUILED (1971).

Priscilla Barnes (THREE'S COMPANY, TINTORERA) and Maureen McCormick (BRADY BUNCH, MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS) are among the cast. This was a trashy TV flick that debuted on the ABC Monday Night Movie, May 21st, 1979.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cult Film Faves Not On DVD: 'Gator Bait (1974) review


Claudia Jennings (Desiree Thibodeau), Sam Gilman (T.J. Bracken), Douglas Dirkson (Leroy Bracken), Clyde Ventura (Billy Boy), Bill Thurman (Joe Bob Thomas), Don Baldwin (Peter Bracken), Ben Sebastian (Ben Bracken), Janit Baldwin (Julie), Tracy Sebastian (Big T)

Directed by Ferd Sebastian

The Short Version: Claudia Jennings is Born On the Bayou as Desiree Thibodeau, a slippery and sexy swamp dweller who battles it out with cops and horny, vengeance seeking Cajuns. This is essentially the inbred offspring of the 'Danger In Dixie', 'Hooch n' Hillbilly' and revenge movie stylings. Crude and rough around the edges, this popular Passion Pit cheapy has a grubby atmosphere and a lot of sex appeal emanating from Jennings running around barefoot in skimpy clothing.

The lovely and wily swamp rat, Desiree lives deep within the Louisiana bayou with her brother and sister. Billy Boy, the deputy of a nearby town and Ben Bracken, a local hillbilly, catch her poaching and plan to rape her. Desiree proves she's too hot to handle and in the ruckus, Ben is accidentally shot in the head by Billy and dies. Laying blame on Desiree, the sheriff and the Bracken patriarch get their redneck posse together to catch, kill and do worse to Desiree and her siblings.

Oddly enough, this well remembered cult Drive In hit has yet to make its way to DVD. It's not a particularly great movie, nor all that memorable, although it is a semi-important piece of 70s exploitation trash cinema; especially during the home video boom of the 1980s.

The VHS box art is probably responsible for keeping the film alive long after its theatrical run during the 1970s than anything in the film.

Still, the image of Claudia Jennings strutting around wearing a barely buttoned shirt and a pair of daisy dukes hiked up into her ass is an indelible image in itself.

The Sebastian's were responsible for several instances of disposable trash with this cheap vehicle for cult siren Jennings arguably being the most well known.

Like other Sebastian pictures, this one's a family affair and good ol' Ferd's cinema-tography captures the bayou in all its muddy, unkempt glory. It's one of the beauties of 70s cinema that the characters and performers playing them almost always seemed real, even if the acting was below par. There were no proliferance of Calvin Klein or Victoria Secrets bodies among the casts in so many of these movies, but a myriad selection of natural looking people. Somebody made the comment to me once that "people sure were ugly back in the 70s."

There's been a number of attempts in recent years to hearken back to this crude and candid filmmaking style, but just like Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell song, 'Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing'.

In what amounts to a chase picture, 'GATOR BAIT briefly, and disturbingly enters rape-revenge territory, before lightening the tone just a bit once Desiree begins "leading the men on" to their doom. One gets the impression that the filmmakers may not have been exactly sure what sort of film they wanted to make, but in the end, it's exploitation through and through.

There's very little blood onscreen and only one major moment of shocking brutality that you don't quite expect to end up the way it does. Outside of this one sequence, the violence is tepid at best, or occurs offscreen. However, there's definitely a sleazy atmosphere throughout that's enhanced by the thick, humid swamp surroundings. The cast are real troupers for working in what was undoubtedly an uncomfortable, and hostile environment.

Claudia Jennings (GROUP MARRIAGE, TRUCK STOP WOMEN, UNHOLLY ROLLERS) doesn't shed her clothes to the level of most of her other movies, which may disappoint some, but damn if she doesn't fill out a pair of daisy duke shorts! She does a lot of bending over and strutting around in what little clothes she wears. Her shirt does fall open near the beginning during a boat chase revealing her breasts, which is the extent of her skin exposure here.

The bulk of the nudity goes to the young, doe-eyed Janit Baldwin, whom many will remember from the Curtis Harrington curio, RUBY (1977). She also featured in the inflammatory Made For TV 'Women In Juvy' flick, BORN INNOCENT (1974) starring Linda Blair. Baldwin also had a sizable role in the horrible HUMONGOUS from 1982.

Of the major cast, Bill Thurman had the most extensive Drive In career appearing in pictures ranging from the TV mainstay CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE (1976), THE EVICTORS (1979) and the so-so New World slasher MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE (1986). He was also in the killer animal TV movie, THE BEASTS ARE ON THE STREET (1978). In the 1960s, Thurman could be seen in a bunch of awful Larry Buchanan movies like THE EYE CREATURES (1965), ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS (1966), IN THE YEAR 2889 (1967) and IT'S ALIVE! (1969), the latter a boring flick about a creature in a cave.

Douglas Dirkson as Leroy Bracken steals the show with his off-kilter, insane performance. He's encountered Desiree on a previous occasion losing a piece of his anatomy in the process. He reminds me of a redneck Tiny Tim in some shots, such as the one to the right.

Everyone else does reasonably well with their Cajun and Southern Fried accents; Jennings especially, although there's a bit of a struggle in some scenes.

Considering this isn't a big budget movie (actually, this was likely closer to a 'no' budget movie), with a healthy shooting schedule, it's not all that big of a deal. The simplistic, occasionally trite dialog will grate on the nerves and the foreshadowing to the gruesomeness of the films title will disappoint as it's mentioned, but never happens.

'GATOR BAIT earned itself a sequel more than a decade later with 'GATOR BAIT 2: CAJUN JUSTICE (1988). The VHS cover is just as eye-catching as the one for the first picture, but the film itself failed to attract the same modicum of cult appeal of the Sebastian's original.

Although it sometimes gets confused if it wants to be a low-key, adult bayou chase picture, or a hard R redneck revenge movie, it's still Hixploitation from start to finish. It's one of those Drive In movies that has attained something of a reputation, but has lost a bit of its luster over the years. An enjoyable timewaster for lovers of 70s trash, 'GATOR BAIT and its Swamp People will find few new fans outside of the devout cult film circles this sort of picture caters to.

You can purchase a quality DVD-R of the film HERE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Presents: A Screenplay Not By Quentin Tarantino Part 2


"...All of a sudden, Quentin decided he wanted the full credit on PULP FICTION--he's really into full authorship. I said, 'No, I won't give up the script credit.' But I needed money...He said, 'I'll give you that money now, if you sign this paper.' And I did."--Roger Avary talking about financial woes in trying to finish KILLING ZOE (1994) and sacrificing his original script and co-writing credit to Tarantino to solve them.

PULP FICTION was also the movie where Our Man Quent' and his way with word came under staunch scrutiny for his use of foul language and his burgeoning usage of the 'taboo for whites' word, 'nigger'.

His scripts were frequently praised for their unusually random qualities and melodic writing style, but for every Seinfeldian convo about French fast food you have a dozen or so meaningless 'nigga' this, 'nigga' that, or the word 'muthafucka' five times per sentence. Aside from former 'fuck' movie champion, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985), I think the Q King is the reigning title holder of profound profanity postulations.

"I don't need you to tell me how fuckin' good my coffee is, okay? I'm the one who buys it. I know how good it is."--That's a line of dialog spoken by Q acting as Jimmie from PULP FICTION during 'The Bonnie Situation' segment. This line is actually code for something else. This is what Q was REEEAAALLLYYY saying: "I don't need you to tell me how fuckin' good my writing is, okay? I'm the one who writes it. I know how good it is."

 This is also where Jimmie asks Jules and Vinnie if they saw a sign that said Dead Nigger Storage before pulling up in his driveway as they arrived with the brain splattered remains of Marvin lying in the back seat.

If I'm not mistaken I'd say this was the first time the word had been used so profusely since the 1970s; during a time when such films would air on television, have expletives censored, but no problem with the N word getting a pass.

Tarantino seems to have a field day with the word whether it ends up in one of his movies, or out in public (reportedly he elucidated this colorful word to a NYC waitress some years ago). He seems to simply like throwing it around, most likely because he knows it annoys people. And annoy some folks he did with his next movie when he had some of his cast rabidly speaketh this epithet in JACKIE BROWN in 1997. With his upcoming slavery flick DJANGO UNCHAINED, it remains to be seen just how creative QT gets with this oft repeated addition to his vocabulary.

Personally, I don't think he uses this word because it makes sense in the context of his scripts, or necessarily that of the characters he has concocted, I think he does it because it sounds KOOL. He's probably the only director in Hollywood who could get away with just about anything because we've been programmed to believe it's good because his name is on the credits. Let's face it, everything QT does, it's because he thinks it's KOOL. Let's be reasonable, the man could shoot an entire movie built around close ups of female feet accompanied by a rambl-icious narration from Morgan Freeman and the critics would herald it cutting edge and T Bone's new breakthrough.

Since the N word was frequently tossed around in 70s movies, and T-Bone is a devout worshipper at the altar of 70s sinema, it only makes sense his movies would reflect that; not to mention his scripts (both the ones he wrote and the ones he pushed someone into signing over to him) are built around a patchwork quilt of assorted scenes from any number of big Hollywood flicks, or Drive In/42nd Street trash that played, or co-billed with other similar fare throughout that decade. Still, I can't help but feel his fervent use of 'nigger' is little more than Vocabularic Exploitation.

After the wild success of PULP FICTION, the Summer of QT Love was officially in full swing and was only gonna get worse and spread like a venereal disease at Woodstock by the early years of the new millennium. Before that, there was one more crime flick left in him and it was one that would bring him even more critical acclaim, if slightly less US box office appeal. And it's the only film I think he's done that's brimming with originality and focus as opposed to some immature problem child you keep having to make stand in the corner.


 The jaws of QT were flappin' wackily in the wind during the making and promotional jaunts of JACKIE BROWN (1997), a picture where he proudly boasted of bringing back the careers of Pam Grier and Robert Forster. It wasn't like they weren't making movies, just not necessarily mainstream ones. It wasn't unusual to see either star on a TV show, or on the video store shelf in some new DTV release. This was just more masturbational ego stroking that would grow and throb eventually exploding in a volcanic miasma of celluloid jism. Sadly, post JACKIE BROWN, QT failed to pull out in time and fathered some mongoloid movies of his own.

Q also stated this was his ode to blaxploitation flicks, despite it never really feeling like one; at least not in the traditional 70s sense of the word. Nor does JACKIE BROWN resort to the extreme violence of those movies. Hell, the cast o' crackas' in this thing defies its blax flick origins. It does frequently indulge in the ferociously un-PC language those films lovingly wallowed in. That Q took blaxploitation conventions and made them into his own vision was arguably the only time in his career post JB where he doesn't go apeshit with referencing other movies in the most mentally handicapped way imaginable.

The great Quen-tazmo worked his magic and helped get an Oscar nod for Forster and Golden Globe noms for both Grier and Jackson.

Incidentally, it did put them back in the public eye, but it wasn't like they were sitting at home waiting desperately for a phone call from their agent.

We all know how Q likes to take credit for reviving an allegedly dead career, but they were working the entire time. It's motion picture class warfare. A lot of folks will make derogatory remarks because so and so was relegated to B pictures as opposed to big scale Hollywood B pictures. "Oh, you make THOSE movie?!" Furthermore, I have no explanation for Forster's involvement in DRAGON WARS (2007). A lot of actors often claim their reason for appearing in foreign films was because they'd "never been there, but always wanted to go."

What was so goddamn scenic about Korea that Forster felt the need to appear in this horrendous movie whose only points of interest are some Cool Ass Creature Attack sequences?

"I've always liked afros--if I were black, I'd wear an afro..."

 Anyway, so Q came through again, but it was here where he really began to grate on my nerves. If he wasn't stirring the ire of Spike Lee in regards to T-Bone's free flying use of the N word, he was showing his African American roots on talk shows while promoting JACKIE BROWN.

Suddenly, his verbage involved a lot of "know what I'm sayin'"s and waving his hands around before said appendages were magnetically drawn to his crotch.

Once the hoopla of the film had passed, the QTmeister miraculously was his old self-centered self once more. But his drunk and disorderly behavior would pretty much re-surface every time a new flick of his was in the making.


"I have an idea for a Godzilla movie that I've always wanted to do. The whole idea of Godzilla's role in Tokyo, where he's always battling these other monsters, saving humanity time and again- wouldn't Godzilla become God? It would be called "Living Under the Rule of Godzilla". This is what society is like when a big fucking green lizard rules your world."--Tarantino makes a threat that he may ruin the Godzilla series further beyond the damage Ryuhei Kitamura did in 2004.

Over the years, Q Man has talked about his desire to make certain types of movies, including a Godzilla film. Thankfully, Toho had enough sense to whip out their bud nippers on this idea since Quentin T-Bone Thunderbolt envisioned the Big G as God of all things; likely something akin to the stone monstrosity of DAIMAJIN (1966), only with long, drawn out round table conversations about lesser known Japana-ploitation movies while Tokyo falls apart around the characters. However, the Toho execs ultimately failed to keep those bud nippers handy and suffered a brain-eurism when they gave slop artist Ryuhei Kitamura the keys to the kaiju kingdom for GODZILLA FINAL WARS.

Speaking of QT doing the Big G, can you imagine what such a movie would look like? Most likely the script would be too enormous to be contained in a single feature so it would be about 4 hours long and split into two halves. Naturally, the first half would contain all the monster action. Of course it would suspiciously focus more attention on a woman's vendetta against an elite faction of the Yakuza who prayed Godzilla into existence in an effort to topple Japan's thriving economic system; it heavily rebounding despite numerous natural disasters.

What's the reason behind this Yakuza factions desire to annihilate their own countries economic vibrancy? What's the reason behind this lone female assassins vendetta? Well that's where part two comes in. Yes. Lots and lots of lip flapping accentuated by cues lifted randomly from all manner of sources. A couple of jive talkin' Japanese hitmen named Fukasaku and Honda, a trip to an island allegedly ravaged by Godzilla and inhabited only by the "MALFORMED MEN" aka the Ainu people and at least two gratuitous close ups of Nipponese female feet.

There will be very little monster action and far more monster pontification. However, the ending would have both the Yakuza gang and the lone lady assassin suddenly transforming into Tokusatsu characters for no apparent reason other than it looks KOOL. Also, T Bone will claim he's going to make Meiko Kaji and Etsuko Shihomi stars and give them nothing to do all at the same time. Naturally this garbage would bomb, critics would no doubt fawn all over it and Q Baby would go national stating how proud of his B movie bomb he is, because nobody puts Q Baby in a corner.

Which brings us to the film T Bone did make that slightly resembles that made up shit above. This is also where my feelings and opinion of Quentin Tarantino greatly changed.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Presents: A Screenplay Not By Quentin Tarantino Part 1


"I steal from everything. Great artists steal, they don't do homages. It's a great movie [CITY ON FIRE]. I steal from every single movie ever made."--Well, with that statement, he's shown himself to be incredibly arrogant and admitted he's a thief. At least he's honest... delusional, but honest.

Let's face it, Q Baby is the muthafuckin' movie messiah. From his days working behind the counter at Video Archives in California, to his successful directing career, Quentin Tarantino, proclaimed the 'King of Pulp', has ripped off, or, as he likes to put it, stolen (I guess the budget of the film being 'stolen' from decides whether said theft is a misdemeanor or a felony) scenes and dialog from a shit load of movies over the last twenty some odd years. After much anticipation, KILL BILL was the first film of his I saw in the theater. Like other motion picture vomit such as HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003) and the American GODZILLA (1998), I had to see it twice to verify that what I had witnessed was as shit-tastic as I had originally thought.

I'll get to that flick later. This is basically a rant about the QTmeister that I've been holding in for far too long and it's egging to get out like one o' them chest-bursters in ALIEN. See what I did there? Egg? Alien? Fuck it. I'm gonna go over the man's movies divulging what I honestly think of them noting what I like, and a whole lotta what I don't like. Rip offs, homages, whatever you wanna call it, this is strictly my opinion and nothing more.

I think he's done some great work, but since KILL BILL...PLEASE! came out, his movies have pretty much lost focus paying far more egocentric lip service to the man's own "Look what I can do!" writing ability as opposed to paying any sort of tribute to the films he constantly rattles on about with that machine gun he calls a mouth. Basically, I am exorcising my QT demons here because the power of the movies he rapes compels me.


"I was always talked about for my first two films like I was some sort of flash in the pan. But then I went from flavor of the month, to flavor of the year, to flavor of the decade."--QT during a Telegraph interview that features an entire paragraph where the interviewer descriptively and disturbingly makes love to the man.

I first heard about this guy named Quentin Tarantino in a Fangoria article that was heapin' all kinds of praise on this funny titled movie called RESERVOIR DOGS, a film that was causing a stir back in the early 90s. They kept goin' on and on about violence in the film, particularly a scene involving a bound and gagged cop, a suit wearing psycho with a blade and an ear that was about to be severed off. Nothing was shown, mind you, but the tone of the scene was what was making folks uneasy. At that time in my life, if Fango was giving it their seal of approval, I just had to see it.

I must admit, I was pretty well blown away by this movie at the time. It oozed Kool (a word that was ever so quickly to become closely associated with the subject of this article) in nearly every scene and had a lot of choice dialog exchanges. Dialog and the words Quentin Tarantino would rapidly form a symbiotic relationship that ultimately mutated into an annoyingly self-indulgent ego rampage as wild and unfettered as any number of Jack Hill movies the man freely pilfered from. In short, in Q Baby's world, it's the Chatter that Matters.

"Alright Ramblers, let's get Ramblin'!"

In what seemed like an over-night occurrence, QT became the critics darling and the new 'IT' director to a growing legion of fans. Many of these fans obsessed over his works to a parasitic degree displaying an irritating level of adoration praising the man to high heaven. Shamefully, I was one of them!

From a personal perspective, these fans generally fall into two camps--those who are unhealthily fascinated by the recurring themes of drug abuse in his scripts; or those who slobber over the cult film references that erupt every few seconds in his movies with a rapidity matched only by the shrill elucidation of listening to Q babble on as if that particular conversation is his last on earth. That latter camp is especially noteworthy in a "Let me get my flyswatter to squash these annoying ass bugs" sort of way. I'll explain that later, too, when I get to G****HOUSE (2007). I was in the latter camp, by the way.

Admittedly, I was awestruck by Q at this point, and even more so after picking up a copy of a then new book about him entitled KING PULP: THE WILD WORLD OF QUENTIN TARANTINO back in the mid 90s. The book is chock full o' anecdotes and essays about his films and his influences.

The brief write up on The One's love for Sonny Chiba (he even weaved some of that Chiba lust into his script for TRUE ROMANCE) and that iconic STREET FIGHTER photo demanded I plunk down the $14.95 for the 160 page book. I didn't need to see, nor read further. That Chiba was showcased within those pages was enough for me. Reading it I realized I liked all the same genres and actors and other such fan geek gushings as the 'King of Kool' had claimed to be infatuated with for much of his life. This was my major attraction to the work of this filmmaker with whom my disappointment would grow and fester in the ensuing years.


"There are only two kinds of people in the world, Mayonnaise people and Miracle Whip people. Now Mayonnaise people can like Miracle Whip and Miracle Whip people can like Mayonnaise, but nobody likes them both equally. Somewhere you have to make a choice. And that choice, tells you who you are."--Old Venoms5 proverb

PULP FICTION arrived in 1994 and really was the turning point for QT and arguably where he became far more braggadocios than was normally allowed of the average human. It was also here where he was noted for bringing once hugely popular careers back from the dead, yielding yet another attribute for the Tarantinosaurus to gloat about. That a plump, noticeably rotund John Travolta was returning to the screen in a big way as hitman Vincent Vega got this picture a good deal of media publicity; never mind that his LOOK WHO'S TALKING series (between '89 and '93) was a big financial success.

Hell, his obscure flick, THE EXPERTS (1989), was the film where he met his wife, the drop dead gorgeous Kelly Preston. As much as the dance scene in T Bone's tale of PULPy FICTION between Travolta and Thurman got a lot of notice, Travolta had already revisited his SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977) days in THE EXPERTS. In that movie, Travolta and Preston pretty much have sex on the dance floor backed by Club Nouveau's cover of 'Lean On Me'. Preston is dynamite in that film, by the way.

PULP FICTION was a crowded landscape of filmic references of pictures from years past and a script device QT would pile layer upon layer in subsequent movies like a Scooby and Shaggy shit sandwich.

"The Japanese Fox was a kung fu master..."--I bet that one got Ric Meyers all a tingle!

Most famous of these PULP references would likely be the biblical speech maddeningly proclaimed by a wild eyed Samuel L. Jackson prior to blowing away his intended victims. This speech (uttered close to the beginning) was lifted from the US version of Sonny Chiba's BODYGUARD KIBA (1973), which was released here in a dubbed version in 1976 as THE BODYGUARD. This one has seriously been blown out of proportion. It's nice that T-Bone wants to keep Chiba in the public eye and all, but the man famous for breaking bones and ripping away genitalia with his bare hands never says that Ezekiel 25:17 passage. That was added to the opening crawl of the US version of THE BODYGUARD.

The closest Chiba ever got to saying anything remotely similar was on his popular Japanese show KAGE NO GUNDAN (known here as SHADOW WARRIORS).

In that show, when the corrupt officials, vicious swordsmen, or black arts practitioners were about to have their wardrobe re-fitted, Chiba would sternly reiterate the previous 45 minutes of evil perpetrated on innocent lives and would let these guys (and sometimes gals) know just where he was about to send them.

Chiba also philosophized in the best "I'm a fuck you up" fashion during the opening credits of his uber classic TV series THE YAGYU CLAN CONSPIRACY. There will be much more regarding Chiba when I get to the KILL BILL crapola.

"That's pride fuckin' with you. FUCK PRIDE!"

A lot of folks have stated that his pairing of Travolta and Jackson as the two man hit squad, Vinnie and Jules respectively, was inspired by a similar pairing of Henry Silva and Woody Strode from Fernando Di Leo's MANHUNT (1972).

While that may be true and all, it's almost uncanny that the stone cold, jive-talkin' duo of hitmen in 1973's BONNIE'S KIDS (played by Alex Rocco and Timothy Brown) bears a lot more in common with the T man's PULP tale of FICTION.

There's also a disco scene with sexy Tiffany Bolling and hunky Steve Sandor that recalls the one with Uma Thurman and John Travolta. Considering how huge a fan T Bone is of Arthur Marks, it seems it might be more than a coincidence. But then, this sort of thievery (well, those were the man's words!) makes one an artist of greatness. More PULP-US FICTION-US in Chapter three.


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