Amoeblog

Sword-and-Sandal Time with Debra Paget

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 06:29pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


"Oh yeah there's all kinds of things happening here boy! There's sword fighting, horse-play, and there's dancing, dancing, dancing...Holy Cats!!"
~ Commander USA introducing Princess of the Nile (1954) on his Groovie Movies TV show

Pour yourself some pomegranate wine in a clay chalice, light some botanica candles, and kick your feet Journey to the Lost Cityup as Debra Paget takes you away to romantic palaces in ancient desert lands. Some of you may remember Debra from starring in Roger Corman's Tales of Terror and The Haunted Palace (both 1963 and her last films), but it was truly the Fritz Lang Indian epic of The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb (both released in 1959) that made her famous for her snake dance scene.

*Sidenote: This reminds me of the time I left my snake charmers flute that I got in India in my car on a hot day and the resin that kept it together melted all over my seat and my car reeked for months like someone dumped bong water in it.

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Having A Movie Moment with Jon Longhi: Mothra & Space 1999

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 05:50pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi.

Welcome to this month's Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi where I review recent Blu-ray releases. This month we travel from the island of Japan to the depths of the universe.

Mothra, Mill Creek:
When a new hundred million dollar Godzilla reboot to hit the theaters I just assumed we'd be treated to aMothra flood of classic kaiju reissues on Blu-ray, but instead it looks like we only got this. And I'm not knocking this release. Mothra is a great movie and Mill Creek did a fantastic job on this, I just figured there would be more classic Japanese monster movie releases to coattail on the marketing for the new film. All is not lost though. It looks like Mill Creek has signed a deal with Toho and they have more releases to come. On October 15th they will release two classic kaiju Blu-ray sets: Ultraman and Ultra Q. Both of these sets are motherloads of Japanese monster movie goodness and will be the first time North America has ever seen Toho's official remastered hi-def prints of these shows. If they look as good as this new Mothra release, we are in for quite a treat.

This reasonably priced steel book edition of the film comes with both the US and original Japanese versions of the movie as well as some nice extras. This is easily the best print of Mothra that has ever been released and, while it is not flawless, the majority of the film looks gorgeous. Certain scenes like the one in the cave when Mothra's egg hatches have been cleaned up to the point where they reveal all kinds of details you could never see before. The cave is filled with mutated plants and animals that were little more than blurry shapes in the old editions. Sometimes the remastering is so good it leads to unintended effects. Now you can see better than ever before that all the special effects in the film were made with models and puppets, but the models and puppets are totally cool and amazing. Toho created many of their special effects by stacking up multiple layers of film and the new remaster sometimes exposes every scratch and piece of dust on each of these layers of film. But these are pretty minor quibbles. The bottom line is that Mothra has never looked or sounded better.

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I'm Gonna Meet You on the Astral Plane

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 04:00pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


Astral projection, also called astral travel, is a term used in esotericism to explain an intentional out-of-body experience. In some far away tribes, men would use these abilities to fly over the jungle forests to look for the perfect tree to chop down to carve into a canoe. For me, I wanted to revisit the Mark Twain Saloon in Virginia City to see the paintings on the walls again, but my jalopy truck broke down before the trip, so that night I laid in my bed and let my spirit travel the astral plane over the state line. Folks, with practice, this is the cheapest way to take a vacation.

Perhaps the most famous song about traveling the astral plane is..."Astral Plane" on The Modern Lovers first album, which came out in 1976. And those who love the dreamy, soft voice of Valerie June from Memphis have probably heard her sing of dancing on the astral plane. But let's get more freaky with the 1970 song with the same title by the acid folk band Influenza.



In fact, in music, books, movies, and comics of the 1970s to early '80s, astral projection was the talk of the town...if you lived in a weird town. My Uncle Fred who lives down in Mexico practices astral projection. I'll never forget my aunt once asking him what he looked forward to doing when he got home after a family visit and he said, "Oh, just leaving my body and going where I wanna go."

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Jack the Ripper, Rock n' Roller or Just Creepy Dark Alley Stroller?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 13, 2019 11:00pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


"Let us begin. Let the circle not be broken. Concentrate upon the flame, which burns upon the Altar of Truth. Yes... there is something here. Something terrible. I feel its presence. Fear, anger, hatred... anger feeds the flame. Oh, oh, there is evil here, monstrous, terrible evil! Consuming hunger! Hatred of all that lives, hatred of women, a hunger that never dies! It is strong, overpowering, an ancient terror! It has a name: Barratus, Kesla, Redjac. Devouring all life, all light! A hunger that will never die!"
~ Sybo, the Argelian empath

Let me start off by saying, serial killers are not cool. They are total jerks. But much like the Zodiac Killer, Jack the Ripper still has folks intrigued because he had a great name and was never caught. Judas Priest, Morrissey, Nick Cave, and even LL Cool J have songs about "The Ripper."

Now, I don't listen to those cats, but I do have a fond memory of tearing down a dirt road along side the railroad tracks in my old Ford F150 (with a spray-painted pirate flag on the hood) listening to Link Wray & His Ray Men's "Jack the Ripper" on cassette when I was a young lad.

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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Jonny Quest & Aliens on Spring Break

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 30, 2019 01:02pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to this month's Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi where I review recent Blu-ray releases.

Jonny Quest, The Complete Original Series, Warner Archive:
In my opinion this is the best Saturday morning cartoon ever made and the greatest achievement of Johnny QuestHanna-Barbera Productions. I can already hear the angry cries of the naysayers: "But The Flintstones! The Jetsons!" I'm not belittling either of those shows, they are iconic entries in the history of cartoons and basically set the standard for funny cartoons. But Jonny Quest has levels of sophistication that neither of them has and was literally developed to be better than those two shows. Hanna-Barbera created Jonny Quest to deal with their own success. In the early to mid-1960s, The Flintstones and The Jetsons ruled the Saturday morning airwaves to the point where within a year or two every other competing cartoon show was drawn to look as near as possible to them. Hanna-Barbera basically flooded their own market and needed to come up with something stunningly new and different to stand out from the flooded marketplace that they themselves had created. So they turned away from the omnipresent humor shows and made an action/adventure series instead.

To spearhead this effort, they brought in the incredibly multi-talented Doug Wildey, an illustrator who had long worked in the comic book industry. Wildey truly understood the action/adventure genre and brought with him a bunch of his gifted comic artist friends to work on the Jonny Quest project. The end result is arguably the best action/adventure kid show ever made. Jonny Quest just fires on all levels: the artwork, the stories, the theme music, the voice actors, the designs...this show had it all and set the standard by which future cartoons would be measured by. The series told the story of a boy named Jonny Quest who had adventures with his government research scientist father, Doctor Benton Quest. Race Bannon was a secret agent assigned to be their bodyguard but ended up basically being a family member. In the course of their travels they adopt an orphaned Indian boy named Hadji. This was a real boys' club show; there was no mother or any women in the central cast, which has often caused me to comment that Jonny Quest was the first show about gay parenting.

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