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Now in our seventh calendar year!
PCR #336  (Vol. 7, No. 35) This edition is for the week of August 28--September 3, 2006.

MOVIE REVIEW
"Trust The Man"  by Mike Smith
MY MIDDLE TOE
An Open Note To Rick Danford  by Mark Terry
ODDSERVATIONS
There's No '80s In Your 30s....VHS Grindhouse - "Terror in the Haunted House"....Disney Authorization  by Andy Lalino
MIKE'S RANT
I Shot JFK....Goodbye, Pa Kent....My Favorite Films, Part 35: "Carrie"  by Mike Smith
LETTERS
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino


There's No '80s In Your 30s
How old are you? 37? 39? Maybe even in your early '40s?

Kids? No kids? Ten kids?

You know, channel-surfing and seeing clips from "reality shows", I note just how far removed our generation is (I'm 39) from the wondrous pop culture we grew up with and should be influenced by. You'd think a generation raised on "Make Them Die Slowly", "Faces of Death", "Private School for Girls", "The Road Warrior", etc. would at least try to maintain level of taste that harkens back to a better, more youthful time. But no; all the numbnut 30 and 40-somethings I see on TV have completely forsaken the pop culture they grew up with and are now "going with the flow" of "modern times". If you were 18 in 1985 and listening to The Smiths and Big Country, chances are now you're plopped on your couch watching 'American I-dull' or 'The View'.

Just one question:

What the fuck happened to you?

Where's your spirit of rebellion? What happened to your eclectic taste? Or, in some cases, bad taste?

You're probably wondering why is this putz questioning where I am in my life? Well, that's because I have full right to. I'm a fanboy who's never abandoned the '70s and early '80s. Most of the films I watch and music I listen to are from the '60s, '70s, and (early) '80s. If you're a regular reader of this column or a CF boardie, you can easily see that I'm not lying. I'd rather watch “Bloody Birthday” over “V for Vendetta” any old day. If you're a guy or gal in your late '30s or early '40s who hasn't quite kept up the loyalty to the decades you grew up in, well, I'd say that you have some very serious soul-searching to do.

It's all about choices. Do you really want to watch 'American I-dull'? Listen to a Ashley Simpson album? Have your kids grown up to Britney Spears and not U2? Have you bought Erasure's most recent CD? Do you know The Pet Shop Boys and Scritti Politti have new CD's out? How come you haven't purchased them? When's the last time you watched a real cult movie (and I'm not talking about "Snakes on a Plane")? If you're starting to think that you may have been on the wrong path for the last twenty years, well maybe you indeed have. Time to get back on track.

I know to a degree I'm preaching to the choir here on a fanboy-based website, but for those schlubs who think "Talladega Nights" and "Dr. Phil" are the greatest thing since sliced bread, especially if you have been exposed to the great exploitation years from the '60s to the early '80s, well, then, I have a big problem with you.

I suggest tuning out your favorite reality show and tuning in to the great cult movies available on DVD or perhaps as a used VHS. Pick up some back issues of Fangoria, or Famous Monsters of Filmland. Get back in the fray for crying out loud. What you choose not to watch is just as important as what you watch. If you're milling about your watercooler, talk about "Porky's" instead of "Barnyard".

For cripe's sake, put the '80s back in your 30s, and let's start having fun again!

VHS Grindhouse - "Terror in the Haunted House"
Have you heard about old movies which use subliminal messages? Ever see one? Well, here's your chance, in Rhino's VHS release of the 1958 psychological thriller masquerading as a horror film "Terror in the Haunted House" (great title!). The subliminal messages in this film don't exactly entice you to buy Sno-Caps, rather they strobe on to "terrify" the viewer with a luscious assortment of scary (and sometimes silly) faces at key moments in the plot. The producers claimed it was shot in "Psycho-Rama", meaning expect some flashes of freaky faces. It was really fun using the "forward one frame" button on my VCR remote to see the faces. There's also a message that reads: SCREAM BLOODY MURDER! This film was actually banned at the time of its release, with a paranoid population condemning its harmless use of subliminal messages.

Aside from the subliminal gimmick, this movie borrows much of William Castle's style, minus his adeptness at scaring the hell out of his audience. Plus, you always knew you were getting more than your money's worth from a Castle film. I can't say that about this effort.

The story begins in Switzerland(!) where two Americans were recently married: Sheila Wayne and Philip Tierney (who's a dead ringer for Morton Downey Jr.). Sheila, however, has some serious psychological issues. Early on, she's hypnotized by her psychologist and we're treated to her mildly interesting dream sequence involving the titular haunted house and allusions to murder. Her phantasmagoria is a clue to a forbidden memory buried deep in her subconscious which she's unable to divulge. The newlyweds decide to return to the states, where Philip has secured living arrangements...guess where?

Sheila freaks when shocked with the reality that she's staying in the mansion of her nightmares! I should also point out that the movie's set in Florida! When Philip carries the hysterical woman through the threshold, they encounter the caretaker - Jonah Snell, who's character is a far cry from the stereotypical creepy caretakers. Jonah can't quite understand why someone would want to live in an old house that's falling apart - and has no basic amenities. He soon finds out.

Philip has his own agenda, however, while Sheila would like nothing better to skedaddle. But have you ever seen a haunted house movie where the person who wants to leave gets their way? The mixed-up couple are soon visited by the dashing "Mark" (can't reveal his last name) who warns Sheila about Philip's intentions. She soon learns that Philip is the last of the "Mad Tierneys", a local family with a murderous reputation. He seemingly has the "Tierney Curse" where an elder male Tierney goes mad and takes the life of his loved ones. Not exactly a reassuring scenario for the blushing bride.

Much time is spent throwing clues at Sheila while very little horror goes on. The end has an effective twist, and when Sheila confronts her inner demons by ascending the attic, it makes for some of the best moments of the film. Aside from a quick shot of a (phony) ghost peeking through a window, this movie is pretty much devoid of anything supernatural. In fact, if you go into it expecting a murder mystery, you'd be much better off. It's a situation where the poster art is much better than the actual movie (aren't most B-movies?).

Not only is the title great, but so is its alternate: "My World Dies Screaming"! The movie is very ‘50s with great cardboard acting, but also a few shocks that are a harbinger of less-innocent times to come.

Disney Authorization
Last week on the Crazed Fanboy message boards, someone named Disney Producer queried why Ashley Lewis (a boardie and occasional CF contributor), was commenting on Disney films when she clearly had no authority to do so.

To my amazement, I found out that an individual is not legally permitted - unless permission is granted - to post comments about Disney company films, theme parks, or any other faction of their empire. It seems that back in 2002, Disney caught wind of internet surfers who began commenting on such classics as "The Little Mermaid" and "Mulan", and were not only getting facts wrong, but bashing some of the films in the process. Apparently, Disney would not have any negativity associated with its brand, and dictated that all internet users must register with the Disney company in order to comment about their movies. And, that's only if you make it past the authorization process (which seems to go smoother if you're a Disney World season ticket holder). Not all who apply are given authorization. They ask you intrusive things like "How many times have you seen “The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes" and "What was the name of the stranded family who lived in the tree?". Also, they asked how many Disney collectibles I owned, and how many! As if it were some kind of police state or something, the final question posed was "had I ever knowingly expressed a negative opinion on any Disney feature film, if so, which one" - and then asked me to explain myself!

Yes, I found this bit strange, but Disney has the legal right to do so. I guess the big bucks of a major studio trumps free speech in this day and age. Ashley, I'm not sure why you felt the urge to comment on a Disney film either positively or negatively, but you really should have done your research before posting. Now you've gone and upset one of their producers and will likely be taken to trial - and I have news for you - Disney can afford an army of lawyers to drag out this case for a long time, and it will no doubt cost you time and lots of money. Possibly we in the CF family can take up some kind of collection for your defense fund.

Just some advice, Ashley, let's leave the Disney comments for those who are really into the feel good-ism of the entertainment they provide. However, if you're so inclined, feel free to post about cult films at any time. We're a welcoming bunch who won't question your intentions and who don't require any type of permission or authorization.


"Oddservations" is ©2006 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.