Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Sisterhood, Lynn-Holly Johnson...Tank Commander

Move over General Patton. Move over Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Make way for Bond girl and figure skater...Lynn-Holly Johnson. Isn't she the one who while waiting in 007's bed, Roger Moore said to her..."come on...I'll buy you an ice cream cone." The pretty blonde figure skater teamed up with Filipino exploitation director, Cirio H. Santiago, to make 1988's "The Sisterhood."  How can a movie go wrong when you have a pretty blonde Bond girl in an apocalyptic wasteland fighting off men who seek to torture and rape? Instant classic!
Before she commandeers a tank, Marya (Johnson) is driven out of a safe refuge. Raiders, led by Mikal (Chuck Wagner) have massacred the place and killed her brother. On the run, Marya, a witch incidentally...but a good one, teams up with two babes from The Sisterhood, Alee (Rebecca Holden) and Vera (Barbara Patrick). The remaining sisters were either butchered or captured at the Battle of 12 Trees (don't ask). The scantily clad apocalyptic warriors take-in Marya and travel the wasteland looking for their captive and strung up babe sisters. Marya's pet hawk helps them out, but this is annoying plot device which we shall ignore.
Meanwhile tribes of brute men seek the two remaining sisters for...well...probably rape. The heavily armed men seem to have an advantage on the women with subtle psychic gifts until the babe trio battle the radioactive mutants. In this battle Marya finds a tank and the trio now take the battle to the brutish, burping men. As the men string up sisterhood babes in a dungeon, they strip them and ready them...well...for...you know. As Marya's new tank evens the score, the trio reach a man-stronghold and prepare for either battle...or bondage.
Given that this is a Cirio H. Santiago film, will our three heroines be raped by brutish and sweaty men? Does Lynn-Holly Johnson in a tank carry the same intimidation factor as General Patton in north Africa? Will the survivors of the Battle of 12 Trees be rescued with their chastity in tact? Exploitation from The Philippines...with Lynn-Holly Johnson as a tank commander! Is there really anything else you require? See "The Sisterhood" and get your fill of nubile babes battling in apocalyptic wasteland action.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Moonbase, The Lunar Dump

Our moon captured our imaginations and ignited a flame of exploration inside all of us. Then we landed on the moon. NASA had reached their pinnacle. So many questions could now be answered and space exploration would take off...or so we thought. Then NASA and the U.S. Government let us all down. Lunar exploration was canned in favor of the utterly useless space shuttle program. For the next three decades the space shuttle would bore school children from all around the world with missions that promoted junk science and positioned missile systems satellites. The U.S. space program died and may never come back thanks to a misguided adherence to the shuttle. Hence 1997's "Moonbase," which may be a metaphor for all of NASA's misguided decisions. In this film, the moon is utilized as a garbage dump.
A group of violent criminals escape from a space prison. Stark (Robert O'Reilly) is the religious fanatic who leads the group. His main squeeze, the sultry Mina (Gretchen Palmer) is just as psycho. They commandeer a shuttle and head to the moon. On the moon, John (Scott Plank) commandeers the dump (really). He screwed up on Earth so this was his next assignment. Uh oh, the garbage shuttle from the prison has arrived and on it is trash....and a bunch of violent lunatics. They land and take over the moon base.
Uh oh again...also arriving is the very beautiful Dana (Jocelyn Seagrave). She is part of a secret U.S. Air Force team sent to recover warhead...oh yeah, did I mention the nuke? Yep...buried under lunar trash. The convicts now get the drop on the USAF team and Dana takes refuge with John and his team in the control room. Oh yeah, did I mention Dana and John are former lovers? Now the convicts are trying to get at Dana and the waste crew, commandeer a shuttle, and get to Earth with a nuke. As Dana and John come to terms of where their love affair went south, they also try to foil the holocaust plans of the lunatic escapees.
Will the convicts overtake John and his team and if they do, what will they do to the beautiful Air Force chick, Dana? Just what happened to end John and Dana's relationship and have him get transferred to a space-dump? If recycling programs had earned more federal funding would the plot line in this film have been possible? Sure, a mediocre film at best, but the graceful Jocelyn Seagrave makes it worthwhile. For a light scifi thriller, see "Moonbase," directed by Paolo Mazzucato.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Axeman, Gratuitous to the Max

We have a good one today. If you want to see some of the most original kills ever put in a horror film...2013's "Axeman." There is so much right with this film. As far as this blog goes, we might have a neo-classic. Everyone in the film is either a hunk or a babe...even Brinke Stevens as the sheriff! Don't get too attached to any of them, however, if you know what I mean. To give you an idea, there will be one kill in which the killer will pull out a babe's rib and use it to stab her in the throat. This film was made by one of its stars, Joston Theney.
As the film begins, our killer (Scot Pollard, former NBA star) goes through a trio of vicious bank robbers like crap through a goose. This is so very sad as Tiffany Shepis is one of the ill-fated criminals. The murders took place in a mountain cabin and a few days later a bunch of hunks and babes arrive for a week-end of alcohol and wild-sex. There is drama with all these characters and their relationships. The drama isn't quite the kind you would find on The Hallmark Channel and we will ignore most of it. I should say there are two very hot lesbians, Liz (Erin Marie Hogan) and Tammy (Jamie Bernadette). These two will treat viewers to some very steamy passion.
Our former Boston Celtic arrives and continues the carnage. A decapitation here, chopping a hunk in half there...and more. Wild sex and lots of drinking continue. Liz and Tammy won't be able to keep their hands and faces off each other and some other beauties to include Stacy (Elissa Dowling) and Vivian (Eliza Kiss) will continue steaming up this film. Throats will be slashed, faces will be eaten...and much more. Our nearly seven foot axeman seems unstoppable. Even the sheriff's department that will eventually respond will be stocked with deputies who more resemble cheerleaders.
Will there be a final girl...or final guy? Is there stopping a seven foot axeman who wrote the book on gory kills? Will the lone black character (Theney) enjoy a better fate than he would on a "Star Trek" episode? For some great gore, original kills, and cheesecake and beefcake...enjoy "Axeman."

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Literature Review: The Monsoon Ghost Image

What if Graham Greene had written extreme horror? Interesting thought. True, the carnage of cold war detente may have produced some hideous and bloody results, but instead of The Third Man, we could have ended up with something akin to a Tom Vater's Detective Maier mystery. In the third book of the Detective Maier trilogy, Tom Vater will bring us deep into the covert 'war on terror,' introduce us to horrific mad scientist types, show us horrors Josef Mengele would applaud, and tease us with double-cross and double-agents that Graham Greene would applaud. Let us delve into The Monsoon Ghost Image.
Not post war Berlin or even Vienna...Bangkok and outer reaches of Thailand. Maier, the disgruntled German private detective has an assignment. His old buddy and war photographer, Ritter, was blown up at sea. But wait! This is where Maier comes in, Ritter was seen in Bangkok well after the explosion. Finding Ritter won't be hard but Maier will head to Bangkok with his partner Mikhail (a former Russian assassin). Now it gets blurry (literally and figuratively). The reasons for Ritter's phony demise concern a photo he took...one he shouldn't have taken. Of what? You'll see. Now everyone (CIA, Mad Scientists, Spies, Thai cops, his wife, transvestites, sharks, etc) all want Ritter. Ritter is a threat to most of them and now that Maier is on the case....well, he is also wanted.
Enter the monster...think Mengele without the glitter. Dr. Suraporn! Suraporn plus the photograph in question yields quasi-supernatural results that border on mind control and magic. Maier finds this out the hard way. Like many of the monsters throughout history, they have friends in high places and Maier finds he can trust no one. No more spoilers, but after traipsing through the seedier side of Bangkok, Maier and Mikhail will be whisked away to the wild tropics where Dr. Suraporn and vicious jungle animals want to play with them. Many will die and Suraporn will demonstrate his madness and ill will.
Maier and Mikhail may be disgruntled and see the good guys as just as bad as the bad guys, but they may have a point. Even in a morally relativistic Graham Greene universe, Maier will have to care and cling to a hope of goodness or he could get swallowed up by the evil he detests. This mystery/ adventure takes us to some wild settings and becomes relentless in throwing evil and horror at us. If Maier survives, he will be changed. Enjoy Tom Vater's The Monsoon Ghost Image, available on Amazon by clicking the link below.
Buy The Monsoon Ghost Image on Amazon

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mind Killer, When Nerds Want Women

I remember reading comic books in the 1970s...before the term 'graphic novel' was in vogue. The ads were classic. I remember one ad advertising a book called How to Pick Up Girls. I never read that book, but I have no doubt the logic in the book was effective and on point. In 1987's "Mind Killer," we see what happens when a nerd consults a mad scientist instead of the aforementioned how-to classic.
Warren (Joe McDonald) is a library clerk and a total nerd. He's afraid of women but wants one. One day in the library archives he finds a mad scientist's notebooks on mind control. Unbeknownst to Warren, the mad-scientist perfected a mind control technique and became an oozing monster. Warren frequents singles bars and strikes out in embarrassing fashion. Then Sandy (Shirley Ross) is hired at the library and Warren can only drool. Stuttering and embarrassed to no end in his interaction with the sultry Sandy, Warren consults the mind control notebooks. They work! He tests it on a skank and he is no longer a virgin. Next up...Sandy.
This pseudo comedy then turns very dark. The nubile Sandy has some very alluring and erotic scenes thanks to Warren's new found power. Now Sandy throws himself on the former nerd and is horrified that her free will is gone. Disgusted by Warren, Sandy is helpless to reject him. Uh oh, just like the author of the notebooks, Warren begins changing into a hideous monster. Now Sandy is at the mercy of an oozing monster that wants to do all sorts of nasty things to her. As Sandy becomes more helpless, Warren becomes more twisted and horrific.
Will Sandy be able to break Warren's spell on her? Will Sandy's humiliation and subservience to the monster Warren be something she can ever get over? Is Warren's monstrous condition a pertinent metaphor for the ways men attract women in the 21st century? This becomes a dark and sordid tale and watching the victimization of Sandy is very difficult. "Mind Killer," directed by Michael Krueger is a lost gem from the 1980s.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pieces, Babes Felled By Chainsaw

What a love story. In the 1960s they met doing westerns. Christopher George and Lynda Day George. Quite a great looking couple. They loved each other immensely...and then Christopher died in the mid 1980s. Lynda Day George was so distraught that she left acting soon after becoming a widow. Just before Christopher's death the loving couple made "Pieces" in 1982. This may be the most gory and gratuitous film of the 1980s slasher era.  Many actresses were cast because they looked great naked and screamed well. The sultry actresses playing the victims, well most would be gone from acting within a year or two after their roles in this film.
A beautiful mom (May Heatherly) catches her little boy looking at porn and takes it away from him. The little boy responds by chopping her into pieces with an axe. 40 years later on a college campus, nubile coeds begin getting taken apart by a chainsaw wielding fiend. A beautiful sunbather (Roxana Nieto) will have her head stolen by the fiend, then Jenny (Cristina Cottrelli) will have her torso taken by same fiend. Now the police get involved, Lt. Bracken (Christopher George). He's pretty incompetent but looks really good barking out orders. We are treated to some gratuitous aerobics action. The killings continue as a beautiful tennis player and an aerobics student (Leticia Marfil and Silvia Gambino) will also lose body parts.
Desperate to find the killer, former tennis pro and undercover police women Mary (Lynda Day George) is assigned to the college. She'll pretend to be a tennis coach. Meanwhile we are treated to a gratuitous waterbed slaughter with lots of blood and a flailing damsel in distress. Suspects abound and Mary's snooping gets her on the killer's list. As Mary develops a suspect or two, Lt. Bracken yells at more people. Uh oh...we get a glimpse of what the chainsaw fiend is up to and it is demented. No spoilers here but the ending is one of the best endings ever put on film and it will have you screaming and wincing.
Just what is the killer doing with the various body parts he's absconding with? Will the sultry Detective Mary survive this assignment and if not, what appendages will she lose? Is "Pieces" a mere metaphor for the violence and misogyny that is so rampant on today's college campuses? The female victims will all be nude and their deaths will be quite gratuitous. For some really raunchy and prurient horror entertainment see "Pieces" directed by Juan Piquer Simon.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Raging Sharks, Man-Eaters, Space Aliens, and Vanessa Angel

Our friends at Syfy keep doing this blog enormous favors. While mainstream Americans waste their time seeing inept and stupid super-hero films, Syfy has given us films we actually want to see, as opposed to films our friends tell us we should see. Combine carnage in outer space, hungry sharks, and Vanessa Angel...and a very grouchy Corin Nemec and we have 2005's "Raging Sharks." Made in Bulgaria, this is a film that is presented to us with gritty reality with a plot based on many of the same toils we face every day.
Okay, I know, but its a lot more plausible than any Captain America movie...a spaceship with aliens (a cross between Alien and Predator) collides with a meteor orbiting Mars and its cargo is jettisoned into the Bermuda Triangle. Five years later a research lab at the bottom of the Bermuda Triangle starts experiencing increased shark activity. Mike (Nemec), who is the boss of the lab, is fed up with the uselessness of the lab and departs leaving his sultry wife Linda (Angel) in charge. She's inept and makes a lot of decisions that will get people killed, but she's really good looking so we tolerate her.  After Mike leaves, the sharks go berserk and eat the divers the lab sends out. Incompetent as she is, Linda orders more divers out...and they get eaten.
Mike heads back but the sharks attack everything leaving the lab cut-off from any communication and low on oxygen. Mike manages to get back aboard with a non-essential governmental employee, Stiles (Todd Jensen). Meanwhile a U.S. submarine commanded by Corbin Bernsen is on hand to rescue the lab employees. As the lab crew discovers an alien crystal is making the sharks insane, the non-essential government employee starts killing everyone. This is no big deal, but he does cause the two other babes, Simona (Simona Levin) and Vera (Elise Muller) to die horrible deaths. As war takes place in the disabled lab, the sharks eat everyone trying to get in and out of the facility. As Linda and Mike realize they should've started a family a long time ago, Stiles hunts them with a machine gun.
Will Linda and Mike ever get a chance to start a family? Will the non-essential government employee do what non-essential government employees do best...screw up more things? How about those aliens...will they come back and abduct Vanessa Angel for...well...never mind. This is an ambitious one and has a lot of action. Vanessa Angel always looks terrific and the space alien subplot is kind of cute. See "Raging Sharks," directed by Danny Lerner.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Girl in the Crawlspace, A Weird Victim

Yep...get rid of the town serial killer and all is fine...right? Well, maybe. Serial killers aside, one third of everyone you meet today will be totally insane. A hundred years ago these insaniacs would have been confined to small cells in lunatic asylums well away from major populations. Today we medicate them and send them out to go to school with your kids...or teach them, shop next to you at Costco, and coach youth sports teams. Sure...they're medicated and perhaps they even take their meds like they should. So when you say 'bye-bye' to the serial killer...don't let your guard down.
Kitty (Joni Durian) is a beautiful psychologist who has moved back to her Indiana hometown. Just in time...the town needs a good shrink. A nightmarish serial killer who abducted a lot of children and killed them has just been neutralized by the town cop, Woody (Tom Cherry). The remnants of the devil's carnage now need serious help from Kitty. The parents who lost children need help and her passion is to help them. But wait! Someone else needs her help...a survivor! Jill (Erin H. Ryan) was kept prisoner for seven years by the fiend and secreted in his home's crawlspace. Free now, Jill has a long way to go before being able to rejoin normal society.
Kitty does heroic work to reach Jill. Uh oh...Kitty has problems. Her seemingly worthless husband Johnny (John Bradley Hambrick) is an out of work screenwriter and a recovering addict. He lies to Kitty about attending recovery meetings and joins a role playing game (think Dungeons & Dragons) group. As Johnny piles on the deception, Kitty apparently makes some neat strides with Jill. Uh oh...Johnny's secrets become complicated and tie him to Jill. Uh oh again...is Jill on the up and up? Jill's accounts of her captivity aren't adding up and what really happened to her over the past seven years may yield some deadly answers for Kitty. I'd love to tell you more, but spoilers would be so easy.
Is Jill really the helpless victim we initially believe she is? Is Kitty going to be able to handle the truths that she is on the way to uncovering? Just what is Johnny's weird connection to Jill and what will that do to his marriage to the pretty Kitty? Surprises and twists abound in this John Oak Dalton film set and shot in Indiana. For a quirky and different serial killer film see "The Girl in the Crawlspace."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Alone in the Dark, Monsters, A Cult, and Machine Guns

Uwe Boll! Even better, Uwe Boll does an Atari video game. I loved the BloodRayne films, but this time, instead of vampires, we have vicious creatures...a lot of them, and lots of tactical soldiers with machine guns, and also Tara Reid. Because Uwe Boll directed and Tara Reid stars, the idiots of IMDB gave 2005's "Alone in the Dark" 2.3/10 stars. In reality, Tara Reid is a far better actress than Scalett Johansson and Uwe Boll is a far better movie maker than J.J. Abrams. My guess is that Mr. Boll and Ms. Reid refused to prostitute themselves to the Harvey Weinsteins' of Hollywood.
We've all done it. Fortunately we catch it in time to avoid an apocalypse. However, here, when a door is opened between the world of light and the world of darkness, it isn't shut in time. An ancient cult created vicious monsters that came through the door. Present day, 20 orphans are commandeered by a mad scientist, Professor Hudgens (Matthew Walker). They are made into a monstrous mini-army. One kid escapes and 20 years later Edward (Christian Slater) has become a paranormal investigator determined to end the ancient threat. As Professor Hudgens collects the necessary artifacts needed to spread the evil scourge throughout the world, Edward and his GF Aline (Reid) uncover the plot and fight back.
Also fighting back is an elite government (I guess these are essential employees) paranormal tactical unit headed by Burke (Stephen Dorff), and he has a small army with machine-gun wielding soldiers. As a zombie like force is summoned, those aforementioned orphans with a centipede like creature wrapped around their vertebrae, attacks and seeks to kill Edward and Aline, steal the artifacts they have found, and forever unlock the door separating the world of light from the world of darkness. The war will be a vicious one and the creatures will kill a ton of soldiers. As Edward unlocks the mystery of the ancient evil cult, and figures out where their base of operations is, he and Aline attempt to take the fight to the forces of evil.
Will Edward, Aline, and the government paranormal unit ward off and defeat hundreds of toothy creatures from the underworld? Is this particular government unit immune from partial government shutdowns when continuing resolutions run out? Will Tara Reid grab a machine gun become a beautiful blonde slayer, instead of a mere damsel in much distress looking to be rescued by Christian Slater? "Alone in the Dark" is action packed with a lot of war scenes between monsters and machine-gun wielding g-men (and g-women). For a non-preachy and fun film, watch this one over any of the stupid superhero films.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, The Asylum and a Spider Alien

The Asylum and Syfy has brought us so many treasures. They have also brought back some nice talent after we thought we've seen the last of them. Enter William Katt ("The Greatest American Hero") and Dedee Pfeiffer. Throw in some right wing militia men, a spider monster sporting tentacles, another mean alien, and some neat gore and we have 2007's "AVH: Alien vs. Hunter."
A spaceship crash lands in California sending two beings into the countryside. First a spider monster with tentacles is set loose and it gets right to business killing the sheriff and Tammy's (Wittly Jourdan) mom. Also on the prowl is a hunter who looks like a demented Twiki (from Buck Rogers fame). Lee (Katt), a failed writer, just happens to be jogging and teams up with the sheriff to investigate the crash. The sheriff is picked apart by the spider monster and Lee runs back to town. Lee also rescues the lovely Tammy who is looking for her mom. Lee tries telling the townspeople, a bunch of rejects, that an invasions has occurred...they are nonplussed.
Desperation sets in and Lee convinces the staff at a local newspaper to come with him to investigate. They do, but still are skeptical. Then Marci, the very pretty editor, clad in a slightly tight skirt is pulled up into the trees (and presumably drained of her fluids) by the spider thing. Now they are all on the run. Hilary (Pfeiffer) is a very pretty and sweaty reporterette and she man's up and helps Lee form a strategy to survive. Survivalists join in and bring all sorts of weapons. Bad news...the Twiki-like hunter is just a vicious as the spider thing. As Lee and the survivalists go out to hunt the two alien things, Hilary and her unlikely band of heroes stumble on something far more important than guns and bombs. As Lee's party gets ripped apart and drained of their juices, Hilary must act to form an offensive to save Lee and any survivalist that hasn't been eaten.
Will the sweaty and sultry Hilary save Lee? Does Hilary have a shot at Lee now that the pretty Marci has been drained of her  bodily fluids and her tight skirt? In all seriousness, can't Hilary do better than Lee who is way way past his "Greatest American Hero" days? Katt and Pfeiffer are terrific and this is an action packed horror/scifi tale. For 90 minutes of fun and nostalgia, see "AVH: Alien vs. Hunter," directed by Scott Harper.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Alyson Moon Interview Part 2, By Chris Zisi

Last January I posted an interview of actress, film maker, artist, author, etc... Zhang Hanyun. To see that interview click on this link ( Moon interview Part 1 ). Immediately evident was that one interview would not suffice of this very dynamic and talented individual. Hence Part 2 of the interview (and hopefully a Part 3 in the future). As Alyson Moon's new film is about to roll out, "Circus," I figured this was a great time to speak to her again. Today we will discuss "Circus" and also delve into the paranormal.
First allow me to put forth an administrative note. "Circus" is an exciting project that will see the light of day soon. Unlike the big budget bore-a-thons that will hit the movie houses this summer, "Circus" still needs some more funding. We're not talking millions, but this film needs to be seen and even a dollar here or a dollar there would be so significant in speeding up the release date. Join me and help fund "Circus" and be able to claim you were part of this magnificent film. To donate a lot or a little (there is actually no such thing as a little) please click here ( Circus Go Fund Me ).

CJZ: Welcome back Alyson, thank you so much for gracing me with another opportunity to get to know you better. “Circus” is coming out soon, your latest film. I have spoken with you a little about it. This isn’t a light, frothy comedy about animals doing cute and funny things. Alyson Moon’s circus is a bit more probing into the human condition I assume. I know there won’t be animals in this one, but when you say “circus,” and then make a film, what are you hoping your ever-increasing audience gets out of it? 

     Alyson Moon Well, first of all it is important to say  that animals in the common circus are never a cute spectacle to see: this is a horrible thing that fortunately is disappearing, after so many years of battles and signatures to abolish this crime. After this introduction, let's talk about Circus, my movie.

        The circus, with its dreamlike atmospheres is full of magic symbols. And his eternal and infinite circular track always embraces us with sweetness to immerse us in adventures and unimaginable dreams.   In the circus there seems to be an illusion of something hidden and impossible to achieve, however, the circus is a space of freedom and absolute truth: no one can play the role of an acrobat, it is something to be implemented and that's it. The circus  conveys different existential situations, it is a kind of mirror in which culture is reflected, condensed and at the same time transcended. The clown is the most ancestral of the figures present under the circus tent, and has always aroused fascination and fear at the same time, and this is precisely the salient point of this movie: the spectator meets his deepest fears and it is this reversed perspective that the puts its own projection before itself. And there is no greater fear, just as it happened in Fellini's films, when the protagonist felt a mixture of wonder and terror. But Circus is not a horror movie in its most classic sense: it is above all a "journey" in search of the roots of this art, in a sort of unconscious psychoanalytic session. The clown refuses to re-enter the schemes and conventions of the world, representing another type of reality. In Native American culture there is a the figure called Heyoka, also known as "Contrario" or "Pagliaccio Sacro", a personality charged with expressing - and therefore preserving - the balance of the cosmos through behaviors that are apparently contrary to the rule. The Heyoka looks like the one who walks and rides on the contrary, wears clothes on the contrary, speaks in reverse, laughs when it is sad and cries when it is happy, it covers itself when it is hot and it turns out when it's cold. All this not because of mere exhibitionism or for the sake of theatricality, but because its apparently absurd behavior has the task of keeping the two opposite sides of reality in balance. Taking advantage of an apparent lack of logic, he not only makes fun of the conventions of the world, but engages in a duel with the minds of his disciples. And this is frightening to the people, who feel displaced, confused and destabilized by this which considers an imbalance. It is precisely based on this mechanism that the figure of the clown is often seen as threatening.

      CJZ:     What inspired you to create “Circus”? Are you just an observer of the world around you, or are your hopes and ambitions bubbling to the top with an important batch of wisdom for us?

            Alyson Moon:  I was inspired by the Shakespearean clowns, these fools who make their first appearances in the courts of the medieval aristocracy during the twelfth century, William Kempe ,and Jodorowsky's grotesque cinema which is based on the narration of absurd and surreal events through the deformation of certain aspects of reality.  symbolic acts with a certain matrix of surrealism just mentioned, never too obvious. The key elements in this movie are many: the clown as a dreamer poet, the jester who makes a mockery of society and the careful and never detached gaze of those who observe everything from afar. Yes, i am an observer of the world around me, but it is not a passive observation: on the contrary, it is above all a "study", a research. Observing the world from a certain distance helps to better understand people's hesitations and hiding.

CJZ:      Will this be a frolic into some fantasy land, or into the human psyche? Perhaps this question is a great segue into the next round of questions. Will the paranormal be touched on here and will we see some classic Alyson Moon themes about spirituality, nature, art, and an importance for humanity to reach for creativity and the aforementioned spirituality?

Alyson Moon:  Normality is an invention of those without imagination. If you think about it, what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. Creativity and spirituality must not be achieved: they are something that floats in the air, in an imperceptible way, and a person can choose to see them, grasp them, but they will continue to be there anyway. The problem is the "blindness" of those who refuse to "see". From a certain point of view creativity and spirituality can be considered in the same way. And here we return to the previous discourse: The non-adherence to a limited or fixed model of ego allows us to open ourselves to a more complete range of experiences. Just like the classic buffoon characterized by contrast, opposites and eccentricity. Without a fixed role. Turning into any identity is the ancient wisdom of the madman.

CJZ:     Have you always been interested in the paranormal, and if so, was there an event or episode in your past that signaled to you that there may be more going on around us other than what our eyes initially see?

Alyson Moon: People have always been interested in astrology, clairvoyance and palmistry, because it is part of human nature to try to probe the mysteries of nature. Superstitions have always existed, but here we talk about something else: the paranormal exists, just as there are ghosts, aliens and spirits. But they do not always manifest and do not manifest themselves at all. In my past there has been more than one event attributable to unearthly entities, but this is a very long and complicated matter and it would take a long time to probe it thoroughly. A very important thing to say is that everything that "works" in harmony with nature is good, just like the propitiatory rites performed to have a good harvest in the fields, the rain and so on. In this case, spirituality flows naturally, like a tuned instrument that plays the right notes. If instead we enter the realm of magic, we must be very careful because it is a minefield on which to walk on tiptoes. The real magic is to let nature take its course, flowing smoothly, without forcing, like the water flowing between the rocks.

CJZ:    You are a spiritual and creative person. As a paranormal investigator I would profile you as someone who is more likely to be in tune with paranormal influences. The “right brained” folks are relationship orientated as opposed to the “left-brained” math and technical people. Can anyone be in touch with the paranormal, and if so how can one change their way of thinking, or attune themselves to the paranormal?

Alyson Moon:  It is interesting to answer this question. In reality, a person cannot tune into the paranormal, but it is the paranormal that tuned in to some people. It's not about changing the way you think or tune into the paranormal: it's like a friend who comes to visit you and knocks on your door. He came to you, and you can decide whether to open the door or not. The important thing is to be "receptive", to be ready to welcome the mysterious part of life. Even the stars contain a mystery. The constellations, the nebulae, are not just piles of gas, and cosmic dust, but much more. Our ancestors have found the most useful knowledge for survival: they have learned to orient themselves in deserts, to build clocks and calendars. Enchanted by the movements of the stars and planets, awakened by unexplained phenomena such as eclipses or comets, they also established the enigma of the gods and heroes who explained these mysteries. There are also ways to tune into nature, but it is usually something very spontaneous.  It doesn't take much: a meditation session at dawn, listening to the sounds of nature, observing the stars, a song or a collective dance. Meditation can be approached in various ways; some techniques are related to spirituality and millennial religions.

Meditation is also good for the body; it is not an abstract and dubious form of asceticism, but a path that is built day by day. I personally love going to the park and hugging trees. As Osho wrote: "What I do is very simple, common; there is nothing spiritual or sacred. I don't want to make you saints, I just want you to be healthy, normal, intelligent, joyful people, dancing and celebrating. " This is the meaning of meditation. To meditate one must not believe or believe in something, everyone can meditate, everyone has significant benefits.

CJZ:   Your interest in the paranormal isn’t an accident. Do you believe divine influence has enabled you to be sensitive to the paranormal for a reason?

Alyson Moon: Well, it's not about divine influence: all paranormal phenomena usually occur to the people who consider them more "receptive". Anyone who has suffered particularly dramatic episodes during his life, the incidents, become predisposed to feel occult phenomena. Almost all shamans and curanderos during their life they were struck by lightning during a heavy storm, or they suffered an accident due to electric current. This event strengthens the thaumaturgical qualities of those who are affected by it, giving it the power to heal, telepathy and sensitivity. And this is a fact, as it is not possible to become a true shaman by merely studying a few books, since its power derives precisely from the phenomena just explained. And just as the paranormal exists and the forces of nature, with all their explosive impetus, there are also extraterrestrial life forms. In his posthumous book Stephen Hawking, the most important theoretical physicist, cosmologist, mathematician and astrophysicist of the last century, speaks of multiple forms of intelligent alien life and warns the world about the dangers of an invasion as aliens might regard humanity in the same way as bacteria, since they would do so hypothetically be considered very advanced beings.

CJZ:    I know this is an oversimplification of an important word, but let us talk briefly about ghosts. Have you seen or experienced one and are you aware of the reason you have been contacted? As a spiritual person, do you believe that your experiences with ghosts are for some purpose either to impart a wisdom among those you influence or something more selfish on the part of the ghost? 

Alyson Moon: Yes, I had contact with spirits three or four times. Often, the soul of deceased persons feels the need to contact  someone on earth because they need to communicate something, and they do not always turn to a family member  or relative, very often a spirit "chooses" a person in based on how receptive it is, in the same way as a person would choose a suit of the right size or a pair of shoes that fits perfectly. Usually spirits choose good-natured, sensitive and  empathetic people, and only do so when they have to communicate a message or make a request. When this happens,  it means that the deceased person has not yet finished his "journey", he has left something unresolved, incomplete,  and then puts himself in communication with a living person to express his need. Sometimes they are spirits of people  who have died violently, and in this case they usually try to communicate their desire to forgive those who have harmed  them, or, in other cases, they are people who were carrying out their lives when they were alive. an important mission  or they have had to suddenly interrupt something great for the world, and in this case their soul cannot rest because  they have not "completed" what they were supposed to complete, as an important scientific discovery for the humanity,  a person much loved by the whole world and who at the moment of passing away was in full swing, or, simply, it is a spirit  that feels that it still has much to give and say. In any case, however, it is always and exclusively "good, peaceful, loving spirits"  who always communicate a positive message with their requests. These spirits communicate with the chosen person giving signs of their presence: in some cases, they move some object in the house, so that the owner notices and catches the message that is transmitted to him. In other cases, instead, the spirit that wishes to communicate something insistently faces the mind of the chosen person, in a gentle but continuous way, as if to say: "Hey, listen to me, I have something  important to tell you!" there is nothing scary, in fact it is an emotional, moving feeling, because the spirit is telling you that you are the most suitable person to receive his message. As far as reincarnation is concerned, he dead people who were  particularly charismatic, active, productive when they were alive reincarnate very quickly because their souls do not know  rest, they want to complete their mission, because they feel that with death a very strong flow of energy was interrupted,  rich in energy, just like an electric current, and therefore the spirit cannot "rest" and reincarnates in order to continue its "work", even if, of course, in a different way, with other modes. I would like to point out that also in this case, as mentioned  before, we are always talking about good people, with strong personalities, who always have noble, honest and positive goals.  We must not be influenced by horror films that offer evil ghosts and vengeful spirits, because it is true that demons exist, but  this is a very different matter and has nothing to do with the spirits we are talking about here. So, if in your life you happen to  be "visited" by a ghost, don't be afraid but be happy and try to stay tuned to what he is trying to tell you or ask you. If he has  chosen you, it means that you are a special person.

CJZ: This concludes my second interview with Alyson Moon. Soon "Circus" will premier, but only with our help. In the near future I'm hoping Alyson Moon graces this blog with a third interview, as there is so much more to discuss.  Thank you Zhang!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Frankenstein vs. The Mummy, Two Classics Square Off

It is not easy to find a beautiful Egyptologist...I guess we all know that. Best bet for that quest is to delve into the movies, more specifically 2015's "Frankenstein vs. The Mummy." Yep, the lovely Ashton Leigh is our object of desire in this one. In our film today the sultry Ms. Leigh plays the aforementioned Egyptologist. At first glance her character is written in this film to offer some eye candy...the men around her control the plot. She gets emotional a lot and everyone at one time or another tells her to "calm down." Then Frankenstein's monster actually meets the mummy and bang!!!! Our beautiful Egyptologist controls the plot.
We meet Victor Frankenstein (Max Rhyser)...a hunk (no Colin Clive is he). He's chilling at a New York University medical school trying not to let on about his experiments in Switzerland. Yep..you know what experiments I speak of. He has found an abandoned hospital nearby where he is...well, you know what he's doing in there. Enter Naihla Khalil (Leigh)...sultry Egyptologist. Her boss is studying a mummy they just found...an evil pharaoh. Victor and Naihla will fall in love and have pre-marital sex, then Victor will tell her to calm down.
Yep...Victor's experiment comes alive and it is evil to the max. The mummy (Brandon deSpain) does the same and it is also evil. Both the mummy and Frankenstein's creature want to rape and dismember Naihla. Both cause much carnage and the police get involved. Here again Naihla is told to clam down as she calls 911 reporting a creature trying to rape her. The mummy is convinced Naihla is an ancient priestess who cursed him and the creature (Constantin Tripes) knows she is Victor's love interest. The mummy needs our excitable babe to remove the centuries old curse, and the creature needs to possess and soil Naihla in order to get Victor to...well, you'll see. Then the two monsters meet and it will be such a beautiful thing.
Who will win, the fight and the affections of the pretty Egyptologist, the mummy or the creature? Will Naihla ever calm down? Is Naihla's perceived excitability just an illustration of how men fear a women with passion? "Frankenstein vs. The Mummy" may be flawed (Victor Frankenstein as a hunk?) but it is so much fun including an ambitious and gory last 20 minutes. If women who need to calm down is your thing, see "Frankenstein vs. The Mummy," directed by Damien Leone.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Don't Look In the Attic, Ghosts Italian Style

Beba Loncar is the great Serbian actress you always hear about. Okay, maybe not great...and maybe you have never heard of her...but she is pretty enough to appear in an Italian horror film...which should have made her a hero in her native Belgrade. Besides, what a name! Beba Loncar! I'm definitely going to name a character after her in an upcoming novel. Say it with me...Beba Loncar! Her beauty gets her top billing in 1982's "Don't Look In the Attic," though in reality she should have gotten sixth or seventh billing. Ah, the perks of being really good looking.
In 1955 ghosts possess a family at an Italian villa turning them into homicidal maniacs. All will die. Present day a weird law firm,which Martha (Loncar) is a secretary for, conducts a reading of the will. The surviving children of the 1955 carnage inherit the place but must live there. Elisa (Annarita Grapputo) has been contacted by the ghost of her mom who died in the massacre. Nothing too dramatic, just warnings like "DON'T COME!" She shows up with her two estranged and weird brothers, Bruno (Fausto Lombardi) and Tony (Tonino Campa). Also arriving is Bruno's beautiful wife Sonia (Ileana Fraia). No one really pays any attention to Sonia even when she is the first to die.
Meanwhile Bruno angles to take sole possession of the villa. He plans to kill Tony and rape and marry Elisa. This won't go well. Meanwhile again, Beba Loncar tries to rekindle an affair with a lawyer in the law firm she works at. Oh yes, the sultry Ms. Loncar, as Martha, also researches the occult (don't ask). Largely irrelevant to the plot, Beba Loncar is too pretty to be ignored. When her sometimes lover Ugo (Jean-Pierre Aumont) is mysteriously murdered, she rushes over to the haunted villa. As the villa is about to be graced with the arrival of Beba Loncar, Elisa fends off rape attempts by her brother and finds her dead mother's diary...and it is revealing.
What will Beba Loncar do when she reaches the haunted villa? Will the ghosts turn their focus from the plain-Jane Elisa once the sultry Serbian comes through the gates? Will Bruno forget about impregnating his sister once the Beba Loncar barges in? There are a lot of questions answered at the conclusion of this Italian horror film. Perhaps not the best Italian horror film out there, but a pretty good vehicle for the incomparable Beba Loncar. "Don't Look In the Attic" is directed by Carlo Ausino and is a pretty atmospheric ghost story.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Robowar, Humanity Hanging in the Balance

Apocalyptic wastelands are such beautiful things. Think of it...reduced to rubble are strip-malls, section eight housing complexes, and hideous football stadiums that your tax dollars financed. A good cleaning is needed for our ruined landscapes and skylines. Film wise, they provide such wonderful settings for deep human drama that can touch all of us. Hence 2018's "Robowar" (aka "Battle Bots") directed by the fantastic Mark Polonia and starring good buddy Jeff Kirkendall.
In 2039 nuclear war has decimated humanity. In America, two small groups of humans battle for survival. Caesar (Kirkendall) is a maniacal leader of a cult bent of replacing people with vicious robots (okay...maybe not a bad idea). Robots are apparently more obedient and don't require maternity leave and can't sue you. Then there are the rebels. These freedom fighters are clad in steampunk accessories and led by Drax (Tim Hatch). Two babe rebels make up America's last women, Luna (Danielle Donahue) and Scorpion (Marie DeLorenzo). They are both hot for Drax, who is a hunk in a Grade C film type of way.
Oh yes, the rebels fearing annihilation restore an old mining robot. A cute yellow thing. A rebel mutant named Squirrel (James Kelly), who just happens to have three faces, helps get the robot back on-line. Now the rebels might have a chance. Uh oh, Caesar is on to them and sends his evil robot and it demolishes our yellow friend. Even worse, he abducts the lovely Luna with the intention of marrying and breeding with her. Luna isn't keen on this plan. As Caesar sends his henchmen-mutants and the evil robot for a last offensive against Drax and the rebels, Drax tries to mount a counter-offensive to save humanity and Luna's chastity (okay, perhaps that word is a bit of an exaggeration).
Can the rebels and their inferior yellow mechanical friend fend off Caesars' offensive? With only mutants and badly deformed hunks available, should Luna change her attitude about marrying Caesar? How about Squirrel...are his three faces a metaphor for his trustworthiness? This is a fun one and Jeff Kirkendall as a Darth Vader like figure will make you forget all those awful "Star Wars" films. For some real science fiction entertainment, avoid the vomit inducing Avengers films and take in "Robowar." 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Butterfly Kisses, Found Footage Hoax?

Hoax? Maybe. Urban legends are prime material for documentary film makers. One can't blame a local film maker for going out and creating a documentary on a local urban legend. Uh oh...if your documentary video leads to a found footage film ten years later...well, you may have suffered the same fate as Amelia Earhart or D.B. Cooper. In 2018's "Butterfly Kisses" you will learn of the fate of a local Maryland film student who decided to get to the bottom of an urban legend. The Maryland settings and cast would have made Don Dohler proud.
Pretty film student Sophia (Rachel Armiger) and her trustee cameraman Feldman (Reed DeLisle) embark on a class project to document a local legend, Peeping Tom. This specter haunts an abandoned B&O Railroad tunnel. Legend has it, much like "Candyman," if you peer down the tunnel at midnight without blinking, the thing will appear to you. Even worse, every time you blink the  fiend will get nearer until...well you'll see. You can guess what happens and now our film-making duo must deal with a spooky legend drawing nearer and nearer to them every time they blink. As Sophia and Feldman get increasingly unhinged something otherworldly draws near. Then...no spoilers here, but it is quite horrifying.
Wait! Could this be a hoax? Ten years later enter Gavin (Seth Adam Kallick). He's a film-maker who just so happens to have found all of Sophia's footage. Sophia? Missing...or never existed. Gavin is a fourth-rate P.T. Barnum and smells a good film. With huge credibility problems, debt, and a history of deception, Gavin puts together all of Sophia's videotapes. Now he must market the collection. Big problem, no one believes Gavin or the legend. Experts are called in...experts in the paranormal, myth, and video...they all say Gavin's project is a hoax. As we continue to see the horrific demise of Sophia and Feldman (which may be faked), Gavin is met with increasing hostility by the public, his family, and a film crew filming his plight. Just when we are sure Sophia's 2005 effort and Gavin's 2015 effort are a hoax...again, no spoilers here, but before this film ends, you will have seen a horror movie.
Have two Maryland film-makers engaged in an elaborate hoax? Is there anything to the legend of Peeping Tom and the haunted tunnel? Just because someone is part con-man, part promoter, does that necessitate that he is a fraud? Erik Kristopher Myers has done a fine job in making "Butterfly Kisses," which will leave you with a very uneasy feeling and also get you to jump out of your recliner a time or two.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Legion, Space Hunks and Space Babes vs. Creature

Versus a creature? Maybe. What a cast though...the sultry Terry Farrell...Parker Stevenson...Troy Donahue...pop star Rick Springfield...and Corey Feldman. This is an ambitious straight to video epic with lots of gore, spaceships, sweaty space babes and hunks, and war...oh yeah...a creature...maybe. Hence 1998's "Legion" which badly recreates themes from "Predator," "Alien," and "The Thing," but as a whole this one is so much fun.
The very pretty Major Agatha Doyle (Farrell), looking real good in her army uniform, is given command over a group of hardened military criminals. Rapists, murderers, deserters, religious fanatics, torturers, etc. Yep, a suicide mission is at hand. Invade and take control of an enemy base on an alien planet. Her second in command is lifer Captain Aldrich (Stevenson) who was just about to be put into the gas chamber. The team lands on the planet and invade the base...surprise, no one is there...deserted. Thinking they have an easy victory the team is then beset by something or someone who begins to pick them apart one by one.
Is there a monster there picking them off? Or is it one of the criminals in Doyle's command? One of the solders, Karlson (Gretchen Palmer) is a nymphomaniac and is killed while having pre-marital sex with it or him...or her. Now paranoia sets in and Doyle is having trouble keeping her new unit loyal to her. Aldrich comes to her defense but this act may be too late. The spacebabes don't fare well and either do the hunks. As throats get torn out and the beast (or man...or woman) goes through Doyle's unit like crap through a goose, the sweaty Doyle comes to some uncomfortable realizations about the true nature of her current mission.
With the shredding of the spacebabes in her command does Doyle have a chance with the very handsome Parker Stevenson? Is the killer a beast...or one of the hardened criminals sprung from the prison for this mission? What is in Doyle's past that got her selected to lead this suicide mission? This is an action packed scifi/horror film drawing on plot devices of some of the best horror films of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The sweaty Terry Farrell and boyish Parker Stevenson will keep fans of cheesecake and beefcake satisfied. "Legion" (directed by Jon Hess) is a perfect scifi/horror story for a rainy Friday movie night.