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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
This week's
NEW COLUMNS:
La Floridiana
Movie Reviews:
   League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
   Pirates of the Caribbean
Couch Potato
Ashley's Hollywood
WooWoo Express
Creature's Corner
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

FINAL EDITION
On the CF Homepage:
Florida Filmmaker Update

  Number 173  (Vol. 4, No. 29). This edition is for the week of July 14--20, 2003.

Changes...again

Plus...

A sudden flurry of activity in the Lettercol
Terence on Ashley    Mike on Ashley    Steve's thoughts from NZ    Matt's Canadian Connection writes    Matt's reply    The Creature Recalls    Andy Lalino on PCR #172


I haven't done the research, but I'm willing to wager the back issues of PCR with headlines like "Changes", "More Changes", "Ch-ch-ch-changes", and "Changes in the Wind" number close to a dozen by now. There's a reason for that--not an editorially sound one, mind you, but a reason nonetheless.

It's time for some changes.
I knew what I wanted, but didn't know what to expect when I started this website in late 1999 and the PCR the next spring. I didn't know anyone with anything comparable and I didn't find any answers to questions I had amongst people I knew, including ones who boasted great knowledge of such things. The only way to get anything done---as it has been most of my adult life---is to just throw myself in the deep end and dog-paddle like hell.

Several times the deep end got a little too deep and I had to make changes fast; other times it was strictly aesthetics...more commonly, it was a combination of both. Traditionally, I save major makeovers for the end of the year just to sort of round things out and start the new year with a bang. Unfortunately, things don't always work out by calendar dates. The traffic this website is supporting is several orders of magnitude more than it was only a year ago, and I'm grateful. I want to continue to please my crowd and do this job because it is so satisfying, I want the writers to stay happy and focused on their growth, but I cannot develop other projects I've promised, to say nothing of the premiere of the long-delayed Internet TV Show because there are simply no more hours in the week to do it all. Since I cannot afford to hire help, once again I find myself at a crossroads.

Here it comes.....
To facilitate a restructuring of schedule and priorities, all of which will help fandom with my personal involvment and all of which are geared to help everyone win fame and fortune (which was the whole point of this nonsense when I started), Nolan's Pop Culture Review and the Crazed Fanboy Homepage will become one entity, likely starting next week. I have decided that the "online magazine format" approach is no longer practical as it was in the days when you could at least conceive of printing out the whole thing. Although I've avoided the standard "website look" (ironic sounding I know) all these years, I now can see why people eventually default to it: there is simply no better way to manage and consolidate information and provide easy navigation, especially when the site becomes large.

A casual glance at the CF homepage now will reveal some housecleaning already underway: the "One Minute" video section has been removed, that's over. The online store, "The Last Outpost", has been moved to its new section with a link on the homepage. "Forbidden Video" has a larger link and has been moved to just under the PCR's link. The Filmmaker's Update has crossed to the right side. "The World of Nolan" public access history link has been moved to "Classics from the Vault" and the planet graphic has been moved to the TWON homepage. It's looking kinda sparse now, but it says what it has to. It's leaner and meaner.

Longtime readers remember how many times things have expanded, bloated, then collapsed and merged before. The last explosive growth was when the writers got their own sections in 2002. The last of the old school to die will be my original AOL homepage, which is almost never updated, the hitometer no longer works, and half the links are outdated. The poor old horse has done its job well, but it's time to retire it for good (I may reconstruct it again in an online museum or something, though). I've kept it around for sentimental reasons because it was my first published webpage (February 15, 2000), but it sure didn't look like it does now.

The future...
The writing in the PCR is still a top priority, make no mistake. I have been blessed with a staff of the best and the brightest and I want to make sure they're still spotlighted properly. (Search engines don't find videos, they find the written word.) The last thing to figure out is whether to incorporate the PCR into CF, or vice-versa. Terence, William and I have debated this by the hour. I don't know yet myself. But I promise you this: when I'm done, the PCR will still be an awesome thing, but will take TWO-THIRDS LESS TIME than it does now and Crazed Fanboy may turn profitable. We will be posting our first online fiction ever. Online comics. The Online Store will expand dramatically. A new chronicle of "Dr. Paul Bearer", Dick Bennick's early years in show business is already here, just needs to be formatted. (Even more is in the works regarding the good Doctor.) Videos, CDs, DVDs from Florida filmmakers will be available. John, William and I are working out a deal to get you access to the Schlockarama vids. ED Tucker and I are negotiating actual, physical film-club meetings. And yes, at long last...Internet TV.

Stay tuned. The best is yet to come.....but it may be a bumpy ride!


Announcements
Heard on the radio: "The Punisher" production is looking for local extras! If I remember it right, auditions will be held at the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa, this Saturday (7-19), 10:00am--4:00pm.

Chris HeynThanks to Chris Heyn (rhymes with rain), old friend and behind-the-scenes force on Le Femme Nikita for looking me up while in Tampa for his 20-year high-school reunion this week! (Photo at right) We had a wonderful reunion ourselves in this year full of reunions. I knew Chris when he was a teenager visiting me at my bookstore job after school; we had many animated discussions. Chris is writing a book on his experiences in show biz and on his days as executive producer's assistant on Le Femme Nikita in particular.

Three cheers and a big welcome back to Patty G. Henderson, whose column "Murder on the Woo Woo Express" marks a return in this issue after being gone almost a year while she worked on her books! We certainly wish her the best in the publishing world but confess to missing her mystery mullings when she's gone. Welcome back, Patty.

La Floridiana
This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
LA FLORIDIANA'S ONE-HUNDREDTH EDITION celebrates its centennial with a special look at The Mystery of UFO Hill!

Ashley Lauren's Hollywood
This week's issue
Hollywood by Ashley Lauren
'80s horror movies are over-rated....Independent filmmakers attitudes

Splash Page
This week's issue

No column this week

Matt's Rail
This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg

FORMER DALLAS COWBOY GREAT PASSES ON

Movie Reviewmovie review
This Week's Movie Reviews:

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"  reviewed by Mike Smith
"Pirates of the Caribbean"  reviewed by Ashley Lauren

Couch Potato Confessions
This week's issue
Couch Potato Confessions by Vinnie B.
Alternate Reality Shows.... ....Aqua Teen Hunger Force, your fast food neighbors........Hepburn and Tracy

Murder on the Woo Woo Express
This week's issue
Murder on the Woo Woo Express by Patty G. Henderson
She's back!! With more book reviews and news from the "other side"... ............................Click here for more

Creature's Corner
This week's issue
Creature's Corner by John Lewis
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN....S. FLA ROAD TRIP, Part 5, The Conclusion...again.

Mike's RantMike's Rant
This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
WHY WAIT FOR THE DVD? ...... BUT WHO'S PLAYING THE OOMPA LOOMPA? ..... SIMON ON THE GRILL ...... SUPPORT OUR TROOPS ...... SHOCKING .... ....................................Click here for more


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

TERENCE ON ASHLEY

Dear poor fool (Ashley),
OK, I'm 24 and about in your age group and even I know better than to make a stupid comment like films of the old days weren't made as well. (Re: Ashley's Hollywood, this issue--N) Yes, the old horror movies were low budget but what they lacked in budget they made up for in plot. Even the cheesy bad films were ten times more stylish than the bad films nowadays. If you don't know why Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is better than Resident Evil or why Texas Chainsaw Massacre had more to say than Darkness Falls, then I really hope you don't ever consider making films. The last thing we want is another Spielberg or Michael Bay. They make hack art.

"State of the art computer graphics at their fingertips"
Oh yeah, that makes them better! What is wrong with you!? I started defended your column early on because I thought I saw how it could be one of those cool Kenneth Anger Hollywood Babylon columns but I guess I was wrong -- you are a sell-out who probably thinks that CGI is more effective than models, animatronics, or claymation. The funniest thing about it all is how you fail to name what movies nowadays are better. You name-drop and bash constantly but fail to show the other side. Your column lacks intelligence and a point. And stop trying to imply that people in your age group are tired of hearing those old films are classics because I certainly think they are and I'm in your age group. So in the future please don't associate me with that opinion based on age. One last thing -- how many directors nowadays do you think will actually be remembered. Not many. Is it because we all refuse to think that anyone can top the older directors? No. It is plain and simple there really aren't any directors with a signature syle or with a message. Face it, we live in the times of money-grubbing Coporate America where the flash of a video game is king and the thinking man's movie is left to Europe.

Now on to independent filmmakers. I agree with you that most of them have a snobby attitude. But if it's towards Hollywood it's in the right. Do you have any idea that in the 1970s one of my or [Andy] Lalino's films might have had a run at a midnight showing? Oh no, you would rather have Hollywood rent all the theatres and put them in contracts for Hollywood films exclusively. Yeah...you sure are furthering film. The only reason to go into working for, say, Paramount is to, for one, hopefully beat the system. But if you want to make films like Titanic then I'm speaking to a wall. Personally it's far more respectable to create a movement outside of Hollywood. As for local filmmakers in Tampa, all I have to say is that if they stick to silly horror camp and shoot-'em-up zombie pics they are doomed to the bone pile. I want to know why not one Tampa filmmaker has produced anything of worth, content-wise anyway? Hopefully, when Viddywell returns and I get back on the horse I can change that. I would hope others would try to, too. We should be making things to show people that some actual art can come out of this crap city. Give somebody a reason to look our way. That's what I'm striving to do. Even if my kind of movie is shunned out of the Renegade Film Festival's action-horror sludge. C'mon guys, we can do better than this. I'm not trying to preach, this is more of a call to arms. Anyone with me?

To Hell with Hollywood,
Terence Nuzum


MIKE ON ASHLEY
Nolan,
OK, I'm stumped here. In reading Ashley's column I can't figure out what her point is. Is she saying that all film making before the 1990's is crap because they had smaller budgets or because she didn't find them entertaining enough. If anything, in some films, I find that lack of a large budget makes the filmmakers try harder to get their message across. I shudder to think of an updated, big budget version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And all of the money and special computer effects don't mean a thing if the audience doesn't buy it. While my favorite film is and always will be JAWS, I know that the reason the film works so well is because you DON'T see the shark every 10 minutes. It's the suspense that makes the film what it is, not the mechanical shark. As for good sci-fi/horror films of the '80s, I offer the following list: E.T., The Shining, the even-numbered films in the Star Trek series, Aliens, John Carpenter's The Thing, Back to the Future, Brazil and The Terminator. And that is just off the top of my head.

As for films of one generation being better then another, it is all in the eye of the beholder. As someone in the business I can tell you that the films that make the money these days are the cookie cutter formula following kind. That is what pays the bills. I don't like it, but that is the truth.

Michael [Smith]


WELCOME SUPPORT FROM DOWN UNDER
Nolan,
I'm glad to see thing are going well at CF/PCR. The first change I noticed was the Florida Filmaker's WIndow moving to the right side of the page. My eyes went a bit wide on that one...LOL! All in all I'm for the ch-ch-ch-changes, not because I dislike what was, but because I see the changes as breathing life into it on occaision.....sort've like how every once in a while we take an incredibly deep breath, almost involuntarily. John Lewis' "The Creature's Corner" stories have really turned out to be very good. I always love the Florida Road Trip stories that he and Will do. I'm glad to hear Patty Henderson has been working on more of her spell-binding mystery novels, I can't wait til I can get back home to catch up on some quality reading. Kudos (what exactly...is a kudo?) to Will Moriaty on the 100th edition of La Floridiana. I read every issue! It's amazing how much he and I have in common...right down to our redneck roots, eh?

On the note of combing CF and PCR and/or having only one of them take over totally like the Borg taking over Captain Picard....I can't help with that decision. It's like choosing which of your children gets to live happily ever after and which one must succumb to certain death.

Thanks again for having a place on the 'net, where I can keep up with what's important to me back home. I read every issue and it reminds me of the many "meetings" that we've had over the years at Colonial Village, Coyote's, Village inn Pancake House, The Mexican Burro, Duff's Smorgasbord, Pat's Drive-In, Belk Lindsay's little-diner-the-name-of-which-escapes-me, The Egg Platter, Pop n' Sons, 7-Eleven (back when I was a wee lad in the 80s and 90s, LOL!), at my house, at your house and even Ron's house.

I can't wait to get back to my jealous mistress¹........Florida.

¹ words borrowed from Will Moriaty, Esq.

Steve Beasley
Auckland, NZ


MATT'S CANADIAN CONNECTION!
Nolan, below is the letter I received from our Canadian friend, as well as my reply. As we discussed in a previous IM, this is in reference to PCR 162 where I blasted those who don't believe and support free speech.--Matt

Matt,
I just read your column about Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, and the unAmerican treatment they are getting from their countrymen.

I agree 1000%. I am a Canadian who was in total agreement with our leader, Jean Cretien, for not backing the US administration and sticking with the United Nations. This is one of the few times I have agreed with Premier Cretien, and I am a liberal who voted his party to power.

I just don't understand why so many Americans don't see what is really going on with the Bush administration and its policies. They keep changing with the wind, especially in light of the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found. Rumsfeld, today on Yahoo site, has changed the reasons behind his administration's reasons for going to war with Iraq.

I, too, want to see people who are cruelly treated get their freedom, but declaring war on a sovereign country is frightening. I lived through Vietnam and I hope this war does not evolve into another one.

Thanks for letting me air my views.

Maple Leaf Pride


Hi,
Thank you for writing to me and expressing your views. It's always a pleasure to learn that there is yet another person who recognizes deceit when they see it.

The Rail that you refer to is an older Rail so I don't know if you read PCR on a regular basis, but if you do you understand all too well where I come from regarding the current administration.

Probably the most disturbing reality I'm living in today is that there are so many people out there who don't know, and worse yet don't care, about what is transpiring. The concept of not holding one's leaders fully accountable is, in my view, the most gross negligence one could suffer his fellow countrymen. I'm ashamed of myself for one time being of that ilk. Fortunately, I lost my job and had lots of time of my hands to read, watch, and learn. I say fortunately because if that hadn't happened, I could possibly still be the ignorant person I was. Truly, I can only be downcast about the way I use to be, like those who call in to CSPAN supporting a man who not only has not kept a single campaign promise, but done the exact opposite of his pledge. If nothing else, this should be an impeachable offense. Lying to the American people to get elected.

I'm sorry the innocent of this world have to suffer the indignity of seeing the unworthly achieve, maintain, and retain power of a governmental scope. Truly, we're not the only ones with issues in that regard, but if we are to consider ourselves the "greatest nation", as some like to say, then we should hold ourselves fully accountable to righteous endeavors, making sure all decisions are made in the light. Not suspiciously held in the dark without full discloser to the Senate, a la the Energy Crisis Meetings in Washington by VP Chaney.

As for Robbins and Sarandan, I'm still ashamed of my countrymen who blasted them being guilty of only exercising their rights as Americans. It's sickening. Thankfully, there are now more people speaking out about how it's critical to the success of our nation to speak your voice and be heard. What a concept!

Again, thanks for the reply. It really means a lot to me!

God bless you,
Matthew [Drinnenberg]


THE CREATURE RECALLS
Hey Guys:
Once again, the beast that lives inside the "Creature," must be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. You guys always know how to get me fired up. Here we go for another rollercoaster ride into the ancient world I used to dwell in. This was a world where comics could be bought literally everywhere because there weren,t that many specialty shops around at the time. So sit back and enjoy as Uncle "Creature" tells you about his early comic buying days. I hope you enjoy it. HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

When I was real young (I don't know if they had cars then (LOL), just kidding) and still living in New York (Long Island to be exact) I used to walk with my mom and sister to a kind of general store type place. The memories are kind of foggy but it was like being in the shop in Mayberry (yeah, you know the place). They had all kinds of stuff but what I looked forward to the most was the comic books. I only remember buying a few there as I was just starting to collect at the time. I remember buying an Aquaman (before he had his own series) and Strange Tales with Space Ranger. I also remember buying old Mysery in Space issues With Adam Strange. I don't recall buying Superman or Batman at the time. I was more of a Science Fiction fan at the time. I also was a big horror movie buff at the time and remember seeing Zacherly (?) on television introducing old Sci-fi and horror flicks.

Anyway, the most vivid memory of that old store was the day I walked in there and noticed a really neat looking alien on a little package. He was real thin and wore a space helmet. The scariest thing about him was that he had bulging, glaring eyes and a head that looked like a huge brain with no skull or skin to protect it. Yes, dear reader, on that day I was introduced to a series of cards that were to go down in history and spawn a movie almost forty years later. That day I bought my first pack of "Mars Attacks." I was hooked immediately. Over the course of the next several weeks I managed to talk my mom into buying me about a dozen packs. At a nickel a pack they were cheaper than buying a twelve cent comic. I think the store only got a couple boxes and when they were gone that was it. I ended up with about 37 of the cards from the set. I kept staring at them over and over, hardly believing what I was seeing. The brutal nature of the martians left me spellbound.

Several cards linger in my memories to this day. One in particular ,card #36, "Destroying a Dog" was unbelievable. The dog, protecting a farm, jumps at a martian and is immediately blasted by a martian deathray which is very graphically depicted. The dog bursts into flames as the owner, a young boy, runs at the martian, fists in the air, in a feeble effort to save his dog. In the background sits a saucer.

The number of cards that depicted scenes of Martian brutality were unbelievable. They grew giant insects to aid in their war against Earth. These mutant bugs would tear people to pieces. This reminded me a little of a fifties movie I've seen several times, "Killers From Space."

Another card that lingers in my memory is the one with the shrinking ray where soldiers watch in horror as one of their buddies shrinks out of existence after being shot by a Martian Shrinking Ray. Finally a card that got me pumped was, I think #48, "Headed For Mars" or something like that. It showed these massive rockets being loaded with futuristic tanks and thousands of troops as the earth decides to give Mars a taste of it's own medicine. These ships were MASSIVE. WOW!!! Semper Fi!!!

I think part of "Mars Attacks" enduring appeal is that it dared to whisk people into a graphically depicted war between the worlds. It was way ahead of it's time. It came out at a time when Andy Griffith, Leave It To Beaver, and Gilligan's Island were standard programming. If you get a chance to pick up one of the reprint sets, do it. This is a great set of cards that has NO equal.

Several years ago TOPPS came out with "Dinosaurs Attack." It was done in the same vein as "Mars Attacks" but never caught on. Though just as graphic in nature it had little support from fans.

Anyway, that's it for now. Maybe next week I'll talk a little about my early days of comic collecting in Florida.

I hope everyone has a Great Week. See You in The "Castle."

The "Creature" from Clearwater,
John Lewis
P. S. I still have some of my "Mars Attacks" cards as well as several of the comics mentioned. C-Ya!!!


ANDY OF CLEARWATER ON PCR 172...

All these celebrity deaths have made for some depressing reading on PCR lately, Nolan!

Breaking Through & Bending Spoons
I always cringe when I thumb through the latest issue of FANGORIA. No, it's not the fact that the mag is scary or gory; on the editorial page each issue is dedicated to a horror celebrity that passed on during the month. In this issue, the clock chimed for wrestler Freddie Blassie.

Not that horror films have a lot to do with wrestling (just ask Santo...), but Freddie Blassie was a horror-friendly cult celeb, particularly in the years of the famous "horror vs. wrestling" controversy in the early issues of the magazine (prompted by then-editor Bob Martin, I think). From what I remember of Freddie Blassie in relation to Fangoria magazine is the B&W ads he took out for his "hit" single "Pencil Neck Geek" (a picture disc featuring Freddie's lovable mug). It was a big hit on Dr. Demento's radio show.

Ultimately, though, the enlightened remember Mr. Blassie from the divine Andy Kaufman's short "My Breakfast with Blassie", an uproarious parody of "My Dinner with Andre" starring Kaufman, Blassie (and Bob Zmuda) as themselves in, as R.E.M. says, "A Breakfast Mess". MBWB will split your sides open. Kaufman takes full advantage of the unpredictable reactions of the colorful Freddie Blassie, as he is thrown up on, hit on, and teased in general. Don't miss it.

I only hope Andy and Freddie are sharing a coffee and scrambled eggs once again in The Great Beyond.


I was also saddened about that lifelong TV friend Buddy Ebsen. Sure, everyone loved "The Beverly Hillbillies", but us '70s kids remembered him as "Barnaby Jones"...man, I still remember the show open to BJ with the red squares (or was that "Mannix"?)!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Re-Evaluation of the career of Katherine Hepburn
To Ashley: I am sorry and I do apologize about the ill-timed "Katherine Hepburn bobblehead" idea. Does this mean I have to cancel my Muhammad Ali bobblehead plan too?

On a more serious note, I suggest to our readers that Katherine Hepburn's career be re-evaluated based on the fact that the esteemed actress has never done a horror picture. How can one call himself or herself a great actor if they have not performed or portrayed the emotions of fear or horror? Most all of the actresses in Hepburn's league crowned their illustrious careers by appearing in horror films. Just take a look at Bette Davis, one of the few horror actresses that did not require make-up to look scary (a female version of Rondo Hatton, perhaps?). Toward the end of her career she became the genre's oldest "scream queen", appearing in many horror films, such as "Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte", "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", "Burnt Offerings", "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home", and "Watcher in the Woods".

Other grand actresses who were in horror films before the reaper's scythe struck were: Joan "No More Wire Hangers!" Crawford; brilliant in the role of Dr. Brockton in the 1970 caveman epic "Trog", and equally arresting in the films she made in-between abusing her daughter: "We're Going to Scare You to Death", "Night Gallery" (pilot), "Strait-Jacket", and "I Saw What You Did". Crawford was also an alumni of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", co-starring with dame Bette Davis. Who can forget that ton of talent Shelley Winters (who's still kicking), who graced the horror genre with her performances in "Who Slew Auntie Roo?", "Witchfire" (1986; saw it at the theaters), "The Initiation of Sarah", and her crown jewel "Tentacles". Add Phyllis Diller (also alive) to the growing list - she was in "The Boneyard" and "Mad Monster Party".

So as you can see, so many actors proudly participated in the horror film arena, Hepburn not amongst them; oh, so sad. I can go on and on, even with male actors (Moe "Dr. Death, Seeker of Souls" Howard, Gregory "The Omen" Peck, and "Tentacles" alumni Henry Fonda) as examples of legendary actors who leapt into horror. For whatever reason, probably due to the fact that so many people consider horror akin to porn, Katherine Hepburn chose not to appear in fright films.

In my opinion, to increase her popularity in the '80s, she should have opted to audition for films like "Gates of Hell" to introduce her image to a new generation. She would have gotten a blast out of getting a drill press through her eye or throwing up her guts. But, alas, she opted for yet another talky melodrama: "On Golden Pond". * sigh *. Such a waste. She could have been the one to machete camp counselors in "Friday the 13th" instead of Betsy Palmer...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN DUMAIS!

To Steve Beasley:
As a fellow filmmaker and lifelong horror fan, I have thought long and hard about the subject of censorship, and I'm afraid I can't agree with you on the point to made in response to Brandon Jones about the word "effing". As Rush Limbaugh says: "Words mean things", a philosophy I personally am in agreement with. Stating that "words hurt no one" is blatantly false and not well thought-out. What about children (and adults) who are victims of verbal abuse? For a ten-year-old hearing from their own mother or father that they are a "worthless piece of garbage" hurts and even haunts. That was one example of millions, if not billions, of others. There is a fine line between satire (see the Hepburn joke above) and insult; just ask Andy Kaufman (then again, you can't; he's dead. Or is he?).

A good rule of thumb is to know your audience. I don't necessarily want kids 17 or under to see my new short film "Filthy" because it's full of intense violence (though I can't blame teens for wanting to sneak into movies; it's what you do when you're young). It has a warning before the film starts that it is not suggestible that minors see the movie, and is my effort to protect those impressionable kids from seeing taboo subjects until they are the right age to do so. The reality is, however, that kids and teens have a natural urge to see what's taboo (I did; I remember sneaking into "10", "Blade Runner", and JC's "The Thing" when I was younger), but it is still society's responsibility to protect them whenever possible. That's why the MPAA exists, so the Federal Gov't doesn't have to police the movie business.

Can an 18 or 69-year-old handle "Filthy"? Sure. It may offend some of them; oh well. Still, they're old enough to be able to handle the material and make their own minds up about it. They're adults. "Harry Potter" is presumably going to read by pre-teens and teens, and it's a good idea not to include offensive (or hints of) language until they're old enough to experience it. J.K. Rowling should know her audience and gear her material toward them, which in this case, she really didn't.

Obviously real young kids are going to read or have read to them "Harry Potter", and there's no reason (other than the controversy it may create) by putting the word "effing" in the book. I have not read any HP books, but the quote Brandon included in his letter led me to believe the word was not necessary in the narrative. Authors, scriptwriters, artists, and songwriters often do this to get attention and to create controversy; it makes them richer. The last thing "Harry Potter" juggernaut needs is more publicity. I'd much rather chat about "Freddy vs. Jason".

I'm a textbook case of a person that's seen the most intense forms of "taboo cinema" in my late teen years through early adulthood ("Faces of Death", "Cannibal Holocaust", "The Toolbox Murders") and have lived a non-violent, normal life, unlike other dunderheads (like the kid who thought he was Neo the other day about to blow away his school) who have family/mental problems (the real culprit) fueled by the entertainment they see. That doesn't mean we "normal" people shouldn't be allowed to enjoy that same entertainment/art.

Horror has been pretty lucky over the years; those of the liberal mindset have been pretty ruthless in attempting to silence anything that's not PC ("Tom Sawyer", The Little Rascals, anything in the "Forbidden Video" section, Andrew Dice Clay) over the years, but have by and large left the horror genre alone; I hope it stays that way, otherwise we'll be stuck watching movies like "Finding Cap'n Nemo" and "From Justin to Kelley" all the livelong day - a fate worse than death (on the flip side of the political spectrum, any potential anti-horror movement may be aided by the Christian coalition too - more villains). You know, though, I see that day coming. I don't think liberals will stop as they quell the "Amos & Andy's", I think they'll mow down everything until they reach the "I Spit On Your Grave's". I'm offended more by the fact that other people are choosing for me, an adult, what I can watch or what I can't watch than anything contained I could ever experience in a work of art or form of entertainment. The fact that the PC crowd will jump down the throat of any studio that dare release "Song of the South" is a big part of the overall problem and should be dealt with swiftly and strictly.

What the PC enemies of free speech forget is that these works were made in a different time by generations of a different mentality - that's called history. Yes, back in the 19th century people did regard blacks different than they do today, but that doesn't mean we should be like Fahrenheit 451 and burn/ban the books or re-write history - they give us a glimpse of how mental attitudes were during previous time periods, and hopefully we're more "civilized" nowadays to objectively consume those points of view. They obviously don't think we're intelligent enough to make up our own minds about the meaning of certain things we read; we should be glad they're deciding these things for us.

Fight back. PC is the sworn enemy.

To Will Moriaty:
Have a surprise for you...my mom dug up some old theme park/circus pennants from La Floridiana. These have to be from the late '60s-the early '70s. They include: St. Pete. Beach's "The Aquatarium", A 1970 centennial edition of the "Ringling Bros. Barnum Bailey" circus, Sunken Gardens, The "Circus Hall of Fame" in Sarasota, Bellum's "Cars and Music of Yesterday" (Sarasota), and The Bronx Zoo(!). All are in very good condition; I'll have to scan them and send them to you.

I'd like to see you do a story on the great Wax Museums of Florida. Most are gone. There used to be one on St. Pete. Beach called the "London Wax Museum" which had a horror hallway, featuring The Frankenstein Monster and I think some of the '80s icons, like Freddy Krueger. That was such a great attraction; it's now an 'effin Publix (groan). The largest wax museum in Florida I think was the "Stars Hall of Fame", which was in Orlando/Kissimmee near Sea World. Man, that was a great place, esp. if you loved the movies. The only existing wax museum that I know of is "Madame Tussad's" in St. Augustine which has a horror section amidst the dull historical figures. It even had an homage to Vincent Price. Sunken Gardens used to have a wax exhibit called "King of Kings" featuring religious depictions. Screw that; I always hit the game room instead.

If there are any more you can think of, let us know.

Were there really piranhas in the Everglades? How cool. I remember the old jungle movies where you used to see the river water bubbling when they would feast on human flesh. I have two stuffed piranhas in my den.

You have to be one of the first people to agree with me that most things cool died in the late '80s. Most look at me like a deer in the headlights, or argue the point (I think they like to get my goat; but they know I'm right). I totally agree about the rise of "syndicated" TV stations (UPN, WB) and the villainous Fox network rearing their ugly heads with lame, uncool entertainment, shutting the doors forever on our precious "Creature Features" and "Godzilla Weeks" on Channel 44. My wife loves watching "The Simpsons" and can't understand why I don't like it. I hate it because it represents the late '80s to me - the rise of the Fox networks - and the beginning of pop culture decay. I blame the viewers as much as I do the networks. How and why did we get so uncool? Is it the old Channel 28 that used to air "Elvira"? Man, I lived for her show. Here's a tip: watch "Off Beat Cinema" every Saturday morning (early morning!) at 3am - 5am on WTSP. It's the closest thing to a horror-host TV show in this day & age. It's very hip watch.

Remember, it's just as important NOT to watch things as it is to watch things. Do not support the big TV stations unless they air more sci-fi, horror, and fantasy shows and movies (and no, I'm not talking about "Buffy"; more like "G vs. E). Write WSTP and tell them how much you enjoy watching "Off Beat Cinema" and would like to see more horror/sci-fi films on the network. Tell them you'd like to see REAL quality genre movies, not drek like "Universal Soldier" and "Puppetmaster II" time and time again (you may also want to forward that letter to the lame Sci-Fi Channel). These stations need to hear from masses of fans, or else we're stuck with the Dawson's Creeks and the various homie shows. I'm on record as writing to WSTP thanking them for airing OBC; do the same.

You had an interesting take on the baby boom generation. I still fault those of us in our '30s who produce art and entertainment with little or no inspiration from what they grew up with. They're all out to make a buck, and don't give a shit about remaining loyal to the artists who provided a soundtrack to their lives. I mean, for all of us who grew up with The Ramones, U2, Romeo Void, and yes, Men Without Hats, how the hell do we tolerate and help promote performers like Britney Spears and Marc Anthony?!?

It's great to look forward, but the reality is the times don't look bright at all in the near future. One has to be realistic and honest when examining pop culture of decades gone by. If one was to briefly sum up the decades as it relates to pop culture, it would play out like this: '20s: Great silent horror films; "Nosferatu", "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", Einstein's "Frankenstein", Lon Chaney. '30s: Golden decade of Horror and Fantasy; too many classics to count; "Dracula", "Frankenstein", "Invisible Man", "King Kong", "Wizard of Oz". An excellent decade. '40s: Dullsville. "The Wolf Man" comes to mind. WWII obviously had an impact on '40s pop culture. '50s: The rise of Sci-Fi (finally)!! Kicked off by "Destination Moon" and "Rocketship X-M". What a great decade. James Dean. Cool teens. Surfers. Monsters. The late '50s saw the rebirth of the horror film in grisly color, with the coming of Hammer Studio's "Curse of Frankenstein" and "Horror of Dracula". Movies would never be the same again. '60s: A great, experimental decade. The early '60s were a lot like the '50s (see "American Graffiti"). Looking through my film books, I'm amazed at the number of films made in the late '60s (the flower generation); most of them good. The hippies took over in the late '60s, which was good in a way, but bad now because they still think the same way. Big bad, however: Vietnam. '70s: Perhaps the greatest decade ever in the history of mankind. Great all the way through. It had everything; schlock horror, sci-fi, monster mags, horror hosts, blockbusters ("Jaws", "Star Wars"), the last vestiges of Spook Shows and Drive-Ins, debauchery, Satanism (Satanic films were released with regularity in the '70s), shopping malls, and the gelling of suburbia. Nudity and hardcore violence in mainstream cinema were established in the '70s (YAY!). Punk and New Wave began in the '70s, but if you didn't dig that you had classic rock and disco. The '70s never cease to fascinate me; it was like a cultural wild west. I even liked TV back then! '80s: An excellent decade from '80 to '86. Can anyone tell me why people stopped listening to New Wave in favor of rap & heavy metal? I'm still baffled. Anyway, this was another decade that had it all: video games ("Pac Man", "Moon Cresta", "Frogger"), great music (even classic rockers like Boston could churn out hit albums; being older was not a bad thing back then), great teen flicks ("Hot Chili", "Losin It", "My Tutor"), great movies ("The Road Warrior", "Airplane!", "Return of the Jedi"). It was a great time to grow up. Like the '50s, this decade was for teens. '90s: Ah, the Beavis & Butthead generation. Uh, let's see...I'll find something mentionable somewhere...okay - ZooTV, "How Bizarre", "The Stand", R.E.M's "The Great Beyond", Boy George's "The Crying Game" single, The Passengers (U2, Eno), Adam Ant resurfaced (like that, Mr. Danford?) with his best single: "Wonderful", as did General Public ("I'll Take You There" from the movie "Threesome"). Can anyone name a '90s horror movie? Lucas couldn't even get a new "Star Wars" movie right. Now: Horror seems to be making a comeback, not that it's what it was back in the early-to-mid '80s. Fangoria editor Anthony Timpone suggests that the Fangoria generation (those weaned on the magazine in the early '80s, like myself) are now making feature films and may offer a new hope in resurrecting a new "glory days" of horror (not if we keep doing remakes, like the upcoming "Texas Chainsaw" and "Dawn of the Dead" reduxes). I'm still waiting to be convinced.

General Public @ Masquerade July 12th, 2003
Okay, it was almost July 13th by the time GP took the stage (at 11:30pm!) at Tampa's Masquerade Goth club. In reality, the only member from the original General Public was the venerable Mr. Dave Wakeling, who was full of smiles despite the numerous technical problems plaguing the show.

After sitting through 3(!) opening bands, GP finally walked on stage with little fanfare to get the sparse crowd going (what my friends were doing that night instead of supporting the band I'll never know...). Once positioned, however, Wakeling took the crowd by force. First up was the rousing "I Confess" by The English Beat (Wakeling & Rogers first band, who I'm sure you've heard of), followed by "Rough Rider" (another English Beat tune). By this time, the signature reggae and Ska sounds mesmerized the venue, entrancing the crowd to shake & shimmee across the floor to some of their favorite Public/E. Beat songs.

A third of the way through, GP performed one of their biggest hits, a cover of "I'll Take You There" which they recorded for the "Threesome" soundtrack (see? There were a few good things about the '90s), which was quickly followed by the great New Wave classic and the song that everyone came there to hear: "Tenderness"! Nary was a soul to be found sitting still during the performance. GP also treated the crowd to one of my personal faves, "Never You Done That", another song off the famous "All the Rage" album.

The remainder of the set featured more English Beat songs, including "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (excellent). The band did one encore, it again being an English Beat song, but well worth waiting around for: "Save It for Later".

A solid show, GP performed well despite the modest turnout. The obvious omission was Wakeling's partner in crime Ranking Roger, who would have added a lot of pizzaz to the set, not that Wakeling's natural charisma didn't enchant. None of the musicians were from the band's original lineup, which actually changed from "All the Rage" to GP's second album "Hand to Mouth" (reminded me of when I saw Missing Persons in the '90s; the only original member was Dale Bozzio). Not that the musicians weren't great; they were faboo, we just weren't treated to the original members. Interestingly, the band went bass-less; included were: guitar, drums, keyboards, and congas only.

Getting back to the technical glitches (Dave's guitar cord wasn't sending a signal to the amps), Masquerade's staff handled it as best they could; even Wakeling gave the techs credit. I thought it was funny when the keyboardist constantly motioned a "thumbs up" the mixer to TURN UP the levels on the keyboards; especially problematic during one of my favorite GP tunes "Never You Done That".

A big gripe was that the band didn't play any tracks from their excellent '93 release "Rub it Better", an underrated album that saw GP comeback in fine form after a seven year absence as a band. During that time, however, both Wakeling and Ranking Roger became solo artists, most notably Wakeling's hit '87 single "She's Having a Baby" from the film of the same name. "Rub it Better" also had the distinct advantage of riding on the coattails of GP's comeback hit single "I'll Take You There" (which is not included on "Rub it Better"). I should also note that re-releases of GP's "All the Rage" and "Hand to Mouth" albums feature lots of bonus tracks, including a live version of "Tenderness".

Next time around, GP may want to consider playing at Jannus Landing in St. Pete. I think they'd get a larger crowd (The Fixx always packs 'em in) and get on stage at 8pm instead of 11:30pm.

According to VH-1's "Where Are They Now?" (okay, I know the show's atrocious, but I have to watch it...) Dave Wakeling is now living in L.A., and is married with children. That makes it convenient when he wants to tour the U.S. because he doesn't have to goof around with passports & such. Keep touring, Dave - we want you back! www.davewakeling.com

- Andy Lalino
Director / Producer / Screenwriter "Filthy"
President, Metropol Productions, Inc.
www.filthythemovie.com



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"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty    This week's movie review of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith   This week's movie review of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    "Ashley Lauren's Hollywood" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    "Creature's Corner" is ©2003 by John Lewis     "Splash Page" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2003 by Vinnie Blesi    Add'l thanks to Terence Nuzum, Mike Smith, Matt Drinnenberg, "Maple Leaf Pride", John Lewis, and Andy Lalino for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova


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